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Comment Re:Better myself (Score 2) 567

Your title started out nice enough. But "stop reading slashdot" is not what I would do, it is what I wouldn't do.

Assuming I were no longer constrained by money, the "suddenly wealthy" mentioned in the headline, bettering myself and others would probably be the next set of goals as I checked off items from my bucket list.

The daily money earned off $2.5 billion is going to be about $50K-$100K, which would be pretty fun. Every day you can spend what most american families earn as annual income. Personally I wouldn't be throwing out multi-million-dollar grants to organizations, but I would enjoy traveling while trying to spend $50K per day.

Spending the big money quickly on things would only be fun for a short term. Owning things would help a bit with the comforts of home, being suddenly wealthy means no longer being constrained by financial resources. There would be a few places I'd want to visit -- maybe tour castles and visit a bunch of countries -- but having virtually unlimited funds spread over time could be enjoyed with others who are less fortunate.

So I think if I was suddenly a multi-billionaire, of course an accountant would be one person I'd hire, and I'd put together a small account for daily spending, say $50K, added daily to an account for everyday spending. Then I would look to spend that much and no more, especially not dropping off millions for an endowment to some organization. At least until I reached old age and was ready to donate large bundles to other groups doing good in the world.

I would look to my own hobbies and activities that bring joy to myself and others. For me, that would mean turning my artistic hobbies of watercolor and photography into bigger parts of my life, not so much as moving on to my next career as it is developing my self. (Of course, I'd similarly pick up some of my wife's hobbies, but we share many of them.) We could enjoy life as a global tourist being generous with funds, buy new clothes and leave old ones to the local donation centers. I'd spend time doing other hobbies that are purely for fun, like kite flying, and with all that money that means visiting assorted beaches and kite festivals around the globe, enjoying the benefits of money while trying to appear as a normal but generous tourist. As I developed myself, I'd look to develop others as well. Why pay a professional to tutor just me when I can help develop the talents of others as well? Pay for classes in the subject and invite a few lucky winners with a similar skill level, and participate as just another person in the class. (I might make it known that I was the one paying for the class, depending on how much one-on-one time I wanted, or maybe just remain an anonymous member.)

Maybe go spend a few months on the endless beaches of Chile, along with my wife. Hire some people to help learn the language from our current skills into full fluency. Hire some art teachers to teach both myself and a lucky group of a dozen other similarly-skilled natives (where I pay their regular wages so they can attend the class) as we paint on site for a few days at each location, perhaps providing art supplies they could take home at the end of the week paid for by my accumulation fund. For my kite flying hobby, when I wasn't out practicing art, I'd probably have a bunch of various sport kites delivered to that week's hotel (which of course would be directly on the beach), and bring a crate each of solidly-built deltas, some thick-sparred revolutions that will survive the inevitable beginner crashes, and a some single-string kites for the unskilled. The lucky strangers who happened to be at the beach that day could pick one up, enjoy it for the day, and take it home. Maybe enjoy time doing whatever skill building my wife also enjoys, or maybe letting her enjoy her classes without me, both so we can enjoy our own individual interests and also so we have things to talk about. Then maybe move on to mountains and beaches of Peru and Colombia, again spending around $50K/day on groups of strangers to learn new talents along with us. Maybe distribute nice cameras to those hiking the mountain in my group. Along the way, if my daily allowance started to accumulate unspent funds, occasionally make a donation to whatever hospital or children's centers I happen to be near that day to zero out my accumulated values.

Comment Re:The cars can detect gestures. (Score 2) 236

I won't pull over for ANYONE in a dark alley or in the middle of the boonies.

Absolutely correct. Officers are (normally) trained that they need to allow the person to travel to a location they feel safe, which can mean a lit area or a populated area. Similarly if you are are on a bridge or somewhere with no shoulder, you can turn on your hazard lights, slow down, and continue to a safe area. If someone in the vehicle has a cell phone, they can call 911, describe the situation, and tell dispatch they will stop in a location with light and other people. You can also call 911 to verify the person is a real officer.

If you decide to do that you should slow down, pull to the outer lane, and turn on your hazard lights so the officer can see your intent.

Once stopped you can also keep your doors locked, roll down the window only enough for the discussion, and ask them to show you their department issued ID card, which has a photo and contact details, which you can verify with 911 if you want.


Having a self-driving car that obediently directed itself into a dark parking garage based on a masked stranger in uniform, that faithfully recorded the screaming of the passenger as the car stopped and opened for a group of masked people in uniform, recorded the passenger getting beaten, bound, and gagged by those same people, then faithfully returned home... well, that would be a problem.

Comment Re:The cars can detect gestures. (Score 1) 236

as Google causing a dozen accidents can attest to.

Citation needed.

Last I've seen, there were 14 crashes since they started open-road tests in 2009. Only one has had injuries, the rear-ending in July. They state that all of them were caused by the other vehicles (and their human drivers), and that they have evidence to prove it.

Of the 14, 11 were rear endings from when a car behind them failed to stop, 1 was a t-bone where someone ran the intersection and hit them. The other two were unspecified, but assuming we take their assurances that the crashes were not the self-driving car's fault, that really only leaves sideswipe crashes (someone entering their lane).

Comment Be a manager, not a programmer (Score 1) 87

The accountant has been placed in a role of management. You can be a manager without knowing the details of the tasks for the people being managed.

Unfortunately for your friend, he is being thrown into the project management with no experience in project management. That by itself is a near-certain guarantee that the project will fail. So his first action should be to hire or contract someone who knows how to manage a project

That said, assuming he's going to foolishly wing it...

There is a pretty good book on the subject, "How to cheat at IT project management". I'm sure there are many others, too. He needs to hit the books. Still not as good as having someone who knows what they are doing, but sometimes it takes a baptism by fire and reading will help.

There are many keys and guides to being a good manager. Middle managers buffer the roles between those above and those below. They don't need to know how to do the tasks above them in the org chart, they don't need to know how to do the tasks below them in the org chart. And that's okay, because their position is in between the two. The person -- in this case your "accountant friend" -- needs to know enough technical details to communicate with the people he is managing, and needs to know enough business details to manage upward, or to communicate with his bosses who expect progress and accountability.

The roles that your accountant friend will have in managing others is many faceted. They must remove roadblocks and enable the team to do their best. They must manage expectations and communicate clearly to those up the chain what they can expect, the progress that is being made, and present positive, realistic overviews of status. They must also communicate expectations downward, negotiate what success looks like, and understand the difference between tasks that can be completed and tasks that have no hope of being done on time no mater how many experts are thrown at them.

Without experience that will be extremely difficult, as experience shows what to look for to recognize when a project is in the earliest signs of drowning. If you spot the signs and symptoms a struggling project can be corrected if spotted early enough and the right actions are taken. Spotted too late, though, and the project is doomed no matter what heroic efforts you apply.

Wish your friend good luck. He'll need it. ;-)

Comment Re:Making promises for backdoor deals (Score 2) 253

The odds of this happening in 2-3 years are 0%. They have no real competition, why would they?

They DO have competition... in some cities. They are pushing to make it a headline as an attempt to keep people from moving to the competition.

Right now in my area Comcast has an ad campaign going. They take a sound bite of a competitor's ad offering 60Mbps with geographic restrictions, then say "With Comcast we don't have geographic restrictions, we guarantee 25Mbps everywhere in our network"... They make a big point of saying the speed is available to everyone on the network, never pointing out the speed is less than half of what is available elsewhere. Then I've got billboards for another service that is pushing out full gigabit to some residential areas and 100 gigabit for businesses in the city. They're growing slowly, but they seem to have faster adoption rates after every neighborhood they hit.

Lately there have been huge armies of comcast workers going door to door offering a slightly higher speed than their previous standard offering -- bumping from 20Mbps to 25Mbps -- that comes with a two year contract.

They keep coming by: "It is just a two year contract.", "If someone else comes along, you can sign up with them after two short years." "We're not asking you to stick around forever, we want to earn your business, this is just two short years."

Every time I ask them if they can meet my current vDSL speed of 80Mbps, and they say no, but they do have a great deal on 25Mbps cable. Then I ask about some of the fiber options going in, and again "we're installing fiber some neighborhoods, when it comes to your neighboord you can be the first to upgrade!"

Comcast has competition in some markets, and customers are leaving in droves. This type of marketing is an attempt to stop hemorrhaging customers in these regions.

Comment Re:device not eligible (Score 2) 126

The devices I can see were launched within the past two years. Looking a few of them up, the oldest I see was launched November 2012 and discontinued November 2014. In my view these should all be getting standard support anyway. We're not talking about an announcement to patch phones from 2007 or 2010.

Supporting a two-year-old product SHOULD be non-news, the true problem (sadly) is that it has become such.

Comment Not all workers are equal. (Score 5, Interesting) 430

The big difficulty is that salary gets really complicated, really fast. It helps many people, but building the system that is equitable would be difficult, and all the positive outliers could be harmed in the process.

SCENARIO: Money is a little tight but applicants are plentiful. We interview lots of people, and three of them look very qualified and are willing to work for a certain wage in a tight range. All hired. Three months later the group discovers a unique need, needing a developer on a specific tool with specific skills. They'll be hired at the same job title, but because the group need a specialized skill immediately, they will go through a headhunter and ultimately pay a premium for that fourth worker. Now, because all four have the same job title, the critical question: should the company go back and increase the three other workers' pay to the same pay rate of the fourth worker with the specialized skill? Should they refuse to hire the specialist at a rate above the other three?

In some fields it can make sense to standardize pay. Most skilled trades operate this way. There is a standard rate in a region for a Journeyman with specific certifications. Trade unions can help fight for specific benefits. You know that this class of tradesman has a specific skill set and can be hired for $27/hour. You need four of them. All of them are treated as interchangeable.

In other fields it can make far less sense to standardize pay, mostly because there are many variables. Unfortunately software development is one of those fields where it is complicated. It would be really convenient -- both for applicants and employers -- to have such a scale. This is a Java programmer with seven endorsements certified at grade 27, so pay is automatically $x.

But unfortunately for this field, technology is ALWAYS changing, so the scale would be difficult. You were certified in version 3.2, but the system has moved on to version 4.1. Does that individual lose the old certification? If they take the new industry trade group's course do they now have 8 certifications instead of seven? Do certifications expire over time, or transfer between technologies? With the huge number of technologies out there, does that mean we'll have thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of different certifications for the trade union? How are individual certifications weighted, and how are they equivalent? Is a master Direct3D 12 certification the same value as a master PostgreSQL 9.4 certification? Is a PostgreSQL 9.4.4 certification valued differently than a PostgreSQL 9.3.9 certification? If someone has certifications in other specializations, must those apply in the cost? With the rapid pace of an enormous number of technologies, what prevents someone from getting hundreds of certifications? Such as "I've got 47 certifications, one for each version of the software released over the past two years"? While it works good for slower-moving trades, it does not work so well in software.

Sometimes I feel it would be nice to have programming trade unions. There are many features like collective bargaining for benefits that could be nice. But for actual salary levels, union-based standardized wages would be a nightmare. It would add a convenience factor to ensure new workers have certain minimum competencies, but it unfortunately adds maximum values as well. Nobody wants to know that they could be making more due to market pressure.

By establishing fixed buckets of pay levels, it establishes both a minimum (yay) and a maximum (boo) within a region. If you've got any kind of specialization or exotic skill -- and many of us do -- those same pay buckets that help many people also hurt the top performers.

Comment The other, other side. Corps stealing, too. (Score 3, Insightful) 274

The other side of it is the challenge in calculating how much financial damage is done to a copyright holder when unlicensed copies of their work are distributed and 'consumed'.

There are still other "other sides" of it. Most posters are focusing on when individuals infringe on corporate productions. Big groups steal images from small-time photographers and artists all the time, usually without consequence.

Clickbait sites are notorious for stealing images and are among the worst infringers. Does this mean when an image goes viral and is used in a corporate blog, or when a photo gets used in a clickbait site like buzzfeed, the government prosecutors will be going after the corporations for criminal copyright infringement?

Even mostly-reputable groups like Forbes is notorious for lifting images online without permission. Images from Wikipedia get cited as "From Wikipedia" without regard to the license or the actual photographer. Images get lifted from personal web sites with or without attribution, but rarely with permission. Will the editors at Forbes UK office be imprisoned for their copyright infringements?

Yeah, didn't think so.

Unless these same laws are used to prosecute corporations and corporate officers when they also commit the crimes, it's just a tool to beat down the common citizen.

Comment Re:Statistics need verifying (Score 2) 212

every year there are close to 140,000 jobs requiring a CS degree, but only 40,000 U.S. college graduates major in CS, which means that 100,000 positions go unfilled by domestic talent

Is this statistic really true? Are those 140,000 net new jobs, or just job openings that exist for some period of time during the year?

This is the same company that two weeks ago just laid off 8000 American workers in their annual summer layoff program.

And almost exactly one year ago laid off 18,000 American workers in their annual layoffs.

And almost exactly two years ago laid off multiple divisions, with an unspecified number (estimated in the thousands) of American workers.

And 2010, they laid off about 35% of it's American work force.

And in the summer of 2009, another 6000.


Every year they reduce their staff by 5000-20,000 in America, but they are hiring year round. Somehow they are always complaining about being able to find talent, but they have no problem letting existing staff fall off like an annual sheering of the sheep. The problem is not a lack of workers, or they wouldn't be laying off thousands of developers every year.

The problem from the company's perspective is that last year's workers don't match this year's buzzwords.

Comment Re:Right vs wrong (Score 2) 165

What is the "wrong" exactly? Who is the victim? Work for a wage you see fit and the employer is willing to pay. If everyone is happy with their paychecks then there isn't really a morality crisis here. The rules (and costs) around employment are idiotic and this is simply a symptom of it. It's ridiculous how many rights employers and employees are losing. Lawyers won't touch this because the laws are dumb and there aren't any victims worth fighting for.

Society at whole suffers with this, it is tax evasion for one thing, and it is reduced wages and benefits for another. The taxes collected are lower, so there is less funding to government by using an unlawful classification. It doesn't really matter if it is a private office or a government office that is the one evading taxes, the fact is that federal taxes and probably state taxes are being evaded. By hiring them as 1099 workers to avoid providing benefits like medical insurance, FICA and other taxes, time off benefits, and more, which is unlawful under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

You write it isn't a moral crisis. The office is engaged in an unlawful act, and he is (directly or indirectly) making money from an unlawful transaction. It may not be as extreme as profiting from child trafficking or the drug trade, but it is still profiting from an unlawful transaction. If he is one of the contractors, he may also have other concerns, like not being covered for health insurance as required by law.

You wrote that this is about losing rights. This is actually about tax evasion and about fair labor pay. In the story, he writes that the 1099'ers are getting none of the benefits of salary employees doing the same thing; which violates fair payment laws. In one case I know of where a family business tried this exact thing, the husband got 3 years in federal prison, the wife 1 year, the son who managed the company got 3 years, and millions of dollars in fines were levied against them collectively, all of it for variations of tax evasion and the Fair Labor Standards Act. In this case it is a government office breaking the law, but it is hardly a victimless crime, and often the perpetrators spend years in jail.

And you write that lawyers won't touch it, that victims aren't worth fighting for. In practice, there are SOME lawyers who are willing to fight that kind of fight when it is the government breaking the laws. If you were the one working full time but not getting health insurance benefits or time off or other benefits given to the other employees, I'm guessing you would change your tune about it being 'victimless'.

Comment Re:How much you got? (Score 2) 184

This is just what happened at my previous job. The ever increasing cost and pure hostility against customers made the company start switching from Oracle to other alternatives.

Ditto. Our edict last year was "get off Oracle by the end of the fiscal year". The priority from the CEO was published and restated every month: #1, keep the existing service running, #2, get off Oracle.

Every sprint planning meeting at every team began by restating that goal. Do only minimum bug fixes necessary to keep the system running, all other tasks must be toward getting us off Oracle before the end of the fiscal year. Existing features could be reduced if that helped get us off Oracle quicker or more safely. When one team was finished they were assigned to help other teams with their transitions.

I'm not privy to all the details, but I know the organization spent a few million each year for an all encompassing unlimited license and we could create databases and fire up servers all we wanted. But then something happened a year ago, we were warned that Oracle's contract prices would be radically shifting, and everywhere within the organization we were to devote all development efforts across all platforms to getting off Oracle. It annoyed some customers, but when we told the bigger contracts that our organization was getting off Oracle, they immediately claimed to understand and would wait until that was complete before demanding new features.

Comment Re:Sorry most Americans... (Score 1) 119

Martin reps are claiming the parachute system will start functioning in just a few meters. As Ellis mentioned below, this obviously must mean they're ejecting and inflating the parachute via some sort of mortar, and as such, it probably starts working almost instantly.

As I wrote in my initial post (surprised it was first post, weird) those are still my biggest concern. The comments in the articles and videos they make to not comfort those fears.

Have you ever fallen from "just a few meters?" I have.

As a child I fell from the monkey bars at school, also "just a few meters". I landed badly on the schoolyard gravel designed to help reduce injury and still broke my leg badly.

My daughter also once slipped while running on wet ground, fell and twisted her leg badly. (Genetics?) After a surgery, two screws to hold the bone together, and six weeks later, she was learning to walk without a limp. Or you've got Kevin Were who was in an Elite Eight basketball game, jumped wrong, and broke his leg badly, leaving his tibia stabbed through his leg. People break their bones from ground-level falls all the time.

I'm fine with being in the air. I'm sure when everything is going perfectly and it is zooming through the air, that experience is likely more awesome than anything. And if the motor gives out at 800m, the parachute will be fine.

No, I'm worried I'll be either launching or landing, have a critical failure while near the ground, and end up hospitalized, seriously injured, or maybe fatally injured. Either that, or have a critical failure that drags me across fields or across pavement, leaving a trail of skin and blood on the ground.

Comment Sorry most Americans... (Score 4, Funny) 119

lift humans weighing up to 120kg (~256 lbs)

So basically half of Americans are excluded. Got it.

On a more serious note, there is NO WAY I'd do it. Not because it wouldn't be cool to fly through the air, I'd love that part...

...It is the landing on the rock hard ground I'm concerned about.

Comment Re:The question many want to ask, but don't dare t (Score 1) 383

What do you really think about systemd?

He has answered that many times. I want a slight variation.

Last year he gave several mentions about it to several key groups. He expressed that "I don't actually have any particularly strong opinions on systemd itself. I've had issues with some of the core developers that I think are much too cavalier about bugs and compatibility, and I think some of the design details are insane, but those are details, not big issues".

He's mentioned in several interviews that he has needed to deal with fallout from the system, deal with major bugs in it. He's also had some very public, verbally brutal interactions with key members of the team. But those are less relevant from the technical side. Systemd developers are attempting to correct what they believe are defects or missing functionality.

My variant would be: How has systemd's expansion affected your work on Linux? More specifically, over time the needs of systems change and drift, and core features need to adapt. What features of systemd have you considered as features missing from the kernel that should be incorporated, or as missing features that should be incorporated into system libraries?

Windows has had similar infighting over the years where the Shell folks were implementing all kinds of useful and interesting functionality that really had little to do with the shell: path functions that should be in the storage libraries, notifications that should go through kernel, numeric validations that belonged in the core, and so on. It is always a balance to decide what belongs as core features versus what belongs in side libraries. Systems evolve over time: How much driver support should be in the kernel? (Different OSes have different theories.) How much networking support should be in the kernel? (Decades ago the answer was usually "none", now it is heavily supported.) What security aspects belong in the kernel? (This used to be largely ignored, today it is an ever-growing concern.) Over time the balance changes.

I think part of the systemd concerns are that they implement many features which -- within Linux's two decades -- have transitioned from being minor external tasks into becoming universal system requirements. The boundaries change. I'd like to know how Linus is working with (or against) the inevitable winds of change.

Comment Re: I was wondering if/when this would be on /. (Score 1) 86

That's pretty broad and vague. Does the website which is registered in my name but which is actually my girlfriend's for the local comedy scene count? It has no ads but helps comedians get stage time, some of it paid. It seems to me that any site with an ad portal or an affiliate program link would count. Not just people selling widgets.

That's the issue.

Ads alone are enough to qualify a site has having a commercial purpose.

Run a blog with ads on it? That's commercial, your real name and real address needs to be on it.

Consider the many blogs revealing TSA problems, The popular "Taking Sense Away" was ad supported. The tsa employee running the site would need to reveal his real name and address.

Consider Groklaw, a site that many /. users referenced for the decade it was in operation. The founder (for good reasons) wanted to mask her identity and personal information. The site was already suffering from privacy issues and JP was in the process of shutting it down, but after learning more about a loss of encrypted email, she ended the site. Since she accepted donations on the site, that would qualify it as a commercial site with mandatory release of identity.

The recommendation of "commercial purpose" is overbroad, especially with the current definitions of commercial.

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." -- George Bernard Shaw