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Comment Re: brick and mortar is an assett (Score 1) 203

Last year, I bought some tires at Walmart using their ship-to-store program, and got them installed at their auto center. Here's how it went:
Ship-to-store is the repurposed layaway counter, and isn't actively staffed. Instead, you ring the associate using a kiosk.
No associate showed up. Had to ring at least twice. About 15-20 minutes in, an attendant working the floor asked what the deal was, and I guess he tracked someone down. I'm not sure if the notify attendant functionality was broken or the associate was at fault, but if that's the typical ship-to-store experience, I'll pass. Wheeled my Walmart.com-wrapped tires to the auto center, and they overcharged me $20 for installing "third-party" tires.

Ship-to-store could work if you implement it like Amazon once discussed using lockers--you come in at any time 24/7, obtain the contents of your locker, and leave. Retail employees only add negative value, and should be kept as far as possible from fulfillment.

Comment Re:Tell you what . . . . (Score 1) 213

Had a recruiter try to sell me on a network engineer position over the weekend: CCNA or working on it, can configure a switch, etc. "But the pay's great!" I know better, and you know why--you can either have 10 years of experience or 1 year of experience 10 times over. If you're reached the point you've learned all you can in your current position, you're doing yourself a disservice by staying.

Be careful with CCNP if you don't have experience to back it up. The assumption will be that you braindumped it.

If you want to use BGP or MPLS without having to work your way up to senior-level, go telecom. Do your time there and then hop over to a large corp. You'd be at a disadvantage at first because you wouldn't be well rounded, but that's the price you pay for skipping out on the drudgery everyone else puts up with. Or you could go to a MSP and play with all the cool toys, and get more work thrown at you than you can handle.

Comment Re:Entrapment is lazy policing (Score 1) 388

Stings like this have another utility--counter-intelligence. Let's say you are approached by someone asking you to commit espionage. If you feel obligated to report it because there's a chance this is a sting/loyalty test, the government's job is made much easier. Is it worth destroying lives to accomplish this objective? Hard to say without weighing the assets being protected.

Comment Re:Entrapment is lazy policing (Score 5, Interesting) 388

The problem is not necessarily place of origin, but whether you can be turned. You can be the most patriotic person on the planet, but you'll be denied if there's a non-negligible chance your close relatives overseas can be imprisoned/tortured unless you agree to spy for the host country. I wouldn't take it personally.

Comment Re:I miss the good ole' days (Score 1) 334

That's because so many people left Slashdot during Betageddon that it's mostly just raving lefties here now.

Nah, that's not it--it's a generational shift. Late 20s skew left, and they have the free time to post more. You'd think that group think would mold them to community norms, but here's the thing about AGW:

One one side, you have 97% of climate papers.
On the other, you have the oil industry and politicians.

The evidence is compelling and the opposing parties so distasteful that if you disagree, you're white noise. There is no discussion--either you are reasonably informed, or you're a nutter. The /. old guard just happens to be on the wrong side of the consensus.

Comment Re:Impact of foreigners on the education of Americ (Score 4, Interesting) 161

I had a similar experience when I was in school a few years ago.

Group project with two German foreign exchange students--copy/pasted their part from another website. I caught it early and after some "clarification" from the professor, they redid it.

Another group project--with a white guy, white girl, African immigrant, and a Chinese exchange student. White girl didn't contribute anything at all, Chinese didn't contribute anything (informed us "I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do" two days before the report was due), and the African immigrant contributed one slide (the project was a slide and a paper). White guy and I ended up writing the entire paper, and we were not pleased.

I was the group leader for both projects. The lesson I learned wasn't that foreign students are worthless, but rather that people needed to be treated differently. For any project, I map out the pieces and dependencies that need to be completed in a shared spreadsheet, and let team members choose what they work on. This works out very well for motivated students, and functional procrastinators since the dependencies are also worked out. Unfortunately, simply telling everyone what needs to be done is not a one-size-fits-all solution. If I had assigned tasks to specific individuals early on and followed up regularly, I would have obtained better results. If output was poor or non-existent, we could have adjusted expectations ("you need to turn this in earlier so we can correct for ESL") or escalate to the professor if necessary.

If you are an "A" student, working with other "A" students is the easiest way to keep that A. Learning how to get the most of B and C students is likely more valuable than a slight downtick in your GPA.

Comment Re:Netflix rating engine sucks (Score 2) 86

Crummy selection pretty much nails it. If there were an infinite number of movies, the algorithm would work well. Consider the following scenario: You are one of 3000 subscribers that likes 18th century historical dramas. A documentary on royal intrigues is highly regarded by the 30 or so subscribers in your group that have seen it. Unfortunately, it won't be recommended to you because other subscribers ran out of movies long ago and now watch whatever is on the main page. Many of those 3k subscribers watched Ip Man because it looked tolerable, not because it had an intersection with your interests, but it'll be recommended anyway. Hidden gems are drowned out because the algorithm can't tell the difference between a movie you want to see and a movie you saw because you wanted to see something, anything that night.

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