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Comment: Re:Ikea good points (Score 1) 20

by JaredOfEuropa (#49361451) Attached to: Ikea Refugee Shelter Entering Production
You don't need to have the best quality or be the cheapest, even from a customer perspective. As long as you offer the best value for money. Ikea does pretty good there as long as you know what to buy there and what to avoid. And don;t forget to put a price on convenience: instead of waiting 4-8 weeks for your new stuff, you get to take it home and use it right away (some assembly required). That's very useful... we use Ikea all the time in rental properties that need to be furnished on short notice.

Comment: Re:God I wish we'd stop hearing this myth. (Score 1) 382

by JaredOfEuropa (#49352783) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US
Exactly. And I see the same happening over here with teaching "critical thinking". It's important, but it got turned into the idea that questioning everything makes one a critical thinker. A college professor in history once told me he gave a guest lecture at a high school. The kids kept challenging him on points during his lecture, and at the end of class, the regular teacher proudly noted how critical the children were and didn't take everything from an authority figure at face value. To which the professor replied: "Yes, but it's a shame they know bugger all about history".

Some of this attitude carries over when these kids graduate and get a job. They're highly vocal and opinionated, but they are equally noisy on topics they have no knowledge on as they are within their own area of expertise. Thankfully, most of them quickly learn better, but sadly some of them are perceived as "strong decision-makers" (whatever the hell that means) and promoted to management, where their unfounded opinions actually do damage.

Comment: Re:And as an employer... (Score 2, Informative) 382

by JaredOfEuropa (#49352707) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US
We tried this in the Netherlands in the 80s, and it didn't work. Only a handful of jobs were created; instead productivity was increased by 20% (let people work less but keep their workload the same, and don't pay overtime...over time, employers and employees figured out how to do the same job in less time) The effects of a shorter work week probably vary a lot between industries. In services, you may see hardly any increase, also because a lot of the work is knowledge work and communications, and adding extra people to the team to make up for lost hours will certainly decrease productivity. In manufacturing however, it may be easy to slot in extra workers working shorter hours, while increasing productivity is not something easily done.

And GP is right: hiring 5 guys at 80% instead of 4 full time guys may well increase overall cost, because of the effects of tax and wage regulations.

Comment: Re:Or... (Score 1) 47

by JaredOfEuropa (#49350135) Attached to: Dueling Home Automation Systems at SXSW (Video)
A coupe of examples:
- Light recipes. Especially in the living room where there are many lights all around the room, including some Philips Hue bulbs that can change color. Instead of having to set all of them for dinner, sitting around or movie night or whatever, 1 button does it all. And it works with the media player, put that on pause and the lights dim up a bit
- Heating in certain rooms is turned off when not in use, and turned on automatically when someone is there. This saves a little on the heating bill.
- Irrigation in the greenhouse is fully automatic.
- If I go to bed, I get a warning if there are still doors unlocked.
- When leaving the house, 1 button switches of all lights, heating and airco.
- Notifications on my smart phone in case a smoke detector or flood sensor is tripped. The smoke detectors will also trip all lights.
Stuff like that. Nothing life-changing, but those little conveniences do add up and if the hub is offline for whatever reason, we start missing them...

Comment: Re:GCHQ has realized they can track Bitcoin, I bet (Score 2) 42

by JaredOfEuropa (#49343501) Attached to: UK Setting Itself Up To Be More Friendly To Bitcoin Startups
How is it not anonymous? A wallet is just as anonymous as a numbered account, with the difference that no entity has a record of who owns which wallet (unlike bank accounts). Oh, I am sure clever law enforcement agencies are able to combine data and tie a wallet to a specific person, but for day to day cases, no one knows who owns wallet XYZ, and I do not need to present any proof of identity to get my own wallet. So: anonymous.

The transactions are public. But that has nothing to do with anonymity of the accounts.

Comment: Re:GCHQ has realized they can track Bitcoin, I bet (Score 1) 42

by JaredOfEuropa (#49342947) Attached to: UK Setting Itself Up To Be More Friendly To Bitcoin Startups
Good for them. I'm still struggling to see what the benefit for me would be? I have little need for making anonymous payments, and international transfers are reasonably fast, cheap and convenient these days. One benefit is not having to give online merchants my full credit card details, but for local purchases iDeal (the Dutch banks' online payment solution) is better, and for international orders I can almost always use PayPal for that. Beats mucking around with out of date block chains and/or crooked exchanges (though some people would put Paypal in that category).

Comment: Re:Or... (Score 4, Insightful) 47

by JaredOfEuropa (#49339633) Attached to: Dueling Home Automation Systems at SXSW (Video)
Let's get this ever-recurring debate out of the way. Why would one want Home Automation at all? Answer: it's a hobby, get over it. It adds some convenience and security, and these days it's reliable and easy enough to use; a well designed system will keep working and keep being used with a minimum of maintenance. But the cost doesn't really justify the expense at the current state of the art... unless you see it as a hobby on which to blow some cash.

Comment: No hub = no home automation (Score 3, Insightful) 47

by JaredOfEuropa (#49339557) Attached to: Dueling Home Automation Systems at SXSW (Video)
If you don't have a hub, or if you are using your mobile phone as one, then you don't have home automation but integrated remote control only. You need a hub to build some intelligence into the system, and have it work for other members of the household as well as yourself, and have it work when you are not at home. A mobile phone makes for a great way to remotely control your smart home, but a good smart home works without it. I use my phone for remote access, but for day to day stuff when I am at home I prefer dedicated remotes and switches.

And the cloud? This stuff needs to remain private and has no place in the cloud. Another good reason to do HA using a hub that you own and control.

Comment: Re:my experience: (Score 1) 264

by JaredOfEuropa (#49336139) Attached to: Developers and the Fear of Apple
I fully agree that the 30% cut is not excessive for what it offers. In addition to distribution and payment, they also take care of VAT headaches and legal matters. And in some cases, the stringent curation works in my favour: people might have been hesitant to enter personal info or account credentials in my app if it came from some random website, but the fact that Apple has checked things out makes people more confident to buy and use my app. (I've no idea to what extent Apple actually checks)

Comment: Re:my experience: (Score 5, Insightful) 264

by JaredOfEuropa (#49335435) Attached to: Developers and the Fear of Apple
Professionals working for bigger companies who build apps for millions of users or on commission for businesses get paid pretty well. But for people working alone on in small groups, developing apps for smaller crowds, the income isn't all that good, because they are competing with hobbyists. Another factor is the size of the market: in principle it is nice for any developer to have a market of 10s of millions of potential customers, but in practice it alters the economics and customer expectations to their disadvantage.

I have an app on the app store, which I sell for $4.99. It sells reasonably well at that price, but if I look at the income it generates versus the hours I put in developing it, I should charge something closer to $39.99 at the same sales volume, in order to arrive at a decent hourly rate. At the same time, customers ask me why I don't shell out for professional artwork, a UX designer, and better support. Other apps offer all that for *free* or for a buck, so why not expect the same from my more expensive app? Simple: the outlay will never cover the little bit of extra revenue it might generate. Those numbers work if you sell a $.99 (or ad supported) game to 50 million people, not if you sell an app to serve a niche-within-a-niche. But both apps are judged the same, and anything over say $1.99 is perceived as "expensive" (which is a joke if you're willing to spend $899 on a phone).

Comment: Re:Easy as 1-2-3 (Score 3, Insightful) 264

by JaredOfEuropa (#49335221) Attached to: Developers and the Fear of Apple
"Performance" in that context is highly subjective. Apple stuff does what I want pretty much out of the box; Android phones don't. For some people, it will be the other way around. These days I have more money than time to dick around with devices, so I am willing to pay top euro for whatever device works best for me, even if it is overpriced (in terms of profit margin).

As a developer, I understand that the race to the bottom is even worse on the Play store, at least it was a while ago, perhaps the App Store has caught up by now.

Comment: Re:And now, things get Ugly. (Score 1) 120

by JaredOfEuropa (#49334397) Attached to: Uber To Turn Into a Big Data Company By Selling Location Data
The point of customer data, big or small, in the end appears to be to improve the ways companies can sell us crap (and doesn;t the whole world seem to revolve around that, sometimes?). Google does not sell the data to others directly because they can do so indirectly: they (claim to) provide advertisers on their network with a competitive edge by using customer data.

Comment: Re:The USA is now a "Can't do" country. (Score 1) 316

What I am saying is that I am not that impressed by countries who manage to generate near to all of their power needs from hydro, an energy source that has been economically competitive and easily adjusted to power demand for ages. The biggest impediment to building competitive hydro plants these days are environmental concerns

I'm more impressed by countries that generate a sizable amount of power from other renewables like solar and wind, like Denmark, Germany and Spain. Irregular overcapacity may be playing havoc with their wholesale electricity prices, while at the consumer level these sources are not yet competitive for consumers buying wind power or for grid operators buying surplus solar back at consumer rates... but even so they continue to research and improve.

I'm not saying we shouldn't do the R&D; on the contrary. And there's a business opportunity there as well; solar and wind are technologies that most countries can benefit from, unlike hydro.

Make it right before you make it faster.