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Comment Yes (Score 2) 217

This is a good idea; a deeper understanding of the various roles around you can only improve your own work.

Similarly, coders should be able to:

  • Read (and write!) a project proposal
  • Successfully explain their work to a room full of non-technical people
  • Interpret a project plan and identify risk points
  • Understand an annual report
  • Grasp basic employment law

Specialized skills are substantially enhanced by a broader understanding of the organization as a whole.

Comment Re:Goodness (Score 1) 307

Perhaps all of that was an attempt to motivate at least a lukewarm response to the obviously coming problem so people wouldn't end up running around with their hair on fire later.

Oh I get that, I'm just saying that years of teeth-gnashing and arm-flailing has had pretty much the opposite of the desired effect.

This has been pitched as a dire and urgent danger for ages. The IPv4 address exhaustion problem Wikipedia article is nearly nine years old, for crying out loud.

This will get sorted out like pretty much every single other technical capacity issue gets sorted out: once the pain and cost of not acting becomes prohibitive, people will act, and it will cease to be an issue.

Comment However Shall We Figure This Out? (Score 1) 342

This it perhaps the first severe accident of this kind in a western factory, and is sparkling debate about who is responsible for the accident, the man who was servicing the robot beyond its protection cage, or the robot's hardware/software developers who didn't put enough safety checks. Will this distinction be more and more important in the future, when robots will be more widespread?

Folks, there exists an entire and oft maligned profession that is dedicated to figuring just this sort of thing out.

This isn't some big unsolved existential question. It's a fairly dry exercise in interpreting and applying precedent in new ways. Humans are actually reasonably good at sorting out how to deal with the legalities of new things.

Comment Re:What is being missed... is the $2 million part. (Score 1) 456

You cut $200 off your utility bill in a few weeks with a new thermostat...

My conclusion is that you could not figure out how to turn in on an went without any sort of heat or AC for several weeks.

Haha, yes! I am that stupid! No wonder I was sweating buckets and passing out all summer!

Comment Re:What is being missed... is the $2 million part. (Score 1) 456

the new unit had pretty much paid for itself within a few weeks

Woah. You saved $200 on heating costs in a few weeks? Just your savings represents about 2 months of heating costs for me, during the winter. What, exactly, was your old thermostat doing? Did you have to use cash money to light the pilot light?

In this case, it was A/C. Like I said, the house was old: it had a very old, inefficient central A/C unit at the time (which we also replaced, once we could afford to.) It wasn't a big house, but it was a drafty house, so it didn't exactly hold its temperature all that well.

So instead of having a house that basically always kept itself cool (I'm somewhat forgetful and distracted, especially first thing in the morning; my wife and I rarely thought/remembered to crank the temp when leaving for the day), the new thermostat always remembered to turn off for half the day--and the hottest half, at that. The fact that it was a stupid-hot, stupid-humid Maryland summer counted for something, too.

Comment Re:What is being missed... is the $2 million part. (Score 4, Interesting) 456

Pi plus some student programmers - should be done for $1500. Which begs the question - if it still works, why replace it?

In my old house, there was an analog thermostat.

This thermostat came with the house, probably cost $20, and worked just fine.

Me, being the foolhardy spendthrift I am, dropped TEN TIMES that on a fancy-shmancy programmable thing with all sorts of stupid, complicated bits inside.

As it turns out, my previous model--while perfectly functional--was really quite inefficient, and the new unit had pretty much paid for itself within a few weeks.

Doing things properly can save tons of money.

Comment Re:What is being missed... is the $2 million part. (Score 1) 456

So less than 2 dozen schools need to spend upwards of $2 million dollars to... control the HVAC?


That is the bigger issue, IMHO...

Well, if the new system ends up saving them more than $2 million over its lifespan (hardly a stretch of the imagination, given the cost of heating and cooling large buildings,) wouldn't they be fools to not have done this already?

Comment Re:And what if he's right? (Score 1) 412

"Just deal with it like grownups" is a cop-out philosophy of managers not wanting to do their jobs

No, its a simple matter of: The company is paying for your time right now. How you spend your own time, and with whom you spend it is your own affair, but on company time, it is not acceptable to be actively engaged in anything other than business. Acting like an adult means recognizing that your rights to become emotionally involved with any consenting adult caries with it the companies right to not suffer economic loss when you are incapable of keeping your private affairs private.

I have a friend who runs his own (quite successful) company here in Baltimore. I'm going to point you to a recent blog post of his regarding version 2.0 of the company handbook. It's a fast read, is well written, and provides a very concrete, real-world example of why I so strongly disagree with the "just be professional" sentiment.

Comment Re:And what if he's right? (Score 3, Interesting) 412

The fix is for people to deal with it, like grown-ups. Office romances happen across the entire working population. If people are idiots there's fallout. So far the world has survived, and nothing needs to be done to fix this.

Significant enough numbers of grown-ups are sufficiently unable to act like grownups that yeah, the rest of us really do need to fix it.

More importantly, this is not new. Interpersonal struggles and conflict are as old as humanity itself, and we've discovered, as a species, that we really do benefit from having rules, laws, guidelines, and social norms to help us navigate these choppy waters.

"Just deal with it like grownups" is a cop-out philosophy of managers not wanting to do their jobs and employees not wanting to grow beyond what they already are. "Just deal with it like grownups" means nothing more than "I don't like dealing with the strife and drama that is the human condition, therefore I'll pretend that MY employees/co-workers are somehow magically above all that."

Lastly, if you think that the world has survived without people having done anything to fix this, well, you haven't been paying any attention at all.

Comment Re:They still sell those? (Score 1) 105

Still plenty of openers from the 80's and 90's out there chugging away, and most homeowners aren't going to fix something that ain't broke. And while yes, a 10-second skeleton opener is "broke", that's still longer than it takes a practiced hand to pop a door or window open. Many folks are comfortable enough relying on the fact that doing either of these things lands you in very hot water with the local authorities that they're not too worried about not having reinforced locks and barred windows.

Comment Re:Android to iDevice (Score 1) 344

...a $350 Android phone is a high-end device--or, at best, at the upper end of mid-range. Roughly 60% of Android phones retail for $200 or less. ( The $350 price point lands right near the top quintile of all Android phones. By contrast, there does not exist a low-end iPhone for sale at retail. That's a conscious decision on Apple's part, and matches their overall M.O.

Your phone is not one of the low-end phones that give such a bad user experience. Your phone is quite nice--and quite expensive--compared to the fleet of Android devices as a whole.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #44 Zebras are colored with dark stripes on a light background.