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Comment: Easier said than done. (Score 1) 249

by MaWeiTao (#46782149) Attached to: Switching From Sitting To Standing At Your Desk

Any solution that's good for your health is going to cut into productivity. What companies are trying to do is find a solution that helps but doesn't disrupt that productivity. Unfortunately, I just don't think that's possible.

Currently, I've got a coworker who walks at a specialized treadmill, designed for office use, nearly all day long. Great for her, but all she does is read and type on her computer. There's some work you just can't be moving to do effectively. I design, requiring precision and focus. I can't stand or walk while I work. But my workload is such that I can't talk long breaks throughout the day.

A sensible approach might be several long breaks throughout the day. But the problem is fitting those in to a work day. I wouldn't want my work day to get longer. Sure, if you're single, it's easy to just lengthen your workday but fit in numerous breaks. However, not everyone has that freedom or desire. I want to be home with my family at a reasonable hour.

I think we need a more fundamental shift in corporate mentality. There's this persistent attitude of rushing to wait. Jam in a ton of work into a compressed timeframe only to have it languish once it's complete. On the other hand, there does need to be some kind of balance. You can't just have employees sit around doing nothing. Although, sometimes I feel like that's all that happens with so many of my clients.

Comment: Crime in America (Score 2) 386

by MaWeiTao (#46727899) Attached to: UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country

I have generally found that most foreigners and immigrants have a much harsher perspective on handling crime than Americans. Many developed countries engage in law enforcement activity that Americans would consider the mark of a police state. I've found most of those people, however, find it outrageous that Americans would be so obsessed with perceived freedom that they'd be willing to sacrifice quality of life and overall safety. The difference is that they're focused on prevention whereas American obsess about deterrence via punishment.

I'm not arguing they're right necessarily but it's hard to argue when cities in most first world nations are safer than American cities. I was generally oblivious to this until I lived in Taiwan for several years. It was refreshing to be able to go out at 3am and not have to worry about being mugged. Not that there weren't problems, particularly in Southern Taiwan and especially seedy neighborhoods. And sometimes I suspect crime in other countries in under reported. There's a lot of petty crime that I think is not adequately represented. But even then it's nothing compared to how rough things can get in the US. And to think that Japan somehow manages to be on another level.

Crime also doesn't tell the whole story. In Taiwan, if you really had to go looking for trouble. Otherwise no one gave you a hard time, even as a foreigner. In America, however, wander into certain neighborhoods with the wrong skin color and it's a near inevitability you'll get harassed. And usually the harassment comes from some punk teenager, which is a bit of a concerning trend. Where I used to live in the US was a borderline neighborhood that straddled the line between okay and bad neighborhoods. A week didn't go by that some asshole didn't make remarks about me, as a white guy, being out for a jog.

Inevitably, you learn to avoid trouble areas and I think Americans as a culture do that constantly. The problem is that it's the equivalent to sweeping the problem under the rug. And Americans seem to have a habit of reinterpreting statistics to suit some deluded world view. Take incarceration stats. People look at the numbers and assume there's some grand conspiracy. Doesn't it occur to people that more people are in jail because there's generally more crime? Certainly, the crime statistics corroborate that.

Now, the interesting thing I've found, is that American police departments are far more militaristic than anything I've seen overseas. In Taiwan, more than once I've seen a drunk woman slap a police officer and he just stands there and takes it, waiting for her to calm down. In the US they would have tased her and smashed her face into the pavement, assuming someone more gung ho didn't just pump a few rounds into her claiming probable cause.

On the other hand, I found the authorities there much more comfortable with continued surveillance. Here, it's all reactionary aggression. The rare police car I see is busy blowing through stop lights supposedly on the way to an incident. In Taiwan, however police presence was more persistent and reliable. Not that cops were personable there, but there was a lot more interaction. The only time people ever see cops in America, other than directing traffic, is when something has gone wrong. No wonder people develop a negative impression.

If I had to attribute crime in America with a cause, I think the single largest problem is irresponsible and shit parenting. If that were addressed I think so many other things would start falling into place. There are so many cultural problems endemic to America that you just don't see overseas, at least not to the extent they exist here.

Comment: No longer the exception. (Score 1) 477

by MaWeiTao (#46715353) Attached to: New French Law Prohibits After-Hours Work Emails

Sometimes there's something critical going on and you need to be in touch after hours. That's reasonable. The big problem is that for most it's become the rule, not the exception.

I've never been told I need to check emails outside of work, however, in recent years I've felt an unspoken pressure to be responsive to emails after hours. Working late bothers me less than this because it feels like an intrusion into my personal life. My own time is for unwinding and taking care of personal obligations, not to keep fretting about work. And without fail, the thing that demanded immediate response was something that could have waited, if it weren't for an impulsive and impatient manager.

Sadly, we're in a world of instant gratification. If people don't get an immediate response they freak out. And it's the same old shit with corporate America; there's an incredible sense of urgency; until the responsibilities fall on them, then they can afford to take on a leisurely pace.

Comment: Re:Sex discrimination. (Score 1) 673

by MaWeiTao (#46714375) Attached to: Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0

It seems to me like you work in industries that are less attractive to women, hence the overall issue being raised here. But your experience doesn't even come close to reflecting mine. I'm in the design industry where women outnumber men, albeit by a slim margin. Of the roughly 15 project managers I've worked under only two have been men. Amongst clients, which have ranged from small businesses, to universities, to large corporations, there's been a balanced mix of men and women in middle management. Within specific departments, however, women are sometimes the overwhelming majority.

In terms of work-life balance, things seem comparable too, at least right up to the point that people start raising a family. Then woman take far more time off than men for family obligations, and typically it's unquestioningly worked into their weekly schedule. And that's when they aren't taking days off outright. It's already hard enough for a man to simply get out of work on time, let alone get approval for leaving early.

In fact, I'm currently working with a project manager who leaves at 3pm every day and what that means is she's completely out of touch until the next morning. This, inevitably ends up being detrimental to the rest of the team. The rest of us have to pick up the slack in one way or another. Sometimes it's making decisions independently of her and hoping the client doesn't throw a wrench in the process, other times it's delaying progress until she's back in. Its to a point where you have to question why the company even wastes money on this individual. The money spent there would be better served hiring another designer and just having the team interact more directly with the client.

Now, the interesting thing is that I recently heard one of the reasons why female average salaries are lower is specifically because they tend to take more time off. But people will look at the numbers, see that women earn less than men and draw incorrect conclusions from that.

This doesn't mean they aren't competent. There are always exceptions, but female managers are generally as effective as males and easier to work with. I've found them to be more open-minded and less likely to micromanage. But I do think that in striving for equality we've overcompensated, creating a bit of an unfair playing field.

Comment: How about both? (Score 1) 224

by MaWeiTao (#46694317) Attached to: Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

I'm not sure why people can't do both. I tend to be very non-linear when I'm online and probably skim more than I should. But I can still sit down every night and read a novel or non-fiction book. I don't feel like I need to readjust myself or anything. If there's a day where I can't read it's more due to my mood than because I've spent the day skimming.

That said, I do think lack of focus and patience is a problem. It's frustrating at work to have coworkers gloss over an email and miss important points, even when I've set up a bulleted list for easy reading. Sometimes skimming works, but often it doesn't. And I think many people have gone beyond that to where they just read a headline and nothing more. Crap like Twitter certainly encourages that, as it's nothing but headline spam.

Comment: Re:make drugs legal - war over, cartels fail (Score 1) 120

by MaWeiTao (#46639911) Attached to: Social Media Becomes the New Front In Mexico's Drug War

Typical naivete. Organized crime didn't disappear with the end of prohibition. Why the hell would it go away with the wholesale legalization of drugs? Best case is you're not arresting people for possession. But as studies on decriminalization has shown all that happens is that the money is redirected towards distribution, treatment and medical care. And Mexico will go right on fighting the cartels like nothing has changed.

Comment: Re:"extrusion"? (Score 5, Insightful) 314

I don't understand why people see every new bit of technology like it's some magical panacea, ready for mass consumption the instant they learn of its existence.

You wouldn't try to print 100,000 books on an ink jet printer. While you might do mockups on that ink jet, you'd have the actual run output on a printing press. 3D printing is the same exact thing. Great for prototyping, but too slow, inefficient and expensive for mass production. That may change some day, but currently were a ways away from that being feasible.

Comment: Re:Lets wait and see (Score 1) 535

by MaWeiTao (#46585391) Attached to: Facebook Buying Oculus VR For $2 Billion

Why in the hell would they ever build their own OLED factory? This is far from being a trivial enterprise, and is something that even established companies don't generally engage in. There are numerous display manufacturers already out there, so there's no need whatsoever to be reliant on Samsung. Sharp and AU Optronics are two of the biggest players that immediately come to mind.

If we're talking about competition and being able to scale the company I don't see how Facebook benefits Oculus VR. Facebook has no experience with hardware so they can't help there. I saw mention of Facebook having a longer term vision than investors. If that's the case then they're seeking out the wrong people. From everything I've ever seen, the right kind of investors are much more likely to see the product through to fruition. Facebook has many more people to answer too and the way Zuckerberg has been throwing away money I expect people are going to start demanding some accountability. And when push comes to shove, Oculus VR is a small aspect of Facebook's business. Had they gone with individual investors there would be more ownership in the enterprise.

It's hard to figure out what Facebook is trying to do. Every one of their other acquisitions has revolved around their core business. The desire to diversify is more evident at Google than it is here. So the acquisition of Oculus VR seems to be borne out of some desire to somehow integrate it with existing platforms. I wonder if this isn't some kind of response to Google Glass. Any way I slice it, I think Facebook is looking to expand their own platform. This is not to Oculus VR's advantage.

Comment: Software development model. (Score 2) 276

by MaWeiTao (#46428617) Attached to: Should Newsweek Have Outed Satoshi Nakamoto's Personal Details?

News reporting, whatever little there is left with all the talking head crap, has adopted the software development model. Post a story in "beta" so that you can beat everyone else to the punch; although, sometimes the errors are so blatant it's probably more akin to an alpha release. By the time the appropriate fixes come along the damage is done and everyone has moved on.

There's no accountability whatsoever. But what do you expect in a culture driven by celebrity and craving the next sensationalistic fix like a drug addict?

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