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Comment: Re: Make me an offer (Score 4, Interesting) 215

by Martin Blank (#49598395) Attached to: Want 30 Job Offers a Month? It's Not As Great As You Think

I had one a couple of years ago for which I expressed interest as I wanted to move to the area anyway. The guy wanted all kinds of info that was already on my resume, but also wanted my SSN, and when I refused to give him that, he wanted the last four digits. I don't know if it was an attempt at identity theft or he was just stupid, but that ended things right there.

Another one went but better at the outset but insisted that the interview had to be done over a video link. I kind of figured, OK, fine, whatever, but when I asked about Skype, he said I had to go to some particular office that was about 40 miles away and use their setup. I couldn't download software and use my camera, because it absolutely had to be done at one of the offices they contracted with, and I was to wear a suit and tie. That really broke it--there was really no need to do that when so many other options for web conferencing were available.

A friend did recruiting for a while. He's transitioned to a technical role now because he can't compete with the resume mills. I don't know what it will take to get past them and get some decent recruiters back into the fray, but it can't come soon enough.

Comment: Re:What's the point ? (Score 4, Informative) 76

by Martin Blank (#49595447) Attached to: Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Launches Its First Rocket

The additional engines allow for engine-out orbital capability, as has already happened on CRS-1, allowing the primary payload to reach orbit (the secondary payload failed, however). The failures of the N1 (which actually had 30 engines, not 27) weren't so much due to the number of engines as to the general complexity of operating a launch vehicle of that size. Each of the four failures varied in cause, and in only one case was the issue tied to an engine. Other failures were a pogo-induced line break (which might have been survivable had the computer not cut the engines), an uncontrolled roll due to eddies in a fuel tank, and a hydraulic shock wave from a planned shutdown of six of the engines bursting the fuel lines.

Comment: Re:Sure would be nice (Score 2) 172

I correct the McDonalds case more often than I should have to. One of the things that I try to do is add context to discussions. Most recently, this has centered on attacks on Obama and Democrats in general, but I did the same thing when Bush was in office. I especially focus on Supreme Court decisions (and sometimes just oral arguments, which seem to be the recent topic with the same-sex marriage arguments just the other day) which sometimes seem to fly in the face of common sense but which, when read, show that they generally have come to a thoughtful decision, even if I disagree with it. (One exception is the eminent domain case from a few years back--that was just badly flawed from start to finish, as even most seasoned observers noted. If anything gets a constitutional amendment next, I expect it will be that one after a few particularly egregious examples. But I digress.)

Going somewhat non-partisan, those who attack a president for "taking a vacation" really don't understand what it means to be president. That's four years per term of never once having a day off. They have daily briefings, conduct necessary phone calls, make decisions small and large, and most of the other things they do on a daily basis from the White House. The only difference is that they're in an area that's largely off-limits to the press, and they get a few hours to do what they want to do at a leisurely pace, whether it's Obama golfing or Bush ranching or whatever.

Comment: Re:2kW isn't enough power for a home (Score 1) 503

by Martin Blank (#49594821) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

It generally costs more over time, but that's not the same as being less affordable. Affordable is when something can fit into a budget, and leasing provides that option. You compare it to renting, but that only undermines your argument. Most people can afford to rent a home; fewer can afford to buy a home, and far fewer still can afford to do so in cash.

Especially if Tesla wants to make this a game-changer the world over, it will be necessary to have that as an option. A ten-year warranty (with optional ten-year extension) means whatever replacements will be necessary are already being factored into the cost.

Comment: Re:The announcement we expected (Score 2) 503

by Martin Blank (#49593075) Attached to: Tesla Announces Home Battery System

They have a different product for utilities that will have longer service life and be available in much larger blocks of 100kWh that can be tied together. They wouldn't be used to replace pumped-storage or the like, but to help smooth out power. One of the constant complaints of those against wind and solar (which can include the power companies themselves) is that the varying input from short-term fluctuations is too hard to handle. With banks of batteries like this, it alleviates much of that problem.

Comment: Re:Sure would be nice (Score 5, Insightful) 172

by Martin Blank (#49590455) Attached to: FBI Slammed On Capitol Hill For "Stupid" Ideas About Encryption

I despise people of any political persuasion making fun of any other side. I have Republican friends who have quoted the same line, and I call them on it whenever they do. I also have Democratic friends who refer to the other side by various names such as "Republitards" and I call them on it as well.

We cannot have any kind of discussion as long as we're hurling insults at each other. We can disagree--even vehemently--but the moment we start telling the other side that they suck is the point where we start closing off discussion based on basic human emotional response.

Comment: Re:Technology allows (Score 1) 624

by Martin Blank (#49585435) Attached to: Disney Replaces Longtime IT Staff With H-1B Workers

The draw of trailer homes is that they're cheap. You can get a fairly nice one for a few tens of thousands. The downside, of course, is that they're not built to be permanent: any significant storm can do enough damage to make them unlivable. When homes are 3D-printed, that will change as the homes become stable locations that can handle decades of weather, likely with fewer construction defects.

We've had those kinds of areas before when the tract homes went up after WW2. I grew up in an area where about 90% of the homes had exactly the same layout, albeit mirrored from one house to the next to give a semblance of appearance of individuality. The remaining ones differed in being corner homes or a rare two-story house, and I think the extra stories were added later. This would be no different, except that they can probably be built more cheaply, bringing down the cost of home ownership (or maybe just raising the profits of homebuilders).

Comment: Re:Technology allows (Score 1) 624

by Martin Blank (#49585387) Attached to: Disney Replaces Longtime IT Staff With H-1B Workers

The combination of shrinking workforce and extreme automation is going to be a hard one to get past. I suspect that economics are going to have to be completely rethought. Right off the top, simple questions arise, like how does one continue to grow a business when the potential marketplace is stagnant or even shrinking? When there's relatively solid population growth, there exist opportunities for businesses to grow without taking too much business away from other companies. But when your potential market is shrinking at half a percent per year, the nature of competition changes. Businesses are likely to shut down or go bankrupt more quickly, which reduces the employment level.

I imagine that interim measures like mandatory, strictly-enforced hours caps will happen to try to prop up the job market, since one person doing 60 hours of work in a week can be roughly done by two people at 30 hours each, but those measures will only work for so long. I don't know if we're headed for a dystopia with even greater gaps between the haves and have-nots, or if our future is a more leisurely one where we're able to engage in lifestyles rarely considered by people since the dawn of civilization. I'd like to think that technology will advance to the point that we'll be able to experience the sensations associated with being rich more easily and maybe the draw to collect money to spend on things will fade.

More likely is that it will be something that I cannot currently conceive. But since my life expectancy takes me out to somewhere around 2060, I expect I'll have a chance to see where things will go.

Comment: Re:And still we don't learn (Score 1) 89

by Martin Blank (#49585093) Attached to: New Zero Day Disclosed In WordPress Core Engine

WordPress is trivially easy to use. That's it's draw. Just figuring how to edit a menu in Joomla took significant effort, and I still have to refer back to my notes to figure out how to do it if it's been a few weeks and I need to create something from scratch. It's significant overkill for someone who just wants to set something up to get their words out to the world.

There are other issues that can be a headache as well. A lot of people rely on auto-installers to get things in place, but Joomla's web install functionality has been disabled since the upgrade to 3.4 (or at least it still was the last time I tried to use it a couple of weeks ago). It's trivial for me to get around that, though I admit that I would be happier just clicking the install button instead of going through the extra steps, some of which aren't options for people on servers with small max upload sizes.

Maybe these wouldn't be issues with Drupal, but at this point, I'd rather not go through the potential headache of finding out when the site is working fine under Joomla. But on the main point, people will go with ease over security almost every time, and that means WordPress wins.

Comment: Re:And still we don't learn (Score 1) 89

by Martin Blank (#49568977) Attached to: New Zero Day Disclosed In WordPress Core Engine

This is all true, but people are more likely to go with what's available (generally meaning pre-made themes) or what developers work on most often (meaning the major platforms). Finding hosting that offers alternatives to PHP may also not be the easiest thing, especially if you don't know about PHP's history.

None of this is insurmountable with knowledge and/or research, but it's a larger hill than that of PHP, so the tendency will be for people to go the easier route.

Comment: Re:And still we don't learn (Score 1) 89

by Martin Blank (#49568951) Attached to: New Zero Day Disclosed In WordPress Core Engine

I tinkered with Drupal, but the philosophy behind Joomla to abstract as much of the code as possible was appealing, and this was right after the SQL injection vulnerability discovered in October, so my trust of their code was lacking. Maybe Drupal would be better than Joomla on a daily basis, but at the time, it just had too much going against it.

Comment: Re:And still we don't learn (Score 2) 89

by Martin Blank (#49566867) Attached to: New Zero Day Disclosed In WordPress Core Engine

People go to the shiny sites. If they see older-looking sites, they're less likely to stick around, particularly if it doesn't have the nice features that the newer sites have.

For all the problems that PHP has, I don't see many nearly as many sites going up built on other platforms, in large part because they're playing catch-up and are still largely years behind. .NET is probably the closest, but when you look at the number of free or even inexpensive sites running Windows, it pales in comparison to the PHP-based sites.

Add to this that WordPress is by far the easiest of the major CMS platforms to manage, and it gets even worse. I manage a couple of WordPress sites and a Joomla site. WordPress largely Just Works(TM). Joomla works for basics, but every time I want to get beyond adding a menu item, it becomes a whole new learning process.

"A child is a person who can't understand why someone would give away a perfectly good kitten." -- Doug Larson