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Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 432

Citation? I work in the international terminals industry, going on ten years, for the 4th largest terminal operator in the world. A couple years ago I was reporting volume to various entities, so I saw what went where on a daily basis at our terminals, one in every major port in the US.

I think you're misunderstanding me. Very few containers are unpacked on-dock, these are called on-dock CFS facilities. This is most common with USAID bulk shipped in containers (grain shipped out of Houston, for example) and a few other fringe uses.

What I was referring to is how the containers get to/from the shipping terminal to the various companies' distribution facilities, which is predominantly by truck, not by rail. Almost all major distribution facilities are located near major coastal ports and are trucked to those locations from the shipping terminal. At these facilities, the intermodal containers are stripped and sent back to the terminals for re-use, typically empty. Its generally not economical to rail containers anywhere within 75 miles of the current location. Rail is used when it can be, but its volume is low compared to cargo that leaves through the truck gates.

Also, rail links between coastal cities aren't as big of corridors as you'd expect. A ship that calls Los Angeles will also stop in Oakland and Tacoma - it is always cheaper to transport by water than by rail or truck. Even cross-country shipments to coastal locations are rare - you don't ship from China to New Jersey by dropping it off in Los Angeles and railing it cross-country, you go through the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal and dock directly. Only time-sensitive cargo (a very small portion of overall cargo) would do this, and usually by long haul truck.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 432

Most go to coastal distribution centers and are repackaged into domestic trucks, primarily because international shipping containers are heavy due to top-lifting while domestic containers can be made much lighter and longer with advertising, and secondarily because products are shipped in bulk not necessarily meant for one location. This is why you rarely see trucks with international shipping company branding at stores other than Home Depot.

Less than 15% of the cargo that arrives at ports ends up on rails.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 432

The longshoreman comment is hysterical. There are tens of thousands of them in the LA/Long Beach area alone. Also, European ports are highly automated, American ports are not automated at all because union strength won't allow it.

Even still, this is a marginal cost on international shipping. The real reason ships are used is economies of scale and cost of production. You can spend $100m on a ship that provides 5x the fuel economy and 5x the capacity of rail that ships anywhere in the world. Ocean-centric shipping isn't going away anytime soon.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 484

Not that I like it either, but playing the devil's advocate, this would most likely be related to system updates and driver updates. If they really intended to turn drivers into a "just works" background windows update process that you don't have to worry about anymore, you would most certainly need to know what components are actually in the computer. Hence, diagnostic data. Also, it would be important to know what updates are currently installed.

Comment Re:Where's "Scroll Lock"? (Score 1) 687

What the hell, no home/end/pgup/pgdn? That sounds like quite the horror story. I use them all day every day. What do you do on webpages, sit there and hold the mouse? Slow scroll with the arrow keys? ewwwwww

Working in spreadsheets, pgup/pgdn and home/end are insanely useful. ctrl+pg cycles through tabs. End takes you to the end of the current area, home to the top.

Comment Re:It's shift for some people (Score 1) 687

Both my current manager and previous manager do this. You can pry the capslock key from their cold dead hands.

On another note, I do use it quite extensively. I fill out tax forms whatnot all the time, capslock block print is easier to parse when reviewing for spelling errors. It also prevents over/under capitalization, which shouldn't be the main focus when reviewing those kinds of documents.

Comment Re:Solutions? (Score 1) 210

The problem is the lack of social responsibility/potty profit seeking in tourist cities and European cities. I was appalled by the lack of public restrooms in Europe when I visited, and its similar in some US tourism cities. Where I live, which is a decent 1m+pop city, every single store has a restroom, and you are allowed to use it, for free. Even secure locations like office towers always have accessible restrooms on the first floor to the public, where they typically have a shop/restaurant floor. A lot of people, when they go into a store to pee, buy something. Staff clean the restrooms as part of their jobs, and you learn which ones are well kept and which ones aren't and go to those stores more often. For example, when I'm driving to the beach, Chick-fil-a is the go-to food stop because their restrooms are always clean.

When I went to Helsinki and Estonia, only ONE store downtown (Stockmans) had a public restroom and it had a 15 minute wait all day every day. No surprise, this store had a buttload of business too. Everywhere else there's these god-awful porta potties that want to charge you 3$ a use. Its miserable. You either walk around dehydrated all the time or plan your day around bathroom breaks.

Comment Re:Spreadsheets (Score 1) 144

The big one is data transformation. Most companies don't have some kind of seamless integration from department to department and system to system. Each department has some sort of input, and most output multiple subsets of that data to different places/departments/people in different formats like as reports, as data loads into other systems, or a smaller data set for further work. Excel allows non-IT folk the ability to handle this work without having to ask a techie every time they want to make a change, which can be frequent. The issue gets even worse when in-house IT departments manage costs via inter-company transactions (cost quotes) for their efforts. No one's going to pay six figures for a rigid implementation that requires IT involvement and revision costs when they can do it in 5 minutes a week in excel. That's not an exaggeration either, its my bread and butter and a real world example to a real scenario.

Comment Psh, I have to work with labor unions (Score 1) 619

I regularly get green bar typewriter-style reports for details I need on a quarterly basis. I also must send details on printed reports that they check off manually, printed a file I could email them of course.

Five years ago, I had supply documentation for an audit where the union auditors didn't have computers. We had to print out 16,000 legal-sized pages of documentation and mail it to them.

Comment It wouldnt be Elon, it'd be the cargo owner (Score 1) 220

Most commercial and large-scale shipping endeavors (hell, even UPS) require the sender to insure their package if they want coverage in case of loss. This is the same with commercial container ships, and I suspect the same with airline freight.

Comment Re:industrialized farming (Score 1) 131

Excellent question.

I saw Dr. Grandin on one of the NatGeo shows. What a great role model for people struggling with autism, as well as women interested in STEM. Well, anyone interested in STEM really. This is a much better interview choice than that crap earlier this week.

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