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Comment: They should also do an infamy list (Score 1) 276

by PPalmgren (#47408895) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers

I don't know names, but just as an example:

The guy who came up with and implemented the Blizzard always-on DRM for Starcraft II and Diablo
The lead designer for Sim City (2013)
The man behind Active Desktop for Windows 98
The innovator behind the wondrous idea of multi-page web ranking articles
The team behind stuxnet (debatable, pretty snazzy piece of work, could use Zeus or some other example)
Key PRISM database team

Comment: Re:Car Insurance Companies Too! (Score 1) 347

by PPalmgren (#47408703) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

I always found the commercial for that ad very fitting. She's in a dark shady street corner and its parodying a black market dealer. I wonder if the advertiser had a sense of humor.

That said, you should read TFS. "We've already seen the stories on using black boxes to monitor drivers" isn't an exact reference, but its the kind of behaviour they're referring to.

Comment: Re:Finance (Score 3, Informative) 158

You're completely off the mark and are thinking of sales and contracts, not finance. Finance from a company that sells a product or offers a service usually has a few key parts: Billing, Accounts Receivables, Collections, Accounts Payables, Accounting, Treasury, and Payroll ( which is sometimes tied to HR) are the big ones with others in tow.

Ever wonder how your 401k and other deductions get credited every week and all those corresponding companies, including your taxes, get paid to various entities? Payroll and HR does that. Ever wonder who figured out those line items on your bills? Billing does that. Ever wonder how a company funds all of their rent/electricity/payroll/operations on time without sitting on a massive wad of wasted cash but not overdrafting? Treasury does that, AP pays it. Ever wonder how they keep track of all that shit and make sure the right stuff is getting done, nothing more or nothing less? Accounting does that. There's a lot of background stuff that has to get done to keep all this working in a big company.

In my case, I started as what would usually be considered AP, but we had to figure out our own bills based on operational data and pay them with the backup for said bills. Lots of data sources, lots of reporting requirements, lots of special nuances in reporting, so hard to automate but useful to understand how to work with data. Now I'm doing something similar, but with payroll data instead of operations data.

Comment: Finance (Score 5, Insightful) 158

Not that is a major career switch because I only had two years in IT, but I have been working in Finance for 7 years now after going to school, but not finishing, for electrical engineering.

I actually landed the finance job by selling my technical aptitude. You'd be amazed at the kind of elementary mistakes people make in other fields just because they don't know how to properly operate a computer, and how they can get hung up on the most menial tasks because they are scared of the system in front of them. It took a while to learn the finance side of things, but once I got rolling, I was able to double or triple the productivity of others with lower error rates. Add on to this that someone from IT understands enough to automate menial tasks, and you have a recipe for efficiency and process improvement. A lot of finance is simply getting the data into custom forms or formats for transmittal to the next or from the previous step, with 1 or 2 points where human intervention or review is required. The career change has worked out well for me.

It also helps to be able to liason between departments. I noticed that in meetings between IT and Finance managers, sometimes there's a 'language barrier.' You get rewarded nicely to solve these miscommunication issues before they show up at the end of a development project.

Comment: Got it with a new GFX card for free (Score 4, Informative) 123

by PPalmgren (#47104275) Attached to: <em>Watch Dogs</em> Released, DRM Troubles

I'll straighten out the details on this clickbait.

First, while uPlay is indeed a complete flaming piece of shit, it doesn't prevent you from playing the game once installed. When you launch it and press 'play', even if it wont sync with ubisoft's servers, it will still launch. It takes a good while (couple of minutes) for uplay and the sync to time out, but it works.

An actual gripe on uplay: what kind of game publisher doesn't institute predownloads for people who've already bought the game? It didn't show up in my games list until today so I couldn't even get the DL started. Their servers being crippled is partly due to not distributing downloads for pre-purchasers properly, forgivable 5 years ago but not in today's distribution systems.

Console port gripe: mouse acceleration is on by default and you must turn it off by actually going in and editing the xml settings file. If that doesn't scream lazy, I don't know what does. The menus and mouse control aren't bad overall, but that mouse acceleration makes the gameplay infuriating, felt like I had a joystick deadzone on my mouse. After googling and changing this setting, the game felt much better.

Overall though, I'm happy with the game, though I've not gotten far into it. I wouldn't have bought it straight up, partly due to bitterness about destroying the Thief franchise and partly due to their shitty company policies, but I've enjoyed it as a bundle purchase. Ubisoft is a frustrating company. Their policies and DRM money-grubbing aspects make them almost as unlikeable as EA, but they make the type of games I tend to enjoy. I prefer to stay away on principle but its hard.

Comment: Re:Unless it doesn't. (Score 1) 310

I had this problem growing up, it destroyed my interest in school and motivation to learn. In 5th, 6th, and 7th grade I learned algebra 3 years in a row. I even remember getting ahead of my class in elementary school in math, then having my progress 'reset' by the teachers every year as I advanced a grade.

A lack of individualized learning plans and forcing everyone into the same progress speed, caused by the grade-age system and lack of resources, destroys the enjoyment of school for the gifted. The ironic thing about this teacher's union gripe is that tech appears to be the best way to implement individualized learning. Hopefully someone figures out a good method to do so soon.

Comment: Re:I think you are misinterpreting the phrase (Score 1) 765

by PPalmgren (#46982141) Attached to: A Look at Smart Gun Technology

I'd like to add that the GP's thought process is typical with alpha and beta males. The thought that since guns are unicorns in his country, he could fight off an assailant or get help within a reasonable time frame given a hostile situation without a gun. Maybe its the police presence that brought his thought process, but I find more than likely its the one I mentioned.

As a confident male myself, I have issue with that line of thought. Its not about me, its about my family or people who can't so readily defend themselves. In a case of home invasion, rape, and kidnapping, I find resorting to physical strength and skill to be more barbaric than the barbarism some people like to call the right to bear arms. Guns are a great equalizer, allowing a 125lb mom of three to stand equal to a 250 pound rapist or pedo who feels entitled to take what he wants.

Comment: Re:What an idea (Score 1) 348

by PPalmgren (#46979163) Attached to: China May Build an Undersea Train To America

That chart is incredibly wrong. The physics behind it all will always make waterborne shipping more energy efficient. Cost per mile is a poor metric because it can be easily manipulated by choosing basis areas with saturated/barren markets. In this case, the computations are done by the DoT and wouldn't include international shipping numbers, by far the most efficient, but would only include barge cargo which is the only way to ship domestically. To frame the comparison, that blog link compares domestic transport links like Chicago to New Orleans via barge, or NJ to Chicago via rail. In practice this is less than 10% of the transit, 90% is shipping it overseas.

It is important to note that while the ships listed are more energy efficient than rails, they are also the least efficient of all cargo transport ships. Barges are tiny and barely move anything in proportion to their dead weight. There are ships over 100 times the size with economies of scale to match.

Comment: Re:This has little to do with copyright law (Score 3, Insightful) 252

by PPalmgren (#46948375) Attached to: $200 For a Bound Textbook That You Can't Keep?

This is technically incorrect. Put aside that its a bad investment for a minute and think about this: While I'm not a car person and couldnt give two shits about what I drive, to some its an amenity they enjoy, like a big screen TV or a computer. To use an analogy people here would understand, these people are the kind of people that get a new computer every 2 years because they have to have the latest and greatest, and to them, those of us in old clunkers are like the geezers who have a 10 year old comp that's 'good enough.'

The cost of ownership between lease and own for someone who gets a new car every 3 years is relatively break-even assuming reasonable mileage, mainly due to rapid depreciation and the interest cost associated with the car loan. The big difference is that the owning cycle has more upfront costs to get ahead of the equity chase. That seems counterintuitive, but let me explain. Say you purchase a $30,000 car and put the same down as you would have on the lease, lets say $4,000. In 3 years that car is worth around $18,000, so you have to pay at least $8,000 in 3 years just to break even to buy a new car at full price, which comes out to $230/mo with interest included. Everything over that payment is technically a down payment on a new car in 3 years. On a 5 year loan, the monthly payment would be between $500-$600/mo. The lease for the same car is going to be around $300/mo. Technically you pay a little more for the lease, ~$50-$70/mo, but as you can see the upfront cost is lower. This means you can predictably drive a nicer car continuously for less money on your monthly budget at the cost of spending a little more on the tail end of the 10 year average.

In short, yes a lease is a little more costly but the difference is much smaller than 'far more' and is useful for someone who treats a car experience as an enjoyment and not a mode of transportation/investment. Car dealerships make relatively little on leases and mainly use them to secure a used car base, they make more in financing interest on new cars and sales of used cars. The salesmen are typically reluctant to focus on offering leases for this reason.

As a note, I absolutely abhor wasting money on cars and will prob drive my paid off car until it falls apart. Just playing the devil's advocate. I have worked with what I like to term 'car people' and they have a completely different mindset when it comes to cars than I do. I think its a giant waste of money, but they think the same way of all my tech stuff. To each their own.

Comment: Re:Awful (Score 1) 293

by PPalmgren (#46932427) Attached to: The Upcoming Windows 8.1 Apocalypse

I just set up two laptops for family, both shipped with the original Windows 8 RTM. Fortunately this was my third go-around so I was prepared and knew what to expect.

Windows 8, when originally shipped, had a bug in the windows updater. It would not display the status of your update downloads or update installs. They also designed the updater to be a background task and not something the user actively does anymore, with the stupid design decision to artificially limit bandwith for updates to a trickle regardless of internet connection or network activity.

The result of this failure is that it takes around two hours to just download the updates for a fresh install, all without any visible indicator that the updates are going. The updater isn't frozen, its just the progress indicator is ass. It takes about ~3 hours to get a fresh machine updated and ready for windows 8.1, which takes another hour or two. I suggest using the desktop control panel (type 'contr' on the start screen to get to it) and disabling any kind of auto hibernate for this period.

Comment: Re:This isn't why they had a security breach (Score 1) 210

by PPalmgren (#46881997) Attached to: Target Moves To Chip and Pin Cards To Boost Security

To get you to sign up for it, they're kind of deceptive. You can press 'skip' or 'no thanks' to verified by visa signup. Of course now that you're signed up your boned, and its probably a good idea to do it, but not having it isn't going to remove the ability for you to report and void fraudulent charges.

If this is timesharing, give me my share right now.