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Comment: LOL It's either God's word or it isn't. Which... (Score 1) 667

by PotatoHead (#46561639) Attached to: Creationists Demand Equal Airtime With 'Cosmos' it?

Let's just cut to the chase. Thomas Paine in "Age Of Reason", which you can read online sorted this all out very nicely: the entire body of our religious works is hearsay.

New Testament, old, whatever. We've got little more than, "somebody says god says...", which isn't jack shit in a court of law, where the big kids actually make the rules.

No wonder it's embarrassing! Really, the most common ugly social issue arguments boil down to "somebody says god says...." and that somebody can be from the Bible, or Pastor Corn Hole Bob, who has it on good authority, or some other garbage.

All of it carries exactly the authority you grant it, and for all of us, it's entirely optional too, meaning none of us really have to care what "somebody says God says."

It's like trying to split the baby. Dig too deep into the problem and it gets really messy. Better to just move on and treat other people the same way you would like to be treated.

Racism, bigotry and theocracy are always wrong. Doesn't matter who says God says whatever. It's just wrong.

There, now we all can get along, New Testament or old, whatever.

And yes, God told me. Really.

Comment: So DON'T WATCH THE GAMES (Score 1) 578

by PotatoHead (#46193013) Attached to: US Cord Cutters Getting Snubbed From NBC's Olympic Coverage Online

Seriously. You can get some coverage OTA. No worries. If that's not compelling, it's not our job to pay NBC more. It's theirs to make the best of the material they signed a deal on.

Seems to me, writing an exclusive means they can deliver. What they are doing is trying to make the most money, not actually delivering the games.

And that's fair, but not my or your problem. And it's up to them to present value to the Olympics. If we don't watch, the games get less relevant, and at the end of the day, NBC didn't deliver.

Besides, the Russian stand on homophobia really doesn't add a lot of value there either. Tons of people aren't going to pay up, but they would watch and support athletes who worked hard to participate.

I'll gladly watch the games and view the ADS they deliver OTA. If they can't do that, they don't have me as a product to sell and I recommend you do the same.

Comment: I've been in this role for a little while now and (Score 1) 249

by PotatoHead (#45857493) Attached to: Do Non-Technical Managers Add Value?

...I am technical by nature have been transitioning to this kind of role because I'm at a place in life where it makes sense to do that. My experiences have been fairly good, and I've a couple of basic observations below:

For the last 5 years, I've moved into pre-sales and from there have been project management for extended periods of time. The interesting thing I found is by NOT getting as technical as the developers / implementers are, my ability to keep them out of trouble, ask the right questions, clear barriers have all been significantly improved. One very significant element of that is securing help or resources for them when needed.

They won't always ask and they won't always know because of how close to whatever it is they are. Being able to see this condition and deal with it early is worth gold and they are often very appreciative. As an analogy, you are driving somewhere and refuse to get directions, running the risk of being late. You think, just another coupla minutes and I'll recognize something... while your co-pilot doesn't experience this and brings up the phone nav system to bail you out, or they call in to get precise directions...

They don't have the "in the bubble" mindset the driver does, and this frees them to consider things on a macro level. All of that results in more efficient project work and a generally happier team.

Another comment above mentioned the type who can bring different skill sets together to get something done. That has high value as well and I have worked on teams where we had that person. Amazing really. I concur.

When it comes down to silly metrics, non-value added kinds of management things, sometimes those need attention and the good managers will deal with those in creative ways while their team gets it done for real. The poor ones will highlight those things cover your ass style.

And that brings me to my last general comment. Those that own the project and back their team take heat and personal risk. They are very highly valued and they contribute with the common goal of everybody seeing success on the effort. Where they insulate themselves from all of that, again cover your ass style, the team remains at risk, while the manager really doesn't, and that mess generally leads to a low value, high resentment, high friction environment nobody wants.

Comment: I have done this successfully. (Score 1) 497

The trick?

Make sure each call you are the Hannibal Lecter of prospects. Just get psycho with them, and work your hardest to place the most morbid, fear inducing, ugly, horrible impressions in their mind you can. Mix it up with near constant pleas to their humanity as you get them to empathize with the poor souls they prey on each day. From time to time, earnest pleas to get them to quit that job while you hold the line for them as they walk out is a nice, often finishing touch.

Do this a few times and mean it and don't break any laws and they will remove you from the dialer of their own free will.

My last call ended with "Oh Fuck! It's you." and that was the last I ever heard from those clowns.

Comment: They are a bit smarter this time too (Score 1) 201

by PotatoHead (#45484107) Attached to: Microsoft Customers Hit With New Wave of Fake Tech Support Calls

I got several calls from the last wave.

I worked them hard, even getting a few of them to admit they are just running a script for easy cash.

This wave is different. My usual "hey, let's fuck with them on the phone" techniques have been accounted for. They hang up much quicker and do not reveal much of anything. Most importantly, they will not entertain basic human conversation easily. It's either advancing the script, or they play dumb hoping you are too and things can proceed anyway, or they are gone.

I damn near got one of them to quit on the spot last wave. Had him on the ropes feeling very shitty about the whole thing. One of these days, I'll get one to go, right then, just leave the phone hanging and walk out.


Comment: Re:Good Engineering Tesla (Score 1) 526

by PotatoHead (#45388717) Attached to: Man In Tesla Model S Fire Explains What Happened

My thoughts too. Seems a reasonable outcome considering a nice hunk of metal came into serious contact with his car.

I like the low battery, maybe do some serious analysis on the armor plate and beef it all up. Or, like you say, move the whole works. Something. The FEA structural software can do amazing things these days. This problem can be engineered away.

Nice outcome for the driver. He got informed and could proceed to take appropriate action.

Gas cars just catch fire and escalate quickly for comparison. I'll bet he does get another one.

Comment: Re:huh? (Score 4, Interesting) 526

by PotatoHead (#45388669) Attached to: Man In Tesla Model S Fire Explains What Happened

Yes. Shit on the road.

All kinds of stuff happens and sometimes you don't have time or options to deal with it. So, it's a drive over and hope. Sucks, but there isn't too much we can do about the problem.

Here's a nice one:

It's a torrential rain kind of night. About 11:00 PM, on a rural highway, two lane, cars regularly passing in opposing lane. My brother in law was driving an old 70's Toyota Corolla. The engine in that thing was great, but the body was crapping out here and there. This was the mid 90's. Toyota has since beefed things up some, but their 70's era cars were awful thin in places. The Corolla was thin in the trunk.

This brother in law saw a few rust patches, but didn't think too much of it having driven some Chevy thing or other before. No worries. Well, he had a nice, big, heavy floor jack in the back of that Corolla because he lost the stock one. Besides, the floor jack could lift one end of the car in a pinch, which made tire rotation quicker. That, and a 4-way lug wrench, various cans of oil, etc... were all in this razor thin, rusted out trunk, just waiting to exit the car, which they did.

When it happened, he was moving about 60, nobody in front, headed to meet the rest of the family. Two or three vehicles were behind him, following close as people in my neck of the woods will often do. Out comes that jack. It probably weighed 25 pounds. He heard the clunk, and it actually wedged in a way that moved the rear of the car some, he saw sparks and then one of the lights behind him went out.

Now he's a dick, and just floored it. All he knows is that way too close tailgater got up close and very personal with that floor jack, and had to pull off the road. Some other cars in the other lane darted about and a few had pulled over that he could see in the rear mirror, while speeding away as quickly as he could.

When he arrived to tell the story, we opened the trunk, and he basically didn't have one anymore. All the stuff was gone, and the metal bits were bent this way and that along the edges. We think the trunk floor just dropped out and onto the road. The news featured the event and he worried about it for years. That jack took the first car right out! Bashed the drivers side light out, pierced the radiator, and ruined the drivers side tire before bouncing into traffic going the other direction where other fun 'n games proceeded to occur where it bounced into another one doing enough damage to the muffler and side panel to be ugly, and ended up pinned under a third where it ground to a stop.

Shit happens.

Probably that thing was not secured and just ended up on the road. So this guy is driving along, somebody changes lanes or something and there it is! He probably didn't have options. If he did, he would have not driven over it, unless it just dropped in such a way that left him no time.

Comment: Re:Which company bought this 'new' rule? (Score 1) 1143

by PotatoHead (#45388495) Attached to: EPA Makes Most Wood Stoves Illegal

Yeah me too. We had one of those, and we had the stove type for cooking, which we sometimes did. LOVE early morning heat. Just gets you up and MOVING. Haven't felt that in years and I'm old now as are you. We both could use it.

It was not as cold where I lived, but I did walk to and from the bus stop and it was about a half mile. 5 days a week with a few other kids who all centered on the same route, just because company on that kind of thing is just nice. And there is some basic safety in numbers. You learn that out there...

Good posts. I struggle with some of the energy decisions too. I like things that can be regional and local, like solar. I'm not such a fan of fossil fuels for heating.

I think there are many good options coming on line. I think wood will continue to be one of them.

Comment: Nobody took anything (Score 1) 232

by PotatoHead (#43825801) Attached to: How the Smartphone Killed the Three-day Weekend

The solution to checking work on weekends is to focus on your weekend.

Sure, there is almost always something. Where a group or person is fully utilized, there always is.

"No problem, I can get on that first thing Tuesday AM, have a great holiday weekend --I'm going camping, yeah no service up there, see you Tuesday..."

Comment: How about some life style type of app? (Score 1) 356

by PotatoHead (#42936395) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Does the FOSS Community Currently Need?

Reading through this, I just had a goofy idea. Might be fun. Wants, needs, risks and weightings.

Have people input their income and expenses. The product of that is some nice presentation of where their money currently goes.

Add value by doing the math, and if the inputs do not come within a few percent of income, prompt them for more spending.

For each spend, give it some data fields that detail the kind of spending, when, why, how and variances. Break it down so they get a screen with some great picks that tell the system what they are spending and might spend in rough ways.


Type of spend
Electric Bill, recurring, 15th of every month. Time base = quarter (as opposed to weekday, week, day, year, month, etc...) Summer = $100, Fall = $150, Winter = $200, Spring = $75

Smokes, recurring, every other day (give options here, day of month, pattern, weekly, annually, quarterly), $5

Oil Change, recurring, Quarterly, $35.

Savings, recurring, bi-weekly, $200.

You get the idea.

The more they input, the more robust the data is, and show them that as often as you can, or ideally as they are inputting so you are flexing that database and using spiffy features too.

Now they know what they are spending. Ask them about risks based on the input and some stuff you've thought up.

Car repair? Theft? Get sick? Have them input those.


New car, $10K. Given that want, and the spending, show them options to save vs finance. As they add more wants, highlight where they overshoot their means and how the risks might screw them.

Then they can select weightings of various kinds...

Lots of fun there, uses database, might actually get used too.

Comment: My method is labor intensive, but it works well (Score 1) 281

by PotatoHead (#42757757) Attached to: FTC Gets 744 New Ideas On How To Hang Up On Robocallers

In a nut shell, I make them regret they even considered calling me. Generally speaking, I get them to run from the cube sobbing, never to return to work again. Ideally, they quit their job right then and there. Been close to that, and I've deffo scored the sobbing and a coupla "unscheduled breaks" from the cube. One of these days, I will get one to quit right then and there.

Throughout that mess, I remind them about that recording for quality and I ask them whether or not they really want to face the ribbing they will get when the call gets checked. "Jesus, look at what happened to Ron last Tuesday! Holy fuck! What a lamer!" Or whatever...

There are a few rules to this.

1. You have to keep the call time high. It takes some time to break through their script and understand them well enough to impact them personally.

2. Every single word is double edged torture, laced to the max with empathetic expressions of wonder and disgust over how they can even consider doing that work, while at the same time establishing a rapport on some common ground basis they can identify with. This really gets to them.

3. Use profanity very lightly, if at all, and always use it in context that can be taken to be colorful, passionate expression, not anything they can take personally. Demean the work, the company, everything, but make sure it's one citizen to another trapped in a hopeless machine kind of way.

4. Use their name frequently, and if you suspect it's fake, work 'em for the real deal, then continue.

I've stopped most of them on the first call. Once or twice I've come up on the dialer within a short time frame. Typical responses are, "Oh fuck, it's you!" to which I start in as if nothing ever happened, happy to be speaking with them again, and where did we leave off?

The best is when they lose it big! Usually, it's some rant, or really sorry story, involving crying, yelling, frustration, you name it. And I listen intently, looking for just the right response to send them over the edge hard.

Call me, you might lose one of ur doodz.

Fuck, if I know the answer to this mess, but I do know how to raise the cost and I've got some great audio archived.... Hey Brandon from Vonage! Yeah, it's me. You know who I am, and are you still working there after our last two calls? Jesus dude, I told you how to get hold of me. Quit that shit and I'll do my best to hook you up. Just let me know.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold