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Comment: Re:Who'll spit on my burger?! (Score 1) 870

by Zenin (#46581879) Attached to: Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

I guess it depends.

Fresh & Easy stores are entirely self checkout, with fantastic success across the board.

The key difference seems to be that the machines that F&E use don't suck ass. Get a bar code anywhere vaguely near them and poof, *beep* you've got it. It doesn't take some special practiced skill like the old, crappy bar code readers that many stores still employ. Anyone can wave items past the table and checkout at far faster speeds then traditional checkout personal ever could. And it shows: Despite a steady clip of customers, there's practically never any checkout line whatsoever.

It's in sharp contrast to the self-checkout scanners at Home Depot. You spend ages with each and every item, waving it over and over, spinning it round and around, nothing works. Not even the trained helper who comes over can make it work and eventually just types the code in manually.

Investing in quality equipment makes a huge difference. Most of the places that tried and failed with self-checkout tried to do it on the cheap.

Comment: Re:tl;dr (Score 1) 712

by Zenin (#46302841) Attached to: Are Bankers Paid Too Much? Are Technology CEOs?

And I'm sure you could find countless folks willing to do the dirty work for such "unsexy" companies for just 1% of what modern (US) CEOs are taking home. And chances are they'd be far more qualified and effective to boot.

The fact is the rest of the planet doesn't have this issue. The rest of the planet doesn't find it necessary to throw ungodly amounts of cash at folks to get them to take a CEO job. Only in the US does this happen, and their performance, globally speaking, is pathetic in comparison. So we're paying far more and getting far less.

Your entire theory is bunk.

Comment: Re:Why have a tree hierarchy? Why not a graph? (Score 1) 312

by Zenin (#46243761) Attached to: Good Engineering Managers Just "Don't Exist"

I don't seems to work pretty well for Valve who's scaled it up to about 300 last I looked.

Granted, not everyone is fit for such a culture, and there are plenty of "It ain't all chocolate and roses at Valve!" stories to attest to that. But lets face it, most humans really are happiest following, what's left is happiest leading. The percentage of humans who can be happy in a peer culture, especially when those peers are all high achievers, is honestly so small it's not much more than statistical noise.

So to that sense you're right: Few companies are able to scale with a flat model simply because the available pool of suitable talent for such an organization is so incredibly small. Couple that intrinsic soft cap on scale with the fact that "bad seeds" can do a very disproportionate amount of harm to such organization structures...and the larger your organization, the higher the likelihood that a bad seed will slip in. So that creates another soft-cap: As the organization scales, so must the strictness of the screening process for new highers. Eventually it'll just choke itself off, unable to grow.

That choke point however, I'd argue is dramatically higher than you've suggested.

Comment: Re:It's personality (Score 2) 312

by Zenin (#46243731) Attached to: Good Engineering Managers Just "Don't Exist"

From my own purely anecdotal experience, being a high school drop out who has become a highly qualified senior level software engineer who easily commands compensation to match, I'd say that's pretty much correct.

To pour more salt in the wound, in my 20ish years of software development experience I've found that those with actual Computer Science degrees rarely are any good at actually developing software, no matter how much experience they have. The best engineers have all come from some other discipline; sociology, biology, music or such. The only binding factor I've found is that nearly every good engineer plays (or did play extensively in the past) a musical instrument. Only maybe 1 in 10 didn't get deeply into music at some point and about half still actively play.

Those that are strong mathematicians also tend to be horrid software developers (despite, on average, being much smarter than most good software developers). I chock that up to strong math correlating with weak personal skills as well as a tendency to prefer code look like a formula and not a document (variable names like "a" and "b", instead of employees and groups for example). And also the reality that 99% of software that needs writing isn't about slick algorithms, rather it's about modeling arbitrary business rules as a flow chart of if/then/else gates.

Comment: Re:Except Except (Score 1) 301

by Zenin (#46137751) Attached to: Environmental Report Raises Pressure On Obama To Approve Keystone Pipeline

With a pipeline, you have fixed regions that can possibly be affected

No different than highway routes.

The very ground under the pipelined can be lined to prevent any impact from spills at all.

It could be, but it won't be. The history of every other pipeline we've ever built is testimony to that fact.

The pipeline can, and will be monitored because it is of course a valuable resource and they don't want oil to be lost any more than any environmentalist.

It's a numbers game in the end; The cost of monitors, inspections, retrofits where needed, it's all expensive and often has downtime. mostly doesn't get done unless and until the government forces them to do so. The many, many bad pipeline spills we've had due to lack of monitoring is testimony to that fact.

What you are saying makes zero sense, pipelines are a dramatically safer and more efficient way to transport oil.

Where's your evidence?

There have been hundreds of pipeline failures spilling hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil in this country alone (and far worse in other countries). We haven't had anything close to the same numbers via rail and truck.

Comment: Re:The impact of trucking/training is worse (Score 1, Interesting) 301

by Zenin (#46135949) Attached to: Environmental Report Raises Pressure On Obama To Approve Keystone Pipeline

Except, any single truck load of oil spilled can be contained relatively easily. The max potential is limited to the one truck and chances are it'll happen on a road, making it easy/fast both to identify (who's not going to notice a turned semi on an interstate) and to send emergency crews. At worst any single incident will disrupt traffic for a few hours.

Not so much when a 36" pipe busts the middle of no where... Unlimited potential damage, difficult to spot (sensors don't catch everything), difficult to get crews to the site. It's incredibly likely damage from such a leak will do massive damage that can't ever be cleaned up.

Comment: Re:HAHAHAHAHAHAHA (Score 0) 234

by Zenin (#46106343) Attached to: 3D Printing of Human Tissue To Spark Ethics Debate

To play devil's advocate: A big brand product has a reputation to maintain and thus a quality incentive, where as a fly-by-night generic product has an incentive to cut corners and if it doesn't work out they'll just roll a new generic LLC name and start again.

While I'm not "rich", I'm financially secure enough to afford the luxury of brand loyalty: Sticking with a product/brand that has proven to me to be well made and reliably so.

So sure, I could save money shopping around for a cheaper competitor version of this or that, but that takes time and has risks, both of which have significant real costs.

Comment: Re:3D Printing is too complex. There is an easier (Score 1) 234

by Zenin (#46106207) Attached to: 3D Printing of Human Tissue To Spark Ethics Debate

How does that account for the microvascular system?

The beauty of 3D printing organs is the ability to include all the auxiliary support systems and complex structures. Much of the technology being developed is also using the donor's own tissues and so it too does not trip the immune system.

Comment: Re:Dangerous... (Score 1) 399

by Zenin (#46089555) Attached to: California Students, Parents Sue Over Teacher Firing, Tenure Rules

At least a case against public unions at any rate. There's more than a little conflict of interest when you can effectively play both sides of the fence in negotiations, which is the case when unions can lobby and campaign for the very people they will be negotiating "against".

Private industry unions however, are and will forever be needed to help balance negotiating power between corporations and labor.

Comment: Re: Lincense wars in... (Score 1) 1098

by Zenin (#46066361) Attached to: FSF's Richard Stallman Calls LLVM a 'Terrible Setback'

It baffles me how often folks like yourself seem to truly believe because a particular path was taken to get where we are today that that path was the only possible way we could have gotten here. And you fools believe it's a given that we're better off for it.

If the BSD stack code wasn't available, do you really think no one else could have written a compatible alternative? Especially considering how many have done exactly that? Coding a network stack against a well written open specification isn't magic, it isn't a gift that can only be handled down from the Heavens.

And why is it a given we're better off with happening the way it has? Maybe if MS had to write their own stack they would have contemplated and predicted the shortcomings in TCP/IP v4 and jumped directly to (and helping craft) TCP/IP v6. With the historical market pull of Windows we could have all been running a v6-like stack a decade ago, rather than still limping along with v4.

The fact is we don't know how things would have turned out, yet there's still just as much reason to believe we'd all be better off today as there is to believe we'd be worse off.

Comment: Re: Reinforcing the term (Score 1) 464

You have to look up and right, taking your eyes away from the road.

Nav info is pretty basic and generally presented with simple image/icons, which can easily be consumed simply with peripheral vision most of the time.

So no need to even glance over most of the time, and even when you do the entire road is still well within the rest of your peripheral vision (which even w/o any screen is what you use to receive 95% of visual driving information with anyway).

That's wildly different than most standalone GPS units which require a much farther eye shift as well as huge focus change, while reflective HUD devices (like Glass) can be focused to appear at the average viewing distance of important traffic around you (50 feet give or take, about where the car in front of you will be at speed).

Comment: Re:Don't stop innovating keyboards yet, please (Score 1) 459

by Zenin (#46054187) Attached to: Stop Trying To 'Innovate' Keyboards, You're Just Making Them Worse

(Creative) writing is oddly different for many. Needlessly difficult tools can often help the creative process somehow and writers are frequently drawn to them. Or maybe they're just nostalgic, or mentally masochistic, it's hard to say. Whatever it is book writers often have other productivity issues that far out-shadow poor typing skills.

It's a special case. For the rest, they'd better have their typing skill shit together.

Comment: Re:Learn the basics (Score 2) 387

by Zenin (#46037485) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: It's 2014 -- Which New Technologies Should I Learn?

Seriously, if you have not already, give node.js a spin if you do any Internet-related development work. And I don't mean anybody should necessarily start using it, just that it is something to know today.

Here's all you need to know to day about node.js: Node.js Is Bad Ass Rock Star Tech

Comment: Re:Don't stop innovating keyboards yet, please (Score 1) 459

by Zenin (#45998793) Attached to: Stop Trying To 'Innovate' Keyboards, You're Just Making Them Worse

Funny....absolutely every use case you listed strongly benefits from having solid keyboard skills (ie, touch typing). Frankly anything less should be considered incompetent, or at least very junior. In this day and age it's more important to know how to use a keyboard fluently than it is to know how to write fluently. That's been the case for decades now.

Ma Bell is a mean mother!