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Comment Re:Autistic-friendly business environment (Score 1) 34 34

When I hire programmers, I want programmers that can take vague requirements, apply their intelligence and experience, and provide a solution that works well and can evolve*. Sometimes this might mean the ability to convince me my requirements are ill-considered. If they aren't self-motivated and self-directed, they're wasting my time.

That's fine if you have a small team that can communicate and work well together, but on larger projects the overhead makes that kind of collaboration impossible and having everyone running off and producing their own solutions is a recipe for disaster and you'll end up with people arguing over how it should be done and an utter nightmare when it comes to integrating the various pieces. Sometimes its a lot easier to iron out the requirements, produce a very detailed design, and only leave minor implementation details up to the individual programmer, especially when a lot of those programmers might not be the highly intelligent or experienced people one would want to hire.

Comment Re:My $.02 (Score 5, Insightful) 439 439

What's the price? The community could conceivably use some crowd-funding platform and everyone could pitch in $5 if they wanted to. I would imagine that ads could cover most of the hosting and bandwidth expenses and the community can just take turns filling the editor role such that the ongoing costs should be minimal. Anything extra could always go towards supporting open source development efforts.

Comment Re:No surprises there... (Score 1) 461 461

Which is especially funny given his recent moves to release 22 convicted drug offenders. Not that I disagree with this course of action (really no one should be going to prison over this in the first place) but it's also contradictory to previous actions by his administration in relation to drug enforcement.

We're probably better off under Obama than we would have been under McCain or Romney, but I don't think anyone can deny that President Obama is a lot different than candidate Obama. The funniest part is that we're seeing the same kind of swell around Sanders and how much change he'll bring. I never really followed politics much when I was younger, but has it always been like this? Townshend was wrong. It's seems like you can just keep fooling us over and over again.

Comment Re:Good (Score 2) 85 85

What money?

Do you think the patent trolls are going to keep that money on hand where something like that might happen. The money will have been spent on something, like a big bonus for the CEO or paid out in fees for expert witness testimony to someone's friend. Perhaps they needed a new company car which just happens to be a Rolls-Royce or something similar.

Anyone crooked and morally bankrupt enough to even run this type of enterprise isn't going to keep the money sitting around. Eventually the jig is up and if there's no money left, it's easy to abandon and move on to something else.

Comment Re:Not the best summary... (Score 1) 190 190

Unfortunately it's against that law to just leave you to die for your own stupidity in such cases and society invariably ends up bearing the costs. It's far less expensive to vaccinate people than it is to deal with the fallout from not doing so. Up until we can agree that you can contractually permit society ignoring any consequences for your poor decision, the pragmatic solution is to require it.

One could also take a position that not vaccinating your children is tantamount to neglect as they are incapable of making such a choice at that age and you're merely forcing your own beliefs on the child whether they would objectively want to make that decision in later life or not. Again, were there a system by which society could be absolved of having to deal with the consequences of an individual's poor decisions, this wouldn't be an issue, but we do not live in that world.

It's not morally justifiable, but the laws that are in place make coercion necessary from a financial point of view. If the government is going to force me to pay for something, I'd like to pay as little as possible and that means vaccinating the population to the greatest extend possible.

Comment Re: Looking more and more likely all the time... (Score 5, Interesting) 438 438

Skepticism is healthy, and when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. However, this is being repeatedly validated by multiple credible sources, which means that it should be accepted. If the crowd here is skeptical, it's only because we've see so much junk science over the years that has been latched onto and all the damage such things do. Look at the anti-vaccination movement, which has resulted in an increase in cases of diseases that were practically non-existent for decades.

Everything that's generally accepted today went through similar amounts of skepticism at some point and was borne out by repeated studies to prove its validity. Anything less and you've got something more akin to a religion and articles of faith.

Comment Re:I don't think it's a ho-hum (Score 1) 246 246

I disagree. Canada is just as bad as the U.S. in some regards. For example, if you want to purchase blank media, you're paying a piracy tax to the media companies because they lobbied that legislation successfully. There are plenty of other examples of the Canadian parties bending to the whims of various special interests.

From a purely theoretical stand point, it's a lot easier to lobby/bribe a party (single entity) than it is to bribe a large number of individual representatives. You even point out that the individual MPs are simply expected to vote with their party. Given that most probably don't understand the stuff they're voting on (same thing in the U.S. for most topics and the average Congress critter) voting the party line is an easy cop out, so it only becomes a matter of getting the person pushing the party line in one's pocket.

I think that there are better solutions for dealing with lobbying issues such as enforcing single term limits for every position at a federal level and forbidding collecting campaign contributions or campaigning while holding office. The only way to bribe a representative would be to do so before they are elected and because they can only have a single term, there's no incentive for them to stay bought.

Comment Re: Kickstarter forever (Score 1) 89 89

Just because you're not receiving ownership of the company does not mean it isn't an investment. Whichever dictionary Google uses for results defines the word as follows:

the action or process of investing money for profit or material result.

The Kickstarter backer rewards or eventual product is the material reward in this case.

Also, have you ever heard the phrase "Improving education is investing in the future of our country." or something similar to that effect? Clearly no one is talking about owning some part of future generations or anything along those lines.

Comment Re:The important details: Slower and over 540$ (Score 1) 75 75

The E series (6 core, no graphics) tends to trail the regular release by almost a year. The 6-core Haswell chips just came out last September, whereas Haswell launched in the summer of 2013. We probably won't see the first 14 nm 6-core parts until Broadwell comes out. Anyone who's looking to buy high-end Intel CPUs is probably well aware of this.

Comment Re:I don't think it's a ho-hum (Score 5, Insightful) 246 246

I think the biggest problem is that a two party system completely dumbs down the whole process of government and removes nuance. If you're pro-gun, you pretty much have to be a Republican and if you're pro-gay, you pretty much have to be a Democrat.

Remove the winner-take-all election contents and rather divide districts such that they elect several representatives from each district. This eventually leads to choices that don't exist along party lines and you can find a candidate that more closely represents your views (e.g., pro-gun, pro-gay, anti-abortion, pro-immigration, etc.) that has a reasonable chance at election.

Any changes that make it more difficult for political parties to operate would go a long way towards improving the country. Politicians would have to start voting their own mind, or better yet talking with their electorate, rather than simply falling into line with the party, and there would be less pandering to small, vocal parties that serve as important parts of the political parties' bases.

Comment Re:It's evident that mgmt is running out of scapeg (Score 5, Interesting) 463 463

Perhaps they're also looking for ways to annoy enough people into quitting so that they don't have the pay out any severance when the next round of layoffs starts. This seems like something that would push a few people over the edge, though I suspect it might be some of their better workers. Then again, the current suit only cares long enough to hit some bonuses based on poorly chosen metrics in order to cash out with a golden parachute while the company collapses.

Comment Re:Spreadsheets (Score 3, Interesting) 143 143

You can use them for about anything where you need to keep track of some data and a database is overkill. Back in the day, I had a teacher using spreadsheet software for a grade book that could automatically sum the scores and apply a curve instead of having to do it all by hand. My brother would keep track of online auction data in a spreadsheet. I've seen a few people use them to make a quick and easy chore list for their kids. They're also useful for kids who want to make some simple graphs or charts for a school report. There are probably dozens of other ways that people use them on a regular basis that I might never imagine myself.

Comment Re:Insurance Costs (Score 1) 252 252

I don't see how that precludes that average Joe from owning it. It only means that they'll be having it drive for Uber or some similar service while they're at work on not using it. Obviously not everyone will do that or even want to do that, but so long as it makes financial sense to do so, enough people will.

Comment Insurance Costs (Score 1) 252 252

Possibly as soon as you factor in insurance costs. Assuming that autonomous vehicles can live up to some of the hype related to safety, the insurance premiums should be a pittance compared to what many people currently pay. If you have a car that's only likely to be at fault (or better yet, in an accident at all if it can drive defensively well enough) in the event of catastrophic failure, it should cost far less to insure. The initial cost may be higher, but could be amortized over the length of its ownership in lowered insurance premiums.

To some extend that does make it more of a luxury item, but many products start off that way until economics of scale and market competition can drive down the prices. Also it's interesting it that based on insurance costs, the value proposition for an autonomous vehicle improves for people who are the worst drivers. Reducing accidents on their end goes a long way to making the road better for everyone.

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau