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Comment: Sheesh, what's the problem? (Score 2) 367

I assume they put a decent camel jockey on the animal, probably brought it food and water, etc. I bet that camel's day was a lot better than it would have been if Google hadn't shown up to put a camera on its back.

Aren't the PETA folks big environmentalists too? I would imagine a camel puts out a lot less carbon and CO2 than a Jeep.

Comment: Re:The Government also ruined my washer and dryer (Score 2) 602

by andyring (#48002769) Attached to: The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

I worry/wonder about this too. We have a basic no-frills washer and dryer. I bought the washer probably 6-7 years ago at BestBuy, a Maytag model I think. Dryer was given to my wife and I (used) about 4 years ago. They do the job well, although I've had to disassemble the washer a couple times when something tiny (wife's hair tie, or little kid sock) somehow got through the internal plumbing and stuck in the water pump. But it's no big deal to do it.

My wife really wants a set of those fancy schmancy shiny front loaders that run about $1,000 each. But I've heard too many horror stories about them dying like yours, or expensive electronics dying, etc.

And then I hear my grandmother (bless her soul) has had literally the same washer and, I think, dryer since about the 1940s. She died this spring but my grandfather is still alive and at the same house so it's still getting used. They raised 11 kids too!

I don't care how "efficient" an appliance is. If you can run it for 70+ years without trouble, that's the ultimate in efficiency.

Comment: Re:Small setup (Score 1) 287

by andyring (#47945851) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: What's In Your Home Datacenter?

Nothing fancy, a Mac Mini with a UPS in the furnace room where my router/WiFi base station is located, with several drives and a MagicJack plugged into it. One 3TB for home stuff like Time Machine backups and my VOD archive and a couple other 4TB drives JBOD'd for nightly remote off-site backups of my company's primary server. Also have a 60-foot amplified USB cable running from that basement furnace room into my baby's room for a cheap home-brew baby cam monitor. Another camera in the garage so I can quickly see if we forgot to close the garage door.

MagicJack, ewww, right? Well, maybe, but hey, it's dirt cheap and works well for my 9-year-old to have a phone at home if he's home alone which we allow from time to time, like if we need a quick grocery store run, etc.

I ran ethernet throughout my house as needed as well, although there are a couple spots I wasn't able to access. Yeah, WiFi is nice but I live in a pretty new neighborhood, lots of younger families like mine, and very crowded WiFi space including the 5ghz band. Since my TV is entirely streaming (Roku and AppleTV) I wanted it to work solidly, reliably, and not be subject to interference from neighbors. I can sit in my living room and see probably a dozen and a half networks pop up. And I've got a couple BluRay players that don't have WiFi, just ethernet. I just ran a single cat5 wire behind the TV, put a little 4-port switch back there and call it good. I've got an older Proliphix network-enabled thermostat too from before WiFi was even very common, which required Cat5 and PoE to function, so I had to run Cat5 to it which was tricky but doable. It's no Nest but I already own it and I can still adjust the temp from my phone when we aren't home.

Comment: Where it came from (Score 0) 174

by andyring (#47852219) Attached to: Denver Latest City Hit By Viral Respiratory Infection That Targets Kids

OK, consider this:

"HEV68, first seen in California in 1962, and an unwelcome but highly infrequent visitor to communities worldwide since then, is a relative of the virus linked to the common cold (human rhinoviruses, or HRV), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

And it seems to be specific to children.

What happened this summer in huge numbers?

Hundreds of thousands of kids from Central America showing up on our doorstep and being dumped around the country just in time for school to start. It first showed up in California, aka Northern Mexico.

Comment: How many? Hard to say (Score 5, Interesting) 272

by andyring (#47483021) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

I work concurrently in a large company (45,000 employees) and a small company (50-ish, but for years we were in the 5-8 range). I am solidly convinced that the larger a company gets, the higher the number of excess employees.

How do I work concurrently in both companies? My primary employer is the small company, but the large company has subcontracted me via my primary employer to work in their HQ 3 days a week because a specific department (which my primary employer specializes in) is swamped, or so they say. So, 3 days a week I work at the big place with very little to do and end up doing a small amount of work and lots of web browsing or reading or working remotely as I'm able on tasks for the small company. And then 2 days a week I'm at the small company, swamped and playing catch-up.

Granted, this is but one example, but the contrast I see on a daily basis is stunning. Even in my smaller employer I see us getting more inefficiencies and "dead weight" employees. Back when our employee count was in the single digits, it was a whole different ballgame. We were small. We didn't have the resources to carry extra employees. When someone would quit, it was a huge deal because we'd be losing literally like a sixth of our entire workforce. And it was a fun environment! It truly felt like a tightly connected team.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I've been employed at the small company for 16 years and have no desire to leave. But to get back to the original question, the bigger a company gets, the more dead weight they'll carry until the times get really tough. Then, you'll see where they can cut the fat.

Here's an example. A few decades ago, the Rock Island railroad was a well-known railroad across the Midwest. They went bankrupt in about 1980 if memory serves. Leading up to their insolvency, they ended up leading the industry in getting down to a 2-person train crew because they simply had no money to pay additional crew members. From what I've heard, managers literally told train crews "Tough luck, you get an engineer and a conductor because we can't afford to pay for a brakeman." And now the industry standard is a 2-person train crew.

Aside from Microsoft, a FAR better question would be (not to turn this political, but it's a fair question): "How many employees does $government really need?"

Where am I going with this? I'm not sure. Maybe I'm rambling because I'm bored. :)

Comment: Re:Good. (Score 1) 411

by andyring (#47065627) Attached to: US Officials Cut Estimate of Recoverable Monterey Shale Oil By 96%

Except that modern day progressives stand for none of the things you reference. They support guilds (unions), support slavery (it was Republicans, aka conservatives, who spearheaded the civil rights legislation in the 1960s; Democrats aka progressives aka liberals opposed it). They prefer segregation particularly in schools by forcing kids into horribly failing schools with no way out, the are opposed to free markets, and opposed to constitutionally guaranteed freedoms (religion, self defense, etc.).

Comment: What's the big deal? (Score 1) 187

by andyring (#46481965) Attached to: Google Blurring Distinction Between Ads and Organic Search Results

I started seeing this recently too. I don't recall exactly when, but I barely gave it a thought. Something akin to "Oh, Google changed their layout a bit." It's still quite blatant which items are ads, and I wouldn't consider the "ad" tag to be a "tiny yellow button." It sticks out like a sore thumb, and furthermore, just looking at the titles of those particular "search" results makes it obvious the first few are ads.

Interestingly enough, the new layout has actually prompted me to deliberately click on some of the ads I've seen. In the past, they were easier to not even notice by being off to the side. But now, I've seen some of them, and knowing full well it's an ad, clicked anyway because I was curious or I thought (rightfully so in some cases) that the ad would take me where I wanted to go.

Comment: Re:I went back to corporate America because Obamac (Score 1, Interesting) 578

by andyring (#46473125) Attached to: White House: Get ACA Insurance Coverage, Launch Start-Ups

I'm definitely calling BS on this one. By huge margins, people were happy with their insurance plans pre-Obamacare (statistics bear this out). I was, and many people I know were too.

Now, I am worried what will happen when all the regs finally do kick in. I have a great plan now through work for my family and I, and I know if ObamaCare isn't changed or repealed, my out of pocket costs will absolutely jump by hundreds of dollars. Why? Because our plan now doesn't technically cover all the things that ObamaCare mandates (but crap we don't need and never will need like contraceptives, maternity, etc. etc. etc.). Once it's required to cover those things, the costs will absolutely increase, there's no getting around it.

Comment: Freedom (Score 1) 606

by andyring (#46335767) Attached to: 'Google Buses' Are Bad For Cities, Says New York MTA Official

Let Google, Apple, Facebook, etc. put their facilities WHEREVER THEY DAMN WELL WANT TO. They don't need some government loser trying to dictate to them based on what that loser feels is right. Sheesh! We've gotten so far from the basic concept of freedom in this country it's pathetic. There's always some government minder lurking around the corner to cajole, nag and badger you or your company, or force you at the point of a gun, to do things their way. If Google wants to put a gigantic campus in the middle of the barren wasteland of Montana and fly employees to/from every day, let them! Some government flunky shouldn't be stepping in to condemn them for it.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.