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Submission + - Yes, You Can Blame Your Pointy-Haired Boss on the Peter Principle->

Nerval's Lobster writes: You've heard of the Peter Principle, which suggests that all employees manage to rise to the level of their incompetence. (That is to say, everybody is promoted until their skills and strengths no longer align with their current position.) While the Peter Principle is often treated as a truism, a recent Gallup study (registration required)—the result of four decades’ worth of research, involving 2.5 million manager-led teams—suggests that it holds a significant degree of real-world truth (registration required). “Gallup has found that only 10 percent of working people possess the talent to be a great manager,” the study mentions in its introduction. “Companies use outdated notions of succession to put people in these roles.” In Gallup’s estimation, there are so many bad managers out there that one out of every two employees have “left their job to get away,” according to the study. “Managers who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the U.S. economy $319 billion to $398 billion annually.” In other words, there are a lot of pointy-haired managers out there.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Trapster Guru Pete Tenereillo: Google Should Close Waze

ashshy writes: In an interview with The Motley Fool, Trapster founder Pete Tenereillo says that Google just can't afford to let its controversial Waze service to exist. Long story short, 50 million Waze users can't compare to the value of Google's "don't be evil" image. But Google still got plenty of value for this $1 billion buyout, Tenereillo says.

Comment Re:No programming? (Score 2) 200 200

If you call copy-paste programming. They took an "executable", dumped it from the worm's brain, put it in a robot and found it acts like a worm. The behavior emerged through evolution and was encoded in the neurons by nature, not the researchers. If you could dump a human brain, put it in a robot and have it act like a human without ever "reverse engineering" it that would be most impressive.

All of this is true, but the inputs and outputs still have to be mapped to the appropriate endpoints. Unless, of course, mapping them at random still produces the perfect Lego/worm beast after a little bit of real-world action. The article doesn't talk about this, so I'm assuming the sensors and effectors were hooked up to the proper Lego tools by hand.

Which, in my book, counts as programming.

Submission + - What Will It Take to Make Automated Vehicles Legal in the U.S.?

ashshy writes: Tesla, Google, and many other companies are working on self-driving cars. When these autopilot systems become perfected and ubiquitous, the roads should be safer by orders of magnitude. So why doesn't Tesla CEO Elon Musk expect to reach that milestone until 2013 or so? Because the legal framework that supports American road rules is incredibly complex, and actually handled on a state-by-state basis. The Motley Fool explains which authorities Musk and his allies will have to convince before autopilot cars can hit the mainstream, and why the process will take another decade.

Submission + - Why America Won't Match Sweden's Cheap, Fast, Competitive Internet Services

ashshy writes: Swedish Internet services run both cheaper and faster than American ones. For example, many Swedes can pay about $40 a month for 100/100 mbps, choosing between more than a dozen competing providers. It's all powered by a nationwide web of municipal networks in direct competition with ex-government telecom Telia's fiber backbone. The presence of regional government in the Swedish data stream makes many Americans uncomfortable, to say nothing of the very different histories between these backbone buildouts. The Motley Fool explains how the Swedish model developed, and why the U.S. is unlikely ever to follow suit.

Comment Re:International Copyright (Score 4, Informative) 172 172

"Licensing issues" seems to be the standard reply. But, why would licensing in Australia be different from licensing elsewhere? Isn't a show streamed to Australia is just as profitable as a show streamed to Europe or America?

Yes, but Netflix must sign and *pay for* a license in each separate territory. The company pays per show/movie, per market, per year (or whatever licensing timeframe), and it doesn't make sense to roll out an actual service until you have the rights to a decent content library in that new territory.

Netflix is working on licenses for Australia, but doesn't have a service yet. And whatever agreements it did sign so far likely don't become active until Launch Date X.

So as usual, it all boils down to costs. Follow the money.

Submission + - Quickflix Wants Netflix to Drop Australian VPN Users

ashshy writes: 200,000 Australian residents reportedly use Netflix today, tunneling their video traffic to the US, UK, and other Netflix markets via VPN connections. A proper Netflix Down Under service isn't expected to launch until 2015. Last week, Aussie video streaming company Quickflix told Netflix to stop this practice, so Australian viewers can return to Quickflix and other local alternatives. But Quickflix CEO Stephen Langsford didn't explain how Netflix could restrict Australian VPN users, beyond the IP geolocating and credit card billing address checks it already runs. Today, ZDNet's Josh Taylor ripped into the absurdity of Quickflix's demands. From the article: "If Netflix cuts those people off, they're going to know that it was at the behest of Foxtel and Quickflix, and would likely boycott those services instead of flocking to them. If nothing else, it would encourage those who have tried to do the right thing by subscribing and paying for content on Netflix to return to copyright infringement."

Comment Perl, anyone? (Score 1) 387 387

I'm still getting paid for some Perl 5 work. Learned some when it was still hot, built something with passing value, and now I'm pulling a small but significant monthly fee for supporting it.

It's still what I do best, thanks to all this regular practice. Coding is otherwise more of a hobby than a job for me. Can't say that I see a lot of demand for Perl code monkeys out there, though.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.