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Comment [Obligatory] Microsoft Car (Score 1) 196

At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with the technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating, "If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they painted new lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull ove r to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue.

For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Only one person at a time could use the car unless you bought "CarNT," but then you would have to buy more seats.

6. Apple would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive -- but it would only run on five percent of the roads.

7. The oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "general protect ion fault" warning light.

8. The airbag system would ask, "Are you sure?" before deploying.

9. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the antenna.

10. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand McNally Road maps (now a GM subsidiary), even though they neither need nor want them. Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by 50 percent or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Department.

11. Every time GM introduced a new car, car buyers would have to learn to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

12. You'd have to press the "start" button to turn the engine off.

Comment Re:Yawn (Score 1) 105

I think it bears mentioning that these are pilot programs and being tested in a couple of jurisdictions. It's not standard practice yet. What it will probably develop into is more of a system whereby officers would have an NFC reader in their phone or device and you would transfer your drivers license and/or insurance information over to the officers NFC-capable device, and he would have limited access to view the information he needs without storing the data on his device permanently. Of course, in order for this to work, Apple would have to open up their NFC reader to developers, instead of locking it to everyone but Apple Pay.

I have used the Progressive app on my phone as proof of insurance with officers. This IS actually standard practice in many states (Tennessee, for example, completely allows digital proof of insurance). Every time I have showed proof of insurance to an officer this way, they have never taken my phone back to their car. They saw that I had insurance and that was good enough for them and they didn't ask any other questions.

As for the "battery is dead" issue, that should be a non-issue in the car if you have a car charger for your phone.

Comment Re:Missed opportunity (Score 1) 105

Walmart and a consortium of other retailers is in the process of rolling out CurrentC, which is another mobile payment platform. The key difference between CurrentC and Apple/Android/Samsung Pay is that it does not use NFC, and uses a more clunky QR code instead, that is scanned at the point of purchase. CurrentC does not go through the credit card system, because Walmart and other retailers want to avoid the credit card surcharge. Instead, they use the ACH system connected directly to your checking account. That also means that by using ACH and CurrentC, you lose any fraud protection offered by the banks. Once money is debited from your account, you're not getting it back. That will pretty much kill CurrentC in its tracks.

Comment 2014 MacBook Pro (Score 1) 558

Mid-2014 MacBook Pro
15" Retina Display
2.5 GHz Core i7
16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
500 GB SSD
AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and automatic graphics switching (Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB)

Also have several external USB drives for storage:

5 TB Seagate (USB 3)
3 TB Western Digital (USB 2)
1 TB Western Digital (USB 3)
500 GB Samsung (USB 3) -- used to mirror the SSD drive as backup using Time Machine

Comment Re:probably a little of both (Score 1) 405

While it is true that technology is more prevalent today and more people are using it, that does not mean that Millennials are any better than the rest of us at using it. In fact, I can see many examples where they don't know what in the hell they are doing. The ease of use of much technology today has actually had a negative impact. 20 years ago, we learned to do some amazing things with technology, and in order to make that happen, we had to code on the command line and jury rig stuff to get it to work together. Today, everything is all menu-driven in neat little GUIs, and everything works together. If it doesn't work, the product must be defective, and you take it back to the store to get a new one. The Millennials raised with this type of mentality never learn actual trouble shooting and problem solving skills. They learn that when the going gets tough, the tough go back to Best Buy for a replacement.

Comment Re:Well.... (Score 1) 405

I think a major problem with the current generation is, despite an increase in communications technology and cell phones, the younger generation has larger lost the ability to communicate and interact. Yes, they can text and they can communicate instantly with all of their "friends" in the world (100% of them, anywhere at any time). Though I do wonder how many people on one's Facebook are truly "friends". That being said, their communication is texting -- but 90% of human communication is non-verbal. They're not really communicating when you think about it; but they think they are. Go into any popular bar or restaurant and observe the crowds. The tables with the Boomers and GenXers will be mostly socializing and talking amongst each other -- interacting in person. The tables with the Milliennials will mostly have people staring down at the cell phones tapping away, and very few words will actually be said. If this is how these kids are socializing, I can only imagine how they are in the workplace.

Comment Old vs Young (Score 1) 429

At least older workers know about the basics ... like how to use a unix prompt. Seriously, I just had a student worker dispatched to our lab to install some scientific software (because the IT administrator doesn't want to let us have the root password). This student did not know how to install a relatively simple scientific software package properly and to be able to get it working in our PATH variables. They also left a lot of executable files out of the install so that the software didn't work right, and didn't understand how to set the permissions of the files until I told them about the chmod command. When looking at the files, they preferred to use the GUI and graphical-based methods to change permissions instead of the unix prompt. Their preferred text editor was gedit instead of vi. We eventually had to send them back and study up on how to install software in a unix environment before attempting to install it. How someone entrusts them with a root password is a complete mystery,. . .

Comment It's not just IT, but lots of technical fields (Score 2) 227

It's not just with IT jobs. It's prevalent in other scientific and technical fields, too. I'm a PhD computational chemist and I constantly get bombarded with recruiter spam from addresses like that have subject lines like, "JOBOP - Drug Discovery - Medicinal Chemist - Medford, MA". Gmail sends these all straight to my spam folder. Seriously? If there's a 301st "job bank", what's in the first 300 job banks? Does anyone check email send from an email address that starts with eighteen random numbers? I really don't think any of these recruiters know what in the hell they're doing, as I have never gotten a job from one of them. Ever. All of the jobs I've worked at since receiving my PhD have been from direct contacts and personal references. JOBOP emails are completely useless in a job search,. . .

Comment Re:Most HEP and astrophysics people use Mac (sorta (Score 1) 385

At ORNL in Tennessee, 90% of all of the scientists used OS X on their laptops. Most scientists also had a desktop system in their office (stationary) that was running Linux, the most popular variant being OpenSuse. The only Windows machines on site were in the business office.

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