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Comment: Re:Right! (Score 1) 577

by dirk (#46727569) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

The problem is that we have many millions of people with NO useful skills. They are also mostly untrainable, or they wouldn't have ended up skillless in the first place. In the past, our economy had a place for these people. The future is likely to be different.

And this is exactly the reason people are pissed off about him saying that. The idea that because someone has a manual labor job must because they are stupid and useless is terrible assumption to make. Most people become coal miners because they grew up in a small town with little opportunity. That in no way implies that they can't learn useful skills and become something like a programmer, it says that because of where and how they grew up they never really had the chance. Lack of opportunity does not equal lack of intelligence or lack of passion.

To be clear, I am not saying that every coal miner could be a great coder, but I am saying that there certainly are some that could be. To simply dismiss them entirely out of hand smacks of classism. "They are poor and do manual labor so there is just no way they could ever be smart enough to be a coder."

Comment: Re:Think you miss the point (Score 1) 405

by dirk (#46510469) Attached to: Paris Bans Half of All Cars On the Road

The big difference is because of how the cities were designed, this is even an option. In most American cities, there is simply no way you could ever even consider doing this because there is very limited public transportation. That is where the design comes in handy. I live in Cincinnati, OH. If you banned half the cars from the city, that would mean half the people couldn't come to work because the only thing we have is a crappy bus system that only takes people to the downtown area. It just isn't possible to even consider this because of how American cities were designed to specifically handle cars and not other traffic.

Comment: We don't need new tech, just use what is there (Score 4, Insightful) 197

by dirk (#46326433) Attached to: US Carriers Said To Have Rejected Kill Switch Technology Last Year

The ability to disable cell phones is already there and used in most of the rest of the world. All the carriers have to do is to ban the IMEI number of the phone when it is reported stolen and the phone can't be activated on the network. Yes, the phone isn't wiped, but it removes the primary cause of phone theft, which is selling them (since people will not be able to activate and use the stolen phone). This is used to great success almost everywhere except for the US where the carriers refuse to do it. We don't need something new, we just need the carriers to do the same thing carriers all over the world are already doing.

My guess is that carriers don't want to halt phone theft since it is a money boon for them. If someone's phone gets stolen, then they have to buy a new one from the carrier at full price, and the carriers make more money that way. If they start banning IMEI numbers and phone theft goes down, they don't get than extra money in their pocket. All the government has to do is mandate that the carriers not allow stolen phone's IMEI numbers on their network and everything takes care of itself.

Comment: How about we start with banning IMEIs? (Score 1) 173

by dirk (#46242981) Attached to: Federal Smartphone Kill-Switch Legislation Proposed

We really don't need another mechanism to prevent cell phone theft, we already have it. Each phone has a unique IMEI number associated with it. In most other countries if your phone is stolen, you report it and your carrier, along with all the other carriers, ban the IMEI number so the phone cannot be activated on any cellular network. This basically makes the phone useless.

We could easily implement this in the US, but the cell phone carriers refuse to do it. If I had to guess, the reason they don't want to do this is because if your phone gets stolen they get to sell you a brand new non-subsidized phone at full price, which makes them a lot of money. So why would they want to do anything that would help cut down on the number of stolen phones, since each one translates into more money for them?

So why should we set up a new system that can be potentially hacked and abused to wipe phone when all we have to do is to force the cellular carriers to ban the IMEI numbers of stolen phones?

Comment: Re:It already exists (Score 1) 341

by dirk (#46188453) Attached to: California Bill Proposes Mandatory Kill-Switch On Phones and Tablets

They fight against disabling phones via IMEI number because it will lower the number of stolen phones. If a thief knows we can't sell the phone because it won't activate on a network, he is less likely to steal it. If there are less phones stolen, the phone companies get to sell less replacement phones. So why do anything to lower the rate of thefts when they are benefiting from it?

Comment: It already exists (Score 3, Interesting) 341

by dirk (#46186169) Attached to: California Bill Proposes Mandatory Kill-Switch On Phones and Tablets

This already exists and the rest of the world uses it. It's called the IMEI number. Simply report the phone stolen and the carriers can kill the IMEI and put it on a list so that it can't work on any of their networks. Yes, thieves could still use the phone offline, but it puts a HUGE dent into reasons for stealing a phone. But carriers continue to fight against this, IMO, because stolen phones means they get to sell the customer another phone (and at non-subsidized prices). We don't need a new kill switch for the phones, we just need to legislate that the cell companies uses what is at their disposal.

Comment: Why is this a surprise? (Score 5, Insightful) 804

by dirk (#45792989) Attached to: What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

The Mac tax has always been about the actual parts they use and that there are cheaper alternatives. For this comparison, they try to match the parts exactly. That of course is going to cost more because you are paying 3rd party markup prices while Apple is being direct from the manufacturer. The article even admits that you can buy things like a different video card that is equivalent for half the price. The question isn't if you can make the exact same system (or as close as possible) for cheaper but whether you can make an equivalent system for cheaper, and the answer to that is almost always yes.

Comment: Re:Sounds good on paper (Score 1) 1216

by dirk (#45502177) Attached to: Should the US Copy Switzerland and Consider a 'Maximum Wage' Ratio?

But these things are already happening without raising the minimum wage. If a company can replace a person with a machine, they will do it because it is best for their bottom line. If they can ship jobs overseas and save money they will do it. And they have been doing both of these things for the last 15 years (if not more).

The jobs that are still here are here because they have to be, especially the lower wage jobs. You can't take the janitor or cashier and ship that job to China, and those are the people making minimum wage.

Comment: Who decides if it was "shaming"? (Score 2) 528

by dirk (#45019465) Attached to: California Outlaws 'Revenge Porn'

I can see the intent of the law, and I think the people that do it are slimeballs, but who is going to decide this? If you post pictures and say "Look how hot my ex girlfriend was" are you trying to shame here? What if you include "I wish she would take me back but she is too good for me." Who is going to decide what your actual purpose was? And what if you are in the pictures as well? There are too many questions and judgement calls with this law.

Comment: Re:This isn't unique to govt. (Score 1) 286

by dirk (#45017647) Attached to: Pentagon Spent $5 Billion For Weapons On Day Before Shutdown

Pretty much any large organization with annual budgets burns through any remaining money before the fiscal year runs out. The reasoning is simple: if you don't spend every penny, budget planners inevitably use that as evidence you didn't need the money and will give you less the next year, even if you then turn out to need it.

If you have to burn money at the end of the year, then you DON'T need it. The very definition of having too much money in the budget is having to work and find places to spend it all so you don't lose it.

Comment: And people wonder why we hate CEOs (Score 4, Insightful) 196

by dirk (#44896639) Attached to: Nokia's Elop Set To Receive $25 Million Bonus After Acquisition

So let me get this right. He took over Nokia 3 years ago. In that time their stock price has dropped by more than a third. In any way you measure it, he has failed as the head of the company. So they decide to sell to Microsoft, because he has been unable to do his job well and do anything to keep them from sinking further. And he will be REWARDED with $25 million?!?!?! So for helping his company continue to fail, he will get a $25 million dollar bonus over what is I'm sure a fairly ridiculous compensation package.

And to top it off, he is on the short list of people to become the new Microsoft CEO? They really are considering basically giving him a huge promotion for being unable to turn Nokia around and letting them get so bad off that selling to MS was their only option? CEOs are absolutely rewarded for failure, because his performance can't be seen as anything other than a failure.

Comment: If you want to donate, just donate (Score 4, Insightful) 301

by dirk (#44687801) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Get Open Source Projects To Take Our Money?

Part of the issue was you requesting an invoice for something they never provided for you. If they issue you an invoice for $5000 for something, there are legal ramification that go along with that. You could then claim that you never received the item/services and sue. They may have to set up a separate business entity to handle this business and pay a whole different set of taxes on it because they currently are not set up as a business that provides services/items. If you want to donate, just donate. It is silly to try and get them to jump through these hoops for your "donation" so your company can claim it isn't a donation.

Comment: Re:The science that is really needed (Score 1) 330

by dirk (#44535187) Attached to: The Science of 12-Step Programs

Actually, often part of a person's court sentence is to attend AA. Yes, I guess they instead accept jail time, but that seems like a false comparison. And yes, it is often mandated that it be AA, not alcohol treatment in general. People have actually tried to attend other, non-AA, non-religious treatments and been told no, you must attend AA.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.