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Comment Re:Amazon's Self-Reinforcing Decline in Hires (Score 1) 396

Actually, their problem extends beyond the bad reputation; its a bit of a self perpetuating cycle.

They've erected significant barriers in the interview process to avoid hiring lower performers, but they have a pretty high turnover. As a result, I suspect that they're grossly understaffed (a manager as much as admitted it when I interviewed there a couple years ago). So if you manage to navigate the hiring gauntlet, you're setting yourself up for long hours and high stress. Pay is pretty good (tho not particularly better than their SillyCon Valley peers), but its pretty well known that most people don't last more than 2 years.

Hard to imagine why high-demand IT people would choose to work there, but it does seem to have a lot of cachet in Seattle. Bottomline: Its not a place to build a career, especially if you also want a home and family.

Comment Re:Good luck with that (Score 1) 190

While your analysis is very much spot on, you've missed the biggest barrier to moving off of Oracle. In many instances, those Oracle instances (and the various Oracle or Oracle-partnered apps running on them) are guarded and tended by Oracle consultants. And an Oracle consultant's primary job is to own and control the client's management.

In the distant past, I worked at a major aerospace firm that was trying to move away from Oracle (due to the inability to provide analytics on very large data volumes). Problem was, the managers were essentially owned by the Oracle consultants. Any technical question about the new implementation had to be vetted by the Oracle consultants - who, of course, went to great lengths to exaggerate any possible issues, and would even fabricate fictitious issues, to infect the management with FUD. Needless to say, the project was eventually scrapped (not replaced by Oracle, but completely scrapped).

I've seen and heard of similar situations at other large organizations. Sometimes, technology is the least of the challenges in such projects.

Comment Re:Amazon AWS (Score 2) 150

This. AWS has a GPU tier (kinda pricey, but probably cheaper than standing up an equivalent on your own). I'm guessing your FEA/CFD will probably need GPUs. $50K will rent a lot of GPU time. Not sure how available the spot instances for them are.

otoh, if you're looking to use regular CPUs, Azure has an infiniband tier that may be a better interconnect for HPC purposes than AWS's 10 Gbps VPC's.

Comment Re:Need to be adjustable (Score 2) 340

The biggest problem is that decent standing desks aren't cheap, and companies treat them like a luxury

Not a problem...build it yourself, as I did. Took an old TV cart I wasn't using any more, bought a few pieces of 1x4 and a few bolts, applied a bit of maker elbow grease, and now I've got a perfect solution, including a nice spar to mount a 28" monitor (to free up valuable desktop space). Hopefully your company will let you bring it in (not a problem for me, I work from home). Its not adjustable, but I just piled some books up to determine where the right desktop height should be, and then built to that height. I could probably get fancy and make is adjustable, but its not all that important.

I'd also suggest getting a memory foam bath mat to stand on (4+ hours on your feet can get tiresome), and maybe a tall chair (I just bought a cheap barstool that works great).

Comment 800notes.com (Score 1) 193

Funny coincidence, just as I started reading this thread, I got a call from an unknown number. I let it run out, then looked it up on 800notes.com. Sure enough, a scammer. Now added to my cell phone's (rather lengthy) reject list.

Also, 800notes.com has a few humorous recordings of someone scamming the scammers...good for a few chuckles.

Comment 2006: "There's no real estate bubble..." (Score 3, Interesting) 252

I recall watching CNBC (yes I know, bad choice) circa early 2006 and watching some real estate manipulator say (paraphrased), "Of course there's no real estate bubble, there's an infinite demand for housing!".

I also figured out when the 2000 tech bubble was about to burst: I was at the local grocery store and overheard the following conversation between the clerk and bag boy as I was checking out:

<clerk>: "The manager said you don't need to come in to work tomorrow."

<bagboy>: "*chuckle* Hehe thats ok, I'll just stay home and day trade..."

I literally went home and cashed out 90% of my mutual funds after that. Unfortunately, my judgement failed me a couple months later, when I bought back in...and lost most of it...

Comment Alas, the Gluetrain has vanished (Score 1) 24

I really wanted to post the link to gluetrain...but it seems to have succumbed to webrot . Here's hoping the Gluetrain authors take this opportunity to refresh their manifesto as well...the self-important pronouncements of the cluetrain bunch need a sane (and appropriately sarcastic) response.

Comment Not a union, just legal clarity (Score 3, Interesting) 107

I don't think the group was advocating for unionization, rather, just a better education for employees. (I actually watched an interview with the gentleman on Bloomberg that was pretty enlightening, despite some snarky comments from the hosts)

As a multi-startup veteran (without much to show for it but a few scars), the biggest issue is how opaque ownership percentages are. The current SillyCon Valley game is to give 5-6 digit option grants - so it seems like you're getting a lot - when there are 10-12 figure shares outstanding - and it can be impossible to find out that last figure.

Another complaint is the legalese of grants, which is usually waaay over the top, so you end up spending a lot on lawyers to translate the terms. The grants should be in "plain English" - most of the terms are pretty simple, once you clear away the legalese.

And another big deal is the little things that you might overlook, e.g., is there an acceleration clause if the startup gets bought out (very possible in this age of acquihires), or what happens if the startup actually IPOs: can you sell on the open market, or only back to the investors (which can limit your profit) ?

Also, on the topic of acquihires, if your startup gets bought out and you're a key employee, then your options may not mean anything, cuz you can -and should! - negotiate whatever you can get when the deal goes down. So it may be better to position yourself as a key contributor, than to get hung up about options.

Comment Re:Next job? (Score 1) 308

I think you mean the new *GM* CEO ? The Ford CEO has been in place for awhile (though rumored to be a candidate to replace Balmer at MSFT), and I believe just got a nice raise and incentives to stick around Ford awhile longer.

GM, otoh, was recently bailed out by the US taxpayers (as funded by the Communist Chinese) at a net loss of $10B, after decades of deplorable management that consisted mostly of accountants and empty suits, rather than anyone with a clue about how cars should be designed/built - all of whom "rose through the ranks". Admittedly, the new GM CEO has engineering credentials, but then somehow ended up in HR (?!), and then rose through the ranks. While it has been hailed as a great move by GM (and likely is, at least relative to their prior choices), the kudos seem to have more to do with the CEO's gender than qualifications, so the results remain to be seen.

Comment I know where those particulates are... (Score 2) 159

In Reno, NV. The air here has been horrid for several days, supposedly worse than Beijing yesterday. My lungs and eyes burn, my throat hurts, and I'm dealing with intermittent headaches. And I've been staying indoors as much as possible. Hope our usual windy weather returns soon!

Comment Great deal on HD+! (Score 2) 132

I picked up the deep discounted HD+ last weekend. Pretty awesome deal - $179 for a 9" 32G ($149 for the 16G version if you can find them) tablet w/ 1920x1080 screen. No camera, no microUSB, no uHDMI out...but does have GPS, a uSD slot, and can sideload real Android, and purportedly Ubuntu. Wifi seems pretty solid, and the screen is very crisp. Biggest downside is the old/slow CPU - things can get a bit laggy - but for what I use it for (books, email, web surfing) its a helluva deal. A few apps I've tried to load from the playstore won't install, but nothing thats a deal breaker. I've had an iPad, an overpriced POS from Toshiba, and lately a 7" Tab 2 thats very flaky; the Nook HD+ beats them all either on readability, stability, or price.

Alas I don't know if BN can turn the business side around without stripping the Nook down to a basic B&W reader, and locking folks down to the BN store.

Biology grows on you.