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

by kimanaw (#46551785) Attached to: Startup Employees As an Organized Labor Group
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

by kimanaw (#45750823) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do You Run a Copy-Cat Installation At Home?
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

by kimanaw (#44666409) Attached to: Wildfire Threatens Water and Power To San Francisco
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

by kimanaw (#44664517) Attached to: Barnes & Noble Won't Give Up On the Nook
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.

Comment: Build it! (Score 3, Interesting) 312

by kimanaw (#43062235) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Monitor Setup For Programmers
Timely post. I've been struggling w/ the same situation, and just wandered around HomeDepot awhile until I found the parts. I looked for an actual storebought solution, but didn't find anything that can support 27" monitors.

(Long version)

I've been working from home for 15+ years, big laptop on a big lapdesk, in a recliner. Decadent, yes, but productive.

About 6 months ago, I built myself a standup workstation to force me off my big arse, and added a 27" monitor above my 18.5" laptop. Loved it: more screen, felt more awake, back felt much better (highly recommend the standup to anyone having weight/back/etc issues from sitting all day)

Then I started jogging on the treadmill 30-45min a day. For all its great benefits, working at the standup tired my legs before my jog, so I went back to the recliner, but missed the 2nd screen. So I took another spin around HomeDepot and grabbed some parts and built what I needed...though it took several iterations.

Hints: don't use cheap aluminum braces, the weight of the monitor torques it too much. I'm picking up a beefy steel brace today. Unless your stand will be attached to some other furniture, and be fairly short, use metal (1.5" conduit or similar), rather than wood for the poles. I used a wooden closet rod, and it definitely bends a bit. I've been able to compensate, but will probably upgrade to metal in future.

And as a base for the whole. thing, look for a hefty patio umbrella stand. I happened to have an old one lying around that does the trick, but it may need more weight.

This probably sounds like a lot more effort than you had in mind, but sometimes the best solution is homebrewed.

Comment: Sorry, no. Informatica FTW! (Score 2) 338

by kimanaw (#42095087) Attached to: A Gentle Rant About Software Development and Installers
Having installed both BOBJ and Oracle (and numerous other "Enterprise" software packages), I can confidently say that setting up even a small Informatica system is by far the most painful, error prone, and infuriating experience I've ever had in my 2+ decades of experience.

I usually start the process by crawling into a corner in the fetal position and sobbing uncontrollably for 30 minutes, cuz I know the next week of my life will be complete hell. Then I throw away the docs, since I know they're a work of fiction. 5-7 days of random typing and button pressing later, I may finally have a functional Informatica system.

Comment: Public schools fail, so give them more ? (Score 4, Insightful) 729

by kimanaw (#41216967) Attached to: Do We Need a Longer School Year?
If the current system is failing, why would we want to give kids even more of it ?

Much learning occurs *outside* of classrooms. Learning to be a good person, how to camp, swim, fish, etc. and enjoy life.And how to work, btw. I'm not aware of any curriculum that includes those classes. Are we going to add them in those 3 more months of failed public schooling ?

Our school system has many issues (starting w/ the NEA and - ironically - underpaid teachers). Turning it into a 12 year long death march isn't going to fix it. In the "land of the free", its important for kids to know what freedom is.

Comment: Beer is good food! (Score 2) 340

by kimanaw (#41203341) Attached to: Ale To the Chief: White House Releases Beer Recipe
Massive doses of B vitamins, purified water (you know fish breed in that stuff ?), yeast hulls, and reduced stress levels.

Alas, as a Libertarian, Mssr. Obama's socialist leanings disallow me from voting for him, but I applaud his choice of quality beverage. Perhaps a good pint of Pliney, or a Firestone Parabola, or Black Butte XXIV, will clear his mind. I'd be happy to volunteer a pint of my excellent Saison or Belgian Quad if it will end America's perpetual war on "whoever we're trying to kill at the moment:"

(Have no fear, I have no such delusions that Mssr. Romney will be swayed by a friendly magic pint - mores the pity...)

Comment: Glasses ? No thanks, my contacts work great (Score 1) 166

by kimanaw (#34854826) Attached to: Goodbye Bifocals — Electronic Glasses Change Focus
Seems to me someone just announced a new electronic buggy whip. I've been wearing multifocal contacts for 2 years and love them. They're less than $200/yr if you know where to look, and if you've got decent insurance, they're basically free. So why would I want some huge electonic goggles perched on my nose again ?

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard

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