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Comment: Re:How much do the backers get? (Score 1) 107

Is it pure risk for the backers? e.g. if they make a product, they get something they bought, but if the product flops, they loose their money.
And now if the product makes a fortune, they only get their product they bought.
In other words, is kickstarter just a pre-order sales website?

It's zero risk for the kickstarter backers. There is zero chance they will lose more than they pledged through kickstarter.

Product? They didn't buy any product. Kickstarter has been quite clear, it is not a pre-order service. Anything offered in return for a kickstarter pledge is essentially a thank-you gift. Like all gifts, you're shouldn't demand one or complain when you don't get one.

If a kickstarter campaign fails (that is, raises the requested funds, but never manages to complete the product), the backers get nothing and have no recourse. I don't see how it would be any different if the campaign succeeds, as it did in this case. (Other than for P.R. reasons)

So back to the question of risk, once the campaign reached its funding goal, that money pledged was gone. Not a risk, but a certainty. It's like asking, what is the risk if I drop $5 into a Salvation Army bucket? No risk--you're just out $5.

Comment: Re:Only if... (Score 1) 427

by mcmonkey (#47323869) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

I could make phone calls on it without carrying a separate phone. Beyond that and telling time, I can't think of any other use for a screen I'd want to wear on my wrist.

My first thought in response to the question was, "never".

But if a smartwatch was a phone replacement instead of just a remote control for something that is generally not out of reach, I might consider it.

Of course, I was never a big fan of wrist watches. I could never get comfortable with one. I prefer pocket watches. So I would buy a pocket smart watch. And being a pocket watch, it would be a little bigger than a wrist watch, with a larger screen.

Oh wait! I already have that. It's called, "my phone."

So never. My answer is never.

Comment: Re:So Scott Oldham of is a liar? (Score 1) 307

by mcmonkey (#47181861) Attached to: GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

I'm not calling Oldham a liar. I'm saying, GM's story means either they are calling him a liar, or they're saying the engineer in the car with him on his test drive just happened to be the one engineer who knew about the issue. How else can they say only one person knew about the issue?

However, reading a bit more closely, we could be talking about different time frames. I.E. in 2002 only one person knew, as the GM statement claims, and only later in 2004 did other engineers become aware.

Of course none of that explains how one person gets a part changed without changing the part number and there's no oversight or visibility, and what happened between 2004 and 2014.

Comment: So Scott Oldham of is a liar? (Score 4, Interesting) 307

by mcmonkey (#47179871) Attached to: GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

According to this NPR story:

Scott Oldham of had a test drive of the Cobalt in 2004, with a GM engineer in the car. Multiple times Oldham's knee hit the key fob and car shut down.

Also, a major factor preventing identification of the ignition switch issue (or at least providing plausible deniability) is the part number. GM had 2 sets of cars: one set supposedly had this issue, the other did not. Both had the same ignition switch, so if there was a difference between the two sets, the ignition switch was not it.

Now we know the ignition switch was changed, but the part number stayed the same, making it difficult to correctly identify the issue. We're supposed to believe a single engineer was responsible for changing a part but not the part number?

Not that it matters much to me. My car searches start with Consumer Reports reviews and reliability ratings, and so no GM car has been in consideration for a while.

Comment: Was that an interview or an audition? (Score 2) 274

by mcmonkey (#46914565) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Joining a Startup As an Older Programmer?

Because what you describe sounds more like the Hollywood version of a tech start up than any of the actual start-ups I've worked for and with.

Not that there can't be issues from the cultural differences between established companies and start-ups or between 40-something married with children and 20 & 30-something single, but if I'm looking to join a company as a programmer and Burning Man is on my list of concerns, I would not be looking to join this company.

Comment: Re:You were not hired to finish the project (Score 1) 308

by mcmonkey (#46142451) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Do You Do If You're Given a Broken Project?

If he makes it work, the original "respected" designer will jump in and claim all the credit.

If he doesn't, he, as the scapegoat contractor, will get all the blame.

No-win situation. Leave now.

No win? You mean OP isn't getting paid?

Assuming X10 is getting paid, that's win. If something is accomplished that can go on a resume, that's a win. If useful experience is gained or new skills learned, that's a win. Not every job can be win-win-win. But at very least, get paid. Then there is no 'no-win' situation.

My advice: act like a grown-up. They're paying you to code new features? Code new features. Paying you to fix bugs? Fix bugs. If you have the time and resources, refactor and fix existing code as you are able.

Other than that, I don't understand the question. If it were easy and everything worked as expected, they wouldn't need you. They very fact that they felt the need to bring in a developer means the code wasn't doing what they wanted it to.

Yes, I know you wanted a job where you got paid to surf the web all day. Welcome to the real world. If you consider this a no-win situation, either start your own company and code your own apps from scratch, or get in to another line of work. The situation described in the question applies to 99% of all programming positions. Again, if it worked, they wouldn't need you.

Comment: Re:You weren't there. I was. (Score 1) 723

by mcmonkey (#46112321) Attached to: Atlanta Gambled With Winter Storm and Lost

So don't freaking patronize us. There's stuff that could have been done better in terms of planning by the city and in terms of more people keeping an eye on the weather (the midday snow took everyone at our office by surprise), but it wasn't a matter of just driving better. There was literally *nothing* many of us could have done from that angle. 99% of the people I saw drove sensibly. (Well, more like self-entitled jackasses who wouldn't spit on a man if he was on fire because it might make them thirsty, the way they refused let people over or tried to skip ahead using the middle lanes, but generally safely.)

The issues with how the forecast was handled and what preparation was done before the snow have been addressed by others. What I'll add is, what could have been done once the snow started is, 1) don't send everybody out on the road at the same time! Other cities in other storms have made this same mistake. And it always causes the same issues. Once the decision is made to keep schools and offices open, not sending everyone out on to the road before the plows and salt spreaders have a chance to clear the roads is something that should have been obvious.

You close early to avoid people driving in bad weather/on bad roads. Once it's start snowing, closing everything early sends people out to drive in bad weather/on bad roads.

2) My mind literally cannot comprehend some of the reports coming out of Atlanta. 13 1/2 hours to only go 8.5 miles? We're talking about automobiles, right? Not trains on tracks?

People down south know cars have steering wheels, right? I don't want to freaking patronize anyone, but what about sitting in the car for hour, realizing traffic isn't moving, and heading back to wherever you came from? Even if traffic is twice as bad going the other direction, that's 3 hours to get off the road.

I know many people listen to podcasts and other non-live forms of entertainment, but cars in the south still have radios, don't they? At some point, doesn't the thought occur to check a traffic report? And didn't those traffic reports give an accurate assessment of the situation? And upon hearing that assessment, did the thought arise to just head back to your point of origin or just pull off where you are?

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.