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Comment: Re:BS (Score 1) 331

by mikael (#46764763) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

Pre proposition-13, another hazard was "market-value adjustment" (MVA) of property taxes. Your neighbor decided to turn a sideyard into a ten storey condo. Initially, neighbors didn't complain, but then they were hit by a massive property tax increase because suddenly their acreage gained the market value of a ten-storey condo. So they protested, and height limits were put on buildings.

Comment: Re:The bay area used to have affordable housing (Score 1) 331

by mikael (#46764707) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

It has been well documented. "The Exploding Metropolis" by the editors of Fortune magazine goes beyond a "ludicrously long article" and is an entire book dedicated to the whole subject (there are probably online versons which can be previewed or downloaded):

http://www.ucpress.edu/book.ph...

The unfortunate thing was that whenever incredible amounts of money were spent on providing decent high-rise accommodation for the poor (just as much white as black), the residents would take it upon themselves to crowd in as many relatives as possible into one apartment, use wide hallways as playrooms and storage space and yet others would get bored and decide to go elevator surfing and end up breaking those systems. Some even decided to play games by jumping down the waste disposal chutes in the middle of the night. In the UK and USA, we've ended up having to spectacularly demolish such buildings because of these problems.

The physical energy cost of transporting building materials like concrete upwards means that only the wealthy can afford to live in condominium blocks.

Comment: Re:whine (Score 1) 205

by mikael (#46764517) Attached to: How 'DevOps' Is Killing the Developer

That's one thing - any single item task is going to be broken down into sub-tasks and assigned to different people if not groups accordingly. And then those tasks may not be completed in sequential order. Then there's going to be one crunch-time for everyone when the last task is complete and things don't work. So it's a really nice thing if they can get one knows-everything-about-everything guru to complete that job.

Comment: Re:It's been a lot longer than 2007 (Score 1) 214

by mikael (#46738137) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

The FAA are like a Home Owner Association.They'll use the catch-all clause "Every resident must not cause a nuisance or annoyance to the other residents." if they see something they don't like. Most of it is common sense like: all aircraft flights above 500 feet might have an approved flight plan. Any piloted flying vehicle must be air-worthiness approved and have a maintenance log. Any remote control model must remain in line of sight of the operator".

But then they have a problem with remote controlled vehicles with cameras, because they are out of line-of-sight,, but the operator can still see using the remote camera. That goes into a sort of gray-area, so they haven't made any rules up yet. Perhaps there should be a camera on a pole behind the model so the operator can see the state of the model relative to the surroundings.

Comment: Re:What's awesome... (Score 1) 65

by mikael (#46731077) Attached to: Fruit Flies, Fighter Jets Use Similar Evasive Tactics When Attacked

I'm not sure they can discriminate between a predator and non-predator. They go by smell to find food and partners. Just about anything that is a dark shadow or moves relative to the background is a potential predator - either they get squished or eaten,

They do vision by a method called "optic flow". Imagine everything you see is projected onto a hemispherical dome (like one of those IMAX theaters). The only way you can tell how the camera is moving is whether the picture rotates around a single point, a particular area of the picture gets larger or smaller and any combination of the two. How quickly different parts of the picture move tells them how near it is.

Comment: Re:A possum playing possum (Score 1) 270

by mikael (#46731009) Attached to: The New 'One Microsoft' Is Finally Poised For the Future

The interesting thing about the home computers vs the IBM PC and clones was that the home computes (Atari ST, Amiga, Apple) were ahead of the IBM PC in terms of connectors (MIDI) and display capability (GUI's), but it only took a couple of graphics and audio boards (Soundblaster) for the PC to catch up.

I do have to wonder what the next two iterations are going to be? Wearable computing? Implantable computing?

Comment: Re:Trolling? (Score 1) 270

by mikael (#46730969) Attached to: The New 'One Microsoft' Is Finally Poised For the Future

I would go for the Wacom style art tablet with a built-in screen, but still with a keyboard. That allows for additional interaction including tilt, pressure, and multiple stylus pens to be used simultaneously. I've tried explaining how to use a computer to some of my more senior relatives, and they immediately get all annoyed and panicky when I tell them to "grab the mouse, and pull it towards them". They panic at the thought there is a rodent on the table.

Comment: Re:Seems fishy (Score 3, Interesting) 136

by mikael (#46730909) Attached to: Crowd Wisdom Better At Predictions Than Top CIA Analysts

Why do you think it is purely luck? When you have these wild discussion parties - things like "is a bright blob of pixels on a Mars Rover image a cosmic ray, a high-voltage dust-devil, light contamination of a camera box, a gas geyser", you will have an incredible combination of experts - everyone from geologists, ranchers, hill-hikers, photographers, astronomers. Geologists will tell you want can and can't come from the ground, ranchers and hill-hikers will tell you things they have seen and never seen, photographers will tell you what visual artifacts can appear on a camera, and astronomers tell you what can fall from the sky and can't, and what those falling things look like.

It's like solving a giant logic problem where everyone can cross off or tick what what they know. Eventually the set of possible answers reduces down to one or two.

Comment: Re:Ability to design and write software... (Score 1) 578

by mikael (#46727895) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

Being able to program is only a small part of being a programmer or engineer or developer. First skill = being able to handle ambiguous specifications or even being able to extract them from the client or other engineers tactfully. Second skill = being able to write and document well structured code. Third skill = being able to herd a team of junior programmers towards the same goal.

Sometimes employers use different terms; software developer, application developer, programmer, junior programmer, senior programmer, senior engineer.

Comment: Re:Tradeoffs (Score 2) 578

by mikael (#46727635) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

Highly-paid people still need to eat, drink (bars, cafes, restaurants), buy clothes, shoes (stores, sales assistants, sales managers), maintain their appearance (hairdressers, barbers, estheticians), keep healthy (fitness centres, doctors, dentists), and then they'll want to live somewhere pleasant (architects, landscape gardners), may want to explore their inner self (yoga instructors, meditation), learn new skills (community college), may want to be driven somewhere (taxi drivers, chaffeurs, limo services), want their homes upgraded (builders, painters, interior decorators).

One good suit is worth a thousand resumes.

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