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Comment Please! Let's think like hackers (Score 1) 165

Just print up whatever piece you like with appropriately-sized empty pockets where you can glue original Lego bricks (available as small as 1x1) or plates that will mate with the other bricks in your project. Tight tolerances and the right kind of plastic only really matter for the actual pins and sockets which must mate with the other blocks. And, there's always sandpaper if the body of a printed piece is a shade too large. That is how real manufacturers typically do things: they use high-precision or high-strength inserts only where it counts.

But really, just forget the whizzbang 3D printer thingy. Take Lego brick(s) and apply Sugru, Fimo, acrylic or urethane resin, whatever, around them to make your piece. You could use other Lego pieces as scaffolding or molds (use mold release) if necessary. You'll save hours of frustration and get a much better surface finish than any 3D printer in the bargain.

Comment It's just a celebrity press release (Score 1) 277

Reading the original article, it's pretty clear the data-recovery company decided to pitch a press release to capitalize their little brush with celebrity. It's a slow tech news season and all, so PCWorld took the bait and published the press release with little change.

People recover CP/M floppies every day. It's a routine job well within any decent recovery company's skill set. The only thing that's special is the Roddenberry connection.

Comment Re:From the first-get-a-lawyer dept. (Score 2, Insightful) 174

Insurers are the *last* people who want to see global risk diminish. Their business model is to figure out how much they'll have to pay out & mark that up by x%. The last thing they want is to have claims go down, since that would eventually cause the industry to reduce premiums, thus reducing the $ profit. Notice the % stays the same, but the $ go down.

Sometimes insurance companies will offer you ways to reduce risk, but that's either PR spin or they figure they can gain a short-term advantage over their competitors. In the long term, they love risk as long as the field is level for all the insurers.

Comment Re:A better idea, just needs better implemenation (Score 1) 284

You also probably want the employee to have the ability to job hop.

Why free agents? I thought the idea was to fill specific job posts that Americans can't do -- not to expand the general labor pool.

last resort... clearly not true or enforced

Impose a $50K price tag and it will very quickly become last resort. And enforced.

Comment Re:A better idea, just needs better implemenation (Score 5, Interesting) 284

How about a flat $50K/year tax payable straight to the gov't? Think of that as a tariff or duty. This would have several advantages:
  - Simple & stupid, can't game a flat fee
  - That kind of revenue wold keep the gov't interested in enforcing the program
  - Makes the process of hiring offshore much more expensive. Remember, the idea is that hiring offshore is supposed to be a *last* resort, so $50K wouldn't deter someone who truly needed a particular skill.
  - Makes it impractical to hire offshore lower-level employees, the kind that we already have plenty of and who are blatantly being replaced with foreigners just to save money.

Comment Re:The thing I don't understand with the ad busine (Score 1) 519

Yeah, look at YouTube's auto-play feature. Used to be that advertisers could count on the the customer actually watching the video (and associated ad) they just clicked for, but with auto play they can get paid for ads even if nobody's watching! Google wins, but only until advertisers realize that their ads "mysteriously" don't work like they used to.

Comment Ads = virus attack vector (Score 3, Interesting) 519

I could live with ads if they were just annoying, but ad blocking is just commonsense self-defense. Browsing just one site exposes you ads from potentially hundreds of sources, each of which potentially carries as much or more risk of attack as the site you're browsing! It just doesn't make sense to voluntarily expose yourself to that magnitude of increased risk.

Seems like a week doesn't go by without seeing a zero-day advisory along the lines of "observed in the wild being served from XYZ ad network." A lot of attackers no longer bother compromising servers, etc when they can just spend a few $ to almost instantly serve up the targets.

First order of business for advertising networks: fix the security, bandwidth and response times issues. Until then, I won't feel any guilt whatsoever about protecting myself from you.

Comment Maybe women are smarter? (Score 3, Insightful) 212

As a tech marketing lady I met observed, the men make the stuff and the women sell it in our industry. She added "maybe that's because we're smarter about getting paid!"

Might help if Microsoft, among others, stopped supporting increased tech H1-B quotas. They tend to depress wages and working conditions, making the "pipeline" we're trying to promote less attractive than, say, marketing. Or doctoring or lawyering. There are only so many really smart people to go around, so one profession's gain is another profession's loss. Design engineers seem to have plateaued around very roughly $100K. That's an OK living, but not exactly what I'd call professional earnings.

Comment John Sculley, Steve Ballmer (Score 1) 217

What happens when you take away the geek?

Steve Jobs, if not a programmer, was steeped in tech dreams and culture from a young age. John Sculley, a Pepsi marketer, took over Apple in the 80's. He just didn't get it, basically drove Apple to near-bankruptcy.

Bill Gates wasn't a super-programmer, but he was clearly one of us. MS started dying the day that Ballmer took over, and seems to be getting his game back now that a geek is running the show again.

Unicorn makers dream in geek. The "idea guys" don't have the technical vision that's needed to actually lead for the long term.

Comment Re:A/B Testing (Score 1) 142

We're all but beta testers in the eye of $software_company

Correction: We're all but beta testers in the eye of $advertising_company. Ever notice that their advertising platforms rarely suffer from this kind of flakiness?

Google's stock price would barely quiver if Chrome, Android, GMail, etc all evaporated overnight. Might even go UP like when companies announce staff cuts. Those little freebie side-projects are largely there to convince the public and Google's own employees that they're a do-good technology company. Delivering tested, bullet-proof software apparently isn't part of the agenda in that "cool" part of their shop.

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