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Comment: Similar to Affirmative Action - a white man (Score 3, Interesting) 307

This was played out already, albeit in a different scenario.

Over 25 years ago I was admitted into the SUNY Binghamton (NY) CS masters degree program. I had no CS training at all and did not qualify. However, their affirmative action program included something like extra entry points for veterans so I got in. I was required to take tough summer long CS course, along with many African American and female students. It brought us up to speed enough to compete next semester with those who were already knowledgeable . Otherwise we would not have made it.

Affirmative Action students spent their own money and their own time. The reward for America was a raising of the skills level for a lot more people, white (me) as well as black. I don't know if AA like this is still legal, but what Google is suggesting - the effective sequestering of unprepared individuals until they are ready - is a good idea.

PS: I finished 11th of an original 100 on the MS overall final

Comment: Re:Algorithm (Score 1) 602

by mnooning (#48514491) Attached to: UK Announces 'Google Tax'

I mostly agree, but let me add an additional idea.

Eaton Corp (large and small electrical controls devices) moved their HQ to Ireland a few years. They can claim the higher US expenditures and the lower Irish tax rates. Smart for the investors. Terrible for America as a whole. I tend to be right of center, but I see what the British are doing as a step in the right direction.

The real, permanent solution would be to eliminate corporate taxes altogether. Buildings and piles of corporate paperwork do not have feelings, for example "enjoyment of less taxation", so jealousy should not be aroused at this idea. Instead, just tax the profits of the people who own the corporation at a slightly higher rate. If those people want to move to another country to avoid the personal income taxes, so be it, but the majority would stay right here, and there would be no more Eaton style HQ transfers.

Comment: Re:Performance (Score 4, Insightful) 283

by mnooning (#48110637) Attached to: Tesla Announces Dual Motors, 'Autopilot' For the Model S

Let me add to your reasoning. This is the same argument as for the television in the late 1940s, or the VCR in my own lifetime.

I remember many years ago walking out of a specialty store that sold VCR equipment. The prices were way high, and before I left I commented to the sales person that VCRs were a rich man's game. At that point, it was a true statement.

The 5% who can afford these electric cars will fund the initial manufacturing. Infrastructure will grow. Costs will come down. Given the power electricity has, and the relative safety of supplying outlets and other infrastructure, even more people will see the advantages, be able to afford it and buy it, and so on, increasingly, until it is being massed produced at ordinary consumer prices. The US, for one, is slowly but surely going to change in the transportation area.

Note: U.S. sales by luxury brands should easily top 1.8 million this year Source

Comment: Re:Free market (Score 2) 232

by mnooning (#47927375) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

You misinterpret on at least two counts, but you bring up yet another good point

First the good point. If you just learn random things in general you will never use 90% of it. I agree, that would be a great time waster.

One cannot learn a real language in a week, though. Python or Perl can be learned enough for a small script in a week, yes, but beyond trivial subroutines there are stacks of advanced books in each language. Take the time to read them. Go through the examples line by line. Mastering a language will save you and your company untold hours a month because you know what can be done and, instinctively, how to approach things.

One cannot learn a technology in a short time, either. If you don't know TCP/IP or symbol tables or hashes, and you are a programmer, learn them. If you are a programmer in the coal or nuclear industry, for example, learn different aspects of it the steam cycle. Look into the marketing aspects. What do salesmen encounter? What are the competing technologies? Learn something about them.

I am not suggesting doing any of this using the company's money, either. If you work 12 hours and get paid for 8, then make sure you put in an honest 8 hours work.

I believe there is a strong payback for both the company and the workers if the workers have kept up. Companies show they agree with this in actual practice because it is not the worker who has kept his nose to the grindstone all 12 hours that gets the rewards. It is the one who has kept up and can therefore contribute more in the future.

Comment: Re:Free market (Score 1) 232

by mnooning (#47925847) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

Over my 30 years as a SW engineer I have seen project managers get their projects by promising unrealistic time and costs to the president. They are under the gun to push an unrealistic schedule from the very start. Everyone knows it, including the president, but they also know that forcing 12 hr/6d work weeks is the great way to get a lot of free work from their employees. Saying that the schedule has slipped yet again actually does make workers think that somehow they themselves had a hand in the slippage, and the slight feeling of guilt shuts them up. That means you agree, by default to doing a tremendous amount of charity work for your company.

The worst thing you can do is acquiesce. If you do that for any length of time you will be pigeon holed into only having only the exact skills you are using, which will make you unemployable anywhere else. I am very capitalistic, but I have to say the company will own you if you let that happen. Your real shock will come when you are let go for a new person who has the updated skills they need!

You cannot let your family go. The precious little home time you have must spend time with them. So what do you do?

You must be fair to the company and work hard for them, at least 8 hours a day. However, your first loyalty is your family, and for them you must spend at least 4 hours a day honing your skills. Do your charity work at church where it belongs. Keep up or, eventually, become unemployed and unemployable.

"It's when they say 2 + 2 = 5 that I begin to argue." -- Eric Pepke

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