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Comment: Re:I must be the outlier (Score 1) 234

by n7ytd (#47567011) Attached to: Comcast Confessions

This is my exact experience as well. I couldn't convince the customer service rep that their "system" also showed that I was an Internet customer for 2 years before they started trying to charge me a modem rental fee. How was I receiving service before that time? Did their system show me ordering a modem? Did their system show them shipping me a modem? All of these questions fell on deaf ears.

After cancelling service with them, their automated phone service would no longer recognize my account number as an active account, but then 4 months later the attempted billings for not returning this mystery modem began again.

The very helpful person I chatted with on their website last month assures me the problem is fixed. We'll see about that.

Comment: Re:I must be the outlier (Score 1) 234

by n7ytd (#47566703) Attached to: Comcast Confessions

I wouldn't consider your journey done just yet.

If your experience pans out like mine has, in about 4 months you will start getting e-mails and letters from Comcast attempting to bill you for the equipment you haven't returned yet.

Attempting to explain that you don't have any more equipment to return, will get you empty promises that they will fix the error in their computers, along with another e-mail and bill next month.

In my case, they continue to attempt to bill me $70 for a cable modem that I have never rented from them. Their system still shows a credit of $42 they owe me, but no one seems to know when that money will be returned to me, 6 months after cancelling.

If I never hear from them again, I'll consider it $42 well spent.

Comment: Re:I guess they won't need any more foreign Visas? (Score 1) 383

by n7ytd (#47485205) Attached to: Microsoft CEO To Slash 18,000 Jobs, 12,500 From Nokia To Go

If you are not making $45 or more an hour you are being robbed. Programmers are massively underpaid compared to the skillset we need to do our jobs. Why the hell do we tolerate deflating the job down to the level of a factory worker?

First off, $45 per hour is not too high. After factoring in benefits that probably equates to a salary of about $65k per year. So while I agree that making less than $65k per year is low for all but junior developers (or those working in very low cost areas), I'm not sure I agree with your assertion that most developers are underpaid. The average salary of a developer is about $90k per year, which is an incredibly high salary.

$45/hour * 40 hours * 52 weeks = $93,600/year. I'm sure where your message goes from there... is $45/hour "not too high", or is $90k an "incredibly high" salary?

Comment: Re: Amen, brother Amen! (Score 1) 522

"Name 1 way to back up her emails and pictures on a remote server that requires fewer mouse clicks than forwarding them herself with email."

Dropbox - drag, drop, done. Single click.

You forgot the following steps:
0a: Learn what Dropbox is.
0b: Find Dropbox on the web without being suckered into look-alike advertisements and link farms.
0c: Download the installer from Dropbox's website.
0d: Execute installer and navigate Windows' UAC restrictions.
0e: Create Dropbox account, along with reading/skipping EULA. (Optional: Visit DropBox's website every 90 days to stay on top of any changes to their EULA, verify they haven't had any new breaches that might require a password change, or that the free account quota hasn't been exceeded.
0f: Learn how to create a folder to sync with Dropbox.
0g: Learn how to find said folder again.
0h: Learn to using Windows' file search functions to glean the cat videos from the grandkids e-mails which now all live in one folder.

Other than that, yeah, pretty much single click. I'm really not trying to be snarky here; my dad's on about this level. About three times a year I have to walk him through the differences between single-click, double click, shift click, and right click. Also why files that he's dragged from a folder to the desktop are no longer in the folder.

Comment: Re:Do you have the time? (Score 1) 309

by n7ytd (#46984447) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Computer Science Freshman, Too Soon To Job Hunt?

Amen to this. Don't look at this as the last chance to be a child, look at it as the first chance to be an adult. Instead of looking at college as your last chance to avoid responsibility, use it as a chance to learn a little responsibility and ease into the idea of being a Grown Up.

Working during college is a reasonable thing. If you have a scholarship or the Bank of Mom & Dad is funding your education, bully for you; but having even a part-time job during school means that priorities must be set and time must be managed.

Much better to hit the ground running after graduation and not be shocked at the idea of needing to be at work 8-5 every day.

Comment: Re:BS (Score 1) 309

by n7ytd (#46984349) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Computer Science Freshman, Too Soon To Job Hunt?

I just got my haircut from a lady whose 23 year old son just got a consulting gig making 120,000 a year! He started 2 years ago making websites and turning them into smart phone applets.

No offense but I do not believe that advice as employers and HR can not find anyone with 2 - 3 years of HTML 5 and css 3 experience. Coca cola and others hired this kid and keep paying him $50/hr to code.

Just picking nits here, but $50/hr != $120,000/year.

It is the Java jobs that require 10 years experience because the old timers all have that and can simply demand it. Web and mobile app positions do not have as much experience which means lower barriers to entry and more cash to make.

I'm not sure what you're saying here... that web and mobile app positions, with their lower barriers to entry, should be paid more?

Comment: Re:So basically... (Score 1) 287

by n7ytd (#46762475) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

I would, simply because people learn at different rates and different ways. I dropped out of college after 3 semesters, best decision ive ever made. now it wasnt all flowers and roses but I learned more in the next 4 years actually working and researching things on my own then they were ever going to teach me in school.

You don't know that. If you're convinced your self-directed learning over those four years was more productive than a four-year degree could have been, there's two possible reasons for that: 1) Your school was not well-managed, or 2) you have an incredible drive and a knack for picking the right things to learn.

Of course, the boatload of money you would have spent on the degree is worth considering too. Glad it worked out for you.

Comment: Re:Meanwhile... (Score 1) 653

by n7ytd (#46537585) Attached to: $30K Worth of Multimeters Must Be Destroyed Because They're Yellow

Actual intentional Fluke clones stream across the ocean in small lots from ebay every day. Some of these are presumably actual Fluke meters, just being sold by the factory directly, rather than through normal channels.

Plus the hilarious things like FUKE meters, which are very clearly inferior copies, but intentionally made to look similar.

And then the generic $3 meters in red, black, yellow, orange, green, whatever. Sometimes these come with a brand name you've never heard of, sometimes they are completely devoid of all identifying marks.

I'm guessing that way more than 2,000 of these have made it in the country so far this year, mostly with laughably and obviously bogus customs forms.

From reading the comments, it would appear that Fluke really did "invent" the yellow multimeter, and they have a legitimate concern about protecting their trade dress. But for most people (particularly those under 40 or 50), "cheap multimeter" (of any color) is a stronger brand than "yellow multimeter".

It's a lot easier to stop one container full of 2,000 meters as a symbolic gesture than to find and stop 2,000 shipments of one meter each.

Comment: Re:Should have been an out, return (Score 1) 653

by n7ytd (#46536597) Attached to: $30K Worth of Multimeters Must Be Destroyed Because They're Yellow

The thing that I don't understand is why returning them would impose a large import tax, when it was simply going back to country of origin and manufacture. How does that make any sense? And would that import tax on a mere 2000 devices really have exceeded the cost of destroying them?

Returning them is also more sound because at least then you can re-skin them and sell them eventually.

To me if you are going to manufacture anything it only makes sense that you would ensure the ability to return the products in case of an issue. What if they had simply delivered devices that didn't work? It seems like the same import tax dilemma would have applied.

If they had defective units, those would probably have been trashed and replaced, too. The numbers just don't work for them to do anything besides trash them.

Playing fast and loose with the numbers we're given, here's what it seems like to me: There are 2000 meters in question, which they retail for $15 each, which is where the $30k comes from. Let's say they purchased them at $5 each from the manufacturer, which is probably on the high side given the margins that Sparkfun would need to make this a profitable venture. The manufacturer could not have spent more than $3 each for them to make a profit. We know from their post that Sparkfun has been given 30 days by customs to sort this out, and they are facing a $150/day warehousing fee.

This number of meters would probably fill most of a single shipping container, which costs around $3k to have delivered from China to Los Angeles, and takes 3-4 weeks. So from manufacture and shipping, Sparkfun would be into this lot for around $13k. If they incur no other cost and could sell them immediately, they would have a profit of $17k on this lot. We know that's not the case: they will need to be handled by their staff, sit in a warehouse somewhere, then eventually handled again and shipped to an end customer.

It would cost them another $3k to ship them back to China. Once in China, after paying import duty, their vendor could repackage and sell them somewhere else, or rework them to make them sellable in the US. Remember the vendor only sold them for $5 each the first time around and it costs them $3 to make a new one, so there's no margin after duties and repackaging for them to divert them to another customer.

If Sparkfun chose to pay for the rework, it would then be another $3k to bring them back to the US and handle them again, after a 2.5-3 month round trip, where they could attempt to sell them again at $30k, after spending another $6k+ against their potential max profit of $17k.

The money's just not there. It's unfortunate that usable product will be destroyed, but unless Sparkfun is already set up to resell in another country to which they could be diverted, I don't see a lot of options.

It's time to boot, do your boot ROMs know where your disk controllers are?