Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Give me a raise (Score 1) 307

Leadership isn't just part of being a good manager; it's what makes you a manager, by skillset. If you can't program a computer and I give you a computer programmer job, you're not a programmer; you're an idiot in the wrong job. If you're a manager and you're not an effective leader, you're not a manager; you're a fuckoff. Knowing what to do is an important part of management; but managing something requires control over it, and you don't get control over humans without gaining their social acceptance of your ability to lead. You also can't decide what to do if you can't make decisions--and part of being a leader is making decisions when others come to you without direction, since that's when they're coming specifically to *ask* you to lead.

You can't be a leader by programming; you can be a programmer who is also a leader. You don't need to be a manager to be a leader.

Comment Re:Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 1) 196

Take for example how supply and demand influence price. I.e. more supply means reduced price, more demand means increased price. And 90% of the time, that hold's true, but it's that 10% where it throws the models off, and the cause could be something fickle like masses of people arbitrarily decided that the product has gone out of style and they don't want it anymore no matter what price it is sold at.

I've written theories largely based on cost, and handwaved price as a market economics topic. I believe that's a valid stance.

In my economic theories, the basis of productivity improvement is labor time reduction: if you need 10,000 man-hours to produce food for 10,000 people, each one person must work 10 hours to eat. As Adam Smith observed, you can compartmentalize this: 2,500 people can work 40 hours to feed everyone, and the other 7,500 can do something else. Adam Smith's observation was flawed in that he claimed division of labor was the only way to do this--that you had to add new people handling smaller parts of the task--and thus claimed you couldn't have the *same* people or the *same* number of roles invested in doing different tasks requiring less time and producing the same output. For example: he discounted that a power tool maker could design a better power tool, and discounted that something like cellular manufacture would have any gains (cellular manufacture is a rearranged assembly line to reduce the time spent carrying intermediate products around).

That productivity improvement implies a lot of things. Your theory of "Supply and Demand" has implications such as something called "Scarcity", which I can explain. Scarcity occurs with superlinear growth of labor requirements.

Let me demonstrate.

It takes 2,500 people to feed 10,000 people. It takes 5,000 people to feed 20,000 people. It takes 10,000 people to feed 30,000 people. It takes 30,000 people to feed 40,000 people. It takes 60,000 people to feed 50,000 people.

Somewhere between a population of 20,000 and 30,000, it started taking more people--more labor-hours--to produce additional food for one person. That means you can feed up to 20,000 people with 10 hours of labor invested per person; but when you get to 30,000 people, you're averaging 13 hours of labor per person--which means those last bits of food are averaging a lot more. If it's the last 10,000 people requiring the scaled-up effort, then you're paying 10 hours per person for the first 20,000 and 20 hours per person for the last 10,000.

Eventually, you need more labor than you have available: making things is just impossible.

Scarcity starts when it starts taking more labor per unit output to produce an increased output of goods.

My theories of wealth growth stand not on labor hours, but on labor costs. Labor costs are labor-hours multiplied by labor price. The primary method for reducing labor costs is to reduce labor hours; I recognize that increasing labor price has serious economic effects, and that decreasing labor hours both decreases productive scarcity and decreases labor costs as two separate economic factors. In other words: lowering the labor requirements to produce a good produce one set of effects by the same mechanism as reducing wages, and another set of effects stemming from the addition of available workforce labor. It's self-referential in that second bit: think of it as "like cutting wages plus other stuff you don't get just by cutting wages".

Prices can go as low as costs, sustainably; they can't go any lower in the long run. If it costs $550/tonne to produce rice, you can't sell rice for less than $550/tonne for very long. You can sell it for $1000/tonne if no other market factors drive the price down, of course.

A lot of market factors drive price toward cost. There's direct competition (ten rice suppliers; better push rice down. Oh, we can make it for $180/tonne now, so let's undercut that $550/tonne price and sell it for $200/tonne), which is very fast; and there's inflation pressure (prices climb slower than inflation), which is very slow. (The buying power of unit currency is the total income divided by the total production--the total production being the total buying power--which is how we get inflation.) To your point, however:

the cause could be something fickle like masses of people arbitrarily decided that the product has gone out of style and they don't want it anymore no matter what price it is sold at.

There's a market behavior of indirect competition. People are no longer interested in overpriced fancy shoes; tech is in-vogue, and they want smart phones and tablets. Because they can't afford both tablets and fancy shoes, they stop buying fancy shoes. To compensate, the fancy shoe producers reduce their prices closer to cost, within the affordability of the consumer base after buying smart phones and tablets. If the fancy shoes cost more to make than that affordability, they vanish--or get replaced by poorly-made imitations; otherwise they come down sharply in price, because shoes are competing with iPhones now.

That explain your observation of an apparent link between supply and demand? It's a valid observation; it's built firmly on more fundamental economics that nobody has yet theorized, and those demonstrate its validity and explain its quirks.

I'm working on explaining all this, but it takes some time and I'm lazy. I've also been blogging some stuff lately--we'll see how long that lasts--to get some notes down that I'll later feed into the paper. Much of the unwritten theory is already in my head, and I'm using a lot of it to extrapolate further theories and observations.

Comment Re:Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 1) 196

Funny, my economic theories predict and explain everything pretty perfectly. Granted, I don't try to predict the stock market or the rise of new nations with economics; you wouldn't use a blowtorch to drive a screw, either.

Modern economic theories are largely stoneage garbage. I dispensed with the term "value" because I decided it didn't have a place in civilized economics; after a while, I started researching economics (because I wrote my theories in a vacuum, having never studied economics myself, and started going back to debunk everything else), and realized all major economic theories are based on explaining the price attached to a good or service. They're all theories of value, not theories of wealth. It's retarded; they really figured out how to fuck up by the numbers.

Comment Re:Just (Score 1) 186

you are going to average 4 to 5 hours of generation per day best case.

Based on the average solar radiation per square meter per day in my area, measured with satellite and ground station data, combined with the 9.61% loss in my system, accounting for the angle from the horizontal, the azimuth (angle from the north), and the fixed nature of my array, I am going to average:

January: 2.84 kWh per m^2 per day, generating 556kWh.

February: 3.81 kWh/m^2/day, generating 669kWh.

March: 4.50 kWh/m^2/day, generating 843kWh.

April: 5.22 kWh/m^2/day, generating 929kWh.

May: 5.64 kWh/m^2/day, generating 1,003kWh.

June: 6.27 kWh/m^2/day, generating 1,033kWh.

July: 6.06 kWh/m^2/day, generating 1,025kWh.

August: 5.47 kWh/m^2/day, generating 928kWh.

September: 4.80 kWh/m^2/day, generating 802kWh.

October: 4.33 kWh/m^2/day, generating 773kWh.

November: 3.00 kWh/m^2/day, generating 545kWh.

December: 2.33 kWh/m^2/day, generating 454kWh.

That accounts for the size, efficiency, and generating capacity of my array. It accounts for the hours of the day, the average weather, the amount of sunlight reaching the earth, the amount converted by my panels. It accounts for the electrical loss in my inverters, for soiling, for shading (none), for mismatch losses, for losses in wiring.

That's not peak generation during the day multiplied by 24 hours; that's total generation during the day, on average, multiplied by the month.

That's a 7,000 watt system of 28 standard (15%) panels (mine are a touch more efficient), with factory-matched panels and micro-inverters (2 panels per micro-inverter) (meaning no mismatch loss), with no shading, in a fixed rack, at 161 degree azimuth and 34 degrees from the horizontal (optimum spring-fall, near-optimum summer, less-optimum winter), spread over a 1000sqft area, at a latitude of 39.18N and a longitude of 76.67W.

That's a total of 9,560kWh/year on average.

It's 23,900kWh in 2.5 years. At current, my electricity is 11 cents, plus enough taxes and fees to top 17 cents per kWh in total (I computed it at 17.4 cents per kWh last year; it's a bit cheaper now). That's $1,625/year of cost reduction, plus 9.5 SRECs. The exchange price used to hover around $168, about $1600/year; 2015 SRECs are currently $180, and 2014 currently sell for $175, so I'm looking at around $1700/year.

In total, it's $4,063 of displaced electricity costs, $4,302 of SRECs sold to the utility company, and the 30% ITC taking the $12,740 cost down to $8,918 plus the MD $1,000 flat grant. $8,365 recovered in 2.5 years versus $7,918 expended.

Don't mess with me, man; I'm a lawyer.

Comment Re:Give me a raise (Score 1) 307

Management *can be* a leadership position. Leadership *can be* computer programming.

=> is not <=> ; you reversed the logic. You'd make a shitty computer programmer. Your statement is also false.

Computer programming is not leadership. A lot of computer programmers and other technical people envision themselves as leaders because they have a senior position due to their grand mastery of discrete component circuitry and assembly-level memory management. They try to lead by knowing, and by dumping their knowledge onto other people. Leadership is not just being more knowledgeable and thus frequently right where everyone else is wrong; it distinctly requires finding out when your knowledge has aged and getting input from other people to make sure the whole team is moving in the right direction, and not just the direction you envisioned from on high.

As soon as you're in a management position, you're in a leadership position. Management is not looking up from on-high and decreeing what shall be; you can't manage well--you might say you're not managing--by just pointing and screaming and flinging your own dung at everything. You *need* to take in information, you *need* to interact with the people you're managing. That's why middle-managers are supposed to work out high-level goals with their subordinates, who get their information from the teams under them, and who work out specific strategies and assign work with the team: a guy managing programmers must work with the programmers to figure out if and how to carry out business tasks; a guy managing managers must work with those managers to discover if something can be done and what the organization needs to invest to complete the task successfully. Nobody, at any level, can just close their ears and scream their decree and call themselves an effective manager; what you have there is a spoiled crybaby.

there is no leadership outside management

Team leads and technical leads are getting into semi-management positions. They're chimera roles: they're both leaders and engineers. In some organizations, the manager above the team lead also interacts directly with the team; in others, there's a strict hierarchy, and the team lead is expected to exercise all of the authority over the team, directing who performs what work. Technical leads are sometimes a strange mix: they're expected to hold much of the technical discussion and make many of the technical decisions without the functional or project managers present, and then bring the results (the decisions and the information that lead to those decisions) to those managers. In that function, the technical leads aren't team leaders, and they're not the decision-making authority; they're there to make sure the team doesn't stall and muddle waiting for leadership on technical decisions, and to make sure technical decisions are well-considered and presented to management properly.

Management is a technical role. You may not be a "manager" in title, and you'll still find yourself performing as management. Leadership is a particular skill and behavior that doesn't necessarily correlate to your job--you can perform as an organizational and team leader without being assigned that role, and easily find yourself promoted into a management or team lead role because you're helping hold shit together. We need the firm walls between skill sets, even if the roles sometimes become fuzzy.

So yes, a leader can be a computer programmer; a computer programmer can be a leader; but leadership and computer programming are not either thing. A manager can lead a computer programming team without knowing much about computer programming, too; it's probably more effective if he knows something about computer programming, provided he can get over the subject expert problem (subject experts like to micromanage, and often can't recognize new problems without forcing them into the structure of known concepts, so demand everyone do the wrong thing).

Comment Re:Give me a raise (Score 4, Insightful) 307

What you are describing usually works when a company is doing great. Then management can be upfront about the department's goals and criteria, and in general be transparent on what is expected out of its employees. However reality is such that if there are some problems, being upfront about these often leads to best employees leaving for greener pastures

No, it doesn't.

There is a reason we do work breakdown structures: it seems like a waste of time, because you all think you know what you're doing; but it's gets us a full view of all the work we have to do, so we can understand if we don't have the capability, if it's going to take a lot more work than we think, if we need to hire more people, to consider a smaller target, or whatnot. It lets us organize our work so we understand what we're doing, so we have everything planned ahead, and so we know where our blind spots are and can use rolling-wave planning to further decompose the work in those blind spots as we finish earlier work and come more to understand what we're doing.

There's generally a reason we do everything, even the things the engineers disagree with. There's a reason we make decisions against the team's judgment--hopefully not for incompetence. There are clear reasons for specific processes, for forms, for encryption policies, for software restrictions, firewalls, everything. There's a reason you're not allowed to burn CDs. There's a reason you've been told to use a fully-featured $50,000 commercial software and not a half-functional open source package--requirements and deliverables, other projects requiring those features, future plans, risks and opportunities.

When you hunker down and say "Do what I say and don't question it," you're sending the signal that the employee's expertise is unnecessary. You're also cutting off your ability to use their expertise, which is going to lead to a corporate collapse.

Comment Re:Give me a raise (Score 2) 307

I'm paid more than the help desk and I keep trying to explain to the help desk manager why we need help desk training and training to interact with a help desk. It's another function--one that's cheaper because it's easier to replace and less necessary. There aren't a whole hell of a lot of managers, and good managers are a lot more productive than 2 extra engineers. Part of that is the whole accessible college thing: workforce development is an individual responsibility, not an employer responsibility, so you are worth nothing unless you go to college, so everyone goes to college (free or by loans) and we can pay you less and give you few benefits and replace you with another burger-flipper-with-a-degree if you turn out not to be an obedient little sycophant. We beg and plead and protest for serfdom in this day and age.

Your good nature will bring you unbounded happiness.