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Comment Re:They're digging their own grave. (Score 5, Interesting) 176

Comcast was dragging their feet in upgrading our community to fibre, telling us it was going to be years off.

As soon as our town (Upper Marlboro, MD) passed an ordinance granting Verizon a franchise agreement, Comcast suddenly had crews out upgrading. Maybe it was a month or so delay ... whatever it was, they did everything they could to try to get their stuff installed before AT&T could. (and they were shutting down town roads without going through the proper procedures ... so residents were pissed off)

Comcast will do everything that they can to make sure that they have no competition -- even pushing for state laws to ban municipalities from installing their own ... but as soon as it's inevitable that there's going to be competition, they'll do everything that they can to make sure that they keep the customers (and thus, make it less profitable for whoever new comes in).

Comment Re:No more paid posts by Nervals Lobster (Score 1) 1832

And don't forget

coondoggie ->

He bothers me *way* more than szczys.

Szczys will actually reply to comments in his submissions (although I'd be interested to know if these folks ever comment in articles that they *didn't* submit).

Whereas coondoggie hasn't actually participated in a discussion since 2008 ... just a bunch of rewritten press releases to leach traffic to network world. (owned by the same company as infoworld ... and snydeq hasn't commented since 2010 ... and writes obnoxious clickbait titles).

What bothers me the most is when there are so much better write-ups of a given event / topic / whatever out there ... and slashdot is only linking to some crappy version written by someone who doesn't actually understand it. I seem to recall a few times when CmdrTaco would add new links to the bottom of articles after the article had been frontpaged ... it helped to give people a deeper understanding of the situation. (which if this is 'news for nerds', I would assume that'd be what the audience wants ... especially when the top 5 comments are basically 'this article is a load of shit, see (x)' so we know not to waste our time on it.)

Comment Re:Fire Timothy (Score 2) 1832

And the links actually go to the correct story.

I'd say that one of the problems that's come up over the years is that the 'community' aspect has been stripped away --CmdrTaco would actually post & contribute to discussions. Back when RobLimo was hired, there was posting introducing him, so we had a clue who the hell he was. And his username was unique enough that you could find other stuff that he had done to get an understanding of his personality.

These days, /. often seems more like a zookeeper throwing food to the monkeys -- wait, no, that's unfair -- a zookeeper actually monitors the monkeys to see if anything's wrong. I suspect that the current /. editors rarely read the comments that people post, as we'll often point out problems with the articles that then sit for hours without getting fixed.

It often feels more like the editors are suckered in by the clickbait titles & summaries ... but why? Those approaches are to try to trick people to visit site ... as you're not doing the whole 'related stories' linking from other sites stuff, at most the only benefit here is extra page views as people discuss just how lazy and stupid the current /. editors are.

Comment Re:Put the "read more" link back, better mobile si (Score 1) 1832

The problem w/ the article title is that when you click on it, you never know what you're going to get.

On some pages, it'll collapse the article to just the title. (maybe I clicked on the background, and not the text?)

If you're looking through a user's page, it'll take you the specific comment, not the article as a whole.

'Read more' was unambiguous. Clicking the title is the equivalent of mystery meat navigation.

Comment Re:Moderation, Editors, ditch the Firehose (Score 1) 1832

If the firehose is what's responsible for all of the crap that makes it to the front page these days, I'd agree that it needs to go.

The problem is, 'wisdom of the crowd' really sucks. Anyone who's been in a meeting of 20+ people to redesign a website knows that. Sometimes you actually *do* need an editor. (and by that, I mean someone to make real choices about what to promote through ... although someone who can actually fix bad links / typos / make the summary actually readable would be a skill that a few of the current 'editors' seem to be lacking).

The firehose is a way of taking less responsibility in what gets posted to the front page. (although we've also had past editors mention that they post stuff that will 'generate discussion', which I suspect is why we end up with so many front page articles that are basically trolling these days). It might've had good intention -- it seemed to come in around when Digg was getting crazy valuations, and most of the first posts here were 'this was on Digg 2 days ago'.

But Digg also did policing of its users to keep certain voting blocs from taking over the front page. I'm not aware of /. doing the same, as we end up with so many posts that seem to come from relatively few people. It's changed over the years, but the ones that stand out to me these days are the coondoggie ones (rewrite of some press release, w/ only links back to Network World ... at least Ronald Guillemette started adding links other than just to his blog)

Although I can only assume it's the editors that turned /. into a soapbox for Bennett Haselton -- I could understand CmdrTaco using this as his personal blog once in a while, but maybe the firehose isn't such a bad approach if it stops the uninformed editorial ramblings from showing up.

(Note: I was formerly an admin on Fark, and have moderated other online communities; currently a moderator on StackExchange's Open Data site and admin for a few moderately sized (50-500 people) mailing lists)

Comment Re:Can we get an explanation on who gets mod point (Score 2) 1832

There was a post years ago when they (CmdrTaco? it was a long time ago) mentioned that people who post too much, or post too little don't get points.

I assume I'm right on the edge of not posting enough, as I'll post something for the first time in a week or two, and then suddenly get mod points.

(and I've *never* gotten more than 5 ... this is actually the first time I've heard of it)

Comment Could be great for warehouses & factories (Score 1) 223

I've been to large factories where it's a bit of a hike to get from one side to the other. As I was delivering or unloading parts, I'd drive right in (and hopefully not clip anything overhead w/ the trailer).

But there were also various pickup trucks and such to move mid-sized things between stations, besides the forklifts for larger items and golf carts for just moving people around.

Electric pickup trucks would be great for this sort of use -- you're never getting up to high speed, you're not going all that far, there's plenty of electrical connections nearby if you need to top it off, and you can reduce the need for venting the exhaust.

Comment Does Minecraft count? (Score 1) 78

It's been a while since I played, so I don't know what the status are for mods with the new re-write by Microsoft ... but there's ComputerCraft, which adds turtles to the game.

You can program them to do tasks like digging tunnels, building roads, etc.

If not that, I'd have to second the argument to learn Logo. (25-30 years ago, that's what schools would use to control robotic arms and such, so it's not just for turtle graphics)

Comment F'ing State Farm. (Score 1) 293

Insurance companies make money by trying to screw you as much as possible when it comes time for them to pay out.

Someone w/ State Farm hit the house that I was fixing up 3 years ago. I had his insurance info from the police report -- so I called State Farm. They told me to get two quotes ...

Of course, I was preparing for a trip ... and when I came back, it was Christmas. I don't know how many contractors I called, but some wouldn't work in my area (PG County, MD is known for having some problems w/ permitting). Others wouldn't deal with asbestos (the house had asbestos shingles ... which were now damaged).

During all of this, State Farm's only response to me was to send me a letter 4 months later. (they claimed they also sent me something 2 months later, but I never saw it). Of course, by then, I'm trying to train the new employee at work.

Then I get in trouble for getting pissed off at my new employee when they kept asking me how the construction was going, even though I kept repeating 'I don't want to talk about it'. Which made it up to company management on the same day as the Navy Yard shooting. So then I had to deal with all of that crap.

Over the next couple of years, I get at least three contractors to come out ... yet no one wants to bid on the work.

I called State Farm, and told them they needed to find me a contractor ... but was told they didn't do that. They *finally* sent out an adjustor (only a couple of months from hitting 3 years). I call, but the person I'm dealing w/ won't return my calls and I have to keep sending me to other people in his group (who of course, don't have access to all of the info, and can't help me). And of course, I'm dealing with someone from auto insurance, even though it's house damage.

The process drags on, as they had simply mailed me the offer, rather than call me back ... which was incomplete, as it has a note that the hazardous waste removal needed to be bid out. I explained that there was no way in hell I'd accept their offer for ~$8k as it did me no good to have money if I can't get someone to actually fix the property ... and it was a joke. (they said only 60 sq.ft needed to be repaired on the side that got hit, and it could be replaced w/ concrete siding ... even though there was cracked asbestos siding all through that wall)

I had to lawyer up ... and he found me a contractor ... and suggested we take their bid to State Farm. Luckily, I said no way in hell, as I didn't trust it. (it was $12k, but I had estimated that based on State Farm's breakdown, it should've been $15k).

So I'm paying out of pocket to have the contractor do the work ... once he finally got some free time in his schedule, weeks later. And we found he had missed almost $3k in work, as he forgot about the concrete work. Of course, he started just this Thursday ... so now work's halted as everything's buried in 3+ feet of snow (would've been 2, but the plows came and packed it all in) ... and I've been told by my lawyer that I can't claim costs of therapy (as I wasn't at the place when the accident happened), the time off work to deal w/ all of this, or the delays (over $6k in property taxes alone, plus whatever rental profits had been lost).

And when I hang a sign that stays 'FUCK STATE FARM' on the property, I have to deal w/ the president of the town calling me up to bitch, and I have to explain that if he takes it down, it's a first amendment violation. (mind you, the house is across the street from the town hall ... and the driveway to the school board, so I got a few complaints).

So as I see it ... I can only hope that insurance companies like State Farm get screwed by the changes, as they're assholes.

(USAA, on the other hand has been nothing but good to me ... unfortunately, they won't insure a rental property unless it's occupied)

Comment I wondered why Twitter didn't do this. (Score 1) 92

Although, my idea for a business model was that you give people some fixed amount of user-messages per month.

Say 10,000 ... so if you have 10 followers, you can send 1k messages/month for free ... if you have 1k followers, you can send 10 messages per month for free.

If you're someone who has lots of followers (eg, a company), if you send lots of messages per month, then you pay for it.

Obviously, they'd have to play around with the numbers to figure out what works well. Maybe you always get one free message per month (or week, or whatever). Maybe private messages cost 5x or 10x more than public messages ... or 100x more only if they're not following you and didn't message you first.

This would also mean that the people who pay for fake followers would have to pay Twitter for having so many if they end up spamming all of their followers. (as they'd be sending messages to their fake followers, too, which would increase their cost of sending messages).

I had thought about also making a way for people to donate their free messages to people they like, but then realized that wouldn't work as people would be farming fake accounts just to pass the credits to others.

This would mean that companies, celebrities, government agencies, and narcissists who won't shut up would end up subsidizing the rest of the population. And as the lists are maintained by twitter, you don't run into the problems with spamming lists that you can't get off of, no matter how much you complain.

(eg, those @#!@% IEEE Big Data asshats, sending from multiple places, and I've been told that by the postmaster at Drexel that they dealt with it ... yet still got more spam through them)

Comment Camera alignment (Score 1) 122

If you have to correct for keystoning, your cameras aren't aligned well.

You want to use a mirror for alignment, as it allows you to verify that the camera is in the correct place -- a non-reflective target only ensures that you're pointed at the correct place.

The Czur has no platen, and therefore there will be distortion due to curved pages which would have to be corrected for. It also won't be able to image as well closer into the binding -- if you have to spread the book flat, you're going to end up damaging the spine.

Comment Re:Requirements, requirements, requirements... (Score 2) 211

A few years ago, I saw a talk by someone from the IRS. They said that they were trying to get Congress to use a reduced set of sentence constructions, as quite a bit of analyst's time is in trying to figure out what the hell the laws passed mean, and trying to translate it into logic they can put into their software.

Comment M&Ms (Score 1) 90

I learned statistics in elementary school. Admittedly, it was 6th grade, at a science & tech magnet, but that's still elementary school.

Our teacher, Mr. Vance separated us into groups of about 2 or 3, and gave each group a bag of m&ms. We had to count how many there were of each color, and report our numbers back. There were three classes doing this, as we rotated between science, math & english through the day.

On the first few days, we only dealt with our own classes' numbers. (I want to say that he had the numbers on three boards, and didn't show us the numbers from the other classes at first). We learned the difference between mean, median and mode, both for each color and the total in each bag.

We later went and looked at how the averages varied between each class, and at some point calculated the variance & standard deviation.

We likely did / learned other stuff during that project (I want to say it was over a week or two), but it's been 30 years.

Comment Who gets the $110k? (Score 1) 543

I've heard stories of H1-B employees having to give a major chunk of their income to the companies that found them the job. (a sort of 'finder's fee' to whatever HR company they went through back in their home country)

One solution might be that there be a 'tax' on H1-B employees, so that 20% or so of the wages 'paid' to the employee are sent to some sort of a fund to train up people in the field that they're bringing people in for.

And on the 'prevailing wage' ... the basic loophole is that there's an estimate of what it costs to hire people in different jobs based on the person's experience. They're using the Level I (low experience) numbers as the 'prevailing wage', but if you only needed someone with little experience, you could get someone off the street and train them. They should have to pay at a minimum the 75% percentile mark for a given field for an H1-B.

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