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Comment: Re:Defeats the purpose (Score 1) 231

by ottothecow (#47697655) Attached to: Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It
OK, so solve the second problem I noted in my post.

In the smartphone world, I'm not going to have a mountain of unread emails because I will have at least looked at the subject and first line or two of each of those messages within a few hours of them being sent. How do I avoid having to keep checking? Telling my boss to call me because I am just going to turn off push notifications isn't going to work. That's part of what gets solved here with this proposition. Upper management has cut the cord for me. My hypothetical boss can't say "I know that corporate says we have a great work-life balance, but I'm gonna need you to always check your email". He has to make the call that something is important enough to interrupt my vacation for.

I liken this to Nielsen removing the "reply-all" function from their email in order to curb overuse of CC and rampant extra email that gets in the way of actual worker productivity. Management could preach all day long that you shouldn't overuse it and the employees will just keep doing it until they physically cut off the button. The workaround is easy (just manually add the CC list), but it requires just enough work and forces someone to apply just enough thought that they will now limit distribution to people who really need the email. Same thing goes here: if they really want me, there is contact info in the auto-reply. They can call me, text me, or forward it to my personal address that I might be checking--but its an extra step that makes them think "is this really the best way to get what I need? Or should I try contacting someone else?".

Comment: Re:Defeats the purpose (Score 1) 231

by ottothecow (#47697471) Attached to: Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It
Except there is no way to know if that email is still relevant. You sent it before you knew that I wasn't in the office. So maybe you got my auto-reply and then handled it yourself or sought out the person I indicated could help you in my auto-reply. If you send a followup email (or worse, copy me on every single interaction with my replacement), I am now going to have multiple emails from you, and I won't know until I get to the later ones if the first ones are still important.

But really, the problem here isn't so much the mountain of email when you get back, but rather the constant contact when you are on vacation. All they have done here is instituted a mandatory policy to keep your manager from bugging you on vacation. They can still pick up the phone and call you if it is important, but the unimportant stuff just falls away. And for someone like me, its not really a mountain of email when I get back--I have to keep wading through that email while I am on vacation precisely because people still email me important stuff. I still have to look at my phone when it buzzes--I can safely ignore the automated or routine emails, but I have to at least glance at emails from important people to see if it is important or if I can save it until I get back. If those emails got deleted by corporate policy, then I'd just get a phone call or voicemail if something important happened...but without a corporate mandate (to which people are held accountable by the actual deletion), there is no way to redirect the important stuff away from email and minimize the unimportant stuff.

It is the next best thing to having a secretary that can take over your email while you are gone and only pass along important matters.

Comment: Re:Defeats the purpose (Score 1) 231

by ottothecow (#47697205) Attached to: Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It
Yeah, but if you are calling someone (which suggests it is probably relatively urgent anyways) and the receptionist tells you that they are going to be gone for the next week...are you actually going to leave a message?

A good receptionist will offer to take the message, but they will also offer to pass you along to someone who is in the office and can handle your request. And in the days before email, the receptionist wouldn't pass along your message until the person returned to the office unless it was important enough to call them at their hotel.

Faced with the knowledge that they won't even get my message for a week (at which point it might not be relevant anymore), I certainly won't leave one. But for email? I don't know that they are gone until after I get their autoreply...so I write up the whole email and send it. Sometimes I will then follow up with a "Sorry, didn't realize you were out--I'll follow up with XYZ and you can disregard", but that just leaves them with two emails to read...and if they read them in order, they won't see my "please disregard" until after reading the first mail.

I don't know that deleting everything is the best way to handle this, but I think it is a step in the right direction. Maybe you could have some queuing system where people can choose whether or not they want to queue the email for your return...but would anyone actually use it?.

Comment: Re:Eames lounge (Score 1) 154

by ottothecow (#47681417) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Recliner For a Software Developer?
I've sat in some relatively high end knock offs that were not very comfortable.

The real thing has a way of moving with you...some of the knockoffs don't. If I were going the knockoff route, I would want to make sure I got one that felt like the real thing, rather than a "higher end" one that used better quality materials but didn't feel right.

Comment: Re:Buffalo (Score 1) 427

by ottothecow (#47634107) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?
This should be the final answer for this thread (plus a couple ASUS routers for variety). May not be true in another year, but it is true now and has been for a while.

I think I have a WZR-600DHP (seems to have been replaced with a *DHP2 version), which came with a version of DD-WRT pre-installed. It has been rock solid, even more so than my previous Buffalo router that I installed DD-WRT on (it didn't have problems, but I wanted gigabit switching and wireless-N).

Comment: Re:Youtube of this same idea (Score 1) 182

I have one of these running in my apartment and it is mediocre at best. I have radiator heat and window AC, so I figured it would be nice to have the kind of air circulation and filtration that a furnace blower provides.

Some filters are better than others, but standard box fans are not designed to have to blow air *through* anything. They don't push the air hard enough to force it through the filter, so airflow really drops down. Perhaps the hepa filters this guy is using are better (furnace filters and hepa filters are different), and that cannon fan looks like it might push air harder.

I can put one of those spun fiberglasss filters on the box fan and it gets decent airflow...but it doesn't really pick up anything smaller than cat fur. The only other filter I have found to have decent airflow is the red 3m filtrete filter (and home depot no longer carries filtrete). Stepping to a lower MIRV rating actually got me less airflow than the filtrete...the medium was much more like a piece of paper than a piece of cloth...I could run it for month and it wouldn't even look like it was getting dirty (as opposed to the filtrete which at least was moving enough air that it could pick up visible particles).

So I don't know how much I trust these tests. Of course a particle counter on the exhaust side will show a reduction...but if you have a large room, you are going to need a lot of air flow. Sounds like the guy in this article at least did room-based tests rather than just holding a particle counter in front of the fan.

Comment: Re: Minivans useful (Score 2) 205

by ottothecow (#47502835) Attached to: New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids
Yup. And they are built on car bodies, so they ride smoother. Typically more fuel efficent than an SUV too (maybe not one of those SUVs that looks like a hatchback on a lift kit, but a full size SUV that has similar cargo and passenger capacity will definitely get less MPG).

They don't tow or go off road well...but a majority of pickup and SUV owners don't actually tow anything heavy or take it off road. The poor off-road ability is actually a plus for the average person--lower ride height brings increased stability and convenience at the cost of less ground clearance). The towing is mostly due to the FWD and lower torque engines--get a bit of tongue weight and some pulling force on the back of a FWD car, and , but that's the price you pay for not having to run the transmission all the way to the back wheels (which gets you your fold-flat seats and low ride height).

It is a shame that they are so ugly and uninspiring...in all honesty, they are the "right" car for a significant majority of people.

Comment: Re:I hope this surprises no one,.. (Score 1) 68

Yup. People should really think of SSN's as glorified names. That's all they are really supposed to be: a non-duplicative name, a unique key, an identifier that nobody else shares.

In fact, an authentication tool doesn't have to be unique. If you had a password associated with your SSN, who would care if both 123-45-6789 and 987-65-4321 had the same password? For all you know, your next-door neighbor could use the exact same gmail password as you and nobody would never know.

Asking people to verify their SSN as a way of determining their identity is a step above asking them to spell their last name. Sure, if they don't know their last name, they are probably not the person they say they are, but that doesn't automatically mean the converse is true.

Comment: Re:The right competitor to SAS is Statistica (Score 1) 143

I will say that while SAS has some really great point-and-click analysis tools...I would venture to guess that most experienced SAS are doing as much "command line programming" as they would have to do in R.

My company uses a ton of SAS and I can count on one hand the number of times I have went to look at someone else's work and found that they were using the GUI stuff. Pretty much everyone just writes .sas programs; most people use EG as an IDE, but those programs could all be run just as well in batch mode from the AIX command line.

Comment: Re:More than cost (Score 1) 143

Yeah, I think a lot of people in here forget that there are some things that SAS is really freaking good at. SAS isn't some beastly mess that big corporations are saddled with and can't escape from (like say SAP)...it is a fairly well designed piece of software with a bunch of programmers actively working to make it better (very happy programmers if you trust the frequent ratings of SAS as one of the best companies to work for). It is fairly expensive on the enterprise level, but a lot of companies out there think that it is totally worth it. Of course...I'm kind of cheap and more technically inclined...if I were starting a new company, I would use R or Python for everything and just keep a couple of desktop SAS licenses just in case.

Yes, most of its programming syntax is designed in a way that makes sense if you processing punch-cards, but once you understand that, the language is fairly logical and simple. The fact that it was designed for punch cards is the main reason why it doesn't stumble into dataset size limits (unlike memory-based software like R or STATA do), although it can lead to slowdowns from being I/O bound.

And yes, sometimes I wish I could define functions rather than trying to hack repeated code through the Macro language.

And no, the standard graphics/output is not are pretty as it can be from R (ggplot2 is quite nice), but with a little work, you can make quite nice charts in SAS.

But, despite all of that, it really is quite a nice system with absolutely excellent documentation and support. I never touch the extra GUI stuff, but the people who keep suggesting RStudio clearly don't know what they are talking about. The level of analysis that you can do in SAS Enterprise Guide is insane. EG is not just an IDE for the programming language, it is a GUI with a full analysis suite available through point and click. It is like making charts in excel except you can do complex statistical procedures over millions of observations--and unlike excel, once you have gone through the point-and-click exercise, it gives you all of the code in case you want to tweak it or run it on something else. Sure, the code can be a bit funny, but nowhere near as bad as what came out of an old WYSIWYG HTML editor. Again, I never use it myself, but for a neophyte...they can get started doing real work while still learning how to code (remember, a lot of SAS programmers come to the language already knowing the statistics, but having to learn the language).

Comment: Re:What? (Score 2) 139

by ottothecow (#47402885) Attached to: Uber Is Now Cheaper Than a New York City Taxi
Well...during peak hours, Uber X will go into surge pricing and cost far more than a taxi anyways.

Usually when there is surge pricing, I just use Uber to hail a normal taxi (in cities where this is possible). With a normal taxi, you pay a small fee to Uber, but otherwise the rate is straight-meter. Of course, that still won't help if literally every taxi is full, but it gets you better odds than simply standing on a single street corner and waving your hand.

Comment: What? (Score 3, Interesting) 139

by ottothecow (#47402347) Attached to: Uber Is Now Cheaper Than a New York City Taxi
It was more expensive than a taxi in NYC?

Every other city I have used it in, UberX was at a fair discount to a regular taxi...after all, why would you hop a ride in some random person's car (whom you will have to provide with directions because they don't know the city) if it costs more than an actual taxi service? The only thing more expensive was the black car (limo) service.

Comment: Re:Incoming international flights (Score 1) 702

by ottothecow (#47399987) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes
My local grocery store has a drop box for old cell phones and I have seen them in many other places (and at one point, I received some prepaid mailing envelopes for old phones). Supposedly they refurbish them and send them to Africa or give them to the elderly or abused women who may need to make use of the still-functional 911 features. Although, I question how useful this actually is...who is going to keep a 911-only phone charged and ready at all times? If you aren't actually using it for calls, and aren't used to having a mobile phone, that thing will just be dead in times of need. About the only situations where I can see it being useful is storing it powered-off and attached to a charger in a car or as a "secret" phone for a domestic abuse victim (can pull it out if your abuser takes away your real phone and monitors the land-line).

Comment: Re:Not for deaf/hard of hearing... (Score 1) 579

by ottothecow (#47377645) Attached to: Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature
Yup, gets even worse in the city where there is an unwritten rule that the left turn cars get their shot to go when the light goes yellow/red. Obviously the cars that are actually pulled into the intersection should go or they will block traffic...but on intersections with no dedicated turn signal, the signal change is the only chance any car gets to turn during the cycle in busy traffic and thus (at least in Chicago) there is a tacit allowance for a couple of extra cars to complete the turn without fear of a ticket (usually 2-3 cars in each direction--the one in the intersection, the one part-way in, and the car behind them if everybody moves fast).

Of course, if people driving straight blow through the yellow and start of the red, then the turners have no time, and even those that were already in the intersection end up not being able to complete their turns until the other lights have already turned green.

Dedicated turn signals would alleviate the problem...but in pedestrian areas, they just produce new problems. Almost every time I go to lunch, I pass an intersection where there is a dedicated left turn and a lot of tourists--there is a Don't Walk sign, but often pedestrians start walking as soon as the traffic lights change (anticipating the Walk sign, not realizing there will be a turn signal)...leading to the turning cars not being able to clear the intersection and slamming on their horns. Then some of the pedestrians decide to stop in the intersection and give the cars the finger (some of them realize that they were wrong and hurry out of the way). Then the traffic lights change for the straight traffic, and oncoming cars start honking at the turning cars who are now blocking traffic...and the Walk sign turns on, so more pedestrians start walking and blocking the turning cars from being able to go...BAM! Gridlock.

Comment: Re:Non-compete agreements are BS. (Score 2) 272

by ottothecow (#47371245) Attached to: Amazon Sues After Ex-Worker Takes Google Job
That's not duress. That's just a contract.

It is literally saying, if you don't agree to this contract, you don't get the things that this contract says you get. It is like the guy at subway saying "If you don't give me $5, you can't have that sandwich". It's not duress until you say you don't really want the sandwich and the guy says "And if you don't want to buy the sandwich, I am going to beat your face in"

Duress is something that is not part of the contract that is being used to force you to sign the contract. The judge isn't going to uphold a contract that says "we won't kill you if you have signed this"...but they might uphold a contract that omits the death threat if you can't provide any proof of the threat. Some none-violent duress might be if your wife also worked for the company and they said "If you don't sign this, not only will you not get the job, but we are going to fire your wife"

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson

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