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Comment Re:Incompetent or a liar (Score 1) 473

I have a co-worker, who, at his previous job (and with his current job already lined-up) made a late-evening phone-call to an EMEA-manager type person (of a multi-billion MNC) to make her aware of a multi-million dollar business-risk that his direct superior's superiors had made every effort to sweep under the table (because somebody had made a crucial mistake early on in a project design and the subsequent calculations and didn't want to fess-up to it).

That got him a full-out commendation from said manager but no love from those who had made the initial mistake (and failed to report it). But as he was already on his way out, he felt he could handle it.

Top-management is often very removed from day-to-day operations. The board even more so. The VW board, BTW, was very angry about the fact that it had to receive news of this "problem" from the news-outlets - even though it's clear that this scandal represents an significant business risk.
That's why the CEO had to quit and a couple of his top-brass are suspended, while lawyers and investigators from US and Germany are interviewing staff and trying to determine who did what and when...

I completely agree that trying to blame a couple of engineers for it is incredibly cheap and will come to haunt him in a big way.
It makes him look totally spineless. Unfortunately, it seems that the management-climate at VW fostered the careers of people acting like him: ass-kissing upwards, ass-kicking downwards.

Comment Easy answer (Score 1) 105

What remains from out digital culture?
Easy. Nothing.
As someone else has said: "The tragedy about our culture is that our cars break apart after ten years, yet our waste remains for decades or even centuries to come".

Most of the digital "assets" we have (photos, videos) will be gone in a couple of years. Lost in hard-drive crashes, failed migrations or obsolescence of technology.
Most of them were crap anyway. Those that you want to preserve: better make B/W prints...

Comment Wouldn't use it either (Score 1) 394

But neither would I use a Windows laptop.
The former is just too much hassle and fiddling around to get everything working (if you get everything working in the first place).
The later I just refuse to use.
Now, if these two fine gentlemen had requested OS X laptops, I could understand them and give them the benefit of the doubt.
But giving them admin-rights on a Win-laptop? Yeah, that's really going to happen in a managed, 10k+ clients Windows environment

Comment Re:They forgot something (Score 1) 141

It will be interesting to see if Google provides these with timely updates, too.
And for how long.
Personally, I just don't trust Google (or any other company) where ultimately the user of the product isn't also the primary customer of the company.
The same situation ultimately ended up costing Microsoft a lot of money and good-will. They didn't care about users as a long as OEMs - their primary customers - shoved the product onto as many of their customers as they could get their hands on.
That worked well until a new "OEM" started emerging that wasn't dependent on Microsoft at all (Apple) but sucked most of the profit out of the market anyway.

Comment Why do it in the US? (Score 2) 225

In (continental) Europe, life in prison usually means 15 years max - but only if you've killed someone very violently and it's not your first offense.

His biggest problem would have been not having paid taxes. If he'd actually managed to pay correct taxes, he'd probably get five or seven years and walk after two or three (probation).
Extra points for marrying a local and producing a kid or two - extradition would then be very unlikely, IMO.

People who do this in the US are just stupid and ultimately deserve to get incarcerated.

Comment Re:They're bums, why keep them around (Score 1) 743

They do produce something: olive oil (some of it very good, actually), goat cheese (very nice in a Greek salad), some fruit and vegetables and maybe some ouzo (nice after a fat Greek meal).

But that's probably barely enough to sustain a standard of living similar to a typical 3rd-world country - and that is exactly the problem

Comment Re:it's not "slow and calculated torture" (Score 2) 743

^ all true...

How many nations could? Germany *might*, given their huge hard currency reserves, plus their gold and other physical assets. (Many people don't know this, but after the United States, Germany holds the world's largest gold reserves)

China probably could, given the massive foreign currency they hold.

The US of course could, given that the US Dollar is the world's reserve currency, we could print enough to pay it all off tomorrow, abit at the cost of inflation, but we could.

Who else? Honestly, I think that might be it.

Most of Germany's gold is on US-soil. It's assumed to exist, but nobody knows for sure... ;-)

Comment Re:They're bums, why keep them around (Score 2) 743

The transfer-payments are the inconvenient truth that most European politicians shy away from actually telling their voters.
Admittedly, it's a concept that few of the paying countries' residents will find appealing.
But in a monetary union, this is what has to happen to level economic imbalances.

The problem is that the politicians failed to prepare their voters for it (for 20 years). Now would be the time to do, but it's a "bad time".
I'm not sure if we've hit the end of the road here, yet, because chances are there's a foul compromise that let's them kick the can down the road a couple of weeks or months more.
We have transfer-payments in Germany, too. But there are a few paying states and a lot of receiving states and the paying states are mostly fed-up with it, because in the past, the receiving states didn't put the money to much use, instead using it to finance short-term projects to appeal to voters...and we all speak the same language, have the same flag, the same national soccer team...
In the end, though, politicians are voted into power by people. So, you can aways say that people got what they voted for.

Real Programmers think better when playing Adventure or Rogue.