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Comment: Re:Define "affordable" (Score 5, Insightful) 468

by steelfood (#49512391) Attached to: George Lucas Building Low-Income Housing Next Door To Millionaires

1) Nobody says the tenants are buying the homes.

2) Nobody says Lucas is trying to recoup the costs of construction.

3) The total cost per unit is probably much higher if you factor in the value of the land.

FYI, low income housing is usually rentals. Many low income people have trouble saving for a down payment, much less get a loan from a bank, no matter how small the amount borrowed is.

The main problem with cheap rentals is the building's maintenance costs. Government subsidies are used to help with that usually. If Lucas isn't willing to bleed in the long term, at best, he's going to have to price the rentals for middle income, working class people. Which may still constitute "low income" in that part of California.

Comment: Re:Confusing (Score 2) 207

by steelfood (#49488153) Attached to: Google Sunsetting Old Version of Google Maps

What you say is true when it comes to organizations that have a strong managerial structure.

In this case, I think it's the programmers (I cannot call them engineers because real engineers tend not to pursue new and shiny for the sake of new and shiny) themselves who are to blame. Their reasons for completely destroying old productive systems are a dangerous combination of the two factors mentioned: 1) new and shiny as I mentioned and 2) making their mark, as you've mentioned.

Developers can actually be motivated by either one and not fall into this trap. But with both of theses combined into one (often-subconscious) goal, this is the kind of atrocity that results: complete abandonment of what exists and works with a poor or no replacement.

Comment: Re:Hello? The 21st Century Calling (Score 1) 229

Or, they could just make their own processors. I believe they have the IP to do so through various acquisitions. And x86 isn't exactly the best instruction set out there efficiency-wise, so they might end up with something cheaper to run (definitely cheaper to build) and better.

Comment: Re:you cannot fight the tide (Score 1) 407

What I find funny here (and on other tech sites) is that up until the moment you talk about H1B, everybody's all for opening up the borders and easing up on illegal immigration. It's all lovey-dovey "let's make them legal so they can pay their taxes" up until the point when they're actually legal and competing for the same jobs as the prevailent occupation as the community. But suddenly, as soon as the topic switches to H1B, it's a chorus of "don't let them in, they're stealing out jobs!"

From my experience with on- and off-shore consulting, the low-skilled jobs are the ones that typically get replaced. These are things from data entry to phone support. Companies that try to send away high skilled jobs tend to get burned by either the lack of talent, or the cost of the equivalent talent (cost accounting both for money and the necessary overall decrease in productivity). Which is to say, for a highly-skilled worker, whether somebody's on a visa or not, they're probably going to cost about the same.

Yes, some companies are switching fully to an on- and off-shore consulting work force. In the past, companies that have attempted this were ultimately forced to bring the majority of their skilled labor back because the talent simply isn't worth the additional hidden costs. Yes, there is talk (and fear, always a lot of fear) that companies will off-shore all of their tech workers. I think if anyone actually tries that, they won't be around for very long. And I'm not terribly sympathetic. There's no reason good people should hold up incompetent management, and the faster the free market gets rid of these companies, the faster more forward-looking businesses can assume their place.

There are, of course, two exceptions to this, that being the government and utilities. In this case, the Senators are investigating a utility. I expect both government and government-permitted monopolies (utilities) to be staffed by U.S. citizens. Even if they're contractors, which they usually are, I think that there is a national security matter at play, and that absolutely cannot be compromised by foreign, non-patrioted workers.

What I'm more concerned about is abuse of employees on a visa. Consulting companies tend to treat their visa-based workers well, but companies that sponsor tend to treat their workers like total shit. That's because companies that sponsor are able to hold that sponsorship over the heads of their sponsored employees. And people want to come here to work, and some of them are willing to do so for almost nothing. When applied in this way, work visas are nothing more than the modern form of indentured servitude. It's a human rights violation in our very own backyards, but because we're so concerned about job-stealing and keeping our jobs here, we can't even see it.

A brain drain from the rest of the world to the U.S. can only be a good thing. Sending menial jobs off shore is also a good thing. Letting tech-adverse companies die is or learn a harsh lesson is also a good thing. The only losers are the ones who can't keep up with the overall rising skill of the tech labor force. And quite frankly, there are plenty of on-premise jobs that simply cannot be outsourced for them too, though it may not necessarily be at the forefront of technology. The only bad thing is the use of having a work visa rather than citizenship to justify abuse. And that ties into a bigger issue of the Rights of non-citizens.

But I get it. People want their cake and to eat it too. Our in-house primary education system has churned out a generation of duds (now ever more than before, and it's only getting worse). We don't have in-house highly skilled workers anymore, just a lot of mediocrity burdened with significant higher-education-caused debt. To you, I apologize. The system deceived you. You shouldn't have gone to college, and never belonged there in the first place. You should have gone to trade school, or just gone straight out into the work force. If you want to take something up with the politicians, that's what you should make them address.

Not visas.


Comment: Re:Stop Now (Score 1) 624

Thank you.

We here at slashdot, being technologically oriented, tend to forget that humans are not computers and don't act in the way that computers might act.

It's a matter of organic vs mechanical, and so many people mistake one for the other, or fail to differentiate between the two, or try to "bridge" the two together, usually with disastrous results (see C++14 and Esperanto).

Comment: Re:When was that again? (Score 2) 68

by steelfood (#49424335) Attached to: "Brontosaurus" Name Resurrected Thanks To New Dino Family Tree

Large birds of prey used to dine on humans regularly. In fact, the largest of their modern cousins are still dangerous to infants and small children today (and I'm not talking about that fake video).

Just because it looks more like a bird than a lizard doesn't make it any less scarier. In fact, because a part of our psyche is attuned towards the danger of very large birds of prey, it may make it more.

Comment: Re:The problem's never been reputation (Score 1) 247

by steelfood (#49383855) Attached to: NSA Worried About Recruitment, Post-Snowden

There's a bit of that. If they paid well, I'm sure there'd be more candidates.

But working for the government has always been about patriotism and patriotic duty. Nerd types aren't really going to go establish a beachhead, but those among them who wish to protect their country will elect to do so in ways that they can. This is especially true for bright, starry-eyed college grads.

Now, the NSA has lost even that candidate pool.

Comment: Re:So worried about Microsoft (Score 1) 198

Sorry. Developers and engineers have a long memory, by trade. Microsoft doesn't get a free pass just because of a change in the top guy. They don't get their slate wiped clean just because they replaced one person at the very top. Yes, that's asking for a lot.

Microsoft is going to have to do a lot more goodwill gathering to even break even with the negatives from the shit they've pulled in the past. Hell, they just did it again, with Windows RT, though it's not as big of a deal because everybody learned their lessons from PlaysForSure and then again from Windows Phone 7.

Embrace Extend Extinguish may no longer be Microsoft modus operandii, but until they prove they're serious about playing nice with everyone else, everyone will still be guarded. And no, "open sourcing" .NET doesn't count as playing nice if there are strings attached, so this particular act nets them 0 goodwill points as it were.

It's like if Sun had opened up Java in anything other than a GPL- or MIT-derived license, or any other company that "open sources" something but actually has strings attached to the license (like TiVo). They wouldn't be scoring any points either. The difference is that TiVo started from a position of slightly positive (or neutral at worst). Microsoft is starting at the very extreme negative end.

Real programmers don't write in BASIC. Actually, no programmers write in BASIC after reaching puberty.