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Comment Re:Kickstarter forever (Score 1) 91 91

Sometimes you get a discount. More often it's just that you'll be one of the first to get your hands on a product. Contributing to a kickstarter campaign is not done for the financial rewards (there are none). It's done to help fund a product that you're interested in, or just to help somebody out. If there is an equivalent product out there, then it doesn't make sense.

At the time Ouya was going to offer something that the major console makers weren't. In the end, they simply didn't execute well enough, fast enough. That is a risk you take when deciding to contribute. You have to remember too that most of these campaigns ask for relatively small contributions. You're not betting your house on the success of these startups.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 1) 213 213

Then you'd have just a cycle cpu rather something that can be used for a variety of purposes.

The Apple Watch will be fine with salt and sweat and even being submerged in water (though not very deep).

Ant+ is a perfect reason why one should be careful products from traditional cycling computer manufacturers. It's only been around a few years and it's already being dropped like a hot potato. Very poor range compared to BLE. I feel bad for the people that invested a lot of money in ANT+ sensors.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 1) 213 213

I had a Polar Cycling Computer in a watch form factor. I bought it used, otherwise it was quite expensive. It would show heart rate, cadence, speed, etc. but it had lots of limitations. One being that it's range was extremely limited. It couldn't reliably get a signal from the speed sensor unless it was mounted on the bars. It wouldn't work on my wrist which made it pretty inconvenient. In spite of the problems, I did like the concept.

I'm sure things have improved quite a bit in the last few years but it seems to me that having a more general purpose device on your wrist is more cost effective and future proof than having devices that focus on fitness alone.

Comment Re:I would sell it (Score 1) 654 654

I actually live in a similar climate (far Northern US city in the Midwest), have a family and bike year round. We do have two vehicles, a larger one and a small one. The large one we try to use only when we need to transport more than a couple of people or haul a lot of stuff. The small one we use for other trips that aren't practical by bike or foot.

I've ridden my bike in triple digit temps (F) and as cold as -22 F. It is how I get to work most days whether it's sunny, raining, or snowing.

I have studded snow tires for icy and snowy roads. There are practical limitations for traveling through deep snow on a bike but a few inches is doable. Most days the roads are relatively clear and they do plow them. There are times when the snow is accumulating at high enough rates where I need to find another way to work. Often those conditions aren't very conducive to driving either.

At this point I haven't invested in a FAT bike but I'd love to try one.

For whatever reason in North America we've decided that cycling is a fair weather activity. That's not the case in many European and Asian cities.

Comment Re:No, because it sucks. (Score 2, Insightful) 654 654

It's not a problem everywhere in the US, and I suspect that to the extent that it is a "problem" it tends to be exaggerated. A homeless person would rather not spend their limited funds on bus fare.

What I do believe is that many white, affluent people are fearful of being in close quarters with poor people and people of color.

Comment Re:I would sell it (Score 3, Insightful) 654 654

Umbrella ;)

I ride my bike year round in a fairly harsh climate. It's all about dressing appropriately. Even the people that drive to work in my office have a 10 minute walk to get here from the ramp (where the company subsidizes parking).

Just my opinion of course but I think we'd all be better off if we spent more time exposed to the weather and not spending our lives in climates controlled bubbles.

Comment Re:Cars are investments. (Score 1) 654 654

Once you buy the car, you prefer to use it.

If you want people to switch from cars to public transportation then you need the following:

1) Speed comparable, if not faster than cars. If the car is 30 faster than the bus, no one takes the bus if they own a car. Time is worth more than anything else we have.

2) Convenient public transportation - it doesn't work if your city is all spread out and you have to walk more than 15 minutes to and from the bus stop. 10 minute walk to/from the bus stop is about the most you.

Otherwise, you need to start imposing costs on using the car - as in expensive parking.

NYC and London have some of the better public transportation systems of the world. They are faster than traffic, with many stops all over the city, and parking is expensive.

Largely agree but I don't think speed has to be directly comparable. Obviously if it takes you 3 hours by bus and only 20 minutes by car, then you're not going to convince a lot of people to take the bus.

What you do have to consider though is that while driving, you can't do much else. On the bus, you can read, sleep, check your schedule, text or browse (safely). I've even done some coding when I had a 50 minute bus ride.

Comment Re:Inspire kids to be the next Woz, not Jobs (Score 1) 266 266

No doubt that I would prefer my kids be like Woz.

Ironically, even though Jobs cheated him, Woz ultimately has amassed enough of fortune that he arguably hasn't had a real job in 30 years, - and IMHO that is largely thanks to Steve Jobs who kept working almost right up until his death.

Now, Woz has technically been employed by several companies but it seems his role has largely been limited to being a figure head. He also has many philanthropic pursuits, so I'm not accusing him of sitting on his ass. Just saying that he lives a life of ease, and that has more to do with Jobs than it does his own accomplishments. So while Jobs screwed him financially many years ago, Woz has continued to benefit from Apple's and Steve's work, long after he ceased making any real contributions of his own.

I guess if it were me, I wouldn't be holding a grudge. ;)

Comment Re:Pretty much exactly what my wife did (Score 1) 250 250

My wife was out of the programming workforce for about twenty years, and worried that her FORTRAN skills were no longer needed :-)

I encouraged her to take some Java classes, she liked it a lot, found an interesting job and several years later is loving it.

The thing is, do the research to find an *interesting* job -- yeah, it may be just "Java Enterprise stuff", but if it's an interesting project, and something you believe in, with good people, it's worth doing. My wife's team is a crazy bunch, and she enjoys their interactions (and telling me the wild stories) a lot.

She's been able to learn a lot of useful side technologies (XSLT, Databases, basic web stuff, etc.) so she'll be able to find a new job if the rumors of them moving the project she's on several hundred miles away pan out.

Anyway, with you working, she doesn't have to settle for the "first available" job, look around a lot, interview a bunch (if nothing else, to hone interviewing skills).

Good luck to you both!

I agree that an approach like that can make a big difference. Coding on an interesting project is completely different than coding something you don't give a crap about. Being out of the game for 3 years makes it more difficult to be choosy like that but if she's not as concerned about a high salary, she could look to some smaller organizations or non-profits that need technical staff.

Comment Re:Don't Do IT! (Score 1) 125 125

27-year olds are 1/10 as effective as a 45-year old.

Indians... forget about it. They code horribly.

I know that, but MBAs don't recognize the truth of it.

I would expect that there are quite a few MBAs that are smart enough to realize that age and ethnicity aren't reliable predictors of effectiveness. There are also plenty of organizations where MBAs aren't making IT related hiring decisions.

My advice is to quit worrying about MBAs, H1-Bs and people that are younger than you. The best you can do for your career is to make sure that you are effective now and still will be 5 to 10 years from now. You can't depend on your company to make sure that will be the case. That definitely means you will need to learn new skills whether they are technical or "soft" skills. This a brutal industry in the sense that technology will almost certainly pass you by unless you stay on top of it. Being really good at what you do today isn't going to be good enough.

In any sensible software development group, there will be fewer managers than there will be coders, so moving to management doesn't mean that you've suddenly got a wealth of jobs to choose from.

Comment Re:It really doesn't matter (Score 1) 292 292

But both spent a ton of money. How many millions were spent just on the primaries?

The realistic choices for president were limited to those who could amass a large fortune in contributions. There's some democracy left in this country at the local level, but even those races are getting expensive unless you're in a small town.

Comment Re:We need more people like him... (Score 1) 323 323

Here's my take on it. I'm in a leadership position so this does hit home with me but it could anyone. If you've been around long enough, you've had bosses or coworkers that have had a "blunt" style. You've also probably worked with shrinking violets. The "blunt" people are generally way more effective leaders than shrinking violets but they definitely have their limitations and that style can come back to bite them.

I have had no personal interaction with Linus so all of his supposed bluntness might be blown out of proportion. Anyway, it is one thing to be a leader of a project that lots of very talented people want to work on and quite another to be a successful leader on a project that's more of a mixed bag (which most are). In my mind good leaders know what their weaknesses are and work to eradicate them.

Kudos to Linus for writing the kernel, hooking up with the GNU people and keeping it all going. But I'm not at all convinced that his leadership style is intrinsic to the success of Linux. Obviously his leadership style has been at least good enough, but one wonders if more success could have been possible.

Anyway, I agree with Linus in that Linux will be just fine without him.

Comment Re:This can't be good for Silicon Valley (Score 3, Insightful) 346 346

Yeah, there are labor laws for a reason and if you're using "contractors" you don't have to pay minimum wage for example. There are some Uber drivers that have learned how to game the system and earn OK money, but they work hard and hustle customers.

The average Uber driver probably makes less than minimum wage, - especially once their expenses are factored in. Uber pays a premium for working certain hours, accepting 90% of rides, taking at least one ride per hour in that time frame, etc. It's hard to qualify for the premium all the time.

So really what it amounts to is that Uber is dancing around labor laws so that they can offer a cheaper and more convenient service. There may or may not be evil intentions, but that's the end result.

I guess the question is when does an arrangement for services cross the line into exploitation? It's not always obvious. I may be perfectly happy to do something for a few bucks on the side or even for free just for the experience or the kicks. But what if someone else is trying to earn a living doing the same thing?

For example, let's say you'd think it be great to sail across the Atlantic on a 70 foot keel boat but you lack experience and a boat. You run across someone advertising the need for crew on a two month sailing tour, - no experience necessary. You have to help pay for food and supplies, plus you have to help sail and maintain the boat along the way. But otherwise there's no charge AND no pay. Sounds like quite an adventure right? Well, a week into it you discover that there's a whole lot of work to do and the "captain" isn't doing much of it. In fact, he's got paying guests that aren't doing anything at all. You want off but the best he'll do is drop you at the next island and you've got pay for your own way home.

Well, there are laws that govern this kind of thing because it is very easy to exploit people.

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982