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Comment Re:At least it's not CFL (Score 1) 372

I have lots of CFLs and their lifespan varies widely. I've had some going for almost five years now, and others didn't last five months, all indoors and on roughly the same duty cycle. I don't have too many LED bulbs yet, the oldest maybe 18 months, but none of them have failed yet. I guess LEDs don't have as much "infant mortality". OTOH, we have some incandescents that were here when we bought this house 17 years ago and are still humming along.

It'd be nice if we could get a nonbiased study of lifespans, changes in output, etc., based on a decent sample size and not connected with any manufacturer.

Comment Language/cultural barriers (Score 2) 473

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned this. I work on a project that's spread across eight countries. The lingua franca is English, which makes me one of the lucky ones as a native English speaker. As you might guess, it's a pretty big project, so things like push-button refactoring aren't any use when someone misspells a variable name, or inadvertently names something after a swear word or a racial slur. (Or, more to the point, did so in acquired code that's now 12 years old and really shouldn't be touched if it's been working fine, and there's no staff for cosmetic changes anyway.)

People have talked about commenting and documentation. It's that much worse when someone's writing in their third language, or they write in their native language and you hope you can translate it well enough to get what they're really trying to say.

And then you've got all the cultural issues surrounding hierarchy, face and the loss thereof, egos, power, seniority, communication formats, and all that.

I'd love to have the luxury of being the lone cowboy, even if the PHBs were constantly jerking me around about what I'm supposed to be doing.

Comment Re:I'm getting tired of this industry (Score 1) 75

I've spent about half my 30-year career as an employee and half as a contractor (which I am now). When you count benefits and everything else, the difference in net cost to the client isn't as much as you'd think. The advantage to the client is disposability. While it may look like companies fire their employees as easily as they throw out their cafeteria trash, there's more overhead involved in getting rid of an employee (even without tenure, collective bargaining,etc.) and WAY more when hiring an employee than when renting and returning a contractor.

Speaking of net, my net income as a contractor (full-time, on-site) is not a whole lot different from the equivalent employee position. (YMMV, especially if you're an H1-B.) Of course, I bill short-term work much, much higher, but that's because there's less of it. I prefer the (very relative) stability of being on a full-time PSA versus billing a couple hours a week from a dozen different clients.

Comment Re:I'm getting tired of this industry (Score 2) 75

I'd be delighted if one of my kids told me he or she wanted to be an electrician. There will always be a demand, there are fun toys and interesting tech to play with, there are physical things you can look at and say, "I built that!", and unlike plumbers, you don't often deal with raw sewage.

You don't get vilified as lazy and overpaid by the lumpen like teachers, or publish-or-perish while bowing and scraping for grant money like professors. You're not in college and beyond until your late 20s or longer, like doctors, not to mention the insane student loan debt and crushing malpractice premiums.

And, you're not subject to the whims of either the stock market or PHBs or drunken executives the way we in the corporate world are.

Comment Re:BARRIER!? (Score 2) 166

I pay cash for my cars because of three things: 1. I don't buy extravagant cars; the last new ones were between $25K-$30K and the last used ones were half that; 2. As soon as I buy a car I start saving for the next one; 3. A windfall in the 1999-2000 dot-com boom gave me the initial large chunk of cash to start doing this (among other things).

I could have done the same thing even if that windfall had never come, but it would have meant less money into my 401(k).

All this presumed enough income that I actually could save some of it. Not everyone has that, many live paycheck-to-paycheck, and very few have enough to save for cars *and* max out their 401(k), and save for kids' college, and keep some money liquid, etc. I've been very fortunate.

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