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Comment Re:These aren't cost overruns (Score 1) 153

This is why I would love to see the government sue people who grossly underbid contracts.

Governments typically ask companies to bid on things that may or may not be possible, then force them to put a price on it. Now you want them to be sued as well?

I can believe that companies keep using the same methodologies to make these bids, but don't understand why the government doesn't turn a wary eye to these predictions and multiply the given amount based on historical data. Then again, if nothing like this has ever been attempted it's hard to rely on historical data. No two projects will be over cost and over budget in the same way.

Comment Re:I guess you either live somewhere that's warm (Score 1) 557

I don't know where you buy your CFLs from, but the ones I have come on like any normal incandescent light build does.

I guess you either live somewhere that's warm all the year round or you heat your rooms 24 hours a day. In winter mornings my room temperature is about 5 degrees C and it takes a minute for the CFLs to reach normal brightness. My wife insists that we keep the stairway light on all night so that the stairs are well lit, so I am not exactly sure we save any energy.

Cripes man! It's 5C in your house and the LIGHT is too slow for you? It'll take an hour to heat that space up.

I haven't had any trouble with the Sylvania Instant-On bulbs - get them in 2700K 'temperature' and they're just like incandescents. Then again, I live in Florida and it doesn't usually get that cold here.

Comment Re:First Union? (Score 1) 576

Otherwise, it's the same 'I've got mine so screw you' attitude that the greedy owners are taking.

Unless you're self-employed, if it wasn't for those "greedy owners", you'd be begging on the streets. That's why the anti-business mentality is so idiotic - without businesses the majority of people would be unemployed.

I agree with you entirely, but we must remember that when unions feel the need to organize to fight for something it's usually because whoever is running the business is being a bit too greedy. It doesn't apply to all businesses.

That being said, I am working towards setting up my own business and although I consider myself an enlightened person I find myself thinking very greedily. The whole purpose of setting up a business for me is 1) follow my passions and 2) get really really rich while doing it. The prospects for getting really really rich by just being a worker for 30 years are nil, even if you're an engineer, thus my reason for going into business.

I do want to do things like institute rules that are equitable, such as 'No employee may make more than 5x what the lowest paid employee makes.' But then a little voice inside of me says 'To hell with that, I want a million dollar salary and I'm not paying my plebes 200K a year! They don't deserve it! How complicated are their jobs!? *I* DESERVE IT DAMNIT! I TOOK THE RISK OF STARING MY OWN BUSINESS BLAH BLAH BLAH...'

The truth of the matter is, business owners/runners are not of an entirely different breed than workers. Most small business/entrepreneurs are people who don't see themselves as taking a risk - they know their target market/product well enough to realize their chances. And most of them don't use their own money to finance their business - they sell stock, borrow from banks, etc. And since their business is a corporation they just get to shut down when things get bad and creditors get 50 cents on the dollar if they're lucky. Then they can start a new business. The workers carry the same amount of risk as the owner for the most part. The only real risk to the owner is legal/civil proceedings. And the answer to that is - don't be a scumbag and you get a lot safer.

Of course, if most businesses could handle NOT being scumbags there'd be much less call for unions....

Comment Re:Technically, yes, except .... (Score 1) 485

Just remove the monetary incentive. Fines are a stupid idea for a punishment even in a capitalist system.

Perhaps the system could be fixed significantly if the money from the ticket didn't go immediately back to the town in which the ticket was written, instead perhaps being given to the state and channeled equitably to the various towns and areas with police forces.

Comment Re:First Union? (Score 2, Insightful) 576

Those health insurance and retirement benefits won by the union?

So.. in your estimation unions shouldn't be fighting for the betterment of all workers, rather, good treatment is a benefit for those who pay for it.

I'd rather have real good guys in the fight for me - someone who fights for the better treatment of all workers, not just their friends. Otherwise, it's the same 'I've got mine so screw you' attitude that the greedy owners are taking.

Comment Re:First Union? (Score 1) 576

Excuse me, but aren't those things criminal? It looks like you're confusing unions with the mob.

It is, sadly, a close thing in some places/lines of work. Try garbage pickup in New York city. I've heard of businesses whose employees were required to take home a bag of garbage every week because the contracted garbage company didn't pick up the garbage. Of course, it was either required legally or 'in your best interest' (for whatever reason, be it intact kneecaps or doing it allowed you to deal with other unionized labor you needed) to choose this company to be your garbage collector. No matter what they did or didn't do, you have to keep them on. And it happened to have unionized labor.

There are such things as good unions. The handle contract negotiations for their members (where I live they apply equally to non-members, who tend to be quite happy about that). And when they call for a strike, I think they even reimburse non-members for their lost income (non-members will have to chose whether they join the strike and lose income, or go to work and sit there on their own). Good unions do not demand any kind of exclusivity, and personally I think any kind of exclusivity contract needs to be illegal. (Unfortunately it rarely it.)

This is very true, and I wish it was more prevalent. Sadly, when a lot of money is concentrated in any one place, even .01% of it is a fortune to someone. There's too much profit to be had by finding/creating a small cesspool where a little bit of money flows in and never flows out. This goes for everything - government, labor, corporations.

Comment Re:...or you could add something for yourself... (Score 2, Insightful) 519

This has always bugged the hell out of me.

Is it my fault that serving staff are paid less? Am I obligated to pay them a tip, because their boss won't pay them a reasonable wage? Is it my problem that they can't/haven't gotten a better-paying job?

I agree with you, but we can also do something (maybe). Is there somewhere a list of places that DO pay their servers/waiters well that we can frequent? Heck, I'd start my own restaurant - with a big sign: "No tipping please, our waiters act professional and are paid accordingly. We don't keep unprofessional service staff around because we care about your dining experience."

Comment Re:Weve seen that argument before (Score 1) 1066

And if you've ever bought used textbooks on the Internet, you'll probably quickly discover what a sweet discount you can get when the global market stays global for you. I've bought plenty of (English-language) textbooks that were originally sold to the Indian subcontinent; they're exactly the same between the covers as the American editions but priced quite differently, and you can often save some good money.

Do watch out though - I have seen some odd differences in the books. I believe one thermodynamics text many of us bought online only had metric-unit problems in the back instead of metric and imperial. It's kind of a small difference, but it can bite you.

Comment Re:Weve seen that argument before (Score 1) 1066

I think that in a world without Copyright (and the like) the only think we would not have is the crap copyrightable stuff (e.g., Britney Spears, Eminem, etc...) mainly because such media is only famous due to its heavy marketing and not its quality.

Of course, it's all clear now! Without copyright, only the music you like would exist, and the music that other people like wouldn't. You just confirmed that copyright is doing what it's supposed to - helping produce music that people enjoy. But since only plebes enjoy that kind of music you're fine with trashing copyright.

Screw you. I like Eminem. I'd rather see him stick around than not. Your elitism does not make a persuasive argument for getting rid of copyright.

Comment Re:Stop Sleepwalking! (Score 5, Insightful) 278

Now that these companies have trashed any form of local retailer, they have to expand into new areas to swell their profits; this is why they now offer mobile phones, home insurance, pharmaceuticals and even home mortgages in some instances.

When is the populace going to wake up & realise that cheap is not necessarily best? >

I come at this from a different angle. I grew up in a town that was 20 minutes from a city. There were towns farther out that were an hour or two from anything worthwhile.

Living in these places SUCKS!

Everyone keeps going on about 'mom and pop' and 'buy local' but the experience I've had with local businesses in places like these is that they get away with charging obscene prices because they're the only game in town. Milk - costs more at the local mom and pop store because you have to drive 20 minutes in any direction to find a competitor. Gas? Same deal. And the selection is awful. You get whatever they give you and nothing more. People would drive an hour to get to a real store - a Walmart or a Target or a Best Buy - and stock up for a week or weeks at a time. Driving an hour to get a better price on gas when filling up your 100 gallon tank was justified.

So Walmart comes around and wants to build a store in your podunk town and suddenly hippes and 'progressives' from the city are telling you to oppose it because it 'destroys local business'. What? Mom and pop were trying to destroy us slowly with high prices and terrible selection for years, and now someone wants us to help them out because Walmart comes in and charges us a reasonable price for something? AND has a better selection? No thank you.

You know what else you get with a Walmart? It's a little slice of civilization compared to what you can find out there. That odd DVD rental machine in the front? A Godsend to someone who has no video rental store. And the faux bank where you can cash checks, send money, and have your taxes done in season? Compared to what was on offer before there was Walmart it's amazing. You go to a Wal-Mart in Chicago, Los Angeles, or Walcott Iowa and it's always the same - same selection, same prices, no favoritism, no prejudice no bullshit. They just sell you things.

So now they do cell phones too? If you live in a city, yeah, it's superfluous. If you live in the middle of nowhere it's another Godsend (as long as your nowhere has T-Mobile anyway). To have a place that will sell you something for a fair price and give you a decent selection of phones? Listen, you all may take it for granted, but plenty of people don't live in Chicago or New York or Los Angeles. They have significantly fewer options and Wal-Mart is on the whole a positive for them.

Comment Re:Not Applicable (Score 1) 1695

If a company does something that I consider wrong, saying that they aren't legally obliged to do the right thing, doesn't rate as a defense of their behaviour to me.

Emphasis mine.

So it's the 'right' thing to do because it agrees with your views? Self-centered to say the least. Rackspace is required to uphold your values even when it conflicts with their own?

Look, I like free speech, but I also have the right of free association. And I would certainly choose not to be associated with this church. So I'm not. Rackspace has that right as well. Does your belief in free speech invalidate their right to free association? Why should it? Which is more valuable?

Not an easy question.

Comment Re:skill fade? (Score 1) 450

Unfortunately, not too many development companies have figured out that once you have legitimately reached a 'senior' position, picking up the new language is pretty damn trivial.

Depends what 'senior' means. In my company the 'technical track' is pathetic. It's like asking to be forgotten, ignored and underpaid if you seek promotion by expanding your skillset. The real money comes in project management - become a systems engineer, a project engineer, a program finance person or whatever. Just get in a position to move money around and say important things like 'How can they put that on our plate? We told them last quarter that the deliverables were delayed as specified in the contract. We can't be more than 12.5% liable! We'll sue!'

So our 'senior' people may or may not have actual important technical experience and the ability to do anything worthwhile. An inept engineer level 1 can choose to take the 'program management' path and become a senior whatever while not being able to write any code.

They just hand out titles today. I wouldn't believe them.

Comment Re:cheap shot (Score 2, Interesting) 772

If everyone had the ability to make $75k a year, $75k a year would not be "worth" as much. Obvious inflation is obvious.

Image everyone gets a free superpower - useful but not game-breaking (like changing reality with a thought). I can fly, Ted can phase through walls, Jenny can see electrical fields. So we all go to work with our cool powers. I'm the fastest man at my delivery service, Ted saves dozens of people daily as a firefighter and Jenny makes the electrical grid more efficient. We all make at least $75K. In fact, everyone does because everyone's powers are useful.

Guess what? We're not all poor. We're all richer than before. We have fast deliveries, people who would have died are alive, and our power grid is better and therefore cheaper - not to mention whatever everyone else is doing. Just because everyone gets paid more doesn't mean it's inflation - it's not as long as they're being paid what they're worth. If they're generating value, we all win even if we pay them what they're worth.

But of course, there are no super powers in the real world. We have to teach people mentally or physically to make them worth $75K/year. That doesn't mean it's impossible or that it would cause inflation if we did. The economy is not a zero-sum game.

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