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Comment Re:Going bust not unique to drop-outs (Score 1) 281

23 year old high school grads with five years of software development experience simply do not exist: In the real world, no 18 year old high school grad will ever be able to get that first job where he can gain years of experienc

I see the resumes everyday, and I've interviewed and hired some. It happens. First off, usually, through connections or freelancing, a H.S. grad gets a nice job at the entry level of the industry, perhaps as a tester, a test case coder, in QA, somewhere. Not at a big company, a small or medium sized outfit. He does well, he learns a few things, and he's a really hardcore self-motiviated learner. Yes, those first years of experience are not as valuable as the next few years. Just doesn't work that way. But he gets real knowledge of what the world is doing in practice.

Secondly, for every outstanding great candidate from a great CS program, like you describe, you get as many candidates or more from bad programs at for-profit colleges. When you talk to their advisers or professors they don't stand out, they don't have a picture of the student in his mind. Their internships are garbage - getting coffee for mangers or proofreading technical documents.

If you are able to hire the best, best, best graduates, you will be fantastic shape. If you are able to only attract the average or below candidates, you should keep digging and see if there are non-traditional candidates.

Comment Re:Going bust not unique to drop-outs (Score 1) 281

Right, there comes a point at which your work experience becomes more important than the degree. But the point is you are at an advantage in getting that necessary experience if you start out with a degree. For people too young to have an outstanding working history, that HR door is solidly closed.

And that point is.. at the begining of your career.

Guess what, as a person who hires programmers, I can tell you that a 22 or 23 year old coming to me with NO EXPERIENCE but a great college degree is severely disadvantaged from a programmer who is probably 22 or 23, and has had two or three jobs involved programming or IT, maybe done some freelance work, has a nice online presence, etc.

It's especially true if the candidate reveals he has a lot of student loans. How happy do you think a 23 year old kid is going to be living at home probably, paying a large monthly student loan payment, without really having any hope of living on his own, having a normal adult life, for many years while his debt is worked off? Meanwhile his straight from high-school to work doppelganger has maybe a car payment (but not necessarily), his own apartment, maybe is well on his way to getting married. As an employer/manager, which person do I want to hire? If I want to beat the programmer into the ground, work him to the bone, underpay him and make him feel like crap, all the while lording his job and pay over his head while he clings to the job like a life raft, I hire the college grad with low-six figures of debt. If I want a nice long-term employee with a stable career path, I strongly consider the un-degreed fellow first.

Comment Re:Many members of Congress own car dealerships (Score 1) 342

The fact is that technology may not have driven the purchase price of a car down that much, but it HAS driven the cost of transportation down significantly, while at the same time dramatically increasing reliability, comfort, and safety

I don't think this is supportable by evidence. Cars, including total cost of ownership and operation, are more expensive than ever. Mostly because people are willing (and able) to spend for it. Our entire culture and civilization is designed around subisidizing the hidden costs of transportation, to the point where it's buried into everything we buy or make or sell.

Comment Re:Many members of Congress own car dealerships (Score 1) 342

1909 cost of a Model T Touring edition = $850, inflation adjusted 2012 dollars, $23,394.41.

The problem with this comparison is there is rough equivalence in value between a 1908 car and a modern car. There was no such thing as commuting. There was were no highways. There were no paved roads. No auto shops, nothing. It was the wild west. There is no equivalence of value. People in the early days of television used TV much as it is today. There is arguably more value now because of many choices, but the uses and how it fits into a value tree decision are essentially the same. There are also a few new users (i.e. as a general purpose digital display) which add value that was not useful in 1950 since there we not other sources other than broadcast for content. But I think either way, the comparison is useful.

VW is notorious for selling its old models in foreign countries.
The original VW Beetle was manufactured in Mexico until 2003.
The VW Bus is finally getting canceled in Brazil (and that's being fought).
The 2nd gen VW Passat was sold in China for almost 30 years until it was updated.

Yes, this is exactly right. It cannot be done in the US because of increasing regulatory burden, and the availability of cheap credit (which I will get to in a minute). The examples you give support my position. In Mexico, increasing standards are what also finally killed it, and led to major revisions in three different model years. The Beetle in Mexico, despite rising standards and material costs, was reduced in price several times over it's production run, and it is likely that if new standards had not have been added, it would have continued to drop in price. See for example.

a. it's never cheaper to buy a new car.

This is absurdly wrong. You can argue that it's not a better value, but it can be frequently less money, especially short-term, to buy a new car. And it's often easier. If you are facing a large repair bill and have even mediocre credit, you can almost always buy an entirely new car for less money out of pocket than fixing your old car. And with special terms and whatnot, you can appear to save monthly as well (except that the term and therefore costs long-term are very expensive). Cheap credit, predicated on financing, makes it attractive to buy cars over unreasonably long terms, continuing the ability of car makers to hide the costs behind a seemingly low monthly payment.

b. One of those regulatory agencies crash tested a 1959 Chevy Bel Air with a 2009 Malibu []
This video speaks for itself.

You are arguing that increased costs somehow are good for people because it puts them in safer cars. There is no argument that a 1959 Bel Air is not as safe as a 2009 Malibu, however, that is not the only piece of the equation. Why shouldn't the government (not insurance companies by the way) force every company to make a car as safe as a top of the line German built car?

Now you're just arguing with a straw man.
We're talking about the cheapest car of 1970 and the two cheapest cars of 2014

Yes, but the 2014 cars have many, many, many upgrades that are just plain flashy. People lived before air conditioning. People lived before automatic transmissions, CD players, airbags, LATCH, TPMS, etc.

Comment Re:hehe (Score 1) 342

You pretty much got it - the core of Microsoft's argument was 100% vindicated by history. It's one of the little quirks of nature:

1. Bundling DOES help the consumer. Apple is the proving point. The users crave a unified bundled approach. Even to the level MS never envisioned, hardware, service and software.

2. An upstart competition could arrive at anytime and take MS's market share, because unlike natural monopolies on resources, the human capital needed to fight MS was readily available to competitors. Google, Apple, Blackberry, all came from nowhere to drink MS's milkshake.

3. The browser is a natural part of the operating system and it's unfair to force MS to accommodate competitors who someday would be more profitable or powerful than MS.

4. MS doesn't have the ability to set prices which is a critical part of the monopoly power. This is so obviously true. MS exerts almost no price pressure on the market these days.

Comment Re:Don't get it (Score 1) 342

Your politics are backwards. Nationally, the car dealers are associated strongly with the conservatives in the GOP. Many, many, many car dealers are owned by Republicans.

Nate Silver correlated the data nicely back when the major makers were on the verge of bankruptcy.

It's better than 8-to-1 correlation (i.e., a fairly strong correlation).

Comment Re:Many members of Congress own car dealerships (Score 2) 342

The problem is that, adjusting for inflation, it should be dramatically less. That's the trend. The major outlier is for raw materials which are more costly to extract and process for use.

In the 1950's a decent Westinghouse consolve TV cost about $1000. Inflation adjusted to today, that's about $9000. You'd be hard pressed to spend $9000 on a TV today unless it was a big theater setup or was quite exotic. That's because technology has replaced the need for many expensive raw materials, improved production (including moving it overseas), and driven out the excess.

Auto manufacturers have a problem, and they are the ones driving cost inflation, trying to convince Americans to spend more and more of their income each year on automobiles. For the last two generations this has been through fictionalization of automobiles - you are buying a payment, not a product. That has started to lessen, but record low interest rates have prevented a major crash in sales, and actually led to some good years against a trend of decline.

There is a large untapped market for a car marker who builds the same model of car, with no changes other than manufacturing refinements, for 7-15 years, direct to consumers. From a manufacturing theory perspective, there are something like 7,000-10,000 drivers in an auto production line. 10 years is about what you could expect to optimize the supply chain for each driver, maybe half that if you are very good at managing supply chain. This type of company is stymied by three things:

a. cheap credit money which makes it cheaper to buy a new car than to maintain and run older cars,
b. regulatory creep which increases requirements continually and
c. consumers willing to spend a large slice of their income on flashy cars and status symbols.

Comment Re:Mischaracterization (Score 4, Interesting) 342

And in the end, car dealerships do deserve to undergo a radical change in their structure. They are inherently bad for customers.

For one - they make money in ways that customers are not aware of. The most insidious being "point spread". You walk in, buy a car, and they make money selling the car (fair), future service either under warranty or direct to the consumer (fair), and more importantly, on the financing. You might qualify for a certain rate, but they get a big chunk of the difference between your best qualifying rate and what they convince you to pay. So you qualify for a 3.5% rate, but they get you sign on the line for 9.9%, and they get roughly 50% of the point spread between 3.5% and 9.9%, which on many financing arrangements, is far more than the profit involved in selling the car to begin with.

Second, they do an only okay job with service. They do not typically do as a good job as independent shops, and for warranty work, face little competitive price pressure.

Finally, they are effective local monopolies and do not always respond to market pressure. Because of brand monopolies, there is not as much competition as they would have you believe. The car market is deeply segmented, and so there are not as many brand choices in a price/demographic band as you might think. On paper there are 15 manufacturers selling through dealerships in a market. But for a single random consumer, there are likely 3 or 4 options that meet the basic criteria of type and price range.

In many small towns or areas, the local car dealer is the wealthiest person in town. There is a lot of profit standing between the car maker and the consumer. And in the end, this excess is needs to be wrung out of the system. Manufacturer's should not be able to prevent car dealers from selling and servicing cars, but long-term, the concept of a franchised car dealership needs to be scaled back. Channel conflict is inevitable.

Comment Re:in related news (Score 1) 77

Participation in fraud and selling stolen goods is hardly capitalism. ... Maybe you should look into the theory of capitalism a bit and this time read past the title and forward of the books.

Maybe you should look at how things work in the real world instead of believing what a bunch of philosophers tell you they think ought to happen. Hint: Karl Marx and Ayn Rand both developed economic theories that were entirely logical and self-consistent.

Comment Re:Creativity vs. Being a Crank (Score 2) 118

Yes. This is an important distinction. "They also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

Hoyle wasn't purely a crank, of course. He was a very good scientist, who had made major contributions to his field, but who just couldn't accept new ideas past a certain point, and thereby became a crank. This phenomenon isn't universal by any means, but it's sadly common.

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Mathematics is the only science where one never knows what one is talking about nor whether what is said is true. -- Russell