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Comment Re:What a waste (Score 2) 452

That room full of insightful, creative people gets their money from venture capitalists/angel investors. The only role the stock market has is making it easier for venture capitalists to exit from successful investments. Without the stock market, there could still be investment made in early stage companies, but investors would have be more discerning about what they invest in because they'd have to make their money back through company stock buy backs, dividends or acquisitions.

The way that investment happens would most certainly change but, in some ways, it would change for the better. There would be far fewer photo-sharing apps and other such nonsense that really doesn't need to exist. And I'm still not convinced that tying our retirement savings accounts (401(k), IRA, etc) to the stock market is such a good thing. The stock market continues to go up and up, in part, because of the millions that flow into it each month from workers saving for retirement. This has a Ponzi-ish feel to the same way that Social Security will run into problems when the baby boomers retire, the market will also start to decline as withdrawals from retirement accounts outpace contributions. The whole thing feels like a Social Security that Wall St gets to skim large amounts of money off of.

The stock market is A mechanism for investment. It's not the ONLY mechanism. We should be able to separate stock market criticisms from the ad absurdum argument against all investment.

Comment Re:Excellent question. (Score 1) 228

looking at it from afar the whole thing has never given off a friendly, welcoming, positive vibe - instead everyone who talks about it does so in a very berating way and how NOT to do it and how all sorts of people are doing it "wrong"

Wow...that was not my intention and I'm really sorry if that's the vibe I gave off. Burning Man is one of the most positive vibes I've ever found. Whether it's dancing, making art, talking, or however you put yourself out there, the people I meet rarely judge (negatively...there's lots of positive feedback) or try to inhibit you.

Ironically, I think that leads me to unintentionally judge others for not participating because I know how liberating it can be to participate in that kind of environment and I want to encourage others to participate as well. I feel that the world I inhabit the other 51 weeks of the year discourages participation and I end up assuming that people who don't participate at Burning Man are doing so because they wouldn't do it back in the real world. I think I need to be careful about saying the things I want to say in a way that sounds like it's a judgment of others' choices.

But at the same time, I'm not sure how to get across how great it can be to get in touch with parts of yourself that you didn't know existed. I've always been a shy, unartistic person. I'm not an artist that wants to show my art to others. I play and write music, but almost never share it with others (electric piano with headphones). But at Burning Man, I've gradually learned to come out of my shell and do things that push my boundaries. I make bad art with people who are better at it than I am, talk to strangers and generally put myself out there in a way that I could be judged by rarely ends up happening.

And this feeling is so powerful that I want others to experience it. But then again, there are many different experiences that people can have out there and almost all are valid. I hope I've given you a glimpse into the one that I've grown to crave and that I don't mean to judge those who don't have or seek the same type of experience...I only want people to know that it's possible.

Comment Re:Excellent question. (Score 4, Interesting) 228

Moreover, there are many different Burning Man experiences to be had and I think he had a different one than I've ever had or ever want to have.

For one, most of the fun happens at night...the day is too hot. I rarely return to my sleeping area before 5am and in those rare occurrences I'm usually not alone. Without a tent with a pretty serious sun shade, sleeping past 7am is almost impossible. I'm not sure how others deal with 2 hours of sleep per night for an entire week, but I can't function that way. I've realized that it's just easier to rent the RV so that I can sleep comfortably until noonish.

Second, his experience seems far more solitary than mine. I usually bring an outdoor sun shade, but I mostly don't use it. During the days, I tend to go around the event wandering into other camps making friends. It's my favorite part of going there...I love the randomness of not knowing whether I'm walking into a situation where it's clear after 2 minutes that I should leave or I'm going to have a pleasant hour-long conversation or even if it's the start of a serious friendship/relationship. The pleasant hour-long conversation is, by far, the most common, but I've had quite a few of the other two as well.

Third, I cannot fathom going out there without being sure that I have enough water. Flying into Reno just doesn't seem like an option since I can't bring the 3 5-gallon containers I feel I need for the duration of the event. Also, painting a cheap bike can be fun and make it really easy to identify yours in a crowd of other bikes. It also makes it really hard to steal (either intentionally or unintentionally) if it has a very unique look. Every few years I get a new cheap bike and put my own artistic imprint on it...I'd rather do this instead of renting both because I feel it's more in the spirit of the event and because it's annoying to have to constantly lock up your bike.

I get the distinct feeling from his post that he went because he was interested in it but basically wanted to blend in and observe. That's fine, but experienced burners will give you advice to based on what you should do to participate, not just watch. Had he followed the advice to build a hexayurt with PVC from home depot, people like me might have spontaneously stopped by to say hello...not so with his single-occupancy tent.

Comment Re:Trending political procedures... (Score 0) 314

And it's not exactly unique. Caltrans uses the sensors for the FastTrak toll devices to monitor the flows of traffic and respond to accidents faster. It makes a lot of sense and you can opt out by putting the transponder in your glove compartment. You can test that this works (I've done it) by forgetting to remove it from your glove compartment when you drive through the toll collection area. The sign won't signal that you've paid, but the license plate recognition will resolve the fare properly.

Yes, there's a potential for abuse in stuff like this, but the benefit to everyone is undeniable. Faster response from officials to traffic conditions will help alleviate them sooner and may result in emergency personnel arriving on scene sooner and saving more lives. And I'd rather they use a technology that's both cheaper and easy to opt out of than to install expensive camera systems that track license plate numbers and give drivers no way of avoiding being tracked.

Comment Re:Not exactly a right to remain silent... (Score 2) 452

The fifth amendment doesn't even apply here. It's a first amendment issue. As a member of the press, his right to report on anything, including secret classified documents, cannot be curtailed. Forcing him to reveal his source falls under that protection because it limits his ability and the ability of other reporters going forward to receive similar offers of assistance from sources. It would be murkier if he had signed any sort of agreement to gain clearance to the documents, but he didn't.

If the situation were different and Risen had been found to have classified documents during a legal search, then he could be compelled to reveal where he got those documents so long as he wasn't incriminating himself. But it's not, he's an member of the press and the first amendment protects the press's right to keep their sources secret.

Comment Re:Their loss (Score 1) 410

Huawei has already been caught putting government backdoors into their networking equipment. It's not Lenovo's reputation that's being impugned, it's the Chinese Government's. It's no different than concerns over using US cloud services given what's been revealed about the NSA's FISA requests to Apple, Google, Microsoft and others.

It's entirely reasonable to assume that any cloud service with a US presence could potentially cooperate with the NSA even if they have no current history of doing so. Likewise, it's entirely reasonable to assume that any Chinese company may be forced to cooperate with the Chinese government. Hell, it's entirely reasonable to assume that any product produced in China may have backdoors. I hope, for the sake of the security of these countries, that they're also including products designed in countries without a record of these practices but produced in China in their black-listed equipment.

Comment Re:Gawd (Score 1) 434

Working with Lisp in a C* based world is like driving a car in the ocean.

This is a lesson that I wish more language designers would grok. At this point, with everything that has been written in C, the first feature you implement beyond the basics of your language should be easy bi-directional C interoperability. And if you can use C calling conventions, that's even better. It's super frustrating to watch a promising language like Go waste years creating their own API when they could have gotten near instant adoptability if they'd just allowed us to use their language with our existing C/C++ code.

C is like email. Anything that seeks to replace it can't operate under the assumption that people will use the new solution instead of it. It has to be designed from the beginning to work with it and enable a gradual migration away from it.

Comment Re:Of course... (Score 1) 361

Those numbers are entirely reasonable and, assuming those are base numbers before a 10-15% bonus and RSU grants, we can and do pay developers that much. If that assumption is wrong, we pay a bit more. Our benefits are also well above average. If you're looking to move, we should talk.

Feel free to contact me at: tblair [at]

Comment Re:Of course... (Score 1) 361

Yes, we can afford a few extra grand to help move and we'll pay to fly candidates in for their interviews. We do ask out-of-area candidates to go through an extra phone screen just to give both sides a greater confidence that it's worth the time, expense and hassle that go along with a long-distance interview.

Comment Re:Of course... (Score 1) 361

We do from time to time, but you do need some leadership positions where there's no time to train up. We've also got a problem with the way we budget...managers are given open headcount rather than open budget for headcount. So if you've got an open headcount, where is your incentive to hire a cheaper option?

Comment Re:Of course... (Score 1) 361

No, we're not a startup. We're an established company with over 500 employees (70 technical, split somewhat evenly between the US and China) and close to $100m/yr run rate. We were acquired last year for $423.5m by a well-known and well-respected company with a ~$19b market cap (those numbers alone would be enough for someone Google-proficient to figure out who we are). We don't offer stock options anymore, but we do offer RSUs (whether the stock is up or down, it's still worth something). Out of everything you said, the 5-year contract is probably the only deal-breaker.

We're only looking for people who want the startup feel and agility (small teams, lots of freedom, minimal management), not the startup risk, compensation or work-life balance (the office is almost always empty by 6pm.)

Comment Re:Of course... (Score 1, Interesting) 361

I'm curious what you think a fair wage for a developer would be. I currently have 4 open positions that I'm having a bitch of a time filling. 2 are mid to senior Java openings and the other two are client-side UI positions. We're in downtown San Francisco very close to BART and close enough to CalTrain that our policy of a company-provided MiFi and 90 min of flex time (i.e. you work 45 min of your day on the train in both directions to offset the ~1 hr commute from the south bay) makes commuting from almost anywhere in the east bay or south bay a reasonable option.

I believe the package we're offering is very competitive and yet we only see a steady stream of untalented and mediocre developers. So what should we be offering? How should we be sourcing? We have a culture where people really enjoy working here, so if you're correct, there's obviously something systemically wrong with our recruiting process that we're not finding talented, let alone competent engineers.

Comment Re:No wonder ... (Score 4, Interesting) 384

The Star Trek reboot suffers from the same phenomenon that most of the recent reboots have. The first movie ends up being good because they get to explore the formative events that turn the characters from something normal into something resembling the iconic characters we know. It's also able to exploit the information we know about where the characters end up for jokes and introductions. But the first movie has to develop those characters nearly completely or they won't be formed enough for the first movie to complete its story arc, so the second film is left with an almost fully-formed character who doesn't have much room for growth.

Sometimes the movie will try to invent character growth that never existed in the original and sometimes Hollywood just amps up the special effects, but it almost always produces a movie that's much less interesting than the first. The only example I can think of off the top of my head where the second movie was great was the Dark Knight series. But that was due, for the most part, to an amazing performance by the villain. But, other than that anomaly, most follow-ups to hero films (I'm including Star Trek in the hero category since it's very similar once you consider the entire crew as the hero) just don't have any direction they can head that will be as interesting as the first movie.

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