Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:"We" are forcing quality down ... (Score 1) 62

Sure, there are always exceptions. And the good side of globalization is bringing in high quality or specialized/new goods that are not normally available. However over the last 50 years a huge amount of low quality imports have displaced higher quality domestics and that was due to consumer based decisions.

I want to stress that I am referring to a 50 year process, not just today's situation. Although the trend continues, and more importantly the trend is reversible IFF consumers show a preference for domestic/local.

Comment Re: "We" are forcing quality down ... (Score 1) 62

Walmart doesn't manufacture products. Walmart can't sell you an American made version of a Samsung TV if Samsung doesn't make them!

That does not change the fact that when consumers do have a choice they generally choose low cost import.

Nor does it change the fact that 45 years ago consumers did have a choice in TVs and chose the cheap import. Again, we're talking about a trend that has been at work for at least 50 years.

Comment Re:"We" are forcing quality down ... (Score 1) 62

Poor(er) people think that way. If you're rich, you have the luxury of getting what you want, and not having to have the cheaper stuff; of not having to choose between a good product or a good holiday/eating out more/clothing and feeding your kids. Poorer people don't have that choice. And it's not as if the elite/rich people are doing all they can to lift poor people out of poverty. I'd not blame "consumers" for trying to stretch their money as far as possible.

That the impoverished have a more valid reason does not change the fact that businesses that go the offshoring route are rewarded by consumers, that consumers drive offshoring process.

Also this was largely driven by the middle class, as most things are. Keep in mind that this trend started long ago when it was far more likely for a HS educated person to find a job that offered a living wage.

Comment Re: "We" are forcing quality down ... (Score 1) 62

What percentage of products are greenwashing and what percentage are effective and less troublesome for people and/or the environment I don't know. However that doesn't matter to my point, which is that people demonstrated a willingness to buy something using a metric other than the lowest price and manufacturers and retailers respond. It worked for "green". It could work for "domestic/local".

Comment Re:big map books of the local area are not that ea (Score 2) 154

big map books of the local area are not that easy to use in the car and what if you need 2-3 of them cover the drivers zone?

Well, we had three of those guidebooks (Thomas Bros) and we looked at them when not actively driving. Basically there was a planning stage where we created a mental map, it was enough or it was supplemented by notes (street names, distances, turns, etc.). Then once we had a plan we executed the plan. It really was not much trouble, two or three minutes up front before you started driving.

I confess that my guides are 10+ years old and move from trunk of old car to trunk of new car unused. Off in the wilds, there I moderate the wonders of handheld wireless computing. Drop GPS pins where we park and where we set up a campsite but navigate with printed maps and mechanical compasses, brushing up on that perishable skill, leaving the phone/gps in a waterproof bag turned off for backup.

Comment Walmart leverages the pre-existing behavior (Score 1) 62

You're oversimplifying a complex issue to blame the working class. Americans shop on price because we're desperately trying to maintain our standard of living in the face of declining wages. Those wages are declining because of globalization and automation.

Globalization is in part a result of the consumer's willingness to consider price above any other consideration. The consumer drives the offshoring process through their choices, their "tragedy of the commons" logic. CEOs may be greedy but it is sales that satisfy their greed, and it is consumers who decide whether offshoring improves or hurts sales.

Walmart's slogan nails it: You're not destroying Unions and plunging the country into the worst income inequality since WWI; you're saving money, living better.

The thing is Walmart is not creating that behavior, they are capitalizing on that pre-existing behavior, they leverage the pre-existing behavior.

Comment Re: "We" are forcing quality down ... (Score 1) 62

I beg to differ. I have never seen any attempt to market products this way. When I go to the Apple store, they don't sell an iPhone made at Foxconn and an iPhone made in the US. It doesn't happen with any product.

We are talking about Walmart not Apple, a retailer not a supplier that happens to have a boutique retail store. I believe I can find US made goods like a MagLite flashlight, a Nalgene water bottle, a Leatherman multitool, a Lodge skillet, etc at Walmart.

We are also talking about a current situation that is the result of consumer behavior that has been going on for 40 to 50 years. And now with online shopping it is easier to find US made goods than in recent years.

If consumers wanted to demonstrate a preference for local products they have options. Such a trend would be recognized. That is why you find various "greener" products at the grocery store nowadays, consumers started voting with their dollars and stores responded.

Comment "We" are forcing quality down ... (Score 5, Interesting) 62

... force quality down in the name of price ...

Technically that is we the consumers that are doing that. Offshoring, low quality, etc ... those are not CEO choices, those are consumer choices. When presented with two products, one domestically produced, higher quality and higher priced, and the other produced overseas, lower quality and lower priced, we the consumer overwhelmingly choose the lower priced. We reward the supplier that offshores and reduces quality. If we consumers showed a preference for local goods and/or higher quality goods that is what Walmart would stock the shelves with. They stock what sells, we decide what sells.

Comment Walmart is a tech leader ... (Score 4, Informative) 62

Before you laugh, some history ... Walmart is/was a tech leader, they pioneered digitizing and automating the supply chain (orders, payments, etc) and inventory management (what, where, etc) back in the 1970s. They were also mining "big data" back then (more what and where - hurricane warning in gulf, move pop tarts from midwest distribution centers to gulf stores). Opening their "big data" is how they got suppliers to buy into their digital supply chain. Suppliers got to see their product sale at national, regional and even store levels with 15min granularity. All the cash registers reported to a store's minicomputer which then connected by satellite to headquarters to report sales.

Comment Battery cases address this problem (Score 2) 74

Cases with integrated batteries address this problem. The phone itself does not have to go in this direction.

There is another thing about the Razr that is loved and missed. A small size that easily fit in the pocket. Thin and lightweight are an attempt to partially fulfill this Razr attribute. However today's handheld computers need a larger screen so we will always fall short of the Razr's convenience. An iPhone SE with the thickness and weight of an iPod touch might be convenient enough, ignoring the technical limitations that make that infeasible today. A case roughly twice as thick that triples battery life would seem reasonable for those that want endurance.

Seems like a thin phone plus a thick case is a path that lets both the convenience and endurance camps get what they desire.

Comment No shit (Score 1) 318

And I dunno about schools these days, or everywhere for that matter, but way back when I was in high school the books usually used something that was quasi-cylindrical like a Robinson or some such. Tended to give you a good picture of whatever they centered it on (which would usually be whatever was being talked about) and squished things near the edges.

I don't recall ever seeing a Mercator projection. Maybe the local maps were, like when it was showing a single country, but of course it doesn't matter a lot at that point as the distortion in a small area isn't that large whatever kind of projection you use.

Comment That's how these things always go (Score 4, Insightful) 125

Whenever there's a "language popularity" thing online they always do their research by looking at what people are doing online. Either what they are talking about, what they are sharing, etc. Somehow none of them ever consider how horribly skewed this is.

The simplest counterexample to something like this is embedded software. It is unarguable that there's a lot of development of that going on. Everything today gets controlled with a micro-controller or small CPU. Actual custom designed ASICs/circuits are reserved for only a few applications, most things get a more general purpose device and do it in code. Your car, your cable modem, your microwave, your TV, etc all of them run code.

Well guess what? That embedded code isn't done in Javascript or Ruby or any of these other trendy languages. Often as not it is done in C/C++ (and sometimes partially or all assembly). It just isn't the sort of things that gets posted about online. First the code is almost always proprietary, so the project itself isn't going to get posted as it is property of the company that paid to have it written and second it is professionals working in teams doing it, not people who are getting started out or playing around. They are likely to get help internally, not talk about it on the Internet.

So if you want to look at Github to see what is popular on Github, that's cool, but when people try to generalize that to development overall, it is false. To get a feeling for what is really popular in software development you'd have to poll programmers working at a variety of big companies since that's where a lot of the code is being generated.

Comment If the goal is reducing federal spending (Score 1) 647

Then restoration is not the way to go. You can't on the one hand say "We have to cut spending!" and then on the other say "We have to give the military back what we cut!" If you want budget cuts to try and balance the budget ok, but then the military has to be part of it. It is bigger than any other agency, by a large margin. You could eliminate (not cut, completely eliminate) education, transportation, agriculture, HHS, and the DoE and not even come close to the whole military budget.

Another way of looking at the military cuts is restoring it to 1990s levels, percentage wise. In the mid 90s defense spending was about $270 billion which was about 16% of the budget. In 2015 defense spending was about $640 billion (estimates are harder here since congress doesn't include Iraq and Afghanistan costs directly in the budget) which is about 16% of the budget.

Slashdot Top Deals

Your password is pitifully obvious.