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Comment Re:Save 30%, retire early (Score 1) 295

Or even better, zero family or friends.

You know, I think this might be key, especially the family thing.

The 2 people I know who are in their 40s with paid-for houses, good investments (above and beyond 401k, etc) and lots of savings are REALLY cheap people. Relentless coupon clippers. Buy a huge cut of meat at Costco, cook a giant stew and eat it for every meal for a week. Vacation is staying home from work 5 days to paint the house. Can do everything short of an engine rebuild on their car (which they have owned outright for 7+ years). Only watch movies they buy used from the pawn shop. Clothes all bought at discount stores.

And neither one has much of a social life and no spouse or girlfriend.

I don't think living that way would be that hard, but getting other people to put up with it would be. I think women kind of generally look at spending behavior as a kind of signaling -- how well will you take care of me -- and if they see a guy who won't spend on himself, they figure no way, he won't take care of me or will be unpleasantly cheap.

The only *families* I've ever run into that cheap are super religious, scrimping so mom doesn't work or some other kind of lifestyle goal. And I don't think they really are accumulating anything, they just don't have anything because of one income.

Comment Yes, inherently unpredictable, needs percentages (Score 2) 78

Even with known and well understood languages/technologies/frameworks, you can and will run into glitches that can take days to complete something that was supposed to take hours - or even longer if the developers are not skilled in debugging and isolating problems!

StackOverflow has helped the industry in this regard, because now a lot of times you can reduce some mysterious problem to a fifteen second StackOverflow search which instantly answers the issue. But not always, and there are always issues when actually programming any design that you can uncover hidden flaws and need to correct them.

What I would love to see is some kind of approach that instead of a time estimate, gave a time along with a percentage of confidence. Two different tasks may seem to take about five hours, with one you are 90% sure it can be done in five hours, with another (like brand new code) it can be more of a 50% five hours. Then you could use this percentage to determine the actual areas of coding likely to cause schedule issues and monitor them more closely. The other nice benefit of this approach is that it factors in the actual developer understanding and abilities more than just a straight hour estimate. Maybe you even put a cap on how high a confidence level a developer is allowed to give until they have met given estimates a number of times already...

Coding is a chaotic system, yes, but it's not like it's fully chaotic, and there are patterns within the chaos I think you could determine over time.

Comment Re:Storage? (Score 1) 340

The bigger problem is that as great as pumped hydro is, there's a lot of awesome places for windmills and solar panels that also happen to be deserts with no water and many are also flat, with no place uphill to pump it to even if you had the water.

The giant battery farms are interesting, but after 10 years what percentage of the batteries need to be replaced? Because battery tech is so primitive, building lots of battery farms with batteries that burn out after a decade starts to sound like a real problem, especially if it involves massive mining efforts for lithium at 10x the current demand.

Personally, I'd like to see more done with raised mass storage, including some of the novel systems using large concrete "pistons" over a column of water. During the day (or when the wind blows, etc), water is pumped under the mass, raising it up, and at night the water flows the other way, spinning the pump/turbine.and generating power.

It's kind of like pumped hydro, but all you need to do is dig two cylinders for pumping the water from/to the mass, you're not as dependent on pre-existing geography.

Comment Re:Update: Testing EnergyStar by GAO resulted in: (Score 1) 217

GAO submitted a few non-existant products to test the EnergyStar program. Some notable results:

Gas-Powered Alarm Clock: Product description indicated the clock is the size of a small generator and is powered by gasoline.

Product was approved by Energy Star without a review of the company Web site or questions of the claimed efficiencies.

I'd buy one of these. :D

Comment Re:Er...so it was about greed? (Score 1) 139

It's one of those sort-of catch-22s. I am all for the free market - if it's actually free. I'd like it if businesses "played fair," but they don't, so I grudgingly accept government intervention - but only to help keep the free market free. I do feel the government intervenes too much in some ways, but not enough in others.

Comment Re:Most States have these Occupation Codes (Score 2) 660

I've done some subcontracting for engineering firms and most of the "engineers" I worked with did not have PE certification. There were a few senior guys with PEs who signed off everything. I don't know, but after seeing the reams of drawings/plans I find it hard to believe that this system of requiring only PEs to sign off on projects is actually achieving the risk mitigation that is claimed because I don't think the volume of work is realistically reviewable by one guy.

I'm more inclined that PE certification, like so many professional certifications, is mostly about eliminating competition and running a kind of cartel, especially when it gets the kind of self-policing powers that most legislatures grant professional certification boards. If you can obtain a legislative monopoly on your trade *and* gain the power to determine and police who can enter your trade, you're doing pretty well.

I would argue that by making PE certification so complex, thus reducing the number of PEs, engineering is worse off because fewer PEs sign off on the work of non-PEs without truly applying whatever their special magic is to the work (simply too much to check).

It would make sense to make PE certification somewhat easier to obtain without essentially compromising the knowledge required to gain it. You would have a larger pool of people shown competent at engineering, but this would create problems for the engineering business which would face more competition.

Comment Re:Hyrbid? What's Intel's production problem? (Score 1) 143

"Traditional" NAND flash was much more expensive than spinning rust but came in sizes useful at least for boot disk applications *and* delivered overwhelmingly better performance from the same bus/connection as spinning rust.

IMHO, Intel can't pimp this out as faster than NAND flash for more money. Like CPUs, flash storage has more or less hit the speed levels where more speed simply isn't that useful outside of very narrow use cases.

The angle they needed to work was density and write endurance. There's still a fair use case for spinning rust at certain scales, driven mostly by slot limits in server and storage chassis. If you want 40 TB but only have 10 slots, you have to use spinning rust. Providing a solid state disk at this density with superior write endurance would really be a market disruption.

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