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Comment Re:It's all relative (Score 1) 1080

Yes, I'm in Central Europe (Poland), but that is very much the definition of a Post Soviet economy. One that happens to be doing very well.

I'm also not saying that everything is better than it would be in the US, but there are a lot of positive things and it won't necessarily have the impact that you suggested on visitors. And I can say similar for other surrounding countries that I have visited since I've been over here. There's also places in the US that you wouldn't want to live in (and I've lived in a few of those).

I grew up just outside of Detroit in the 80's and spent 5 years living in Flint before moving to Chicago and then DC.

And definitely a lot of my savings is the cost of living difference between DC and Krakow. As I am comparing one large city of cultural opportunities and significance to another. And not the cost of living in a tiny town to a major metro area.

Could I afford a car if I wanted to? Yes. But it would not be worth it? No, as it's way easier to get around on mass transit than it would be to try and drive and find a place to park. If I need a car for a short period, I can rent it.

On the other hand, when I left DC in 2009, there weren't very many jobs out there, and I had a good opportunity where I went. I didn't plan to stay there long term, but after living there for a while, I decided at least for the time being to stay there, and not "oh, how good did I have it in the US".

As to the people that have pointed out the Midwest being a great place to live in the states, absolutely. I never said there are not good places to live and work in the US, what I responded to was the post where they said if any Americans go to Eastern Europe, they will necessarily come back with an appreciation of how good they have it in the US.

Comment Re:It's all relative (Score 5, Informative) 1080

How much experience do you have in Eastern Europe?

I am an American, slightly older than a millennial, but also not a Gen-Xer, and I went to Eastern Europe, and I've stayed there (going on years 8 now).

I earn a 1/3 of what I earned in the US for a similar programming job.

Jobs are plentiful, and there's more demand for developers than there are available people.

I don't need a car, and unlike the cities in the US where you can get away without a car, I'm not paying a premium to live there.
When I need to use a taxi, I rarely spend more than $15 and that's for a 30-40 minute ride to the airport.

If I'm just going around town, it's usually between $2 - $8.

When I rented I paid about $500 month for an apartment in the city center + about $100 for utilities and internet (120 Mb/s).

Now that I own my own property with the money I saved on my Eastern European wages, I spend about $200 a month on taxes and utilities.
My monthly grocery bill for 2 people is between $150 - $200, and we eat well. Because my wife prefers it we get mostly organic veggies and fruits, and high quality cuts of meat. If we wanted to we could cut this bill between 1/4 and 1/2 if we didn't shop at the fancy markets.

If we go out to a restaurant in the touristy part of town that caters to expats, we're hard pressed to spend more than $20 a person on dinner and drinks.

My tax rate is about the same as it was in the US (24.5%).

I have both "free" healthcare and private health insurance (I pay less than $50/month pre-tax for that),

When I need to go to a doctor, I just show them my ID card, I've never had to pay money for anything, not even a deductible (this includes 1 time that I had to have for surgery). Normally I can see the doctor the next day, at most 3 days (and it's a bit longer for me, as i need an English speaking doctor, as I'm not fluent enough for them to allow me to visit a native speaker, to make sure there are no misunderstandings).

The time I needed surgery it took 3 weeks total to arrange.

When my kids are ready for university, it'll be free.

My wife decided to change careers and went back for another Master's degree at the best university in the country for free, Actually better than that, since she was doing very well, she earned a stipend after her first year, and we also received a number of discounts on things for her being a student.

After all of my bills are paid, my left over is 2 - 4 times as much as I was able to save in the US, despite making a lot more money.

So I'm not sure if a visit to Eastern Europe will have quite the impact on their thoughts about how things in the US are going as you think it will.

Comment Re:Bias? Or reality? (Score 1) 445

Poor immigrants from Asia, usually aren't that poor, by the standards of where they came from. If they were that poor, they would most likely never been able to afford the time to plan and the cost to actually immigrate to a foreign country far away. They also tend to have qualities of wanting to strive for something better for themselves and or their children.

And they were likely well educated by their former countries standards as well.

Comment Don't do it (Score 3, Informative) 250

First answer why does she want to go back to work? Is it because your family needs a second income, is it because she's bored at home and being a full time mother is not what she wants to do, something different, maybe she's looking for part time work. All of these are equally valid options, but before she decides to do something, she should understand why, to ensure that she's actually fulfilling those goals.

Unless your family absolutely needs the extra money, and there is no option for any other employment why try to have her go into programming?

She only had 2 years experience to begin with, so she's still an entry level developer. Basically that means going back to programming might as well be entering a new career as well.

If she doesn't enjoy or want to be a developer it's more likely she's going to be very dissatisfied and not fulfilled.

My suggestion would be to have her apply for a number of different types of jobs. Some that fulfill the reasons that she wants to go back into the work force that could be built into a career that she wants to be in, and maybe, developer positions as a last resort.

Comment Re:Define "affordable" (Score 1) 540

Affordable does not mean inexpensive.

It's a common mistake, so I'll be glad to define that for you:

Affordable housing in the US is usually defined as the total rent or mortgage payment being less than or equal to 30% of household income.

The usual classifications are moderate income affordable, low income affordable, and very low income affordable.

Determining where your household falls in those brackets is based on the average median income (AMI) for that MSA (metropolitan statistical area).

The 2015 Area Median Income for a family of four in Marin County is $101,900 (

moderate income households earn between 80% - 120% of AMI
low income is 50% - 80%
very low income is less than 50%

So to be affordable for:
            moderate income household the units would need to be priced at between $2038 - $3057 per month
            low income household the units would need to be priced at between $1237 - $2038 per month
            very low income household the units would need to be priced at below $1237 per month

Usually we're looking at rental prices rather than mortgage payments, but it can be performed either way.

Comment Re:Build a business case (Score 1) 383

Yeah, I wasn't clear.

What I was trying to say, was leave it to the business groups to justify why the development is worthwile, rather than the IT department to justify it. The CEO is much more likely to be persuaded by them than IT.

And if possible, have the business teams pay for it out of their budget, rather than the IT budget, if there are separate budgets.

Comment Re:Build a business case (Score 1) 383

That's what the sentence after the one you quoted was in reference to. If each department has it's own budget, then yes, they should be spending their budget to fund the projects they want developed.

However, at many smaller companies, or companies that have recently grown from being small to medium sized, don't have separate budgets. But rather 1 large budget that is controlled by one person. And it's often the case the CEO/owner has a difficult time realizing when they are no longer that small company, and control of certain parts of the budget should be passed to subordinates.

Comment Re:Build a business case (Score 1) 383

You missed the point.

It's not his boss that he needs to convince. He said his boss agrees.

It's the CEO that needs to be convinced. But the CEO has already said that the size of the IT department is adequate for the size of the company. As has been discussed in other threads, he's probably right as well when it comes to purely IT support related needs.

On the other hand, if the other departments have a need for specialized software development and has a proper business case for that software and the investement required to develop it, if he wants to convince his CEO that they need more developers for these projects, its the business owners that need to persuade the CEO.

At the end of the day, IT departments have a general budget for general IT costs. Which is seen as a cost center. And should be x% of the overall revenue of the company, or x% of the total number of employees that are supported.

If company revenue doesn't increase there's no capacity to increase the budget of a cost center that will not return easily identifiable profits.

Instead, the more effective argument, is to have the business become stakeholders in the projects they want with their own budgets to pay out of their budget (no longer is it a company cost, but rather a departmental investement) for the resources borrowed from the IT department to work on their systems.

Comment Re:Build a business case (Score 5, Insightful) 383

That's a start.

But from my experience the request will be taken more seriously if it is driven by the business teams, rather than the IT staff.

> the developers are always getting pressure from other departments for projects they don't have the manpower to even start.

Get the other departments to pressure the CEO to hire more IT staff, so that they can get the projects they need, and will be in a better position to explain what the ROI for the projects they want will be to the company than you will be.

If they can't justify the ROI for the projects, then if they're rational, which I realize isn't always the case, they will back down from requesting additional development that they can't justify. Which will pull some of the pressure off of your team.

Not sure how costs are split in your company, but if each department has their own budget, convince them that if they want more projects to be built, they need to allocate some of their budgets to the IT side of the organization so that you can hire the staff required to deliver those projects to them.

Comment Re:The elephant in the room: Rentals (Score 1) 581

Actually, with their new controls, it'll be easier to do rentals (at least for big players. Your mom and pop rental place might get locked out).

While they haven't addressed this specifically yet, at least that I've seen, and it may not happen, theres been speculation that the following could:

With the use of license keys that are tied between a game and an individual account, and the ability to deactivate those keys, the rental company, could work out a deal with Microsoft, and probably the publishers, to be able to provide license keys that expire after a certain period of time.

The Rental company, can than either provide physical copies of the game on disc, or the renter can just download the game (as MS has stated all games will be available for digitial distribution if someone so chooses, or they can aquire a blu-ray copy of the game to install it), enter the rental code, and then play it for the time alloted.

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