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Comment Re:You're a douche (Score 1) 506

I'll grant you they broke Access the most in the 2003 to 2007 transition. My point was they didn't reintroduce all this pain going from 2007 to 2010. If someone creates a document in 2010 you can still open it in 2007. Certain 2010-only features may get disabled, but there aren't too many of those and the average user isn't probably using them anyway. Unless your document completely relies on them, it still works. The only thing to be careful with in Access 2010 is some of the stuff they put in for SharePoint 2010 doesn't work in Access 2007.

Comment Re:You're a douche (Score 1) 506

The last time that was true was the switch from Office 2003 to Office 2007 when they introduced the new xml formats. Even then, MS put out a converter so people with Office 2003 could open the new Office 2007 documents. We actually went through that little hell for a while when one of our satellite offices had Office 2007 while those of us at HQ still had 2003. If you had mentioned Visual Studio, then you'd be spot on. Locking project files to each version of VS is completely asinine.

Comment Re:But that isn't how it works. (Score 1) 1065

Most retirement plans allow for tax-free loans for pretty much any purpose you want. Many of those plans are based on stocks or mutual funds. Sure, most people can't take out enough to buy a yacht or anything, but for many people it's an attractive way to get the down-payment on a house.

Comment Re:A brighter future? (Score 1) 365

Actually, she's lucky she qualifies for Medicaid. Funding cuts to the various state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs have left a lot of uninsured/under-insured people on waiting lists and cut many who previously qualified. Inevitably some of them die because they can't afford the medications. Unless you are calling the US a war torn hell hole.

Comment Re:Long-term implications (Score 1) 265

Chemically Venus is very similar to Earth. There's just the minor problem that most of Venus's CO2 is still floating around the atmosphere making the surface pressure 9.3 MPa and temperature 460C. If we could sequester the majority of that CO2 as happened on Earth and added a bit of a sun shade, then yes, Venus would be more hospitable than Mars. Once you solve those tiny inconveniences.

Comment Re:Decent idea. (Score 2) 407

You demonstrate a remarkable ignorance of fluid mechanics and failure at reading comprehension. From the article:

Hot air wants to rise, so there's a central point for it to rush towards and escape; the tower in the middle. And there's a bunch of turbines at the base of the tower that generate electricity from that natural updraft.

Nowhere in all of this is there mention of a need for insulation or any nonsense of hauling multi-ton turbines to the top of the tower. The point of the tower is that the air does cool as it rises. You're channeling the updraft through the tower and running the turbines from inflow at the base.

Comment Re:Did you really need to ask that question? (Score 1) 504

Do you think they would still be getting the level of funding had they said "not a problem, nothing to see here"?

Yes. Climatology is a hell of a lot more than just AGW. Without AGW that money would be focused on other things, but I doubt it would be substantially less than it is now. Climate (and its shorter timescale sibling weather) have huge impacts on global economics. Government tends to support studying things have large implications for society even if there isn't some looming doomsday threat.

Additionally, climate science funding (as opposed to global warming related technology expenditures) has averaged about $2 billion/year in 2009 dollars (see Table 1). In contrast the US spent a little over $4 billion on astronomy in FY2010 (see Table 1, pg. 174).

You have a point that technology expenditures (mostly programs to promote energy efficiency and weatherizing buildings) increase total climate-change related spending. However, it's a very very tenuous stretch to claim that researchers would make up AGW in hopes that the government would spend billions on technology projects they have no part in.

Comment Re:"Creative" (Score 1) 460

I work at a place where CMMI is being imposed as well. The problem I've seen is a lack of understanding what CMMI actually means and requires. Instead of defining existing processes that are already in place (and mostly work) in a way that met the CMMI requirements, a boatload of new processes were written blindly to the "requirements" with no regard for how software development actually works. Needless to say that failed miserably and we're just now documenting processes that are in place so new projects can pick from a menu of processes that have already been proven to work that also meet CMMI reqs.

Comment Re:English major here, actually using my degree (Score 2) 532

As someone working at a tech company full of engineers and scientists (I started as one myself), I absolutely disagree that the only thing stopping technical professionals from writing good documentation is a lack of initiative. I started taking on roles producing documentation and training (and acquiring some formal education in technical communication) because so many of my colleagues are absolutely terrible at it and our company realized this was increasingly becoming a liability. Technically-minded people can be brilliant in their areas of expertise; however, a great many of them struggle to effectively communicate results to people outside their field.

Your point about the nature of your technical writing underscores where professional technical communicators are really valuable: when you aren't writing for someone who already has background on the topic you're writing about. However, I do agree that you don't necessarily need an arts degree to do this. Many great technical communicators started as tech people who learned how to do technical writing because they enjoyed it.

My experience is that most technical people without some training in technical communication don't have the first clue how to effectively write and structure information for a non-technical audience and it's a skill few people possess naturally. Similarly, many great writers don't have the first clue about tech. I think the reason it's hard to find is because it is cross-disciplinary: you must enjoy tech and writing to truly be good at it and few people fall into both categories.

Comment Re:Ah, the Republican Party ... (Score 1) 884

Do you know for certain how much health care you will need? Do you have a crystal ball that says "You'll never have a major life-threatening illness that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment"? If you do, you should share. If not, you're talking out your ass. To expect people to save 4-5x their annual income for medical procedures that may or may not be necessary one day (potentially before they've even entered the working world) is a bit naive.

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