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Comment Not just bad for the new hires (Score 1) 728

My girlfriend took an entry-level job with a large, established company, with the understanding that she could work her way up like everyone else did. Then *after* she had been there a few years, they started imposing degree requirements for all of the jobs she would naturally be promoted to. So now she's stuck in a dead-end position, with no way to advance unless she spends the next decade taking night classes...

Comment Too much valuable intel (Score 4, Interesting) 111

I think what the author is missing is that Vader may have wanted to take the base intact, probably to recover information on remaining resistance cells elsewhere. Nuking the base from orbit was never his plan.

He actually succeeded in prompting an evacuation of the base; his only failure was in assuming that the star destroyers could handle the mop-up operation and prevent ships from escaping the system. Either he didn't anticipate the presence of the ion cannon, or he gravely overestimated his forces' competency in that regard (personally the fact that one ion cannon so easily facilitated their escape always seemed like a bit of a stretch).

In any case it seems like the rebels always planned to use the ion cannon to cover their escape path, so the issue of the shield creating a "chokepoint" was probably moot.

Comment Re:So it was outsourcing (Score 1) 200

Great in theory, but in practice it's just not the same. Even if the different contractors are introduced to one another, they're still not really familiar with each other, nor do they necessarily view each other as being on the same team. Collaborations like this just work way better when everyone is working under the same hierarchy and getting their personal paychecks from the same place.

Comment Too many new tricks for an old dog (Score 1) 683

If he's been around that long, chances are that he started his career writing assembly or something nearly as low-level. That's why he writes everything in one big function --even procedural programming is a "new" paradigm that he's only half-comfortable with. Expecting him to fully utilize OOP language features and best practices is just unrealistic.

It's kind of like natural languages; even after years of speaking a new language, some folks never achieve true fluency because they can never get away from thinking in their native tongue. This guy is like that; he'll probably never be able to do more than write assembly-style programs in a procedural or OO language wrapper.

The best thing to do with old dogs like this is to give them their own little niche where they write their ancient code in peace, without bothering anyone else (or being bothered). Maybe something low-level (as in close to the computing hardware), or an older product line or obscure technology area where his ancient knowledge might be of some use. And preferably something self-contained where no one else will have to interact directly with his source code on a regular basis.

Comment Re:Not suspicious (Score 1) 527

Canned food is good as long as the can is in good condition (no dents or rust) and there's no sign of bulging (due to anaerobic bacterial activity).

Of course if you're looking to buy once and be done with it, it's hard to beat the canned + freeze-dried food from places like Mountain House. Their big cans come with a 25yr+ rated shelf life.

As for the "complete meal": There are plenty of one-can meals available (including the aforementioned freeze-dried stuff). If you really need a cookie or whatever to "complete" your meal, just buy extra packs of the ones you like and keep them around the house.

Comment Re:You get what you pay/wait for (Score 5, Insightful) 491

The iterative development model is really the best thing to come out of Agile, IMHO. Multiple sprint cycles allow Marketing to shift their priorities without it turning into feature creep, since they're forced to decide what to cut from each cycle. And as in your example, it allows for change feedback once they've actually used the feature. All the rest of Agile can be tossed aside, but this orderly iteration is by far the best method I've seen for dealing with Marketing requirements issues.

...So of course it's the one thing that's expressly forbidden in the new formal development process imposed by upper management :-/

Comment Familiarity (Score 1) 189

For older people, computer accounts are new and unfamiliar, and thus worthy of caution. Once they hear a couple of horror stories, they are likely to become rather paranoid about it.

For younger people, computer accounts are like mother's milk. It's totally familiar, and like most familiar things it seems harmless. Even if they hear horror stories, they assume that "it won't happen to me"; chances are that they won't take it seriously until they personally get burned. This is simple human nature, even for adults; the fact that the habits and attitudes are ingrained from childhood just makes it even harder to snap out of.

Comment Re:In that case... SCREW CABLE (Score 1) 648

Obviously the cable companies like this because it preserves their aging business model. But from what I understand it was Fox who was really pushing this early on. My guess is that they don't want to reveal just how much money per subscriber they are extorting out of the cable companies for the rights to their content, which is why they'd rather move this way than let Hulu charge for the same content on its own.

Comment Don't blame the slave, blame the master(s) (Score 1) 648

There has always been an inherent tension between what's good for Hulu itself and what its corporate overlords (various TV networks) want from it. The latter group only ever wanted a stop-loss against piracy, initially by providing a way for legitimate TV viewers to catch up on the occasional missed episode without resorting to file sharing. Hulu has been hamstrung by this myopic perspective since the beginning, and it looks like it's only going to get worse in the near term.

Right now the problem is that retransmission fees have put the "broadcast" networks in the same position as traditional cable channels, in that a sizeable portion of their revenue comes directly from the cable companies (and ultimately from cable subscriber fees). Ads alone aren't enough for them any more, especially when Hulu's ads still don't generate as much revenue as regular TV ads do. Hulu's own preferred solution is Hulu Plus, a pay service that effectively competes with cable on its own terms. But Fox, at least, has chosen the alternate path of tying the service directly to the incumbent distribution services, and Hulu is powerless to refuse them.

Comment Hyper-real != Bad (Score 1) 607

Personally I *like* the "soap opera effect", as seen on 120/240Hz TVs. The only problem I have with it is that the interpolation works so much better with CGI material than with live shots, which means that in mixed content (eg. live-action sci-fi movies) the difference becomes glaringly obvious. Actually shooting live video in the higher framerate should help to reduce this discrepency, so personally I'm all for it.

Comment Re:Define worker friendly. (Score 1) 371

Very interesting post, thanks.

One thing I would like to nitpick is the implication that factory jobs like Foxconn provide a "step up" or a way out. The fact is that most of these factory workers will never be allowed to integrate into the urban society, and in fact are legally barred from doing so. In China there really is such a thing as a "second class citizen": people from the rural areas are not allowed to settle in the cities on any permanent basis, and are denied most social services even while they are there. They are allowed to work in the factories but have to live in dormitories and generally can't take advantage of being in the city.

The only reason most of them are there is to earn money to support their impoverished families back home. The one part that does match up is that the eldest are often sent to work in order to pay for the education of the younger siblings --except that it's basic *elementary* education that has to be paid for (again, no social services for rural dwellers).

And this rural vs. urban classification is hereditary, so even if one of them manages to slip past the system somehow, they still can't change their enforced social class for themselves or their children.

Comment Re:Public Transit (Score 1) 938

Aside from the obvious chicken/egg problem, the other reason why public transit sucks in the US is because we're so spread out. Distances are larger, population density is lower, and a lot of people live outside of the main city/town centers. Of course our car addiction has helped enable that last point, but it's not the only thing. There's also the fact that we treat the ability to live in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere as a fundamental right, to the point of heavily subsidizing utility services to such customers. That greatly lowers the incentive to live in a town center, as most do in other countries.

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