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Comment Re:Reasons (Score 4, Informative) 305

If I can add to this:

The delta used to shift and move the river bed quite often. With the canals and leeves in place the natural tendency of the river to move is being fought against. It is the reason why the river breaks out at odd places just up stream or downstream of existing leeves. Part of this is a result of the silt deposits that used to be carried downstream by the Mississippi.

With the wetlands being destroyed the ocean barrier that helped protect against storms is being destroyed. Which exposed larger areas of the coast line to damage.

Comment The Culture and Time Travel (Score 1) 103

Time Travel wasn't something Ian Banks ever explored. Time Travel is really really hard to get right and has limited uses: Brootstrap problem, Be your own Grandfather problem, Kill Hitler scenarios, Predestination/Freewill scenarios. Which are all variations on closed loops or the butterfly effect from changing the past. Or time travel is used as a hand waving exercise to allow for other adventures (Doctor Who, The Voyagers, maybe Rick and Morty).

In the issues the Ian Banks was exploring with the Culture (cultural conflict and assimilation, what happens to societies when scarcity is no longer a driving impetus, What happens when the well intentioned dabble with "lesser" powers) didn't need Time Travel in order to explore them.

But back to your comment: Your dismissal of The Culture Series feels uninformed and shoot from the hip, let alone rude. On the flip side; while The Culture is well written I don't know if I would call it the greatest Sci-Fi ever written, there are plenty of contenders for that title (Look at all of the Hugo and Nebula winners for other choices).

Comment Not pay gap as much as promotion gap (Score 0) 238

Many companies have had studies that show "within a given grade/level people are paid equally". Yes we understand, if you are a level 6, you get paid between 75,000 and 85,000 per year. and everyone within the grade is relatively equal.

The real issue that is being artfully tap danced around is qualified women getting passed over for promotion for equal or lesser qualified men. Or just getting held up an extra 6-12 months before the promotion comes through. So men get promotions every 12-18 months and women get promotions every 18-24 months.

No I don't have actual data to back this up. There are plenty of anecdotes though. And the larger companies are carefully not taking the time for this kind of study, or have performed this kind of study and don't like the results and are not releasing the results because it makes them look awful and confirms the rumors of a BRO FIRST culture.

Comment Its called mass transit (Score 5, Insightful) 168

Larger cities need to invest in mass transit and maintain it. Look at NYC, Tokyo and London as working mass transit systems. Smaller cities need working bus systems that aren't starved for money in order to be useful.

And I'll get ahead of it here: mass transit needs to be properly funded in order to work properly. Mass transit does not appear to pay for itself on the surface, it pays for itself because of increase in population density that occurs as a result.

Comment Re:Expense ratio and hollow compliants? (Score 1) 316

Imagine every time you went to reboot your computer after a power outage the computer said: "Your computer restarted unexpectedly. Insert technician USB key to complete reboot sequence". That is the level of control John Deere is exerting and why farmers are buying hacked Russian motherboards for their tractors.

Comment Software Repair (Score 2) 316

The issue isn't the software breaking as much as the software has lockouts for any and all replacement parts. Consider if you changed the oil and you had to log into your car to check the RFID tag in the oil filter and if you didn't have the password and an RFID approved oil filter the engine wouldn't start.

It also means you can't alter any part of the operation of the tractor that is computer controlled. You want a custom library for a specific crop: Pay John Deere. There was a story about a month ago about farmers buying hacked motherboards.

Comment What is the goal of the startup (Score 4, Informative) 140

The intent of a startup is to develop a product that people will buy from you. It should be a product that isn't already on the market. If you are thinking another facebook/google/youtube/dropbox/trailers/angrybirds/office productivity clone of existing products: Stop, go back to your desk at work and keep churning out code for someone else.

You need a unique/newish idea:
If you have an idea you think is actually new and useful. Do some googling on the idea to see if anybody has considered it (or similar overlapping ideas) and the response to it. Do some basic patent research to see if anyone has staked ground on your idea. Do some informal research to see if people are interested in (and would pay money for) your idea. If you feel you have to to mask the purpose of the research, go for it (it just takes more time). Surveys can be written to show interest in one item while simultaneously drawing out information on a not so obvious second. Now you have an idea that should be relatively unique, patent free and people want (even if they don't know it or can't articulate it). If you can't answer these questions, stop now.

Get a lawyer
You will need to incorporate at some point and a business lawyer will be able to point your in the right direction on the pros and cons of different company types. Also plan with the lawyer on your future end goal (expand or buyout) so your company can be structured properly for future action. You need manpower, budget and a business plan:
How many man hours will it take to have a demo model (no matter how crude)? How many man hours will it take to bring it to market? What is your time frame to bring it to market? Do you need to quit your current job to work on it? Do you need to hire people in order to meet your deadline? How much runway do you estimate you need in order to get off the ground with a saleable product? This is the basis of your development and launch budget. Your business plan is your estimate on keeping the company operating: what are your liabilities, assets, income and burn rate of reverses?

Where is your budget coming from?
If its just yourself you have to go back to a day job when you bank account is empty. If you are employing other people you need to continuously be out there pitching for seed money (which takes away from dev time). So having a working demo that you can pitch is needed. Have your pitch smooth and bullet proof and be ready to field all sorts of outlandish questions, be told "we'll think about it" and then ignored, and to be told NO many many times.

What is your end goal?
Do you want to develop into a larger company or be bought out for a pay day? Do some research on your Phase II goal. It doesn't need to be now, but you don't want to be surprised when you turn around and realize that you are suddenly employing 35 people and you have a large company knocking on your door with an offer and you don't know what to do with it.

Comment Re:Lack of vacation is the big problem (Score 1) 262

Schedule for the vacation 4-8 months in advance. So depending upon how much vacation you accrue each year you may have more than one vacation scheduled in advance. When you schedule four months in advance no one thinks about saying "no" to a vacation request. Since it has been approved make sure your vacation is out of town, and preferably without cell phone coverage and has non-secure internet so VPN is not an option.

Two weeks before your vacation, remind your boss about the vacation they had already approved and hold them to it because you have already made plans and spent money on the vacation. If they reneg that is a major breach of trust (and you should be looking right there and then).

If they don't approve a vacation request four months in advance there is a problem there, and you should be looking for another position.

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