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Comment Re: Trains (Score 1) 114

It also has an absurdly high cost of living. The public transit doesn't make up for that, and (not being a Londoner or UKer I'm speculating) many people who work there probably don't live near a public transit station. There's also the time cost: even if you're riding a train, sitting on it for hours and hours every day to go back and forth to work is a massive waste of your time and your life. This isn't much different from some places here in the US, such as NYC.

Comment Re:Trains (Score 1) 114

The US trains only work for shorter distances. Even going from DC to Boston is just too far: it's cheaper, and MUCH faster to go by plane (1.5 hours vs. 8 hours). So yeah, going from DC to Baltimore by train is OK (if you don't need a car on either end), or even DC to NYC, but that's about it, unless you have a lot of time. And Amtrak prices aren't cheap either.

Musk's scheme makes little sense because of the high cost of tunneling. It would make far more sense to embrace SkyTran PRT: it's cheap to build, it uses utility towers and suspends rails from it (instead of tunneling), the rails can be built alongside existing roads, using existing rights-of-way, and you're only moving people and lightweight little pod-cars, not thousands of pounds of metal.

Comment Re:Trains (Score 2) 114

Ok, so you get in a train that drops you off in the middle of LA. Now, how do you get to where you're going from there? LA is hundreds of square miles of urban area, all spread out so there's no way any train will take you to all parts of it. You'll need a car to drive yourself to your destination. Now you're looking at spending a bunch of time and money dealing with a rental car agency, instead of just using your own car to get you there.

Trains are just like planes, only a lot slower. Planes are great for getting a medium number of people between two points all at once, in a short amount of time (except for TSA groping). But they don't help you much in getting from the airport to your final destination. Trains are worse because they're so slow, it ends up not being sensible to use them too much because if the distance is short, you might as well drive, and if it's longer, you're better off flying. If you happen to live in an urban downtown and want to travel to another urban downtown not too far away, trains make a lot of sense. That's about it though.

What would make a lot more sense is if they'd build SkyTran, but no one believes that'll possibly work so we can't have it.

Comment Re:Company's Fault (Score 1) 198

What kind of "mistreatment"?

Personally, I feel mistreated at my current job, and at many of my previous ones too. But the "mistreatment" wasn't (and still isn't) people saying mean things to me, but rather the horrible office environment, which I consider a form of mistreatment. It's within the employer's power to provide a comfortable, quiet office environment that is conducive to knowledge work. So when an employer refuses to do that (citing whatever bullshit excuses), that is tantamount to mistreatment. It's little different from having poor safety standards for factory workers, except the consequences aren't as short-term or severe, but the mentality is the same.

Comment Re:Literally in the Summary (Score 1) 198

Booth? I've never seen a company, big or small, bother with this. They're already too cheap to provide a proper amount of regular bathroom space for everyone, or any kind of decent break room space.

I can certainly see why any woman who can afford it would want to just stay at home. I'd rather stay at home too! I absolutely *hate* going to work. It's not the work, or even the coworkers, it's the environment: the shitty, smelly, and overcrowded bathrooms (probably not so much of a problem for women since there's so few women in tech); the horrible, inhumane, noisy, distracting open-plan office setups; the shitty HVAC units that are noisy and always have the temperature wrong no matter the time of year; the lousy parking; etc.

I don't have any of these problems at home, and even with today's inflated residential real estate values it's not hard to have a decent work setup at home, with 1) a reasonably clean, private bathroom (and if it gets smelly you can either turn on a bathroom fan or open the window, since bathrooms in houses frequently have windows), 2) a private office space without people walking by and talking loudly, 3) a fully-stocked kitchen nearby in case you want to make a snack or meal, 4) an internet connection that has good speed and doesn't have random failures as often (even if you're using something shitty like Comcast, it's not nearly as bad as a corporate IT department), 5) a computer that isn't hobbled by all kinds of bullshit security software, and can be running Linux too instead of shitty Windows 8/10, 6) the company of your pets.

The only thing that sucks about working at home is the lack of socialization can get to you after a while, but that's so much better than being forced into a noisy open-office environment where you eventually grow to absolutely hate all of humanity.

Comment Re:The way you ask it? Yes. (Score 1) 334

I can turn the question around: If you hire me to do some work in your house, would you be ok if I cleaned the next doors swimming pool during that time?

And the answer is: it depends.

If i hired you to do some DIY work on my house and i was paying you for the job, you said the job would be complete in X days / by X date, and your activities on the side didn't impede your ability to meet that deadline then sure, i wouldn't care.

If i was paying you by the hour then i would generally expect not to pay you for the hours you were doing something else, but if you billed 8 hours a day, spent 4 hours in the morning working, went to do something else for 4 hours then came back and did another 4 i'd have no problem with it... Similarly if you billed 8 hours a day but worked 6 hours some days and 10 on other days, if it averaged out to around the rate i was paying i'd have no problem.
Also if you were unable to do any work for some reason outside of your control (eg you're waiting for materials and cannot do anything until they arrive) i'd have no problem with you doing something else rather than just sitting around doing nothing.

There's a lot to be said for flexibility, providing it cuts both ways.

Comment Re:Not automatically (Score 1) 334

In the UK it's actually much harder to fire someone than in the US, due to the various employment laws, although employees need to be aware of the law and stand up for their rights.
In the US you can generally fire someone at any time for any reason... In the UK you have to have a justifiable reason, and except in cases of gross misconduct you have to have given the employee both verbal and written warnings as well as having given them a chance to improve (ie in the case of incompetence).

Comment Re:It's not called office hours for nothing (Score 1) 334

The employment agreement does not imply that you will be given increased compensation for doing more work...

On the other hand, if you are paid the same as your peers then it's reasonable to perform a similar level of work. If you are more skilled than your peers then you should either be able to complete the same amount of work to the same standard in less time than they do and have some free time, or you should be paid more if you're completing more work in the same time.

If the employee in question is performing to a similar level as his peers on a similar salary, and he's not doing anything which damages the company or his colleagues then there's no justification to fire him as he's every bit as useful to the company as his colleagues.

Comment Re:This is seriously up to for debate..? (Score 1) 334

A lot of companies expect you to do more than Y hours for no extra $X...

There has to be give and take... I'm expected to do 40 hours a week, sometimes i do 30 and sometimes i do 50, my boss is fine with this so long as the work gets done and he's happy that if work needs to be done outside of normal hours he can ask me to do it. Similarly, i'm happy that i can take a morning off or a long lunch to do my own thing sometimes. It balances out, the work gets done and the staff are happier and more flexible.

On the other hand i worked for a previous company that demanded i sit in the office even if i wasn't working, keep to strict lunchtimes, never be late arriving but often be late leaving, they frequently demanded that i work extra hours for no extra pay, often tried to contact me when i took pre-arranged holiday, or expected me to spend a lot of time travelling to other locations for work. It was all take and no give on their part, so i started working to rule (arrive on time, leave on time, ignore emails/calls out of hours etc), looking for another job and fairly quickly quit that job and moved on.

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