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Comment Out-of-the-box solution: battery in protector. (Score 2) 86

Instead of placing the battery inside the handset, make a handset that just has a connector on it (wouldn't have to be a bulky, thick connecter like the USB series, could be done in any number of ways, including contacts on the back.

Open up the design, then let case manufacturers include batteries in their cases, since people overwhelmingly use cases anyway. Now the phone is very thin, so the case can be thicker to accommodate a battery.

Consumers needing long, long battery life can choose a wacky big case. Consumers needing very little battery life can choose a case with a battery that gets them close to current thickness levels. Need a new battery? Replace your $60 case instead of your $700 phone. Going on vacation? Get a fat silicone case with a fat, fat battery in it, just for the trip.

Comment Re:Sitting too much ages you by 8 years (Score 1) 144

And jogging and bicycling increases your chances to get fatally hit by an automobile, train or plane.

I wondered about that a while back, so I did some investigation into the odds. It turned out that the risk of riding a bike is in the same ballpark as riding in a car when measured on a per-hour basis.

While the risks aren't insignificant, they turned out to be clearly better than the risk of being out of shape and keeling over prematurely from a heart attack or similar problem.

I do avoid some of the things that probably skew the cycling risk numbers higher, such as riding at night, or riding on hilly country roads that lack shoulders.

Comment Ha! I had the same thing happen to me. (Score 5, Interesting) 271

I owned a small consulting company in the late '90s and we were hired to do some work for a VPN vendor. We had to sign a rather onerous NDA and then they stiffed us on payment after six months' work and proceeded to ship what we had built anyway. The "separation" was acrimonious and involved court just so we could get paid.

Two years later, the president of the company contacts me begging for archival copies of what we'd produced, as they suffered some sort of catastrophic event and had lost a lot of source code.

I rather gleefully told him that (a) I had to take him to court to get him to pay me for shipping our work last time around, and (b) as per the NDA that they made a serious issue of in court, we had dutifully wiped everything we had ever worked on for them, and good luck.

I smiled for about a month after that.

Comment This. (Score 1) 158

I have close knowledge of one project in which a codebase performs an action using an initial human-supplied table of data, then records the result as either a positive or negative outcome and adds that result back into the table. Then it performs another action based on the table data, records the result as a positive or negative, and adds that back into the table. Over time, of course, the table entries with the highest positive rate rise to the top and influence the actions that are chosen. It's CS101 stuff on a fairly mundane dataset.

But the codebase is hosted on Amazon and it's a marketing-led company, so they went to press with "Our innovative new artificial intelligence system uses a deep machine learning algorithm running on new exascale computing platforms to determine the best course of action to take in each case."

The engineers in the room were not happy about this. The marketing person said, "Don't sell yourself short. You developed a system that records data about what has already happened, remembers it, then makes decisions about what to do next based on what has already happened. I call that artificial intelligence."

One of the engineers shot back with, "When I was in college, we just called that 'computation.'"

Comment Credit card chargeback. (Score 4, Informative) 88

Go to your card provider (Visa/MC/Discover/Amex) and tell them to remove the charge because the service was not rendered and/or the charge was improper.

They will.

Once AT&T starts getting a lot of chargebacks, they will do something about it.

I had this sort of thing happen do me years back in NYC with Verizon. I called to cancel, was given a confirmation # and everything, and was still billed again the next month. When called again, furious, the manager I was escalated to said that they could not offer a refund because they did not have that policy. I said I don't care about policy, give me a refund, and he said there was literally no way for him to do that in the system and suggested (of course) that I accept the service for a month, since I'd already paid for it, and then if I didn't want it next month, I could call and cancel [n.b. AGAIN] then.

I hung up on him, dialed Visa, and had them charge it back. Of course THAT got Verizon's attention and a day or two later I was called by retention or some similar department to offer me a discount if I would stay on, along with a lot of apology garbage.

I told them I'd rather eat a bug.

Comment Re:I get this... (Score 1, Informative) 405

The food in the buffet is inedible - I wouldn't feed it to hogs.

That's funny... that's exactly what they do.

I saw a segment on some TV show a few years ago that featured a guy who collects the abundant leftover buffet food from Las Vegas hotels, mixes it all together, and then delivers it to hog farms. The animals did seem to be enjoying it quite a bit.

Comment Suuure, That's a Great Idea! (Score 1) 74

When the autonomous killbots show up on my doorstep, I'm sure they'll ask me if I ever donated to protect people from autonomous killbots, and I'll be all like "No! I welcome our robot overlords! It would be inefficient to waste your precious ammunition on me! Why not check with Mr. Hoffman, next door?"

Comment Re:As someone that had used a Palm for many years (Score 1) 168

Updates are critical to me, too, but also filesystem access.

I wavered when switching from iOS the first time, I really did, but it was jailbreak carousel or "no files for you." iPhone's data model was light years ahead of other mobile devices when iOS was launched, but now it is a noose around the iOS neck.

On Android, root and filesystem access are much easier to get and maintain, and many, many more apps acknowledge the existence of files. I'm not a huge fan of managing my own updates—I'd rather have OTA—but I can do it when jailbreaking is the alternative. I refuse to use any device that doesn't give me filesystem access to work with data.

iOS is still powerful, esp. given some of its apps. For writers, Daedalus and Ulysses; for lightweight databases, TapForms or Ninox, etc.; for personal information management, DevonThink to Go. And of course there are excellent options for artists, videographers, musicians, etc. There is no equivalent to these in the Android space.

I don't have to do the art/music stuff, though, and so I'm not as tied to iOS as some. I recently tried to switch back with an iPad to be able to use TapForms, Ulysses, and DevonThink (I use all of them in my Mac OS space). I couldn't stay. Maintaining jailbreak was a massive PITA, and on top of that, the experience sucked. iOS right now is laggier, harder to use, more crashy, app-by-app, and has zero customization. It's also damned hard to sync local stuff on and off (images, music, files, etc) because iTunes is craptacular and getting worse.

On my Android devices, I plug them into USB, have USB mass storage support, copy the files over, and then can open them in any app that I please. For a work device that needs to quickly onboard and access, say, two dozen files that are a mix of Excel sheets, Word docs, and images, that workflow is head and shoulders above what iOS currently offers, even with jailbreak.

Yes, you can do the cloud thing, but then (a) you have to wait for sync and trust that it worked, then open each file one-by-one to localize (i.e. download) it using the cloud viewer app (e.g. Dropbox), then (b) hope that the app you need will be in the menu to let you open it. Eight times out of ten, maybe more, it won't.

I was sitting there one night using wget to pull files down from my own web server that I needed to access, then going into local application folders to and editing configuration files with vi to "onboard" them into the app on the iPad. Then I thought, "What am I doing?" and I logged on and bought a Galaxy Tab S then and there. Two days later it arrived, I ROMed+rooted (took about 20 minutes) and I'm back to my old workflow again.

iOS is a dream for lightweight consumer use. But for doing work—which (if you watch the original keynote) is how it was pitched—it is now behind the curve. But it's still 100,000x better than Palm or Blackjack back in the day. That was a nightmare. Even if you were totally wedded to your device for work, you always felt like "it's just not worth it" and "why am I even doing this, gaaaaah!?"

Those devices, which were state of the art just a year or two before iPhone, became laughable at the iPhone's release. Like, completely laughable. I still have a Palm 6xx somewhere around here. I stumbled across it and powered it up a while back. It's like using a mechanical typewriter vs. a Macbook Pro.

Comment Mostly When Interviewing (Score 1) 218

Pretty much every place I've ever interviewed has asked about it, but their teams usually just use well-optimized library calls when they need to do something. I usually realize my biggest performance increases from optimizing IO and adjusting database indexes and queries. I recall a few years back I was writing some test code for some billing integration one of the other developers had written. He was using spring and hibernate, pulling in two separate tables and then joining them in memory. His code wasn't able to process more than about 30,000 records before his program crashed, and took neighborhood of half an hour to run. The little SQL join I wrote to test it could process a million records in 20-30 seconds. That's more the sort of problem that I usually encounter on a day-to-day basis.

Comment Re:You don't get it. (Score 1) 433

Because you said "can better be described as bullying."

That is false. That is on the order of the same lineages I traced.

Impolite behavior / poor norms ~= aggressive behavior ~= bullying ~= abusive behavior ~= gaslighting (abuse)

It can not be described as bullying at all, and so none of what you cited matters in the least. If his co-worker(s) had hit him, hazed him by stealing his pants and forcing him to walk around the office naked, etc., that is bullying.

Changing appointments on a calendar, micromanaging, etc. is categorically NOT bullying. It is normal office politics, and the questioner needs not a shrink to feel sorry for how abused he is, but to do something about it.

And as I said before, if he goes to his boss claiming that this is "bullying" rather than saying that office politics are impeding his work and this person needs to stop, then he is putting himself in a position to get fired, because that is what happens in offices. I'd fire him on the spot if he came to me and said he was being "gaslighted" and then came out with those details.

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