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Comment Not so fast Robots (Score 1) 337

Just started working in a famous fast food chain restaurant, where I USED to say they could automate the place and get rid of the employees.

But that was before I started working there and found out just how much goes on in the back to make sure you can get your double burger for a dollar. Namely, a LOT of cleaning. Pans, racks, bins, tools, huge cooker parts. All of it is greasy and gets filthy and has to be cleaned all the time. Putting in a robot to make burgers might be easy but who is going to pull out the grease bin and carefully dump it? Who is going to clean all the other grill parts and other crap?

Seriously, probably 70% of the effort spent on any food item is in the prep and clean before and after. Cooking and assembling the food is a small part.

They will have totally re engineer the restaurant to accommodate automated production. Every single part will need to be redesigned and tested. And it may still happen but not any time soon.

Comment Idiocy (Score 4, Insightful) 41

Many cities and towns have had ZERO regard for the wiring nightmare hanging over their streets. Not to mention trees and other hazards. UPS is a bunch of damn fools if they think they can simply put drones on trucks and go for it.

What do the drivers think? I read the UPS driver forums and they already had a lot of legitimate griefs and a lot of them felt overworked and pressured, so now they have to do drones, too? This is going to go over like a lead balloon in a gravity well.

Besides which, there are drone no-fly zones all over the place. The town where I live is completely off limits as we are too close to a major airport. But that's OK because there are tons of badly groomed trees and some of the worst telecom pole wiring I have ever seen. Phone, CATV, power, fiber, and above those lines are 100ft high voltage lines with at least three tiers. Even if there wasn't a flight ban here, you'd have to be a complete moron to try to fly a drone among all these wires and the trees. Forget the kite-eating tree. It has nothing on the ones around here. They don't just eat drones, they also thrown limbs at you. Seriously. They eject limbs from time to time.

Comment Re: Who cares? (Score 1) 303

There is no way Mars is going to support a self-sustaining colony. It will be at best an underground habitat but there are a lot of unknowns even in that, such as whether the Martian dust will prove to be dangerous to inhale or touch, or whether it can grow food. There is no way we can keep our people dust-free. They will be exposed. And if it turns out to foam in the lungs and kill them, that's a problem. We don't know.

Assuming the dust doesn't kill us, living in tunnels underground will be all there is going to be on Mars for a very long time. We have no known way of terraforming the planet, and even if we did, we'd have to fix the magnetic field problem or any air we managed to make would just escape into the solar wind. We have no known way to fix the magnetic field.

Making a colony on Mars is a whole lot of things we don't know how to do, and a lot of technology that's at least a few thousand years away.

Comment But WHY? (Score 1) 303

We've already sent multiple Apollo missions around the moon, and several that landed, and numerous robot craft to land and circle the moon.

So what the fuck is the point of doing this again? We already did it. 50 years ago. It hasn't changed appreciably in that time and there is still nothing significant there that requires humans to be there to see or record or observe it. We have robots that can do the same things for far less money and risk, in far less time.

Jesus this is like spending a ton of money on a fancy new car so you can cruise around an empty mall parking lot, that we cruised around before. Oh look, the potholes are still the same. And how much did we spend to find that out?

NASA should focus on doing something new and different. Don't just waste the meager funds they barely get at all on repeating what has already been done.

Comment No feel (Score 0) 87

Self driving cars aren't going to be terribly good at measuring road feel and that moment when you feel grip suddenly let go and make the correction to stay on the road.

Oh sure, the cars can measure it and graph it and log it, but they also need to respond instantly. Most of the AI driving stuff seems to assume the road will be a set geometry and properly marked and generally smooth and dry and clean. And roads are rarely like that.

All it would take to mess up AI racing is an oil slick or an animal or person or a tree falling or a part falling off another car or any number of other things for the AI to become overwhelmed.

Comment Not just the USPS at fault (Score 3, Insightful) 170

When you send a package internationally, there are a lot more hands than just the USPS involved.

Shipper. Did they box and package it correctly? Did they understand how durable the package had to be?
Point of origin postal service. In many countries, these operations are corrupt or prone to theft or delays. If the actual value was declared, that is a huge invite.
Point of origin Customs service. Who knows what they may open or inspect or sample. Will they reseal it properly? Who knows.
Shipper. Boat, airline, whatever. They toss it in with all the other mail. Hope it was packed correctly.
Destination country Customs service. They will check it, may open it, inspect it, impose duties or fines, or confiscate it entirely. The item is not released back into the mail until Customs clears it. If they open the box, they are supposed to reseal it properly.
Destination country Postal Service Who knows.

Comment Re:Oh for Pete's Sake! (Score 1) 170

They do but their tracking system is about 20 years behind what competitors can do.

And if this was an international package, then the tracking data is first entered by the origin postal system and they have to properly hand off that data to the USPS or else it won't even show up in the US system. International tracking numbers also greatly increase the odds of wrong results or weird status updates.

In any case, a package this valuable should have been shipped another way. If it was PAL,probably DHL would be the carrier to use. Maybe UPS.

Comment Sprint needs to sell spectrum, not F up T-Mobile (Score 4, Insightful) 28

T-Mobile doesn't need to be contaminated with a wireless carrier STD, which is what Sprint is these days. Sure the booty may be cheap but you don't want it.

Taking some of Sprint's spectrum might be nice.

But T-Mobile seems to be doing well with the spectrum they have and the customers they have, and gain, every quarter. All T-Mobile has to do to be successful is stay on the path. Buying Sprint would take them off that path and put them on a new one where they have two networks to deal with and two probably very different customer bases and two sets of retail stores and all the other overlap. It is a huge risk to T-Mobile that this will derail their success and instead saddle them with Sprint's mess.

See what happened to Time Warner after it bought AOL. Two valued and successful companies now both worth a fraction of their prior values. They didn't sum. They subtracted.

Comment B-Complex is good generally (Score 1) 90

A B-Complex supplement is a good idea anyway, as B vitamins get peed out and don't stay in the body for too long.

So it is really hard to end up with not enough of them over a very short period of time and minor changes in diet can mean missing out.

B-12 is also depleted by certain medications like Metformin, one of the main Type 2 Diabetes treatments. If you take Metformin, you are automatically low on B-12 and you will need to take more every day. You cannot eat enough food to reach the level you need.

Costco's Kirkland B-Complex is a very good one and packs more punch for less cost than other more common grocery store brands. But even with that, you would still need a B-12 standalone. Costco sells that too.

Comment No surprise (Score 1) 107

Google Fiber had been running gangbusters a year or two ago, with a nice Fiber Hut constructed in a hurry and drilling crews doing their thing down some major roads.

But after two years, the Fiber Hut is still dark. The work crews are gone. Nothing is getting drilled or installed or connected. Nobody has service. Which is fine, I guess, as the Google TV package is awful. Comcast's TV packages blow it away. And we are about to get Gigabit-like service from Comcast.

Really was hoping Google with their deep pockets might be the ones to make this happen. But it turns out they spent a lot for not a lot of results, and like many other Google projects, they will and do pull the plug and walk away.

Had high hopes for Project Fi too but I had to leave that because their pricing is just not competitive. $20 plus $10 a gig fails next to T-Mobile with $30 and 5 gigs. Same network.

Comment Good deal, but it's Sprint. (Score 1) 84

The pricing is great. But It's Sprint (and I bet half the people who saw the OP said the same thing).

I had Project Fi for a while and loved having T-Mobile and Sprint networks, but I could tell instantly which network was active. There was a HUGE difference. And it wasn't because Sprint was better. Now I get service from TMO directly because their rate plans beat Project Fi by a mile and I don't need Sprint.

All of this is weird for me because I WAS a happy Sprint user for years. Had a voice line, smartphone (Palm Pre IIRC) and a USB data modem and it all worked beautifully. But that was on their CDMA network before the iPhone launched on Sprint. The DAY that product went live, the CDMA performance began to tank. WiMAX never worked worth a shit. Recall one afternoon in a parking lot about 1000 feet from one of their WiMAX towers and the mere act of rolling up my car window killed the signal. WiMAX was a disaster. Their LTE network came on line and it sucked too. I went to Verizon at that point and it was fine, of course.

But having gone from Verizon to Fi, I got to see how Sprint LTE had progressed and the answer is, hardly at all. It was still crap.

T-Mobile is working great. I'm not leaving. Not even if Sprint was free.

Comment Off the rails for years (Score 2) 259

I used to be a stockholder in this company, before Hef threw a fit and took it private. Why did he do that? Because investors like me were telling him he was full of shit and his ideas sucked and it was costing the company money, all of which was true. He didn't like it. He took is bat and balls and went home.

The truth about Hef is that he ran the magazine with final editorial control and final say on EVERY business effort they made, worth mentioning, and he was well into senility by the end, making just awful decisions one after another.

One great example was the annual 'contest' the magazine and website held to have readers vote for PMOY. None of that shit mattered. Hef and Hef alone picked the winner and that's why for a long time they were all the same blondes, and why he had three of them at once as girlfriends. Hef didn't give a shit about the readers or the company. The decision to drop nudity was actually the first idea in decades that didn't come from Hef. Somebody else came up with it and Hef was so out of it, he waved it through.

Which was a disaster. Like most of Hefs ideas.

Cooper Hefner has a much sharper idea of what he wants to do and he gets what the reader wants. Um well, he gets the girls AND what the readers want to see. So maybe he will be able to make a miracle out of it.

Thanks to Hef, the company has spent decades ignoring massive IP they could have been monetizing, like the bunny girl costumes. That outfit is famous worldwide and isn't considered nearly as adult as the magazine. So why hasn't Playboy had their bunny girls everywhere? All they do license is the rabbit head logo, and then for shit like bad cologne sets and stickers. WTF.

I hope Cooper turns the merchandising around. I really do.

Comment Stoopid Money (Score 1) 95

Workers at the company where I used to work told tales of the early days working there, when the company was new and flush with investor money and new clients coming in left and right and there were no products shipping. They had to code all of it, which wasn't terribly hard early on.

Anyway, the early employees spoke of being wined and dined all the time, catered food brought to the office all the time, and of receiving massive bonus checks for doing essentially nothing. They were raking in so much cash, they simply called it Stooopid Money and went nuts with it.

By the time I started there, the bonuses were all gone and the parking lot was full of luxury cars as each employee had tried to outdo each other. We still got catered lunches occasionally. That was all. Just sad whispers of how much they used to make in bonuses.

Comment Re:I work in radio & TV (Score 1) 99

We use metro-ethernet, OC3'S, satellite, and microwave to deliver program feeds to transmitters. I don't know of any professionals who do it over the Internet. I would never do it under any circumstances. I have no sympathy for anyone dumb enough to try it.

These LPFM stations are run out of the back of groceterias and small restaurants. They don't have engineers or professionals. They got their license by mail order and the tower and transmitter out of boxes they might have got on eBay which came with a set of photocopied manuals in Chinese.

If it works when they give it internet connectivity, everybody is happy.

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