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Comment Re:I see it in the PC vs. the smartphone (Score 1) 431

That said, there could be a new jump in productivity as better technologies are developed. What if we counteracted smartphones with a drug or a widget that could make you focus?

We have that. I just have to pretend to have an attention disorder of some type in a manner convincing enough for a medical professional to hand me a slip of paper that tells another person in a white coat at another location that I'm allowed to purchase a limited quantity of it.

We call it Adderall.

Comment Re:Go away, you're not 21 (Score 1) 319

People under 21 are forbidden to enter bars. So what should people do if they want to watch the game with their kids, such as the parent of a high school student whose older brother's school is in the ESPN-exclusive College Football Playoff?

I've seen plenty of children at every sports bar I have ever visited, largely due to the fact that many of them are also restaurants. Buffalo Wild Wings would be an example of one such fairly large and widespread establishment in the US.

Whether one views said establishment's menu as actual food fit for human consumption is a different issue...

Comment Re:Taxi company (Score 4, Informative) 193

Sorry, Uber is a cab company, no matter what they say.

I'm not a fan of Uber but I'm not certain this is true, in my understanding a typical cab will drive around looking for random people to wave it down and potentially wait at certain high pickup locations.

An Uber (or Lyft) vehicle will only respond to a request from the webapp, it strikes me as more analogous to a Limo service or other hired vehicle. Are those considered taxis? (not rhetorical, I'm actually curious. For tax purposes it appears they are).

I live in a city in the Midwest, and have traveled for work to many other cities in the Midwest. Nigh universally, there is no such thing as a taxi that drives around looking for fares. You call a taxi company, or use their website, to request a taxi be dispatched to your location.

Rarely, in some cities, there are designated areas called "taxi stands" located in or near neighborhoods with a high density of bars. Taxis can sometimes be found idling there, waiting for inebriated folks to stumble their way. This is far from a ubiquitous practice, and even where the taxi stands exist, generally only contain taxis on Friday and Saturday nights.

Perhaps taxis continually circle or wait around high-traffic locations in very large cities. However, even on my trips to Chicago, I've seen only the dispatch request model.

Comment Re:Missing the 'why' of it. (Score 1) 156

Companies where the open office approach succeeded had something in common: the population of the office chose it for themselves, early on. They had an open office environment because that's how they wanted to work, and because the dynamic that existed between the employees was compatible with it. Then later, a lot of other companies had executives look at both the success of those companies and the lower real estate costs that the model uses, and decided they would "choose" it for their own staff. And that's not quite how it works. It's rather like deciding that your goldfish would be better off in a salt water tank because of how big the fish were in some other tank you saw, and then finding yourself confused as to why the fish all died. Not all cultures are the same, and you can't change the culture by imposing something upon it that is toxic.

Exactly this, yes. The company I work for recently decided that "open, collaborative spaces" would be better for every team and department, regardless of the nature of their work or where they were located - which resulted in people working with financial data adjacent to and nigh surrounded by call centers, and other such "improvements".

Shortly after this went into effect, they started experimenting with work-from-home programs, as many of us clamored for it. Oddly enough, productivity went up in many cases from the open office baseline, more cases than you'd expect for the potential distractions working from home can cause for the less-focused. It was almost as though moving to the open office plans had actually decreased productivity more than just closing the office entirely and having everyone telecommute.

Comment Re:Minimum Wage (Score 1) 1094

Your argument is... what, exactly? That skilled jobs in engineering, accountancy, nursing, medicine, architecture, law, and even trades like plumbing, carpentry, HVAC, mechanics, etc are somehow being automated away and are less secure than minimum wage jobs at McDonald's? For real?

Just look at accounting. One accounting department for one decently-sized company once involved dozens or more employees, all maintaining spreadsheets and doing calculations. Then came Excel (and similar such programs). One accounting department is now perhaps 3-4 people, doing what used to take dozens of numerate professionals.

Automation of jobs is not restricted to blue-collar or low-skill work.

Comment Re:ENOUGH with the politics! (Score 1) 1094

People say it doesn't do that, but there's a whole lot less service jobs than we used to have.

There's a slightly deeper question as to why service jobs are vanishing: once the capability exists to reliably automate a job, is there any wage at which you ultimately will not automate it? Alternatively, if you can convince your existing customers (I'm sorry, "consumers" is the term now) to do work for themselves for free which you used to have as a cost center, is there any wage at which you will not do so?

I'd eventually expect a fast food restaurant to require only enough employees to ensure the cooking and assembly robots are stocked and loaded, and maybe to hand orders across the counter / out the window.

Comment Re:Causality (Score 1) 484

The company I work for actually did almost exactly this. On the same lot as our corporate building is a Marriott, guests of which share the use of our employee parking garage. The execs have normal-sized offices in the corporate building which they are almost never in, and the sky fairy of your choice alone knows how many visitors have been put up in the Marriott on our company's dime. As the entire lot was developed expressly for us, I'm inclined to believe it was planned out to be as you say.

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