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Comment Re:Already happening (Score 1) 867

I use PaperKarma* (Free, Android) to stop my junk mail.

1. Take a picture of mail and upload it to their servers.
2. Wait a couple weeks (depends on junk mail sender)
3. Don't receive any junk mail.

I've cut out ALL my junk mail this way, including the circular / grocery type that is sent by the local newspaper.

*No affiliation.

Comment Re:Badly! (Score 2) 207

Agree with all of this. I'm an engineering manager in the subsea side of Oil & Gas. Our department has lots of ex Navy personnel, some of which worked on aircraft. There is a lot of overlap between our industry and the military (component / design redundancies, "just has to work" attitude, attention to detail). When I hire, this is the hierarchy I follow (assuming your personality is a match with our teams):

1. Exact experience with our niche industry technology
2. Some knowledge of our technology but ex-military (no matter the gap in work experience)
3. Some knowledge of our technology, above average personality
4. No knowledge of our technology, unparalleled drive and personality

Group 1 & 2 are rare (applicants come once a year). Group 3 is a little more frequent. We get a someone from Group 4 in to interview about once a month. The great majority of applicants that interview with us don't fall into Groups 1-4. They just want a job and will say anything... until you ask technical question about something they put on their resume. I would hire them if I just needed a warm body, but it's not like that here.

I second a commenter below who suggested Systems Engineer. You may also see it listed as Project Engineer. You can make good money putting your leadership and organizational skills to use, and clients (and companies) will love your real word experience. You will get more respect when you push back (on your team or clients) and will need your EE skills to call BS on requests that challenge the laws of physics.

You should be able to land an interview very easily. Search those positions on Indeed and tailor your resume to match some of the same terminology. I'm not saying lie about experience, I'm saying to highlight applicable experience you had in the military that has the same function as in the civilian space. Leading people. Analyzing, writing, evaluating, managing, reporting, integrating, repairing, testing widgets, processes, etc. Highlight hands-on stuff, especially troubleshooting.

I think you'll do great. Good luck!

Comment Re:This is a really tough case. (Score 1) 648

Agree with the AC above.

This issue is not unique to textbooks. Software sales in Australia are inflated. Labor rates for engineers in India are increasing (and correspondingly, some of the pay rates or demand in the US is flat-lining).

even worse, it prevents them from doing things like giving away their textbooks in africa at a loss.

1) Charity should not be factored into Supreme Court decisions.
2) I highly doubt Wiley is using a significant chunk of the US profits on book sales to give away free books in Africa. But, if they are they are free to donate money and goods as easily as anyone (or any corp) can, and correspondingly write that off their taxes. It's up to me as a consumer to decide what I want to do with the money I save; I am certainly not going to look out for Wiley's interests. Maybe I will put the rest into a charity that I think will get it done better than Wiley?

The company I work for manufactures low quantity, high cost widgets around the world, and also sells them to different markets. Guess how long it would take for customers to figure out which of our branches will net them the best deal? Our manufacturing costs (and quality) vary greatly around the world. As a company, we average it all out.

To your specific example: If Wiley is selling textbooks at a profit in Thailand, then they should be able to sell the same textbook in the US (also at a profit) for around the same cost. Let the students decide if they want to pay $100 extra a hardback, or whatever other "features" they perceive. If Wiley was smart, they would cut out the eBay market for international-version textbooks and sell direct to students.

My prediction for the future (other than e-books as other commenters pointed out): Bundled one-time activation codes to a website or software that comes with a new book, like a DLC for the used games market.

Comment Re:Never buy from the student bookstore (Score 1) 400

Another option is to also order the international version (usually off eBay). It's usually $30-$50 and comes in softcover. It has the same content but different page numbering (intentional I think), different, ISBN and of course less resale value. I've gone this route a few times.

Publishers have to sell the same product to markets with shallower pockets, after all.

Comment Nook Simple Touch (Score 1) 126

* Cheap (dispensable), $90 on eBay as a refurb. If anything happens you just take your microSD out and put it into a replacement.
* Rubberized case is easy to hold with one hand
* Lots of case options (neoprene, hard front to protect the screen, etc)
* Next/Back buttons are part of the skin, not individual keys that take in dust.
* Screen is inset from frame, adding some protection
* Roots easily so you can add more options (RSS readers, customize screen refresh options, dictionaries, PDF and other ereaders).
* No other ports/connectors other than micro-usb, If you're really worried, you could hack together a micro-usb plug to close off the port.

* On/off is handled using a push button on the back of the case.

Comment Re:Manufacturing Without Jobs (Score 1) 475

I'm an engineer that relies on high-tech manufacturing now. I don't understand all the negative comments here; it sounds like people actually want inefficient processes so that everyone remains employed at the expense of higher costs.

My perspective is that bringing automated manufacturing to the USA will:

1. Increase demand for engineers. When manufacturing was outsourced, some of the engineers left too. This also had a major side effect of draining valuable experience / skills - IE people who never had exposure to manufacturing were designing things that couldn't be manufactured easily. I saw a rise in "armchair" engineers - great theoretical knowledge but not much practical experience.
2. Increase demand for skilled technicians & operators. Servicing mechatronic devices is more complicated than fixing a Bridgeport mill from the mid 1900's. Existing techs can learning this skill and make themselves more valuable, charging more for their (on the global market) specialized services.
3. Increase economic spending in related fields: transportation (to move the newly created goods to market), local supplier sales (for raw materials), etc
4. Help us remain competitive globally. Unless you think other countries are not looking to reduce costs and US companies will buy US-made equipment even if it costs more.

Overall, I agree that automated manufacturing brings a net loss when compared to traditional labor models. But, I think that right now we are moving from little local manufacturing, to automated manufacturing, and I consider that both a net gain in employment and a positive thing for the economy and collective technical competitiveness. I think Germany makes a good engineering/manufacturing model; though the politics are a bit different..

Comment Re:Links to blog and stories (Score 1) 472

Also related:

The backlash from the public and support from Jamie Oliver and other chefs:

For those interested in the topic, Jamie Oliver has a TV series here in the US (Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution) about the poor state of school food. If you'd like to help, he's published some tools:

For his take on why this is important for society, a good place to start is his TED talk:

Comment Re:hey! (Score 1) 289

So in other words, you've been underpaying your employees for years and now its coming back to bite you in the ass. I'd leave your team too.

That's one way of looking at it if you ignore how salaries are set, what role outsourcing plays, how long-term revenue models are made, what overhead costs are like, rising costs of goods sold but continual pressure to reduce sales prices, etc.

Maybe I was a tech lead and took over as manager because I want to fix the mess? I make less than the senior tech leads and I'm happy with that because they have the skills. As a first line manager I actually want to pay the team as much as I can (morale, retention, etc).

When the economy crashed in '08 and the company held on to people, running through company reserves. It took two years to recover to previous revenue, and for the last two years we (the industry) have now created a bubble (sell sell sell!). A bubble created by stock prices falling and clients not spending money because of their fear, and then ramping up because now they are comfortable again. Something we have no control over. Now the industry is paying for this shortage but we have uncertain revenue. Would you be OK if I paid you more now and axed you six months from now when we don't hit our targets, or would you rather stay on long term but not make the current rate? Can I lower your rate when the market drops?

Maybe we are paying what we can based on the revenue and profit we are making, due to the (lower) bids we submit to stay competitive in this world market; a market with increased costs due to higher salaries, but not increased sale prices to match. Maybe we compete against international government-sponsored companies that don't have to turn a profit or domestic companies that outsource and can throw 2-3X as many people on a project than I can. They also don't have the overhead costs we have here (some cases less insurance and no retirement pay) Perhaps I should start outsourcing too? Where will you go when you leave here and our competitors follow us?

Do you have a backup plan in case the market re-aligns and you're the first one to go because you're paid more than everyone else (for the same level of work)? Of course you are free to come and go as you want, but when I interview guys now I want to make sure they will have some tenure and help me ride out the storm.

These problems aren't unique to our company of course. Some companies paying the "market" rates now just landed a large gig. Next year we will land something similar, and our competitors won't win the bid. Then we will staff up, probably scalping anyone that can make a bit more, and then we will set the âoemarketâ rates until the next bubble pops. Then we get to âoedownsizeâ because revenues are down again and our operating costs are through the roof. Right now salaries (with industry experience) are 40% higher than the national average for the same title, and we live in a city with a low cost of living.

Don't get me wrong, there are managers that don't deserve their crazy bonuses or salaries, but I don't think that's typical of front line managers. Yet we have to deal with cards we have. I would appreciate your insight in how to pay people more in these times. To me, these are challenging issues.

Comment Re:hey! (Score 4, Informative) 289

I agree with what you're saying but, as a manager, I have another issue that cannot be solved with completely transparent transactions (even if that was possible):

Salary rates are set by what the market will pay. When demand goes up, candidates know to ask for more. I'm desperate to hire now, which means either I ask my team to keep working 50/60 hr weeks, or I hire another person for (10-20%) more than what my current team (of equivalent experience) makes. Of course, I cannot simply raise everyone to this new level because I barely have the budget to hire this new person at a normal rate, much less this inflated rate. So, either I keep people in the dark and relatively happy, or I tell people what's up (they know anyway), and now they leave for greener pastures. Yes we can have talks about things that will happen "one day" but I can't promise anything I can't deliver, and right now I have no clue how the market will turn. Everyone wants to make more money when the market is great, no one wants to cut their paycheck when it dips.

With perfect information, I am at the mercy of the hiring market (bubble?), and my operating budget climbs while I don't necessarily get any more productivity (per person) with an increase salaries paid. Sure, I can look elsewhere to save money too, but I don't want to be the PHB that cuts the free coffee and tea so I can raise only one guy up to the market rate. Or do I?

Comment Re:Bad press... (Score 1) 443

I agree with everything you're saying. Part of the reason for the dumping is that GM is asking for $40k for a car with Aveo styling. They could have styled it better, arguably for the same cost to manufacture.

Look at how well the 2012 Kia Optima Turbo / Hybrid line has done. To me, that's an attractive sedan for the money. I know it shouldn't be about looks, but you're asking me to drop $40k on something that I keep for 10+ years.

Comment Re:This is nothing new... (Score 5, Interesting) 78

I imagine testing of scale (including full scale) models is still used in most industries. Computers help you reduce the number of mistakes and shorten the iterative development cycle so you make fewer elementary errors.

In Oil & Gas, almost all of the major manufacturers have been modeling all their new components in 3D for the last decade. You can have whole departments dedicated to running Finite Element Analysis on these 3D models. It's not as simple as putting in your constraints (loads, fixed and pinned reaction points, etc) and hitting "solve". You still have to make certain assumptions, tailor the matrix (the 3D lattice/approximation made of pins and beams) or make simplifications to the model if you want it to converge toward a solution. The computer solves the cases iteratively. Once you think you're close, you perform a test at scale and verify your assumptions. Then your match it to your computer model and hopefully you're not too far off. For example, things like incorrect friction factors between materials matter a lot when they are amplified by huge forces. The manufacturer of a particular coating may claim it's .07 (if they even tell you). You learn it's more like 0.08 through repeated testing. At this point there is no way of calculating things like that.

Of course, this assumes that you have the time, money, and server time to run such experiments. Most of the time you focus on the one or two critical areas of a design for FEA and use past experience or classic formulas on the rest. Customers still want final tests before product ships, so technically you have one last point to catch a failure/issue before it ships.

Comment Naysayers (Score 5, Insightful) 72

Man, what's with Slashdot, the comments are full of so much negativity this past year.

These kids are in high school. That's pretty amazing that they were able to build that on their own, without it being assigned, including forming a team, agreeing on the project and following it through on their time and expense. I'm sure some of you were splitting atoms after school but my high school was certainly not like that. It may not be sized/shaped to historically accurate accounts (whatever that means) but they are making something by hand, and staying off the PC/Gaming Console/TV long enough to finish it.

I'm an amateur woodworker and can point out all sorts of flaws but that's really not the point here. It's easier to tear something down than build it up.

Comment Re:Government lies make this discussion difficult. (Score 1) 964

However, [nuclear, coal, fossil fuel, hydro] power has a long track record of official deception and lies that will make it harder to have a reasonable discussion about moving ahead with safe and zero carbon nuclear options in the future.

I don't know of any significant scientific advancements (those that have the potential of affecting a large part of the population) that are holding an open "reasonable" discussion. Actually, it would make me feel better if anyone could think of examples and prove me wrong. I see this in many facets of life - from politics to online forums. How do you encourage vetting of many ideas while discouraging spreading of FUD, noise, and false information. Who decides what is beneficial if the majority doesn't have all the facts or the capacity to make an informed decision? If one person is a filter, is it still a debate?

I think the problem is related to motivation and not knowledge/technology or even economics (although where does greed come into play?). If you could somehow motivate & focus people to solve today's problems using only today's tech (discounting R&D), we would already be much further along. How do you force people to care about more than just themselves?

I say this as an engineer. A part of me holds out for creating the product / process that changes the world. Lately I've been thinking that the only way of doing that (and being successful at making a large impact), is to give it away for free so no one can buy, subvert, or manipulate it for their own benefit.

Comment Re:Nuke it. (Score 3, Informative) 334

British Petroleum would lose the well permanently and have to drill a new one.


I love how trolls can get modded +5 Insightful here. Please elaborate on your experience in the oil & gas industry.

I am a product engineer that designs subsea equipment. The company I work for sells equipment to the majors, one of them being BP. I can't tell you the amount of hours people have worked to try and fix this problem. In addition to the people involved, people that have had zero to do with the original Horizon products/well are creating Plan A - D solutions in 24-hour shifts. This is all in an effort to stop the leak as fast as possible, regardless of who has the liability (that will be worked out later).

If nuking it was a viable option, then I'm sure BP would risk losing a well at the cost of re-drilling a new one. The PR nightmare alone is worth that cost. I know it's easy to say BP is evil, but now all eyes are on them to fix the issue. If they create another problem (such as nuking the well), I doubt you would be the first one to defend their actions.

Things are not so black and white. Consider that you're operating in under high pressure (15-20ksi), with minimal access and visibility. Any equipment you send down there NOW has to be taken off the shelf. new designs have 4+ week deliveries (normally 8+). There is no such thing as "plug and play". Each customer, each project is different. So now you are patching together equipment from other clients (off their shelves) to make something work.

I can't speak for BP, but I can tell you I take pride in my work, and my coworkers are the same. We don't release anything that is unsafe. Period. I don't know about this project, but anyone in the industry can tell you that the environmental regulations we design to for Mobile Bay are stringent. No one wants to have this type of disaster.

At the same time, how many PHB's have you had that focused on schedules/costs instead of features/the product? That's their job. People make tradeoffs. I have to say that no PHB I know would knowingly risk damage to people/the environment over making more money. But it's never that clear is it? How do you balance risk and safety? What is the definition of effective? You never have all the metrics to make the right call. There are a lot of people/processes that make this well happen, a problem in any area can lead to this.

Oh, and in case you think I'm a shill, I would love it if we all drove electric cars. But until everyone decides to drop plastics for the corn variety, or gas for electric, you need fossil fuels.

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