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Comment Re:Managed SAP R/3 since 1993... (Score 2) 115

So do you think any ERP systems can work (defined as providing a positive return on investment)?

We have an industry-specific project-ERP system that costs about 0.5% of our annual revenue that, while under-utilized and poorly rolled out, does at least beat using QuickBooks for most things. There are some things it can't do, many things it can't do easily, and a number of things that are poorly presented and force you into exporting data to a spreadsheet for effective workflow. But, incrementally the value proposition is there, and I cannot imagine how much it would suck to using spreadsheets and quickbooks for everything like some of our competitors do.

When we bought it, I would say we expected more from it than we got-- but we know we starved the project of some necessary resources. My only real objection is that you cannot import data to it; it only allows for data export. This makes processing some inbound data much more time consuming than it should be.

General employees might hate it, as doing timesheets is a slow hassle, but the 10-15 minutes it might take per week is a value to the owners.

Comment Re:But... why? (Score 1) 225

But don't pressure balance TBM'S solve that part of the problem? It still takes time to change the "teeth" for those transitions (even different types of rock), but is it that big of an issue for the right equipment?

Larger diameter holes are easier than small diameter from a logistics standpoint, but directional drilling works... with certain other inefficiencies.

Maybe Musk would have been better served with a pedestrian bridge/tunnel over to the Metro station than that awful parking garage.

Comment Re:Where is he.... (Score 1) 225

The city of Hawthorne loves him... so as long as he complies with the stormwater management requirements he should be fine, and should have been able to get an over the counter permit. They might stop him if it goes to far... but I somehow doubt it.

What I don't get is where the innovation in boring would come from. I understand the inefficiencies or grinding rock to a pulp to simplify handling; I think I get the limits of semi-serial process of a TBM; logically I can imagine there are better ways than using a monolithic cutter head; and practically I get that ellipses are better than circles for many applications... but angled cutter heads have been done before.

I remember the conspiracy theory stories about <a href=""> subterrene </a>, but... well... maybe he knows something... I didn't think the thermodynamics worked on that one though.

Comment Re:The company lied (Score 1) 158

Enlighted is a motion sensor (and more). It is creepy.

It can be used to optimize energy performance-- if the office is lightly occupied, increase the comfort bands as your percentage of people dissatisfied is less influenced by that space. That can be used to reduce airflow, re-heat, or cooling depending on the system type. It can also reduce light levels of course.

They see real-estate as a big-data wet dream. Personally, I don't get it; while you can save money you quickly get to a point of diminishing returns. While you can track people, do you really know what all that data actually means! Ok, Joe has a small bladder; we should make the soda machine jam on him (and only him) so he doesn't pee so much... or at least we can recover some of the money... The (substantial) money is much better spent elsewhere.

Comment Re:Missing the bigger flaw... (Score 1) 267

I had a friend that was an engineer with his PhD that was an expert in his field, on an H1B from Europe. I think he was initially contracted out by his old employer when they ran out of work, but was quickly picked up by a company here. He spent most of the next 15 or so years on an H1B, and eventually got his green card and citizenship.

This is what the program WAS for. What it has become may be something else, but the intent was always there to get great people from abroad to fill gaps here. This type of program is good for the country, as are programs that offer visa flexibility for young ambitious professionals.

Comment Re:Do we still need nuclear? (Score 1) 87

Completely agree and understand; the plan was mainly an energy balance exercise and I understood the stupidity of trying to do it that way (if it was real) when I started. But, when you scale it to a discussion about the overall grid and means of stored energy it is relevant.

Comment Re:Do we still need nuclear? (Score 1) 87

Going from memory, but I did the math for an off-grid house at 34 degrees latitude some time back, with a winter daily energy consumption of 18kWh and summer around 28-30. With 40kWh of battery, I would need 15kW of PV on a 2-axis tracker plus a 2kW generator that would need to run about 40 hours per year. To get the generator down to 8 hours per year, I needed to double the battery. This left me "burning" half my annual energy production, as there was no need for all the summer production.

In essence, this is the challenge for solar. Half the energy you produce, if deployed everywhere, is useless, and storage has diminishing returns. My system would have a cost of ~$75,000, but would only offset $36k of utility bills. A net-metered solution would only cost $18k to offset the energy use.

Who wants to pay 2-3x for their electricity?

Now some caveats: the idea for the home was not to be off-grid, on-propane, so all cooking and heating were electric, which is inherently a non-economical decision. The home also had higher than optimal energy consumption for an off-grid design; a few less essential functions would need to be shut off, temperature reduced in the winter, cooking focused on noon time, etc, to make it really work. But, it is a fair comparison for grid economics.

Comment Re:Nuclear: too dangerous, too expensive (Score 1) 87

Wind works as a diverse source across a wide region. For it to work well at scale in the US, you would need to connect the east coast and west coast electrical grids, although there are plenty of things you can do at smaller scale. The PowerWall doesn't work at the windmill, but it works as a bridge between grid peaks in generation and utilization. Natural gas and hydro can do the same thing, depending on where the choke points are.

Comment Missing the bigger flaw... (Score 1) 267

Dot fucking bomb?!!

Of course there were fewer programmers working in 2001 compared to 1994-2000. Many went from a $100k "web developer" position to baristas at Starbucks. It took until 2004 or so for employment to really recover, for the top half of people that were working in the field before the dot bomb.

H1Bs have plenty of issues, but it is important to focus on goals. Stealing the best and brightest from other countries is good. Replacing the bottom 25% of Americans is a different discussion, and is also tied into globalization and MBA-speak about "core competencies". If you want to make more jobs for Americans, you need to decide if your exports associated with globalization outweigh your additional imports. Theoretically, creating a few billion additional middle class consumers is better for everyone, but at least critique that point first...

Comment Re:Hit peak? (Score 1) 161

Too high of a concentration of anything is a cancer. I used to live in San Francisco, now I am in one of the southern California beach cities. I missed The City for a while... it is(/was) nice being in a place with soul... but I am sad to see just how much high tech jobs and money is moving into this area. I also look at various places in the midwest suffering brain drain, and it is easy to see that things must change for a sustainable future.

When you are looking at rent of $1,000/month per employee for office space, a lot of other locations start to make sense. From the employee side there is a time lag, but the employer can see their bottom line pretty quickly.

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