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Comment Technology companies need a variety of knowledge (Score 3, Informative) 173

From my experience in semiconductor manufacturing, technology companies frequently hire individuals with degrees and areas of research that deviate from the core function of the business. Be prepared to discuss the details of your research and work while pursuing your degree and you will do fine.

Many of the skills utilized in your education are common across job fields and in some cases they are not utilized as often as they should in the work place. Some examples include...

- The scientific process itself. A sound decision process is key to problem solving within technology businesses and all too often mistakes are made by "gut feeling" or "common sense" decisions that are followed far too quickly without proper critical thinking.

- Understanding statistical significance and proper reading or presentation of statistical data. This is a hugely critical field to technology companies and at the same time a massive weak point in U.S. businesses. In my opinion there should be some basic statistics courses in K-12 education.

- Working in groups. U.S. corporations spend millions in consultant and training fees trying to instil some group working skills into employees but from what I have seen it is very difficult, and in some cases impossible, to teach people to set aside their individualistic wild west cowboy mentality.

- Communication and presentation skills. Meetings are frowned upon, partly due to the lack of group work skills, yet they are also necessary. You will quickly lose an audience that already doesn't want to be there so you need good communication skills to both keep the attention of individuals but also to transfer the information and knowledge effectively.

There are many more, of course, but these are just a few that come to mind.

Comment Re:at the risk of sounding like a heartless bastar (Score 1) 119

at the risk of sounding like a heartless bastard

Actually the risk is more one of sounding like you were too lazy to do even the most basic google search and reading about the J-2X.

There were multiple reasons why the J-2 was selected as the base starting point for a secondary stage engine, mainly the existing performance parameters from the original design and the cost savings gained by not starting from scratch.

However, the J-2X actually has a significant amount of R&D that have gone into improvements well beyond the old design.

This is a decent short video on the J-2X re-engineering work.

Comment Re:Hysteria! Panic! (Score 1) 379

Except this raid is about Indian rosewood and the Indian government has gone on record saying they fell the law was complied with.

Then again maybe not...

This guy has gotten his hands on some of the court records that the WSJ and the libertarian spam machine conveniently missed...

"When the wood entered the U.S. en route to Gibson, it was missing the plant products declaration required by the Lacey Act. This looks like it's where Gibson got caught.

When the declaration was made a day later, it was listed as ebony harvested from Madagascar."

Now this potentially may not be an issue as some ebony products from Madagascar are legal, as is mentioned in the article, but only from naturally felled trees. But there are circumstances surrounding the wood that infers it is not legal ebony. And to top it off, if you read the report I posted in the previous comment, the use of wood products from Madagascar is not allowed under FSC certification so Gibson is also in violation of their certification to be using sustainable wood products. Madagascar is not certified due to the illegal black market trade.

I am sorry but this entire thing wreaks of lies, greed, and corruption. All of which is ignored by the aforementioned propaganda machine. And there is a reason it is ignored, because those behind the propaganda actually could not care any less about laws or sustainability. Their only master is greed at all other costs both tangible and intangible.

Comment Re:Hysteria! Panic! (Score 2) 379

Fact: Suspected illegal materials seized from manufacturer.
Article speculation: guitars will be seized by Nazi enforcers from individuals.

What's is even worse is the level of manufactured internet outrage that drowns out any factual content. Try to do a search to find some unbiased information and facts and 99% of what you find are the initial biased articles and the massive flood of propaganda fed from the biased outlets to all their minion blog sites.

And the sad part, slashdot is becoming part of this libertarian spam fest that starts with the billionaire owned propaganda factories and floods the rest of the internet through their religiously devout followers.

In the tsunami of fake blog spots and shill foot soldiers who do no fact checking or authoring of their own but instead simply fart out the crap that is fed from the propaganda machine to thousands of shill blogs I was able to find a bit of interesting detail. But the hysterical libertarian fanboys wont like it because the source holds ideals that are counter to their religion...

November 2009 Statement in Response to the United States Fish & Wildlife Service's Investigation of Gibson Guitar Corporation

"The wood under investigation is not FSC-certified nor is it allowed in any FSC-certified product."

"The certificate does not cover wood from Madagascar."

There appear to be some serious questions about new sources of materials that Gibson have tapped into. And contrary to the libertarian fanboy ranting about ineffective regulatory measures it sure sounds like the regulations have been a win for not only sustainable forestry but also for the livelihood of the producers in the source nations who are certified.

We likely wont know much until the investigation is complete but there will be no end to this new libertarian spamming machine that floods the internet and is poisoning slashdot with the biased propaganda oozing from the billionaire media machines.

Comment Re:Known this one for a long time... (Score 1) 352

I would suggest starting at the U.S. Small Business Administration. There is a lot of useful online information.

Next locate a local office and see what free seminars you can attend to get instruction and answers from those who have already started businesses. They usually have classes on accounting, licensing, laws, etc.

I don't know anything about Kickstart but I personally would avoid any start up service companies and VCs until you at least have a better understanding of what your business needs entail.

I believe there are many opportunities to bring products to the market that leverage open source software. As far as the hardware I am unsure because my hardware experience is limited to off the shelf commodity equipment.

Comment Re:Known this one for a long time... (Score 1) 352

I'm also too accustomed to just running down to the local surplus stores (bay area has quite a few) and being able to build and hack on my hardware stuff (places like HSC electronics kind of keep me locked to the bay area; and if you're into hardware, you understand what I'm saying).

With an interest, education, and work experience in electronics I can tell you that Silicon Valley is a place to envy. I don't live in Silicon Valley but over the years I have spent a lot of time there on business trips and the quantity and ease of availability for equipment and components is amazing.

And Silicon Valley is still a hot bed of start ups and new technology. While the unemployment rate for unskilled or common skilled workers is bad the rate for technically skilled is well below both the California and the national average. Unless someone had a solid job offer for you outside of Silicon Valley I would not even consider moving.

I have been doing some freelance web development and system administration world wide and the areas that are continually hot are the Bay Area, New York City, and to some extent the Denver area. You are correct that there are a lot of low ball contracts and gigs but I suspect a good number of these are actually sub-contracting to real developers to take advantage of the current employment market by bidding on work and then expecting you to do the work for peanuts while they collect the profits for doing little more than re-posting a clients request. Just ignore them and keep looking.

Honestly I think a person with lots of experience should be looking at starting their own business or partnering with others to take advantage of the technology benefits in the Bay Area.

Comment Re:patent infringement infinite loop (Score 2) 230

Instead, the companies will all cross-licence to reach a stalemate, but with their combined patent portfolios, they will be able to prevent any new competitors arising.

Sadly, you are correct.

The Sewing Machine Combination was probably the first example of the patent system going insane, resulting in the failure of anyone to innovate or produce the products the market was demanding, and eventually resulted in a small group of patent holders banding together in a licensing truce until the problematic patents expired.

Another example was the impact of patent battles in the fresh aeronautics industry in the United States that resulted in virtually no U.S. made airplanes being available for the United States military. The government had to step in and thump some heads to stop the stupidity and bring manufacturers together in a patent pool.

Comment Re:CFL are no savings (Score 1) 990

I was looking at the Canadian Home Depot web site and holy crap, you guys are getting screwed. The CFLs are way over priced.

Anyhow, that said, even a $5 CFL is going to pay for itself in a year even on cheap electricity (power is $0.08 / kwh where I am located and from what I know this is cheap). If your power is as expensive as your CFLs then the pay back will be much faster.

Comment Re:CFL are no savings (Score 1) 990

I have had several CFL's fail within months

Several? As others have noted, you need to take them back to the store because that sounds like a bad batch run from the factory.

Statistically CFLs are in fact a huge cost saver in the long run and they do in fact last many times longer than incandescent bulbs. The bad thing is that when one person like yourself ends up being one of the data points that falls well outside the mean you will be turned off from the product for a long time even though statistically you will have significant savings if you stick with it.

Case in point, an 18 pack of GE 60W equivalent CFL bulbs are $20.14 at Lowes. If you use the bulb 4 hours a day then your energy usage is reduced by 45 * 4 * 365 / 1000 = 65.7 kwh per year. Where I am at power is about $0.08 / kwh which is a savings of $5.256 per year for each bulb in use and the bulb pays for itself in a little under 5 months. I have three 60W equivalent CFLs on the front of my house that have been operational for over 12 years now which has saved me about $189. With those savings I could buy enough CFLs to cover over 50 more houses in my neighborhood.

And do they really think anyone is properly disposing of these bulbs?

This is an issue but addressing mercury contamination in a landfill is much different from dealing with mercury spread across miles of landscape, rivers and lakes. The mercury level in the fresh water lakes where I live have reached the point where there are now warnings about eating the trout caught from these lakes.

Comment Re:You need different kinds of people (Score 1) 487

A good manager needs to be a translator in the first place, he needs to translate between his engineers, his designers, his sales people, his financial people and the customers, all of which are using different languages.

And I would say that falls under breaking down barriers. Complex problems that rely on multiple disciplines across corporate departments and/or rely on support for contractors and suppliers requires a broad perspective of the environment and the ability to identify and quickly alleviate road blocks that impede routine or special operations. This is a big part of what MBAs should be learning to do but at the same time I know from experience that you don't have to be an MBA to pick up the necessary skills.

Comment Re:You need different kinds of people (Score 2) 487

Historically, we'd still be coaxing marmots to eat from trees with rotten fruit if we hadn't developed more efficient, evil ways of harvesting meat.

So now we also need to worry about the MBAs killing and eating all the technical people?!?

I guess the main advantage of good people being in charge is that now, or a thousand years from now, we'd see little difference.

Huh? It is the evil people who develop the technology and science that has advanced human civilization?

Comment Re:You need different kinds of people (Score 4, Interesting) 487

Good example of this is the linux usability and GUI.

One word, Android.

You are wrongly accusing weaknesses in linux desktop GUI functionality with the difficulty of penetrating an entrenched market. I have used Windows, OSX, OS/2, Irix, linux (gnome, KDE, XFCE) extensively and the Windows and OSX GUIs have their failings the biggest failing being the retarded "it wasn't developed here" brick wall. A good example, multiple desktops, they have been available in the linux GUI for ages but blind stubbornness kept them from being a standard part of other GUIs.

People work best together. You mix the best attributes from several different kinds of people.

And some people just don't play well with others.

True story: While working full time as an engineer I went back to school and was taking some courses that were a mix of information technology and business management so many of the fellow students were business types coming from the other end of the spectrum. This was during the late 90s when the economy was booming and technical skills were in demand and good wages were required to retain talent. During a break a CIO employed at one company was conversing with a middle manager of software development from another company. They knew in common various talented people who had worked for both of them at one time or another but had moved around to gain better wages and benefits. The CIO made a telling comment, "when this boom economy ends we are going to get back at them", them being the technical people who did not stick around for the lower wages and benefits.

True story: Working with a group of engineers an equipment upgrade plan was developed that would reduce chemical usage costs and reduce hazardous waste disposal costs. Our calculations showed a 1 year payback due to reduced costs alone with the currently intangible benefit of advancing process performance for future product needs that the product designers and process engineers predicted. In presenting the project to the division VP in front of factory management I was laughed at and told "if engineers were putting your own money into these projects you would put more realistic cost savings numbers" which was followed by a round of laughter from management. My response was that I would put up my own cash to fund the project but I expected to collect any measured profitable gains as my return on investment. The laughing stopped and everyone had a poker face. The project was not approved and two years later when the latest product design was released for full production the equipment that was the target of the engineering upgrade was causing huge yield losses due to ineffective performance on the new product design.

We need the talent of MBAs, they learn valuable business skills and techniques in school, but they are currently overrated and overreaching in their decisions and control. When you extend this to the MBAs who climb the corporate ladder to the board level they are corrosive not only to their own work force but to the entire economy and future of the nation.

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