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Comment Re:Lucky sods (Score 1) 334

In UK, the gas taxes pay for the roads. In the USA, gas taxes cover less than half, with the rest coming out of general taxes. And the US has about four times the length of road per capita than the UK does. It is not that UK gas taxes are low, it is that US separates tax source from target to avoid discouraging driving. Remember, what's good for GM is good for America.

Comment Business decisions (Score 5, Informative) 371

Should I halt work on the next version for a month to do custom work for this important customer?

Should I save time by making the system very inflexible in this regard to get it out the door for a narrow market at the expense of a wider market later?

Should I follow the spec that management and business analysts wrote even though it seems wrong, or go up the chain or to the customer and likely fix or rewrite the spec?

These are the kind of business decisions I used to find myself making. In most cases it turned out that I made the correct decision in hindsight, but I got a lot of fighting from management in the process about that not being my job, even though there was nobody else competent to do it.

The biggest problem I run into is that the management assumes that the engineers are completely unable to talk to customers and look at outside non-technical specifications. I have found that engineers tend to be better at it than managers and all but the best business analysts.

Comment Re:The declining suburbs....or not.... (Score 1) 606

NYC sucks because the downtown area is so big and expensive that residential areas (e.g. neighborhoods with reasonably well packed houses with small yards) are too far from the city center. Smaller cities (100,000-500,000) are great. The downtown areas are small, and surrounded by reasonably priced houses. I live in a house, and can walk to restaurants and grocery stores out in my neighborhood, and ride a bike downtown in 10 minutes, or get a bus in 20. It isn't too crowded, it doesn't smell, and it is not expensive.

The problem is that most of the tech companies want to have spiffy new building out in the strips at the outer ends of the suburbs, so there are a ton of people driving out of the city every day while half the buildings downtown are empty. The 1%ers like it becaues they live even further out in mansions in huge sprawling developments, but it sucks for those of us who need a car to drive 20mph on the expressway for an hour a day.

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