Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:The next big bubble? (Score 2) 54

It's interesting how, in a lot of ways, it's reversing worker specialization. In an economy where it's difficult to pick a field and stick with it because the job prospects are unreliable, enterprising workers are left with little choice but to sign up for various services that, essentially, offer them odd jobs of various kinds. Maybe you'll work as a Lyft driver for 3 hours today, do some freelance plumbing for an hour or so, write some website articles with the time between jobs, rent out part of your apartment on AirBnB so you can make the payment this month, etc. I suppose it's possible some people thrive on this sort of chaotic life, and more power to them if they do, but let's not pretend that eroding the work culture and especially the worker/employer relationship model that we developed over the 20th century is somehow a good thing for everyone. It overwhelmingly benefits employers who want to get paid and don't care one whit for what happens to the people doing the work.

Comment Why the 35%? (Score 3, Informative) 570

I skimmed a lot of comments and didn't see one directly addressing the question posed in the summary.

Basically, 35% of Americans have debts in collection status because it's easy to have an account go to collections and then linger there forever. You can imagine people's "debt responsiveness" as being exponentially bound to the time since the last payment. A debt that recently had a payment made is almost certain to have its next payment made. A debt that's a few months late has a decent chance of getting a payment made soon. A debt that is 6 months (or more) late has a very low chance of ever being paid again. This is why debt collectors buy/pursue old debts. The original creditor will likely accept pennies on the dollar just to get something out of it, while the collector wants to obtain the whole amount. If they can even get half, they come out way ahead. It's a profitable business.

I used to work in this industry (wrote software) so I could tell you some things about it.

Comment Re:Chain effect (Score 2) 300

I have seen precisely that happen, too. A company cuts the dead weight--and maybe some not-so-dead weight--and the people with marketable skills head for the hills because they don't want to be next. So the company may have meant to cut 10% but instead loses 15%, with much of that last 5% being their top performers. Pretty bad deal for the company, to be sure.

Comment Re:Dropping the Xbox? (Score 1) 300

We're not talking about a product that needs time to find its feet, we're talking about what should be a mature product line that nevertheless struggles to turn a profit. We're not in year two of MS' Xbox experiment, but going on year 13 of a popular consumer brand. There is certainly something to be said for selling a product that loses money in order to stimulate ancillary revenues, but that's not what is happening here. The whole division is, at best, a wash for MS. How long should they keep this up before writing it off?

Comment Re:Dropping the Xbox? (Score 2) 300

Unless MS can turn marketshare into money, it's worthless. So, MS has put Xboxes into millions of homes, and they have... oh, wait, no profit to show for it.

The Xbox division isn't some new thing. MS has been at this for over a decade, and what they have to show for it are incredibly tepid returns. This, after sinking gobs of money into it.

Might be a different story if MS hadn't completely bungled the Xbox One push, but they did, and it's unlikely to recover. Sony's got this gen locked up, so why should MS keep throwing money at a market loser?

Comment Re:Not creepy (Score 2) 106

It's not your "every move," just your actions on public roads. You know, the kind you have to be licensed to drive on, in a vehicle registered with the government.

We are talking about high-speed rolling death machines here. Tens of thousands of people a year are killed in car accidents--most of which are preventable as they result from human error and negligence.

I would not at all object to a prohibition on transmitting any of the data of this fatigue-monitoring system to authorities or insurers. It may follow the same trend as other safety technologies: you get an insurance discount for having it, but the insurer is in no way monitoring how you use it. I'm also not aware of police using remote knowledge of vehicles except in emergencies, e.g. kidnappings, high-speed chases, etc.

Frankly, if someone is about to fall asleep at the wheel and they're ignoring the car's warnings to pull over, I very much would want nearby police notified to get that person off the road. A sleepy driver is a menace to everyone around him.

Comment Re:Occupy was anarchists not libertarians (Score 1) 404

I won't discount that there may have been some libertarians at Occupy rallies. Takes all kinds. Occupy was/is a very diverse movement. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that there were some libertarians here and there.

But you know where I guarantee you could find a lot more libertarians? Tea Party rallies.

Comment Re:Economic reasons (Score 2) 384

Computers aren't regulated nearly as much as cars are, which cuts down the price a lot. That is not to say cars aren't regulated for good reason, though. Apart from emissions control (which is a significant expense), the numerous safety features required in modern cars add considerable costs. Research and design also aren't free--it costs a lot of money to design a car, certainly much more than it used to, and those costs have to be defrayed in the sales of new cars.

Of course, one could also blame unionized workers, whose pay has fared better against inflation and wage levels as a whole when held up against non-unionized workers (the vast majority of those who will be buying cars.) By that token, cars seem more expensive because, in real terms, most people's pay has stagnated or fallen.

In short, I don't think the current price of a new car is generally unjustified, considering what you get for it. Even "base" model cars have a lot of features that absolutely weren't standard 20 or 30 years ago: airbags, air conditioning, power windows and locks, CD/MP3 player, anti-lock brakes, electronic traction control, etc.

Comment Re:Maybe this will wake some people up (Score 2) 182

This is not really an issue across the entire software industry, but rather a particular subset: the Silicon Valley (and sometimes New York City) startup run by people in their 20s who think they are going to reshape the software industry (if not the entire world.) Bad attitudes also persist into video game development studios, though the environments are perhaps not as bad. I'm sure it varies a lot from place to place.

Larger and more mature software organizations are by nature far more risk-averse, so they tend to take reports of harassment far more seriously. I have a friend who got fired outright because he pulled a silly prank that could have reasonably been construed as sexual harassment. He didn't really mean anything by it, but it was 100% his bad and a justified termination.

When people talk about "professionalism" in software development, I think the common assumption is that it refers mainly to things like writing good code and putting in enough work on a daily/weekly basis, rather than crossing over into one's general conduct and particularly attitudes toward women and minorities in the workplace. The sorts of environments that have problems with harassment tend to be overwhelmingly white, male, and young. This is a bad combination if you want to attempt to have a professional working environment, and especially if you want to branch out to have a more diverse workforce.

Being a professional is about much more than mere competence at one's job duties. It also has to do with how you resolve interpersonal conflict, how you interact with people who may not share your worldview or experience, and whether you can do your job without being a huge asshole about it.

Slashdot Top Deals

Over the shoulder supervision is more a need of the manager than the programming task.