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Comment Re:A question (from someone witout a credit card) (Score 1) 135

It's not really about the kind of people that pay for the credit cards either: A CC company can make plenty of money if you pay everything in full: they only really lose if you don't pay.

In most cases, the one that pays for the miles is the merchant, in interchange rate fees. In practice, a bank can end up charging almost 2% for those, if the card is really good for the consumer. People that get rewards use their card more. You get your 1% in cash back/miles, and the rest is what the bank really makes. Cards are worse in Europe because those fees are limited, and thus the bank would lose money if they handed you the same perks American cards give. As a merchant, you build your fees into the pricing structure.

So who really loses? In practice, the person that pays cash without the rewards and doesn't get a discount.

Comment Probably yes (Score 5, Informative) 245

First, background: I have been using Java at work, at least part time, since 2005. I started getting paid to write scala since 2012. I've definitely ran large, critical applications in Scala: I am running some right now.

Scala is a far more featureful, complicated language than Java is. A lot of what it gives you is really very high quality syntactic sugar (case classes, lambdas, pattern matching), but the one thing that sets it apart is its type system.

The trick is that nothing forces you to use Scala as if you were using Haskell instead: You can use it as a more sugary Java, using the extra type system fun sparingly. Restraint is the name of the game here, and also the reason some people have Scala horror stories: A company decides that Scala sounds great, and then hire some hotshot scalaz committer to teach everyone else how it's done. Then your codebase is full of operators that look like line noise, every class extends a base that comes straight from category theory, and half the developers say 'screw this, let's rewrite it all in Go!'

There is value in the category theory, and using arcane libraries like cats or shapeless, but 99% of the time, you don't need to: Just like back in the 90s you had to stop people from overusing OO design patterns, or their code will end up looking like Spring, Scala shops have to remind people to do the same when it comes to higher kinded types, hlists and concepts out of category theory. You really don't need any of that to use Scala successfully. Just ending up in a world where you typically don't need either a mocking library or any dependency injection nonsense is more than enough to switch. (Curse you Rod Johnson!)

The one thing where I would make people spend some time studying is in basics of functional programming, the very first of which is to learn to remove side effects from code, and clearly separate code that changes state from computation. Chances are you were doing some of that already in Java if you were hoping for a good unit test suite, but it's more important in Scala

Career wise, the more is a no brainer IMO: If you write Java, you are one in a very large pool of completely generic candidates that can use Spring and Hibernate to do something super boring. In Sala, you enter a smaller pool that most of the most average Java developers will never try to enter, so, on average, the job will be more interesting, and the pay will be higher.

Comment Re:Volentary Expenses. (Score 1) 334

If they are such a simple software company they are going to sink anyway, because their engineering managers are insane, hiring over a thousand engineers for such a simple job.

Billing, payouts, routing, signups, multiple mobile apps... the smallest engineering staff I'd consider running that company with (and that's just engineering) is probably about a hundred, and that'd probably require throwing away most of their billing customizations and changing payments providers to something that provides a more comprehensive solution.

Comment Re:Mixing two stories (Score 1) 386

San Francisco could be easily four times denser than it is. SoMa might have all this new shiny startups, but it still feels full of warehouses, and 5 stories is considered tall. The east side of the Mission is also full of warehouses and single family homes, just with tiny yards. And that's without getting into the very low density of the west side of San Francisco, which is about as dense as the old, more cramped midwestern suburbs. San Francisco could, and should, develop in the same way a Madrid and Manhattan. Housing costs are catastrophic precisely because the people living there are refusing to build.

Comment Re:Deliberately missing the forest for the trees (Score 3, Interesting) 386

That's kind of the point of freedom of movement, isn't it? As more people want to move into a place, the place gets more crowded and prices rise. When people want to move out of a place, home prices go down. When San Francisco is incredibly attractive, the prices skyrocket to balance things out.

I don't live in San Francisco, but my employer is based there, so I visit it a few times a year. Having been raised in Europe, if anything, I find it not crowded enough: It'd be a far more enjoyable city if it had less single family homes, and if the concept of an office building without dedicating its first floor to stores was borderline insane.

If it wasn't for the price, I'd move to San Francisco in a nanosecond. But I'd much rather get the same salary in a place where a four bedroom house is $200K instead of 2 Million. But that's the price of living in a cultural center vs the middle of nowhere.

Comment Windows 10 patching is still to aggressive today (Score 4, Informative) 254

Just yesterday, My gaming machine, the only windows install left in the house, came in with an ominous warning as I was playing a game: It said it had downloaded an update, and that it would restart in 20 minutes, whether I wanted it or not. No installing at night, or tomorrow, or anything. Imagine if instead of playing a game, I was giving a talk.

This is the kind of shit that makes people not use windows for work.

Comment Re:shouldnt fraud detection catch these? (Score 1) 110

There's a difference between processor and originating bank. There are many processors, but each card has a single originating bank. The processors themselves only know a fraction of the attempts.

Processors with good systems underneath might make this harder to do though: For instance, a processor might decline because the ip making this request is suspicious. Websites that use really big processors underneath might have more information on the card colder than you'd think, and be able to see something close to the originating bank.

There's a constant war between fraudsters of different kind and credit card processors. The attacks what were profitable 3 years ago don't work today at all: This is why a lot of fraud today involves large fraud 'companies', that will use their tools for you in exchange for something: from BTC to merchant accounts to believable credentials.

Comment Re:MPAA, RIAA and Big Pharma (Score 1) 355

They are definitely getting screwed, but what is so scary is that they think that it's the politicians that are screwing them: Technology is screwing most of them, and all the politicians do is to not pretend that time doesn't keep moving.

Technology is about doing more with less. We can farm with 1/10th of the people we used to. Same with manufacturing or energy extraction. Soon nobody will be able to make money by driving a land vehicle. All of those things are great in the aggregate, but we fail to soften the blow to the people losing their career with no replacement in sight. Trump promised to turn back the clock, but that's insanity: Increasing costs for foreign labor will just keep the local industry for a bit, which will either shed workers anyway, or be less competitive every day.

Other countries just move retirement age for those people forward, and hope there's still areas with enough economic activity that their taxes can feed those retired in their 50s, but that's not the American Way.

This is what is going to be so hard about a Trump Presidency: People asked ,and were promised things that Republicans can't actually deliver. We'll get a recession sooner rather than later, and it's going to get ugly.

Comment Re:Supply and demand (Score 1) 587

It's sure supply and demand, but that's not much of an answer. The real question is why is the equilibrium so far from the one anywhere else.

IMO, there are two main reasons:

There's a big advantage to working in the same time zone and in the same culture: An American firm would much rather hire people in the US than in India, in the same way that you don't see Indian companies outsourcing their top work to the US. The skill differential is irrelevant, whether there is one or not. Being nearby is relevant.

The other difference is value of the work. We don't hire people to do work that is worth less to us than what they charge, but we sure can hire them for a lot less if it's possible. The value of your code is dependent on what it does for your company: A developer at Google, for instance, can build more value than someone programming the internal systems for a tiny chain of restaurants. The US has a lot more large employers that would be willing to pay a lot of money for programming, because their revenue per employee is insane. There's enough demand for good developers that a smaller employer will get a lot less profit from them. In comparison, look at Spain's market: There's a lot less pressure on the upper bound competing for the best developers, and most of the things that need automating produce a lot less value, so the equilibrium is further down, so the same developer can make 4x more in the US than in Spain.

It's a bit like professional sports: Viewership and spectacle produced per athlete lead to very different economics across sports, even though it's not as if a TE in the NFL, a power forward in the NBA or a strong defender in the NHL are that different, but for the average salaries of those three positions are very different.

Comment Re:Supply and demand (Score 1) 587

Cost of living is an absolute non factor at developer-pay levels.

My employer is in San Francisco. I work from Missouri. I get a San Francisco salary, but here you can rent a big house in a great school district for $1000/mo, as opposed to sharing a tiny apartment. If cost of living had anything to do with this, there would be a huge price difference, when, in practice, there isn't.

Comment Re:Lost business? (Score 2) 77

Of course it is: We see this pretty easily in the physical space when there's really bad weather, like a blizzard that makes travel difficult for 3 days. Businesses see a bit of a pickup afterwards, as some purchases just get delayed, but there's A LOT of economic activity that disappears.

Imagine, for instance, that whoever processes credit cards for the Hillary campaign happened to have a catastrophic 4 hour outage around the last debate. Do you really think that the people that would have donated during the debate, or right after, are going to remember and donate just afterwards? I'd be very surprised of many didn't just give up at the time, and not remember to do the same, the day after.

Comment I wish I could choose when to switch languages (Score 1) 331

I am doing infrastructure for a well known, yet not public SF company. I've had days where I had to write code in 5 languages, going from interpreted languages with almost no type support, to Scala's type battleship. This raises problems for learning: I learned Scala somewhere else, doing nothing but Scala for months. When you can dive deep into a language, it's easy to remember it, and then bring back the knowledge on command. But without a deep dive, it's really hard to learn a language, especially when you deal with a bunch of similar ones. I never have to do much Ruby, or much Python, so they never stick in my head, and the lack of a compiler means I often write terrible, broken things. Maybe if I only wrote ruby for 3 months, then only python for 3 months, then maybe they would stick, but that's not now infrastructure work goes.

Comment Re:Blacklist vs. whitelist (Score 2) 212

And the moment you put a whitelisting antivirus on a programmer's machine, who will often compile their own executables, the corporate plan goes to shit anyway.

Just like how IT departments often make programmers' kufe hell by not make exceptions for a directory used for compilation and artifact downloading. Triple your compile times for no good reason!

Comment Average car? (Score 5, Informative) 622

Many decent family cars out there are NOT, in any way, 34K new. A new Mazda 3 is a sensible car and starts under 20K. A Camry is 25K. You could buy a 350Z for less than 34K!

So plenty of families can afford new cars: They just can't afford large, over featured, expensive to repair urban assault vehicles. US streets would be better if nobody could.

Comment Re:A 21% jump should worry people (Score 1) 106

What do you mean, without fees? I would have to pay a fee to transform dollars into bitcoins, pay the miner to put my transaction in a block today, and then whoever I am buying it from will take the money out of bitcoin and into dollars again: There's plenty of fees and delays in there. Given how much it costs to mine, I'd not be surprised if credit cards ended up being both cheaper and faster.

So Bitcoin becomes a mix between a volatile currency and an expensive payment system: It's biggest selling point is that it makes illegal transactions easier than the regulated banking system.

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