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Comment Pathetic (Score 5, Insightful) 281

In my Grandparents' generation, the recruiting posters said, "your country needs you" and people signed up to fight in a *war* to protect their families and communities, and many of those people didn't come back. Now we simply ask that you get a couple tiny jabs to protect your family and community from some of the most terrible diseases imaginable, and people think there's too much risk. Yes, there's a *tiny* risk, but you still choose to drive little Johnny all over town to soccer practices and birthday parties, putting your precious cargo at far higher risk of death from a car accident than any risk from the vaccine, and then there's the fact that your child is now much more likely to get those diseases. It's literally ridiculous.

Comment Depends what the user wants vs. needs, I guess (Score 1) 429

Maybe we think the user *needs* to find the truth, but maybe they *want* to find an article that makes them feel good about their hatred. Isn't Google supposed to help them find what they want? Of course, some kid could just as easily be typing that because they really don't know and want to understand what the deal is.

Comment Re:Come on, not that "Terminator" BS again... (Score 1) 407

Yes, there are a number of things that could have gone wrong here, but it's not evident that she bypassed or ignored any safety protocol. There's a chance that the system integrator designed and implemented it wrong, and that the safety inspection missed it, though since it's Michigan I'd suspect it's a case of nobody doing a safety inspection (government has to cut regulation to be friendly to businesses after all). So sure, she might have gone in and had someone close the door behind her and reset it, or the integrator might have botched the safety interlocks between the two cells. There's the chance that someone in maintenance deliberately bypassed the inter-cell safety interlocks, and then there's the (very remote) chance that one of the category 4 certified safety devices failed in an undetected state, which they're specifically designed not to do. This is something the professional engineering organization in Michigan needs to be investigating and publishing a report on so we can all understand what happened, and see if there's ways to prevent it from happening again.

Comment Re:Excellent (Score 1) 352

Yes, if the only reason you have to do everything in GMT is because of DST, then for goodness sakes we need to get rid of DST because it costs time to be converting back and forth all the time. My users say, "I think there's something wrong in the logs yesterday at 3." Now if I'm looking at the raw data in GMT, I have to do some kind of conversion first to figure out what I'm looking for. It's needless, takes extra time, and creates an opportunity for errors.

Comment Excellent (Score 2) 352

So can we just get rid of it then? I maintain a few data logging systems, and it creates all kinds of problems, as I'm sure you're aware most people want to view data in local time, but not only is there a 1 hour gap in the data in the spring, but there's actually going to be two points in time that are equally valid 1:30 am November 5th, 2017. That's just stupid.

Comment I think the real question is... (Score 1) 62

How much did "Alex Hern, writing for The Guardian" get paid by Snapchat to write that story? Companies copy features all the time, and certainly have done so in the field of software forever. I'm certainly no fan of Facebook, and deleted my account long ago, but why shouldn't Facebook do it? Wouldn't they be stupid not to add features their users might like? Is there only one car company making cars with intermittent wipers?

Comment Re:Redundant (Score 2) 141

I'm not sure why some people have such a huge problem with spam. I use a service where I make up a unique email address for each account I sign up for. That (paid, but cheap) service forwards the mail to me. If I ever get unsolicited email on that address, I go to the service and delete the address, or if I really care, I make a new one and update that account, because they probably got hacked.

When an account sends me a mailing list, I click the unsubscribe button, and I would say 9 times out of 10 that works. If it doesn't, I delete or disable that email address.

Which means I don't have a spam problem.

Comment You don't have to ask "trick" questions (Score 1) 1001

I always ask technical questions, but never "trick" questions or really hard ones. If you ask a FizzBuzz-like question, there's no reason anyone needs reference material and it separates most of the fluff that apply for programming jobs right away. There's no way I'd ask for a bubble sort or a binary-heap-blah-blah-blah because I wouldn't be able to answer it. But you *must* ask technical questions in an interview.

Comment A huge rocket? (Score 3, Interesting) 642

"But launching one from the moon, even setting aside issues of aiming, would still require escaping the satellite's gravitational field, a task that requires the power and thrust contained in a huge rocket."

Now you're just trolling. The Apollo moon landers managed to take off from the moon with a very small rocket. Yes, you'd need a comparatively larger one to launch a large rock, but the summary is misleading. It certainly wouldn't be a huge rocket. Now, you'd want to launch it retrograde from the moon's orbit so it would be moving slower than the moon's orbit around the Earth. That would make it take on an elliptical orbit around the Earth that picked up speed as it approached the Earth. The moon is going about 3.68 km/s in orbit and the escape velocity is 2.38 km/s so you'd only be going 1.3 km/s relative to Earth. You'd have to kill enough velocity that it would actually hit the Earth, but you're already 2/3 of the way there by escaping the Moon's gravity so it's not a "huge rocket" at all. In comparison, the delta-v required to actually get to the moon is somewhere around 15 km/s. This is basically straight from the plot of "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress." If your goal was to hit Earth with a big rock, you'd probably find it easier to do an asteroid redirect mission and nudge a large near Earth asteroid onto an impact course. Getting to the moon in the first place is about 15 km/s delta-v but getting to a near-Earth asteroid is more like 13.5 km/s, and then you can use something like a small ion thruster or solar sail to nudge it around and hit the Earth 3 passes later.

Comment Re:Single Point of Failure (Score 1) 123

We had that exact discussion actually, and the crux of the matter was, "what's easier to find: someone who knows C# and SQL or someone who knows the internals of your off-the-shelf ERP system?" The fact is, even if you can find the latter, you probably can't afford them. Plus, the more reasonably priced your off-the-shelf system is, the more likely it is to die an untimely death (or have the parent company bought out) and force you into an expensive upgrade anyway. There are no perfect decisions here, but mostly what scares managers is this: if I use SAP and it fails it's not my fault, but if I decide to do a custom ERP system (in C#, Java, whatever) then if it fails it's definitely *my* fault, even if the custom solution is better for the company overall. There's an old saying, "nobody ever got fired for spec'ing IBM."

Comment Re:Simple answer. Dont use SAP. (Score 1) 123

Not quite right... it's that businesses keep changing their mind about how to do things, and those changes are actually often for good reasons. Often they discover there's a flaw in the way they're doing it, and maybe even a flaw in the way the whole industry is doing it, and they need to change. Our system allows the flexibility of change, which means the flexibility to improve. An off-the-shelf system discourages change, which also discourages improvement.

Comment "Sexism is a ... problem in Silicon Valley" (Score 1) 917

At first we kept hearing that sexism is a major problem in "STEM" and many of us were like, "what"? I mean sure, we're seeing skewed employment numbers, so we start to talk about things like what motivates people to get into STEM, and we point out that there weren't that many females enrolling in STEM programs at universities, and so on, but at least we seemed to be having a good discussion around this, focused on what would motivate young women to actually consider STEM careers. But then we kept hearing, "no, you don't get it, if a woman goes to a computer security conference she's getting groped every night, and all these startups with young guys working in them are harassing women who work there day-in and day-out." Like... "what"?

Those of us living outside of Silicon Valley just seemed to wonder what the heck was going on. We keep hearing this refrain about sexism in tech, and how blatant this harassment is, and honestly it's hard to believe in something you don't see. Many people like me in STEM fields just work at regular companies that make widgets or whatever, and we work in offices with other professionals, and this kind of stuff isn't tolerated. To be fair, there is still harassment going on, but it's going to be at the same level as the whole populace. It's not like a group of 3 IT guys in a small company are going to be ordering hookers on the company credit card or something.

So I'm glad this article says "Sexism is a well-documented problem in Silicon Valley" instead of saying it's well documented in STEM or Tech, because honestly it's not helping to get women into STEM careers *out here in the rest of the world* when you make it sound like they'd be crazy to go into these fields.

Comment Re:Simple answer. Dont use SAP. (Score 4, Insightful) 123

All ERP systems (like SAP) are sold the same way: people in suits who don't know much about the internal workings of the actual software sit in boardrooms with executives and show them powerpoint slides of the reports that their ERP system will provide them, and none of the executives worry about the fact that (a) the software is expensive to install and even more expensive to customize - with consultants bringing in up to $200 per hour sometimes, (b) you have to adapt your business processes to the ERP system, not the other way around, unless you want to spend even more $$$, (c) any customization you do make has a good chance of being broken when you upgrade to the new version, (d) the extra data entry work that has to be done to actually get real data into the system to generate those reports probably costs more than any savings you'll realize as a result of having all that data.

I maintain an in-house ERP system written in C# running on SQL server for a small business of about 150 employees, but we're growing fast. I only spend about half my time on the development and tweaking of this system, so the only thing it costs is two VMs and half my salary. (Note that this is separate from the accounting system). There's absolutely zero licensing costs. The software is tailored to the way we do business, not the other way around. It collects data directly from the diverse manufacturing machines on the plant floor through interfaces that I can write, control, and maintain, and it does this without any manual data entry on the part of the users. Its unit test coverage is over 90%, so we can push out changes and updates without fear of breaking existing features, and I can respond to new feature requests sometimes within hours or even minutes. It tracks employee time, project management, design, purchasing, production, inventory, shipping, maintenance and costing all in a single integrated place.

Companies buy off-the-shelf ERP systems so they don't have to manage people like me, but they really end up paying through the nose for it.

Comment Re:Why don't they create textbooks (Score 1) 68

The $0.12 on the dollar may have been the case back when you still had to find a major publisher and do a full first run, but now that we have "print on demand" publishers, you can get a nice big thick book published, they'll sell it directly to the public through online bookstores, or you can order a bulk printing, and the higher you price your book, the more of the percentage you get to keep for yourself.

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