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Comment Keyless drive, too (Score 1) 97

I bought a used 2007 model with keyless drive in 2009. The car's menu system showed three keys assigned to the car, and it only came with two actual keyfobs.

The bigger problem with apps seems to be that you can fire up the app anywhere and do stuff with the car. An "extra" keyfob or a poor keyway design is only really a risk if you have physical access to the car.

Although I'd grant you that a weak keyway design with a limited number of unique keys is probably a real big car theft risk due to the fact that thieves can basically shop any large parking area and match a car.

Comment Re:Breaking the law? (Score 1) 97

Assuming you know about it. Some do, but it is likely that most sellers do not. And TBH, I couldn't even begin to tell you how to get in touch with the people I've sold used cars to, even if I wanted to. We did cash deals after a couple of phone calls. Yeah, I wrote them a bill of sale, but you know how many James Edwards are out there?

That said, this sort of story is why we kept my wife's 2001 Tahoe instead of selling it.

Comment Re:Managed SAP R/3 since 1993... (Score 1) 116

So do you think any ERP systems can work (defined as providing a positive return on investment)?

My guess is the success of ERP systems is probably somewhat inversely proportional to the complexity of the system. The less complex the system, the easier it and the existing business processes can be combined, the easier it will be for management to understand and use the tools and metrics and so on, and the lower the general costs are and the more likely that the technical requirements will be met without cutting corners that compromise functionality.

And there's probably a bunch of complex site-specific factors around the skill of management, their ability to comprehend and use metrics, and so on.

I'd guess if you were to graph it with "usefulness" on the Y axis and "complexity" on the X, it would look like some curve that rises quickly with features but plateaus and then drops off as complexity increases.

Comment Re:Business opportunity (Score 1) 458

Or just have an alternate login that you can use, with the real info in an encrypted backup. They're not, in general, going to look very hard.

The border agents ask a bunch of questions, most of which are completely content-irrelevant. Last time I came back into the US from Canada, the guy asked me where I lived and worked. C'mon, dude, I drove past something like ten cameras to get into this booth. If you don't have a Google Street View of my house (and, for that matter, my workplace - AFAICT I am the only person in the world with my full name, and one of two with the same first and last) in front of you on those monitors, then I want a tax refund. But that's not the point: he just wants me to answer questions to prove that I am, in fact, what I claim to be: an American citizen. Demonstrate proficiency with casual American English, have reasonable answers, have a plan that sounds reasonable (e.g., don't say that I plan to drive from the Quebec-NY border to Los Angeles in the next six hours).

Comment Re:Managed SAP R/3 since 1993... (Score 3, Insightful) 116

I think the real problem with ERP systems is that they're so extensive they're almost like fully modeled business plans, but they kind of suffer from the "no one is average" problem where if something is designed to meet an average, it actually fits nobody.

So you end up with this complex system that doesn't actually fit your existing business process, requiring either gobs of customization to match your process and specific business, or change your business processes to match the intricacies of the software.

My guess is that once they realize this, they do both, customize and change business processes and end up doing damage to the business, at best increased expenses and short-term business disruption, or at worst, shrink the business and be saddled with expensive software that can't be shed.

Comment Re:Globalization vs. Protectionism (Score 1) 202

C. Globalism has largely brought an increase in the standard of living to millions and millions of people. You're talking about "stagnating salaries" only among the working class in the US. Across the world, standards of living generally increase with global trade.

It seems to me we're getting to the point where capital can move faster than workers can adapt to it, yet there's not enough gross prosperity for governments soften these effects, either.

Which seems to be leading to more or less a situation like now, where people are pretty much saying they don't care about raising someone else's living standards if theirs have to fall.

In a way, it kind of reminds me of the "limousine liberal" phenomenon -- wealthy people who advocate policies like tax increases or social changes that don't affect them. The changes themselves are for good causes, but they're asking someone else to pay for them. The loudest advocates for globalism are people who benefit from it or who aren't affected by it.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 72

My first thought is that people at that level are used to nickel and diming employees or shafting them outright already, this is just an extremely efficient way to do 300 of them at once.

My next, more charitable thought, is that maybe whoever approved it is probably personally desperate, too, and figures that it's him or someone else, might as well do whatever it takes to wring as much out of the sinking ship as possible. No sense falling on your sword for what will get done by others anyway.

Comment Re:Motivation (Score 1) 47

I'd say "civilization", but really that question should have been asked about 10,000 years ago when people stopped roaming around and killing things for food and instead decided that the surpluses of sedentary agriculture were more valuable.

Once we got food surpluses, we had people with nothing to do, casting about for a purpose in life.

It all kind of reminds me of one of my favorite quotes -- "Civilization is the hopeless race to discover remedies for the evils it creates."

Or you can just take an existentialist position and say there is no point. To do is to be.

Comment Re:Son of a b... he's got a world domination plan (Score 4, Informative) 225

The digging machines might be useful on Mars.

It almost becomes "Red Mars" if you can put robotic tunneling machines on the planet and create large tunnel galleries ahead of time.

Once people get there, the exterior holes can be plugged with a few airlocks and then pressurized with a breathable atmosphere. Tunneled structures will give you protections from the atmosphere, meteorites and radiation.

Comment Re:Surprising (Score 1) 240

If Iowa wants to sell you food or if you want to eat?

I also don't think "Iowa" as in the State Government makes a lot of decisions as to whether its commodities move by rail or road, I think the private sector makes that decision as to which makes the most economic sense.

I'd also wonder how many of these bridges in trouble are on main transit/shipping routes and how many are highway overpasses or creek/river bridges on small highways. Farmer Jones may rely on them to get to fields or get agricultural consumables delivered.

Comment Re:Motivation (Score 1) 47

I mean obviously, our larger social structure has a false quality to it, but really any civilization beyond subsistence agriculture does because of the structural aspects required to make it work. A lot of this just boils down to the demands associated with economics and economic specialization.

But at a certain point, though, the "rules of the game" have to kind of work to maintain the structure and order of the system. If it doesn't follow the rules, the system will break down.

Comment Re:Motivation (Score 1) 47

And in many cases, they are shattering the long-term motivation by reneging on the essential bargain people believed they had.

Work hard, go to college, get a good job, and enjoy material prosperity and happiness.

Years ago we began sabotaging the material prosperity angle, we're killing off the good jobs which also kills off the going to college. You're left with working hard for no possible gain.

We're segueing back into a slave labor economy where mere survivalism is the sole remaining motivation and that won't work well for anyone.

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