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Comment Re:What is the appeal of these things? (Score 1) 128

These always struck me as a fad waiting to die, but I'm not trying to be the usual Slashdot curmudgeon, so I'll ask: what are the killer features of a smart watch?

The best my buddy could come up with who bought an Android one was some mumbling about how its more socially acceptable to glance at texts on your wrist, than to take your phone out.

Killer features would differ from people to people, but this is what I'd love to see assuming the technology were to exist at an affordable price (affordable price, subjective, I know):

e-mail/sms/jabber/slack/infrastructure-devops notifications (be them sound or vibration) - if I need to reply I pull my phone or go to a computer, but at least I'd like to be notified without me having to pull my phone to read (yes, affordable laziness is bliss.)

fitbit-like capabilities to monitor my physical activity and sleep patterns.

pre-programmed purchasing buttons (think Amazon Dash) for common/recurrent items.

pre-programmed ordering buttons in some type of logistics/supply chains

baby/toddler tracking within a given radius.

discrete weather monitor showing chances of rain or heat or whatever.

traffic alerts.

job search alerts (or any type of alert feed that you might be interested.)

product scanners at a warehouse or store.

Killer features, I think, will revolve around very specific, repetitive, utilitarian tasks. I do not see smart watches taking off as general media consumption devises (not even for music), but as devices that provide convenient and inconspicuous notification of events as well as means to trigger recurring processes.

And that is the key, I think. I don't see smartwatches taking off as media consumption devises, but as programmable notifiers/triggers.

Obviously we can do the later now with smartphones, but a smartwatch is more convenient. It would not work in isolation, but in tandem with a smartphone on a personal level (or as part of a much larger system.)

Comment Re:Fishy case (Score 1) 115

OK, I know this business, and I can tell you that the contractors supporting the system are doing so with minimum personnel, so that can't be it. Maximum of 500 people involved in dev and support, and probably less. The system itself is not useful to a general purpose user. Let's assume 50,000 people ever touch it, that's probably a generous estimate. I imagine if we saw their usage data, it would be in the four figures, not six.

LOL, no. The minimum personnel is only used when the money begins to dry. Contractors will attempt to put as many bodies as possible and rake the hours. I've been in this business, too, and I've seen this unfold (with predictable results, mind you.)

Comment Re:The British government looks like Duck Soup (Score 1) 227

The City doesn't sell cars... many banks and other financial institutions will get up and leave London, or at least heavily downgrade their presence.

And Davis doesn't really seem to care, contrary to what you wrote (and hoped), maybe because he suspects that the vast majority of the British people would probably be happy if investment bankers lost their jobs. Sorry (not).

It is not just bankers (whatever you think that name stands for) that will lose their jobs. There will be plenty of white-collar flight, you know, the middle class spenders that make the economy going. The folks who don't care are either going for a Pyrrhic victory or don't quite grasp basic economics.

Either way, countries reap what they sow.

Comment Re:xkcd (Score 1) 180

I guess it surprises someone that "software development" includes a whole lot of people all over the country.

It actually surprises me that a full 10 percent of software jobs are actually in Silicon Valley. Every major city I've ever lived in across the US has been teeming with job openings in the tech sector. Just seems kind of weird that the headline of the article is going on about 90 percent of software developers working outside the valley. Is this news to anyone?

For the mobile app/unicorn hipsters in the valley, yep.

Comment Re:It's Simple Economics (Score 2) 180

[...] sounds like you're getting ripped off considering the area.

Unless like most people, I was born and raised here. I'm not yet ready to let the hipsters run me out of town.

But you are certainly bleeding money. Money is not everything, but by God, do the math. You could be losing between $300K to $500K in wages in 10 years if you stay where you are. That's not chump change.

Comment Re:It's Simple Economics (Score 1) 180

Why would I pay $3000/month to share a ROOM with four other people [...]

I pay $1477 for a 475-sqf studio apartment in San Jose, where I lived there by myself for 10+ years and make only $50K per year in IT support.

You can make almost twice as much and pay the same amount for a 2-bedroom apartment rental with 1-car garage in a decent area here in South Florida. You are getting ripped off. What the hell are you doing there?

Comment Re:It's Simple Economics (Score 1) 180

You don't. Even in the heart of SV, you can rent your own room for about $1000/month.

Or you can buy a decent house here for that. So am I surprised most software developers don't live in Silicon Valley? No. For the same reason I never moved there.

Aside from that, as mcmonkey quite correctly pointed out, most of everything is outside of Silicon Valley. Most of anything is outside of any given city.

Are you sure about that? Because I pretty much gave up trying to move to the valley because I could not find anything decent for that price. Yeah, I could find that in very shitty areas, but what would be the point of that? I did the math, and pretty much I would have to earn 3X of what I make now to afford the type of housing, schools and amenities that I currently provide my family (and I live in South Florida, not the cheapest of regions.)

Comment Re:It's Simple Economics (Score 1) 180

Why would I pay $3000/month to share a ROOM with four other people making $120K when I can BUY a four bedroom house on one acre of land in the country for $825/month on half that salary anywhere between the Rocky and Appalachian mountain ranges? I'd take the boring enterprise 9-5 job at a no-name B2B service company any day of the week and enjoy my big house and yard with my kids any day of the week.

I agree with you, partly, on the wisdom of paying crazy rent in the valley. But I have misgivings about living away from major metropolitan areas because the smaller the metro area, the less number of employers. Less expensive real state tends to correlate with a smaller number of employers (and thus a greater risk when things go south.)

So there is a balance where, at least for me, I prefer to pay the extra cost of living in a large metropolitan area (say, Atlanta, South Florida, Dallas, Denver, Portland or Seattle) as insurance against being bound to a very small number of employers.

But as some point, as you mention, the increased cost makes no sense because it begins to trample on quality of life. If I were to pay so much for renting in the Valley, I might as well move to a megapolis like NYC or Tokyo (much larger, more interesting places with a sufficiently large number of employers.)

Comment Re:Linus the man-child (Score 1) 523

“Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity" - Seneca

If you're not prepared for opportunity, and someone else is, you call them "lucky". Probably because you were too busy with Pokemon Go!

Bullshit regardless of which historical luminary said it.

What happens when preparation never meets opportunity?

Or what happens when the likes of Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian are born in wealth.

Luck is luck, a simple opportunity window that blesses equally the prepared as well as the one who (if you forgive the repetition) was born in luck.

People who quote Seneca do so to dismiss that luck is a real, determining factor.

Comment It is not unusual. (Score 1) 523

In the real world, "learning some other guy's code base" sometimes would indeed take more time than rewriting it the first chance you get.

If you haven't learned what something does and how it does it, then how the f*ck are you going to succeed at rewriting it?

By re-implementing the functional requirement that is supposed to be met by the God-awful complicated (and most likely buggy) code from scratch. Typically you have to delve into existing code to integrate or to fix something. Most often to fix something. So in those cases:

  • You know what the code is supposed to do, functionally, and
    • either the code is not doing it right, or
    • it is doing it right, but it is additionally doing something wrong

Think clean-room re-engineering from specs. This happens all the time, a system or function F that is supposed to do A, but that it uses too much memory, or it is too slow, or it leaks resources.

Whatever, but you know what F is supposed to do.

And the code behind A is just nasty and impenetrable, so hard to untangle to simply fix what is broken.

So you implement it from scratch so that it does A without all the other unwanted shit. That's how it is done all too often in the real world.

Comment Re:I don't use comments (Score 1) 523

especially if it lacks comments

My experience in real life is that there is a high degree of correlation between a high number of dumbfuckery bugs in code and a lack of useful comments (*). They correlate like motherfuckers.

* There is such a thing as a bad/useless comment. Think /* i is a counter */. Or worse, /* This function returns teh string./*. Or even worse, // This is a helper function.

Yes, I've seen this.

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