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Comment "Signature Edition" ironically pushes me to Macs (Score 3, Insightful) 479

I have been a big fan/proponent/promoter/user of Lenovo laptops for years. They're rugged and reliable and does what I need them for - I'm writing this on a T510 running Ubuntu 15.04

But, Lenovo always seems to be on the wrong side of software issues. Whether it's malware, tracking or now Win10, I don't feel like their products can be trusted.

To be fair, if I were to consider anybody else's Windows PCs now, I would probably reject them for the same reasons as Lenovo. Running Linux on the laptops in a dual boot mode is a requirement for me.

So, what looks like the best solution for me is to eschew Windows laptops and go to Macs. I have a four year old Macbook Air that I've upgraded the hard drive on, dual booting and I can avoid the Microsoft bullshit for a bit of a premium over a Lenovo laptop, but as I tend to buy higher quality laptops, that premium isn't that high.

Tower systems will continue to be custom builds with Windows 7 or Linux.

Sorry Microsoft, Win10 just ain't in my future.

Comment When was the last time you were in a cab? (Score 1) 274

I don't think I've ever had a cab driver that could be described as "nice, well-groomed and jovial".

Maybe Angry, slovenly (with the overwhelming scent of B.O.) and Anti-social would be a better description of the cab drivers I've had throughout North America.

Personally, I welcome our Johnny Cab overlords: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Comment really like my Brother Printer but they play games (Score 2) 387

I have a five year old MFC-9970CDW (SOHO) laser printer that has thrown an error message saying that the life of the drum unit has been used up for the past three years. Now it says that the paper drive unit has exceeded it's life and needs to be replaced. The printer continues to work perfectly.

Along with this, I've found that when you get a warning saying that a toner cartridge is low and needs to be replaced immediately, it has about 20% of it's life left. It took me a very expensive cartridge or two to figure out that I could run them to the end without any issues.

It is an excellent printer, probably the best one I've ever owned and I would recommend Brother laser printers and buy another one over competing brands.

But, I don't consider them to provide them to be a vendor that doesn't play games.

Comment Techie are fixing world at same rate it was broken (Score 1) 537

I think the expectation that the application of tech will fix something that's wrong with the world very quickly is a big part of the problem.

How long have humans been dumping garbage into the environment? Why would you expect that recycling, composting, reclamation and other technologies will not only stop the poisoning of the environment and clean up the current mess in the order of years?

Same thing for CO2 in the atmosphere. We've been burning increasing amounts of fossil fuels for 130 years or so, why would you expect that a new technology would stop this within years but also return CO2 levels to their original state?

Same comments on other issues like the growth of the Sahara desert, deforestation, etc.

I expect new technologies to help stop the increasing damage and reducing the current level of damage to come about over time, but the expectation that it can be fixed almost immediately with the application of a new technology simply isn't reasonable.

Comment It's been tried before - by BlackBerry (Score 3, Interesting) 177

You do realize that BlackBerry (RIM to us ex-employees) tried to do what you are suggesting? The BlackBerry smartphones could handle different office documents and I worked on a device (the "BlackBerry Presenter") which could display them on a monitor or projector.

The problem was, and I suspect anybody else will fall into this rabbit hole if they work on this type of device, is that RIM got sucked into dealing with Office Apps and the data surrounding it and forgot to focus on what customers really want - web enabled applications.

Comment Re:Sure, it can be hacked (Score 1) 178

I wasn't thinking in terms of actual fraud (which, I agree, would be found pretty quickly) but preference in getting (better) opportunities - to the same level as somebody getting favourable treatment/opportunities from a human boss?

Is that against the law? Maybe the person who created the exploit (but I doubt they would be found in a country with an extradition treaty with the U.S.) but I don't see how the employee subscribing to the service could be sued.

Comment Better than many of my bosses/Can it be hacked? (Score 2) 178

I had never thought of it, but these types of apps/employment opportunities treat everybody in the organization exactly the same way and looks only their results. Bonuses/promotions/inducements are laid out as an algorithm for everyone to see and understand. If changes are to be made, then they have to be spelled out to a coder who then updates all the "bosses" at the speed of light - as a bonus these changes do not need to be interpreted by management and HR.

This is a hell of a lot better than some of the companies/managers/executives I've worked for.

If the question is that when the rules/conditions are changed, how do you push back? You're only option is to vote with your feet which may not be as bad as it first seems. Say a company like Uber suddenly triples their take from their "employees" because their marketing efforts in somewhere, let's say China, aren't going well and they're sinking a mountain of cash into it. The employees stop taking assignments from the app in response, essentially quitting - now the company, in real time, is getting a response that they've gone too far and now cannot provide the same level of service, upping complaints in the region causing them to back off the problem change, probably have to offer inducements to get the (productive) employees back and update their algorithm for making changes to eliminate this problem in the future.

Now, having said all this, I would wonder if this type of "employer" could be hacked? I could see a black hat offering a service where subscribing employees are given advantages like a lower take from the company (the numbers are fudged going into the company) or given prime assignments over other employees. This ends up treating some employees preferentially and leaving others out in the cold.

Going right back to the situation where some employees are treated favourably and others are essentially abused.

Plus ca change plus ca meme chose.

Comment Don't work for a public company (Score 2) 205

The biggest problem out there is the next quarter mindset of public companies. Today, public companies are too focused on the end of the quarter and maximizing shareholder returns which means that the employees and customers be damned if they can be squeezed to get another point of EBITDA over the next three months.

The best company I ever worked for was a wholly owned subsidiary in which the CEO/top manager and senior managers worked as a very effective team in keeping employees and customers happy - I should point out that we had a very flat organizational structure which kept things running very well.

We then got bought out and the investors put us up for an IPO. As founders, there was some money thrown our way, BUT the CEO's total focus was turned to what the investor's wanted which meant he had almost no time to devote to the day to day running of the business (which he was excellent at) and, to fill the void, more new executives, who didn't know the business, were brought in along with more than doubling the number of management levels. After a couple of years, the CEO, decided to call in rich and we had a series of new CEOs (and their hangers on) that proceeded to destroy the company.

All the work we had done creating a business that was destroyed in about three years and what made us special was lost along with more than two thirds of the employees with what was once a happy, proud workplace becoming a place for temporary employment.

So, find a place that is wholly owned, doesn't worry about it's stock price, with a small, competent management team.

Comment Yes they do (Score 1) 84

I understand where you are coming from, but with this explosion, a $200M customer's satellite was destroyed. Satellites take years to build and qualify for flight, so this isn't something that can just replaced if the original was destroyed on the launchpad.

If you go back to the late 1950s/1960s, the US (and Russian) rocket failure rate was largely underscored by the fact that the "boosters" were actually intercontinental missiles and, as a national defense program, there was a certain budget/expectation/tolerance for failure.

What SpaceX (and the other launchers) need is a large corporation/government that is willing to absorb the cost of a certain amount of failures with the goal of highly reliable & robust access to space at low cost. To do this, they need a number of "missions" sending up much less valuable (but useful) cargo. I would think that simple satellites filled with tanks of oxygen, hydrogen and other required gasses as well as structural members which can be used in the future would be interesting and not take years to build.

Who would pay for this? How about Apple and other corporations with billions in off shore accounts, hiding the capital from the tax man. Bring the money back iinto the US and use it to create high-tech jobs and new capabilities.

Comment Here's an idea for Microsoft (Score 1) 256

How about taking the money that Microsoft is going to "pay" to users and:
- Go through Windows 7 (or previous versions, personally I'm using Win 7 for my MS only software development) and fix outstanding bugs
- Create an open source, WebKit based browser that can compete with Chrome/Firefox/whatever without having to pay for users

In the long run, this would be money better spent (ie generate more paying customers) than bribing users to use the substandard products that Microsoft has on it's "Front Line".

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