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Comment Re:All "consumer" PCs and printers are garbage (Score 1) 386

There are premium consumer products, and naturally you need to pay a "premium" to buy them as well.

For example, Epson has an "ink tank" based inkjet printer. It costs much more for the hardware, but saves a lot on the ink price on the long term. It's available at my local Staples store. Also Canon's and Epson's "pro" lines are usually good at ink cost for the quality you get (especially for photos).

For laptops, Apple has MacBook pro, and Microsoft has Surface Pro series. They both come with very high quality components (for example the SSD in SP4 is a Samsung and has 600+MB/s write speed). They have excellent warranty, and of course it is very difficult to find them with even a $200 discount, even with student offers.

Similarly there are many other high quality products on the market. Just make sure there are no "50% off" offers for the product (even for refurbished). Then you're just paying a "premium" for an expensive, but regular product.

Comment BUILD your own NAS (Score 4, Informative) 98

It is not difficult to setup http://www.freenas.org/ on a small server machine, and benefit from FreeBSD security with no (known) backdoor accounts. If you're really serious get a proper NAS motherboard with ECC RAM (if you're not using ECC RAM, then it means you're not very serious with your data anyways), which won't cost you more than $500 with the case and the PSU.

Of course if you're unable or unwilling to secure your box, accept that anything on the Internet is wide open, and buy (rent) online storage from Amazon, Box, or somewhere similar. Amazon gives free unlimited backup account with prime (which is around $99)

Comment Re:Better Programs (Score 1) 630

The economy is not always a zero sum game. If you can get more people build useful stuff, you'll have more to distribute. However once you've run out of ideas, then you start extracting from productive people (usually middle class), and the total pie gets smaller.

This can even be seen in companies. You can invent, or develop new stuff, or you can downsize and optimize your operations. One of them lowers short term analyst numbers, the other makes you seem doing a great job on wall street. (Try to guess which one is which :)

Of course, having replaced need for human workers with automation, there needs to be something given to people who can no longer work. This could be UBI, or some other mechanism. However if this new method will be sourced by extracting the income of dwindling productive population, then it will just cause larger gap between income ranges, by pushing people outside the middle class. Some of course will be pushed up, but many will be pushed down.

Comment Re:Professional organization and trade guild FTW (Score 1) 338

No please no.

There are many good "software engineers" with no engineering degree (or they have a degree from an unrelated field). Let their merits talk, not a piece of paper. (Not that I have the piece of paper, but I have friends who moved to computers from other degrees). If you're in the software business, make sure to hire a manager who actually wrote some code, and get the "programming interviews" book. It takes less than 15 minutes to figure out if somebody can code or not.

I would agree on the IT certification though. They need specialized skills for the systems they are managing, (let it be Linux, Windows, AIX or whatever), and having a paper here might help. I think we might improve the existing certification exam system to make it more useful in this area.

Comment Re:I hope Trump capitalizes on this (Score 1) 338

You are right, but I would also include anything that is paid primarily by loans and insurance into this list. For example, cars, car repair, and of course college. If we don't see the bill directly, we don't feel bad if they are really expensive. But once the final bill comes, we try to pass it to somebody else.

We don't all need to drive Lexuses (Lexi?) to work, or have the best gym available at college. If we were focused back at utility as we once did, we would get the most reliable cheap car we can get -- God forbid we might even use public transport!, and have our own gym membership. Then we would not have to give 40% of our salaries servicing the loans, or paying insurance premiums.

But the car only costs $250/mo for 6 years (and breaks down at 4), and we don't have to worry about the tuition until we graduate with a degree with little job prospects, and big amount of student debt.

(I say "we" in the general sense).

Comment Re:What's the price of your integrity? (Score 1) 338

This goes both ways. If you realize they are taking advantage of you, start interviewing for other companies. As soon as you get an offer, you move out. You'll lose your severance package, but you won't need it anyways.

And the best way to be ready is that acknowledging you can be fired at any moment, for any reason. Be prepared to interview, and as long as you're good in what you're doing, and there are companies around you that will hire you, you should be good. If there are no companies that will hire you, think about moving to a place where there are many.

But of course until that do your best at your job. Be the best person around, and always have good connections - especially outside your company. Let everyone know you're doing a good job.

Comment Re:Unions are needed! (Score 1) 338

Unions would not have prevented this. They are sacking an entire department, they are not trying to reduce salaries, or hire non-union workers. In fact, it can be argued that unions might have sped this process up (look at what happened to unionised auto industry, and the manufacturing -first- moved to Mexico).

One thing California is good at is protests. If the IT workers can get the students to protest this change, then they might have more leverage. If students understand that they will need to call India for a small password change, or the systems will most likely be constantly overloaded at assignment deadlines, they can be frustrated. I haven't seen much outsourcing go smoothly without issues, and this bad track record can be used as an advantage.

Comment Other motivations (Score 4, Insightful) 164

With smaller players dropping out of the game, soon it might become a "single player" game after all. If this scenario happens, then a single entity controlling 51% of the keychain nodes can potentially disrupt the entire BitCoin economy by effectively "rewriting history".

I'm not sure this is a good thing. Every advancement seemed to have moved the needle to this direction. While everyone was able to run CPU miners is was very democratic. Then GPUs came, but still people could drop in a few hundred, and continue. After FGPA, and the ASICs, it's not just very large firms, where smaller people can only "rent" nodes, and hope they can trust the infrastructure.

We might need a "reset", where ASIC is no longer viable, but I'm not sure that would still be possible.

Comment Be the enabler (Score 1) 112

Do not try to "manage" them, but try to help them achieve their goals. Be the enabler, ask them what they need to complete their tasks, and make it a priority everyone is able to function at their peak.

This of course setting up shared calendars, VC software/hardware, DVCS, and so on on the techinical side. People should be able to see what they are supposed to do, reach their peers for information, and gather together to talk about updates, and have ideas (on the VC).

On the personal side, try spending some time with each member every week. Communicate what is expected of them, and let them tell you their worries.

As long as you have competent developers, they should be able to handle the job. If you do you job well, they will not even realize you're there.

Comment Re:Wow, they really are stuck in the past (Score 4, Insightful) 486

Nope, this has come before, and raising inflation does nothing to the richest top %0.1. In fact, it will make them richer.

It is a long discussion, but go read "Capital in the 21st Century". For a short idea, think about the ways they "park" their assets. Do you think prices of real estate will not appreciate with inflation?

Inflation is mostly harmful for the middle class which cannot invest in efficient assets, but has enough money to lose value.

Comment Many wrongs in this one (Score 1) 208

Let's not let this pass since we all love Testa. Even though Tesla is not the party directly responsible for these contracted workers, they should have better practices to vet the companies they work with.

There is a path to legally bringing workers from your overseas offices, It is an L1 Visa, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... , B visas specifically are not allowed to work, but can come here to apply for jobs (which then require moving to a proper work permit), or build their own company (very easy to get permission for if you can show you'll invest a sizable amount of money here). Anyways, if you really want, getting workers legally is easy, especially skilled ones.

Comment Physical will be around for a while. (Score 1) 244

Physical disc still has advantages, especially when you want to dedicate two hours to a "blockbuster" movie. (I would say my time is more important, but I'm posting here, so that cannot be too serious). There is still visual and sound quality differences, and if you're not in a hurry, they go on sale often, $10, and $7 movies (during black friday season) are common.

And ripping becomes important as well. More so for TV shows. (For movies, having the disc play though ads, warnings, etc sometimes "bearable", since I would be microwaving popcorn during that time). My TV has Plex (which is based on XBMC), and I prefer the experience to whatever the BluRay gives me. (I can access my collection through any device, resume where I left, etc).

Anyways, this is a letdown, but I'm sure someone else will pick up.

Comment Re:Already here (Score 1) 412

Unfortunately inflation is not the solution, as long as the wealthy can "park" their money in investments that bring more than the inflation. And I'm talking about "passive" investments here, not the entrepreneurial ones, which actually benefit the society (i.e.: starting a new company, digging a hole for resources, etc).

They will always find a way to get better returns than inflation. Just buying lots of real estate, for example.

There are better solutions, the "Capital in the 21st Century" for example discusses one. It is not income tax, or inflation, but wealth tax (i.e.: levy) that will actually redistribute the wealth, at least according to the author. There might be other solutions, or this particular one might not be workable, however inflation is known not to decrease the wealth of the richest people, only the lower middle class.

Comment Way older than most people think (Score 1) 166

These kind of backdoors have been around for a very long time. Remember "AWARD_SW", or "AMIBIOS"? Those passwords have opened so many BIOSes back in the day. It was helpful, until everybody started circulating lists. The manufacturers changed default passwords, but took a while for them to give up on those passwords entirely.

They help "lazy" operators and sysadmins, but they also help hackers as well.

Comment Re: *May* owe $8 billion (Score 1) 148

In the top-100 of that list, I could recognize "Nokia" as a only known tech company. The majority of large European companies seem to be in the Energy, Utilities, or similar government sanctioned monopolies, or older industry like Automotive. They have much higher revenues compared to tech companies, and I would assume their average age is around 100 years old.

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