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Comment Re: Buyer's collective for existing textbooks (Score 1) 98

I think the limiting factor here isn’t a lack of available open source materials. Too many schools have gotten bed with the publishers and are getting a nice cut of the way over priced books. The schools for example could have gone with cheaper publishers without much trouble. They could have told their publishers to not rearrange the same text every year to make it hard on people using used books. Yet, they don’t. Simple fact is that at the end of the day it isn’t in their interests to make it cheaper for you get your books.

Now the community college system is often a different beast. I did the first two years of my degree at the community college in my home state. They stuck with the same books until something significant changed. The campus books store always had a nice stack of used copies of every book you could need and they were the exact same book that was being sold new. When I transferred to a regular school it was entirely different. The books changed every year, sometimes every semester, and many of the professors had written their own supplemental books you had to buy. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if my old community college adopted open source books to save the students money. I suspect hell will freeze over before my university does it.

Comment Re:I'm sold for better or for worse. (Score 1) 121

I hope AMD has figured this out. The last few years AMD chips just haven't been all that competitive. I've continued to build the occasional AMD based machine in the hope they wouldn't go under and would turn it around. We really need at least two chip makers making really viable CPUs. The consumer always wins when companies are forced to really compete with each other.

Comment Re:Perpetuation (Score 1) 500

I was wondering about that. Why don't they buy some other brand? How proprietary is this stuff? Is it possible that people who were using John Deere before they started this are basically suffering from brand lock-in because they've got too much money sunk into a proprietary solution to change?

Comment Re:Yeah, the bubble will pop long before that (Score 1) 374

According to the sources I could find online it typically takes 4 years to go from a fresh off the street apprentice to a fully-licensed journeyman. At least in the area I am, in there is already a shortage so finding work shouldn't be an issue. I don't know about the other trades as I haven't talked to anybody but an electrician about it.

Comment Re:Yeah, the bubble will pop long before that (Score 2) 374

I recently had a discussion with a contractor doing some work in our offices. I basically had to escort the guy all day. He was lamenting how difficult it is to get apprentices. He says he tries to make people understand that once you make journeyman you can make a decent living as an electrician and once you make master you can earn six figures. You learn a lucrative trade without incurring one cent in educational debt and they pay you from day one. According to him, they typically have something like half the number of apprentices they'd like to have. Which is causing the average age of their employees to get older and older. At his shop, he says most of the staff is 50+ now. Assuming the reality is anything like what he is describing it seems to me that there is a real need for better vocational training. It also occurs to me that the guys who are apprentices today are going to make a fortune when all these older guys retire and there are half as many skilled electricians around.

Comment Re:Potential Damages? (Score 1) 318

If the US ally was in an actual combat zone the drone might have been in use as an artillery spotter. At which point you have to consider the value of the missile vs. the value of the material and people in the target zone. It would also explain their urgency in shooting it down now with whatever was to hand vs. using a shotgun or something.

Comment Re:He has a Mechanical Engineering degree (Score 1) 632

Yes, a surprising amount of stuff is still designed and made in the US, and very likely in Canada as well. Unfortunately, I can't find the article but there was a piece a year or so ago talking about how the US and Germany dominate the markets for a lot high-end industrial machines. What we don't make is a lot of moderately priced consumer goods. So when you go into a store it looks like nothing is made in America. When in reality there is a good chance those products were built in factories using machinery that was made in the US. The cost of doing business in the US makes it very hard to compete at the lower end of the market but is less of a factor when you are selling machines that cost millions of dollars per unit.

Comment Re:The debt is optional too (Score 1) 632

There are a lot of ways to get through school debt free if you are determined. In my case, I took as many credits as I could at our local community college. Then I transferred to another school to finish my degree. It saved me a ton of money and in my state, those credits are guaranteed to transfer to a state school. What I found was that even some of the non-state schools would accept pretty much all of them. So I had plenty of choices of schools to finish out at.

I was also able to get an entry level job with my associate's degree from the community college. So I was able to leverage my employer's education assistance program for the 2nd half of my degree. It took me almost 10 years to do all of this but I was able to graduate debt free while building up a lot of work experience and making a living. After graduation, I had no problem finding a job as I already had years of relevant work experience. It probably isn't for everyone but it worked for me.

Comment Re:Time To Invest In Infrastructure (Score 1) 469

I think it is going to take more than fixing the roads. I know in my area the state has neglected the roads for decades. It has gotten so bad in my county that the county is actually paying for road construction the state was supposed to pay for. Simply because we can't wait anymore for it. Going forward I think they are going to have no choice but to expand the existing roads. In addition, we are going to have to look at creating additional parallel routes in the most traveled areas. If you are going North-South here you have the main highway and the road it replaced. If anything happens to the main highway the road it replaced becomes a traffic jam. Then people are off onto the side streets.

I also think we are going to have to look at other solutions as well. We need to expand mass transit and we need to incentivize people to use it. I know here for much of the area Mass transit is just not an option. Even where it is an option it is shockingly expensive and disturbingly unreliable. I know people who use but even they comment that it isn't any cheaper than driving and it often isn't any faster. Add that the trains keep having fatal accidents and it isn't a surprise people are giving up and going back to their cars.

We are also going to have to look at how communities are laid out. Waze and similar technologies are only going to become more common. My area is fairly new, started construction in the mid 90's and is still being built. One thing I have noticed is that the whole area is built with wide arterial roads with almost no houses directly on them. Then the neighborhoods are built as a series of closed loops that let out onto the same street fairly close to each other. The only part that has any through streets at all is the very oldest section. Even there they are fairly limited. So Waze isn't going to route anybody through the houses because they are all basically on dead ends. The arterial roads are designed to handle a lot of traffic. Eventually existing areas will have to modify their roads to be more like that.

Comment Re:Unions (Score 1) 594

I am not going to say all unions are bad. If done properly a union should be a huge benefit to workers. Unfortunately, in the US many of them are basically scams designed to enrich the union officers as much as possible.

My brother works for a union company and is a member of the union. He has observed over the years that many of the union's actions are much better for the union and the union officers than they are for the union membership. The problem in his view isn't the idea of the union, so much as the fact that many of the union members really don't understand these contracts being negotiated on their behalf. What most of the members know of the union's actions is from the union newspaper which only ever reports glowing successes. So you have an employee base most of whom don't understand the deals negotiated on their behalf and whose only information to judge their leadership is from a newspaper written by that leadership. So when election time comes around they invariably pick the guy that the leadership nominated for the job. Other people run but the pretty much never win. As long as that is the case US unions will continue to be extremely corrupt.

As far as Tesla and Mr. Musk go if they don't want to be unionized they only have two real options. One is to pay enough that the union can't really promise their employees enough to make them vote for a union. The other option is to move to a right to work state. As far as the union sending in a guy to stir up trouble he is going to have to understand that is how they operate and that will continue. He's just going to have to accept that and take measures to make people not want to vote for a union.

Comment Re:I thought not all US carriers use LTE (Score 1) 105

I have T-Mobile as my provider. Their coverage has gotten much better over the last two years. I still find areas where I have nothing, though. Especially down in coastal North Carolina where my mother lives. Verizon's network is clearly better as their network seems to be everywhere and it has at least tied for best performance.

When I compare the performance to the cost I can see why people take Verizon and I can see why people take T-Mobile. I had AT&T before T-Mobile and when I changed my bill, including financing a phone, was half what it was under AT&T. Also when operating in my area I get fewer dropped calls and generally faster performance than I did with AT&T. I can see how Verizon justifies their cost over T-Mobile. I have considered changing to Verizon myself just to have coverage when visiting family. I am having a real hard time seeing how AT&T justifies their cost compared to their service quality. Perhaps they are great someplace I don't go? In the areas, I do go T-Mobile works better and costs substantially less. I'd argue that Sprint actually does a better job of making their costs match up with the performance and coverage of their network than AT&T does.

Comment Re:Enterprise (Score 2) 203

I looked it up. None of the ships to bear the name Enterprise in Star Trek defined their class.

Ships with the name Enterprise were, in historical order from the main Star Trek timeline, of the NX class, Constitution class, Constitution refit class, Excelsior refit class, Ambassador class, Galaxy class and Sovereign class

Comment Re:Trump class a-coming (Score 1) 203

Are you that afraid of there appearing a Trump-class of ships some day?

It will be huge. And beautiful...

Now that is an amusing vision. I can see a warship entirely lit up in neon with giant golden letters spelling out TRUMP on the side. On the upside it will probably having onboard gambling and an excellent buffet

Comment Re:Stop (Score 1) 341

Their communications are directly relevant to the investigation of what they are being accused of. When you commit a crime there is the actual act for which you'll be charged. Then there is often the separate charge of conspiracy to commit that act. Law enforcement is going through their communications to see if there was a conspiracy to riot.

Basically if you just showed up, planning to be peaceful, and got pissed off and spontaneously started throwing rocks in a fit of rage that is often a less serious charge than if you and your friends plotted before hand to show up and start throwing rocks. At this point accessing their communications is directly relevant to the investigation and will very likely be a determining factor in how they are charged.

Comment Re:how... what... (Score 0) 303

You can buy insurance against lost business as well as insurance to replace your physical property. So it could actually protect him to some degree against some of the impacts of downtime. From his description of the impact of lost business I'd say that is something he should talk to his insurance agent about. They may also have recommendations on physical security as many plans offer discounts if you follow their recommended guidelines.

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