Monthly Archives: November 2012

Best Buy – Declining Quality

A few years ago, when I went to Best Buy, I was impressed. Most of the staff was alert and intelligent. The store inventory was well organized. Now, when I go to Best Buy, it seems like nobody there cares.

I need a new digital watch. The watches are designed to break in 3-4 years. It’s cheaper to get a new watch than change the battery or replace the wristband. I’m offended by products that are designed to break, but that’s my only purchasing options.

My old watch was from J&R for $20, but I ruled them out due to insufficient subway service. Some trains still aren’t working after Hurricane Sandy. I would have to make extra transfers. I was already in Manhattan for an interview with a useless headhunter, and there was a Best Buy nearby. I decided to give Best Buy a try.

The cheapest watch was $50, and they weren’t as nice as my old watch. They were bigger, had more features I didn’t want, and lacked the ones I do want.

I decided to get the $50 watch. I figured that after a few years of inflation, the $20 watch wasn’t available anymore. I couldn’t easily search J&R’s website for my old watch.

However, Best Buy was out of the $50 watches. They had a nice display, but no inventory. It took me 5 minutes to get a clerk to tell me they were out of watches. They had more expensive ones, but the boxes were all crushed.

I went to J&R. They still had the $20 watch. It looked identical to my old one. I saved $30, and Best Buy lost $50.

I’m disgusted by Best Buy’s declining quality. It reminds me of Circuit City and K-Mart before their bankruptcy. The store was a mess and the employees didn’t care.

The headhunter was useless. He made me wait for 45 minutes! They gave me a form demanding my SSN! I walked out. I should have known better. I’d been in that headhunter’s office a couple times before, and they never got me a single interview. I should blacklist the headhunters with proven lousy quality.

Reader Mail – 11/18/2012 To 11/24/2012

maxbeaudoin commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.
I agree with the above post: you're a moron, an overconfident bitch with very little knowledge.. Good luck.

roan commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.

This website is bizarre. It's not often I see so much hatred towards others. :sigh:

I have noticed that you quite often write 'PHP/LAMP' and would wish to let it be known that the 'P' in LAMP refers to PHP.

Or course, other technologies (Perl & Python) like to think they also have 'usage' for the 'P', but as your article clearly demonstrates: there are many who just follow fads and want to be included, most often for the wrong reasons.

Either write 'LAMP' or if you insist on writing redundant notation, use: 'Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP/LAMP'.

Nevertheless, your article was a good read, simply because it does burst the 'I love node.js' bubble. I would suggest using softer words in the future, however.

PS: It shouldn't take more than a couple of hours to set up a secure/hardened LAMP server from scratch. This includes downloading the latest OS of choice. I am not particularly linux savvy and it really shouldn't take you a whole day :P

roan commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.

"Experience is no longer valued. Buzzword compliance beats common sense."

...all too true. There are simply too many know-it-nots running around shouting buzz words.

Thanks for posting.

I had never set up a full LAMP before, and I'd never been root before. I also had to look up all the proper security rules, such as disabling ssh for root and setting up an ssh tunnel for the mysql gui client.

If setting up Linux servers was my full-time job, I could do it quickly.

Also, I've seen the "P" in LAMP as Python.

unknown commented on State Sanctioned Murder In Florida - Trayvon Martin.
wat is rong with u ? r u crazy or just heart less ?

OpDS/DS and OIF commented on Do Disabled Veterans Deserve Respect?.
The standard argument is “I risked my life protecting your freedom! I deserve this disability check!”

Please PROVE your statement.....yet I believe it to be rant from a coward. It lemmings, such as yourself, that didn't have the courage to serve. So is your site of rant a way of "getting back" at those bullies in grade school? Vets don't fuck with people who don't deserve it, so lay off asshole.

I already gave the reasoning. Most of the things the military does is a waste or harmful. If you risk your life for a lie and get injured, you don't deserve any sympathy.

It isn't heroic to blindly obey orders and do bad things.

Some policemen do helpful things, like catching murderers or robbers. Most of the things that police do is a waste.

guest commented on Rise Of Legends - No Patch Server! - v2.5 patch.
how do you unzip those patches once you have moved in to your main folder... i have downloaded 7zip, but the file is name "RETAIL..." and 7zip says it cant open the file when i try to extract them...

noobystok commented on The Best Argument In The World.
I do concede that our government is corrupt due to it being purchased by special interests. But if taxes are theft, then how do we build an infrastructure that can sustain the free market? And please don't reference how we got along so well before we even had an income tax. Because I agree that we spend too much on the federal level. But where do we get money to fund a defense program?

Why is a huge defense program needed?

You have it backwards. Government doesn't support the free market. The (partially) free market supports all the waste and theft and fraud of government.

Lions Vs. Texans – NFL Instant Replay Rule Defect

This story is interesting.  Due to an obscure loophole in the way the NFL’s instant replay rule works, the Detroit Lions were penalized and denied the opportunity for replay review on what would have negated a touchdown and big gain by the Houston Texans.  Houston won the game in overtime.

With instant replay available on TV, it was unfair that obviously-wrong calls could not be fixed.  This led to the NFL implementing a system of replay review.

To avoid wasting time, it’s a challenge-based system.  A coach has a red flag to throw when he wants a replay review.  If a challenge fails, the team is charged with a timeout.  If the challenge succeeds, there is no charged timeout.  A team only gets two challenges per game (and later they added a 3rd challenge if the first two succeed).  Also, a team cannot challenge a call if they are out of timeouts.

Only certain things are subject to review.  For example, if there is a fumble shown on replay, but the referee blew his whistle early, then there would be a missed opportunity to recover the fumble or to advance the fumble.  Players have to stop when the whistle blows for safety reasons.  Also, certain judgement calls are not subject to review, including most penalties.

Because of the “whistle stops play” rule, referees are encouraged to not blow the whistle if there’s doubt, and let the replay fix it later.  That may have happened on the play in the Detroit game.  The referee may have been uncertain if the runner was down, and decided to let the play continue but fix it via replay later.

However, the challenge replay system has problems.  At the end of the half, a team may be out of timeouts.  This was handled with a different system.  After the 2 minute warning or in overtime, there are no more challenges.  Instead, a “replay official” decides if a play needs review, and buzzes the referee if he decides “yes”.  This is a “booth review” and not a challenge by the coach.

This led to confusion.  Sometimes, coaches will throw a challenge flag after the 2 minute warning.  Either the coach was confused about the rule, or was intentionally delaying the game.  The NFL decided to crack down on this, by penalizing teams for throwing a challenge flag inappropriately.

The NFL changed the replay rule again.  In addition to the 2 minute warning or overtime, certain “big plays” were added to the “booth review” category.  If the ruling by the on-field referees is a touchdown or turnover, then it’s a “booth review” with no challenge needed.  This led to even more confusion, because some more plays are “booth reviews”.  Also, if the ruling on the field is “not a touchdown” but the coach believes it is a touchdown, he needs to throw the challenge flag.  That also is potentially confusing.

That’s what happened to Detroit.  It was a touchdown, but the runner should have been ruled down much earlier, before the score and big gain.  It was a “booth review”, but the coach threw the red challenge flag.

The penalty is too harsh, for incorrectly throwing a challenge flag.  If it’s a “booth review” play and the coach throws the challenge flag, it’s a 15 yard penalty *AND* the team is denied the opportunity for a replay review.  Because the coach threw the challenge flag on a “booth review” play, he got a 15 yard penalty *AND* was denied the chance to have the touchdown reversed by replay.

Someone could argue “An NFL coach should know the rules!”, but it’s a complicated rule that keeps changing, and the penalty for breaking it is too big compared to the offense.

There’s an obvious solution.  If a coach throws a challenge flag during a “booth review” situation, then he should be charged a timeout, with no other penalty.  The coach should also be charged a timeout if he throws the challenge flag for something that is not subject to replay review, i.e. a holding penalty.  That would be a fair penalty, and would prevent a coach from throwing a challenge flag inappropriately to delay the game.  The 15 yard penalty and denial of a “booth review” should only be imposed if the team is out of timeouts.  The current rule is way too harsh.

State Taxi Monopoly Vs Uber

This story is interesting.  Uber is a taxi service that lets people book rides via text message.  Instead of hailing a cab, you send a text message to Uber, and a car service is dispatched to your location.

What’s the problem?  It’s so easy and convenient.  The State taxi monopoly sees it as a threat.

In most states, only licensed taxis are allowed to pick up passengers on the street.  Car service is also allowed, but you have to book the ride in advance.

In NYC, the taxi medallion licenses are worth $1M.  The medallion owners earn economic rent because the State restricts competition.  In NYC, some policemen do nothing but crack down on “illegal taxi businesses”.  In effect, those policemen are working to protect the profits of the taxi cartel.

Due to the taxi monopoly, you can only get a cab at an airport or in the busy parts of Manhattan.

Before cell phones, “you must book a ride by phone” was enough of an obstacle to protect the taxi monopoly.  Now that everyone has a cell phone, services like uber become much more viable.

In many states, the taxi monopoly is suing to block uber.  They may lobby for law changes that ruin uber’s business.  This is an excellent example of a monopoly using the State to block competition.

Seaside Heights Aggressive Towing

This story was interesting.  Seaside Heights was hit pretty hard by hurricane Sandy.  After the storm, many cars and boats were scattered everywhere.

The government hired a towing company to remove cars.  However, the towing company was only authorized to tow cars that were blocking the street.  They were too aggressive.  They started towing cars that were in someone’s driveway or were parked legally.  Also, they started charged too high a fee, for people who wanted to recover their car after it was towed.

The towing company was given a perverse incentive.  They got paid based on number of cars towed.  Therefore, the incentive is to tow as many cars as possible, even those that didn’t need to be towed.

There were several problems.  The towing company was given a monopoly for removing cars from the street.  The incentive was to tow as many cards as possible.  In this case, it looks like they were caught.  They might have gotten away with it if they weren’t so greedy and flagrant.

Reader Mail – 11/11/2012 To 11/17/2012

grants commented on GCW Zero - Linux Gaming Handhelds Vs. Android Gaming Handhelds.
When the government takeѕ mοney from one group оf people and giveѕ

it to another group of people, nο charity is involνed.

Captаin Len Kainе, a retired US Νavy Fighteг Pilot and president of

thе Golden Rulе Soсiety was honored with a nomіnаtion for

the 2003 Nobel Peace Ρrіze. The most important thіng, thоugh, iѕ the contributions they might make to change pеoрle's lives for the better.

The US Fiscal Cliff: Gauging the Observer Effect | Enterprising Investor commented on The Fiscal Cliff - A Fake Crisis.
[...] reluctant to address the fiscal cliff before the elections. Some even argue that this is entirely a manufactured crisis that will soon be addressed, albeit on a temporary basis, by an act of Congress after the election. [...]

notadoctor commented on Delays Restoring Power After Hurricane Sandy.
FSK, I have to disagree with this post of yours. Sometimes I think of becoming energy independent.This is technically feasible but not economically - payback period is very long considering current electricity prices. Electricity prices are way lower than they could have been. Electrical mafia is not that bad in comparison to other mafias...

It's still a mafia, due to the State-granted monopoly. I'm referring to the delays restoring power, rather than other aspects of the monopoly.

It's possible to have genuine economy of scale, and collect economic rent due to the State-granted monopoly.

Robert commented on Price Gouging - Markets Aren't Immoral.
Only the State fascist oligarchy is allowed to raise prices!! The State hates competition of any kind against its monopoly of violence and economics.

Price Gouging – Markets Aren’t Immoral

After hurricane Sandy, the mainstream media decried “evil price gougers”.  That actually is what happens in a free market.  When there’s a shortage, prices rise.

Suppose the “normal” price for an item is $10.  During a crisis, the “fair” price may be $100 or more.

When there’s a shortage, prices should be allowed to rise.  That rewards people who had inventory prior to the disaster.  Higher prices also provide an incentive to import supplies.

By banning “price gouging”, the State prevents normal functioning of markets.  When prices are not allowed to rise, you have shortages, lines, and rationing.

One example is gasoline rationing.  It would seem evil if the price of gasoline were allowed to rise to $10/gallon.  By not raising prices, instead there are shortages and rationing.  If prices were higher, there would be an incentive to import gasoline from other states, by truck if necessary.  If prices were higher, people would be more cautious about using gasoline, reducing demand.

Even though it was illegal to raise prices, some people did it anyway.  They made under-the-table deals.  Those people aren’t criminals.  Actually, they are agorists helping to meet demand, even though they didn’t think of themselves as practicing counter-economics.

How should resources be allocated in an emergency?  The only reasonable answer is a market.  Otherwise, there’s shortages and rationing.  By forbidding price increases during an emergency, the State prevents normal functioning of markets.  Price increases provide an incentive to import supplies.  Price increases send a signal to customers that they should use supplies carefully.  Government exacerbates the problem by imposing price controls, and then people who work around the bad law are treated as criminals.

People who raise prices in an emergency aren’t evil.  That’s the way markets should function.

Delays Restoring Power After Hurricane Sandy

There were a lot of delays restoring power after hurricane Sandy.  A lot of people still don’t have electricity.  People are complaining about delays and bureaucratic overhead.

Those arguments miss the real point.  The energy corporation has a monopoly.  It makes no difference if they do a great job, or a barely competent job.

When there is a power outage, the electricity monopoly’s only cost is lost revenue.  They don’t bill for the time you have no service.  There is no penalty for delays restoring service, other than politicians starting to get angry.

Under normal circumstances, only a small number of repair crews are needed.  Hiring and training extra repair crews costs money.  They maximize monopoly profits by having a shortage of repair crews during a emergency.

Reader Mail – 11/04/2012 To 11/10/2012

????? commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.
Jobs – I notice that a lot of job adverts these days dont even ask for qualifications – they want to see your github repo instead. That makes a tonne more sense to me.

unhappy man commented on Time-Warner Cable Gross Negligence.
I'm sure that stuff happens the rich just help eachother get richer and stay on top the last five he dvr boxes I had all crashed within a year and it happening g as we speak fox never works just a black screen making me miss x factor tonight after resetting it witch sometimes helps it didn't work all said and done all there stuff is junk and don't work while you still over pay them for junk every month

Anonymous Coward commented on Unemployed Again!.
Bad employees drive good employees out.

1) A bad employee will veto a good employee getting hired.

2) Bad employees will bad-mouth good employees getting them fired.

3) Bad employees will sabotage a project that would otherwise work.

4) Bad employees depress good employees as bad employees get paid more for less work. As such the good employees resign in disgust.

In one company I worked for I worked 10 - 15 hours more a week than all the other people in the office. Because I was a recent graduate and the job I had just before paid a low salary (for which my current salary was based upon), I got paid far less. It was not a sustainable situation. Plus whenever I asked for a vacation, I got turned down. No money and no time off makes Jack itchy.

Well, it's time for me to start sending out resumes and look for a new job. Ideally, I should start my own business. That isn't as easy as it sounds.

In this case, I was the victim of workplace bullying. The consultants from "Bigtime Evil Consulting" were bullying me, because I was discovering bugs in the lousy software they had written. Anyway, it isn't my problem anymore.

This time, the bad guys won. I'm unemployed, they kept their jobs, and they got rid of someone who was exposing their incompetence.

I'm still not recovering my blogging motivation. It's gradually coming back.

Anonymous Coward commented on Unemployed Again!.

I recently got some of my motivation back.

My problem was I got depressed and my stable moderate income lessened my motivation to work and make more money.

I am got into a rut and really had spoken much with new people.

I had some interaction with a few new people, had exposure to some new types of technology and a couple of things clicked in my head and I'm on the way to getting back to my old self - or rather a fraction of my old intense self.

Jeff commented on Unemployed Again!.

I've got 25 years software development experience, and I can tell you, unfortunately, that this kind of thing happens a LOT. You're a good programmer who is dropped into a project that's basically a pile of shit, and you're supposed to add new features. But you can't add the features due to bugs, and the people who created the pile of shit don't want you to fix their bugs, because it will make them look bad. And eventually either (a) they sabotage or badmouth you and you get canned or (b) you finally can't take it anymore and leave. (Getting sick is often a result of the stress from having to put up with it, too, by the way.)

In this case, I was a user doing QA testing and UAT. I was not a programmer. However, the project was one big disaster.

I was giving detailed bug reports. They were closing bug reports without actually fixing the problem.

By getting rid of me, the evil consultants have an easier time covering up the bugs. The bad guys won this time.

I'm 99%+ convinced that I got sick due to the stress of the hostility from the evil consultants. I should be disciplined enough to not let it affect me, but this was a lot of hostility from highly skilled evil people.

USC Football Team Caught Cheating

This story was interesting.  At USC, a student football manager was caught deflating game footballs.  A deflated football is easier to catch, throw, and hold, giving USC’s offense a boost.  The deflated footballs were only used when USC’s offense was on the field.

Allegedly, the student coach acted alone.  That leads to only a minor reprimand for USC.

I don’t believe that.  If the deflated footballs are easier to catch, throw, and hold, then USC’s quarterback and running backs should have noticed.  For an NFL player, I’d expect them to definitely notice if something was wrong with the football.  College players aren’t pros, but they’re still pretty good, especially at a school like USC.  Also, the referees should have noticed.  (Someone must have noticed, because they got caught.)

That’s a common theme.  If a subordinate does something wrong, it’s OK, provided he was acting alone.  Someone should have noticed that the USC student manager was cheating.  Even though it was a low-ranking student manager, the coach should still be responsible.