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Messages - ergophobe

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BTW when I say "using" it, I mean mostly as a novelty, not as a tool.

If it had wider adoption, it could be a great tool. For our little quarter acre lot, there are at least ten locations. So unlike an address, you can use it to specify front door, back door, garage, etc. Aside from a survey, there are not that many things you need to describe to closer than 3 meters, but there are a lot of things you need to describe more precisely than 30 meters or 300 meters if you have a few acres at one address.

Still doesn't solve the problem that EMS deals with in cities where it only works in two dimensions. No way to specify altitude (i.e. what floor someone is on in a high rise)

Been using it for several years.

One word of warning - make sure that you have truly acquired a good GPS signal. One time it told me my car was in London

>>mall and sports stadiums and stuff are a joke

Have you read David Cay Johnston's book (it might be called Free Lunch... title has that in it)?

He points out that almost every one of these mall/stadium projects results in a net loss to the community - loss of jobs (mom and pops go out of business), loss of tax revenue (sweetheart deals for the new merchant, loss of straight tax from old merchant), etc. Typically, the only beneficiary is the mall or stadium owner and most of these projects would never have been economically viable on their own merits.

They are often rent-seeking schemes where the model is to convert tax revenue into personal revenue.

I wonder how much expiring sweetheart deals plays into all this.

Water Cooler / Re: Core RECommit
« on: June 20, 2018, 06:15:25 PM »
Good job.  Same, 4/4.

How are you feeling?

Yup. That pretty much describes it.

The thing is, the vast majority of these "influencers" have followers in their demographic. A luxury hotel, like the one I am sitting in at this moment, overwhelmingly has an older demographic who can afford to pay $500/night. So they say, "I have 200,000 followers," but they have 26 followers who would ever consider paying for a luxury hotel.

They always hit you with what a great value it is.

Now, some of them treat it like work. They have a lot of followers and they are good photographers/videographers and they will offer you exposure, plus full use of photos and vidoe they shoot. Sometimes we'll take them up on it. The thing about a hotel is that the inventory expires every night. If you are not going to sell out, the marginal cost of putting someone in a room is only about $50. So if they turn over even a couple of decent, usable photos, that can be worth it.

One rainy day with a half-empty hotel, we got a last-minute pitch from two couples and the man in one couple had a million followers on YouTube and the other had something like that on Instagram, and they treated it like a media site visit, meaning they endured a property tour, posted video of suites they toured, but did not get to stay in, and so forth. The true cost there was only a few hundred dollars since they didn't displace revenue.

[update: actually, I just looked him up - the YouTuber has 2,000,000 followers, but again, most of them are under 25 and will not be potential customers for another twenty years]

Some of them don't get this though - they will pitch you for a stay in high season when you're going to sell out. Then the cost of that stay can be $1000 in lost revenue. More if they insist on free meals too. Most of them are living in fantasy land and I can't believe that hotels will even consider this in most cases.

As a general rule, they are a plague. But the good ones can be worth it.

Now the travel bloggers... they're actually worse. No clue about value.

Makes it hard for the guy making $50K a year to afford a decent house let alone someone making $15 an hour.

This has been hitting the news lately

Incline Village, Lake Tahoe NV and HATE followed.

It's the entire Tahoe region. Last winter while visiting friends, almost every retail outlet had "Help Wanted" signs, but at $15/hr it doesn't pencil out for people. They often have to sleep four to a room to make it work. Meanwhile, for merchants, paying $35/hr for cashiers means they are not price competitive.

Everything there feels like it's at a breaking point. There are some initiatives for affordable housing, but these are tough too. They used to have a stock of houses in Mammoth that could only be purchased by Mammoth residents. You got some subsidy to buy the house, but had to sign a contract that you would only sell it to someone with a full-time job in the community. But during the peaks of the drought, there was no skiing, tons of people lost their jobs and there were not enough locals to buy all the houses that came on the market, so they had to let people sell them on the open market. Now the affordable housing stock is much reduced.

That was when I first started asking, "Who is going to serve lattés and sell groceries to all the wealthy people coming up from the Bay Area?" If they want to vacation in Truckee, they are going to need to get used to $12 cups of coffee, etc.

But the problem these farmers are having is not with demand, but with finding enough labor to meet the demand.


Quick question: what nation is the second largest ag exporter in the world in value, after the US?

The Netherlands has become an agricultural giant by showing what the future of farming could look like.

Which, perhaps, might serve as a model for what could be done with all these shopping malls in America. If you turned every closing shopping mall into a Dutch-style farm, what would that do for local produce? These farms require a fraction of the labor, pesticides, land and water as an American farm. More upfront investment. Possibly more energy, I don't recall about that (but if you have enough solar and wind, that doesn't matter).

Won't work well for wheat, but people keep telling me that stuff is poison anyway.

>>hydroponically just for Costco

I saw a video looping in Costco. It's impressive. Very similar to what the Dutch are doing at scale.

>>urban farming are a more grass roots form

So to speak ;-)

many talented young people are going back home to small town America

I think in-migration from the coasts is a big force. Perhaps more culturally right now, but perhaps a major economic force eventually.

Demographers say that it is almost unprecedented for people to be moving from high-wage areas to low-wage areas in large numbers as they are from the Bay Area, but they are.

A study by real estate brokerage Redfin found the Bay Area remains the top region for outward migration in the country.

I keep wondering where the baristas, teachers and cops for all the wealthy Silicon Valley engineers and business analysts are going to come from.

As for California as a whole, I heard one commentator say California could start losing US Representatives, probably not in the 2020 census, but possibly in the 2030 census.

California as a whole as substantial net out-migration, fueled primarily by lower income and younger people.

If that keeps up, California is going to have to follow Vermont and pay young people to move there:

As it is, farmers in California are moving their operations to Mexico, because, even at $21/hour, they can't find celery pickers and some farmers have stopped growing strawberries and vine-ripened tomatoes because there is not enough labor available to harvest them.

One farmer on a recent Planet Money episode said (roughly, from memory): "I'm hiring Mexicans to pick my crops either way. I'm either doing it by bringing Mexicans here or by moving my crops there, but one way or another, a Mexican is harvesting your food."
Full episode:

[I think my mind has been destroyed by Wikipedia]

Water Cooler / Re: Damn earthquakes
« on: June 18, 2018, 06:44:19 PM »
Glad to hear you have basically safe places to hunker down.

>>will keep moving for 15~30 minutes after a quake.

Wow. Do people get "building sick"? I think I would get woozy.

>>I take it you weren't here in 89?


Water Cooler / Re: Damn earthquakes
« on: June 18, 2018, 02:50:42 AM »
>>lot of things knocked off shelves and monitors tipped over

Whoa! I never experienced anything like that living close to a fault line in Berkeley.

How safe is your building (or buildings - residence, office, etc)?

Web Development / RewriteRule Tester
« on: June 18, 2018, 02:48:23 AM »
Sometimes RewriteRule and RewriteCond etc can drive me mad. I was having a problem with a rewrite rule and found this

Super handy

Traffic / Re: Advice on an old website/domains URL structure
« on: June 17, 2018, 08:17:13 PM »
I'll spare you the sad tale of a site relaunch gone bad in the last year or two (not a site I worked on, but I was asked to take a quick look a few months after the fact).

The key problem was that they had changed so many things that when they tried to figure out what was causing the huge traffic drop, it was essentially impossible to disentangle one change from the other. It was compounded by the fact that they had not archived ranking data (then Search Console went back only 90 days and they didn't have any other rank tracker).

Moral: the more things you change, the harder it will be to bounce back from a bad launch. Even if changing the URL doesn't *cause* a drop, it will make it that much harder to disentangle the real cause from the multiple possible causes.

Sometimes you don't have a choice because of CMS architecture (which was true in the case above with respect to URL structure), but even then, you might be able to phase things in.

Marketing / Re: GDPR Is Killing Email Marketing
« on: June 17, 2018, 06:38:48 PM »
OK, so let's take an extreme hypothetical. Let's say I'm a local hardware store. One store. I send out mailings on upcoming sales. I have Europeans in my database, because I'm in a university town and lots come here for a post-doc and then head home.

I email them and it triggers a GDPR complaint. Where do they sue me? In a European court? Can I just refuse to go? In an American court? Under what law?

If I don't have a European presence, how do they enforce this?

Water Cooler / Re: Core RECommit
« on: June 16, 2018, 09:24:57 PM »
Got out for a lot of hiking last week with my visiting niece. Finished with two afternoons of climbing. I was planning a long run today, but just didn't have the mental, physical or emotional energy so went back to bed and it felt awesome.

I got out on a climb I first tried to lead roughly 18-20 years ago (back then I made it through the crux, but didn't bring any big gear for the upper parts, so backed off on the easy ground that time). Time has not made it easier. Thankfully I was just following yesterday. Looks easy in the photo, but as Erik says in the comment, the rock is almost glassy smooth through that section.

Water Cooler / Floating an anvil on mercury
« on: June 15, 2018, 05:19:55 AM »
This has multiple things I'd never seen, including two gallons of mercury poured into a tub in someone's backyard. I wonder what he did with it them

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