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Topics - ergophobe

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Water Cooler / Org Charts for major tech companies
« on: December 05, 2018, 04:07:06 AM »
I may have gotten this off The Core for all I remember, but I just found it again

I love the one for Oracle. Not the only company organized that way.

Economics & Investing / Recycling may become a thing of the past
« on: November 28, 2018, 07:35:32 PM »

“All of a sudden, material being collected on the street doesn’t have a place to go,” Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability at Republic Services, one of the largest waste managers in the country, told the New York Times. Keller noted that Republic has diverted more than 2,000 tons of paper to landfills in the Pacific Northwest since the Chinese ban came into effect.

Hardware & Technology / Silent, tiny, solid state drones are coming
« on: November 27, 2018, 07:07:20 PM »
Researchers are saying they will be really useful for studying wildlife.

That’s roughly a quote from the Nature podcast

Presumably this use case  is because wildlife biology drives such a large portion of research spending. It’s conceivable other uses will be discovered

Monetization / Does Gmail still show ads?
« on: November 19, 2018, 08:58:27 PM »
I ask because I saw a pitch for G Suite that said "Ad-free experience" and I thought "I don't remember seeing ads in Gmail in ages."

I opened up three plain old free Google email accounts (legacy Google Apps and regular GMail) and opened emails like Motorola trying to get me to buy a cell phone, Evergreen Lodge trying to get me to book lodging and so on. In other words, I opened emails that *should* have all the signals needed to match me with advertisers.

No ads.

UBlock Origin and Privacy Badger are off.

Has Google given up on Gmail ads? Are there just no buyers? Theresa was looking into it recently and I know the clicks were cheap. I don't know if she launched any. I'll have to ask her when she gets in.

Water Cooler / John Henry and Gary Kasparov
« on: October 28, 2018, 01:50:28 AM »
I suddenly realized today that Gary Kasparov is the John Henry of our times.

The date and authenticity of the John Henry story is debated, but his contest with the steam drill was probably in the 1870s or so and it was the stuff of legend and myth by the early 20th century. So roughly 30-40 years after the event (with lots of slack in there). In any case, in legend at least (and there's some evidence that it is a true story - at least one person claims to have been present), John Henry was the last man to beat a steam drill in a steel driving contest.

Kasparov will be remembered as the last human to beat the best computer in the world in chess, which happened in 1996, with Kasparov losing to Deep Blue in 1997.

So we should expect the songs about Kasparov to circulate starting in the late 2020s to late 2030s.

Web Development / redirects to
« on: October 23, 2018, 11:04:31 PM »
Seriously... if you go to the Apple help page on how to create links to Apple Maps

And take a sample link,4.341626&z=10&t=s

I was in Chrome when I first tried it and thought Google was hijacking that query, but no. Even in IE or Firefox that last URL redirects to,4.341626&z=10&q=Mexican+Restaurant

It seems that there is no way to actually access Apple maps via a website, but only via the app. Even the link that I send to myself over Slack from the iPhone app redirects to Google when I click it.

Google, on the other hand, makes it easy to find and share links to locations in Waze, even though I doubt many people use the Waze website.

Economics & Investing / Schwab starts talking about recession
« on: October 18, 2018, 05:36:19 PM »
I get the Schwab newsletter, which I almost always ignore for the simple reason that it seems like no matter how dire things, get, they always say "Despite the chatter, everything is rosy, stay the course, keep pouring money into your brokerage account, buy buy buy."

But something caught my eye in the current on and suddenly, there's a lot of talk of recession that isn't flat out dismissive. It's cautious.

It's not so much that their analysis is amazing. It's that there has been a sudden shift in tone in the newsletter, which is what I see as the real indicator that worry is growing.

The odd one is the idea that recessions are typically timed to when unemployment rate is equal to the inflation rate. I'd never heard that before. My first reaction was that there were so few data points, that could be a spurious correlation (and it might be), but it seems to hold pretty well since 1990 across a half-dozen countries.

I don't think my economics brain is sophisticated enough to see why that in particular would provoke/indicate recession

Web Development / Strange Apache crashes
« on: October 17, 2018, 05:48:19 PM »
On my dev laptop (Windows), Apache kept crashing instantly upon trying to load Wordpress. This is immediate and sudden, so nothing getting written to access logs or error logs in Apache or PHP.

I quickly figured out that it was crashing when it hit the first require() statement... so down the rabbit hole to that file and the whole string of Russian dolls.

So I added an
echo "Quitting at " . __FILE__ . ":" . __LINE__; die();

And kept moving that down to the bottom of the file and the file was fine. Remove the debug statements and the script executes to the next require() and fails.  Same thing.

At the next block or require statements, I go to all the files and add a space, save, delete the space, save. Everything works until the *next* require statement.

So I think, there's something weird on file permissions or last modified time stamp or something, so I run something to update the last modified to now()... and I'm back where I started.

I do a git checkout live to switch to a known working branch... and I'm still back to crashing instantly.

Haven't solved it yet, but I know it's a problem with that set of WP files, because the Drupal sites on that same server run fine and anything on that site that does not invoke require() runs fine. Since the permission models between Windows and Linux don't really match, I'm wondering if it's something related to pulling the code of Linux, though it has never happened to me before.

Anyway... mostly just venting... so frustrating. I'll re-download all the source files and start from a clean virtual host and see what happens there.

Oct 7 marked the 17th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, where the US currently has 15,000 troops.

When the war started, none of the following existed:
 - YouTube
 - Facebook
 - Twitter
 - the iPhone

It struck me the other day, on the anniversary, that we all need to be reminded from time to time.

Web Development / Integromat vs IFTTT vs Zapier
« on: October 10, 2018, 06:19:17 PM »
I'm a big fan of Zapier and IFTTT, but

- I find IFTTT a little clunky, though it has improved a lot lately. I'm also just always skeptical of a free service. It appears to be an affiliate model, but it just always makes me nervous trusting something that is important to IFTTT. Maybe that's ill-founded

- Zapier, on the other hand, is great to work with, but I find the premium pricing a bit steep. I'm at the lower threshold of needing it, and find it a big jump for a little extra

- Integromat - I just discovered these guys. They have a ton of integrations, generous free plan and a reasonable $9/mo first step up. Haven't built anything on them yet, but am looking to try.

More generally, services like this seem to be breeding like rodents lately. Every time I turn around, I find another. However, the ones that I find are typically either much more expensive than Zapier or much more limited or both.

Are people using any other similar services that you like/hate?


In the July release of labor market data from the bank’s Survey of Consumer Expectations, Kosar and analyst Kyle Smith noticed something surprising: Workers without a bachelor’s degree are switching jobs at the highest rate since the thrice-yearly survey began in 2014, but their salaries have fallen slightly in the past year.

“Less-educated workers might be finally moving to firms with higher productivity and with better opportunities for themselves,” Kosar said. In the absence of an immediate salary bump, they are likely counting on raises or more lucrative offers in the future.

I thought this was harder since 2008. But I guess harder is not the same as impossible

When I got my home loan in 2006, only a fool would have lent to me. I was confident that I could repay it, but we had been at best semi-employed for a while. Lucky for me, back then if you had a pulse and you paid off your credit cards, they'd give you a million dollars.

So, 2040 is 21.25 years away, roughly

The report attempts to put a price tag on the effects of climate change. The estimated $54 trillion in damage from 2.7 degrees [F] of warming would grow to $69 trillion if the world continues to warm by 3.6 degrees [F] and beyond, the report found, although it does not specify the length of time represented by those costs.

But while they conclude that it is technically possible to achieve the rapid changes required to avoid 2.7 degrees of warming, they concede that it may be politically unlikely.

The report emphasizes the potential role of a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. “A price on carbon is central to prompt mitigation,” the report concludes. It estimates that to be effective, such a price would have to range from $135 to $5,500 per ton of carbon dioxide pollution in 2030, and from $690 to $27,000 per ton by 2100.

The United States, it said, could lose roughly 1.2 percent of gross domestic product for every 1.8 degrees of warming.

I'm not an economist... so why is a 2.4% drop in GDP (likely considering the likely 3.6F rise because there is no way we're going to stay withing the 1.5C/3.6F limit) a crisis? Is anything short of growth a crisis?

Monetization / Opinions on Viglink vs Skimlinks?
« on: October 07, 2018, 03:44:32 AM »
Anyone using these?

I haven't really even tried to get affiliate commissions in a while. I was surprised to find out that my Linkshare/Rackuten, Commission Junction and Clickbank accounts are still active (and ShareASale just says I have to send an email to get activated).

But I see myself just dipping in a toe and want to do so with as little hassle as possible and I'm fine with the 25% that Skimlinks and Viglink take. Currently, I think I'll be lucky to meet the minimum payout threshold more than 1-2X per year... but just want to see.

A quick look and I see more merchants that I'm likely to want are in the Viglink system, but both have adequate coverage.

Have any of you used either or both? Any opinions?

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