Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why I will not intervene to save people I don't know.

I choose not to get involved in third party conflicts unless there is a threat to me, my best friend, or immediate family.  If I see someone getting mugged/beat up, I'm going to call 911 and be a good witness.  That's it.

Here are my reasons.

  1. There are too many variables, and things are not always as they seem. Undercover cops, some consensual role playing sex game between men or women, the victim being the opposite of what it appears, a domestic where both parties will attack me if I intervene, etc.
  2. A third party under lethal threat has just as much opportunity and right to CCW as I do. The fact they choose not to does not obligate me to risk my life, money, and freedom to save them.
  3. In all likelihood, those I would save probably think that anyone not the police who wants to carry a gun should be classified as a dangerous felon mental case, and will sue me if anything goes wrong.
  4. I am not the police. The police have machineguns, helicopters, radios, but all that does not matter. The most important thing that the police have backing them when they intervene in cases like this is the blue wall of silence and millions of taxpayer dollars to pay lawyers if they screw up.  I have neither.
  5. Much of violent crime consists of one criminal getting even with another criminal over some business dispute or show of disrepect. Why save one criminal from another?
The only time I will shoot other people when they threaten a third party is if I see someone get executed in cold blood and the shooter is between me and the exit, in which case I am going to go through him as I leave.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What an Uber is.

I thank my Dad profusely every Father's Day for saying: "No, I will not pay for you to major in political science, journalism, or any soft science like psychology or economics. Engineering, hard science, or nothing. Your choice."

There was some discussion of how companies need to pay more for entry level positions, and how not doing so meant missing out on the "Ubers", people who were very productive.

Myself being a present "Uber" at designing wireless and storage products (not my words, my old CEO's) and having worked with several Ubers at various companies, I have some knowledge of how this works.

I can say that an "Uber" to use the terms of the discussion does not cold-call companies or really ever apply for a job anywhere after they attain a certain level of notoriety. They are continously employed until they choose not to be, and if suddenly laid off a recruiter usually will call them in a few weeks. Ubers have a good network, and if they say "hey, I lost my job" it spreads through the network and people call *them*.

And with Ubers, there usually is no interview at all, the resume and reputation speaks for itself. Companies calling an Uber know that they are very likely employed now, or if they aren't it wasn't their fault, and in order to lure them they have to meet their demand. If someone is sending out resumes and looking for work and getting no results, they are by definition not an Uber, and you as a CEO are not "losing out" on an Uber if you circular file a resume that asks 175% of what you have budgeted for the position. If they're an Uber, you already know about them, know what they make, and whether you can afford to hire them.

As such, I've been cold-called by a company, they put the offer out for a job (no interview), they said "$120K plus stock", I said "$175K flat" because I knew the company management and knew it was going to be a death march, they balked, I shrugged and kept working at my $120K job, and they went under 26 months later.

A lot of Ubers just want to work on cool stuff and don't want to deal with running a business of their own, they just want people to hand them cool projects and a team, leave them alone, and pay them. Sure, some get the business feva (like myself) and will start to strike out on their own, but not everyone is like this.

Your level of Uberness will depend on the economy, the direction of the field, and the day of the week. My old boss's definition of Uber was if you get 2 cold-call job offers a month in a down economy. Sometimes I got that, sometimes I didn't, but I didn't really care. It used to really torque my ex that I said "They laid off the entire R&D department including me today. Eh, someone will probably call me soon" and have it happen.

But that doesn't mean I think I'm invulnerable. Not in the least. I'm cautious with my finances, network like hell, subscribe to 5 technical journals and read 10 more at the library, maintain a blog so my network knows what I'm doing, and work on my own projects to keep all the mental tools sharp and ready to go, even ones not related to my present job or consulting project. I know that if I slack, the industry passes me by. If I get arrogant, I stop generating value add at the same rate and my $150-200/hr loaded consulting rate does not look nearly as good.

McMansion conversion to apartment buildings.

Every town has its old mansions that have been turned into apartment buildings.  I think this is going to happen again with empty McMansions, and ParaPundit does too.  Accumulating cash to buy up McMansions and convert them to boarding houses might be a smart play.

How to pay less money to the banks, get loans for everything except a house.

Buying a house is the single largest contribution to a banker's bonus that you will ever make.  Even at today's low interest rates, on a $250,000 loan you will wind up paying out $600K!  Typically, car loans are for 36 months, and interest costs are relatively low.  Consider. You want to buy a $20K car and a $250K house.  If you follow the advice of people that say "pay cash for cars, they're a depreciating asset!" and pay $20K cash for the car instead of putting that $20K towards a house, you wind up paying over $18K more over the life of the home loan because you're paying off that $20K over 30 years instead of 36 months.  By taking out a car loan and putting your cash reserve towards a home down payment instead, you save $17K over the life of the home loan.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why I do not own a Glock.

I'd say they're as safe as any other pistol. I consider myself very open minded, but I wound up not getting one, instead, I have a CZ P-01 that I'm pretty happy with.

After reading into Glocks when thinking about getting a G19, I read a lot about "Glock leg". I found that a prime cause of Glock NDs resulting in injury is reholstering with something not your finger (shirttail usually) stuck in front of the trigger. On a DA/SA gun with a hammer, you can holster with your thumb holding the hammer forward - if it moves when reholstering, you know you should stop. Also the DA pull is pretty heavy. With a gun with a safety, that's also mitigated as the gun physically can't fire while reholstering.

Some other reasons I didn't get a Glock were that you can't do dryfire practice with it (recocking every trigger pull gets old), and I carry in a Smartcarry so the gun is pointing very close to Mr. Happy. I've found that under stress shooting, I never ever have noticed the transition from DA to SA trigger pull weight. Also, the worse thing than having a gun go bang when it wasn't supposed to is having a gun not go bang when it's supposed to. In this video, you can see that Glocks limpwrist badly and repeatably, like if you were shooting wronghanded or injured.