Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2009:January:22 Thursday <Wednesday, Friday>
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2009/1/22-26 [Reference/RealEstate] UID:52438 Activity:high
1/21    One datapoint on rental prices, please post yours if applicable.
        Please don't give me this "this is why I buy a home" crap. Not
        everyone has money:
        -S Cal, $2055/month with 9 month contract expired. Signing one
         more year=$2055/month, month-to-month=$2255. Bunch of empty
         parking spots and people moving out, but according to the
         manager the economy hasn't diminished rental demand.
        \_ Oakland, Grand Lake District: 2.5 BR, large living room,
           large kitchen, $1125/month.
           \_ Thanks for the data! Is the trend going up or down in this
              weird economy? I expected rent to go down because of all the
              empty spots but nothing changed.                  -op
              \_ People still have to live somewhere. If anything, it might
                 go up because of all the people who can't afford to own
                 a home and have to rent again.
                 \_ That is true, but when I survived the dot-com, a bunch
                    of people moved OUT of Silicon Valley back to their
                    homes. I know a bunch of 2nd class engineers went
                    back to LA and Orange County, and a bunch of marketing
                    people went back to Nebraska, Arizona, Ohio, etc.
                    \_ Well, that is certainly happening now too (people
                       moving back to cheaper locations).
                       \_ Why do you say that? SF population seems stable,
                          perhaps even growing.
                          \_ Nevermind, what I meant is practically a truism
                             (it's always happening somewhere in the Bay
                             Area). I don't have any special knowledge on
                             current rates of occurrence.
                          \_ Between 1950 and 2000 SF gained about 1,000
                             people in population with a big dip in
                             between. Since 2000 it has declined:
                                San Francisco has attained the highest
                                population on record with a population of
                                824,525 on January 1, 2008.  This continues
                                the significant upward trend in growth that
                                began in 2006.  The city grew by 1.5 percent
                                this year.
                                The U.S. Census Bureau admitted underestimating
                                the city's 2007 population and raised it to
                                799,183, according to a statement from the
                                mayor's office.
                                Where does usbeacon get its numbers from?
        \_ I rented out my house in Fremont via the Housing Authority.  The
           rent, determined by the Housing Authority, hasn't gone down.  BTW
           it's 4-bed 2-bath 1444sqft, 10-min walk from bus stop, not walkable
           to BART, $2165/mo.
        \_ Livermore (Far East Bay), 3Bed 2Bath 1200 sq ft, duet $1600 a month.
           In Livemore rent prices have increased significantly since the
           housing crash.  All the foreclosed people need to rent now.
           That said, my rent is pretty low.
           \_ Why are you renting in Livermore when housing is dirt cheap
              relative to the real Bay Area?
              \_ Basically we're just biding our time a bit.  When it starts
                 going back up, I don't think it's going to go very fast, so
                 we're just waiting for a house we like at a price we like.
                 You're correct that we could afford to buy right now.
        \_ Why don't you buy? I pay less mortgage than that at 4.875%. You
           can borrow about $400K for that rent (without even considering
           tax deductions). With your $40K down that means maybe a $500K
           place once considering taxes. You can find something for that.
           \_ I'm looking for a job. Will you find me a job? Then maybe
              I'll consider buying. Thanks for your thoughtful response asswipe
              \_ I know of a couple of job possiblities in interesting
                 startups. One with languages in Menlo Park, and one with
                 Social networks or scientific computing in Viriginia. -jrleek
              \_ Sorry to hear that, but with no income *all* rent is
                 expensive. However, if I lose my job at least I can live on my
                 home equity and, like I said, my payment is less than that
                 guy's $2K rent.
                 \_ Most likely, you bought the home when the price was
                    lower than it is today. If you buy the same home today,
                    will your mortgage still be less than $2K?
                    \_ I just told you that you can borrow $400K for $2100
                       per month. My house is worth more than $450K
                       according to the recent appraisal, but I have seen
                       houses in my neighborhood for sale for $450K. For
                       \_ I don't know anywhere in California desirable where
                          you can actually buy a non-condo, non-townhome,
                          real single family HOUSE for lower than $450K.
                          Maybe in Valencia and or San Dimas and Compton,
                          but not Pasadena or Santa Monica where 2nd tier
                          tech jobs are located.    -1st tier techie in LA
                          \_ 1. Nothing wrong with San Dimas or Valencia.
                                Lots of people live there. They are no
                                worse than Fremont or Sunnyvale.
                                \_ Sorry but average income and education is
                                   WAAAAY higher in Sunnyvale than these
                                   dumpy places in LA. Also, if I buy in
                                   San Dimas, how many good tech companies
                                   will I be able to work at with a Masters
                                   degree in EECS?
                                   \_ Lots of aerospace companies in the
                                      area. From Valencia you can work in
                                      Palmdale. From San Dimas you can
                                      work in Orange County. I don't understand
                                      your point. We're working under the
                                      assumption that you HAVE a job, not that
                                      you are trying to relocate. What
                                      does "average income and education"
                                      get me? Do you want a nice house in
                                      a safe suburban area or do you want to
                                      find a mate? Make up your mind.
                             2. $450K or less gets you a condo in WeHo,
                                a house in Pasadena ($550K median in
                                the "not bad" ZIPs), Monrovia, Northridge,
                                slums of Encino, or Simi Valley. None of
                                these places are luxurious like Malibu,
                                but you can't have champagne taste and
                                beer budget.
                                \_ Monrovia not exactly cheap due to the
                                   average large lot size. Northridge? What
                                   jobs do they offer in San Fernando again?
                                   \_ The SF Valley has Yahoo! in Burbank
                                      and lots of entertainment jobs like
                                      Dreamworks, Disney, etc. It's also
                                      not a bad commute to the Westside if
                                      you can work offhours. You seem to
                                      be under the mistaken impression
                                      that all the good jobs are on the
                                      Westside, but there are a lot of
                                      highpaying jobs other places. Downtown,
                                      for instance, has the highest paying
                                      jobs in the city, Westside included.
                                      From pharmies like to Amgen, cool
                                      startups like the one I interviewed at
                                      which made fingerprint-based safeties
                                      for guns (lots of EE jobs there),
                                      prototyping companies like Applied Minds
                                      ( and
                                      animation companies like Dreamworks, lots
                                      of companies need engineers and are not
                                      based on the Westside. I think you are
                                      too narrow-minded, like a lot of
                                      Westsiders are. Life doesn't exist
                                      east of the 405, I know. Get over it.
                                   I'm not in medicine, law or porn industry.
                                   Anyone having to commute on the 405 to
                                   get to "save rent and get real city jobs" is
                                   a moron or has a high threshold for pain.
                                   \_ Redfin shows me 48 homes >$450k in
                                      \_ Redfin doesn't talk about the
                                         Monrovia gangster. They're blacks
                                         feuding with the Mexicans btw.
                                         \_ In the bad area of Monrovia
                                            by the freeway, but the
                                            northern part is nice and not
                                            too expensive.
                             3. In the Bay Area you could buy in Albany,
                                Santa Clara, Dublin, Concord, Pleasant
                                Hill, Novato, San Rafael, Pacifica, or
                                Milpitas - among others. These are
                                ordinary towns just their LA counterparts,
                                \_ Any of these are commutable to Silicon
                                   Valley fortune 500 jobs or startups. When
                                   I live in Northridge or Valencia, what
                                   jobs will I get there?
                                   \_ Tangent. Someone asked where in CA
                                      you can buy a house for $450K. I
                                      told you where. Sounds like you
                                      agree that these are reasonable
                                      locations so buy there.
                                   \_ Santa Clara is in the heart of the
                                      Silicon Valley. Milpitas is not too
                                      far away. There are also now many
                                      cheap homes in San Jose.
                                      \_ I thought GOOGLE is the heart of
                                         Silicon Valley considering they
                                         store, process, and output more
                                         information than any company.
                                ordinary towns just like their LA counterparts,
                                but it beats renting and you are never
                                going to get that house in a wealthy area
                                by renting and saving. Buy a starter home,
                                pay some down, wait for equity to build,
                                and move up. In 15 years when my house is
                                paid I can sell it and buy in Santa Monica
                                if I want to have another mortgage, whereas if
                                you rent it will be much harder to get
                                there - unless you rent very cheaply and
                                dump every last cent into the stock
                                market. I prefer to live in my own house
                                in the interim, but that's me.
                       $3K/month you can borrow $600K and have even more
                       choices. Makes more sense to me than $2400/month
                       for a 2 BR in SF (which is a steal BTW and not
                       common), but that's me. If you are going to rent
                       to save money then rent a cheap place with a
                       roommate. Luxury apartments (and their associated
                       high rents) are a waste of $$$. I guess some people
                       like to live in an apartment and drive a Porsche
                       (I see this all the time in luxury buildings) but
                       to me it seems retarded and I love nice cars. Plus,
                       when I bought my house I only had a beaten up
                       Nissan and a just-paid-off Honda. Now, some years
                       later, I have two luxury cars because my salary has
                       risen while my rent has not. In another 15 years I
                       won't have any rent at all except property tax.
        \_ I own a 8 unit apartment building next to Downtown Oakland,
           all singles and studios.  I've had to rent 3 units within the last
           2 months and haven't had to drop my prices.  Although, I
           already rent low, studio ~650 and 1brdroom ~900.  My buddies
           who have 2 bedroom/ 1 bath houses say that the competition is
           pretty fierce these days, probably because there are so many
           foreclosures going on the market as rentals lately.  There is an
           article in the SF Chronicle talking about the current Bay Area rental\
           situation. -scottyg
           article in the SF Chronicle talking about the current Bay Area
           rental situation. -scottyg
        \_ I just moved in to a new place in SF a few weeks ago. 2bdrm $2400.
           I negoitated the rent down at this place and also several others in
           the city. I did this after someone who was listing a 1bdrm for $1800
           told me that the price was flexible.
           Rents are pretty stable in SF.
2009/1/22-26 [Industry/Jobs] UID:52439 Activity:high
1/22    Layoffs at Microsoft, Intel, IBM.  See, this is part of the problem
        with deflation amid a recession.  When prices crater, companies'
        revenue decreases and people get layoffs.
        \_ Poll: If you're the CEO, would you try to lay off a large
           percentage of your workers, or would you implement changes
           like mandatory vacation or pay cut? Either case will decrease
           morale but it seems for me to make sense to me to cut pay since
           it's darm hard to hire talented engineerss when you need them.
           Then again, I'm not in management so maybe pay cut is a lame
           thing in the first place.                    -dumb engineer
           \_ Maybe the layoffs are an excuse to get rid of dead wood:
              "Lay off your lowest 20% of people, the underperformers."
              Alternately, perhaps they concentrate the layoffs in
              areas where replacement is easy:  leave the engineers,
              fire the salesforce.
              \_ Layoffs *always* get rid of deadwood, unless the company is in
                 a death spiral.  In good times, you get fatty, in slim times,
                 you cut the crap.  Unless of course you're in government.
                 \_ Seriously, here in the government, instead of firing
                    people, we give incentives to leave.  So, the good people
                    take the money and get a job elsewhere.  The deadwood
                    \_ Not all government positions are the same. When you
                       say "here", what is here? There's a huge difference
                       between DMV and NSA. Even within JPL there's a huge
                       difference between people who are launching missions
                       and people who do IT support for people who do missions.
                       \_ You clearly know nothing about how intelligence
                          agencies are staffed.
                          \_ I don't. Please enlighten me.
                             \_ Check out "Spies For Hire" which is a good
                                overview of this topic.  Basically, large
                                portions of "employees" at the big intel shops
                                are actually (extremely expensive) outsourced
                                contractors, a trend which is true across the
                                board in the federal govt. right now.  Also
                                check out SAIC, Booz Allen Hamilton, et al.
                                Random factoids:
                                  - 50% of the clandestine case officers at
                                    CIA are contractors.
                                  - Virtually 100% of the National
                                    Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is contracted
                                  - 70% of all US Intelligence Community funds
                                    are spent on external contracts rather
                                    than internal capabilities.
                                  - Booz Allen Hamilton has 10,000 employees
                                    with Top Secret Codeword clearances
                                \_ The private sector is obviously more
                                   efficient at creating spooks than the public
                                   \_ Your analysis would be correct, except for
                                      the fact that most of the intelligence
                                      contractors are massive barrels of FAIL.
                                   \_ Your analysis would be correct, except
                                      for the fact that most of the
                                      intelligence contractors are massive
                                      barrels of FAIL.
                \_ BTW, finding a competent salesperson is much harder than
                   finding a competent engineer. Sales also has a more
                   direct effect on the bottom line. These two reason are
                   why salespeople make more money than engineers despite
                   the perception that they are "dumb leeches".
                   \_ Good salespeople make more money. Bad salespeople
                      get fired.
                      \_ What happens to bad engineers?
                         \_ They usually hang on much longer than bad
                            \_ #t. Bad engineers are hard to weed out
                               because they tend to get close to management
                               and management is nicer to people who are
                               loud and social (vs. those that are technically
                               good). These are the same people who move
                               up the chain and manage more bad engineers.
                               The plus side is that they create more job
                               opportunities for even more engineers who
                               have to fix up 20 year old legacy code. Heck
                               50% of the engineering jobs in Silicon Valley
                               are systems integration, QA, and bug fixing.
                               \_ One of the most depressing attitudes at
                                  Berkeley is the one that social skills
                                  and coding skills are diametically opposed.
                                  It is possible (in fact, extremely desirable)
                                  to have both.
                                 \_ Sure. But the reality is that serious
                                    coding is a rather isolating and time-
                                    consuming activity. This doesn't lend
                                    itself to practicing social skills.
                                    I've noticed a definite correlation
                                    between sociability and low engineering
                                    skill.  The sociable ones make up for
                                    their lack of engineering prowess by
                                    talking a lot and getting others to
                                    give them insights.  Or they constantly
                                    make noise and are visible to management
                                    even though in reality their antics are
                                    a waste of time (theirs and others)
                                    if you compare it to the quiet engineer
                                    who just Gets Shit Done(TM) because he
                                    is smart enough to figure stuff out.
                                    Of course, the noisy visible stuff is
                                    pretty much what a manager is supposed
                                    to do; but management is really a
                                    separate career to engineering.
                                    Then there's marketing, which has few
                                    performance metrics compared to sales
                                    and engineering...
                                    \_ Actually, I disagree.  The "silent"
                                       serial killer coder types are actually
                                       among the worst to work with for
                                       other engineers.  A primary reason for
                                       this is their distorted view of their
                                       own intelligence and value, and their
                                       inability to listen to other people.
                                       One of the worst jobs I ever had was
                                       populated with these "silent geniuses,"
                                       and they spent so much time being
                                       impressed with their own genius that
                                       they forgot to produce a marketable
                                       \_ I agree with you. Most of the
                                          best engineers have good people
                                          skills. Not all of them, of
                                          course. They are willing to talk
                                          to people to bounce ideas around
                                          and they are receptive to criticism.
                                          Engineers should pay more attention
                                          to scientists. Most scientists
                                          are extremely smart just like
                                          engineers and yet also more
                                          social. Would you say Feynman
                                          was a bad scientist because he
                                          was social? Of course not, so
                                          why make the same assumption
                                          about engineers? If the social
                                          engineers are the ones getting
                                          ahead then maybe you should pay
                                          attention to that. The few true
                                          "quiet geniuses" I know who
                                          likely are affected with something
                                          like Aspberger's get taken
                                          advantage of. That doesn't mean
                                          the ones who do not display that
                                          quality are not just as competent
                                          or add less value to the
                                          organization. What adds more
                                          value to the company? A bad
                                          engineer like Steve Jobs or a
                                          good one like Steve Wozniak? I
                                          can tell you they are both very
                                          successful but one got taken
                                          advantage of and the other made
                                          the most of his talents. Try to
                                          be the latter.
                                          \_ But Jobs's value isn't
                                             really as an engineer, that's
                                             the point.  Jobs uses other
                                             people and makes judgement calls.
                                             That's what a manager/executive
                                             is supposed to do.
                                             Wozniak did ok. But ultimately Woz
                                             was replaceable and Jobs is not,
                                             \_ This is the key. Good
                                                engineer or not, Jobs added
                                                more value to the organization.
                                                It wasn't that he was
                                                "loud and social" which
                                                made his career a success.
                                                What Bitter Engineer needs to
                                                realize is that some of the
                                                people he is badmouthing are
                                                adding more to the
                                                organization than he is
                                                and that just because they
                                                are "loud and social" does
                                                not automatically make
                                                them bad engineers anymore
                                                than it makes Feynman a
                                                bad scientist. He needs to
                                                be less jealous, realize what
                                                is contributing to their
                                                success, and learn from it.
                                                Otherwise, he will always
                                                be Bitter Engineer With
                                                Feelings of Jealousy and
                                                Smug Superiority stuck in
                                                a crappy role while other
                                                move on up.
                                             because Jobs had the market
                                             vision.  Jobs successfully
                                             judges human desirability of
                                             products.  It's a lot different
                                             than just making a faster CPU or
                                             a cost-effective highway bridge.
        \_ Microsoft is sitting on more cash than some sovereign nations.
           They're just using this opportunity to get rid of dead wood.
        \_ In my econ classes we learned that most people would prefer
           layoffs to pay cuts when given the choice and just hope they
           are not the ones being cut. Presumably this is because they
           think they are more valuable than their peers and will be kept.
           There is some truth to this (see: dead wood) but most people
           also consider themselves better-than-average drivers
           \_ Most people are better-than-average drivers.  Learn your
              medians and means.
              \_ I know the difference between median and mean. I doubt
                 most people are better-than-average drivers.
2009/1/22-26 [Recreation/Pets] UID:52440 Activity:nil
        Clinically Depressed Poodle Mauls Former French President Chirac
        Told you Poodles are bad.
2009/1/22-26 [Consumer/Camera, Politics/Domestic/President/Bush] UID:52441 Activity:nil
1/22    Amazing inaugural ceremony shot. Zoom in to see GWB and Clintons!
        PS Bush is probably not feeling loved compared to Clinton.
        \_ One more from a different angle. It's a friggin 1474 MEGAPIXEL
           stitch picture.
2009/1/22-26 [Finance, Politics/Domestic/President/Bush] UID:52442 Activity:nil
1/22    Does "A new era of responsibility" mean that I will have to take
        responsibility for the mistakes that people made in the Bush era,
        like paying off national debt and helping the middle class while
        the rich already got richer and got away during the Bush era?
        \_ Oh hell no.  It doesn't even mean you need to pay your taxes.
2009/1/22-26 [Computer/Companies/Google, Finance/Investment] UID:52443 Activity:kinda low
1/22    And that's why you should own GOOG.
        \_ Google reported fourth-quarter net income of $382 million, down 68%
           from $1.2 billion a year ago.
        \_ I don't get it. How can you have 68% down but sales going up
           18%? Are they getting more sales but with less money per
           \_ Profit = (Price - Cost)xQuantity - Fixed Costs
              Costs went up?
              \_ They wrote down the value of a few investments.
                 \_ $1.09B
                    \_ Leaving aside the asset write-down, GOOG had $1.48B
                       in operational profit for the quarter, up 23% from
                       last year.  In this economy that's amazing.  GOOG
                       is still a frieght train.  -tom
        \_ I do own GOOG and I am underwater on it even though I bought at
           a comparatively low price. Brilliant.
        \_ AAPL profits are still growing at an increasing rate.
           $2.3B in adjusted net income ($1.61B GAAP profit)
           \_ AAPL is another good company to own.
2009/1/22-26 [Computer/HW/Laptop] UID:52444 Activity:low
1/22    Paid Sharper Image 3 years of extended warranty and now my product
        is dead and so is Sharper Image. Moral of the story: extended
        warranty is a complete waste of money.
           \_ THANK YOU MOTD GOD. Who says Motd isn't helpful? It is by
              far the most helpful thing wrt to my dead Roomba. Thank you
              Motd God, you've saved me $300.
        \_ Paid apple 3 years of extended warranty for my laptop and
           they fixed it when it broke 2 years into the warranty.  Moral
           of the story: extended warranty was worth it for a laptop.
        \_ Many times the extended warranty is provided by a 3rd party.
           Overall extended warranties -like all insurance- are a moneymaker.
2009/1/22-26 [Reference/Military] UID:52445 Activity:nil
1/22    Virginia Tech student saws off another student's head with a kitchen
        knife in a cafeteria.  Several bystanders witness it but don't stop it.
        Police there in less than 2 minutes.  Good thing they have a gun ban!
        \_ What's with the violent VaTech students from the gun guy to
           Michael Vick? My gf's sister went there and she and her circle
           of friends seem normal, but apparently there is evil lurking.
        \_ Damn. Killer is an Asian guy again also.
           \- You may wish to see the movie: Dark Matter
        \_ You are making assumption that lack of a gun ban would have a)
           prevented this crime b) led to less violence in general.
2009/1/22-27 [Politics/Domestic/California, Politics/Domestic/President/Clinton] UID:52446 Activity:nil
1/22    We now have more government workers than manufacturing
        Note the steady growth of gov't jobs
        \_ What is this guys source for data? Overall employment in the
           Federal Govt shrank during the Clinton years, but state govt may
           have more than made up for that, I don't know.
           \_ He says what his source is, right there on the page.
              \_ That source doesn't do it for me, but I tracked down the
                 original data, which is from the US Census. Good enough for
                 government work, right? The percentage of the population that
                 has been employed by the government has been steady at 7%
                 since 1980. The percentage employed in manufacturing has
                 \_ The numbers at
                    match  OPs chart.  (and btw, these show a 14% Gubment
                    employment level, again not including tax attorneys and
                    gubment contractors.)
2009/1/22-26 [Consumer/CellPhone] UID:52447 Activity:nil
1/22    Anyone have a Samsung Omnia?  Thoughts?
2009/1/22-26 [Uncategorized] UID:52448 Activity:nil
1/22    Hey, polls don't matter guys.  Obama has a 62% approval rating... in
        \_ Most of the Texans who disapproved have loaded up on food and
           ammo and shielded themselves from civilization, thus they
           cannot be polled.
2009/1/22-27 [Politics/Domestic/Election] UID:52449 Activity:nil
        His aides are barred from lobbying any executive agency for the
        life of the Obama administration. That means an appointee who
        leaves the White House in, say, 2010 would be barred from lobbying the
        executive branch until 2017 if Obama were to serve two terms.
2009/1/22-27 [Recreation/Dating, Health/Women] UID:52450 Activity:low
1/22    Celtic Women are HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT and they sing well. HOT.
        \_ I saw a version of Riverdance in Branson, Missouri that was
           full of very fit Irish women and in one dance they wore white
           and with the lights it left absolutely nothing to the imagination.
           The crowd was pretty stunned. I turned to my girlfriend and
           said "Uh, what was that?" and she confirmed. If you know
           Branson (conservative Christian Disneyland) you'd think it
           amusing. Maybe not shocking in Las Vegas, but there was a hush over
           the crowd after that. What's weird is that most Irish women are not
           attractive according to some of my Irish friends who moved here. I
           guess when they are hot they are *very* hot, though.
           \_ That's true with any race. People in the world think every
              old guy looks as good as Sean Connery and they're usually
              disappointed when they get off of LAX.
              \_ Some more than others. British women in general are not
                 as hot as Latinas, for instance. For every Liz Hurley
                 there are probably 20 good looking Venezuelans. Denmark
                 and Sweden have hotter women than Germany and Greece,
                 in general. Anyway, my point is that people think Irish
                 women look like Jennifer Connelly or Anne Hathaway (who
                 are both about 25% Irish), but most are stout and
                 unappealing (according to my Irish acquaintances, women
                 included). I think Australia also has a
                 better-than-deserved reputation as does perhaps India,
                 where Aishwarya Rai is a stunner but hardly represents
                 the typical Indian.
                 \_ you're an idiot, and likely an ugly one.
                    \_ you're ugly too, that's why your wife left you.
                 \_ Australia has a good proportion of fit, attractive people
                    though there are still plenty of corn-feds.
                 \_ Have you ever heard of "hybrid superiority"?
2009/1/22-27 [Uncategorized] UID:52451 Activity:nil
1/22    Just bought a LG env2. For the most part it's great, but
        it's very annoying that when I open it to use the QWERTY
        keyboard, it doesn't automatially capitalize the first
        letter. Anyone know of a way to have it do this?
2022/05/27 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2009:January:22 Thursday <Wednesday, Friday>