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Old March 27th, 2010, 06:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Problems? Thank out-sourcing.

Recently, a friend who is a high ranking software engineer in the automotive industry was explaining to me why so many products we use these days lack functionality that might seem to be a matter of common sense.

He was explaining that due to out-sourcing, many of our products, or the software that runs them are made or designed in poor countries by people who have never used the products they are making. What happens, is that they are given a list of things the product must do. They fulfill the basic requirements and that is it.

Having recently purchased a Motorola Droid, I have come to see how much this has affected the products we use. Functions that should be taken for granted are simply not there. Although there are apps, I don't like that approach and I'm hoping there will be updates soon.

At any rate, out-sourcing hurts us in ways beyond just the loss of jobs and making our heads want to explode when calling for tech support.

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Old March 27th, 2010, 07:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, have known this for a long time. Just look on the back of nearly everything you buy. 98% of the time its not the USA.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 09:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Funny, the other day I read an article on Techcrunch that suggested that American IT sector outsources not just because it's cheaper but because Americans are lazy, entitled wankers willing to work only six hours a day and who whines at the slightest workload.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 09:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I guarantee you that if you get one of the 10% of Americans a job right now, they would not complain. I also think that the person that wrote that article did not do very much research. The main reason the US outsources is because of costs. If you can get away with paying someone $1 per hour instead of $7.25 or whatever minimum wage is, you would save billions of dollars per year.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 09:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by grainysand View Post
Funny, the other day I read an article on Techcrunch that suggested that American IT sector outsources not just because it's cheaper but because Americans are lazy, entitled wankers willing to work only six hours a day and who whines at the slightest workload.
Hmmm...Seeing as how American's annual average hours worked is through the roof and way more than many other countries, I gotta call BS on this statement. Although, may be it IS because we're lazy. I'm so confused now. I need a nap.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 10:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hmmm...Seeing as how American's annual average hours worked is through the roof and way more than many other countries, I gotta call BS on this statement. Although, may be it IS because we're lazy. I'm so confused now. I need a nap.
Yeah the USA is the busiest and laziest nation in the world. Only we could be two completely different things at the same time.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 10:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I guarantee you that if you get one of the 10% of Americans a job right now, they would not complain. I also think that the person that wrote that article did not do very much research. The main reason the US outsources is because of costs. If you can get away with paying someone $1 per hour instead of $7.25 or whatever minimum wage is, you would save billions of dollars per year.
Yes, it's cheaper, but also, would you rather take a programmer from India who knows what he's doing and won't complain or an American who graduated from a "no child left behind" system where parents get teachers fired if they use red pens to mark their precious babies' papers?

For that matter, why hire an American when you can hire, say, someone from Hong Kong or Singapore? About the same pay, but you are likely to get a much better qualified, more disciplined and just plain superior worker.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 10:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Outsourced labor fabricates and assembles, it generally doesn't design. While I'm opposed to certain kinds of outsourcing for various ethical, environmental, and social reasons, it has very little to do with end user experience. If our Droids were assembled in the U.S. they would still be made on an assembly line by non-users.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 11:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Having recently purchased a Motorola Droid, I have come to see how much this has affected the products we use. Functions that should be taken for granted are simply not there. Although there are apps, I don't like that approach and I'm hoping there will be updates soon.
I find this amusing that you use the Droid as an example. The "functions" you speak of are created by Google. Most if not all of the coding takes place in the US, so I don't really see how that is a valid argument...

**EDIT** Although I do agree, outsourcing is bad in general...
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Old March 27th, 2010, 11:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I find this amusing that you use the Droid as an example. The "functions" you speak of are created by Google. Most if not all of the coding takes place in the US, so I don't really see how that is a valid argument...

**EDIT** Although I do agree, outsourcing is bad in general...
I was thinking the same exact thing.

I think the reason some features that seem like common sense are missing is due to the fact that engineers design software.

For example, I have a good friend who is a professional graphic design artist. I am a computer scientist, and I really like CS theory.

I was working on some program awhile back, and my friend was asking me if he could see it. I showed it to him, and he said to me, "why do you have it set up this way? why don't you move this here, put this over there, and change the color of this." What he told me to do made so much sense, and made my program look and function so much better.

And it is not just me. I know other computer scientists that are just like this.

Furthermore, I think sometimes the problem is with people not understanding how programming works. For example, I cannot tell you how many times someone has said to me, "you should design a program that does X", and the thing they say is so ridiculously complicated that it would take years to complete if I had a full development team (which I don't have).
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Old March 28th, 2010, 09:32 AM   #11 (permalink)
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There's more to it than that.
Take the Canon line of Point & Shoot cameras. Look at the specs of Canon pocket P&S cameras on DPReview.com.
Then look up CHDK, and be amazed.
Like our Droids, though exponentially more so, these seemingly simple cameras (most of them) can be ported and programmed to do ten times more than what they are sold as.
This can only beg the question, "Why" for about one second.
Crippling products goes hand in hand with planned obsolescion and the metering of technology in consumer devices. It's very simply, a marketing strategy. By making products that fit consumers' needs just enough, they can ensure that consumers will need to upgrade at a steady rate, and the industry won't die any time soon.
Another example, -Prime, in fact; If Intel and Microsoft weren't such good bedfellows, there would be less money to be made. Do any of you who are not avid gamers really believe that your present computer is too slow for your needs?
As Microsoft bloats their OSes, it creates a need for faster CPUs. Take a look at the latest Microsoft OS and see if you can find enough about it that is better than their last OS that can justify a whole new machine to handle it. This is a planned obsolescence. Otherwise who would need a new laptop in two or three years? (Obviously the excludes hardcore gamers and graphic designers, of course.)
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Old March 28th, 2010, 11:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Regarding my friend in the OP. He teaches software engineering, supervised the design of the software that runs our car's engines and has traveled to other countries to work with and train these over seas programmers.

Anyone who has called tech support and been put through to India knows that it takes 5 times as long to solve an issue than it would speaking to someone here at home. Of course, in Bangladesh they work for 1/10 the wage.

Of course there are other reasons products might have design flaws, but I do believe a big part of it is that the engineers designing the products don't use them. Recently, I purchased an expensive blue ray player - the remote doesn't light up. That, and it is not at all user friendly. Recently, I bought an alarm clock that required a college course to set the time - it's ridiculous.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 11:50 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I believe out-sourcing is the result of us as consumers wanting to pay less for things.

In order for corporations or manufacturers to get that price for us, they have to cut costs. That is one way of doing that. That helps keep their profits up and keeps their shareholders happy.

It's an neverending circle, because the shareholder are also consumers, who want the lowest price, which leads to out-sourcing, which leads to profits, the start all over again.

Just my view....
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Old March 28th, 2010, 11:55 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edub View Post
Having recently purchased a Motorola Droid, I have come to see how much this has affected the products we use. Functions that should be taken for granted are simply not there. Although there are apps, I don't like that approach and I'm hoping there will be updates soon.
What functions? I'm always surprised that people seem to effectively complain that Android is extensible. In most cases, those making this argument are complaining over items that I'd hardly consider universal must-haves.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 04:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Anyone watched 20/20... IN china they basically FORCE the workers to work and live in the plants feeding them little and cramming 4 men into 1 room with 2 bunkbeds. We declared our indepdendence MANY years ago telling our government that we wouldnt put up with that. Unfortunately communist dictators have made that hard to do for those countries. The people dont realize they're only hurting themselves and are opresed to these conditions. If they all rose up against the regimes they too could make the $7/hr instead of $1 because 85% of their pay is taken for so called "Room and Board". This company that was on 20/20 didnt' make the Droid either, they made parts for the IPhone.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 07:52 PM   #16 (permalink)
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The fact remains that the US is China's largest importer and contractor. Don't kid yourself into thinking that any company in the US does not already know what the conditions are for Chinese factory workers.
The United States government, for who's causes you gamble with your life defending, knows full well, too.
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 11:50 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by grainysand View Post
Funny, the other day I read an article on Techcrunch that suggested that American IT sector outsources not just because it's cheaper but because Americans are lazy, entitled wankers willing to work only six hours a day and who whines at the slightest workload.
Funny.. I read the same article.. which happens to be written by an INDIAN :/.

Excuse me for wanting to get paid *fairly* as an IT person. Sure 40,000$ a year is "too much" for a cooperation to pay me when an indian will work for 10,000$

Don't worry though you get what you pay for.

As to that "no child left behind" bs.. Sure that works for first level tech support however, when it comes to development of *real* applications and not just basic trouble shooting, the entire idea falls apart.

With that said, I'm still going for a degree in computer science. I want the job because I *love* computer science and I will give *anyone* a run for their money after I graduate.

Oh btw. I am not saying people aren't "lazy" in the field however, keep in mind that a good programmer will be worth *alot* more than he makes to his company.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 01:15 AM   #18 (permalink)
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One another reason for out-sourcing is to keep pollution out of the country, because manufacturing outputs lots... LOTS of pollutants and garbages.
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Old April 9th, 2010, 05:04 AM   #19 (permalink)
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This is a little off topic, but oh well. My wife and I recently redid my sons room. I'm notorious for checking everything I buy to see where it's made. Naturally finding things made in the USA is increasingly more difficult. This annoys my wife to no end, mainly because I complain about it all the time .
We went to buy his bed, which is a really cool platform bed. In the showroom there was no way to check to see where it was made and I assumed it was in another country. When I got it home and was carrying the 4 rather large boxes into the house, I practically had a heart attack when the boxes were stamped with the "Proudly made in the USA" that is so rarely seen anymore.

On another side note. I found some old newspapers from the early 80's. In them was a ad for a VHS player. I can't remember the brand, but it was $650 and each VHS movie was $60. I think that kind of confirms, in a sense, the claim that we want things cheaper.
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 11:18 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjam3s View Post
I believe out-sourcing is the result of us as consumers wanting to pay less for things.

In order for corporations or manufacturers to get that price for us, they have to cut costs. That is one way of doing that. That helps keep their profits up and keeps their shareholders happy.
That's indeed the reason, but above all, they need to stay competitive.

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If they all rose up against the regimes they too could make the $7/hr instead of $1 because 85% of their pay is taken for so called "Room and Board".
If all of the developing countries were to level the playing field, we wouldn't enjoy the Wal-Mart pricing we do today.

As the semi-peripheral nations continue to develop, living conditions and political landscapes change, it will start to balance out. Don't expect this anytime soon though.
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 03:53 PM   #21 (permalink)
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The company I work for put out a sex toy and the software used to build it was outsourced then outsourced through the company we outsourced too. It was like pulling teeth explaining how the software needed to function as well as hide what it was used for since the guys were like Orthodox Catholics or something. We learned first hand you might as well spend the money on people that actually care about the product and software you are designing. Of course in the adult industry that's tough to find but it can be done.
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