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Comment: Re:Discussion is outdated (Score 3, Funny) 418

by Austerity Empowers (#48899837) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

The issue is that most of the time people doing this work are on the hardware teams, rather than the software teams. It's a hard world to live in, to be sure, the silicon & pcb guys think you're software (i.e. you write code that executes ON a processor, not code that creates the processor). The software guys don't speak the same language: they're hung up on methodologies, APIs, code style & the business of software, or else are more heavy in to the software research side of pure algoritms. It can be tough to fit in, but the job has to be done, it isn't any less essential, just a bit more niche.

Comment: Re:Why lay fiber at all when you can gouge wireles (Score 4, Insightful) 194

by Austerity Empowers (#48888951) Attached to: Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

No you misread. FiOS isn't AS profitable, it's profitable. Someone without a conflict of interest, willing to compete with wireless, could set up a business and make money, give good service, employ people and return value to an investor. Verizon won't, they see it as a cannibalizing their wireless market.

This is an example of all that is wrong with telecom.

Comment: Re:Time for a UNION! (Score 2) 263

by Austerity Empowers (#48868063) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

In my line of work, interviews are a panel of 6-8 people (the higher "experience" you are, the more people) on a grueling 8 hour interview process, followed by an obnoxious round table where we "collectively" decide who to hire. But we're not doing so based on our own motivation, we're doing so on behalf of our corporation and executives who lay out criteria and want us to put our badges on the line for those criteria.

None of us, individually, is the employer except perhaps the hiring manager. He sets the ground rules and promises up the chain (often up to a senior VP) that some candidate is going to meet our criteria. SVP will frequently, independently, interview said candidate himself. So we're kind of handcuffed in how we do our job. Many, many, many times the SVP has pushed back saying "You may not hire this person, he has no experience in ", even if he's otherwise smart and quite qualified. Ultimately I consider him the employer, we're just his screeners enhanced also with our own agenda.

Once a candidate is hired however, you cannot argue we are his employers anymore. He will usually be our peer on any org-chart, no matter how junior.

Comment: Re:Time for a UNION! (Score 4, Interesting) 263

by Austerity Empowers (#48867107) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

This is an INDUSTRY problem, not particularly an employer problem, though they certainly do a lot to fan the flame. A union won't solve all the problems and will make some of them much worse.

- Do not hire a person until existing employees are nearly 100% overbooked. No training or ramp-up time in the schedule.
- Want to hire the cheapest person who can barely get the job done
- Do not want to spend money on training or other activities that might increase employee value on the market (even though, in my opinion, that shoudln't be true)
- Do not significantly value sub E-level employees as investments, but rather fungible commodities to broker
- Vastly prefer to lay off people in position who have become expensive and hire H1Bs to replace them to cut payroll costs, essentially creating a glut of people with the same skillset.

Employees, particularly in Tech:
- Want to hire a drop in replacement. Look for someone with many years of experience doing exactly the job being hired for (i.e. create a niche/no-train, no hope environemtn)
- Tend to focus on job skills over job experience. Skills can be taught to any college hire, and ARE taught in low-cost regions, but tend not to be taught in western schools. Think languages (C), tools, mechanics. Things if you have the proper background and education you can pick up in a month or two. For any non-trivial job however, this is nearly worthless.
- Misapprehend "experience". Experience is not, or should not entirely be how long you've done a particular task. Most tasks can be mastered in well under 5 years. Experience is how many problems you've worked on and solved in your life. It's one thing to learn a solution (i.e. school), it's another thing to learn a problem. The more you've seen and internalized, the better you will be. Instead we interview for how well so-and-so knows how to write python, or how long as he been a python-engineer. Useless. I want to hear what projects he worked on, what solutions he considered and rejected, etc. I don't care what language he did them in, or if he was a cardboard-box folder for 5 years and has the audacity to apply to a plastic tub sealer position without any industry experience!
- In some fields, mine in particular, I have noticed people intentionally block candidates because they are not "in", simply because they are not already "in".

So in essence we are all responsible for creating this market we're in.

Comment: Re:building municipal broadband is prohibited (Score 1) 159

I couldn't give two shits about my state (the 10th I've lived in) of Texas, and am pretty sure even the idiots with the "Secede" bumper stickers feel more loyalty to the US than they do the old boy network that runs this place. I'm an American that happens to live in the region known as Texas. I sure wouldn't mind seeing all the anti-muni laws tossed out across the country. I would gladly fork $5k over to have true high speed broadband delivered to my house on the restriction that anyone could provide me with internet service at my own selection. The entire notion of independent states has not aged well and the populace as a whole is ignoring their states in favor of national politics, and doesn't even make sense anymore but to a few ill-intentioned libertarian interests.

With that said, I do have some doubts that the federal government has this right, that it can all be wrapped up conveniently in some verbiage in the constitution that never had conceived of this, without at least a protracted legal battle. This all smells like a politician trying to delude the masses into thinking he's helping while he's actually abdicating, or about to ignore his government doing something that is otherwise massively unpopular. For example what would we do if next month the FCC rules against net neutrality, but Obama & company get a law through congress that will (in 2 years) get overturned?

Comment: Re:The BORG! (Score 1) 265

by Austerity Empowers (#48851903) Attached to: Best Cube?

I would have thought it was to give the Federation an unbeatable enemy that they can't plow through with their highly weaponized "science vessel". It seems like the replicator makes Federation society nearly Utopian, not especially socialist, communist or capitalist. It was a little unclear exactly how their economy worked exactly, since clearly people needed to take on subservient roles on their "science" vessel, and some level of industry & resource extraction were certainly required.

When I saw the Borg I read the opposite evil: a society in which individualism was entirely replaced by a hive mind. It wasn't about their economics so much as their total deconstruction of individuality. I don't see that as a particularly communist trait, capitalism is equally bad in this regard (i.e. the working class is essentially fungible and replaceable, only the elite count as individuals)

Comment: Re:a better question (Score 1) 588

by Austerity Empowers (#48846043) Attached to: Why Run Linux On Macs?

I don't agree. I have two PCs by my feet, one a Dell and one a home built. Both are plagued with various subtle issues and bizarre design choices. They were indeed cheap, but they've required constant maintenance over the years (both are 10 year old chassis with 1-10 year old parts). By comparison I have an (old) mac pro and two macbook pro's, both work flawlessly (in windows too) and have never required any form of service.

It makes a lot of sense to run linux on a mac, depending on your threshold of pain vs. price.

Comment: Re:I do not understand the self-flagellation (Score 1) 479

That paragraph, used to explain "horrifying steeplechase" describes every tech interview I have ever been on, ever. I'm a man, it's not a thing we do to women just 'cuz. We're insensitive, socially inept clods and that is the defining culture in highly technical fields. I would think a woman would appreciate this MOST, we're purely and entirely interested in her brain and what it can do. I would have been far more disgusted with my peers if they were leering or chatting her up, trying to use this as a first date scenario... THAT would be unacceptable.

If these women are unable to tolerate geekdom, they probably will not enjoy working in their job. I'm sitting in a building with 120 people right now, it's quiet as a graveyard but everyone is here. I have an IM conversation going on with the guy in the cube next to me, not about football or his wife, but about cool compiler tricks. This is our job, this is also who we are. If you are a woman in tech, this is how you too must be, or else you're applying to the wrong sort of job. If you want to be tech-savvy marketing, apply to marketing. if you want to make business decisions, get an MBA. But if you want to DO technology, and be a practitioner, then we're looking for you and you should be happy to answer repetitive mundane questions about C calling conventions or the various drawbacks of exception handling. It's a calling, not everyone fits. I don't see it as mutually exclusive with women, just exclusive with women who want to be above it all. Much like men who wish the same, you need not apply, we're weeding you out.

I'm going to interview a woman in about 40 minutes. HR put on my agenda to make sure I ask if the candidate needs water or a restroom break. Because I trust HR (in this instance) I will do that, when someone tells me what to do in social scenarios I do it. But if they don't, I probably won't remember. In fact I may not remember if my computer shuts off during the interview. If you've been in tech school for the past 4+ years, or in the industry, you're used to this and don't think about it, you want to know about the job details and what I'm working on. If you're not really interested in being an engineer, but just want the paycheck and a shot at management, no one is going to want to hire you, including my female manager. First and foremost we're interested in your technical output, if it's not there and we don't think it can be there, go away. And if you are serious about doing this job, and understand what it means to be on a team, and to produce a product, you would be the same way. People who don't pull their weight crater the company, prove to us you're going to pull your weight.

"How to make a million dollars: First, get a million dollars." -- Steve Martin