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Comment: Re:"Hard redirect" (Score 3, Interesting) 376

by Entrope (#47702097) Attached to: Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

The key element of a tortious interference claim is not the existence of a contract, it is third-party interference with a business or contractual relationship. sixoh1 was suggesting that someone might have a cause of action against Rightscorp, not the ISP, so the ISP's prerogative to terminate customer contracts is not relevant.

Comment: Re:"Hard redirect" (Score 1) 376

by Entrope (#47700019) Attached to: Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

Similar logic applies to having the ISP cut off your connection entirely -- if they got statutory authority for one of them, I bet they could get the same kind of permission for the other (if the original language of the law doesn't cover both already).

Next up: Booting all of your connectivity -- mobile as well as hardline -- through one, integrated, Big Brother-ish app.

Comment: Re:Shortage propaganda versus wages (Score 1) 268

by Entrope (#47661791) Attached to: Judge Rejects $324.5 Million Settlement For Tech Workers, Argues For More

In the US, a typical manager earns some amount more than the people they manage. As a result, the average software engineer earns significantly more than the average non-engineering manager, and more than many engineering managers.

And in the US, doctors and lawyers are not comparable to software developers for two main reasons: they have significant legal duties towards their clients (and must carry malpractice insurance as a result), and it is a serious crime to practice medicine or law without a license (which is granted by the people already in the field). Doctors and lawyers typically have further education, as well, which is not required for software developers. We also hear chronic complaints about doctor shortages, too -- but thankfully none for lawyers :) The kind of doctors with the worst shortages are "primary care" doctors, rather than specialists and surgeons, who also make much less money than the specialists, and I think in the same neighborhood as software developers.

Comment: Re:And yet (Score 1) 268

You missed the key word "potential" in that sentence. There are many thousands of good programmers in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco area, although basically are already as employed as they wish to be. In the kind of places where you think a company might be able to relocate, there are probably dozens of programmers with the same level of skills. When a company wants to hire hundreds of good engineers, that is not very useful: they'd need to convince most of their workforce to relocate.

Comment: Re:And yet (Score 1) 268

Meanwhile, in the reality-based community, Apple et al. *found* a free-market solution to their woes, and are now in court because government regulations say that their solution is not allowed.

US software developer salaries are much higher than in Europe when you control for cost of living. For example, most of the big cities in Europe have higher costs of living than Silicon Valley, but software developers earn much less there. You have to look pretty far down the list of US cities -- say, Charlotte (NC) or Peoria (IL) -- to find salaries that are roughly in line with expensive places in Europe. Companies stay in Silicon Valley because of infrastructure, network effects, and because there are a lot of potential employees in the area.

Comment: Re:And yet (Score 1) 268

You're applying single-stage reasoning to an iterated game, which is a good way to lose in the iterated game. If company X hires an employee from company Y by making a better offer, how should company Y respond in order to maximize its own revenue? (It will almost always involve a counter-offer to the employee, and if that fails, company Y will probably try to hire away another experienced engineer for reasons that Fred Brooks described in The Mythical Man-Month.)

If you don't think there is a shortage of software developers in the US, why are developers in the US paid so much more than ones in Europe?

Also, there is no hard threshold to define an "actual" shortage when you're talking about such a large job market.

Comment: Re:WTF? Jailtime! Boycott violates Anti-Trust (Score 1) 268

Yeah, I figured you had nothing.

Standard Oil and Ma Bell were broken up because they exploited monopoly power. There's nothing remotely similar for tech employers. You claimed there was some kind of supplier boycott, I pointed out that there obviously wasn't one in the usual sense, and you fell back to "maybe this kind of harm happened, you can't prove it didn't!"

Comment: Re:And yet (Score 1) 268

Not really. People consider factors besides salary when choosing jobs -- location, fringe benefits, work content, prestige, and more -- and there are other constraints on worker/job compatibility. A married person might become a homemaker if it takes too much effort to find a job that is sufficiently attractive; moving to a different city is expensive, especially for someone who expects low earnings; an employer cannot have a workforce that consists entirely of people who are learning to be productive in their jobs; the list goes on.

Most fundamentally, though, the number of available jobs is flexible in a way that defies quantification. If an employer has unmet demand, they could hire more workers if they can find workers at a low enough salary. It might be cheaper for the employer to hire more people who are individually less productive than to hire more-skilled workers. Automation and other forms of labor substitution further complicate the equilibrium. In contrast, the number of people who have applied for unemployment assistance is very easy to measure.

Comment: Re:And yet (Score 1) 268

You failed economics, didn't you? If they recruit employees from other companies, they have to make better offers, and they will have to make better counter-offers to their own employees to counteract poaching by other companies. They do not have bottomless pits of money for salary; they calculated that it was better to have a conspiracy against poaching than to try to poach. (There was also Apple's threat of patent lawsuits if Google in particular didn't agree to the deal.)

Comment: Re:And yet (Score 1) 268

People would turn down jobs at Google or Apple on salary grounds if there were a surplus of workers. Almost everyone seems to agree that there is a shortage (according to the usual definition in economics). This case was brought because large companies -- by all accounts -- illegally colluded to counteract that shortage, and thereby suppress their employees' wages.

Comment: Re:And yet (Score 1) 268

They could say that with a straight face because the two ideas ("worker shortage" and "cheaper labor") are two sides of the same coin. If there are more workers in a market, the average (or median) salary of an arbitrary engineer goes down. By definition, a shortage exists in any market when the price exceeds what buyers would like to pay. This is essentially why the "natural rate" of unemployment is not zero: There are workers who are not willing to accept the jobs that companies are willing to offer them.

As a trivial case, imagine two companies trying to hire one very specialized worker: A canny worker will be able to get the greatest salary that either company is willing to pay. If there are suddenly two workers available, that leverage goes away, and it is much harder for either worker to bargain up a salary.

Comment: Re: To summarize... (Score 1) 75

by Entrope (#47590257) Attached to: PlayStation Now, Sony's 'Netflix For Games' -- Pros and Cons

The service is still in beta, too -- I would hope they rationalize the pricing (especially for first-party games) by the time they end the beta. Personally, I can't see myself paying these rates ever -- I have a perfectly functional PS3 that I still use more than my PS4, and I somewhere have a PS2 for all my really old disc games.

Comment: Re:Ignorance is no excuse ... (Score 1) 96

by Entrope (#47550669) Attached to: Google's Mapping Contest Draws Ire From Indian Government

Does India have anything like the US Constitution's requirement for due process of law before someone is punished? It is conceivable for the government to ban the collection or publication of national security information, with the burden on the collector/publisher to figure out whether they have done so. This would be a recipe for arbitrary enforcement and unjust outcomes, but similar schemes have been implemented in the past -- between restaurant reviews and search engines, recent European cases provide examples for comparison and contrast of laws that are only really decidable with hindsight or by judicial dictate.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!