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Comment Re:OMFG! (Score 1) 143

OMFG! There was a fluctuation of 2.2 percent in the female employees of a major corporation that has bizzilions of employees that come and go!

No, it was because they cancelled the phone business.

<sexist sarcasm humor> Clearly since they aren't working on phones any more, they don't need the women. They must have used the women to QA those phones so receptionists and secretaries would be satisfied with the phone's shape and comfort on the female face. Now that the phone division is closed they don't need the women any more. </sexist sarcasm humor>

Comment Re:A step in the right direction (Score 4, Insightful) 111

Well, it is still fruit of the poison tree but is only known as such if someone is willing to admit that was how they found the information.

Parallel construction largely relies on a lie being in place. If at any time it is discovered that this other source or means was crafted due to the illegal connections, it can and likely would be toss out with it.

One neat thing about this type of deception is that the bigger it grows, the harder it is to hide. One person can keep a secret. Two people struggle to keep a secret. Hundreds of people cannot keep a secret, there will be a media leak by with a citation as a "confidential source not authorized to talk to the media."

If that happened it would not be one case tossed. It would be at least one case tossed and thousands of other cases re-opened for investigation, and intense scrutiny and a nasty public relations backlash.

We had a situation in a local PD where a highly acclaimed officer was caught faking field sobriety tests, falsifying reports and even the discovery of dashcam video showing the tazering of a sober person while shouting at them. In addition to the officer losing their job and various awards, there were various convictions overturned, convictions expunged, and several settlements allegedly of a quarter million dollars each were issued.

When discovered the impact to the groups is huge.

Discovery of illegal wiretaps and illegal records and failure to disclose potentially exculpatory evidence? That's the kind of thing that gets mass terminations and prison time for officers.

Comment Re: Introduction (Score 1) 207

It seems a bit... Insane though. 90,000 at a measly $100 a pop (labour, booking etc) = $9m minimum. If they keep that up, they'll eventually eat into the profit so bad they fail...

Reading the actual story and announcement (yeah, craaaazy!) the test is to visually inspect the base of the seat belt and apply a sudden yank of at least 80 pounds force by the tech, followed by another visual inspection to see if anything deformed, bent, or otherwise broke.

This is not a cost of $100 per. For most people this will be 60 seconds added to their existing regular inspection.

Comment Re:Liars (Score 4, Informative) 79

"hadn’t received any direct payment for its Tor research from the FBI or any other government funder"...

So they have received indirect payments or have received direct payments from non-government funders.

Yes, that is exactly true. I'm assuming you didn't read the actual statement by the school.

It begins: "Carnegie Mellon University includes the Software Engineering Institute, which is a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) established specifically to focus on software-related security and engineering issues."

So there you go, a blatant admission to an indirect payment. The government did not say "We will pay you to develop this specific technology" which would have been direct. The government told that lab, and many more, "Here is money to research this type of technology generally", and the lab happened to fund that project among many others, yielding an indirect payment. What most people probably didn't expect, the lab included, was that they would get a subpoena demanding the research.

While the tin-foil hat may be necessary elsewhere, no need for it here. The lab has always openly admitted to the indirect funding from federal grants. In their research papers, and in fact in the vast majority of university research papers, there is a line about the grants funding the lab. That is a non-secret.

Comment Actually, the certification requirements. (Score 1) 116

So have a division of the medical device company dedicated to Q/Aing Windows updates. This is an easy problem to solve, and frankly the manufacturer should be held responsible for the inevitable malpractice lawsuits.

There is no reason that a medical device should be as much as a month out of date on updates, let alone the years and years out of date these devices get to be.

In some respects I agree with you. In a perfect world all the devices would be re-certified with every patch as soon as the patch is available, updated promptly, and all the latest security safeguards in place. They would be re-certified and verified to meet all the latest security requirements, safety requirements, and efficacy requirements.

However, these are not home computers.

These are medical devices that must meet strict certification requirements that they do exactly what they say they do.

Any time the device changes or the software is updated, it must be re-certified. Getting a full PMA (Pre-Market Approval) certification is both expensive and time consuming, the current fee is $261,388. The wait is normally anywhere from 3 to 6 months for certification. If the product fails for any reason, it means fixing it and paying re-submission fees.

When "install the latest Windows update" comes with a $261,388 fee to re-certify, any business is going to reject that idea unless they are required to do it.

Comment Re:love it (Score 1) 252

It's really bad for those of us with sleep/rest related illnesses.

Are you really sensitive to 15 minutes of sleep difference?

* Friday night shift your sleep by 15 minutes.
* Saturday night shift your sleep by 15 minutes.
* Sunday night shift your sleep by 15 minutes.
* Monday night shift your sleep by 15 minutes.

Or if you have even more sensitivity, stretch it out over six days from Wednesday to Tuesday, just 10 minutes different every night.

I can understand the need for consistency, but if you know it is going to be a problem you can take it in much smaller, more manageable steps.

Comment Re:And the poll is late. (Score 2) 252

We used to do it then too, until Bush pushed it up a week in the spring and back a week in the fall as a response to high oil prices. ...

Perhaps, but not the only reason.

Many also cited kids dying on Halloween night after getting struck by cars in the darkness. More light in the evenings until just after the holiday saves lives. This year the news only reported 3 trick-or-treating deaths from vehicle/pedestrian crashes in our city, I remember a few years back reading news when 8 were struck and killed by vehicles.

For that reason alone, having seen a drop in child deaths in my city, the tiny inconvenience of resetting some clocks is worth the lives saved. The value of several children's lives every year is worth a mild annoyance to everyone.

Comment Re:Thank you, Captain Obvious (Score 1) 125

Fair enough, but I don't think the piece was written to inform about the balance or blame of the hacking. Instead, it was to inform the unaware that the agreement wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

Many international agreements are that way, as are many high-profile acts of congress in the US.

This particular one was a "Joint Statement" that they intend to be nicer in the future. These are usually called resolutions, much like your resolution to lose ten or twenty pounds that you make every year at your new year's party. Politicians resolve that the nations will place nice together but there are no specifics and they have no consequences if the resolutions are broken. The politicians create and sign these in very public settings with lots of cameras and smiling faces.

The feel-good fluff news stories are popular with the masses and the media.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 362

I'm a hiring manager. ... When I selected an older worker to advance in the interview process I got my hand slapped. I was told, "we want younger workers ... not younger workers age-wise, but younger workers".

That's the kind of thing you carefully capture in multiple emails, then forward on to the state's labor department while quietly sending around your own applications for a less shitty workplace.

Because YOU ALREADY KNOW in the next one or two rounds of layoffs, you'll be considered the old one ready to be terminated.

Comment Re:beneath the Arctic Ice? (Score 1) 101

>> have been in safekeeping beneath the Arctic Ice

Wait, I thought all that was melting because the sky is falling.


When the ice melts due to global warming, the formerly-arctic area will be sub-tropical. They'll just take the top off the vault, letting in the sunshine and warm rain to start growing all the crops. No need to transport them around the world. :-)

Comment Re:Who will... (Score 2) 394

People above can't afford to live the same city they work because of housing prices. I once asked a night janitor, who had his two sons with him at work that day, where he lived. He told me he lived more than an hour out of the city. I don't have any solutions but this isn't a good thing.

Was recently looking at a potential job in the area.

The job looked great. Then I started looking for a home within 15 minutes of the workplace. Nothing family sized (4+ bedroom) shows up on Zillow for anything less than $800,000. Many homes comparable to my $200K current residence were selling for well over a million dollars. Zooming out a bit, finding family homes even remotely affordable (under $300K) would require a full hour commute.

I went on to the next job listing, in a more reasonable cost city. The tech jobs may be good, but they aren't THAT good. Currently Austin and Salt Lake are the main contenders.

Comment Good, kinda. (Score 4, Insightful) 399

It is a good thing when high profile and medium profile people get caught in these stupid things.

When celebrities, including political celebrities, get caught by government aggression it draws a spotlight on the programs that are harassing millions. With the spotlight on them, they tend to withdraw or become legally curtailed.

Sadly many of the abuses committed by government are against the dregs of society, the people already in trouble with the law, the despicable criminals, drug dealers, child abusers, rapists, murderers, and more. Most of society doesn't care when government abuses these people, which is why so many lawsuits are filed against agencies and officers that people dismiss as just another attempt to get out of being caught. If those same abuses were publicly made against people of celebrity status the programs would be quickly curtailed, or pushed further into the darkness of secrecy.

Good job DHS, keep targeting popular people. Best thing you can do for the country.

Comment Re:Unionize (Score 1) 350

It depends on the union contract.Unionization doesn't automagically mean lazy employees abound.

What you describe is my observation as well. Unions can cause problems, but they can also solve problems. Unions can solve very broad problems that individuals cannot.

Some unions are more powerful and effective than others. Some are very good at helping union members, others not so much.

I see two big difficulties in a programmer union.

1. Skills are different and hard to quantify. One person is highly skilled in one tool, another is highly skilled in another tool. Both are very productive, but they are not directly interchangeable. Alice is an expert in MySQL, Bob is an expert in PostgreSQL, Charlie is an expert in Oracle. While any of them can likely write up a solution for generic SQL problems, for other problems one of them is going to be the best choice for your specific workplace. Similarly, Dan knows DirectX and Emma knows OpenGL, both are great graphics programmers, but they are not directly interchangeable.

In other fields, unions have less degree of specialization. You can roughly exchange teachers by domain: elementary school teachers are roughly interchangeable. Secondary education teachers are roughly interchangeable by field, a HS math teacher can be replaced by another HS math teacher. Among plumbers, two journeyman plumbers are roughly interchangeable, two master plumbers are roughly interchangeable. Classes of workers are roughly interchangeable. This is harder to isolate in software development. You can start by dividing people by programming languages and experience levels, but it quickly falls apart. I daily use four different programming languages, routinely use 8 over the course of my job, and have worked with around 20, mostly custom languages and scripting languages on our wider project. So it isn't like "HS math teacher", but "Java/C#/SQL/Python programmer who also knows Lua, ActionScript, HTML, PHP, JavaScript, etc." In general terms programmers bundle together neatly, but specifics really muddle any equivalency test.

2. Too many programmers have giant egos, thinking they are a special snowflake that is irreplaceable. Often they imagine there might be a bell curve or other distribution, but whatever the distribution is, they are skewed at the highest top 1% of them all. A little dose of reality, it is a bell curve and the vast majority of people are average. This is largely fed by the first problem, where they look around the workplace and notice that they are a domain expert. The thought "I am the domain expert on my team", wrongly translates to "I am the domain expert globally". Whatever your specific domain, you are easily replaced by others who are expert in that domain.

It is easy to get caught up in that. I am the only person with my exact skill set, so feel I'm highly valuable and difficult to replace. While it is true that my EXACT skill set is difficult to replace, others with SIMILAR skill sets can more or less overlap my job duties and replace me, with others in the team filling in the gaps.

Other tasks done by unions, such as group negotiation of salaries, become a little more difficult because of the individual variability. As a programmer I can potentially leverage my own specialty for higher pay, but in practice that rarely happens, in most workplaces the programmer is just a cog in the machine paid in the same bucket range as others.

Comment Re:I don't care for Elsevier, but ... (Score 2) 125

... Which isn't all of what you need, but it is a better start than nothing at all. I'd rather see a link to a journal I can't read than no link at all.

Tend to agree.

I would prefer to have links to stuff I can actually use. But if I cannot view the actual citation, I would like the citation to be verified in a reputable source, perhaps a book (which I also generally cannot click to read), or a journal I cannot freely access on the subject.

Wikipedia's guidelines ask that editors should use independent resource, but the policy notes that it isn't always the case. While the ideal is to cite references that are publicly available, sometimes those don't exist. In their guidelines, "For example, many books are not available online at all, and subscriptions to academic databases such as JSTOR can be fairly expensive." Editors should use free resources if they can find them, but sometimes out-of-print books and pay-to-view journals are the only sources.

That is also part of the reason Wikipedia prefers secondary sources. The primary sources tend to be journal articles, research notes, reports, and complex research-related books. Secondary sources tend to be online writeups that are much more accessible.

Comment "it stopped using..." (Score 4, Insightful) 88

Taking them at their word, let's assume the police department stopped using license plate scanners. They no longer own them, they sold them off, whatever.

That doesn't mean that a third party doesn't run the licence plate scanners and the police have a very cozy relationship for getting all the data whenever they need it.

It's much like the recent changes to the NSA's spying playbook. They say they will no longer collect and store that metadata themselves .... but they will use a third party to do it. In particular, that third party is not subject to the government's data retention policy limiting position of the metadata.

In both cases, it means the agency itself is no longer doing it. That doesn't mean it still isn't happening, just that the agency is not the one actively doing it.

A failure will not appear until a unit has passed final inspection.