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Comment Re:Legality? (Score 1) 323

Actually, people quite regularly ask /. for legal advice from what I've seen here over the years. And IMO, why not? It's not like anyone with any sense wouldn't consult a real attorney first if they were really going to take something to court. But I figure they're just putting out "feelers". Some people on here probably are lawyers by profession and others probably went through legal battles already over similar issues. It's useful to get a rough idea of it you have a case worth making the effort to find a good attorney for and pursue.

Comment Re:Is the problem part the nature of the field? (Score 1) 242

I think you're on to something, but the "trick" is finding a company that understands that method of working.

I work in I.T. for a business that primarily hires creative professionals and they often express the same attitude. They can't just clock in and out during "regular business hours" and drop things on a dime when it's time to go home. The company realized this at some point though, so everything is designed around that framework. The office itself has a lot of "meeting spaces" where groups can pow-wow to hash things out, rather than the feeling you're "supposed" to sit at your cubicle or in your office with a door shut most of the time. It's accepted and encouraged to use videoconferencing software whenever you like to schedule meetings with your co-workers, and working from home, the local Starbucks, or wherever suits your fancy is fine in those circumstances. Nobody really cares when you show up in the morning or go home at night if you're in one of those departments. They focus on the feedback from clients. Are they impressed/happy? Were the deadlines met? Those are the metrics for determining if you're getting your job done. Of course, this doesn't really work without good project management in place. You *do* have to have someone wrangling the herd and making sure Joe has item X done and submitted to you by X date, so Tim and Mary and use it to develop item Y by the next deadline.

If you try to work this way inside an environment that doesn't cater to it, I think you burn yourself out eventually -- or at least get shortchanged, when the majority only sees or gives merit to the 9-5, Mon/Fri block of time they see you occupying a space in a chair.

Comment It depends on if you don't think of it as work.... (Score 1) 242

Anyone I know working those types of hours is doing it for a lot more than just a paycheck. I knew a lot of people, when I was younger, who did it too. But for them, it was like, "Hey... I finished school and now I don't really have any other commitments. At work, I mingle with a group of co-workers just like it was when I was in school, and I'm finally earning money in the real world, working my way up this whole corporate ladder thing."

Priorities tend to change as soon as you get serious with a significant other, followed by marriage and possibly kids.

Comment Helen Fitz's, etc. (Score 1) 464

Yeah... that comment made me laugh. Naming Helen Fitz's as a good example of nightlife or even a "fun place to go" in St. Louis? Wow.... If that's the case, it just reaffirms why I left!

Seriously, I remember YEARS ago getting totally mistreated in that establishment. My buddies and I went in for some food and drinks, and this security guy on a power trip got mad because he thought my friend pushed somebody in a line that had formed, as you went past the front entrance. (The place always gets too crowded like that, so people are standing all over the place - instead of just occupying seats at the bar or at tables. People stand around uncomfortably, trying to watch whatever game is on an overhead TV until they can find a better place to stand or sit.) So anyway, this guard shoves the butt end of a Brinkman flashlight into my friend's back to get his attention, rather than just saying something first. My friend, reflexively, spins around, about to fight someone (wouldn't you?). He realizes, immediately, it was just a security guy at that point and tries to ask what's going on but the guard goes into "bad ass mode" as soon as my friend spun around quickly, and tries to throw us all out. We had words with the manager but were essentially told they don't care if we ever come back again or not, and they're not going to make any effort to make us happy.

There's really NOTHING special about that place anyway. Just another overcrowded sports bar with an Irish theme for the sake of having a theme.

I used to really like Lemmon's bar, further down on Watson Rd. as you got into S. City, but I see it closed not too long ago; a victim of all the Bosnians who took over that part of town and ruined it with street gangs.

Comment Re:St. Louis (Score 4, Insightful) 464

Really? I was born and raised in St. Louis. Spent almost 40 years of my life there working in tech. And I'm really glad I got out. Same sentiment many of my tech-savvy friends had too when they left.

I'll grant you that for a city its size, it does have affordable housing, and it's VERY good at offering family-friendly attractions.

But beyond that, it's in decline in many ways. First, you have only a few major employers there who employ the bulk of the I.T. workers there. One is the Busch brewery, who ever since getting taken over by InBev, let go of a whole bunch of full-time I.T. workers, preferring to use contractors (often of the H1B variety). Before that, they scaled back much of the advertising/marketing they used to do. (I had friends who lost good jobs there as graphics artists and the like, when they eliminated the "creative services" division.)

Another is Boeing, who IMO really just took over McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis so they could eliminate them as a competitor. There's been a slow shuttering of buildings on that campus ever since the takeover. They still employ a lot of people, but I'd say Boeing is much more interested in work they're doing in places like Seattle at this point.

It also has the HQ for Emerson Corporation, although it happens to be located right next to Ferguson. Luckily for them, they've always been walled in like a fortress, so I doubt the rioters ever had a chance of damaging anything of value in there. But needless to say, a job there means you're traveling through questionable neighborhoods every day for work. Not a lot of pleasant places to go out to lunch or what-not, out there, either.

If you remember the "glory days" of St. Louis, you'll also note that the riverfront is TERRIBLE compared to what it used to be. Ever since the casino went in on the landing and started buying up adjacent properties, it killed the nightlife down there. The riverfront used to be a popular destination that had moored ships and barges of all types, including a floating McDonalds riverboat, an old aircraft carrier you could walk around on, and riverboats (Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn) that actually did riverboat cruises/tours daily. One place let you take helicopter rides too. It also had a wax museum, a coin-op arcade game museum, a cool magic store, and many other neat shops that are all gone today.

I'm sure there are a lot of random opportunities out there, but my experience is, many are tough to find and fleeting. Many I.T. people wind up working in manufacturing for a struggling business someplace in the city for wages below the average, or working in medical I.T. - which is kind of its own beast, with a unique set of challenges and problems. It's not for everybody....

Comment Won't ever happen .... (Score 1) 176

Even if it was possible to computerize the job of the CEO and have flawless efficiency processing reports and interpreting data? There's the expectation that a business have a human being at the top to talk to for negotiations.

Say another company wants to propose an arrangement to work together with them to produce a new product or provide a service. Do you really think it will suffice to submit the request to a computer system for processing and an ultimate yes or no decision? No way.

The company wasn't created in the first place because some computer software decided to form it. It took a human being (or a whole group of them) with some kind of vision and desire to fill a perceived void in the marketplace. These individuals aren't going to step aside to let a computer system call all the shots.

What MAY happen eventually is such computer software will act as the executive assistant, providing recommendations of what to do in a given scenario, or summaries of what reports really mean for the company.

Comment Hmm.... Guess there's a place for this .... (Score 1) 412

I'm way too old to directly relate, but I work with plenty of people in the millennial generation and can still remember what life was like for me in my 20's.

Off-hand, I can see the attraction for a certain segment of the population, but don't know that I'd call it a "trend" just yet? In a way, this reminds me of those restaurants (most often the Japanese Steakhouses) where they purposely seat you at a table next to a number of strangers. Some people really enjoy the encouragement to socialize it creates, but others simply find it uncomfortable and even if they had a good time trying it once, aren't eager to repeat it.

Just because the younger generation likes to stay in constant contact/communication via the Internet doesn't necessarily mean they desire the same thing in daily life, out in the real world. IMO, a lot of people who constantly chat online are the same ones who aren't that comfortable in traditional social situations. The Internet is their social outlet BECAUSE they don't find it so easy to casually chat with random people if they're placed in the same room with them and have to be judged by their clothing choices, facial expressions, etc.

With the 20-somethings I encounter at work, I see a lot of them pairing up as roommates with friends, but not so much interested in communal living arrangements.

Comment It's not a resource you can even USE infinitely! (Score 1) 622

At some point, you reach a limit where you can't download more than a certain amount because your transfer rate makes it impossible to exceed it.

(EG. Whether I have 50 people sharing a 6mbit DSL circuit or just 1 person on it, we're collectively only going to be able to pull down 6mbits of data per second, maximum, multiplied by the number of seconds in one billing period.)

Especially as the transfer rates sold with broadband plans increase, it's arguable that the massive amount of data possible to download in a month is far greater than what's reasonable to allow for the price paid .... BUT that argument has a few holes in it too. (Most providers start ignoring caps or "soft limits" where you're throttled down in speed past a certain data xfer threshold, as long as you pay for the fastest tiers of service!)

I never really expected that I was getting truly "unlimited service" on any of the data plans I paid for which advertised it. IMO - that was always just marketing hype, kind of like those "unbreakable" combs, mirrors, and other odds and ends they sell. What I *expected* for my money was a service that charged me a reasonable price to cover my typical/average use of the plan, with the understanding that the times I might do heavy data transfers were offset by the times I don't do much but still pay as much as others who do.

Comment Agree.... (Score 1) 735

Although scientists don't have a great track record of predicting the end of "peak oil" ... it does seem to me that we're on track to phase out the burning of fossil fuels as a primary means of energy production.

Without any legislative interference, we're going to find "supply and demand" will dictate a change of course in coming decades, if localized pollution issues don't dictate it in some cases first.

What we DO know is that the major oil companies have been investing larger and larger amounts of money to drill ever further off-shore. That's not something that makes ANY financial sense at all, given the risks + cost, except for the fact they're not finding much "low hanging fruit" anymore with easier to drill locations. The new thing of extracting oil from shale deposits gave them a new supply source too -- but how long is that really going to last, especially as we move towards safer, more reliable versions of nuclear power plants?

Comment Re:Yeah, I know, I'm probably a denier... (Score 0) 735

No, I'm with you on this one. It's ALSO part of the media "machine" to try to frame everyone as either at one end of the spectrum or the other on a topic.

What happened to sensibly, cautiously looking at the data and finding that quite likely, the truth is someplace in the middle?

There are some cases where scientific research is simply done in error:

In other cases, all of the facts aren't really stated or taken into account. I see no compelling to reason to flat out deny the climate is undergoing some change? Apparently, a lot of scientists think it is and they know more than I do about the topic. But that being the case, there's WAY too much money and political agenda behind convincing people of one result or another to take any of these long-term predictive models without a large heap of salt.

Comment Not sure it matters, ultimately? (Score 4, Interesting) 154

Truth is, the U.S. has a lot of wide open space that's sparsely populated - mostly by farmers or ranchers. These people are usually a lot smarter than most people give them credit for. They have to be, because it's so difficult to make a living that way these days. (You have to do a lot of manual labor, do a lot of number crunching, be versed in sales and marketing, and much more.)

My experience is, many of them are already well aware of the Internet and make use of it (even if it's only via a satellite connection). What they may NOT care about that much are "city slickers" coming in, preaching how their entire way of life will die out if they don't change (EG. conform to their ideas of how to modernize everything in town).

They're already adopting a lot of tech that the outsiders probably know little to nothing about -- but it's specific to their career choice.

Comment re: FiOS in Comcast territory (Score 1) 264

The city I live in (Brunswick, MD) has Verizon for land line phone service, and they sell you up to 6mbit DSL as the fastest Internet service they offer. Comcast is also available here for TV, phone and broadband -- and with them, you can purchase up to 200mbits down / 10 up. (For some weird reason, they won't give you more than 10mbits up no matter what package you buy here. They tried to tell me it had to do with a limit because their central office is too far from here, but it sure looks artificially capped to me. When you run speed tests, you see it immediately bang up against the 10mbit upload speed limit and get throttled right back down again as soon as it hits 11-12.)

The interesting thing is, FiOS very quietly crept into a neighborhood in town where new construction is taking place (Brunswick Crossing). Initially though, I was told almost nobody purchased it or kept it for any length of time because they could only offer broadband Internet, not television. Comcast supposedly had exclusive rights for the TV in our area. I believe as of just a month ago or so though, that has been lifted and the full FiOS bundle is available for them.

It's not possible to get FiOS anyplace besides in the Crossing housing development out here though. The rumor is, Verizon claims it's "not feasible to run fiber through the hilly terrain the rest of the city consists of" -- but they found a relatively low-cost/easy way to extend service to the one development that sits on flat land, outside the main part of the city.

Comment Cool except NO to social media integration! (Score 1) 113

Have to agree wholeheartedly with the other people commenting here who dislike the social media integration aspect of these new drivers!

IMO, this sort of functionality NEVER belongs in a device driver package (even IF the package also bundles related applications such as control panels or optimization tools). Social media integration should be handled at the application level, by the games or other software someone chooses to install on a machine.

I'm even willing to go so far as to accept than an operating system itself might embrace social media, in the sense that it provides "hooks" so popular social media services can OPTIONALLY pop notifications on an all-purpose status bar or screen. (Apple and Microsoft both do some of this now. I dislike it in the sense that you're now developed an OS that has ties to 3rd. party services outside of the direct control of the people coding the OS. History shows us that this leads to broken features in the OS down the road. At the very least, this looks "ugly" when someone wishes to keep using an older operating system and now has entire menu configuration options that simply don't work when clicked. But at the end of the day, I suppose an OS should offer whatever functionality its users find useful. And enough people use Twitter or Facebook that they'd like their OS's notification bar to incorporate those updates.)

I just don't see where any value is added by rolling this stuff into the device drivers that make hardware "go", though? If I want to discuss my driver settings with other people, I'll visit an online support forum to do that. I don't need bloated drivers providing built in windows to do that stuff!

Comment Re:It's worked for In-N-Out for decades. (Score 1) 500

IMO though, there are always going to be trade-offs with this pay structure.

If one of your primary business goals happens to be growth and as wide a coverage area as possible, it doesn't seem to me that paying "well above market rates" for jobs in the retail or fast food businesses works very well?

For example, you constantly see those comparisons online about Wal-Mart vs. CostCo, claiming how CostCo compensates workers so much better, etc. The thing is, CostCo doesn't even so much as TRY to run a regular chain of superstores open to the general public. It only does membership-based warehouses. Wal-Mart operates Sam's Club, which has a very similar business model to CostCo AND happens to run the most successful retailer in the whole United States while doing that! (Check who the #1 employer is in America, by FAR.... Yep, WalMart. In fact, WalMart still ranks 3rd. in the entire WORLD.

Try eating at In-N-Out burger anywhere on the East Coast of the U.S. Oh, sorry... they don't have any of them out here. By comparison, try finding a McDonalds at least *somewhere* on the East Coast. Oh hey, probably can do that in a 5 mile radius of just about anywhere!

I'm not saying paying people more is a BAD thing, by any means. But I think it's fair to state that doing so tends to work most effectively if you're happy keeping your business relatively limited in size and scope. It doesn't appear that the In-N-Out business model has the ability to keep millions of people employed in America like the WalMart business model does.

Comment But let's look at the big picture, shall we? (Score 1) 500

If you want to start tracing back where we really "went off the rails" with salary increases not corresponding directly with increased buying power anymore, you find the divergence began right after America got off of the gold standard.

I've never been a big proponent of the idea that gold is the "best option" as the tangible resource to tie the dollar to, but I think the concept itself made a lot of sense. If you don't have *something* of value backing each dollar printed, you're essentially expecting people to believe in its value on sheer faith. That, in turn, opened the floodgates to devaluing the currency because the Fed could simply order more money be printed to cover the costs of any loans or government expenditures. The end result is the multi TRILLION dollar debt ceiling the government just voted to raise again last Monday, and the shrinking of your actual buying power.

Claims by Millennials that employers now believe "the less you pay someone, the harder they'll work" and the like are nonsense, and completely ignore this root problem with our money.

What *really* happened (speaking as a gen-X guy who lived through it) is we generally took to heart the advice our parents taught us, that we'd be able to get ahead with plenty of hard work and dedication. If we had an employer who promised the company would pay us overtime to work extra hours, a lot of us sacrificed and took them up on the offer. If an employer suggested there was a potential for faster career advancement by proving you went "above and beyond" what was required in a job position (often requiring working more than the standard 8 hour day), a lot of people chose to do that. Unfortunately, the value of the U.S. dollar was declining at the same time -- so that notion that putting "work first" and suffering a bit in the short term would pay off in the long term just wasn't coming true. (It would make sense to amass as much savings as possible while you're still young, so it can go into investments like a 401K plan where the money "goes to work for you" earning money just by sitting there. But people were finding they had to keep working that overtime or going "above and beyond" just to tread water.... so the "extra money" to invest didn't always materialize.)

Today's workers see that our generation failed at getting ahead with all of that extra work, so they think the answer is to rail against it and demand employers just compensate them better for doing less. They're not getting that the whole financial system is rigged against us.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.