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Comment: Re:Girls, girls, girls... (Score 1) 333

That may happen too, but my dad experienced first hand bullying from at least some of the women in the nursing department. Not sure the exact reason for it, but it was primarily from the older nurses in "Charge" positions. He was the only full time male nurse in the hospital, the others were either CNA's or floaters who worked part-time. But, there were at least two older nurses who constantly bullied my dad around and made his life hell. My mom, who was also a nurse at the same hospital, actually came home in tears sometimes from what the bullies were putting my dad through. Dad being a marine (won't say former, once a marine always a marine) hid it most of the time.

Comment: Reports should only exist to solve problems (Score 1) 179

by MNNorske (#47996491) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Reporting Still Relevant?
Reports should only exist to solve problems. And, when the problems go away so should the reports.

Why are reports typically created? Usually in my experience it's because you need to get a handle on the performance of something. Or you have identified a problem that you need so solve.

If you want to get a handle on the performance of something then you should run the report as long as it takes to get a handle on it. If it's not a problem, then stop the reporting.

If you have identified a problem, then by all means create a report to measure the problem and set a criteria for what you would consider to be "bad" and "good". Once you get the problem in hand and move your measure from bad to good and can keep it at good the problem will likely be gone. At which point your report is really doing no good anymore. If you're concerned about the problem coming up again set up some sort of threshold alert to warn you and stash that report away in your archives.

If a report outlives the problem it was intended to help solve institutional momentum will keep that report going forever. No one will remember why metric X was generated or why it was considered "bad" back in 2007 when that value got too high. The underlying technology or processes may have changed completely in the meantime and metric X may be meaningless, but someone who is ill informed will keep looking at it and trying to drive meaningless work off of it. The healthiest thing a company can do is to define a lifetime for their reports and re-evaluate whether those reports should continue at the end of the lifetime. If you do determine it should keep continuing define a new lifetime and re-evaluate it at the end of that lifetime again.

Comment: Re:Sanity check (Score 2) 197

by MNNorske (#46992843) Attached to: 7.1 Billion People, 7.1 Billion Mobile Phone Accounts Activated
I personally account for:
- One person cell phone
- One work issued cell phone
- One medical device that has a cellular connection to a service provider
- One security system that has a mobile module in it
- Two kindles, one 2nd generation, and one DX both of which connect via cellular

So right there I account for six "subscriptions."

Comment: No thank you (Score 1) 765

by MNNorske (#46980903) Attached to: A Look at Smart Gun Technology
You can keep your "smart firearms" to yourself. People who argue that "smart" firearms will keep them out of the hands of criminals obviously have never dismantled a firearm before. The main elements that make a firearm are the barrel, the chamber, and the firing pin. You load a shell into the chamber, the firing pin strikes the shell igniting the primer and powder, and the bullet is expelled from the shell into the barrel and outward.

Safeties on firearms typically disable the ability to pull the trigger or to allow the mechanism to engage the firing pin. All a "smart firearm" can do is to build some complex mechanism that acts as one of these safeties. If I were to open up a firearm for maintenance I could easily remove the "smart" portion of the firearm and replace it with some normal "dumb" components. Which thanks to 3D printing and relatively cheap machining equipment could be produced at home. Criminals will still steal weapons, they will pay someone some money to disable the smart portion, and they will continue on their way.
Here are some other problems I see with a "smart firearm."
- Batteries, ok, now I need to change the batteries in my firearms before I can use them
- Fingerprint scanners are useless in states that have cold weather, ever hear of gloves?
- Fingerprint scanners are also useless in most cases if your hands are too dry from things like woodworking, or a number of other hands on trades
- RF Bracelets? Umm... ever hear of RF jammers? If I'm a criminal and I want to rob people all I have to do is get an RF jammer that works on the approved frequencies and I suddenly render all firearms (except my own hacked one) useless. (If you want to point out that such jammers would be illegal I'll point you back to the fact that criminals don't follow the law.) And, I guarantee you the police will demand they can jam the frequency so the tech will be out there and it won't stay in police hands.

Comment: Re:We aren't all born with it (Score 1) 247

by MNNorske (#46114271) Attached to: Red Team, Blue Team: the Only Woman On the Team
You nailed it spot on. There were always a few students back in college who "got it." But, the vast majority of the students I helped in the lab struggled with the concepts. I even knew a fair number of students who had tinkered with computers for years before showing up in my labs and they were still clueless once we hit anything that took abstract thinking, which was pretty much the first class. I know I was one of those annoying people who seemed to get it right away, but part of that was simply because I was a TA and the constant reiteration of concepts as I was helping students constantly pounded home the concepts for me. However even that background didn't prepare me for working in the real world, I had to learn and even re-learn a lot of concepts once I started working professionally. Which might surprise some of my lab partners from college.

There's nothing in her experience that I would call as truly being unique to her. She's just voicing self doubt and complaining about how hard it was to find her way into a specific field. Everyone feels self doubt at some point. But, she attributes that self doubt and inability to find opportunities to her gender.

Very few people I know in IT started out saying I want to be X and then found a college program to study that, and then immediately found a job doing that. Most people's careers are simply defined by the opportunities they are lucky enough to find when they are looking for a position. If you graduated with a CS degree but could only find DBA positions, you probably became a DBA. If all you could find was support, you're probably still working in support. If you found a position that involved coding, there's a good possibility that you're still doing coding. The folks that I know who work in security usually stumbled into the field because they were working on something security related for a project and made the right contacts to follow through.

Comment: Would you... (Score 1) 249

by MNNorske (#45850827) Attached to: Do Non-Technical Managers Add Value?
Would you put someone in charge of finance who didn't have a background in finance or accounting?
Would you put someone in charge of a legal department who was not a lawyer?

I'm guessing the answer in both cases would be no. These are specialist areas that require specialized knowledge to ensure that the organizations are working correctly and effectively. Information Technology is also a specialist area and should really be treated in the same mode as a finance or legal department. Leadership within a specialist department should be representative of the core competency of that department. We certainly need people to help manage the money and people, and there are many other roles within a large IT organization that don't need to be technical. But, when it comes to making good decisions about technology you really need people with a technical background.

Comment: Integrity Hotline (Score 4, Interesting) 310

If you're working for a Fortune 500 company there likely will be some form of internal integrity hotline. I know my own corporation has one. Document your concerns and contact them. I recently had to report a concern raised about one of the major offshore contractors we use to our integrity hotline and it was actually a very good experience from my side. After submitting the issue it took a few days but an investigator from our legal department contacted me and we had a phone conversation, and then I forwarded him some additional details I had held back from the initial correspondence. I did that mostly to protect an individual from the contractor who brought the concerns to my attention.

I would make sure that the correspondence you send to your legal department includes copies of some of the email chains you have with your managers, peers, etc... raising the concerns. Be sure to specify any regulations you suspect are being violated. If the legal team determines there is concern you can bet that change will happen. If they determine otherwise, then you've done your due diligence and reported it within the means your company gives for you to report it.

Comment: VB6 (Score 1) 254

by MNNorske (#43452205) Attached to: Taking the Pain Out of Debugging With Live Programming
Pretty sure these were features of VB6. I remember hacking out code, using the immediate window to trace values, setting break points, stepping through the code, modifying in the middle of execution, and then resuming execution. The language itself may have had a lot of issues and performance issues, but the IDE and development environment had some very nice features.

Comment: Re:Some Rambling Commentary (Score 3, Insightful) 489

by MNNorske (#43369839) Attached to: Getting a Literature Ph.D. Will Make You Into a Horrible Person
We are definitely enriched by the arts. However there is a surplus of people going into these areas and a deficit of jobs. I see this quite frequently since one of my hobbies is working with community theatre groups. I see a lot of folks who got theatre, music, or other arts related majors in college (quite frequently at private colleges...) and then complain that they can't find a job. Note, I live in the Minneapolis area and we have a very large theatre community here, even with all the professional theatres we have here we cannot support the numbers of people who graduate every year looking to make theatre their career.

I would argue that most of these individuals would've been better off having obtained a major in some other field and done theatre as a minor or second major. Personally I majored in computer science. I have a stable profitable career, and I'm still able to partake in the arts and contribute to the arts.

The same can also be said for elementary education majors here in MN. We probably have per capita one of the highest rates of people with elementary education degrees. To the point where most of them are not working in education. Probably only half of the people I know who went to college for elementary education are actually working in that field. Did they learn something valuable? Sure. Could they have potentially learned something else and had an easier time getting a career in another field? Definitely.

I think the original commenter was simply trying to point out this fact. We do a very poor job of guiding teenagers moving from high school to either the real world or college. And, there are some fields which are simply over-saturated and it'll be hard to get a job in.

Comment: It's ok on occasion (Score 1) 455

by MNNorske (#42998429) Attached to: Why Working Remotely Needs To Make a Comeback
I have to say I have severely mixed feelings on working from home. It's definitely nice on occasion, but as I see more and more of my coworkers working remotely and we're forced to use more workers in India it creates an environment where the entire feeling of teamwork is breaking down. Plus as an engineer I feel my single best tool for communicating many technical issues and designs is a marker board. Which cannot be used remotely. Even the engineers I have "locally" tend to be very green and need a lot of guidance, trying to lead them remotely just gives me a headache and things take far longer than they should.

Comment: Re:Wrong site (Score 5, Interesting) 605

by MNNorske (#42913265) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is the Bar Being Lowered At Universities?
Some of it might be attributable to the "participation award" mentality that has become quite pervasive over the past few decades. I can't recall where I read it, but sometime in the past few months there was an article which was pointing out that the kids currently in college were more likely to believe themselves to be exceptional at whatever they were doing. If they all believe themselves to be exceptional they have very little reason to try and do better. A lifetime of reinforcing that everyone is a winner, and everyone is exceptional can only result in bar being lowered.

There's definitely value in teaching kids that it's good to try, and it's ok to not succeed at some things. But, it may have been taken a bit too far. People need to fall down if only to learn how to stand. And, that's not really happening right now in our schools.

Comment: Re:Paranoid Much? (Score 1) 584

by MNNorske (#42435113) Attached to: New Documents Detail FBI, Bank Crack Down On Occupy Wall Street
Oh, the banks definitely have skin in this game. And, many of the big banks have quite likely many reasons to dislike OWS. I personally was not trying to attribute any nobleness to the organizations as a whole. Legal compliance is rarely a noble quality in large organizations. It's usually enforced by internal legal departments who are paranoid about the potential of lawsuits or fines. I deal with such internal legal paranoia quite often in my role, it can be quite stifling and lead to actions that can seem quite irrational. It usually boils down to a company trying to do what they think their job is.

As for cracking down on the protests can you really blame anyone working in management at these banks for wanting to? You have an angry group of people who will not so much as give a cohesive list of demands that could sensibly bring an end to the protest. All you have is a large group of people with no defined leadership, which makes them impossible to even negotiate with, and a list of ideas/concepts/whatever that they are protesting for or against that's so general and broad that there is literally no way possible that any of the targets of their protest could reasonably assuage them.

Peaceful protests? Sure, parts of the protests have been peaceful. Parts have been less so. Blocking traffic, causing such a disruption that small employers like the local restaurants and coffee shops were unable to do business, beating drums at all hours of the night so the local residents cannot sleep in their own homes. (Yes, there are people living in those neighborhoods too.) These don't strike me as particularly peaceful. The folks living there can in no way effect the operations of the businesses so beating drums in the middle of the night when there aren't any office workers there is pretty much just a nuisance activity. Destroying the business of the folks who may very well have their entire livelihoods tied up in those local businesses that were unable to operate because of the disruption is also not in line with peaceful protests. Based on the tenor of your comment I'm going to guess that you'll probably justify all those actions in some manner though.

As for your question I'm not going to answer it. You define only two possible answers and assume that my reasoning must fall into one those and therefore try to constrain me to fit within the categories which you define. If I answer in any way other than you would accept you're just going to assume that I ultimately fall back into one of those two categories. By defining naivete and dishonesty as the only two possible answers you show that your mind is already closed.

Comment: Re:Paranoid Much? (Score 2) 584

by MNNorske (#42434843) Attached to: New Documents Detail FBI, Bank Crack Down On Occupy Wall Street
In my opinion that's too many things to try and effect change on at one time. People who are not directly invested into those causes are for the most part very easily distracted and if you bombard them with too many inputs at once they naturally start to drown out some or all of those inputs. Have you ever been in a meeting where you had a dozen things on the agenda and everyone wanted to talk about their own particular agenda item and were unwilling to yield to other other agenda items? I have. Nothing got done. In those circumstances someone has to clearly steer the conversation to give time to each point and address them. By directing the conversation the meeting suddenly becomes more effective, and while they end result is that some things get deferred you will stand a much better chance of accomplishing something.

I've also been in situations where people simply complained about something and said "fix it." My question to them always is "how do you want it fixed?" If there is no direct answer then I can't fix it. OWS suffers from this same exact problem. Simply complaining about something is not enough. Giving a stated list of suggestions on how to fix something is effective. You may not get your ideal solution, but you may get something instead of just getting ignored.

Because OWS eschews formal organizational structures and leadership and tries to lead everything by committee their message is lost, diffuse, and ultimately ignored.

Some corporations definitely do hold too much sway in politics. As I would argue many special interest groups and even unions do. I would love to see all these groups have their influence dialed back. But, I would argue without term limits and campaign finance reform you won't see any of them lose their sway. Politicians who "serve" indefinitely are in my opinion the real problem. It invites a class of individuals whose only true goal is to continue to be re-elected. They then cater to some mix of these groups and accept their money happily to fund their campaigns. If politicians were limited in the length of time they could serve in federal elected offices and prohibited from then moving into appointed positions you would likely see a return of the citizen legislator that once (very early in our republic) dominated. And, perhaps a bit of a return to sanity and common sense. Or at least so I hope.

The trouble with being punctual is that people think you have nothing more important to do.