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Comment: Re:The death of leniency (Score 1) 477

by Karl Cocknozzle (#47767511) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

The problem with this is that if all cops feel like they're being audited all of the time, they're less likely to let you off the hook for a minor violation. Then since they have to charge you with something, and there's supporting evidence, you're not going to get a plea or reduction from a mandatory sentence in court.

I know that doesn't sound like a big deal but cops let thousands of people off per day on minor things where people just need a warning.

Not remotely a foregone conclusion. It comes down to what the rules of the cameras actually are. If the footage goes to third parties and can only be reviewed in the case of an incident, "leniency" wouldn't be an "incident."

Cops are already "audited all the time" by virtue of the fact that they radio in when they stop the car and get out with "I'm stopping the car to investigate X." If he doesn't show up with a prisoner, there is already an "audit point." The camera won't require the cop to "invent" a charge, but it would police him if he kills you in the course of an encounter because it would mean there was a "version of events" supplied by someone other than your murderer.

Comment: Re:Moderately well prepared - Oakland, California (Score 1) 190

by Cliff Stoll (#47744875) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Hi gang,

        Thanks for the reports of stale gasoline - I'm convinced. Tonight I'll head out & recycle my old gas. The problem isn't getting things together; it's keeping it all up to date & ready. Your comments hit me in the right place: be prepared.

        I'm associated with a ham radio emergency group; the rule is that the station's equipment must be immediately ready for action. In an emergency, you don't have the luxury of stringing a cable, or figuring out which power supply can work with which rig. If the transceivers aren't wired up, tested, and set to go, they might as well be underwater. Same's true for on-the-air skills. You gotta check into the 2-meter net at least every month, or you'll get rusty and screw up when things get hot.

      And so it is with earthquake readiness. It's not enough to put away a survival stash and let it molder. Gotta keep things fresh - gotta keep my skills sharp.

Best wishes,
-Cliff
        ps to ksmithderm ... sure, I've got Klein bottle hats (and Mobius scarves). They're on m'website.

Comment: Moderately well prepared - Oakland, California (Score 4, Informative) 190

by Cliff Stoll (#47743541) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

Background: I live on North Oakland, next to Berkeley, in the Rockridge section. Urban, detached 2 bedroom house about 100 years old.

We bolted down our house, fully reinforced the stemwalls, and installed shearwalls. For our little 2-bedroom bungalow in Oakland, this set us back around $20,000. Earthquake insurance seemed outrageous (around $2,500/year, with very limited benefits). Along with the earthquake retrofit, we set aside a few cases of food & twenty 5-gallon jugs of water. A 2Kw Honda generator. Radio, flashlights, FRS walkie-talkies, etc. Small amount of medical stuff.

Yes, I have onsite and offsite backups (that's easy); the real problem would be connectivity after a quake. There's probably a hundred telephone poles between my house and the central office.

Some challenges: Keeping food & water fresh is a problem - cans get rusty as water condenses on cold surfaces. Some camping food goes bad. MRI rations taste, well, horrible. We should replace water & food annually, and generally forget to. (We discovered diapers in our earthquake stash, left over from when our college kids were infants)

    Storing gasoline for the generator is a problem. I'm told that gasoline gets stale after a few months (is this true, or an urban legend?). It's a pain to lug a 3 gallon gas can around, and it's not something I want under my house. (I store it in a shed, where it's out of sight & out of mind - so I rarely refresh it. Is there a small, 5 or 10 gallon under-ground gasoline storage tank?). I should start and exercise the generator every month; it's more like every two years or so. Our experience in the 1989 quake was that gas stations can't pump after an earthquake (no power).

  Our neighborhood's quake group (the Oakland - Rockridge Shakers) meets every summer, and the earthquake drills have been quite useful - we've had several fun practice sessions, where we hunt for human dummies hidden around the neighborhood, search for downed wires, and practice using walkie-talkies. Afterwards, it's a block party, and we compare notes while sharing lunch.

    My home business, Acme Klein Bottles, lost two glass Klein bottles in last night's quake. Both fell off a shelf and shattered on the floor. Good lesson: keep my glassware stored down low, with holders to prevent boxes from shifting. Since most of my glass Klein bottles are stored under our house; a major local temblor that destroyed the house would also wipe out the business.

Comment: Re:Pretty obvious (Score 2) 115

the process isn't really that much different in regions where there is enough moral fiber for the state to keep all of the proceeds.

The state never gets "all of the proceeds"--the entire thing is a graft to slurp money out of taxpayers pockets (while causing more accidents at the same time) and into the pockets of private industry. The money paid to the government is considered a "cost of doing business" for the people operating the graft. It's one of the most corrupt things in our modern society--automated law enforcement.

Comment: Re:Not creative rock stars? (Score 1) 166

don't have ANY of the perks of the private sector that techies prize, like working from home (HA!) flex-time, or flex-spending accounts.

(1) They do have work-from home. Didn't you read the story from yesterday about all the patent examiners working from home?

No, but most of the government jobs int his country aren't with the patent examiners, or the Feds in general. None of the government jobs I've looked at had this benefit because I live in a "red" state, so "government equals bad always."

(2) Flex-time is not a benefit, it is a way to screw over employees. Combining sick-leave with vacation they've reduced the total number of days off. Government jobs have much more generous vacation and sick-leave policies.

Ahhh... Youv'e confused "Paid Time Off" encompassing sick and vacation time with "flex-time." What it means where I've worked is your schedule is flexible to meet your needs. So if you need to come in at 6:30am so can get your kids off the bus at 3:30pm we'll do what it takes to accommodate you assuming it doesn't compromise our overall mission. Or you're a "night owl" who prefers to come in at Noon and work until 9-10pm. Again, not a problem as long as your work is handled.

(3) Flex-spending accounts - yet another way to screw over employees. Government healthcare coverage is some of the best out there, you don't need a flex-spending account because you have very little out-of-pocket expenses in the first place.

Not necessarily. Again, red state. Government = bad. So government employees are the scum of the earth. So around here, having the ability to put some of your own money aside pre-tax to cover the gaps is very useful. And yes, if you work for the feds, you don't need this.

But even still, let's just say I agree with everything you said--so what? It's still a soul-crushing graveyard for creativity.

Comment: Not creative rock stars? (Score 4, Interesting) 166

Can you do what they can do? No? So then, how about a nice plate of shut the fuck up, then?

Government doesn't get good techies because they don't pay enough, have a lousy working environment, and don't have ANY of the perks of the private sector that techies prize, like working from home (HA!) flex-time, or flex-spending accounts. Workplaces are static (you can fight for the "best office" after 10-15 years of seniority, but will toil in an ill-lit cube farm until the,) schedules are inflexible, and benefits are one-size fits all.

I saw an advertisement for my job (basically to the letter) working for a "state" organization here... The Teachers retirement fund (it's a pension fund for the teacher's union, operated by the state under state employment rules.) What I make is irrelevant, but suffice it to say, their "max" was 40% less than I make today, and just over 50% less than what "the market will bear."

That's your ballgame.

Comment: Re:Because they don't use them to get employees. (Score 4, Interesting) 278

Real jobs don't come from HR. They come from business contacts.

Actually, this is NOT true all the time.

By any chance, do you work in HR? Exactly ZERO jobs "come from HR." Without a business need for a hire, there is no job. HR is the cadre of paper-pushers who stand in the way of getting a job, and make it impossible for teams to hire the people they actually need by enforcing meaningless, arcane, and bureaucratic "best practices" which also happen to enshrine the HR people themselves into unfirable, key-man positions. Their function is (literally) to prevent applicants from connecting with hiring managers--this is the exact opposite of what you should be trying to achieve. Until you're talking to the hiring manager, directly, and have permission to contact her directly after the fact with any followups, you're not a real candidate for a job. If HR can arbitrarily cut off your contact with the hiring manager (because you can only go "through HR") you're not a candidate--you're a person whose application is being used to justify the payment of salaries to HR people because otherwise "Who will deal with all these applicants?"

In fact, a any job you get from a corporation of any kind of size, you are going though HR and the only thing your contact can buy you is priority treatment (getting put top on the stack) and possibly having an advocate with the hiring manager.

It really depends on the company. Most organizations I know/have interviewed at intentionally recruit via third parties and "fix it on the back end" with HR because before they started doing so the HR "screener" disqualified all the good candidates and sent up clunkers with no employment "gaps," but no real achievements, either.

My last 3 jobs which cover the last 15 years of my life all came via HR and not direct contacts. In fact, most of my jobs came though the HR process and didn't involve an insider at all.

How many applications did you fill out to get those three jobs? 10? 50? 100? 1,000? 10,000? In the same 15 years, I've gotten six jobs. Five of them were recruiters, referrals, or placements. Only one involved "going in the front door" and that job paid the least of all the jobs, had the worst benefits, the longest hours, zero advancement opportunities, and generally sucked donkey-ass. And as for applications: I haven't filled one out since I started working with recruiters exclusively. "Fill out an application" is the same as being told "We'll call you"--it's a euphemism for "you aren't going to be hired."

Since I stopped doing the "front door" my salary has quadrupled (granted, I've also added a great skillset in the intervening 14.5 years,) my working hours are sane, and permit working remotely when going to the office is inconvenient. That "front-door" gig? If there was enough snow to make going to work dangerous, but the roads were open, you have to go or use a vacation day. Literally every job I've ever had has been better than the "front door" place. But I also spend less time interviewing and filling out pointless paperwork (that you'll have to fill out again when hired, because they can't just "type in what you put on your application" in your new hire paperwork, of course.

The bigger they are, the more likely HR is going to be in firm control of the initial vetting of possible candidates and having an inside contact is much less valuable. But in the small company, where they don't have an HR department., contacts are the only route to get in. So it just depends on what kind of company you are looking for.

Here's my advice, do with it what you will: If you're trying to get a job and the HR department is so "firmly in control" of hiring that they have total trump over every hiring decision run away as fast as you can. Don't walk--RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Why? Besides the nightmare of getting yourself hired, every time your team has an opening you can be guaranteed not to get a top tier candidate because the best candidates won't put up with the B.S. required to get a job there through the "front door." You won't have recruiters bringing you candidates, because when HR departments are "firmly in control" the first thing they do you'll be waiting until somebody "notices" your job opening and applies. And the best candidates aren't wasting their time this way--they're taking interviews setup for them by recruiters. This is how IT works--if you're in some other business it might be different.

But I'll go back to the old saw (because it is true): "The best job openings are never advertised." Which means the best job openings don't "go through" HR. The best companies use HR as a convenient way to get paperwork done, not as a gatekeeper for hiring.

Comment: Re:So 40% dwarfs 60%? (Score 1) 256

by Karl Cocknozzle (#47614623) Attached to: 40% Of People On Terror Watch List Have No Terrorist Ties

I don't think it's necessarily an error rate. What they're saying is these people may be lone actors (Unibomber, Boston bombers) who are not linked to any actual terrorist organization. Or, they're people who they think may become radicalized but have not actually phoned up Al Qaeda yet.

It's still a ridiculous number, but one can be a terrorist without being linked to a terrorist group. Yet.

You're not incorrect in your logic--one can be a terrorist without having yet been linked to a terrorist group. But it begs the question of how they were identified as terrorists and put on watch lists in the first place. Is it because they look funny? Smell funny? Have a funny hair-do? Wear traditional "muslim" clothing when they travel? Have the wrong political beliefs? Have the right political beliefs but don't express them ardently enough for big brother's taste?

The basic problem with a "Terrorism watch list" in which 40% of the people on it have seemingly no link to known terrorists or terrorist organizations, where the criteria for getting on the list in this category are murky (or possible just don't exist) the potential for abuse is absolutely staggering. How many of those people up in Dearborn Heights that can't travel are actually just being declared terrorists for having a funny name and living down the street from someone interesting? With zero oversight, we really have no way of knowing WTF is going on behind the scenes.

Comment: Re:So 40% dwarfs 60%? (Score 2) 256

by Karl Cocknozzle (#47613555) Attached to: 40% Of People On Terror Watch List Have No Terrorist Ties

In which mathematical system is 40>60?

It does. The list arbitrarily denies the right to free travel and movement among the various states for no reason whatsoever, almost 300,000 people in total. It draws into question the accuracy of the "60%"--that is, if nearly 300,000 people are arbitrarily on the list for no discernible link to terrorism, how many of the "60%" that they claim have ties to terrorism, actually do?

The incompetence of the 40% casts doubt on the claim of "60%" accuracy. I.e. "Of the 60% who do allegedly have terrorist ties, against how many of them is the evidence either completely non-existent or just because some arbitrary bureaucrat somewhere says so?"

That's what people are concerned about. An admitted 40% error rate is appalling, and it leads to wonder "If that's what they're admitting to their superiors, how much worse is the problem, actually?"

Comment: Re:Keep It Ready (Score 1) 208

Keep everything ready, so you can switch back when the cloud services fail and/or your management team changes.

Indeed. The cloud fad is already starting to pop as executives find out "Holy fuck, you mean when something goes wrong there's no amount of screaming I can do to make them prioritize our service?" and other things that weren't in the brochure. "You mean we're on a shared infrastructure so when one of the other tenants gets DDOSed we're down too? "

Or (my favorite) "You mean to actually have high availability we have to spend almost double the quoted price to run identical machines in another geographic-zone"?

Comment: Re:Translation (Rough) (Score 1) 230

by Karl Cocknozzle (#47444969) Attached to: Geographic Segregation By Education

Apparently you never went to college.

Most four-year college kids aren't in technical program. They're in liberal arts programs. Typically they have lots of trouble getting up early enough to get to a 10 AM class, and bitch and moan that an 8-hour day is required to earn an A.

I don't know where you went to college, but if this was the norm you picked a party school. Real university is real work.

Comment: Translation (Rough) (Score 2, Insightful) 230

by Karl Cocknozzle (#47442077) Attached to: Geographic Segregation By Education

"We want to be as wealthy and well-positioned as people who worked their asses off in their 20's even though we couldn't be bothered to educate ourselves after high school and spent our 20's living with our parents, partying, and having a sweet car that we could only afford because we lived with our parents."

Here's a thought: Teach your kids the concept of long-term goals... It worked wonders for me.

"Neighbors!! We got neighbors! We ain't supposed to have any neighbors, and I just had to shoot one." -- Post Bros. Comics

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