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Comment: Re:Mac OS X Yosemite (Score 0) 153

by Registered Coward v2 (#47524335) Attached to: Mac OS X Yosemite Beta Opens

Regarding pronunciation, I used to cringe/laugh every time Jobs said 'Jaguar.' It appears that there were three pronunciations depending on what you were referring to:

1. Mac OS: Jag-Wire

2. Large cat: Jaguar

3. British car: It's not running again

There. Fixed that.

As a side note, I wonder if Lucas' patent on the electrical short has expired yet.

Comment: Re:Admiral Farragut - and Cmdr. Taggart (Score 1) 700

by Registered Coward v2 (#47502751) Attached to: Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

I had never heard the story until my niece's graduation from Annapolis (she went Marines, so she's a 2nd Lt. now). When the superintendent of the academy got to the punch line, it was pretty thrilling to hear the entire graduating class shout, "Full speed ahead!" I also liked his advice - "wear sunscreen!"

Interestingly enough, the torpedoes he referred to were actual what we would today call mines. Congratulations to your niece. Next time you see her tell her you found out from an old sailor what marine stands for: "My Ass Rides in Navy Equipment."

Comment: Re:I don't see the problem. (Score 1) 666

by Registered Coward v2 (#47500705) Attached to: Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

The EU may finally be spurred to approve more sanctions on Russia, but Russia can sell gas to China and other partners instead.

The Chinese will drive a very hard bargain for that gas. Delivering it will be time consuming and expensive. Volume will be limited by facilities for some time to come, and even after the initial scramble it can never be as efficient as delivering to Europe.

Replacing EU gas sales with sales to China would be a gift to China. They'd have Putin over a barrel; he needs the cash an they can do without the gas. There is nothing like a distress sale for getting a bargain. China could even resell some of it to the EU; although the sea borne shipping logistics would be more difficult than using a pipeline.

Comment: Re:Do as they do in job references (Score 1) 424

by Registered Coward v2 (#47491503) Attached to: French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

...you could wind up with a discrimination complaint depending on the circumstances; even if you truly did not discriminate.They would nee to substantiate what the discrimation was.... It's not generally even illegal to fire somebody simply because you've decided you just don't like them... particularly during an initial probationary period. It can still risk you being exposed to a lawsuit, but as one can sue for pretty much any reason anyways, that risk is there regardless of what you say or do.

After such a probationary period, then generally the employer is obligated to give the employee sufficient time to conform to any new expectations, and communication to that effect will generally be in writing, along with acknowledgement that the individual understands that failure to conform to the newer standards will result in dismissal.

Certainly. No one is arguing about internal personal actions.

If the employee feels that he or she is being treated differently than other employees, then that would be the time to address the concern, not after they have already been fired.

There in lies the rub. They may feel that have been treat differently but feel it is not worth bringing up; until you say something to a potential employer and they decide to sue. While we agree on a number of thinks we clearly have differing viewpoints on the risks involved with giving a reference beyond verifying employment. My POV comes from having been involved, with two separate employers, HR situations similar to this with employees who we let go; even though I didn't give a reference nor was asked to give one it still was a pain to document and justify every single action I took and spending time with lawyers who said "that could be construed as X. How did you justify it was Y." In one case a person turned in inaccurate time cards and I spent an inordinate amount of time having to prove my guidance was clear on work expectations and proving the reasons he gave for his time reporting were invalid. I quickly learned how something I though was clear and a factual statement could be construed otherwise; at least I got paid to learn that bit of employment law.

Comment: Re:Do as they do in job references (Score 1) 424

by Registered Coward v2 (#47490299) Attached to: French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

If all I say is "he didn't fit into our company's corporate culture" the employee would somehow have to argue that there were other people who didn't fit in either who were not discharged. Since there's no possible way he could ever hope to prove such an allegation, how would he proceed?

Again, I think it would be a long shot but the general tack might be to force you to define what the culture is and then look for people with similar profiles that were not fired. For example, if he was late and your employee records show other who were late were not disciplined. INAL but would also hazard a guess if your are too vaque you could wind up with a discrimination complaint depending on the circumstances; even if you truly did not discriminate. In the end, even if you win you wind up paying to defend yourself.

Comment: Re:Do as they do in job references (Score 1) 424

by Registered Coward v2 (#47489635) Attached to: French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Actually, they wouldn't have prove anything about the dismissal; they would have to prove your statement was not true and you should have known it was false.

Which, if I own a company and I say that I fired the employee because they didn't fit into my company's corporate culture, is not possible for anyone to do, since *I* would be the person that defines what my company's corporate culture is. In other words, they would have to allege that I had actually fired them for some other, completely different reason which I am not actually saying.

Unless you let other employees do at some of the things, at some time, you allege this person did that "didn't fit in the corporate culture." For example, let's say you said they did A,B, and C when asked to define what cultural norms they failed to meet. Now, if other employees did the same things then the fired employee was really acting within the norms of the culture. In the end, you are free to decide to say what you want and the fired employee is free to sue for whatever reason they want. The more you say the easier you make it for them, which is why most companies simply limit what is said to verifiable true statements.

Comment: Re:Do as they do in job references (Score 1) 424

by Registered Coward v2 (#47489177) Attached to: French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Take "not fitting in with corporate culture." While they may hold that viewpoint saying that about an employee is making a statement, purported to be factual, about the employee; a statement whose accuracy could be reasonably questioned.

Actually, it's making a statement about the compatibility of that employee with that company... nothing more, and nothing less. Maybe the employer is crappy, maybe the employee was.. the point being made is that whatever the root cause of the problem, they *WERE* ultimately incompatible with eachother. If they really were compatible then there wouldn't have been any reason to have fired the employee in the first place. If it went to court, it seems to me that the employee would therefore have to allege that there was actually some other reason which was *NOT* being stated as the actual reason for dismissal, which, as you pointed out, can't be successfully used as a basis for arguing defamation.

Actually, they wouldn't have prove anything about the dismissal; they would have to prove your statement was not true and you should have known it was false. They don't need to show there was not the reason; although if they could that could show what you said was false in that they were not fired for not fitting in with the corporate culture. I'm not saying it would be easy; just that most companies chose to avoid the issue by merely verifying employment since that is factual and not negative or positive.

Comment: Re:Do as they do in job references (Score 1) 424

by Registered Coward v2 (#47488923) Attached to: French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

We're probably a lot closer in viewpoint than our posts seem to indicate. Sure, verifying employment tells you nothing assuming the candidate didn't lie on the resume. However, and this is where we seem to differ, first and last day are easily verified facts. Giving that information doesn't say anything one way or the other about an employee's performance and I suspect a lawsuit alleging defamation because "only giving employment dates may be taken as I was a bad employee" would get laughed out of court.

Finally, the examples you give are subjective and could lead to a more reasonable basis for suing; even if they wouldn't win.Take "not fitting in with corporate culture." While they may hold that viewpoint saying that about an employee is making a statement, purported to be factual, about the employee; a statement whose accuracy could be reasonably questioned. Maybe the person giving the reference was just a bad boss who didn't fit in and drove employees out.

Even the example where you claim to have hard numbers, such as time late may be questionable. Maybe they took sick leave and you didn't realize it. You may have talked to them about it and they gave valid reasons that you didn't accept. Or, maybe you let others come in late and didn't do anything about it because you had it in for this employee.

Sure, anyone can sue over anything, but the examples you gave could easily be construed as not factual and this potentially defamatory.

In the end, we may just have to agree to disagree.

Comment: Re:It's not really accepting Bitcoin any more than (Score 1) 152

by Registered Coward v2 (#47487033) Attached to: Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin

By your reasoning, Dell doesn't accept credit cards either.

Credit cards don't claim to be currency either, nor does the company accepting it have to worry they'll be able to turn the receivables into cash. Bitcoin, however,is not s liquid so if Dell accepted Bitcoin they could be stuck with a large stash that is not easy to turn into cash. Credit cards also let you make large purchases, depending on your credit limit. A million dollar Bitcoin buy may be much more difficult since the processor is assuming all the risk while giving out cash with no assurance stye Bitcoins will be worth what they paid for them.

Comment: Re:Do as they do in job references (Score 1) 424

by Registered Coward v2 (#47485371) Attached to: French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

My point is not that the employee would win; but that what you say and think is a fact may not be taken that way and thus references can be a real minefield and therefore many company's policy is to simply verify employment.

And my point is that simply verifying employment when asked a completely different question is going to open up exactly the same risks anyways... because the employee can argue that being asked about performance and responding only with dates of employment creates the stong implication that there may be something wrong with the employee, and that implication is certainly no less subjective than any other allegedly subjective claim.

However, just because someone infers something from what was not said is in no way a defamatory statement by another since nothing was said. Just because the potential employer may imply that saying nothing is bad that does not mean the person who said nothing intended for them to so do, so arguing that somehow they defamed the former employer by saying nothing would be ridiculous and such a suit would probably be thrown out before right away.

So... you might as well just answer the question being asked, or at the very least, be explicit about *why* you won't answer the question... which again, can be entirely factual and objectively verifiable.

Sure. You can simply say "Our policy is to only verify employment" or " Our policy is to refer all such requests to HR..." which is what many companies do already. Answering the question asked, however, is a very different thing and opens up the potential of a lawsuit.

Comment: Re:How many? Hard to say (Score 1) 272

I work concurrently in a large company (45,000 employees) and a small company (50-ish, but for years we were in the 5-8 range). I am solidly convinced that the larger a company gets, the higher the number of excess employees.

certainly large companies have more excess employees, after all the are larger and if only 10% of a company's employees are excess then, using your example, one has 45k and the other 5 excess employees. I suspect the percentage is larger at large companies because it is easy to hide employees and hire, rathe than layoff, staff.

What is the right number of employees? It depends; largely on their revenue generating ability.I've worked at companies where if an employee was billable 65% of the time everyone was happy. I've worked projects where I did 20 hours of work and 40 of free time and that was fine because we still had huge margins. Not having the staff to put on projects costs more than keeping them around so they can work high margin jobs. I've worked at big companies and small ones and in defense of big ones is when you need resources to throw at project they have them; whereas small ones often don't.

Comment: Re:Black box data streaming (Score 1) 503

by Registered Coward v2 (#47482409) Attached to: Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

Why haven't all airplanes been upgraded so the black box data is streamed to satellites/ground stations? It's so dumb to have to search for a airplane to find the data, that should be the fallback plan. Hey FAA, you listening?

Because there's probably way too much data for that to be a reasonable idea. Have you any idea how many planes there are flying at once?

And how much data does the flight recorder capture? 56k? and it doesn't even need to send it all. Location and some very low quality audio of radio communications would solve 99% of the problems we're having. It's kind of like the brain implants they've built for the blind in recent years. The first one they put into a guy only had a resolution of about 20 x 20 pixels. When asked how it was to see with such terrible resolution he said "I don't mind. If it stops me from getting hit by a car, I'll worry about being able to see a sunset for another day.

However, how often are black boxes not recovered? Sure, it would be useful in a few rare cases but does the cost justify it? There is already a load of data that gets transmitted during flight to data centers; and in the case of the missing Malaysia flight that data stopped after a while anyway so how can you be sure in those cases where you don't recover a lack box you'd still have useful data. I have no doubt more and more data will be streamed in the future, but you need to weigh the costs of retrofitting with the benefits.

Comment: Re:Black box data streaming (Score 1) 503

by Registered Coward v2 (#47482357) Attached to: Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

That's a good point, but its a small percentage of flights that have Internet access. Even in the US.

Even in the US? I've never seen internet access on a US flight. Flying across Europe, the middle east and Africa, pretty much every plane I got on either had direct internet access or the plane offered streaming data you could pay for (i.e. it had internet, just no wifi) The lack of internet access in the US is entirely due to the FAA being stuck in the 1950s.

Uh, Delta has been offering pay as you go internet via wifi for a while now on their US flights. It works just fine. Other airlines probably do the same but I only fly Delta so I can't say for sure.

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