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Comment: Re:This is worse than it sounds (Score 1) 317

by Saxophonist (#43089001) Attached to: Best Buy Follows Yahoo in Banning Remote Work

Perhaps not, in aggregate. Never having been to Toronto, I cannot speak to such a comparison.

However, Best Buy HQ is not in downtown Minneapolis. If it were, the transit situation would be markedly better. It is in a first-ring south suburb called Richfield, right off I-494 and I-35W. Some recent upgrades to I-35W have helped some, but 494 is regularly at a standstill.

I doubt this one action by one company will change too many transportation policies in the immediate area. Nevertheless, the dearth of effective public transit along the 494 corridor has been a longstanding problem.

Comment: Re:This is worse than it sounds (Score 1) 317

by Saxophonist (#43088923) Attached to: Best Buy Follows Yahoo in Banning Remote Work

I don't know for sure. They have positions (typically through contracting agencies) for developers constantly. I don't know what their projects actually are, though obviously they do have an online presence.

Further, this policy obviously affects workers outside IT. I don't know how many of those individuals were working remotely.

Comment: This is worse than it sounds (Score 4, Informative) 317

by Saxophonist (#43085615) Attached to: Best Buy Follows Yahoo in Banning Remote Work

Best Buy headquarters is in one of the areas of the Twin Cities metro with the worst traffic congestion already, and it is not well-served by public transit. Public policy in Minnesota is starting to tend toward encouraging more remote work and/or flexibility because the cost of maintaining and upgrading roads and transit is becoming unaffordable. I don't know about other areas of employment, but competent programmers are not usually having trouble finding work in the Twin Cities metro. Granted, many of Best Buy's developers are contractors anyway.

This move is likely just to drive away people with other options, and with a company that's already a sinking ship, it's certainly going the wrong direction.

Comment: Re:At you desk! (Score 1) 524

by Saxophonist (#42993015) Attached to: Mayer Terminates Yahoo's Remote Employee Policy

Statute, not just case law, says that computer programmers are (almost always) exempt employees. Because laws are not required to be sensible, you may note that the pay requirements to qualify for exemption are vastly different depending whether the programmer is paid hourly or salary. Hourly, the minimum pay for exemption is $27.63 per hour. For salary, the minimum pay is far less, specifically $455 per week ($11.38/hour assuming a forty-hour workweek).

This is, of course, federal statute in the United States, and individual states may have different laws.


Comment: Re:big data / machine learning (Score 2) 108

by Saxophonist (#42096821) Attached to: O'Reilly Discounts Every eBook By 50%

I'm not saying it's definitely what you want, but:

That page was advertised on the front page of the site. Maybe these books are too basic; as you said, you don't need a quick review of data structures in R. But, they do at least have something.

I agree, though: I can't get very excited about e-book deals when I'm not sure of a topic in which one would be compelling anymore.

Comment: Re:Slashdot has a credibility problem (Score 1) 403

by Saxophonist (#42043979) Attached to: Senate Bill Rewrite Lets Feds Read Your E-mail Without Warrants

TFA seems to get a lot wrong, as is common for articles about legislation or litigation. I couldn't find the actual bill text, and I would like to read it. Any help here? More specifically, the two references to the bill that I saw appear wrong:

  • There was this link, which goes to a Senate bill without a number. I don't even know whether it is the current version of the bill. I don't know the bill number to which to refer when contacting my Senators, since the bill number is blank. And this is going to vote next week?
  • There is mention of H.R. 2471. But, that is a House bill, and it does not appear relevant to this discussion at all.

Any help here?

Comment: Re:Actually read the bills (Score 2) 102

by Saxophonist (#42003113) Attached to: A Free Internet, If You Can Keep It

In this case, to me, the bills just look ineptly written. That's to be expected, in a way; writing bills is not especially easy, and it usually takes a collaboration of people to look at all the possibilities and get it right. Unfortunately, sometimes that collaboration introduces corruption into the bill as well, since certain legislators will work for special interests. I don't think these bills are any different from others in this way.

I don't know how federal bills get written. In my state, where I ran for legislature this year (and lost, but it was a good showing in a district that heavily favors the other major party), there is a legislative office with lawyers on staff who write all the actual bills.

A wiki approach might be good. On the other hand, imagine what would happen to your open-source software project if everyone could contribute, nothing was explicitly vetted, there was no ability to fork, and the result really mattered and was difficult to change. Congress would, of course, vet the bill by voting on it if they chose to do so. Groups write model legislation all the time. Maybe this is something that the EFF could do? Another posted suggested having EFF look at these bills, which could be a good starting point.

Comment: Actually read the bills (Score 4, Interesting) 102

by Saxophonist (#42002425) Attached to: A Free Internet, If You Can Keep It

I took a look at both bills. I'm not optimistic.

I would need to dig more into the ECPA 2.0 bill, but there are, at a minimum, some technical problems with the bill's language. The purpose seems to be to abolish GPS tracking, but the language is weasel-y, and it needs to clarify some points such as interaction with state laws.

The Global Free Internet Act appears to do nothing useful. It would create a task force ripe for regulatory capture, and it would probably result in less accountability than having groups continue to lobby Congress. Also, some of the factual statements about the Internet are incorrect, especially when making assumptions about the Internet's "original purpose."

I'm not saying that we couldn't have quality legislation in these areas, but the proposed bills are lacking.

Comment: TSA airline guidelines (Score 5, Funny) 646

by Saxophonist (#40792649) Attached to: How a 3-Year-Old Can Open a Gun Safe

Remember the Stack-On press release that touted the fact that their containers met “TSA airline guidelines” as if this endorsement is added evidence of the security of their products? We tested these containers, and the reality is they can be opened in a variety of ways including with a tiny piece of brass by a three year old.

That pretty much says it all right there. The TSA approves something because it can be opened by a three-year-old, meaning their own employees might have a 50/50 shot at it.

Comment: Re:my take (Score 1) 326

by Saxophonist (#40042285) Attached to: Geeks In the Public Forum?


I say that because I'm about to seek my party's nomination for state Senate. I'm not truly going public yet because the meeting that will allow my endorsement is not until June 7, and there are certain legal restrictions on what I can do before I file paperwork and the like. It appears that the incumbent would otherwise be running unopposed, and I cannot in good conscience let that happen.

Congratulations to you on your time in office and on your life moving forward!

Comment: Re:Blegh (Score 1) 458

by Saxophonist (#39075817) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dividing Digital Assets In Divorce?

Iowa has this issue, and it's actually a little worse than that there, as there is no way to "quit-claim" a car.

This came up in my divorce, actually. She was getting a car that had both our names on it. Iowa law says that the owner of a vehicle is liable for whatever happens with it (which, of course, is what liability insurance addresses). By the time the divorce was actually finalized, I had been living in another state for almost a year. I was attempting to follow the decree and sign over title to the car, except that Iowa has no mechanism for doing so. The new owner has to complete his or her part of the process, and let's just say that cooperation had been an issue near the end.

Now, she should have been able just to take the decree and the title to the county administration office and get the title transferred, since the decree said it could be used in place of a signature in order to carry out its requirements (a decree is a court order, of course, so it has a judge's signature on it). But, I just have to hope she actually did this.

When I tried to get car insurance for myself in my new state of residence, I was wondering why the rates were so much higher than I was paying in Iowa. I found out when I got a call from the insurer I eventually used to go through my driving record, etc. It turns out that she had two accidents in that car between when I filed for divorce and when the divorce was finalized that she never told me about, which is a big problem since legally, I was liable. She still had insurance, apparently, which is good, but the accidents were initially making my insurance go up since they were recorded as being in my vehicle. The insurance agent had that corrected, and my rate went down.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.