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Comment Re:Why would Disney do this? (Score 1) 251

Week One, 100 level first year Business Intro class at every college and university in the United States. Gather round the campfire, sing along everyone -

".. a fiduciary responsibility to maximize shareholder profits/shareholder value."

Public traded corporations, as people, are sociopathic. Failure to maximize profits is malfeasance. Employees exist as resources to be managed.

IT exists as a cost center within most corporations. It doesn't earn money - it's a money sink. It's viewed as a necessary evil by the bean counters to keep the the gears turning - To keep Outlook strangling your will to live with 100 unread emails as you unlock your $600 Dell workstation every morning, Powerpoint decks carefully crafted to optimally dispirit you in hourlong lunch meetings where the leveraged synergy tumbling out of the projector could have been reduced to 10 bullet points on a post-it note - or an email.

IT managers and middle don't have much to "win" with. Meeting project deadlines, otherwise the job is to simply maintain the status quo. Keep the machinery humming. When you do your job well, you're invisible. Invisible doesn't get promoted. The Sales & Marketing guys have numbers to brag over. Those numbers directly translate to dollars in the company's pocket.

Some mid to upper level Disney technology officer wanted something to brag about. They took a fleeting glance at Disney's operations and decided that their (presumably) top quality, experienced IT people could be replaced with H1B robots earning half the salary. H1B robots have a legal minimum salary that's frequently half that of their American counterparts. H1B robots legal status in the U.S. is directly tied to their visa; losing the visa puts them out of status and in violation of federal law. This creates a system where the corporation has enormous and undue influence over the H1B workers' job. Be model employees - or else. Work 60 hour weeks. Come in Saturdays. Do the shit work no one else wants to touch. Do it with a smile. Do it with a smile for less than half the salary your predecessor earned, or we can terminate you on a whim, throwing you out of status, forcing you to leave the country at penalty of US law.

What a dream for employers. Half the pay, and the crushing weight of the US Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services and Department of Homeland Security constantly on your mind as you're at the office at 7:15 yet another evening at your 8-5 job.

Comment Re:Star Wars People vs. Star Trek People (Score 1) 363

Star Wars is space opera.. emotionally captivating fantasy.

Star Trek entices people with amazing possibilities in our near future. I feel this is the reason the engineer-heavy Slashdot audience voted Star Trek higher. Star Trek - particularly the newer shows, like Next Generation, Voyager, DS9 - always used technobabble to explain situations using our current understanding of physics and other disciplines as closely as possible, only filling in the cracks with scriptwriter hocus-pocus for suspension of disbelief.

Something altruistic in our nature wants us to believe that technological advances will carry us to the stars in a time frame roughly similar to the gap from the American colonial revolutionary war to modern day.

Space Opera with fantastical impractical "technology" largely implemented for visual effects "Wow" factor and plot nudging, vs. a futurists' imagineering of what could actually resemble humanity's near future.

Comment Re:Stargate SG-1 (Score 2) 363

I'd throw you an up vote if I could. SG-1 was brilliant.

It's necessary to remember that Stargate SG-1 was produced specifically to provide family accessible SciFi entertainment - And it succeeded brilliantly, given the show's loyal fanbase, very long run, and continued success in global syndication. Not unlike MASH, somewhere - at some point during the day - a rerun of SG1 is on, on some 2nd tier regional TV channel.

The show was expertly produced and ran like a well oiled machine. During its broadcast run, the principle actors were highly sought after - and did quite well for themselves - making several annual appearances at Creation SciFi conventions in major US and EU cities.

Much respect to the show runners for creating the Amanda Tapping role long before the current wave of neofeminist handwringing over gender imbalance in STEM fields. The Major / Colonel Samantha Carter character was a fantastic, smart, capable role model. When you write characters with enough depth and positivity that the US Air Force proactively contacts YOU to shoot an episode & story line about a brilliant young female cadet at the Air Force Academy, you're probably doing something right.

Stargate deserves a TV weekly reboot sometime in the not-distant future. Don't go gloomy and brooding like Stargate Universe - stick with the formula. A quartet of well written characters going on fantastic adventures in new places every week, solving difficult problems.

Comment Teledesic, The 1990s Called (Score 2) 123

Yeah, I remember this when it was called "Teledesic", from the mid-90s, when Craig McCaw, Bill Gates & Prince Bin Alawaleed threw $9 billion in a hat to create a Low Earth Orbit satellite internet company.

So, we have yet to solve some of the staggering problems behind this concept.

1, Cost.
2, Cost
3, Cost
4, Semi-acceptible downstream speeds, latency-choked laggy dialup upstream speeds making video/audio streaming, uploading to cloud services, etc wholly impractical. The only workable solution is to use traditional terrestrial last-mile technology (cable, dsl, etc.) for the upstream. Which wholly defeats the point of satellite internet.

I thought Sir Richard was smarter than this.

Comment Team America: World Police ? (Score 1) 589

.. And Team America: World Police by the South Park guys, which completely ridiculed Kim Jong Il - was cheerfully sent to theaters without issue?

Oh, here's why- Team America: World Police was distributed by Paramount Pictures, a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. media behemoth Viacom, which couldn't give a flying fuck about a despot on the other side of the world.

Sony, on the other hand, has its parent company headquartered in Japan, where North Korean missile tests fly over their island on a regular basis, and has actually had citizens literally kidnapped off the beach by North Korean intelligence officers.

Where does this stop? Will Sony approach media outlets like Amazon Instant Video, Google Play Movies and iTunes, only to be told off? It wasn't bad enough that Sony has suffered huge losses from the hacking, now they also eat nearly $50 million on the films' production costs and sunk advertising to date.

During the Cold War, Hollywood ROUTINELY made films depicting the Soviets as drunken bumbling incompetent bloodthirsty warmongers, with fare like Stripes, Spies Like Us, Red Dawn (original), and many many others - This, at a time when there were literally hundreds or thousands of KGB agents active on American sold and > 10,000 ICBMs pointed at us - And you could turn Johnny Carson's monologue on every night and listen to him crack about Brezhnev being a drunken idiot.

Did Sony react to a real threat? Or is this part of the new culture of not offending anyone?


Comment Individually Interesting, Collectively Creepy (Score 4, Interesting) 109

A number of similar articles have revealed more tidbits of Apples' Jobs-worship culture recently.

Taken one by one, they just come across as nice gestures to honor the company's co-founder. Additively they're starting to become really, really weird.

When Tim Cook dropped the bomb during his Charlie Rose interview that Jobs' office is maintained exactly as it was before his death, sealed, undisturbed - it raised an eyebrow.

The entire affair reminds me of the religion that pulp science fiction author started - the one with an office maintained in his honor at all their locations. You know the one. I suppose next we'll discover there is a Steve Jobs alcove located in the rear stockroom of all Apple stores.

Look, I got my first Apple product in 1983, and own quite a few current models at this time. But... admiration is one thing, hero worship is quite another. No thanks.

Comment The "George Carlin" Rule (Score 1) 331

To paraphrase the late George Carlin, If the answer to "..was the last person to get a job in my major my professor.." ..a "yes", then perhaps you should rethink your career track.

Mike Rowe may be right. Thirty years ago they shuttered all the vocational training shops in High Schools across the U.S. and rejiggered the curriculum to entirely "College Prep." Apparently someone thought the new millennia would see floating cities, personal jetpacks and genetically engineered mental telepathy as the new societal construct, and the only way to fulfill this prophecy was to produce eager young archons -disciples of the critical thinking required to operate the flying cars and mind operated workbots. Except it didn't happen, and you have to write a check for nearly $200 to the guy running the power snake in your basement floor drain on a Sunday night emergency call.

When everyone has an MBA, does anyone have an MBA?
Where does a Gender Studies degree take you when the corporatization of universities is closing the door on living wages or career advancement in higher education?

With a large number of Associate or certification programs producing comfortable middle-income career tracks in the skilled medical, production or transportation sectors, is a 4-year degree and $50,000-$100,000 of student loan debt that secures a $39,000/yr salary moving papers around inside a cubicle somewhere in the Midwest ... worth it, or right for everyone?

Comment Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction (Score 1) 46

.. This finding is not entirely surprising, as the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction has been understood for quite some time, particularly relevant to treatment of bacterial infection.

Nutshell, antibodies, natural or pharmaceutical, kill bacteria, causing them to dump endotoxins contained within the bacteria into the bloodstream, often causing the patient to feel significantly worse for a period of time.

Not unlike taking a large garbage bag out of the dumpster, throwing it into your swimming pool, then cutting it open with a box cutter.

Chronic inflammatory or bacterial illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis or Lyme disease are particularly notorious for the "Herxing" patients feel during treatment.

Comment Re:Just make it fast (Score 1) 77

One of the drivers behind Android L was improving performance on low to mid range Android devices. Google is interested in improving the Android experience for those customers with the 1 cent contract phones, and other flotsam at the bottom of the product menu.

Android L allegedly will perform smoothly, even on devices with 512mb RAM. Which should be a win for those customers with 1gb and 2gb handsets made within the last 2-3 years, as they will be lightning fast.

Comment Re:Bad idea (Score 2) 252

Sharp observers would notice the phrase "Desktop Class" used in Apple keynotes the last year or two, when describing the power of their A# mobile processors.

I for one would not be surprised if Apple released a 12" "WorkBook" that is essentially a 12" iPad with full keyboard & touchpad, running iOS w/2gb RAM. Their entire "office" suite - iWork - is already a complete feature copy of the OS X version - all that's missing from making it truly useful on the iPad is .. a quality keyboard.

Comment Re:Hollywood is mentally bankrupt (Score 4, Interesting) 187


Actually, patrons are mentally bankrupt. Hollywood puts original content in front of audiences every now and then, and it underwhelms at the box office.

Brand familiarity and the powerful psychological pull it has on consumers are just as responsible for you wanting to see the next Star Trek movie as you are likely to keep buying the same laundry detergent.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.