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Comment Re:Never understood (Score 1) 429 429

I think "on a shared workstation" means it was an electronic document and not a physical sealed envelope.

Fair point, and that sounds dicier. 'Round these parts (California), that employee might have a case for wrongful termination. But maybe not; snooping around corporate computer systems, even if the door is unlocked, just doesn't look good.

In the other case, though, now that I think about it, even if I had signed a contract that said my salary was confidential, surely that's only an agreement between me and the company? Would I really be violating such a clause if I disclosed my salary to another agent of the same company? It just doesn't seem like there's anything management can really do to prevent this sort of thing.

Seems like the only thing that keeps people from discussing this sort of thing more is the fear that someone's feeling are going to be hurt -- either theirs or yours -- if it turns out there's a big salary discrepancy.

Comment Re:Never understood (Score 1) 429 429

We recently had someone canned because they opened someone else's offer letter (which was sitting on a shared workstation).

Well if a sealed letter had someone else's name on it I'd agree that's a firing offense.

Me voluntarily telling you how much I make, on the other hand, is our business. Management can cough and sputter all it wants, but unless I signed a contract that stipulates my salary is confidential information, there's nothing they can do about it.

Comment Re:Cortana? (Score 4, Interesting) 44 44

It's possible that phone apps are the punch cards of the future. Most apps require a network connection. What if there is a better way to launch and manage them via Cortana and they run on a cloud system, turning your phone into smart terminal? Then you won't care what OS a phone running as long as it can render the information you want. Maybe Microsoft is now thinking "The Network Is The Computer" as Sun did years ago. The approach might work, it might not, but that would be a reason to get Cortana on as many platforms as possible.

Comment Re:You could see Obama's character in '08 (Score 2) 211 211

, if Obama had done even half of what he promised to clean up the government, he could have asked for a Cuban-style health care system

Cuban-style health care system? I know an American who lives in Cuba. His wife (Cuban) had a spot on her tongue and was worried it might be cancer. The Cuban health care system could not schedule an exam for her for two months, so her husband flew her to the US to be looked at the next day. Turned out a dental fixture was irritating her tongue. Whenever the people I know have a problem they think requires immediate attention, they fly to the US. This doesn't happen very often, but at least they have a choice. In the meantime Cuba rents^H^H^H^Hsends its doctors to other countries to bring in money for the regime. No thanks.

Comment Re:The most underrated misconception of economics (Score 1) 940 940

Is this really a surprise? During the housing bubble years, unqualified in reality buyers got financing anyway and bought more then they could afford. Rents were dropping or flat because no one wanted to rent. Single family residences were favored over multi-family construction, apartments were being converted to condos or being torn down to be replaced by town homes. 2008, the SFR bubble bursts, leaving an unbalanced rental market in its wake: A huge contingent of former owners who had to rent, and a constrained supply of rental units. Today's rental pricing is the result, but it won't last. Of course developers are going to build more rental supply since that is where the money is today, so supply will increase. Owning a home will become more cost competitive compared to renting.

What I would like to know is what the average debt load of apartment owners is today. No doubt many are becoming as over-leveraged as home buyers were pre-2008 as they buy more rental properties. I'm guessing the rental market is in bubble territory today, but the best way to tell is to look at the debt of landlords. I would also like to know what sort of finance terms rental buyers are getting. I doubt they can get fixed rates, so a hike in rates by the Fed could really put the pressure on landlords. I'm not sure where to get this information, but I bet it is interesting. Buying rental property in 2009 was a great idea. Today probably not so much.

Comment I think these fears are overblown. (Score 5, Insightful) 420 420

Being afraid that your job will be taken away by "overseas workers," besides its vaguely racists and xenophobic connotations, is just the latest flavor of a very old fear.

Back in the days of the industrial revolution, it was automation that was going to take away the jobs. And in a sense, it did. But the population of (for example) the United States is larger today than at any time in its history, and most people still have jobs. Whahoppen? And yet now some of the people who weren't even alive during the industrial revolution are worried that robots and other machines will take their jobs away. Or foreigners.

The best wait I can explain it is that you should never approach an employers with the idea that you are a consumer asking the employer to give you something, in this case a job. You should think of yourself a a business resource -- which is what you are, and in fact the most valuable one that exists on the planet. When you apply for a job, you are OFFERING an employer something. You are not the consumer. You are a supplier. So as an autonomous resource who has control of your own destiny, how do you increase your own value so that you are more attractive to your current and future employers? It ain't gonna happen by you taking a job and then sitting down at your desk and pretending you're going to do the same job for the rest of your life.

If you're afraid that you've got the kind of job that your employer could just hand to somebody else tomorrow -- somebody you've never met, somebody who's never met anybody on your team, somebody who maybe doesn't even speak the same language as you -- then my first question is, don't you like money? Why are you in that job, when it can't be worth what they pay you for it and you could already be doing a lot better for yourself.

A lot of tech workers seem to get confused and think their value to their employer is in the skills they have. That's true, partly. But I'd say at least half of being successful at any job -- and maybe even 80 percent -- involves interpersonal skills. How well do you work within the team? How able are you to anticipate what the business needs and act on that? In cases where there's a leadership vacuum, can you fill it? And then when it's time to follow directions, can you still do it?

Or how about this one: Do you LIKE your job? Do you show up every morning feeling good and ready for work, because you feel like what you do for a living is something worth doing? I've talked to a lot of people who don't feel that way, and honestly I feel like a lot of that is on THEM. Going back to the idea that you're not a customer, you're a supplier ... you've gotta stick up for yourself. For most of us (hopefully) nobody has stuck a gun to our heads and made us take ANY job. It's true that they wouldn't call it work if it was all fun and games, but many of us spend more of each 24-hour day at work than we do sleeping. And certainly more than we do spending time with our friends and families. My advice is to spend that time on something you think is worth doing -- not something that a 10-year-old could do for you, if that was legal.

Do that, and you're already ahead of the game. When you're in a job where your real value is not to some nebulous economic concept, but to the people who make up your business, then you're in a pretty good spot. You can outsource Worker X but you can't outsource Dave Johnson, because there's only one of him.

So don't be Worker X. Maybe it sounds glib, but that's really the whole game. That's your life.

Comment Re:Don't forget legacy BROWSERS. (Score 3, Insightful) 218 218

This is tricky. It's tempting to support legacy browsers, but if you do too good a job of supporting them, you don't incentivize your users to ever get their sh*t sorted, and upgrade their browsers. It's a vicious cycle I am eager to avoid.

Yeah, but when your "users" are more properly called "customers" -- or even more important, "potential customers" -- then some web dev's desire to preach the gospel must take a back seat to doing the job the way it needs to be done, rightly or wrongly.

It's fine to push for strict browser standards when the only people who will ever see your web applications are within your own organization. Public-facing sites are a different matter.

Submission + - Meet a tomato feeding robot overlord, the ultimate wearable.-> 1 1

Strudelkugel writes: As the world’s electronic companies scramble to set the agenda for wearable devices, the vegetable juice company Kagome has gone one step farther — unveiling a wearable tomato machine.

The Tomatan is a backpack that can be loaded with six midsize tomatoes — enough, say the makers, to power runners through this weekend’s Tokyo Marathon.

“Tomatoes have lots of nutrition that combats fatigue,” Shigenori Suzuki of Kagome said Thursday.

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Fight within a platform, not between platforms (Score 1) 179 179

Now that Gates is advising Nadella, I can imagine the conversations revolve around that fact that Microsoft never made the actual platform that ran Windows. Phones are a bit different, but logically is Android really so different from IBM, Phoenix, AMI, Award, etc., BIOS? Gates and Nadella probably think of Azure as Windows, sitting on top of Android or iOS instead of whatever BIOS, with Office 365 and every other cloud app being the equivalent of desktop apps in the PC era. I doubt they really care if Microsoft services are running on a Windows Phone in the long term.

Another observation: I have a Nexus, iPhone and Windows phone. My observation is that the iPhone has the best app implementation, the Nexus / Lollipop is close and "good enough", and that the Windows Phone is obviously second fiddle in the app world. Windows Phone has most of the apps I need, but not all, and the other problem is that even if Windows Phone has the apps I want, they are not maintained as well as the iOS and Android versions. That said, I am somewhat surprised to say how much better I find the Windows Phone UI to be over Android and iOS. I am guessing individually downloaded apps will matter less and less and integrated services more and more in the future, so Microsoft may very well achieve the same thing in the mobile world as they did in the PC world.

Comment Wheee.... (Score 1) 185 185

But of course, every single employee who was hired at Google when the standard interviewing technique was to ask pointless brain-teasers is still one of the "world's best and brightest," no doubt? Smartest, brightest, most talented workforce in America? Changing the world, one day at a time?

Thought so.

Comment Re:OMG america is stupid (Score 1, Insightful) 181 181

If ever there was a weapon that would be classified as only a weapon of terror with no practical application beyond fear.

Well, fear and burning people to death so they're no longer a threat. Not very efficient, but effective.

And I guess the "practical applications" of your guns, if they don't involve fear, involve gunning people down, right? Don't bother with scaring them off, just kill them.

Between you and me, it seems like the practical application of creating fear is working just great on you, quick-draw.

Comment Not at all surprising (Score 4, Insightful) 187 187

This will probably come across as a kneejerk response, but the submission makes it sound like Liu's themes are almost entirely derived from PRC propaganda. You hear this sort of stuff all the time if you pay any attention to Chinese state media ... planned economies are best, the individual's primary responsibility is to the family unit, Western ideas have failed, and so on. If anything, these books demonstrate the poverty of a literary scene where everybody has to constantly watch what they say.

Comment Re:Just don't .... (Score 1) 698 698

My condolences to you and your family.

I lost my dad when I was about the same age as your daughter. That was a long time ago, but I still wonder occasionally what it would have been like to have a father during those formative years. Rest assured your daughter will retain all of her good memories with you. I think writing down your thoughts for her, especially about turning points in life is a good idea, and making videos is, too. But the important thing to resolve from my experience is something work out with your wife. Kids need role models. After your daughter works her way through the trauma of your loss, I think she will seek someone to give her perspective since you will not be there for her, even if she is not consciously doing so. By no means am I suggesting your wife go out and "get a male role model" for her, but rather actively seek the opportunity to find one for your daughter. Maybe the "Big Brothers Big Sisters" program would be a good place to start when the time is right, or maybe another approach. I am sure you have discussed this sort of thing with your wife by now, but I looking back, having someone to go to in the absence of a parent makes a big difference after the loss. I would also archive this /. post for her so that she can see it someday. It will tell her something about the community that you are part of, and that will tell her more about you, too.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.