Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Generally? You don't. (Score 1) 116 116

I'm a little surprised at the original asker's question, and his suggestion that the UK may be culturally behind on this aspect because what you say is true, of the US.

I've had 5 dev jobs at different employers and all of them have allowed home working. To address your points relative to the UK:

(1) I don't think this is true in the UK, developer salaries are still very much on the increase and have been for years. Companies are still stuck having to improve terms and salaries to get the necessary staff. If you can't go to market and receive job offers from at least 3 different employers with reasonable salary and benefits packages in the UK in the space of a couple of weeks as a software developer then you're doing something very wrong.

(2) I've never even heard of stacked ranking being used in the UK. I'm not entirely convinced that some elements of the way it's done in the US and used to determine redundancies would even be legal here.

(3) I don't think outsourcing in software is as prevalent here as it is in the US, I've worked at employers that used it but it's always been used in addition to, not instead of home grown talent. Experiments in outsourcing to India at places I've worked have always been failures, it's a classic case of you get what you pay for and the quality of developers being put forward by Indian outsourcing companies is beyond a joke - it costs you more to pay people locally to fix their code or even rewrite it than if you'd just hired a wholly local team in the first place. We do have offices in Eastern Europe with large teams of developers, but these teams are managed by the developers back here.

(4) Again, I don't think that's really the case here. I've seen companies that try and emulate that Silicon Valley trend but it's usually the small companies that don't know any better having dreamy ideas of being Google telling themselves that if they just do what Google do it'll all be great, but it never works like that because they don't have Google's budget to pay insane salaries so rapidly realise they need other sweeteners instead.

But beyond that there are other reasons why working from home shouldn't be a problem in the UK, not least because in the latter half of last year the UK government enforced a legal obligation on all employers to properly consider requests for flexible and home working:


This change in law means that unless there's a good reason to deny your request, it should be allowed. That means employers have to either start rationalising and sensibly justifying their reasons for denial, or they must simply allow it. Simply saying "No because that's different to what we've done before and we don't like change" isn't a valid response.

Personally I've tried home working in a number of different ways across various companies. At some employers it's typically been one or two fixed days every week, only adjusting if necessary to turn up for meetings. At others I've typically just homeworked during crunch time - the employer needs a 7 day week out of me for a couple of weeks running, and in return I get to do that 7 day week from home and get to bank the extra hours I do as leave. I didn't mind this, I did 22 days straight but then got all my weekend days (and a bank holiday back) so was able to use them to have a whole week and a bit off a week later post-delivery.

But I typically like to do it around certain tasks, if we're in the product concept and design phase where there's a lot of back and forth, and a lot of discussions over ideas and a lot of decision making then I come into the office. If I'm doing a rather solitary task like just churning through a bug fix list, putting together a detailed design doc once all the decisions are made, or trying to find a solution to a complex problem without any outside support then I much prefer doing that from home where I can focus on the task at hand with no interruptions, and with the benefit of an extra hour in bed of rest due to not having to commute. My current employer lets me work from home one day a week, and if there's reason to do more, I just let the director know and it's done. They usually get more hours out of me, I usually go halves on the commute- so whilst I typically take back the time on the morning to have a lie in or get something done, I usually use what would've been the commute home to put extra effort in - they get an extra 45 minutes, I get an extra 45 minutes and the train company and road network has one less person to try and cram in for a day.

There are plenty of jobs in the UK that don't do homeworking, but it shouldn't be hard to find those that do, and those that do will only become more prevalent with the government's latest push to let people work flexibly. It's frankly win-win for everyone - it means less pressure on commuter trains/roads/buses, it means less of an environmental burden from commuter pollution, it means employees are happier, it means employers don't necessarily need as much office space, and it can mean more productivity too if done sensibly. It benefits the government and hence the tax payer, it can benefit the employee, and it can benefit the employer. Another reason the government is pushing it is because if it means people can get from their house to pick their kids up sooner than they could from a place of work that it means there's less need to subsidise child care too - there are a lot of ways in which it can help wider society.

Yes there are people that take the piss, but frankly, if they're taking the piss at home you can be rest assured that when you think they're in the office working they're actually just browsing the internet, tossing it off chatting around the water cooler, or pissing off to hide in the toilets, to "grab a coffee" or "go for a smoke break" every 5 minutes anyway. Unproductive staff are unproductive staff- the solution to that one is to figure out why they're unproductive.

I understand some people just don't like it and can't adapt to it, and that's pretty understandable. Part the reason it works for me is because I did full time post-graduate studies whilst also working a full time job, the studies were nearly all done at home, so to get everything done in my life I had to learn to be disciplined at home.

Your views match precisely with what I've heard about the culture in places like Silicon Valley, but we have a completely different culture here in most of the UK in my experience.

Comment: Re:Democracy (Score 1) 357 357

Joining the euro is a condition of being in the EU though, the UK is the only country with an explicit opt-out. New members have to join once certain conditions are met, and whilst countries like Sweden are dragging their feet they're still legal obligated to.

So a backwards step away from the euro is effectively a violation of EU rules, which means out of the EU too.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 1227 1227

It's been on the rise for a while now. It's been on the rise with UKIP in the UK, the FN in France, Golden Dawn in Greece and others elsewhere.

It's an inevitable reaction to global financial turmoil stemming back to 2008, so yes it can certainly be eliminated by improving the health of the world economy, but I don't think that in itself justifies giving Greece a free ride because the implications of giving Greece a free ride could in themselves cause more problems elsewhere.

Greece has long been a hot bed of far right and far left nationalism- from various terrorist groups, through to a disturbing amount of Greeks that went to help commit atrocities in former Yugoslavia including the Srebrenica massacre. As awful as it may sound, it is perhaps better to simply let Greece return to it's status quo and contain it and let everyone else ditch the nationalist sentiment than it would be to give Greece a free ride and give cause for nationalism to take hold through the rest of Europe.

There are also cases, as with Russia, whereby we tried to help bring them aboard the global economic boom over the last 15 years, but whereby all it meant was they got stronger and used that strength to drive their far right nationalism through their neighbour's backyard. It seems preferable therefore that Russia is poor and far-right nationalist, than wealthy and far-right nationalist. In some cases like with Russia, you couldn't win either way if you wanted to when the majority of the population are fundamentally just far right in their views.

So yes the rise of nationalism concerns me, but I don't think we can assume we can rid ourselves of it any time soon. I think the best option is to eliminate it where we can, and contain the rest of it. There are promising signs - in the UK for example Scottish nationalist ambitions were thankfully struck down in a referendum that was even slanted towards the nationalist view and UKIP underperformed at the general election.

Comment: Re:Redundant request? (Score 1) 58 58

Every party has stood for election and said they're against the Interception Modernisation Programme and each that has gotten into power has subsequently had one or more home secretaries that have all backtracked once in that role and started arguing hard for it.

If you want to know why, it's because they all got told what Snowden told the rest of us - that GCHQ is already doing it anyway, but that's it's completely illegal.

The Interception Modernisation Programme is simply an attempt to make legal what is illegal and nothing more. That's why home secretaries all turn tail on this once they get into power - they realise they're overseeing a mass programme of illegal interception and try and fix it.

The difference now is that we all know about it because of Snowden, so it all looks even more embarrassing for Theresa because we all know the reason she wants to give - "I'm overseeing law breaking and I want to not be doing so" but she's of course too scared to give it. She can't deny it any more, it's well established that her department is complicit in illegality.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 2) 1227 1227

That's one explanation. A more simple and succinct explanation though is simply that Greece agreed, legally, that the debt was settled decades ago.

So it really doesn't matter on any of the reasoning, Greece was happy with that settlement back then, and when you sign a legal document agreeing to a settlement you don't get to renege on it decades later when it suits otherwise frankly Athens owes the world an awful lot more for the many ancient Greek conquests.

When a debt is considered settled, it's considered settled, end of. We don't need to argue reasons for Germany not paying Greece more, Greece agreed a legally binding agreement that it doesn't expect and wont ask for more from Germany in war reparations and that's the end of it.

Comment: Re:Good for greece (Score 1) 1227 1227

"it takes longer to set up a press for mass production of a new currency than one might think. Really, where this all could lead is hard to speculate...."

If you're starting from scratch sure, but most countries just produce some designs and outsource the work abroad, with the cost of doing so dependent on what security measures and features they choose for their currency. The UK's Royal Mint for example is run as a business in this way and is quite profitable.

So Greece wouldn't need to set up it's own press per-se, it'd just need to contract it out to somewhere like the UK's Royal Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint or similar which could be done in relatively short order.

I imagine such a mint will be asking for payment for the job up front however, and not in the newly printed currency :)

Comment: Re:Why does Jobs always steal the limelight? (Score 1) 262 262

God you just failed so hard. The amount of arrogance you show when you post so aggressively when you do it makes it all the more funny.

If you didn't always post like such an ass then you could at least get away with it just being an honest mistake, we all make them, but the way you post with such arrogant certainty backed by insults just leaves you such a massive laughing stock when you get it so badly wrong as you frequently do.

Please, just stop, I'm actually beginning to feel sorry for you. It can't be good for your mental health. The way you desperately try and salvage with the chairman thing whilst still demonstrating you don't know what powers a chairman has, it's painful to watch. Honestly, do yourself a favour and calm the fuck down over everything before you hurt yourself, you don't need to try and start a fight over every opinion you have, no one thinks "Look at him, he's so tough and awesome because he argues with insults on the internet", they just think "What an insecure dick, he must really be trying to make up for being bullied at school or something", just tell us what you think calmly and most people can respect that. You don't need to make yourself such a laughing stock all the time.

Comment: Re:Why does Jobs always steal the limelight? (Score 1) 262 262

So this never happened? -


Chairmen have no executive power.

You might want to learn at least a little bit about the thing you're talking about before you jump in, top off with a snyde remark and deeply embarrass yourself as a result in future.

Comment: Re:Not a surprise (Score 1) 109 109

I don't know who you are because you're posting AC, and your post doesn't make much sense because I've frankly no idea what the fuck you're on about regarding Blair and being one of those people, one of what people? What are you talking about?

But no, I'm not trying to sneakily imply that 72% were in favour, what I'm saying is that whilst you can legitimately argue that AV was democratically rejected, you cannot say that FPTP is democratically supported because there wasn't a big enough turnout to give FPTP a legitimate democratic mandate, but there were more people willing to turn up to say no to AV than there were to say yes to it.

In fact, all the evidence shows that FPTP is not democratically supported, the problem is that AV had even less support. What people really want is something like STV but the Tories made sure that wasn't an option because they knew they'd likely lose the referendum and lose the benefits they personally gain from FPTP as a result:


And the slightly more biased:


Keep in mind also that these are polls on PR, so a large majority of people (even if you distrust polls after the election the gulf is so wide here that it's hard to suggest there isn't majority support) want PR, something that wasn't an option in the AV referendum. Of the 39% that don't want PR it is still perfectly reasonable that whilst they want to maintain local representatives, they don't want them elected under FPTP, some may even be AV supporters.

So yes, absolutely AV was rejected legitimately and democratically, but that doesn't automatically mean that FPTP has a democratic mandate. The thing that likely has an actual legitimate democratic mandate wasn't on the ballot, hence the 41% voter turnout, and that's why you can't claim legitimacy of FPTP - neither AV nor FPTP were able to command support of over 50% of the electorate.

Comment: Re:Not a surprise (Score 1) 109 109

The turnout was 41%, so 28% of the population rejected it, primarily because the Tories prevented any other more desirable flavours of representation even being on the ballot in the first place.

That's hardly a shining example of democracy, but then, I'm not surprised you think it is if you think the current system is somehow democratic as you're claiming.

Are you sure your argument isn't simply that you like minority rule because you're part of the ruling minority? Because you don't seem to be arguing in favour of real actual democracy.

Comment: Re:Let me take this one (Score 1) 109 109

Right, but there are also legitimate problems with Amnesty too. It admits itself that it tends more towards criticism of state actors and typically western states because it feels it's safer to investigate them and easier to acquire the information to investigate. You can see Amnesty's own admission of this here, though the cited link doesn't seem to work any more:


What this typically means is that say, Hamas can fire rockets specifically with the aim of killing Israeli civilians by targetting Israeli cities and avoid criticism, whilst if Israel responds and hits the rocket launch sites killing a civilian accidentally as collateral damage then Israel will receive a scathing response from AI. Now I'm not trying to comment on the Israel/Palestine conflict here, Israel most definitely does have plenty to answer for, but I am citing this as an example of the issue because it's truthful and legitimate.

It's also somewhat understandable, because it's far safer for Amnesty investigators to investigate somewhere like the US, or the state of Israel, than it is to investigate Hamas or ISIS but on the same note inevitably what this means is that Amnesty ends up attracting people with deep anti-Western sentiment, because this bias ends up giving the impression to many that they are an anti-Western organisation.

It shouldn't be surprising then that Amnesty does start defending questionable cases sometimes, and that as a result they attract questionable people to have in their organisation - some people may wish to investigate a state like Israel, not because they believe in general justice, but because they see it as an opportunity to politically attack Israel whilst believing it's okay what Hamas does even though Hamas is similarly guilty of the sorts of gross human rights breaches that Amnesty is meant to argue against.

Now, at the end of the day, this surveillance of Amnesty was deemed to be unlawful, and the fact therefore that it was illegal is in itself enough for me to agree that this was unacceptable and wrong. But I can see why at least some segments of Amnesty might reasonably be classed as a legitimate surveillance target for Western intelligence agencies with some of the people it attracts. What makes it incredibly awkward though is that due to Amnesty's size, you may well find that whilst it's justifiable that Western intelligence targets some of it's members, other members are legitimately investigating those very Western intelligence agencies, and that creates a hell of a mess, because it's unlikely that those intelligence agencies could stop themselves from just snooping a little more past simply legitimate targets at Amnesty and on to non-legitimate targets who are rightfully investigating them.

I don't know what the solution is other than Amnesty to clean house, and be more objective so that Western intelligence doesn't have any legitimate reason to spy on them in the first place. That solution feels wrong, as it feels somewhat like victim blaming, and an awful lot like the if you have nothing to hide fallacy, but what else do we do when Amnesty does have legitimate surveillance targets working with it? Are there organisations like Amnesty that should always be out of bounds regardless of who works for them and who they might be supporting and helping and what they might be planning with them? I'm not even going to try and pretend I know the answer to that question.

It all gets very messy and creates many shades of grey when you've got two far from squeaky clean organisations going at each other.

Comment: Re:Not a surprise (Score 1) 109 109

I don't think representative democracy even works in either sense of the word either though because the UK's representatives don't represent their constituencies democratically due to the fact AV was rejected, and because it doesn't use an even remotely representative voting system to be even close to proportional nationally either.

For example, the current government has 100% of the power with 37% of the public vote, whilst my local MP has 100% of local representative power with only 31% of the vote.

Elected dictatorship is really the only way to describe the UK's electoral system, as it's a system that enables the few to dictate to the majority. Democracy requires that any form of government be representative in some way, but in the UK it's not representative in any way.

Of course the UK is not alone here, I believe Canada and the US for example also suffer the same problem, though I believe it's not typically as pronounced as it is here in the UK where the electoral calculus really shows how fucked the system is.

Though I don't mean to distract from your key point of course, that we're most definitely not a republic either way :)

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 834 834

Yep, I think you're exactly right. Theft of plans is in no way going to let China reproduce exactly what we have, we'll still always have the edge, if not only because we're ahead on material science and they just don't have the facility or knowhow to produce cutting edge materials like we do.

It does however allow them to skip some of the expensive stages of design, have a look here:


or here:


You'll note that the profile is based heavily on the F-22 and F-35, but you'll see that the engines aren't in any way stealthy. It seems clear that they were able to take the main measurements and angles of the F-35 and F-22 in key areas and produce them precisely to minimise radar signature that way, but that they have no fucking idea how the F-22s stealthy vectored thrust engines work so have just shoved some run of the mill engines into the things.

It really just lets them get something to market faster than they otherwise would that contains a fraction of the functionality of the original western version. Other areas they may struggle are by way of software, if they've stolen the latest code to actively scan radar signatures for example then that let's them match us there, but if they haven't then that's yet another way in which their aircraft will be inferior.

So it's a question of how much and what they have stolen, but it's pretty clear by the profile alone that they've made use of at least some stolen information, but how much beyond the rough external visual profile is anyone's guess.

Of course, at the end of the day, they're also just copying aircraft that we're already just churning out on the production line. As they're designing and refining their clones of aircraft we're already using in active duty, we'll already be designing the next gen quietly in the background. There are enough mysterious flights around of unknown aircraft that the chances are we're already quietly demonstrating the next gen, just as they're flying demonstrators of 5th gen.

And that's really the problem with them opting to be sheep and following, when you're just a follower you don't get to choose direction, and that's what keeps the West's qualitative advantage - the fact that we lead, the fact that by following they're always going to be one step behind us.

Comment: Re:Why does Jobs always steal the limelight? (Score 1) 262 262

How exactly did Jobs win the business game? By the time Jobs finally made something of Apple Gates had been retired for 10 years.

During Gates' tenure Jobs was an also-ran and Microsoft maintained it's position as the biggest tech company in the world.

What you're really saying is that Jobs beat Ballmer, once Gates had been winning for 20 years, and found it so easy he gave up and fucked off.

Gates has no control over how well his succesors do, just as Jobs doesn't. By your logic if Apple falls in another 10 years and Microsoft ends up larger again then Gates changes to the winner even if Jobs is dead and Gates hasn't at that point been active for over 20 years. The only comparison between them is when they were both alive and active and at that point Microsoft under Gates won by just about every conceivable metric - both business and personal from creating the larger more successful company for that period, through to drastically higher personal wealth, through to actually being capable of maintaining a stable relationship and looking after his kids.

Not that it really matters, but I mean come on, are you really that so far stuck in the reality distortion field that even history has to be rewritten to build up St. Jobs into something he wasn't?

There's no doubt Jobs was an insanely talented business leader, but he wasn't god no matter how much you try and elevate him to that status.

Comment: Re:Nope, you misunderstood, I guess ... (Score 1) 262 262

"I'm just saying it's definitely a thought that runs through the heads of immature guys when they find themselves in those kinds of situations. I watched it happen with people I knew through the crazy "dot com" era."

It's not all immature guys though that's the problem, most guys making it to adulthood without getting a girl pregnant. The only ones who do are frankly, the ones that are dicks, and I think that's kind of the point being made here.

I know the point you're trying to make, that we make more stupid decisions when we're younger, but there are some decisions that can't just be put down to immaturity, some are just down to pure dickishness. Even some dicks that get their teenage girlfriends pregnant are more than capable of sticking with their girlfriend and raising their kid with her. The only ones that don't are dicks regardless as to whether they're immature or not and I think that's the point the GP is making - immaturity isn't an excuse for some things, some things you just know are wrong no matter how old you are - things like murder, and getting a girl pregnant and then refusing to support the kid.

As such I think the point is that his immaturity just doesn't matter. It's not an excuse for that particular thing. If we were talking about driving fast and writing a car off or something, or getting high on weed and so on then sure, fair enough, but getting a girl pregnant and refusing to support her? that's not immaturity, that's just raw dickishness.

Staff meeting in the conference room in %d minutes.