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Comment: How many? Hard to say (Score 5, Interesting) 272

by andyring (#47483021) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

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.

How do I work concurrently in both companies? My primary employer is the small company, but the large company has subcontracted me via my primary employer to work in their HQ 3 days a week because a specific department (which my primary employer specializes in) is swamped, or so they say. So, 3 days a week I work at the big place with very little to do and end up doing a small amount of work and lots of web browsing or reading or working remotely as I'm able on tasks for the small company. And then 2 days a week I'm at the small company, swamped and playing catch-up.

Granted, this is but one example, but the contrast I see on a daily basis is stunning. Even in my smaller employer I see us getting more inefficiencies and "dead weight" employees. Back when our employee count was in the single digits, it was a whole different ballgame. We were small. We didn't have the resources to carry extra employees. When someone would quit, it was a huge deal because we'd be losing literally like a sixth of our entire workforce. And it was a fun environment! It truly felt like a tightly connected team.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I've been employed at the small company for 16 years and have no desire to leave. But to get back to the original question, the bigger a company gets, the more dead weight they'll carry until the times get really tough. Then, you'll see where they can cut the fat.

Here's an example. A few decades ago, the Rock Island railroad was a well-known railroad across the Midwest. They went bankrupt in about 1980 if memory serves. Leading up to their insolvency, they ended up leading the industry in getting down to a 2-person train crew because they simply had no money to pay additional crew members. From what I've heard, managers literally told train crews "Tough luck, you get an engineer and a conductor because we can't afford to pay for a brakeman." And now the industry standard is a 2-person train crew.

Aside from Microsoft, a FAR better question would be (not to turn this political, but it's a fair question): "How many employees does $government really need?"

Where am I going with this? I'm not sure. Maybe I'm rambling because I'm bored. :)

Comment: Re:Good. (Score 1) 411

by andyring (#47065627) Attached to: US Officials Cut Estimate of Recoverable Monterey Shale Oil By 96%

Except that modern day progressives stand for none of the things you reference. They support guilds (unions), support slavery (it was Republicans, aka conservatives, who spearheaded the civil rights legislation in the 1960s; Democrats aka progressives aka liberals opposed it). They prefer segregation particularly in schools by forcing kids into horribly failing schools with no way out, the are opposed to free markets, and opposed to constitutionally guaranteed freedoms (religion, self defense, etc.).

Comment: What's the big deal? (Score 1) 187

by andyring (#46481965) Attached to: Google Blurring Distinction Between Ads and Organic Search Results

I started seeing this recently too. I don't recall exactly when, but I barely gave it a thought. Something akin to "Oh, Google changed their layout a bit." It's still quite blatant which items are ads, and I wouldn't consider the "ad" tag to be a "tiny yellow button." It sticks out like a sore thumb, and furthermore, just looking at the titles of those particular "search" results makes it obvious the first few are ads.

Interestingly enough, the new layout has actually prompted me to deliberately click on some of the ads I've seen. In the past, they were easier to not even notice by being off to the side. But now, I've seen some of them, and knowing full well it's an ad, clicked anyway because I was curious or I thought (rightfully so in some cases) that the ad would take me where I wanted to go.

Comment: Re:I went back to corporate America because Obamac (Score 1, Interesting) 578

by andyring (#46473125) Attached to: White House: Get ACA Insurance Coverage, Launch Start-Ups

I'm definitely calling BS on this one. By huge margins, people were happy with their insurance plans pre-Obamacare (statistics bear this out). I was, and many people I know were too.

Now, I am worried what will happen when all the regs finally do kick in. I have a great plan now through work for my family and I, and I know if ObamaCare isn't changed or repealed, my out of pocket costs will absolutely jump by hundreds of dollars. Why? Because our plan now doesn't technically cover all the things that ObamaCare mandates (but crap we don't need and never will need like contraceptives, maternity, etc. etc. etc.). Once it's required to cover those things, the costs will absolutely increase, there's no getting around it.

Comment: Freedom (Score 1) 606

by andyring (#46335767) Attached to: 'Google Buses' Are Bad For Cities, Says New York MTA Official

Let Google, Apple, Facebook, etc. put their facilities WHEREVER THEY DAMN WELL WANT TO. They don't need some government loser trying to dictate to them based on what that loser feels is right. Sheesh! We've gotten so far from the basic concept of freedom in this country it's pathetic. There's always some government minder lurking around the corner to cajole, nag and badger you or your company, or force you at the point of a gun, to do things their way. If Google wants to put a gigantic campus in the middle of the barren wasteland of Montana and fly employees to/from every day, let them! Some government flunky shouldn't be stepping in to condemn them for it.

Comment: What it's not about (Score 4, Insightful) 264

by andyring (#46286153) Attached to: Routers Pose Biggest Security Threat To Home Networks

Yes, this is /. We can upgrade our router firmware or install other firmware. Joe Sixpack cannot.

The blame for this should be laid squarely at the feet of the router manufacturers. IMHO, here's what Linksys/Cisco/Netgear/etc/etc/etc/ should do, at the very least:

1. Be open and forthcoming about bugs found in their router software
2. By default, routers should ship with automatic firmware updates enabled. This should be difficult to disable and robust enough that it'll *just work* with no user intervention.
3. Tell this to their customers in plain English or $localLanguage on the product packaging. And NOT in fine print. Make it very obviously noticeable to the purchaser. This can and should be a signifiant selling point, really. If I'm at BestBuy/WalMart/etc. and see one router boldly telling me "We care about your security! To protect you and your data, this router will check weekly with $manufacturer and update itself to give you the most secure Internet experience possible." And it's sitting next to another router that says no such thing, I'd buy the one that will keep me safe.

Comment: Re:The cablecos have monopolies on cable and inter (Score 4, Interesting) 261

by andyring (#45704125) Attached to: Streaming and Cord-Cutting Take a Toll On the Pay-TV Industry

Yeah, it sucks, but there are other options. Here's one. Start your own ISP. No, I'm not crazy. Here's an excellent example. Here in Lincoln, Neb., a guy with an idea started a company called WideRange Broadband. (standard disclaimer, I have no connection to them other than as a very satisfied customer) They're a wireless ISP. They rent tower space on a few tall radio antenna towers around town, toss some Ubiquity antennas up there, and call it good. Yes, that's over simplifying it, but in the end, I have a little antenna on my roof about the size of my forearm, and I get a solid high speed connection for $30/month. And they're pissing off the local telco (Windstream) and cableCo (TimeWarner) because they can offer as good or better speeds for less money. Yes, there are some line-of-sight issues if you're in an older neighborhood with lots of tall trees, but it's a solid start. Shortly after I cut off TimeWarner, I had one of their people stop by the house trying to get me to resubscribe (at $49/month). I told him who I was using, and he got a nervous look on his face and said "Oh, they're not a real company, that's just someone's hobby" and left. I mentioned that to the WideRange installer a few months later when we bought a house and they were moving my antenna. He chucked and said "Yeah, we hear that a lot."

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