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Comment It's ok when they're better (Score 1) 294 294

Being against H-1B abuse is not (always) about race. It's about abuse.

In tech, I've worked with many Indians and they are a mixed bag. Just like Americans and any other group.

Just because you were born in some country and don't speak English doesn't make you less intelligent. There are plenty of Nobel prize winners who don't speak English, but if they were to come over to the US and try to navigate the healthcare system they'd probably be labeled slow.

Point being, I've met lots of really bright Indians, the ones I hope to work with again.

And I believe in the H-1B program for it's original purpose, bringing the truly gifted with special skills to the US. We need the ability to do that as a country.

Unfortunately it was first being abused to drive down wages in tech. But now, it's just being used to stuff companies with Indians and crowding out American workers. H-1B's in tech in the SF bay area, the one's I've known, get paid well so it's not that much cheaper to hire them. It's bringing in more people who have the same cultural background. For small companies, I have a practical view of that. But for billion dollar corporations, I would bring down the hammer. That's not the American way.

To stem the abuse they should require a greater burden of the companies:
1) Prove that the skill required isn't just not available, but untrainable. If you don't hire Americans, then Americans will never develop the skill. Java is not a unique untrainable skill. A particular Java library is not a unique untrainable skill, even if I've never used it before.
2) Prove that the person you're hiring has the required skill
3) If it's so rare, pay this person 125% of prevailing wages for having that skill. This also gives reasonable motivation to train a local.
4) Open an anonymous whistleblower line with monetary incentive for successful prosecution and settlements

If Facebook, Google, Apple, etc really want Americans to go into STEM, give Americans opportunities. That's how motivate them. Give them role models, people they know who work in technology and can mentor them. If you don't hire Americans, there will be no American mentors.

What these companies who want to increase H-1Bs and STEM education are really trying to do is reduce labor costs by increasing the labor pool. There are way too many STEM grads in the US now. Labor shortages should drive wages higher, but wages have been stagnant for years.

Comment Re:Powershell (Score 1) 729 729

a[2] = *(a + 2) = *(2 + a) = 2[a]

You're missing a ; at the end.

Other than that, an optimizing compiler should notice that you're assigning something to itself, and make that entire line go away...

I think he meant that as equivalence instead of assignment, but I'm not sure.

Comment Re:Contracted Potential (Score 1) 284 284

I wonder if there's a clause that no foreign citizens, or persons in foreign locales, will have access to any confidential health information.

I can very easily see major leaks of health information without the penalties of being in an American legal jurisdiction.

Comment Re: Sounds like a problem... (Score 1) 507 507

So insurance companies are setting prices arbitrarily. Who has the leverage in this situation?

Insurance companies have the pricing leverage in most situations, partly because in many areas, there is a de facto monopoly. Small doctors offices and even small groups do not have leverage to negotiate prices, so insurance companies dictate fee schedules. Sure you can not accept their insurance, but if there's little competition in the insurance market, that is a death sentence. So the solution is for all the doctors to form a big group with hospitals and drop abusive insurers.

What does this mean? No more small doctors offices. We'll just have large corporate medical systems and large corporate insurers fighting it out. That's the wave of the future and a waste of a lot of money.

Comment Re:Sounds like a problem... (Score 1) 507 507

There is a form of price control in the ACA, which is 80% of premiums must be used on care, 20% on administrative cost. If providers are paid less than than 80% of premiums collected, the difference must be refunded to the member. So insurers are motivated to bring in lots of premiums and then not pay doctors to avoid eating into their 20%.

FYI, Medicare, the government run insurance company, has administrative costs of 1.4%.

Comment Re:So... (Score 3, Informative) 110 110

If you'd like to actually make a difference, email your state assemblymember (and senator when it comes up).

Find Your Rep:
Find Their Email:

AB1291: The Right to Know Act

Dear Assemblymember,

I am writing you in support of retaining strong privacy safeguards in AB 1291: The Right to Know Act.

I am concerned that large data mining companies and their lobbyists are exerting significant influence over this legislation and individual consumers need strong defenders in our desire to control our own data. For all their protests of the expense of complying with this privacy law, these multinational corporations already have to follow much stricter EU privacy laws.

From the Mercury News: "Consumers who live in 27 countries that belong to the European Union already have the right to know what data companies have on them -- laws that are being complied by Facebook, Google and others that are opposing the California legislation." -

As mentioned by a former employee in the area: "As a former employee of a business that tracks a huge amount of personal information, I can tell you that most of these companies are already required to keep these records because of EU privacy records. Our databases were literally divided domestic and foreign for this reason.
So while it would take some effort in moving data and changing internal procedures, the bulk of the work is already done for most of these companies."

I hope you are one of us, someone who uses a credit card or spends time online, and want to know what data is being stored about us and how it is being used. Please support strong privacy legislation. Do not be swayed by big money lobbyists.

Thank you,

Comment Re:Age old "issue" (Score 1) 426 426

Why can't the customer just suck it up and pay what the programmer asked for instead of bitching and moaning about the price or the fact that the program they need doesn't exist?

Because they don't value your work as much as you do. If that's the case, don't do the job. Let someone else do it. What does it matter to you? Go find a client who does value your work as much as you do.

Comment How to effect change (Score 1) 472 472

this will very quickly become illegal.

In this case, public officials' salaries are already available BUT you can certainly try to find their past earnings.

If you're serious about making it a public issue, you have to at least contact your politicians. I think would be the best place to go.

Comment Re:Horribly Unfair (Score 1) 472 472

While I can see that being a rule while at work, it should not be allowed when you are not on the clock or have exceeded your expected hours for the week.

It is similar to or part of an NDA. NDAs are applicable beyond the workplace. Companies often consider employee compensation classified information or a trade secret.

Comment Re:Scaremongering ? (Score 1) 472 472

In the article, it says HR departments in large companies outsource the handling of INBOUND employment verification checks because those checks take time and energy to perform.

So, they outsource it to Equifax and in some cases give Equifax direct access to [ex-] employees salary information.

So their benefit is it saves them time. Enough time for them to pay Equifax to mine their employees' data.

From the article:
"Companies sign up for The Work Number because it gives them an easy way to outsource employment verification of former workers. Firms hate taking these calls, which usually come when a former employee is applying for a new job, because they are a costly distraction for human resources departments and open the firm up to lawsuits if someone says something disparaging about the former employee. So they contract with The WorkNumber, which automates the process. In exchange, firms upload their human resources data to The Work Number, which was part of an independent St.Louis-based firm named TALX until it was acquired by Equifax in 2007 for $1.4 billion."

Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested, and say nothing about the other.