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Comment: Re:Pretty obvious (Score 2) 115

the process isn't really that much different in regions where there is enough moral fiber for the state to keep all of the proceeds.

The state never gets "all of the proceeds"--the entire thing is a graft to slurp money out of taxpayers pockets (while causing more accidents at the same time) and into the pockets of private industry. The money paid to the government is considered a "cost of doing business" for the people operating the graft. It's one of the most corrupt things in our modern society--automated law enforcement.

Comment: Connected to mass layoff of Windows SDETs? Maybe? (Score 5, Insightful) 300

One of the bits of logic used for recent layoff and reorgs has been something like 'component/security/etc testing had become so mature at Microsoft (!) and ingrained into normal dev processes, that such a large population of SDETs (testers) across OS and key office products is unecessary.' Just chew on that for a second, and ponder how intensely stupid that seems.

But nevermind my opinion; I guess we're getting some at-scale empirical testing of whether getting rid of testers en masse was a good idea.

Comment: Where does it keep its brain? (Score 1) 98

by xeno (#47671995) Attached to: Gartner: Internet of Things Has Reached Hype Peak

The Cloud = software as a service (SaaS) = hosted services = "the network is the computer" = blah blah blah..
..it's all more or less the same decades-old idea:
  "you just click buttons and pay us all the money, nevermind what's behind the curtain."
...where you trade huge amounts of control for incremental savings
"we're not sure where your data lives, so you'll just have to trust our vague compliance statement"
...with the same bad security implications:
  "software vulns and compromise stats are a trade secret, so don't ask"

So with a nod to JKR...
I offer the only truly wise decision principle regarding adoption of "cloud"/hosted services:
"Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain."

Comment: Re:Not creative rock stars? (Score 1) 165

don't have ANY of the perks of the private sector that techies prize, like working from home (HA!) flex-time, or flex-spending accounts.

(1) They do have work-from home. Didn't you read the story from yesterday about all the patent examiners working from home?

No, but most of the government jobs int his country aren't with the patent examiners, or the Feds in general. None of the government jobs I've looked at had this benefit because I live in a "red" state, so "government equals bad always."

(2) Flex-time is not a benefit, it is a way to screw over employees. Combining sick-leave with vacation they've reduced the total number of days off. Government jobs have much more generous vacation and sick-leave policies.

Ahhh... Youv'e confused "Paid Time Off" encompassing sick and vacation time with "flex-time." What it means where I've worked is your schedule is flexible to meet your needs. So if you need to come in at 6:30am so can get your kids off the bus at 3:30pm we'll do what it takes to accommodate you assuming it doesn't compromise our overall mission. Or you're a "night owl" who prefers to come in at Noon and work until 9-10pm. Again, not a problem as long as your work is handled.

(3) Flex-spending accounts - yet another way to screw over employees. Government healthcare coverage is some of the best out there, you don't need a flex-spending account because you have very little out-of-pocket expenses in the first place.

Not necessarily. Again, red state. Government = bad. So government employees are the scum of the earth. So around here, having the ability to put some of your own money aside pre-tax to cover the gaps is very useful. And yes, if you work for the feds, you don't need this.

But even still, let's just say I agree with everything you said--so what? It's still a soul-crushing graveyard for creativity.

Comment: Not creative rock stars? (Score 4, Interesting) 165

Can you do what they can do? No? So then, how about a nice plate of shut the fuck up, then?

Government doesn't get good techies because they don't pay enough, have a lousy working environment, and don't have ANY of the perks of the private sector that techies prize, like working from home (HA!) flex-time, or flex-spending accounts. Workplaces are static (you can fight for the "best office" after 10-15 years of seniority, but will toil in an ill-lit cube farm until the,) schedules are inflexible, and benefits are one-size fits all.

I saw an advertisement for my job (basically to the letter) working for a "state" organization here... The Teachers retirement fund (it's a pension fund for the teacher's union, operated by the state under state employment rules.) What I make is irrelevant, but suffice it to say, their "max" was 40% less than I make today, and just over 50% less than what "the market will bear."

That's your ballgame.

Comment: Re:Because they don't use them to get employees. (Score 4, Interesting) 274

Real jobs don't come from HR. They come from business contacts.

Actually, this is NOT true all the time.

By any chance, do you work in HR? Exactly ZERO jobs "come from HR." Without a business need for a hire, there is no job. HR is the cadre of paper-pushers who stand in the way of getting a job, and make it impossible for teams to hire the people they actually need by enforcing meaningless, arcane, and bureaucratic "best practices" which also happen to enshrine the HR people themselves into unfirable, key-man positions. Their function is (literally) to prevent applicants from connecting with hiring managers--this is the exact opposite of what you should be trying to achieve. Until you're talking to the hiring manager, directly, and have permission to contact her directly after the fact with any followups, you're not a real candidate for a job. If HR can arbitrarily cut off your contact with the hiring manager (because you can only go "through HR") you're not a candidate--you're a person whose application is being used to justify the payment of salaries to HR people because otherwise "Who will deal with all these applicants?"

In fact, a any job you get from a corporation of any kind of size, you are going though HR and the only thing your contact can buy you is priority treatment (getting put top on the stack) and possibly having an advocate with the hiring manager.

It really depends on the company. Most organizations I know/have interviewed at intentionally recruit via third parties and "fix it on the back end" with HR because before they started doing so the HR "screener" disqualified all the good candidates and sent up clunkers with no employment "gaps," but no real achievements, either.

My last 3 jobs which cover the last 15 years of my life all came via HR and not direct contacts. In fact, most of my jobs came though the HR process and didn't involve an insider at all.

How many applications did you fill out to get those three jobs? 10? 50? 100? 1,000? 10,000? In the same 15 years, I've gotten six jobs. Five of them were recruiters, referrals, or placements. Only one involved "going in the front door" and that job paid the least of all the jobs, had the worst benefits, the longest hours, zero advancement opportunities, and generally sucked donkey-ass. And as for applications: I haven't filled one out since I started working with recruiters exclusively. "Fill out an application" is the same as being told "We'll call you"--it's a euphemism for "you aren't going to be hired."

Since I stopped doing the "front door" my salary has quadrupled (granted, I've also added a great skillset in the intervening 14.5 years,) my working hours are sane, and permit working remotely when going to the office is inconvenient. That "front-door" gig? If there was enough snow to make going to work dangerous, but the roads were open, you have to go or use a vacation day. Literally every job I've ever had has been better than the "front door" place. But I also spend less time interviewing and filling out pointless paperwork (that you'll have to fill out again when hired, because they can't just "type in what you put on your application" in your new hire paperwork, of course.

The bigger they are, the more likely HR is going to be in firm control of the initial vetting of possible candidates and having an inside contact is much less valuable. But in the small company, where they don't have an HR department., contacts are the only route to get in. So it just depends on what kind of company you are looking for.

Here's my advice, do with it what you will: If you're trying to get a job and the HR department is so "firmly in control" of hiring that they have total trump over every hiring decision run away as fast as you can. Don't walk--RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Why? Besides the nightmare of getting yourself hired, every time your team has an opening you can be guaranteed not to get a top tier candidate because the best candidates won't put up with the B.S. required to get a job there through the "front door." You won't have recruiters bringing you candidates, because when HR departments are "firmly in control" the first thing they do you'll be waiting until somebody "notices" your job opening and applies. And the best candidates aren't wasting their time this way--they're taking interviews setup for them by recruiters. This is how IT works--if you're in some other business it might be different.

But I'll go back to the old saw (because it is true): "The best job openings are never advertised." Which means the best job openings don't "go through" HR. The best companies use HR as a convenient way to get paperwork done, not as a gatekeeper for hiring.

Comment: Re:Best $4400 I've ever spent in my life (Score 1) 109

Mmmmm.... No. Bzzzzt.

Presbyopia eventually affects virtually everyone by age 40-50, but that just means that you become slightly more farsighted as the natural lens becomes less flexible. Corrective surgery still removes all astigmatic defects, corrects the focal distance to a normal range, reduces eyestrain by normalizing the two eyes, along with other minor benefits. Old people getting laser correction just means "only" having perfect vision past 0.5-1 meter or so.

Now that I'm old (near death by hipster standards, or so I'm told) and need reading glasses for close work, do I regret getting laser correction? Am I not getting "bang for the buck" as I read highway signs a quarter mile ahead? Do I feel sad as I look at the moon and pick out crater edges wiith my naked eyes?

No. Not one single teensy bit. I am happy to age this way; much happier than all other options.

Comment: Re:Reality not sufficient, (Score 2) 109

Mod parent up. Wish I had points.

I had my eyes zapped about 5 years ago, and even with some complications I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Why? I did it beause glasses were making me hesitant to play with my kids.

As they grew older, I was always getting them knocked off in game play or horsing around, and then I found myself declining to play or playing soft or begging off.... Sport lenses were always a half-measure, and contacts are a maintenance timesink vs continual risks of infection. For a while I was interested in intracorneal rings (the only corrective eye surgery that is 99+% reversable) but there wasn't enough data and they were never really popular in the US. I had PRK instead of LASIK because my astigamtism's anomalies were near the surface (the "flap" would contain irregularities). The final thing that swayed me was that laser surgery (in my case) could be performed in about 10-15% of the corneal depth that is safe to treat. This meant plenty of safety margin for the initial treatment, plus I can have it re-corrected to better than 20/20 as necessary over multiple years without hitting safety limits -- basically I'll die many years before hitting any kind of limit on corneal correction. The PRK process is a much slower recovery than LASIK, and I had some complications that added a couple weeks to that, but I remember the first afternoon after getting the "bandage contacts" off and seeing with my fresh new 20/15 eyes... looking across Lake Washington at ripples in the water from canoe oars, and seeing the color and texture of the window trim on the Safeco building well over a mile away from my car on the 520 bridge. The world is absolutely fucking gorgeous again.

But would I have done it specifically for gameplay? What?

Jesus, dude, go outside and look at a tree.

Comment: Re:So 40% dwarfs 60%? (Score 1) 256

by Karl Cocknozzle (#47614623) Attached to: 40% Of People On Terror Watch List Have No Terrorist Ties

I don't think it's necessarily an error rate. What they're saying is these people may be lone actors (Unibomber, Boston bombers) who are not linked to any actual terrorist organization. Or, they're people who they think may become radicalized but have not actually phoned up Al Qaeda yet.

It's still a ridiculous number, but one can be a terrorist without being linked to a terrorist group. Yet.

You're not incorrect in your logic--one can be a terrorist without having yet been linked to a terrorist group. But it begs the question of how they were identified as terrorists and put on watch lists in the first place. Is it because they look funny? Smell funny? Have a funny hair-do? Wear traditional "muslim" clothing when they travel? Have the wrong political beliefs? Have the right political beliefs but don't express them ardently enough for big brother's taste?

The basic problem with a "Terrorism watch list" in which 40% of the people on it have seemingly no link to known terrorists or terrorist organizations, where the criteria for getting on the list in this category are murky (or possible just don't exist) the potential for abuse is absolutely staggering. How many of those people up in Dearborn Heights that can't travel are actually just being declared terrorists for having a funny name and living down the street from someone interesting? With zero oversight, we really have no way of knowing WTF is going on behind the scenes.

Comment: Re:So 40% dwarfs 60%? (Score 2) 256

by Karl Cocknozzle (#47613555) Attached to: 40% Of People On Terror Watch List Have No Terrorist Ties

In which mathematical system is 40>60?

It does. The list arbitrarily denies the right to free travel and movement among the various states for no reason whatsoever, almost 300,000 people in total. It draws into question the accuracy of the "60%"--that is, if nearly 300,000 people are arbitrarily on the list for no discernible link to terrorism, how many of the "60%" that they claim have ties to terrorism, actually do?

The incompetence of the 40% casts doubt on the claim of "60%" accuracy. I.e. "Of the 60% who do allegedly have terrorist ties, against how many of them is the evidence either completely non-existent or just because some arbitrary bureaucrat somewhere says so?"

That's what people are concerned about. An admitted 40% error rate is appalling, and it leads to wonder "If that's what they're admitting to their superiors, how much worse is the problem, actually?"

Comment: Re:Keep It Ready (Score 1) 208

Keep everything ready, so you can switch back when the cloud services fail and/or your management team changes.

Indeed. The cloud fad is already starting to pop as executives find out "Holy fuck, you mean when something goes wrong there's no amount of screaming I can do to make them prioritize our service?" and other things that weren't in the brochure. "You mean we're on a shared infrastructure so when one of the other tenants gets DDOSed we're down too? "

Or (my favorite) "You mean to actually have high availability we have to spend almost double the quoted price to run identical machines in another geographic-zone"?

Comment: Re:It's TCO, not licenses only (Score 2) 296

or the feature plain sucks (track changes in Office > Libre)

Huh? Have you used a recent version of LOffice? The track-changes feature in LO is considerably more elegant than MSOffice, both visually (in page view you still see the tagged and ordered comments/changes while displaying an accurate representation of the print view), and logically (I can reply by comment on a comment in LO, and record the justification for edits as the comments are ordered in a threaded conversation. And you don't lose the comments if you select and type instead of explicitly deleting text. By contrast in MSOffice, if you overwrite a section with track changes turned on, it always deletes the comments that went with the old text -- so MSOffice only has "track SOME changes."

I know it's a minor issue, but that in that respect, LO wins hands-down.

Comment: Re:Good to hear (Score 1) 296

Visio... ugh. I have a love-hate relationship with Visio, and got off the train at Visio 2010 -- which is ok, because it runs acceptably under Wine.

Some detail: At work I have a major publication based on about 50 complex diagrams in Visio, now in its 5th edition over the past 5 years. Originally drafted using 2003, the move to 2010 was annoying but acceptable, as it brought no discernible benefit but took away no features I needed. I was also ok with 2010 because it runs acceptably under Wine, which means I can load it at home where I much prefer Linux.
Since I work somewhere near Redmond, I got pushed to 2013, and I find it completely dysfunctional. The interface is hideous, object manipulation is difficult and requires many extra clicks for common tasks... and FFS the PDF rendering is totally broken. Even our IT and product support can't get pub-quality resolution out of the v2013 PDF engine. For a while I used Visio 2013 + GhostScript to generate acceptable PDFs because the file format incompatibilities between 2010 and 2013 made it a PITA to roll back, but there were other problems with that and eventually I just rolled back to 2010.

Upshot: If you're content with Visio 2010, then I'd say to use it on Windows or Linux as you prefer.
But Visio 2013 has regressed in UI and functionality to the point where I prefer to use DIA on Linux.

Comment: Re:no thanks (Score 5, Interesting) 172

by xeno (#47510639) Attached to: Firefox 31 Released

...and I'm not alone. According to Moz's own dev feedback tools, the Australis phelgm-globber of an interface has been trending at 80%-dislike from day one after introduction..

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/11/less-than-20-per-cent-of-users-like-firefoxs-new-australis-ui/
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/999831
http://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=14/05/12/133214

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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