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Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 158

by pla (#49381541) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With User Resignation From an IT Perspective?
And also.. backing up his email in case he deletes his inbox/sentbox? Are you serious?

Some industries have legally mandated retention periods, both in the minimum and maximum direction.

That said, employees shouldn't have the ability to violate the corporate retention policy. You delete an email? Okay, you don't see it anymore, but it still lives on the server. You don't delete an email? Okay, but in three years, it vanishes automatically.

And yes, you can play games such as forwarding it to yourself, printing it to PDF, yadda yadda yadda, but at least on the deletion side, your admins have no excuse for not having the server automatically enforce minimum required retention times.

Comment: Re:Do it before they put in their notice. (Score 1) 158

by tlhIngan (#49380813) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With User Resignation From an IT Perspective?

Every time I've known I was going to turn in my notice, I end up going through everything and cleaning out any personal stuff and clean up my mailbox before the letter ever gets put in. You never know if you'll be given the opportunity to do that once your notice is in. If there's anything that needs to be saved, it's a good idea to keep a rolling backup of it now on everyone. That way, when someone turns in their notice (whether everything is above board or not), you have everything you need and you're not scrambling to catch it before the employee deletes it.

Exactly. It's also why locking the gate after he turns in notice is pointless - if the employee REALLY wanted to screw with you, they'd have done it BEFORE the letter was handed in.

The vast, vast, vast majority of employees who voluntarily resign will not hurt their soon-to-be-ex-employer. You're resigning, usually out of free will, and burning bridges is not something you do, period. Doesn't matter if your boss was a jerk or an asshole, making a big "scene" while leaving is a really good way to end up unemployed when your new employer finds out.

By all means do it when layoffs are happening - emotions are running high and people will feel the need to destroy at least their computers, at least in the beginning until the laid off people calm down. Of course, most reasonable employees will feel ample regret if they actually did this in the end, but during this emotional period, yes, it can and does happen.

Presumably the guy resigning is leaving after finding a better job elsewhere. He's not going to risk early retirement at his new employer. (Employees talk and word gets around fast if someone decided to destroy data when they leave, and eventually it'll reach your new employer.).

Nothing changes before or after the letter gets handed in. If you're worried that you lock down PCs after the letter is handed in, then all the destruction will happen before.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 3, Insightful) 158

Yes, and there are also key close-out tasks to cap off open projects to deliver to the next guy, or to transfer knowledge and move off responsibilities gracefully. Cutting off is a great strategy where the user is not unique, and a devastating one where he is training his replacement or in charge of things that rarely require attention; most often, it's somewhere in-between, and some careful decisions are required.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 3, Insightful) 158

Malware isn't as targeted as an individual, although I've seen financial records damaged and personal e-mails disseminated by malware. My stint at various companies, contractors, government positions, and private sector jobs has given me a lot of exposure to shit that goes wrong. Even when I had little technical power, I slowly identified ways to leverage the small access I needed, and to gain higher access; access control is idyllic, and information often leaks around a lot due to the need for certain things to be available.

I used to administrate IDS systems and approve firewall requests. In this capacity, I had no ability to do any real damage: every system I interfaced with was handled by an agent, either to install my hardware, to set my network routes, to configure the firewalls, to route span traffic to me, or to shut off ports when I discovered dangerous behavior on the network. I could damage our IDS, but nothing else. By contrast, those administrators each had a massive amount of power: they could sniff network traffic, route it for man-in-the-middle attacks, leak any information they wanted; even I was able to regularly extract administrative network passwords from our traffic, since our IDS ran decryption through our internal certificates and showed me raw attack traffic. I couldn't see your personal gmail account, but I could see the plaintext of your ssh connection to a CISCO switch.

I do work in network security; most mundanes who dabble figure that security is this rock-hard wall of protection, or it's wrong. They often forget the definition of information security, which includes confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility; it is the accessibility that people most forget, demanding confidentiality and integrity while refusing to sacrifice either where accessibility is impacted unacceptably. In my example with the IDS, the IDS must decrypt traffic to search for attacks which may compromise confidentiality or integrity, yet it also reveals passwords to a small group of people who may themselves compromise confidentiality or integrity by using these passwords; this is why HMAC was invented, but it is not always available within a protocol suite.

Comment: Re:Broken thinking... (Score 0) 258

by bluefoxlucid (#49380227) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous

Oh, they can read and listen fine enough; but they don't always have social tact or good English grammar. Improving these things is incidental to employing good project management: it often happens when you take a direct approach to stakeholder communication and project planning, but it's not strictly a prerequisite. Even then, much of that only entails improving the clarity and completeness of communication; while there are structural and informational improvements, grammatical improvements don't necessarily come along.

Consider for a moment an e-mail that claims there are problems, that things aren't working, and that people want things too much. Such an e-mail can communicate the situation in all its completeness as I've just done, with little to no information on the specifics, with fragments of one thought jumbled with fragments of another as the text races back and forth between different issues. Such an e-mail would be much better if it first grouped together each part of the problem and relayed these groups sequentially, and second included a complete explanation for each part of the problem. Even then, the e-mail may be one giant paragraph, loads of run-on sentences, fragments of thoughts, and so forth.

As a project manager, you might learn to interpret this, and then produce a better-formed document to pass on to the other stakeholders; you'll continue to receive hackneyed garbage from your engineers, who still communicate like brain-damaged gradeschoolers, and just deal with it.

In the same way, these people may not deal elegantly at all with human beings; I myself am a very logical, fact-driven person, and have such a problem. In my case, I prefer to look at a problem and produce a solution; however, responding to problems often entails pointing out some painful, annoying things that people are still sore over, in the process highlighting all of their recent personal failures and generally shoving these things back in their faces while showing them how much better and more intelligent you are than they. I've found it more effective to separate out the case study and describe a solution, theoretical risks, and justification from the broad field of my work, allowing them to make the implications themselves and offering to provide the case studies if they need some specific concerns to raise to upper management. After rolling the ideas around and discussing them, the sting of failure is anesthetized, and they're far less hurt by the reminder now that they feel some control over the situation.

Of course, either approach I've described here is technically correct: I follow the same analytic process and deliver the same results regardless. I've learned to apply some consideration of complex human interactions when delivering those results, which is a whole different concern from my hard technical skills. I have said many times that there are no super brains: genius is technique, and I was born with the same capacity as everyone around me; this, too, is technique, and anyone can learn, as I have to only a small degree yet, to interact better with people just as well as they can learn grammar, computer programming, or quantum physics. As I've also come to understand lately, such skills are critical for success in the workplace.

Comment: Re:Way too many humanities majors (Score 2) 258

by bluefoxlucid (#49380129) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous

People with STEM degrees have lower unemployment, and higher salaries. To say there is a "glut" relative to humanities is silly.

People with STEM degrees tend to be more affluent, thus more articulate, than poor, inner-city negroes who nobody likes anyway. They can pass an interview at Burger King better than a fourth-generation-welfare black kid. If we fixed our school systems--if we adjusted schools in our poorest cities to attend to the needs of the poverty-stricken minorities they service--such individuals would grow up poor and without a college education, but articulate, sociable, and on the same footing as middle-class engineers when they walk into the local WalMart looking for a job.

They are indeed important skills. But they are not "humanities".

Speaking, writing, organizing your office memos, dealing skillfully with people. These are called soft skills, and are humanities. Humanities include linguistics, social sciences, communications studies, and even law. A lawyer goes to a specialized school and then apprentices for years in nearly a decade of study entirely in humanities; diplomats, politicians, and business executives make a critical study of humanities to learn to negotiate and to speak in public; teachers go to college to study humanities, learning how to interact with children and parents. These are all studies in humanities.

Comment: Re:Government would've jumped on them (Score 4, Insightful) 55

by jellomizer (#49380007) Attached to: Microsoft Considered Giving Away Original Xbox

I think OS/2 biggest failure was poor marketing compared to Microsoft.
I remember the OS/2 Warp commercials. Just a bunch of people sitting around a computer saying how cool it was then a bunch of trippy colors.
They didn't even show the OS.

While Microsoft for its Windows 95 campaign showed the OS and how easy it was to use, and some of the new features that would make you want it.

Apple does the same thing with their products they are trying to push. You have adds where they show the product and how easy it is to use.

Comment: Re:More BS blaming 'the system' for bad parenting (Score 2) 299

by AmiMoJo (#49379759) Attached to: Poverty May Affect the Growth of Children's Brains

I don't think you understand what "equality of opportunity" means. For example, it means that all children would have the opportunity to get a high quality education. Obviously some children are less bright than others, but the high quality education is offered to everyone. More over, children shouldn't be disadvantaged because of their parents failings, because that isn't fair to them. That's one of the reasons why children must attend school by law in most countries - even if the parents would prefer them to stay at home or work they must be given the opportunity to learn.

As for jobs, equality of opportunity means that everyone can apply for a particular job, i.e. the employer can't arbitrarily discriminate against say Latino people. It also means that we should try to make high quality jobs available everywhere, or ensure that people can relocate if necessary without artificial barriers. Imagine there was some bright kid just out of college who couldn't afford to move to where high end jobs in his field were. Someone might decide to help give him the opportunity to apply for and get those jobs by offering assistance to move.

Comment: Re:Only need one Steve Jobs (Score 2) 258

by Austerity Empowers (#49379717) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous

All the engineers Steve Jobs uses are in the western world, mostly Cupertino. He uses Asia, primarily for manufacturing. Manufacturing being the primary consumer of unskilled labor with minimal education, which would otherwise help put the excess of humanities majors we produce in the US to work and help them pay off college loans.

Comment: False dichotomy (Score 3, Insightful) 258

by pla (#49379633) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous
No one has said we should focus on STEM to the exclusion of all else.

If you want to take a double major, sure, go ahead and get that degree in Medieval French Lit - Just make sure your other major(s) actually makes you qualified to earn a living.

No argument, a humanities degree will go a long way toward making an engineer "well rounded" (I took the double major path myself); but far from having a glut of narrowly-focused STEM professionals on the market, we instead have a staggering preponderance of unemployable college graduates who had no idea what they wanted to do with their lives and saw a liberal arts degree as the path of least resistance. Nothing "noble" about that, and "well rounded" applies to both sides of the fence. All Nietzsche and no Newton makes you just as square as all Calculus and no Yanomami

Now, if you really do want to work as an anthropologist, hey, more power to ya! But don't complain that no one wants to hire you to smoke a lot of weed and ruminate about how much The Man has conspired to keep you down.

Comment: Re:Broken thinking... (Score 1, Flamebait) 258

by bluefoxlucid (#49379459) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous
Yeah I work with technical people. 99% of them are moronic, drooling fuckups who somehow secured themselves a job without being able to construct a clear sentence. Somehow, they're able to do complex things in databases and write architecturally demanding software, even though they communicate like brain-damaged teenagers high on some unholy concoction of mind-altering substances.

Comment: Re:Way too many humanities majors (Score 2, Funny) 258

by bluefoxlucid (#49379447) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous

I thought this would be a similar economic argument: 74% of STEM majors don't work in STEM fields, but instead in services (fast food), retail, social services (trashmen) or as aids running papers back and forth. I've made such arguments to illustrate why we need to dismantle the government's activities in post-K-12 education and leave workforce building up to the market, using this STEM market glut as a prime example.

They made a more humanizing argument which I can't disagree with. Both arguments are quite valid: the ability to deal with people, to write well, to communicate, to create, these are also important job skills.

Comment: Broken thinking... (Score 1) 258

by Austerity Empowers (#49379399) Attached to: Why America's Obsession With STEM Education Is Dangerous

If you can master technical skills and complex math, overwhelming data suggests that you have also learned to read and think, and on the path to proving your competence have also managed to write clearly. I really don't think that's the loss. The best argument is creative losses from lacking a broad background in other cultures, ideas and in some cases lack of historical reference. It's not clear to me to what degree this really helps 99% of the STEM workforce though.

The only career I know of where being able to do any of these things is optional, seems to be upper level executives.

Committees have become so important nowadays that subcommittees have to be appointed to do the work.