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Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 2) 868

by junkgoof (#47556869) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline
The government is right wing and, like GWB gets more votes when there is a war on. The more people are hurt or killed on both sides the more people want war so it feeds on itself and the government has a better chance of staying in power and enriching selves, friends and political allies.

Israel was quite restrained when governed by parties that did not benefit from additional violence.

You would think lives > votes but certainly the US and Israel strongly disagree. I'd be curious how many western governments would refrain from killing citizens for votes. Certainly most of them are willing to kill their economies for campaign donations.

Comment: Not that simple (Score 2) 123

by junkgoof (#47448979) Attached to: Elite Group of Researchers Rule Scientific Publishing
The problem is it is hard to distinguish the field leaders who direct their students from the ones who hire a bunch of non-English speakers who need to publish in English, but can't write comprehensibly, and then treat them like low-paid long-hours lab-techs. Lots of data, none of the career potential.

Also hard to distinguish the ones who do what they are supposed to do (show their grad students how to write and submit papers, introduce them to other leaders) from the ones who take credit and then dump on their juniors. The good ones have to compete with the people they graduate later, and at least some of those people will be brighter than they are.

You have to consider that even the least intelligent people with science phds and postdocs are still pretty bright. And the good ones who publish the most are normally working or schmoozing most of their waking life, far more than the innovators in most companies. Some labs are publishing factories where loads of postdocs churn out loads of papers each. The person running the lab has a significant impact.

I don't think this is a case where you just turf all these profs for putting out too many papers. The biggest issue is that there aren't enough jobs for current students so a lot of the best people burn out and leave. There is not much hope of making money before about 45 in most fields due to the number of years of study required. Outcompeting really bright people for 25 adult years and then getting stuck behind a bunch of tenured guys with dropping government funding sucks.

Comment: About time (Score 1) 234

by junkgoof (#47160069) Attached to: Tech Worker Groups Boycott IBM, Infosys, Manpower
Good. Offshoring is only making money for these middle men. The clients take on loads of cheap offshore people who don't know how to tie their shoes and end up paying other people to do the work if they're lucky or paying their offshorer for even more people to do the actual work if they signed a bad deal. The workers offshore work crazy hours and get nothing, crap salary, no training. The few motivated competent people offshore move on to H1-B or other parts of the industry but most just get dumped on. It's stressful continually failing to do a job you're just not able to do, and it's painful working with these guys, trying not to get completely frustrated. Meanwhile onshore workers get dumped on and we end up doing more work to cover for the offshore guys while salaries drop and it's hard to move because a lot of the big guys are going with the management fad... Code quality is visibly dropping worldwide.

Do real HR in India and the industry drops by 90%. If you actually require the people you hire at $5/hour have some IT knowledge or aptitude (just one or the other, not both, that would be really optimistic) most people will have to leave the industry. Sort of like NA during the boom except clueless people would last 2 days here instead of billing clients for years.

Comment: Re:Ha, hot programming jobs (Score 1) 466

The normal answer is infinite:

"Hey can you do this week long project for free?"

"No, pay me."

"I'll get my offshore guy to work on it."

6 months later.

"So can you do this thing for free?"

"No. What happened to your offshore guy?"

"He's still working on it full time but he doesn't have any recoverable work completed yet. So can you do it for free?"

"Your negotiating position is not improving"

Comment: same rate... (Score 1) 566

by junkgoof (#46950513) Attached to: Let Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders Work In US, Says White House
The first demand for most H1Bs is "sign back X% of your paychecks to us or go home" where X is closer to 50 than 0. The answer is very different depending on country of origin, ranging from "No way" or "I'll sue" to "yes sir, thank you sir." The first worlders I know kept their jobs and salaries. I doubt the same is true for non-first worlders.

There is definitely a stratification for offshoring with good people able to get better visas and/or salaries comparable to onshore employees. The number of good people is tiny compared with the size of the offshoring industry. Most offshore workers, certainly the ones working for large companies (onshore or offshore, i.e. Infosys and IBM) are salary ballast. They can bill but they can't do productive work.

Good people get good money wherever they are in IT (and some not so good people get good money). It is not like auto-workers with no skills (8 hours training) and no mobility. Companies that are "saving money" offshore or onshore are not hiring good people. Anyone with meaningful skills, even in India (a tiny proportion of those in India working in IT) will get offers at close to western salaries. A lot of people with no meaningful skills "edit a text file? I don't have confidence I can do that" will continue to be paid peanuts to do little positive work and, in many cases, lots of damage. Same as in America in the '90s tech boom where unqualified (and incapable) people were working because of the scarcity of capable people.

Comment: spook (Score 1) 138

Oddly spook e-mail configs (to add random terms to generate false positives to big brother) were popular 20 years ago when there was almost no traffic and no reason for surveillance. They don't appear to exist now that there is a huge volume of e-mail and known government surveillance.

Rebellion is so much easier in the absence of repression.

Comment: Depends on the technology (Score 1) 261

by junkgoof (#45705233) Attached to: Streaming and Cord-Cutting Take a Toll On the Pay-TV Industry
The DSL technology keeps improving. Here in Montreal I'm getting about 8 Mbps on a 7 Mbps connection. I previously had about 2 but I got moved to a new switch that is more effective over copper. I might need fibre if I wanted 60 or something but by the time I seriously need that (1 MB/s is quite OK so far) I expect it will be available over twisted pair though I may have to upgrade my now 5 year old DSL modem.

There is competition here, though, so the cable/telcos can't get away with just leaving people on existing tech until it dies. Though you do have to ask. My bill is the same for 4 times as much bandwidth. A tech visited but ended up not doing anything; the change was in software on the provider's end. Easy decision for anyone here I would think, you just have to call.

Comment: Self-perceived coolness factor (Score 1) 784

by junkgoof (#45557271) Attached to: Disabled Woman Denied Entrance To US Due To Private Medical Records
In wars/conflicts you get IEDs. You get some poisonings, a few knife attacks, and occasional bombs from random crazies. You get a significant fraction of nutjobs shooting people intsead of using other methods. It's easier, not only physically but morally; you don't have to walk up with someone and stick a knife in them and watch them bleed, but you get to see them fall down. And the people who shoot a number of people and, usually, themselves, must get some sort of enjoyment out of it or they would just kill themselves and leave everyone else alone.

The real problem is that for a lot of people and a seriously unreasonable number of Americans (the gun owners who think they have toys not tools) guns make them feel special and powerful whether they use them or not. There is nothing to prevent people who are known to be crazy from getting guns in many parts of the US (even here in Canada a known nutjob (Fabrikant) was able to get guns through a bureaucratic error and through his wife while he was barred from owning one).

Not a lot of people are crazed mass murderers but the vast majority of crazed mass-murderers use guns.

Comment: web sites (Score 3, Insightful) 400

by junkgoof (#45314773) Attached to: What Went Wrong?
Why does everyone think making a web site is easy? With multiple feeds using different technologies even a fairly minimal health care web site would be complicated. Add in a whole lot of states that oppose the process and delay finalizing the requirements (client from hell) and you can pretty easily get to a point where the implementers have to choose between being late and being wrong. Think of the length of the requirements document distilled from the laws and negotiations. Think of the army of business analysts needed to get functional requirements and of the timeline they have to meet. Remember that no one ever hires enough business analysts.

This is not an easy thing to do.

Comment: Re:best you can say "even aweful Bush was governor (Score 3, Insightful) 400

by junkgoof (#45314741) Attached to: What Went Wrong?
Reagan? He started the downward spiral toward total dishonesty and lack of government. Why are some countries rich and others poor? It's not resources, it's government. Germany and Japan had good systems imposed by the US and they are doing fine. Most Western European governments have similar systems, they do well. Most Asian/African/Eastern European have crappy governments and are poor. There are exceptions, Singapore has a repressive but effective government and they are doing just fine economically.

By choosing to starve and neuter the most effective tool for prosperity they have Americans are making themselves, and the countries who follow them poor. Government, and taxes, are a good thing. Corruption is bad, but a little theft is better than selling out the whole system which is what the US has consistently done for the last 3 or 4 decades. Who won each election? The man was bought. Why did Clinton win? He sold out more completely than his opponents. Why did Bush II win? He sold out totally and without reservation. The one exception is Bush I who actually did some positive stuff before being run out of town on a rail for not being bought. Obama was sort of a mistake, it should have been Hilary who was utterly bought, but Obama did the grassroots thing the first election... Too bad he doesn't understand Texan aphorisms like "dance with the one who brung you."

Government is good, Fox news sucks, current conservatism (here in Canada too, Harper is trashing the economy in the typical right wing manner) sucks, propaganda sucks, and going with the gut instead of what works (the economy was better when taxes were high? That can't be right...) sucks.

Comment: heat (Score 1) 269

by junkgoof (#42797613) Attached to: Hard Drive Revenue About To Take a Double-Digit Dip
On the server side I had a rack where the disks would die if anyone closed the door due to heat. I inherited the rack, hit the issue and removed the door so it would not happen again, but it had happened before (2 disk failures with the door closed, zero over 4 years with the door in storage). I had an AMD that ran hot and almost every component (disk, mainboard, card) died over time (better case and fans would have helped, maybe a better power supply, too). Heat may not always be a problem but it can be a problem. Not everyone has a decent case and power supply (I overreacted and got an Antec with way too many case fans).

Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.