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Comment: Re:Outdated (Score 1) 210

Not sure why you're being dense. Both managers and project managers "manage", and so there's going to be some overlap in what they do. The biggest difference between a project manager and a manager in that a project manager has specific projects, with specific scopes of work, and essentially only has purview over those specific projects.

A manager may also manage projects. That doesn't mean it's the same job. If you treat them like the same job, you're going to do a very bad job at one of them, if not both.

Comment: Re:Outdated (Score 2) 210

I've worked for one company that I thought did a rather smart thing: They separated out the "manager" and "boss" roles.

So they had one person, a "manager", keep an eye on people, keep an eye on projects, allocate resources, and basically manage the group. The "boss" was a rather technical guy who was not good at managing, and did not want to manage, and who mostly worked as part of the team. The "manager" was treated more as a resource to keep the group working effectively, and really wasn't "in charge". For any substantial decisions, the manager would discuss it with the boss, and the boss would make a decision.

Admittedly, it was a small company doing a rather niche set of work, but it worked really well. There seemed to be something to the idea.

Comment: Re:The good news is... (Score 2) 210

Yeah. I've been a manager before, and if I'm being honest, I think I did a pretty good job at it. Relatively. Mostly.

But the guy who said, "It's too easy NOT to be." doesn't know what he's talking about. It's really easy to make a dumb managerial decision. It's really hard to be a good manager. For example, he says;

Instead of the once-a-year-review aim for the every-2-weeks-review. That way you will remember all the reasons why the main project was delayed.

So great, now instead of being the absentee manager who doesn't know what's going on, you're the micromanaging asshole who calls constant meetings. As a result, you remember all the reasons why your project is delayed, but what are you going to do about it? Do you let the project be late? Do you cut back on the project goals? Can you throw more resources into the project to meet deadlines? Sometimes more resources don't work.

Sometimes you can push your people harder and get more work out of them. You don't want to do that all the time, because it has diminishing returns, and your people might hate you for it. They probably will hate you for it, but in doing so, you might be saving their jobs.

Now upper management calls you in. They're upset that the project is going wrong. You know it's because little bubble-headed Billy screwed up again. Billy is bad at his job. How much do you protect Billy, knowing that he really ought to be fired. Maybe you could throw him under the bus and get everyone else out of a jam, but that seems like a shitty thing to do. You prefer to be the type of manager that says, "This is my responsibility. The buck stops here."

But does Billy need to be fired? If you want to fire him, you're going to need reasons, and this could be one. He's a nice guy, and people like him. You're afraid of ruining the guy's life. You'd like to see him do well. Maybe you could sit down and have a talk with him, give him some help, and get him on the right track. That sounds great to you. You'd be a little bit of a hero, if you took this guy who's a bit of a fuck-up and helped him become a big success. You have a little fantasy about the whole thing: Someday, Billy is a big-shot millionaire, but he owes it all to you. That's a nice thought. Of course, you've tried the same thing with Peter last year, before eventually firing him. You really should have just cut your losses earlier, because everything you did to try to help Peter just fell flat. Ultimately, he wasn't motivated. Maybe Billy will be like that too, and you'll look back and say, "I wish I'd fired Billy earlier."

.... and Sorry about that. I went down a rabbit hole there, but I wanted to try to illustrate that these decisions aren't particularly easy. There are a bunch of competing interests, and there's not a clear "correct" answer. You can read books about management, with all their trite aphorisms. They might give some good examples of where other managers succeeded or failed, but the reality is that those examples worked because of context and chance. Often, the real lesson is that you have to be aware of all of the details and subtleties of your situation, sometimes ignoring conventional wisdom, try to find a solution that works in that exact, particular context, and hope for the best.

Comment: Re:This is not a matter of neutrality (Score 2) 437

by nine-times (#49585351) Attached to: Rand Paul Moves To Block New "Net Neutrality" Rules

If telcos decide to meddle with anything above they should - lose common carrier status and become co responsible. - not call it internet. Youtubenet facebooklink flixnet for netflix or whatever, sell it at reduced price and get the new generation of imbeciles on board there and off the real net.

It's a win/win.

No, I think that's insufficient. The real issue here is that we need real, fast, high quality, unfettered telecommunications infrastructure. It's an economic issue, an issue of technological development, and First Amendment issue. There can be no compromise there.

Unfortunately, infrastructure development can only be left to the "free market" in limited ways. We can't have businesses developing completely independent roadways. Cities can't have a bunch of different electrical companies all laying down cables. We can't have a free market for water, with many different companies laying independent pipe networks throughout our cities. It's not practical and it doesn't make a bit of sense.

Companies like Verizon and TWC keep trying to re-frame the whole thing as though the Internet is an entertainment service, and we shouldn't regulate it any more than we regulate companies that make socks. They keep trying to re-frame it, and we keep letting them. They pay corrupt morons like Rand Paul to champion their causes, and we vote people like him into office. We should stop doing that.

The Internet is telecommunications infrastructure. We need it. We can't allow businesses to control and subvert out ability to communicate for their own short-term business goals. Net neutrality is not like telling a sock manufacturer how to set their prices. Net neutrality is like telling a company, "You're not allowed to own all the ink and paper in the world, and then decide which news stories get printed, and which personal letters get sent." It's like saying, "We can't let a company buy all of our roads, and then decide who gets to drive where, when, and in which car."

Comment: Games? (Score 4, Interesting) 174

by nine-times (#49547273) Attached to: Apple Watch Launches

Ars has an article about the difficulty of making games for the Apple Watch

Honestly, I think games are a bit of a stretch. Maybe I'm just a stupid old man, but I kind of feel like smart-watches should do very little, but everything they do, they should do in a simple, obvious, transparent manner. If you want to play games, just pull out your phone.

Now of course someone is going to say, "What's wrong with extra functionality? If you don't want it, just don't use it." All I would say is, if I had my say in the design, I'd make the UI as simple as possible, and make the battery last as long as possible. Adding a bunch of unnecessary features and games that require a bunch of processing power are likely to run contrary to both of those goals. If you gave me the choice of being able to play Angry Birds on my watch, or shaving off a couple of ounces while extending battery life for 5 hours, I'd definitely choose the latter.

Comment: Re:Dubious (Score 1) 686

by nine-times (#49535983) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

I am well beyond millennial status and I approve of what Snowden did so I am not sure I believe the survey results.

Nobody is saying the survey conclusively proves that nobody approves of Snowden's actions. That's not how these things work. The summary says:

Among those aged 35-44, some 34 percent have positive attitudes toward him. For the 45-54 age cohort, the figure is 28 percent, and it drops to 26 percent among Americans over age 55, U.S. News reported.

So even if this survey is accurate, that still leaves a significant percentage of people in those age ranges who do have positive attitudes. In that context, it doesn't really make sense to say, "Well I'm in that age group and I have positive attitudes, so this survey must not be accurate." Maybe you're just part of the minority.

Of course, the survey could be inaccurate or misleading. Most polls are.

Comment: Re:We can learn from this (Score 1) 163

Good point. And then someone is going to say, "Well why don't we just change the laws that allow incumbants to redraw district lines to improve their reelection prospects?" It's the same catch-22 problem. The people who have the power to make it illegal are the same people redrawing the lines.

And note that this kind of thing isn't new. The Ancient Greeks complained about the same kinds of catch-22 problems regarding politics.

Comment: Re:We can learn from this (Score 4, Insightful) 163

But is the problem that we can't identify what's wrong, or is the problem that we're powerless to do anything about it?

My understanding is that you could find plenty of people with enough expertise to lay out exactly what the problem is, but the problem is essentially, "There are a bunch of legal loopholes that effectively make bribery legal, thereby handing control of our government over to those who can pay the most."

You might ask, "Well if we know what the problem is, we can fix it! Why not close the loopholes?" The fundamental problem there is that the people in position to close the loopholes are the ones receiving the bribes, and they want the bribes to keep coming. The only thing that could get them to change the law would be if their corporate overlords, i.e. those providing the bribes, bribed them to make it illegal. The problem with that is that the corporate overlords also want the bribes to remain legal, so that they can influence public officials.

Finally, you might say, "Well why not just vote those bribe-takers out of office?" The problem there is that the bribes are used to buy elections. Without that money, you can't run ads, you can't get on TV, and you can't even participate in the public debate.

It's just a catch-22 situation. The only solution would be for voters to somehow elect someone who they've never heard of, who basically can't campaign, and just hope that that new elected official is both honest and effective. And then that has to happen in a couple hundred other elections at roughly the same time.

Comment: Re:Epic? (Score 1) 143

by nine-times (#49514005) Attached to: Astronaut Snaps Epic <em>Star Trek</em> Selfie In Space
Or maybe I'm just putting too much stress on the "Star Trek" aspect of the whole thing...? If you want to say that taking a selfie from the space station, with the Earth and SpaceX's Dragon supply capsule in the background, is itself 'epic', I'd be more likely to agree. The headline makes it sound like it's big news that she's wearing a Starfleet costume, which... yeah, it's fun...

Comment: Epic? (Score 5, Insightful) 143

by nine-times (#49513959) Attached to: Astronaut Snaps Epic <em>Star Trek</em> Selfie In Space

Is it really "epic"? Isn't really just "kinda fun"?

I guess I'm an old man for refusing to adopt the new meaning of "epic" to mean "mildly interesting", but I'm not trying to be pedantic. That was just the first thing that jumped into my head. I read the headline, was prepared for something huge, and then saw the picture and thought, "Eh.... that's really a stretch to call this 'epic'. It's kind of neat and fun, and I'm amused, but that's about the extent of it."

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents