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Comment: Re:Change management fail (Score 1) 56

by roc97007 (#47578699) Attached to: Passport Database Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

Exactly. Consider the business model -- A company tells you that you can outsource your IT department, buy it as a service, and pay the outsourcing company's overhead and significant profit margin, *and* save money. And the only way this could possibly work is if the outsourcing company goes to the LCC (least cost country) and hires the cheapest labor possible. This is justified in that all that IT stuff, it's all just following procedures, and anyone can do that.

And of course, this is a blatant falsehood, but executives of the victim company either (a) don't know that, (b) *want* to believe the scam, (like any good scam) or (c) don't care, because they intend to take their bonus and get the hell out of dodge.

So, outsourcing companies go into contracts *knowing* that cutover is going to be a Big Fail, and they have excuses prepared for when it happens. And a strategy (a brilliant strategy, really, executed by brilliant if unethical people) to string the con along as long as possible.

And just incidentally, the victim's attempts to train the workers that they are stuck with also fails in the long run, due to the nature of the business model. The business model breaks down if the workers are paid more than starvation wages, and workers with a bit of experience can easily get a higher paid job elsewhere (perhaps as a second or third level admin for a different outsourcing company) and they quit. And then you have a new person who doesn't know what a kernel is, and you have to train them up. And all you're doing is giving out free training. How noble of you.

...so not only is the system *designed* to fail, the system is very specifically designed to fail continuously.

But at least it's cheap. Oh, wait...

Comment: Re:Change management fail (Score 1) 56

by roc97007 (#47578493) Attached to: Passport Database Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

Oh man, don't get me started. It's not even clear that one would need to pay more -- we have not saved money so far by outsourcing, although the outsource company keeps telling us that savings are just around the corner. The first year, the excuse was that there is always startup issues, the second year, the excuse was that the outgoing employees did not document their jobs well enough, (probably true -- who would?) the third year the excuse was that the scope was bigger than we said it was. And so forth. Each year a new excuse and each year the total cost is more than what we were paying when we had our own IT department.

So yeah, insourcing, or at least selective insourcing, (let them keep doing what they do well, if anything) makes tremendous sense to me.

But I don't make the decisions.

And even where upper management has considered terminating our outsourcing contracts, it's only to give the contract to a different outsourcing company, which only means we're now calling a building across the street from the original building in Hyderabad. Who knows, we might even be dealing with some of the same people.

Comment: Re:Change management fail (Score 1) 56

by roc97007 (#47578201) Attached to: Passport Database Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

...in case my other article did not make it clear, we always ask if they have a backout plan, and they always say they do.

...and then, when the system does not reboot after an update, we find out that the backout plan is to call Dell and say "the system, it is not being working. What are we to be doing?"

...and we pay money for this.

Comment: Re:Change management fail (Score 2) 56

by roc97007 (#47578187) Attached to: Passport Database Outage Leaves Thousands Stranded

It's the wave of the future. A typical contract with offshore IT is for "current minus one", which means that each new firmware, OS or driver release causes a flurry of "maintenance" by remote "admins" who follow written procedures to update the systems with no real understanding of what they're doing, in what order they should do it, or what to do if something goes wrong. A typical list of systems to update may randomly contain a haphazard collection of prod and development machines, and may include some but not all members of a cluster. Systems are patched in Asset Management order, with no thought to rolling through dev and QA first before doing prod.

The backout plan is to engage the vendor.

Our outsourced IT bricks a few servers a year. We try to take it in stride. We've argued hysterically that if they really have to do firmware updates, to at least do dev servers first for God's Sake. They seem to not understand this.

So yeah, I could definitely see this happening. We will be seeing more of same. You get what you pay for.

Comment: Re:RACIST! (Score 1) 487

by roc97007 (#47577005) Attached to: Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

> Development is a global market, and the work can be done anywhere. Best get used to that fact, as it won't change.

I understand that, and I have no problems competing on merit. But I'm still here (at this time) seeing the quality of the people we are hiring, and there is a definite trend to go on price rather than capabilities. We are hiring programmers that have zero experience with the tools they have been hired to use. I'm having to baby them, not through our work environment, methods and procedures, but basic things like how to log into the tool and how to open a project.

There seems to be a school of thought that ten offshore programmers at $5/hour are better than one local programmer at $50/hour. There are rare cases where this is true, but it generally isn't for long -- true expertise will move on as soon as a better offer becomes available. What often happens (what's happening right now) is that the $5/hour programmers not only aren't productive, they drag down the productivity of the remaining personnel who actually know what they're doing.

But managers can show that development costs are down, so the trend continues.

Comment: Re:RACIST! (Score 1) 487

by roc97007 (#47574823) Attached to: Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

So, wait, the problem is that the wrong minorities are doing the jobs? This is complicated.

There are plenty of open developer jobs in the US. Heck, we have several on my team we can't fill. I strongly suspect people complaining about this either just don't make the cut, or don't want to move to where the jobs are.

It might depend on where you work. My manager stated publicly a couple years ago that he'll be concentrating on offshore contractors and H-1B applicants for all future hires for budgetary reasons. In those two years, partly do to regular churn, and partly due to people getting fed up and leaving, the racial characteristic of the department changed dramatically. So much so that the locals who are left are becoming concerned about their own future. Currently, people with visas and people remoting out of little towns east of Mumbai outnumber US citizens (of any race).

Comment: Re:RACIST! (Score 1) 487

by roc97007 (#47574783) Attached to: Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

There is a legitimate problem, though, that a disproportionate number of degree holding blacks aren't working in their field. The CEO of McDonald's is an EE. He's not doing bad for himself these days but you have to wonder why he couldn't establish a career as an engineer.

Maybe he didn't want to?

I started out as a microwave engineer in military electronics. After several years I couldn't stand it anymore, learned me that there programming stuff and changed careers to IT. The engineer working next to me quit a year or so before I did. I hear he's fixing CB radios somewhere away from the madding crowd. It does happen, and by choice.

Comment: Good for him (Score 4, Interesting) 487

by roc97007 (#47568517) Attached to: Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

> Jackson spoke to press after meeting with Labor Secretary Tom Perez for a review of H-1B visas, arguing that data show Americans have the skills and should have first access to high-paying tech work.

I usually find myself disagreeing with Jackson, but he seems to be on the right track here. I'm really hoping his involvement doesn't muddy the issue.

Comment: What, seriously? (Score 2) 301

by roc97007 (#47567487) Attached to: Ford, GM Sued Over Vehicles' Ability To Rip CD Music To Hard Drive

And this is different from itunes in what way? I have an ipod wired into my truck's sound system. (It's a feature of the stereo.) The (older style) ipod has an internal hard drive that contains music ripped from three crates of CDs via itunes. How is this different?

And how is this not fair use? The user is presumably the same person who bought the cd. Does the AARC expect me to buy it twice? (I know, stupid question.)

Comment: local firewalls (Score 2) 338

My current company has a firewall for the incoming internet connection. (What sane company doesn't?) We also have individual firewalls on each PC but no individual firewall on any server. I'm not a network administrator -- it's a black box from my viewpoint, but I can rattle it and guess what's inside. The servers, I believe, are protected in two ways -- (1) to get out on the internet, you must go through a proxy, and the servers do not know how to do that. (2) traffic on the server subnets are blocked by the internet firewall, except for a few in a designated DMZ. We run into this all the time when applications have features that report back to vendor tech support, but are always blocked by the firewall. (In one case we had an application that would hang when it couldn't make an ftps connection with the vendor's tech support site -- who the heck uses ftps anymore? We stopped using that app.)

So to answer your question, a well designed network will have clients that can get to the outside through a proxy server, and servers that can't get to the outside at all, and servers that can cautiously get to the outside from the DMZ. The servers that are blocked from getting to the outside by the network don't necessarily have to have individual firewalls, and in fact, local firewalls can cause problems with some applications.

Now, if you're running the back end part of the system on a local PC that can also get out on the internet... whoo boy... that sounds dangerous.

Comment: Re:Considering his history... (Score 1) 141

> Yet to see Much Ado About Nothing, though.

It's definitely worth seeing. The dialog is pretty much word-for-word, and we all know the story. It's the performances and directing that really make the film.

It's like... all your favorite people in the world getting together at a garden house to do Shakespeare. Cozy and fun.

"Trust me. I know what I'm doing." -- Sledge Hammer

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