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Comment: Re:Time for a UNION! (Score 5, Insightful) 263

by metlin (#48868295) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

Although this problem needs a solution, a union is not that solution. Unions are a relic of a bygone era. The core premise of a union is that employes are all the same and can be swapped in and out of work like parts in a machine (once they are trained). This leads to collective bargaining which takes back some of the power that big employers have. However it also removes individuality from the worker. If I am smarter, stronger, or more skilled than my coworkers, I want to be able to elevate myself based on my merits. A union interferes with that. You pay a union, and the union acts only in its own best interest, not in your individual best interest.

That's an incredibly selfish attitude that puts the individual interest above the interest of the collective. The irony is that collective bargaining is much more effective and is much stronger in the long run. Your self interest is great until such time that you reach a point when other, more skilled people take your place (which is inevitable, because our cognitive capabilities decline with age, not to mention that older people have more responsibilities and find it hard to work 80 hour weeks).

Even the most meritocratic of individuals can run into unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances (e.g., an accident that has you laid up, or family issues). I worked in a strictly up or out management consulting firm, and about a year ago, my pregnant wife had some issues. My son was born, prematurely, and I was in a rough place with my personal needs and professional responsibilities. My wife was hospitalized and my son was in the NICU, unable to breathe, and I was the only one who could take care of things. My employer was understanding -- for about 6 weeks -- after which things got rather unpleasant. So, I quit and joined another firm that is not only more prestigious but was also more understanding and accommodating of my needs. But I was fortunate -- I could very well have been unable to find a job, and been unemployed for a year because I wanted to take care of my family.

Union agreements ensure that in such cases, collective bargaining agreements protect everyone.

Modern skilled workers, especially in the IT and Engineering fields, are usually very specialized. This is not a good fit for a union. It would be ill advised to take a good thing and remove all motivation for creativity and the free flow of invigorating talent.

Not really. Most of what goes on in IT today is quite commoditized, and there are very few areas that are truly specialized. And it is only going to get worse as IT matures. You may think your task is highly specialized, but the truth is, there's probably someone in another part of the world willing to do it for a tenth of what you get paid. That is not specialization.

If you want real specialization, you perhaps see it in chip design, algorithmic optimization, biotech etc. You know, all those guys with PhDs who specialize in a subject?

A better solution is to simply prevent large corporations from getting away with their bullshit. No "gentleman's agreements" to prevent poaching. Stop accepting lies regarding layoffs and market performance. Reward employers for using home-grown talent rather than rewarding them with tax loopholes for moving overseas.

And how do you propose we do that? The share market is the ultimate arbiter, and the people who are rewarding the companies and the executives are the shareholders who are in for short term profit (it's the extension of the same short term myopic outlook of looking out for oneself rather than the collective).

I find that most Americans have a poor understanding of unions almost entirely rooted in propaganda, and it gets repeated again and again as gospel. The truth is, unions are immensely helpful to the labor force, especially in a service economy such as ours. Everyone thinks their skill is specialized, until it gets outsourced and commoditized.

You are not special. And despite what you may think, unions can help you negotiate agreements that would be impossible for you to go at alone.

Comment: Re:3rd place vs 1st place. (Score 1) 249

by metlin (#48796261) Attached to: Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

This is a great point. When I was younger and in college, I took advantage of the fact that I could coast through my engineering classes with the barest minimum effort. So, spent them drinking, playing in a band, and chasing tail. I still graduated in the top 10, but I could have easily done much, much better. Grad school and a couple of jobs later, my philosophy changed, and from somewhere, ambition crept in.

I will say that I have accomplished a lot more with drive and mediocre application of intelligence than with intelligence and little in the way of drive or hard work.

The problem is that you need them both at the right times in your life. Otherwise, it's too late. At a different period of my life, I may have gone through with a PhD and potentially been a physicist if I had had the sense to apply both grit and intelligence.

Today, I am a management consultant, where I use my analytical skills to solve mediocre problems, but where grit and drive and many other soft skills play a role. In fact, I would argue that my intelligence has taken a back seat and I bust ass to make up for gaps in my technical skills (e.g., finance).

Sadly, I am well past the point of publishing seminal papers; but at least, I can make the best of what I have and make a boatload of money for my next generation. But you're right -- it's not coming first. It's not even coming third. It's somewhere around fifth to the tenth. Above average, if you will, but definitely not great.

Comment: And the winner is... (Score 1) 567

by sonamchauhan (#48579727) Attached to: The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait

... at least for gaming, the winner is 3 x 30" LCDs pivoted to portrait mode, according to MaximumPC magazine in 2011:

I don't have this setup but tried pivoting (smaller) monitors before (work apps, not games). I hit these issues:

1. Mainstream monitors (22"-24") are too narrow for some websites or applications

2. The 'Colour inversion' effect
This is worst with TN panels.You basically need the panel more or less perfectly vertical and have to look at it dead-on.
Even with TFT IPS panels, there's something a tiny bit 'off' that I can't put my finger on - its as if colour reproduction was designed to be optimal in landscape mode. Or something different about pixel spacing, or how sub-pixel colour elements stack up next to each other... Just guessing here.

3. For desktop use, you end up bobbing your head up and down.

Comment: The winner ... (Score 1) 1

by sonamchauhan (#48578377) Attached to: The case for the vertical monitor revolution

... at least for gaming, is 3 x 30" LCDs pivoted to portrait mode, according to MaximumPC magazine in 2011:

[ ]

I don't have this setup myself. But I've tried pivoting smaller monitors before (for work apps, not gaming), and hit these issues:

1. Standard work issue monitors (22") are too narrow for some websites or applications
2. The 'colour inversion' effect with TN panels.
To avoid you need the panel more or less perfectly vertical and look at it dead-on.
3. Even with TFT IPS panels, there's something a tiny bit 'off'
I can't put my finger on - its as if colour reproduction was designed to be optimal in landscape mode. Or something with pixel spacing, or how the sub-pixel colours stack up, or something...
4. If the panel's close by (a must with smaller screen), you end up bobbing your gaze up and down.

Comment: Physical games (Score 1) 171

by metlin (#48543965) Attached to: Preferred Type of Game?

I enjoy rock and ice climbing, sailing, and flying. And they are all done outside in the real world.

There's a certain satisfaction that comes from physical exertion that is not accomplished in a board game or a video game.

Although I have seen some people go crazy over flight sims. While they are good learning tools for some planes where it's hard (and expensive) to rack up hours, they're definitely no substitute for the real thing. That feeling of g's when you master an acrobatic maneuver or the joys of landing blind.

Comment: Re:I don't care (Score 1) 488

by sonamchauhan (#48513625) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Non-Coders, Why Aren't You Contributing To Open Source?

Hi - Try this therapy named 'Insulin Potentiation Therapy' - in one study, it magnified the anti-tumour effect of chemo 10000 times.
See research paper linked to on the last page of this link:

Its a sort of research paper I did on behalf of a family friend - start on the second page.

Utility is when you have one telephone, luxury is when you have two, opulence is when you have three -- and paradise is when you have none. -- Doug Larson