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Comment: Re:It depends (Score 1) 152

by Rich0 (#47721137) Attached to: Calif. Court Rules Businesses Must Reimburse Cell Phone Bills

If they dont offer and you only use it as its a convenience to make your life easier, then again, you are on your own.

There is no such thing as "optional" work. If you don't "voluntarily" use your phone to get more work done, then you'll be replaced by somebody who does. You won't be fired for not using your cell phone - you'll be fired for being the slowest person in the department.

If this were blue-collar work then we'd be talking about people "voluntarily" not using provided safety equipment because it slows them down. The only way to regulate this sort of thing is that if an employee gets injured due to deliberate disobedience of corporate policy that says they had to use safety gear, you have to fine the company millions of dollars anyway. Then the employer will actually ENFORCE the policy, and not just let 99% of their employees ignore it, and fire the 1% who follow it.

If the company doesn't want employees using their personal cell phones, then they should forbid their use to do work, and take steps to ensure access is blocked (not actively facilitate their use).

Comment: Re:Source is HVAC Contractors (Score 4, Informative) 277

by Rich0 (#47717627) Attached to: Scientists Baffled By Unknown Source of Ozone-Depleting Chemical

When I open up the tap in my kitchen sink, am I "blowing off water straight to atmosphere" ??? Of course not, showing us all that you didnt know that Carbon tetrachloride was a liquid while making your first post blaming a bunch of people that you clearly have other different issues with.

Saying that something is a liquid/solid/gas/etc is a bit of a simplification. The reality is that substances exist in equilibrium between various phases, and this shifts based on temperature/pressure.

If you spill some water on a sidewalk in the summer and come back an hour later, you won't see any water, because it will evaporate - probably fairly quickly depending on the humidity.

Carbon tetrachloride is much more volatile than water in practice. The boiling point isn't all that much lower, but unlike water there is almost none of it present in the atmosphere to start out. That greatly facilitates evaporation per Le Chatelier's principle.

Oh, and I don't think anybody uses carbon tetrachloride in air conditioners. Old ones certainly use CFCs though, and most of those boil at a lower temperature. Carbon tetrachloride has been a known carcinogen for ages, so industrial uses have been shifting away from it for a while.

Comment: Re:They'd become liable,thanks to DMCA (1998) (Score 1) 154

by Rich0 (#47717569) Attached to: Google Receives Takedown Request Every 8 Milliseconds

The problem is that DMCA doesn't effectively provide penalties for filing bogus notifications.

It does require the complainant to make a statement under penalty of perjury. In theory false takedowns could be pursued in court.

The real problem here is automated takedowns. How can you have a computer system make a statement on your behalf under penalty of perjury? It would be like sending a computer to testify on your behalf in court.

Comment: Re:Faulty logic (Score 1) 154

by Rich0 (#47717547) Attached to: Google Receives Takedown Request Every 8 Milliseconds

If GoDaddy filed an effectively-bogus DMCA, why weren't they punished?

"[..] statement by you UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY that the information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf."

Simple - a prosecutor didn't go after them for it. People commit perjury on DMCA takedown requests all the time. The problem is that perjury is a criminal matter, which means a prosecutor has to pursue the matter. I don't see the Attorney General's office all that busy going after false DMCA claims - they're too busy going after the alleged copyright infringers.

Comment: Re:Real problem is not understanding customers (Score 1) 371

by Rich0 (#47713763) Attached to: Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

Agree 100%. I recall buying software licenses and doing the dog an pony show about a decade ago. We had four vendors come in. Most sent a team with one sales guy and one technical guy. One vendor had the sales guy get sick at the last minute and they just sent a technical rep. We ended up selecting that vendor, and even our local management commented vocally during the meeting that they appreciated that we were digging into the meat of the discussions and not spending two hours talking about how great their company was.

I also know somebody else who was doing technical sales support in a completely different industry, but again involving the sales of fairly technical equipment primarily to engineers. They basically clinched a sale but then their VP found out and got involved, and then they nearly lost the sale.

Comment: Re:Bad Security Model in the first place (Score 1) 323

by Rich0 (#47708705) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

The average person isn't going to be setting up rsync and a cron job. I personally use duplicity to cloud storage for the most important stuff (measured in GB), and rsnapshot to normally-unmounted storage for the less-important stuff (measured in TB). It requires near-zero oversight, but it isn't the sort of thing that just anybody could/would set up. For family I'd probably recommend something like Carbonite - it isn't any better than what you and I are doing but it is at least targeted at the consumer.

Just letting viruses loose on your system is not wise. Besides the risk of data loss, you could have compromise of financial and other personal information. And, anybody can come along and write another cryptolocker/etc.

My point though was just running something like Linux out-of-the-box doesn't really solve your antivirus problems. I'd rather start from that than a retail Windows DVD, but we could do a lot better.

Comment: Re:Business decisions (Score 1) 371

by Rich0 (#47702865) Attached to: Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

In my experience there are a bunch of skills needed to get the job, and individuals vary in how much of any of these skills they have. On average you find different skills in business analysts vs managers vs engineers. When you look at individuals I have no doubt you find people any any role who could do any other role, or people in a role who really aren't competent to do any of them.

The division of labor sometimes makes sense simply so that all the bases are covered and the job takes more than one person. Sometimes a lack of roles results in neglect, which hurts down the road.

I'm a business analyst by job title, but the last thing I'd want any software engineer to do is not talk to the customer. Likewise, I view engineers AS one of my customers, so I'm always interested in feedback about how my work is useful to them - I'm not big on producing deliverables for their own sake. I don't think I can do my job without being fairly knowledgeable about how the technology works, though I will confess that I don't have the standard class libraries of every language at a moment's grasp. I like to think that I add value.

But, I fully get what you're saying. The thing is, most people are average. I've had really good managers and I've had lousy ones. I have nothing but respect for the really good ones and I can appreciate the things that they do that make my life a lot easier, and I don't think I could fill their shoes. On the other hand, I have had poor ones that honestly I don't think I'd have trouble replacing. The same goes for "engineers" - I've had to deal with some where frankly I'd have been better off doing the work myself if I had the time to do it on top of the job I was supposed to be doing.

A really good team has a diversity of skills, they understand each other, and they work together so that they're producing far more than what you'd get if you took one member of the team and cloned them a half-dozen times. They know when to trust each other, and when to step in. And nobody really gets a pass on having at least a sense of how to do everybody else's job.

Comment: Re:Real people just don't like dealing with Hipste (Score 1) 371

by Rich0 (#47702183) Attached to: Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

This is actually a good illustration of the fact that people making decisions for a corporation rarely put the shareholder's interests first.

If you're hiring and the interviewee looks like they are homeless, but for whatever reason they demonstrate that they are the most competent candidate for the job, then your choice is to either toss them for their appearance and hire a less competent candidate, or hire them. Now, if they absolutely reek of body odor perhaps you'll have to have them work from home or sequester them into an office with self-contained ventillation or else half the rest of the department will quit. All of those concerns are legitimate business concerns if your sole preoccupation is with making your shareholders as much money as possible.

However, a lot of other factors weigh into the decision like what people will think of you as a manager if you hire a "bum" and those tend to take priority over making your shareholders money.

This is just one example, and dress code isn't a particularly strong one. Managers don't make decisions to make companies money - they are motivated primarily by self-interest, and to some extent corporate policies help to align that self-interest with making the company money.

This is part of why start-ups tend to put little emphasis on things like dress code, tend to be much less rigid, etc. The owner knows everybody, and for a company where the decisions are made by the owner, self-interest and making money for the shareholders are almost perfectly aligned. Even if there is a layer of management or two involved, the shareholders aren't some disconnected and abstract force - they're people just down the hall who check in frequently and know everybody's name.

I once had to buy dry ice and bought it from a small business which clearly wasn't retail-oriented. I walked into the office door and asked if they would sell to private individuals. They responded that as long as the money was green that they would take it. I work for a company that employes 50k people. If somebody walked up to the security gate and offered $10M cash for 1 pound of dry ice (which could be obtained from a building 100 yards away easily) nobody would give them the time of day or have any idea how to make that work even if they were inclined to do so. Most likely they would be turned away, or if they had a desperate need they might just be given it free of charge. The idea of actually selling something for outrageous profit is so abstracted away there just isn't any process for doing it. The company certainly sells product, but completing a single sale probably involves 100 people doing 1/100th of the task each across two continents with ERP systems and financial systems and the works. If you walked into a software start-up and told them that you're desperately in need of a laptop so if they could just hand them one (wiped/new/etc) they'd pay $200k cash for it, they'd figure out how to make it work.

Comment: Re:I used to just re-install windows every six mon (Score 1) 323

by Rich0 (#47701847) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

I'd considered this, but these days it isn't just juvenile prank software that ends up running. If you just accept viruses on your network you get issues like:
1. You're part of the spam problem. I prefer not to be a leach on society.
2. They're stealing your personal info, including stuff like banking credentials. I like having money, and would prefer to hang onto it.
3. Somebody could use your PC to attack something else, perhaps something important. I don't like guys kicking down my doors in the middle of the night.
4. Somebody could use your PC to host warez/music/etc. I don't like getting sued and having to prove my innocence, and heaven forbid any of my PCs actually contain warez/music/etc in the first place when this happens.

I could see regular wipes as an inconvenient ADDITIONAL layer of security on top of keeping garbage out. I just don't see it as a substitute.

Comment: Re:Bad Security Model in the first place (Score 1) 323

by Rich0 (#47701843) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?

You probably shouldn't run a trojan then.

That and have a backup, or at least filesystem snapshots.

That is his whole point though. The OS security isn't really adding any effective value. If you're going to not run malware in the first place, then it doesn't matter if you're running everything as root. If you're going to have good backups, then losing all your files won't matter much.

The unix security model makes sense from the standpoint that when damage gets in it is contained to a single user account, and doesn't affect the other 500 users on the system. The problem is that this isn't how desktop systems actually work. When there is only a single user account on the system, limiting the damage to only that account means that you've basically lost the war entirely.

Something like SELinux takes the security model a step further by not treating all programs with the same uid equally. The problem is that it is painful enough to use that most distros don't bother with it.

And good backups aren't as easy as you suggest. Maybe if all you do is word processing you can either store your stuff in the cloud or use an online backup service and you'll be OK. Once your data volumes go up, doing good backups is both expensive and inconvenient. If you want only one copy of your data, then you double your storage costs right off the bat. If you want multiple copies going back in time, then your costs go up more. The average user considers a backup a USB hard drive they leave plugged in 24x7, and thus it is subject to loss just like the main system - it really only provides protection against drive failure, not malware. Some people leave the backup drive powered off except when doing backups, which reduces the risk of malware, but probably means their backup is old unless they are religious about doing backups.

Sure, you or I could jot down a robust backup procedure in 5 minutes. The problem is that this works much better for a datacenter where you pay 5 guys to man the floor 24x7 to monitor 500 computers than for a situation where you have one person who is responsible for one computer and they'd prefer not to have to think about it.

Comment: Re:Checked my own state (Score 1) 264

Yeah, I can't complain about the EOD bots. Actually, I'd think those would also be ideal for some kinds of wacko-with-a-gun situations. If the wacko is alone you can send in the robot to talk to him, and the guy could surrender the gun to the robot. That lets you disarm the wacko while reducing the risk of a situation where a cop would have to shoot the wacko in self-defense. Sure, it won't be able to subdue him on its own, but that isn't the point - you want to talk to them, calm them down, and get them to put the gun on the floor and walk away from it. This lets you do it without putting a person in harms way, which means you can be more patient and not fire as soon as the guy twitches.

Comment: Re:What are they complaining about? (Score 1) 340

by Rich0 (#47688473) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

Well, knowledge of the local environment perhaps not (anymore ... after all there was no GPS when the law was made).

However special driving license, yes!

Special driving license, maybe...

If we were talking about busses I'd definitely buy in. They're larger than normal cars, and there are issues with evacuation, and situations that just don't come up with cars.

However, driving a taxi safely is no harder than driving a car safely. Maybe just a special endorsement after taking a quiz would make sense. If somebody can't drive a few passengers safely, they can't drive a family safely, or even themselves safely without putting others at risk.

Comment: Re:What are they complaining about? (Score 1) 340

by Rich0 (#47678923) Attached to: Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

Well, I usualy have trips that are not longer than 15 minutes, and I appreciate it if the driver does not need 2 mins to set up the navigation first, especially if the spelling of the target is odd.

Is this REALLY something that needs to be regulated by law? I can understand the need for insurance, basic safety, etc. However, if it takes you a few minutes longer to get to the destination to save $5, shouldn't that be a choice you can legally choose to make.

I mean, I'd hope that the UPS driver wouldn't get lost finding my house and delay the shipment for a month, but if UPS did that routinely they'd be out of business, so it isn't necessary to regulate it.

Every successful person has had failures but repeated failure is no guarantee of eventual success.