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Comment: Agile hasn't been "new" for a long time. (Score 1) 153

by unimacs (#48612479) Attached to: In IT, Beware of Fad Versus Functional
And the cloud / cloud services aren't going away anytime soon. I have a hard time thinking of those as "Fads" though they might be supplanted or the terminology might change in a few years.

"Big Data" for me is still a buzzword that I'm not sure I understand the value of for most IT shops.

Comment: Re:We are doomed... (Score 2) 401

by unimacs (#48592409) Attached to: The Shale Boom Won't Stop Climate Change; It Could Make It Worse

If we double the population we need to cut the pollution in half to stay constant, it's not higher math. That's a very touch subject of personal freedom, but condoms, birth control and China's one child policy is probably the best long term action for the environment.

It's not higher math, but it's also not correct. ;-)

There is not a fixed amount of CO2 produced per person so doubling the population doesn't necessarily double the pollution. Further there are often serious issues that result from population decline. Just look at Japan. Besides, most of the Western world has near zero population growth and that trend is moving into Asia. My guess Africa won't be THAT far behind. Yes, birth control should be provided and encouraged in developing countries but I don't think we really need to be draconian about it.

Population does matter but it's not everything. Take a look at the Mayans. Many folks feel that the Mayan empire collapsed because they weren't living sustainably. Certainly population growth played a role but so did slashing and burning the rain forest.

Comment: Re:In Massachusetts... (Score 1) 1051

by unimacs (#48585501) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?
Public schools aren't the only option. Most states now allow home schooling and there are always private schools (who may have their own policies). I think it's entirely reasonable for a state to say that not vaccinating your kids is putting other kids at risk and we therefore can't have them in a public school. As a parent, you may disagree but it is then up to you find alternative education, - and it is available.

Comment: Re:In Massachusetts... (Score 1) 1051

by unimacs (#48584567) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?
I'm not suggesting that the state try to exclude kids from those things. Excluding them from school is a huge incentive to get them vaccinated. Only excluding them in the event of an outbreak removes that incentive and doesn't stop the kids from contracting it or spreading it by the time the outbreak is identified (or after).

Comment: Re:"IT workers" vs. programmers not finding work? (Score 1) 398

by unimacs (#48566777) Attached to: Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced
I'm not suggesting you embellish you experience with linux or OS X, just saying that it's not enough to convince me to give you the keys to those kinds of systems.

It seems you have a couple of different problems related to getting hired that don't have much to do with H1-Bs. You didn't completely make the transition to management so you have neither the training (MBA) nor quite enough experience that would make it easy to get hired into a IT management position.

The other thing (just based on what you've mentioned) is that you have a set of relatively commonly available technical skills that might even be a touch out of date. I didn't see you list a skill that's either in high demand now or that would be in the near future. That's why I asked about virtualization and security. Think about this for a minute. With Amazon, Google, or MS Azure, I can configure a server in the cloud and have it available in minutes. Those services are only going to get cheaper, easier, and more powerful. How does that change what it means to be a sysadmin and are you prepared for that future?

I'm sure you've heard this before, but you need to be able to put something on your resume to help you stand out from the crowd. That's what I would be looking to do if I were in your shoes. I'm not saying that it's easy. I'm at an age that if things were to go South at my current company, it would be a challenge to find a comparable position. I feel relatively secure but I am looking at getting myself a little insurance like an MBA or masters in software engineering.

Comment: Re:"IT workers" vs. programmers not finding work? (Score 2) 398

by unimacs (#48550381) Attached to: Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced
What about VMWare or Hyper-V?

You may be right about companies like GE and Erie, I guess I don't know. What I can tell you is that if my company posts a position for a Windows help desk or admin position, we get plenty of resumes. Enough that I think that there are just a lot of people available with those skills or at least claiming to have those skills. Good Linux admins are harder to find. Unfortunately when somebody puts "experience with..." on a resume, I take it as code for "I have very limited experience with...".

Whether or not H1-Bs are making it harder for you, I think you would be well served to branch out into other areas and/or start participating in meetups/user groups to network. Given the movement towards cloud services, I think there is going to be less demand for the traditional sysadmins anyway. There will be a need but it's going to be in larger data centers and it's going to require more specialized skills.

If I were a sysadmin today and trying to enhance my marketability, I'd be seriously looking at getting information security experience and certification.

Comment: Re:"IT workers" vs. programmers not finding work? (Score 1) 398

by unimacs (#48548763) Attached to: Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced
What sort of systems have you been an admin for? Windows Server? Windows Deskop? Linux?, Other?

I guess what I'm trying to get at is whether or not H-1Bs really have anything to do with the trouble you and others have had finding employment. Or is it more of a matter of some IT jobs and skills being in less demand.

My very limited experience with H1-Bs is that for small companies anyway, it wouldn't be worth the hassle. The last time I had an opening for a software developer, I only got a few good local candidates. There was a student who was about to graduate who told me that he would have needed an H1-B visa to stay. I had no real intention of hiring him but I was curious about the process so I checked into it. Let's just say that if you need some help in the next month or two, that is not the route to go. I'm sure large companies have the staff necessary to deal with all the paperwork and legal hoops that need to be jumped through. A lot of companies aren't going to bother.

Comment: "IT workers" vs. programmers not finding work? (Score 3, Interesting) 398

by unimacs (#48547091) Attached to: Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced
Just curious. Are experienced IT workers with up to date skills really not able to find jobs? What about programmers specifically ("IT Worker" can mean a lot of things)?

I'm assuming that age discrimination is impacting some of these people, but what about relatively young software developers? How many of you are young and talented software developers with at least of few years of experience and are having trouble finding work?

Comment: Re:The road to hell (Score 1) 545

by unimacs (#48536847) Attached to: Should IT Professionals Be Exempt From Overtime Regulations?
If you have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and no health insurance, one may be coerced into accepting crappy pay and crappy conditions rather than it being truly voluntary.

Also since you feel that negotiating pay is reasonable system you must also recognize that often in negotiations one side has greater leverage or bargaining power than the other. If I feel that I'm in a weaker position shouldn't I be allowed to strengthen it? And wouldn't that include bargaining collectively rather than as an individual?

I don't know how you can say unions are off topic. It's been shown that unionization both increases the prevalence of premium pay for overtime hours and reduces the extent and incidence of overtime hours.

Comment: Re:The road to hell (Score 2) 545

by unimacs (#48536063) Attached to: Should IT Professionals Be Exempt From Overtime Regulations?
Yes, unions can and did greedy. That doesn't mean that they aren't valuable.

As more workplaces in the 30's and 40's became unionized, the middle class grew. A public and free high school education was enough to get you a decent job, a good work/life balance and a pension. Not only did that benefit the workers themselves, but those workers had disposable income that they could spend on other products and services, which meant more jobs for other people. These same people could afford to send their kids to college which fueled further innovation.

If an employer needed more production, there was a financial disincentive for them to have their employees work overtime, so they had to hire more people. These people also made a living wage, didn't require welfare, paid taxes, and contributed to the economic vitality of their community.

All in all it worked pretty well for everybody.

But employers are always looking for ways to cut costs and labor is typically a company's biggest expense. So then we got more automation, jobs being outsourced, and union busting. Big companies paying low wages came in to displace smaller ones "to create jobs". But the number of new jobs created is never as many as promised nor do they pay as well. Those jobs that do get created often get moved someplace else or cut altogether when the company merges with another one.

Today, outside of the few union jobs left, it takes specialized education, one you have to pay dearly for, to make a living wage. Graduating college students start out in huge debt and are encouraged to start saving now for their retirement because nobody has pensions anymore and social security is expected to disappear. Hopefully they can get a job that allows them to pay off their student loans before they need to start saving for their kids college education. And hopefully they won't find their job outsourced or outdated by some form of automation before they have saved up enough to retire.

I'm sorry, but I much preferred the outlook for joe and jane six pack when unions were actually relevant. And I'm afraid automation and outsourcing has started whittling away at white collar jobs too. How long before only the most specialized and expensive skills to obtain will be valued enough to pay a living wage for ?

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981