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Comment Re: The first to quit are the good ones (Score 1) 303

Without that, how can you charge back your time to the customers, versus your employer? How much is coming out of the internal training budget? Pull numbers out randomly, how does your company function?

As I said; measurable deliverables. And those would be deliverables that are averaged over a reasonable period of time. Completion of project milestones or at least good write-ups and reasons as to why those milestones and deadlines are missed. That's less draconian than what you're proposing and works great in companies I've worked at.

If it's any consolation, some of my peers subscribe to the model you proposed... some of their people have ended up on my team and I get consistently good reviews from my people about my management style.

I tend to subscribe to the idea that I should trust my people to do their jobs to the best of their abilities, and to assist them if it's beyond their capabilities or they have good reasons not to perform. I do have the luxury of working for a large enough company with deep enough coffers that we can usually carry some dead wood in a team for quite a while with minimal hit to the bottom line... and that gives me the latitude to average their performance over a 6 month or even a 1 year period. But privately I know pretty quickly who the dead wood is and I will usually find ways to move them off to someone else's team or get them out before they affect the rest of the team.

Being a manager is hard work. What you proposed is management by Excel sheet which is unfortunately rife in Corporate America thanks to MBA's who think they know what'll make a business better but actually only have an academic understanding of what works, not real-world experience.

And I'll admit; when I was a new and freshly minted manager I did do that because that's what my manager taught me. I learned pretty quickly how badly that works from experience and tried a different tack. Yes, my management often asks me for details like you're asking for... but by knowing my team, my deliverables and my targets allows me to speak intelligently to what my team is doing and justify the salaries of everyone on that team consistently year over year. I also have the highest average tenure of a team member of any of my peers.

Comment Re: The first to quit are the good ones (Score 1) 303

This doesn't work.

Generally, the good employees who actually deliver are usually the first to feel that this level of micromanagement is unacceptable, and they will leave for a company that doesn't do it. And the bad employees start actively making shit up or massively inflating their numbers in order to make it look like they're busier than they really are.

And then there are the good smartasses who figure out that they can write a two-point bullet list every week that says "1. Doing what you hired me to do: 39 Hours. 2. Filling out this report: 1 Hour." This ALSO encourages people to work EXACTLY 40 hours and no more. Believe me, I've seen it many times.

The right way to manage a remote team is to have easily defined metrics that are averaged over a month or more... not a week. Coders for example will have some dynamite days or weeks, and other times spent days just spinning on one problem. However, when averaged over a decent period of time they show actual value to the company. And the onus is upon the manager to... you know... manage. Instead of just filling out an Excel spreadsheet once a week for your upper management you can take the time to look at the metrics to identify where someone might be having a problem and actually then approach them to see if they need assistance. This method of management is sorely lacking in much of Corporate America because quite frankly it requires work on the part of the mid-manager... said mid-manager probably just wants to have something once a week that can be copy-pasted into an Excel spreadsheet.

I'll say that I manage a remote team and my team consistently exceeds its target quarter over quarter. My team spans most of the MidWest. If I asked for these kinds of reports then I know of at least two of my team members who would either go to another group or quit the company entirely in a heartbeat... and these two just happen to be two of my highest producers.

If you have to micromanage like you have shown here, then you're a shit manager who doesn't know how to hire properly or manage a team and you should be fired.

Comment Re:Stealth Layoff (Score 1) 303

This is however really the most demented way to do it, because only those that are good at what they do (and hence have other prospects) will leave. The ones staying will include all that have no prospects. Do this several times and you may as well close down the department and re-start from scratch.


You actually nailed it on the head. Once the department is full of the mid-tier and low-tier employees and all the good ones have departed, IBM (or other large company) can turn around to lobby the government for more H1-B's because they "... can't hire good people in the USA". Then at some point they outsource the entire department to India. Rinse and repeat with the next department they want to offshore.

Comment Re:HPES pulled the same stunt (Score 1) 303

Anyone who was still at HP after Carly Fiorina pretty much deserved what they got because the cancer was already terminal after that. Meg Whitman was pretty much just continuing the same policies.

Not trying to slam... it's just the writing was on the wall after Carly. HP was sick and staggering; the good people had already left or were just working out the rest of their tenure before retirement. The management had no clear direction or even idea how to get the company back on its feet. Meg Whitman came in and pandered to the shareholders and has done little in my opinion that really has a lot of hope of saving the company. The company has split at a time when synergies between the two companies should have been strongest... that step in and of itself speaks volumes to how disconnected they are from business realities today. HPe and what's left of HPeS will continue to stagger along while HPQ will probably do a Lenovo and end up traded off to some Chinese sweat-shop builder.

In fairness I never worked for HP, but did work for a number of MSP's and VARs so I know a LOT of people who were at HP. I know very few people who still are. I saw IBM do the same thing about 10 years ahead of HP... I am not sure why HP thought following IBM's lead was a good idea.

Still, your last comment has some valid points; companies that rest on their laurels do not survive... particularly in IT. They need to be disruptive by their very nature, and few large companies seem to have an ability to do that. Thankfully, there are a few left who look like they might survive the long haul.

Comment Re:Stealth Layoff (Score 4, Informative) 303

Depends how you swing it. I've moved a few times in my career and each time I've retained my property in my previous location as a rental property. Even turning over management of those properties to property management companies still nets me a small net profit every month, and meanwhile someone else is paying my mortgages and I am building equity.

Yes, I have occasional large expenses like the furnace going out in one of my properties last week... but because I put all of my net profit into a single account and retain for just these kinds of expenses I still know I'm making money on the entire portfolio.

No, it's not enough that I can quit my job... but if I were to liquidate all of my properties tomorrow I'd have enough cash to live on for a couple of years and still maintain my current standard of living.

A house can be an investment if you're creative.

Comment Let me get this straight (Score 1) 138

So let me get this straight, in order to show competing platforms they put it up against a 22 core E5-2699A but then hobbled the Xeon with both LESS RAM and SLOWER RAM? Um... that's not really a very fair comparison now, is it?

Don't get me wrong, I like AMD as much as the next guy and I am very interested in probably making my next home-server build a Ryzen with ECC... but at least compete on a level playing field. The E5-2699A supports DDR4-2400 as well but instead they decided to hobble it with DDR4-1866??? Seriously? That's cheating and really sours me on AMD right now.

Comment Re:Celeron? (Score 2) 157

I just want to add that I agree wholeheartedly with you. I run a Celeron N3150 as a PFSense firewall... seriously overkill for that job, but it runs fanless and just plugs happily away day after day without a hitch. It does get somewhat toasty at times when there's a lot going on (I run Snort and various other services on the box so it can get up there sometimes) but even at high temps it seems to be really stable and usable.

I did put Linux on it at first and had the Ubuntu desktop running on it... very slick and fast with 8GB of RAM. Definitely no slouch of a machine.

Comment Re:MS Surface has been on my mind lately... (Score 1) 293

I know I'm late to the party, but your statement that Windows has always been an exercise is frustration is most certainly true for you, but not everyone. For me, the last couple of iterations of MacOS before I sold my 15" MBP about a year ago were more of an exercise in frustration than Windows 10 has been.

Yeah, I'd have loved to use Linux as my primary OS but I was limited in what I could accomplish and limited in the hardware I could buy. I had certain things I wanted to accomplish with my new laptop ecosystem and Linux literally didn't have the hardware support at the time to do it. Yeah, it does now... but I would still find Linux intensely limiting due to my use cases today. And quite frankly the hardware support is still lagging far enough behind that it renders itself irrelevant to me pretty quickly.

Privacy concerns? I personally don't care. The metadata collection that Microsoft does is something I don't really give a monkeys about so long as I can get my work done in a simple and effective manner. Yeah, I do some blocking with PFBlocker on my firewall because why the hell not? Just because I don't mind the metadata collection, doesn't mean I'm going to make it easy for Microsoft. And unfortunately that doesn't help when my laptop leaves my house... but that's infrequent enough that I don't care.

I'm not a Microsoft shill, but neither do I care much about the operating system I run any more. I have very little software that's Windows-specific just as I had relatively little software that was Mac specific. I'm more concerned that the hardware I run is capable of working with me and helping me do my work and once I wrote up a list of hardware I wanted in my latest iteration, listed out the capabilities that I wanted and so on neither Mac OS nor Linux were an option for me. Like it or not, leading (or bleeding) edge hardware has never been either Apple's or Linux' strong suits. And there are some people who actually need that hardware.

For the record too, my transition into using Windows 10 was easy, and continues to be easy. My computer is really reliable and has had zero issues even considering I did an upgrade from Windows 8.1 to 10 (8.1 was the OS of choice when I got my current hardware). Usually I'd expect issues but I had surprisingly few. I had to uninstall a couple of pieces of software due to compatibility issues, but I didn't miss them either.

Comment Re:Posted from a Thinkpad (Score 1) 535

Well.. not until now... no...

That's awesome. I'm glad Windows caught up finally. How about Linux, was I at least right about that part?

Nope. Linux has had multi-touch and gesture support at least as long as Windows and perhaps longer. I will concede here that Apple were first to market here, but they haven't really done anything terribly interesting with the technology since.

Comment Re:End of AOSP? (Score 1) 197

Google is changing. Well, in truth Alphabet is changing; they want to compete more directly with Apple with their own "Halo" device. The previous Nexus devices (I had a few that I loved) were cheap... but they were also cheap in the sense they were plastic and never top-tier hardware. These new devices are true flagship devices... though the memory is a bit smaller than I might expect in a modern flagship (4GB when many manufacturers are looking at 6)... though with a pretty fat CPU to keep up with it.

For my part, I pre-ordered Pixels for myself and my girlfriend yesterday. My phone is getting pretty long in the tooth (first-gen Moto X) so it's time... and honestly the price while higher than I might've liked isn't too much of a hardship for someone who's been into unlocked phones for years. I haven't been on a contract with a carrier since my iPhone 3GS (long time ago now)... I'm much happier buying unlocked.

Comment OneNote is Microsoft's Best Product (Score 1) 286

Seriously, there's really no competing products beyond OneNote.

I was an Evernote subscriber up until recently; I simply found that the functionality was too easily duplicated in OneNote; Evernote literally provided me zero advantages.

Now, my history is I have always been an open-source fan, run Linux since the early pre-1.0 kernel days, and ran Apple Macs for years before finally migrating back to Windows about 2 years ago. Mostly I did that because of work, but I had gotten a Surface Pro about 4 years ago or thereabouts that I absolutely fell in love with for a portable, simple computer with which I could also do some awesome note-taking with the stylus. This includes drawings on the screen when I need to (which in my job these days is often).

When my Surface Pro got long in the tooth I moved to a Dell Venue 11 Pro, which is what I'm typing this response on. As well as being a really good tablet, it also has an extremely good keyboard if you get the accessory keyboard with the integrated battery. It also has the advantage of giving me runtimes on battery that are just insane and I have never come close to killing both batteries (though I have drained the battery once or twice in tablet-only mode). At this point I have dozens of OneNote notebooks, many of which are archive/reference... but the new active ones are synced to all my devices at once. That means that when I get home to my nice big desktop machine, I can bring up those notes without even thinking about it; no saving to a Dropbox-alike solution, the notes are just there. And I can slide them off to a second screen I'm using for reference material while I work on the action items from those notes on my nice comfortable desktop. Meanwhile my Venue sits quietly on its charger waiting to be taken out again.

Now, there definitely are times OneNote is not ideal. I don't use it for very personal notes... the stuff I don't want synced to a Microsoft-owned cloud (or anyone's cloud come to think of it). For that I have my OwnCloud server with OwnNote. While it doesn't do the hand-written notes, I do have an OwnNote client on my phone so I can tap in quick notes or reference notes I have stored there. I can also hit it up easily at my private URL to quickly get some notes entered... but even I admit it's not as slick as OneNote. Now, having said that since I also have the OwnCloud client on my laptop, I can create text notes in the "Notes" folder in my OwnCloud on my local machine and they also become notes... so there are multiple ways to skin that cat.

So one-size-fits-all? No... but OneNote is good enough for almost everything, and for those few corner cases I find OneNote doesn't work, OwnNote works perfectly. These two tools have become the things I use every day and mean I'm not constantly losing paper notes (my old method).

Having said all that, I DO carry an old paper notebook around as well just in case I'm ever in a place I have no power or access to a computer/phone (VERY rarely, but it happens). If that happens, I whip out the paper notebook and write a quick note... and if I want to digitize it I can either transcribe it later, usually into OneNote so I can translate over diagrams as well.

Comment Re:Sad to see Debian... (Score 1) 319

If you're running Debian on an embedded system then you're doing it wrong anyway. Debian has never been tuned for embedded, and a properly tuned embedded system is more likely to be compiled from source or INCREDIBLY minimal packaging. In addition I can't imagine running systemd on embedded systems as it's a bit heavy for systems with slow CPUs and small memory spaces.

Hell, a basic Redhat / CENTOS install is better tuned for embedded than Debian, and that's not saying much.

Comment Re: Wrong headline (Score 1) 351

Kind of misses the point that Hinkley Point C is a boondoggle. I've been following it for a while since I'm actually a fan of nuclear power as well as renewables... and if you're interested there's a great summary about it here;

It doesn't hurt that Robert Llewellyn was Kryten in Red Dwarf...

Comment Re:Link 404's (Score 1) 93

No, parent poster is right; it's fake. Just watch carefully. I did and noticed way too many incongruous or inconsistent moments. For example there's a moment when you see the hoverboard turn to the right with the pilot on top... the pilot literally doesn't move. It's quite obvious this is a jet-powered quad drone with a mannequin on top. At other times I suspect a crane, and the footage is very carefully cut and cropped to not show it.

Seriously, the video is crap. I am not a pro and I could probably put together something close to it using Premiere. Hell, even shooting the footage I can think of a dozen different ways to actually get the footage that don't involve a working hoverboard... could probably put the entire thing together in about a week on a budget of less than $5K if I rope some of my friends into the scam.

Just watch... they'll fire off an Indiegogo or Kickstarter based on the footage, raise loads of money and then pull a "Coolest Cooler" where they suddenly claim they need more money... and more money... and more money... and then vanish. While Coolest haven't done that yet, I predict that's what's going to happen. It's not hard to hide investments and file bankruptcy... yeah, it's fraud but some people only care about making money.

Oh, and since when has "horsepower" been a measure of jet power? Yeah, the whole thing just reeks of scam.

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