ErichTheRed writes: This isn't perfect, but it is the first attempt I've seen at removing the "body shop" loophole in the H-1B visa system. A bill has been introduced in Congress that would raise the minimum wage for an H-1B holder from $60K to $100K, and place limits on the body shop companies that employ mostly H-1B holders in a pass-through arrangement. Whether it's enough to stop the direct replacement of workers, or whether it will just accelerate offshoring, remains to be seen. But, I think removing the most blatant and most abused loopholes in the rules is a good start.
ErichTheRed writes: First it was "stack ranking," the process where GE fires the bottom-rated 20% of the workforce every year. Now, a new HR trend may be brewing at GE that is destined to be copied by MBAs everywhere if it takes hold. Personally, in terms of cargo-cult HR trends, I'd take Google's open office nightmare over this one. What do you think this would do to employment stability if widely enacted? I can definitely see banks rethinking 30 year mortgages, for example...
ErichTheRed writes: Here's an interesting ComputerWorld article about the latest Congressional hearings on H-1B visas and their impact on domestic tech jobs. It's good to see at least a few people from the tech worker side of the debate testifying, yet we have a sizable lobbying group of companies complaining that there are no skilled workers to be found in the US. I see some valid arguments on both sides of the debate, but you have to ask how much money we techies would have to raise to get favorable legislation passed in this climate.
ErichTheRed writes: A company called Cengage Learning now joins the Toys 'R Us, Disney and Southern California Edison IT offshoring club. Apparently, even IT workers in low-cost parts of the country are too expensive and their work is being sent to Cognizant, one of the largest H-1B visa users. As a final insult, the article describes a pretty humiliating termination process was used. Is it time to think about a professional organization before IT goes the way of manufacturing?
ErichTheRed writes: I was surprised to see this article in the NY Times today. It describes what we in the IT industry see all the time — H-1B visas being used way outside of their original purpose. I think this is significant because the article describes the problem well and shows how Tata, Accenture, etc. are offshoring regular office work as well as IT work. I feel that showing the average Joe/Jane that their nice safe middle class office job isn't so safe is the only way to sway popular opinion on this important matter!
ErichTheRed writes: OK, we all know that there are a lot of developers and IT people in the field who shouldn't be, and finding really good people and hanging onto them is very difficult. However, I almost fell out of my chair reading this breathless article suggesting that developers hire agents. I grant the authors that recruiters are sometimes the only way to cut through the HR jungle in some companies, but outside of the hot San Francisco startup market, can you imagine a "10x rockstar developer" swaggering into a job interview with his negotiating team? I'm sure our readers can cite plenty of examples of these types who were only 10x in their own minds...
ErichTheRed writes: I saw this on the Money page of CNN today. Apparently, various stock analysts have declared that this run-up in stock prices is different than the 1999 version. OK, we don't have the pets.com sock puppet, Webvan or theglobe.com anymore, but when Uber is given a valuation of $40 billion, can a crash be far behind?
ErichTheRed writes: Perhaps this is the sign that the Web 2.0 bubble is finally at its peak. CNN produced a piece on DevBootcamp, a 19-week intensive coding academy designed to turn out Web developers at a rapid pace. I remember Microsoft and Cisco certification bootcamps from the peak of the last tech bubble, and the flood of under-qualified "IT professionals" they produced. Now that developer bootcamps are in the mainsteam media, can the end of the bubble be far away?
ErichTheRed writes: Apparently, Apple is buying iFixit. iFixit is (was?) a website that posted teardown photos of gadgets and offered repair advice. According to the website: "Apple is working hard to make devices last long enough to be upgraded or irrelevant, making repairability an antiquated notion." It's all clear now — I can't replace the batteries, hard drives or RAM in new Macs because I'm expected to throw them in the landfill every 2 years!
ErichTheRed writes: The story on Monday about Julie Ann Horvath quitting GitHub because of harassment ties in nicely with this. A group called Ethical Code is starting a "Clean Up GitHub" campaign to request people to pull offensive comments out of their code. This brings up a very interesting question...is it still considered too PC to expect people to be somewhat professional in their public code submissions, or is this a sign that the industry might be "growing up" a little? I'd like to hope it's the latter....
ErichTheRed writes: One of the nicest perks that Microsoft offered is being retired. Microsoft has reasonably-priced "TechNet Subscriptions" which give you low-cost full access to download fully functional evaluation software. The idea is that IT people could use a product in their lab for learning or simulation purposes without having to shell out thousands for an MSDN subscription. These are being retired as of August 31st. Apparently they're trying to shift "casual" evaluation of software onto their Virtual Labs and other online offerings. If you want full evals of software, you're going to need to buy an MSDN Subscription. I know lots of people abuse their TechNet privileges, but it's a real shame that I won't just be able to pull down the latest software to replicate a customer problem, which is part of what I do on a daily basis. I guess you can mark this one as "From the one-bad-pirate-ruins-the-whole-bunch department..."
ErichTheRed writes: Here's yet another example of why it's very important to make sure IT employees' access is terminated when they are. According to the NYTimes article, a former employee of this company allegedly accessed the ERP system after he was terminated and had a little "fun". As an IT professional myself, I can't ever see a situation that would warrant something like this. Unfortunately for all of us, some people do and continue to give us a really bad reputation in the executive suite.
ErichTheRed writes: Here's an interesting editorial piece about the ThinkPad over at CNN. The basic gist of it is what many ThinkPad devotees have been saying since Lenovo started tweaking the classic IBM design to make the ThinkPad more like a MacBook, Sony or other high-end consumer device. I'm a big fan of these bulletproof, decidedly unsexy business notebooks, and would be unhappy if Lenovo decided to sacrifice build quality for coolness. tl;dr: You can have my 1992 clicky IBM ThinkPad keyboard when you pull it from my cold dead hands.:-)
ErichTheRed writes: Yet another move by IBM out of end-user hardware — Toshiba will be buying IBM's retail point-of-sale systems business for $850M. I'm not an MBA, but is it REALLY a good idea for a company defined by good (and in this case high-margin) hardware to sell it off in favor of nebulous consulting stuff?? Is there really no money in hardware anymore? I doubt they'll ever sell their Power systems or mainframes off, but you never know!