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Comment Re:It is kind of sad in a way... (Score 1) 423

... we do have Internet issues we need to address. Net Neutrality certainly has it's flaws ...

The difficulty is just how much of the system is walled off. The open internet is mostly dead. (* See below) Net Neutrality laws are a struggle to pass and corporations and governments inject their own loopholes into the laws so even when passed they are nearly useless.

There have been a few attempts to restore openness, and tools like RSS feeds attempted to put people back in control, but those attempts have largely failed. Paywalls, authorization servers, and other barriers must be crossed. Tolls must be paid.

In that regard I agree with Sunde. So much of the Internet has become a walled garden. It is no longer free and open, barbed wire and toll booths are everywhere. He is right that so much has changed to companies and governments building power centers, a land grab to see how much they can wall off.

Under the Open Internet, everybody had their own control. Everybody who entered the Internet did so as a full peer, anybody could talk to anybody, services could talk to other services. Anything could be automated, anything could be connected, everybody was equal, or at least as equal as their bandwidth and processors allowed. But the Open Internet is a vestige of the past. Today corporations and governments demand centralization of power, demand everything be inside their walls. When something isn't inside walls, the covetous groups do all they can to capture it. With the new rules the corporations and governments are the King. Sometimes you can arrange to be one of the King's vassals with your own little space, yet still operating within the terms and rules and whims the King sets. But for everybody else, if you want to work with a service, you become the lowest level of serf.

That is the battle that has been fought and lost.


* Stuff about the Open Internet

Back through the history of the Internet up through the late 1980s and early 1990s, the system was basically an open free-for-all. Of course tools were much harder to use, everything was driven by command line, but still much was free and open.

Back in the early days having Walled Gardens was rare. Unix was free, at least until the Unix Wars in the late 1980s, then several variants became walled gardens, which is why we have so many systems based on System V, when the schism started. The internet freely connected researchers and computer scientists, all they needed to know was the location of the resource. Several schools had CS departments that were central hubs, many government offices had central hubs, but they were all fully connected (internetworked) and effectively anybody who could connect to the network had public rights to everything across it. Anyone could go anywhere and do anything the network allowed.

The open internet is mostly gone. Being able to connect does not grant access. You need to sign up, give email addresses, create an account, and eventually gain access.

Today most services are wrapped. If you want to see something on Facebook you must register. Want that tweet? Register first. That's a great news article, just surrender your email address and it is yours. Needing to download the file linked to in a forum requires an account. Etc.

I have tried to explain to my kids many times what the Open Internet was like, how anybody could write a program and make it available for anyone else. Email addresses were broadcast far and wide so anyone online could talk to anyone else. How you didn't need to log in to every Internet service, you could sign in anonymously for access to anything anywhere. An online world that didn't maintain a minimum of 3 ads per screen. They struggle to understand that such a world could even exist, let alone what it would be like. In one online group I help with, young students were afraid that wget would get them in trouble or be illegal, and sadly, it is enough to get kicked off of some walled gardens, but would not have been an issue in the Open Internet.

Comment Re:Government butt out (Score 1) 142

There is no need for government to insert itself into a market driven process during a salary negotion between a potential employer and employee.

History shows this to be sometimes false. Often true, yes, but sometimes government needs to step in.

Usually it isn't individual workers who take actions, it is a group. They form a group called a labor union, and they negotiate wages for the group. Sometimes the government does need to get involved in those cases where the disputes are large. In those cases government needs to step in when the disputes get out of hand.

Unions have issues, the highest top performers tend to lose some negotiating power, but for the vast majority of the rank-and-file, they improve pay and benefits. While many programmers and computer workers tend to think of ourselves as special snowflakes who can negotiate better rates, most of us are fairly interchangeable and would benefit from a good trade union negotiating for us, including requiring employers to stop having workers to train their H1B replacements.

They also tend to help wage gap issues, since wages stop being negotiated by the individual and instead are set based on more objective features.

Comment Re: The wage gap myth continues... (Score 4, Interesting) 142

Thank you for posting that. The key elements from that report are clear to most:

First, what is the pay disparity:

Our data shows that 63% of the time women receive lower salary offers than men for the same job at the same company. This figure has improved slightly from 69% since our 2016 report. On average, women are paid 4% less than male applicants for the same role

Then look up the negotiation of wages:

When examining our candidates’ preferred salaries, we discovered that for 69% of the roles for which both a man and a woman were given an initial offer, women set their preferred salary less than men. Women asked for an average of 4% less than men.

The pay disparity is almost entirely (but not quite entirely) due to men asking for more money, and women asking for less money.

There are plenty of books on the subject like "Women Don't Ask" and "Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office", but the studies they cite show that men are about 8x more likely to ask for money during salary negotiations, and when they do, men ask for more money than women. Men ask for raises/bonuses/promotions anywhere from 4x to 8x more often than women.

Most of the difference is men ASK for more, and generally women who also ask will get it. Once they decide to hire, the companies generally pay whatever the candidate asks.

Comment Re:Women Don't Ask! (Score 1) 356

If only there was some objective way to measure performance. If only we could just pay people a fair wage for the work we expect them to perform, rather than trying to calibrate their remuneration precisely to their ability.

Not all people perform equally, and most jobs have wide variance in ways to accurately measure performance.

Some jobs are very nearly calibrated as you describe. Some sales jobs where people are paid on commission are that way, although many have issues with how schedules and policies favor those who are already higher up. Labor-intensive jobs where people have piece rate work are paid as you describe, everyone paid exactly by their performance, although wages are usually minimal.

But in most fields it is quite difficult to build objective measurements. How do you compare performance of an officer in the field frequently assigned traffic duty with an officer in the field frequently assigned to violent crime investigations? How do you compare performance of programmers assigned to build different systems, or assigned to different aspects of a system? How do you compare managers who are over different teams, especially since teams have different skill levels and work on different projects? How do you compare delivery drivers who have different routes and different parcels? In most fields people can come up with rough approximations, but people are unique and measurement is hard. That's entirely the reason that salaries, bonuses, and promotions are all up for negotiation rather than assigned, locked-in, one-size-fits-all buckets.

There are groups who do build those buckets, labor unions in particular are good at creating and enforcing them, but currently there is an anti-union sentiment among most workers.

Comment Re:Big Lots (Score 1) 69

Six months and the price will be reasonable for the technology.

Yup. And in six months there will be a new card proclaiming to be 'the World's Most Powerful Graphics Card'.

That's the thing about buying items at the bleeding edge, or buying the pinnacle product: they don't stay in that position for very long.

Typically it is better to buy one or two items back from the best so you don't get the 'premium item' cost penalty, then keep using it for as long as it works for your needs.

Comment Re:Women Don't Ask! (Score 1) 356

It would be better for most people if wages were based on performance and ability, rather than perception of performance and ability skewed by aggressive self-promotion.

I don't know if it is "better". I know it is unrealistic in today's world.

In professions and eras with labor unions and negotiated rates I agree. In government work where there are a small number of tiered slots with standard rates it also works. In those environments there are formulas that are fair, or at least standardized.

But that is not today's world for the vast majority of workers. Few companies put individuals in such large bundles of pay, each person argues for what they are worth. Salary is whatever gets negotiated, not a value mandated by a union or mandated from executives. Supply and demand wins the day, if you have a skill in high demand you can negotiate a higher rate, if few skills are needed and workers are plentiful then negotiation is difficult.

The world where you write "it is better" is an entirely different world than the one most of us work every day. In the dog-eat-dog competitive world we live in, it is up to each person to negotiate their own wages. And the unfortunate reality is that typically women do not negotiate aggressively for themselves, often not negotiating in any way whatsoever.

Comment Re:A woman and I were paid the same (Score 4, Interesting) 356

There are many books on that, like "Women Don't Ask" and "Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office", where economists and business researches study why it happens. Several books on the topic propose that nearly all of the gender gap comes from women not asking for wages or negotiating for themselves.

Simply, men ask for bonuses, promotions, and raises about 4x more than women do. Men ask for more with each request, about 2x more than women do.

(Obviously there are exceptions to the groups. Some men don't ask, and some women do ask, but overall the trends are quite clear.)

Men are more likely to negotiate their wages at hire, nearly 8x more likely to negotiate. Some women will negotiate, but few do. Of those who do negotiate, most women will ask for less; perhaps for one job a man may initially ask for $10,000 more, the fewer women who ask for the same role are more likely to start at $6,000 or $4,000 or less. Men are more likely to ask for raises and promotions out of cycle, roughly 6x more likely to ask for a raise or bonus or promotion after completing an assignment or project. It is quite common for men to quietly approach their boss with: "I finished the project, I'd like a raise", or "That contract is complete, I'd like a bonus", or "I just landed this deal for the company worth $x, I'd like a bonus for that." Women almost never do that. (The stats come from several studies in the books mentioned above.)

When performance reviews come around, men usually write more self-praise, take credit for accomplishments, and ask firmly for a large raise and bonus; women tend to deflect praise to the team and ask for minimal rewards, often even asking less than COLA (effectively taking a pay cut). In reviews, I've seen that women are also more likely to list their faults and problems and areas for improvement instead of listing their accomplishments.

Men usually take an active role in talking with their bosses to get the raises and promotions and bonuses. Women will often talk to their peers, particularly to their female co-workers, but will usually assume that their actions speak for themselves and not mention it to the boss. Of course, the boss sees a team where everything is working well, hears no complaints, hears no requests for more money and promotions, and lets the team carry on.

The various authors point out that it isn't due to a lack of negotiating skill, it applies even to fields in marketing and law where persuasive negotiation is critical and the women are well-trained, yet for many reasons women tend not to negotiate on their own behalf.

Comment Women Don't Ask! (Score 2, Interesting) 356

So women ask for less...and they get it. Newsflash: that isn't discrimination. That's not sexism. That's individuals undervaluing they're worth, and not anyone's fault but the person that does it.

That was my thought going in. I've read quite a few books and research on the topic because I don't want to be the one who perpetuates the gap. But over the years I've learned a critical truth: Women Don't Ask! (There's even a book by that title.)

The data in the article is quite clear, and the article states it outright: "69% of the time women ask for less money than men". 70% of these women are making less than men because they didn't ask to make the same wages. While it happens more frequently with women, sometimes it happens with men, too. The HR person ask "What is your requested pay?" and the candidate says a low number. They HR drone will smile, tell the applicant they can arrange to use that number, and the person gets the wages they requested.

Lots of books (including the one Women Don't Ask mentioned above) discuss reasons behind it, but for all the reasons the fact is that it happens. Women ask for less money. Over a full career, men ask for more money roughly four times as often as women. The amounts they ask for are usually larger. Men ask for raises, men ask for promotions, men find different jobs for money, and they do all of them far more often than women. However, women are much more likely to talk about needing money with their peers, to talk about financial difficulty with their coworkers, and yet not actually ask for more money, assuming that somehow the managers will notice their efforts and their needs without requests being made.

In one set of studies -- graduating students at Carnegie Mellon, 57% of the males negotiated salaries, only 7% of the females negotiated salaries. In their sampling, the rate that was negotiated was almost exactly the amount of the wage gap. Those who negotiated their pay were making the higher rate. Those who accepted the initial offer without negotiation were making the lower rate.

When it comes to annual performance reviews, there is a similar striking difference. Many of the men and a few of the women fill their performance review with every positive thing they have done, presented in the best light. Some are 10 or even 20 pages filled with accomplishments, stating they are worthy of a large raise, a bonus, and a promotion. Most of the women and a few of the men have very short performance reviews, either minimally mentioning that they helped the team, or listing all the ways they needed to improve over the year. Many of the latter type don't even ask for a COLA raise, effectively asking that they take a relative reduction in pay.

From the books and studies I've read about it, the fact that women don't ask accounts for nearly all the wage gap. Some of it is real, some if it is actual discrimination, but the vast majority of it is women sabotaging themselves before the wage discussion even begins.

Comment Re:Most of the alternatives he describes... (Score 4, Insightful) 140

It is also telling that most of the communications alternatives can send you emails when something arrives.

You can get an email update if new tweets are added and not checked, an email update when people post on your facebook wall, an email update when someone touches your google doc. Slack emails me if I've got messages when I wasn't logged in. iCloud sends an email notice. And for developers in particular, all kinds of monitors and services send email when there is a problem, not a tweet or wall post.

Email is the current universal standard, the fallback when the other specialized communication fails. That suggests something more fundamental about its nature if you pause to consider it.

Comment Re:I use them quite a lot (Score 5, Insightful) 266

The story says the engineers found it was used rarely, citing that as the reason for removal.

However, doing something rarely does not mean it is used never, nor does it mean removal is appropriate.

I rarely use a fire extinguisher, yet I keep one in my kitchen and my vehicle. I rarely use my window shutters, but I'm absolutely glad the house has them as they can save a fortune during a storm. I rarely print documents, but I still maintain a printer.

Just because it is rarely used does not mean it isn't useful, nor does it mean it should be removed.

Comment Re:Stealth Layoff (Score 2) 303

The alternative offered? To "quit" his job and lose severance and other benefits. Why he (and them) complied? Because he's near retirement age and doing anything else would be end-of-life economic suicide.

That's an involuntary termination, not quitting. When companies try it generally it is a legal quagmire. If it is even slightly questionable companies will generally offer a huge settlement package rather than risk a drawn-out lawsuit fighting in the courts; and since they're leaving the state the drawn-out lawsuit would be in a state they no longer are local to, further increasing cost.

I'm curious, did you talk with a lawyer before accepting the deal?

Comment The article suggests "and", not "or". (Score 1) 110

Yes, some of them are hurt, many will be reduced, a few will be eliminated. But at the same time, it enables many more new markets, it creates new avenues for culture to grow, it opens options that have never existed.

The article talks about death of newspapers (probably because they are the New York Times) and it is obvious the selling of printed paper articles has plummeted, yet more people than ever before are reading news stories. The article talks of the fall of independent bookstores, yet there are new bastions online that help people discover, trade, and publish their writings. The article talks about music, and how the music industry has been fighting change with all they've got, yet new genres continue to appear and new talent has been popping up everywhere for years.

Any gardener can tell you: a good pruning stimulates rapid growth. It is certainly painful for those who were pruned, those whose business models need to be modified or have become completely invalidated, but the end result of the change is generally something better than before. Collectively as humanity we can create quite a lot.

Comment Re:Data protection (Score 1) 67

Not sure if this will apply, but could they not plead the fifth amendment on this warrant.

That isn't the protection of the 5th. The relevant parts of the 5th are protections against self incrimination and due process requirements.

Warrants usually don't (but very rarely do) have something to do with self-incrimination. They are a demand to seize an item for evidence purposes. Even so, US courts have treated this type of data as business records which can be obtained through several methods. They aren't trying to incriminate Google, they are trying to incriminate someone who uses Google. The due process issue doesn't apply because they DID follow due process. They got testimony of the probable location and contents of the data, they signed a statement of probable cause, they got a warrant specifying the exact items to be seized and searched, that's due process.

The fundamental problem is one of jurisdiction on the Internet. It is an open problem.


On the one side, companies should not be able to move data to another country in order to avoid law enforcement actions. If that were allowed, every major company on the globe would open a data center in that location and preserve all copies of documents in that haven. There (arguably) needs to be some reasonable way for law enforcement to access data stored remotely so criminals cannot merely hide their crimes by storing documents in a server located abroad. Governments must be able to enforce their own laws, which means some access to information.

On the other side, governments should not be able to violate rights of other nations with impunity, including digital privacy rights. If that were allowed, companies could leverage the most oppressive nations and the most aggressive nations to compel discovery of their most secret documents. There needs to be ways for people to legally ensure their privacy and protections granted by their own governments, and individuals have rights to be secure from interference.

Like most things in law, it is a tricky balance of between rights, benefits, and interests. In criminal cases society has a security interest in getting the criminal caught, but that interest competes with the interest of security for individuals to be safe from intrusion. There is also the balance of one nation's sovereignty and another nation's sovereignty, the one wanting access and the other wanting protections. There is also the issue of an individual's rights to secure their property how and where they please, versus storing their property in a way that violate's society's rights to security by identifying criminals. None have an easy answer.

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