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Comment Re:Except for solving puzzles (Score 3, Funny) 89

My department did that once as part of a team building exercise. A good half of the IT team members' individual contributions were stronger than the group they were put with. I've since learned the value of giving people token decision making ability (bike shed color) instead of letting important decisions be the product of everyone's input.

Comment Re:new excuse? (Score 1) 193

My company has a common pool for sick days and PTO as well, and instead of encouraging people to stay healthy, it encourages sick people to come in while contagious so they can still keep their days for summer vacation. Paying out fewer days looks good on the balance sheet though, so the policy remains in effect.

Comment Not convinced of the effectiveness (Score 1) 134

It's a nice gesture, but they need to drive through my old neighborhood sometime. In the southeast, it used to be that the liquor store to church ratio was the gauge of a town's squalor. These days, you can't go drive down a street without passing a handful of payday loan places. Internet advertising isn't to draw people in who otherwise wouldn't consider a payday loan, it's to make sure your slice of the pie is the biggest. Some cities pass ordinances limiting the number of payday loan places, but in many towns, one place can easily become five. As a result, keeping an adequate flow of new customers becomes increasingly important. Buying ads for "payday loan bessemer alabama" is just one way to do that, and is honestly preferable to the ongoing battle for "most obnoxious LED display" that many places are engaging in.

In my area, they're extremely aggressive: I live in a apartment complex, and they apparently buy names/addresses from the credit agencies. I used to receive about 3-4 "personal loan" offers from the local payday place a year until I got around to renewing my prescreen opt out.

Comment Re:Programers can not even figures (Score 1) 372

Hello fellow victim of RFC 3696:

Without quotes, local-parts may consist of any combination of alphabetic characters, digits, or any of the special characters

            ! # $ % & ' * + - / = ? ^ _ ` . { | } ~

period (".") may also appear, but may not be used to start or end the local part, nor may two or more consecutive periods appear.

The wording isn't grammatically correct. There's two interpretations:

local-parts may consist of any combination of alphabetic characters, digits, or any of the special characters [including period] may also appear, but may not be used to start or end the local part


Sentence 1: Without quotes, local-parts may consist of any combination of alphabetic characters, digits, or any of the special characters [special characters follow].
Sentence 2: Period (".") may also appear, but may not be used to start or end the local part, nor may two or more consecutive periods appear.

The first applies the ending character restriction to all special characters, while the second only to period.

Comment Re:Well duh (Score 2) 67

Don't underestimate the power of incompetence. If I had to guess, port forwarding is hard if you don't know what you're doing, and if you set up a 1-to-1 NAT statement and permit everything to that IP, you'll expose more than just the port you were concerned with. Many people will fiddle with something until it works, and "wide open" works.

We just had a third-party tech take something like 10 failed attempts and a month and a half to set up port forwarding for a single port. I suspect the business model is to find non-technical customers, and hope they never catch on.

Comment Heathcare IT? Ugh. (Score 1) 67

I work for an EMR vendor. FYI, the HITECH Act obligates companies to disclose breaches only in situations where PHI (patient data) is accessed. Our infrastructure could be co-opted into a Russian Bitcoin mining farm, but as long as patient data isn't touched, we don't have to let anyone know.

What a lot of people don't realize is that many clinics are small businesses. Small businesses tend to make small business decisions. Doctors won't replace those workstations running Windows XP or Vista if they plan to retire in a few years--that's wasted money. We've noticed that not maintaining support contracts for critical infrastructure is a popular cost-saving measure as well.

Penny pinchers are a problem, as is entrusting responsibility to Billy Bob at Local Computer Guy's and Cable TV Repair's. Yes Billy, we can tell you haven't made a successful backup in six months, and the UPS at the customer site has been failing for twelve. No Billy, it's not ok to leave those ports exposed on the Internet. People rag on the cloud being someone else's computer, but cutting Billy out of the loop is a net positive.

Comment Re:It wasn't a dangerous area (Score 3, Informative) 199

They took that land after all of their friendly neighbors tried to wipe them off of the map.

Not exactly:

Jewish militias started killing Arabs, Arabs fled, Israel blocked their return, and redistributed their property/lands to Jewish immigrants. Israel's hands are just as bloody as anyone else's.

I don't fault Indians for scalping my ancestors whenever they had the opportunity, and I don't fault the Palestinian people for attacking their occupiers whenever they get the chance. Israel can certainly do quite a bit to right their wrongs--honoring the Palestinian right of return would be a start.

Comment Re: brick and mortar is an assett (Score 1) 203

Last year, I bought some tires at Walmart using their ship-to-store program, and got them installed at their auto center. Here's how it went:
Ship-to-store is the repurposed layaway counter, and isn't actively staffed. Instead, you ring the associate using a kiosk.
No associate showed up. Had to ring at least twice. About 15-20 minutes in, an attendant working the floor asked what the deal was, and I guess he tracked someone down. I'm not sure if the notify attendant functionality was broken or the associate was at fault, but if that's the typical ship-to-store experience, I'll pass. Wheeled my tires to the auto center, and they overcharged me $20 for installing "third-party" tires.

Ship-to-store could work if you implement it like Amazon once discussed using lockers--you come in at any time 24/7, obtain the contents of your locker, and leave. Retail employees only add negative value, and should be kept as far as possible from fulfillment.

Comment Re:Tell you what . . . . (Score 1) 213

Had a recruiter try to sell me on a network engineer position over the weekend: CCNA or working on it, can configure a switch, etc. "But the pay's great!" I know better, and you know why--you can either have 10 years of experience or 1 year of experience 10 times over. If you're reached the point you've learned all you can in your current position, you're doing yourself a disservice by staying.

Be careful with CCNP if you don't have experience to back it up. The assumption will be that you braindumped it.

If you want to use BGP or MPLS without having to work your way up to senior-level, go telecom. Do your time there and then hop over to a large corp. You'd be at a disadvantage at first because you wouldn't be well rounded, but that's the price you pay for skipping out on the drudgery everyone else puts up with. Or you could go to a MSP and play with all the cool toys, and get more work thrown at you than you can handle.

Comment Re:Entrapment is lazy policing (Score 1) 388

Stings like this have another utility--counter-intelligence. Let's say you are approached by someone asking you to commit espionage. If you feel obligated to report it because there's a chance this is a sting/loyalty test, the government's job is made much easier. Is it worth destroying lives to accomplish this objective? Hard to say without weighing the assets being protected.

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Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell