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Comment Re:Obviously this requires new legislation (Score 5, Informative) 102

It goes both ways. We are currently using the principle behind this law to shield drone pilots from repercussions. There's also this case where the US says a border guard was within his rights to shoot a man in Mexico.

Given what we have to lose, it's unlikely that the US government will change its position on this issue.

Comment Re:Maybe you should own your hardware (Score 1) 113

At my last job, our AS/400 had to have all of the applications shut down to do a nightly backup. The backup took nearly every second that the business was closed. Scheduled maintenance had to be done on holidays.

One time we had to move its network connection to another switch port. The thing didn't work again until we hard rebooted it.

The software on it could only be accessed from the network by running CL scripts - so there was no such thing as transactional integrity. The programmers used a five digit batch number on the main thing we used the AS/400 for, which recycled every month. As a result, if we had a few production glitches in a 31 day month, everything went to shit. The idiots also used a six digit invoice number and we rolled off old invoices after two years (which had regulatory implications). As we grew and processed more than 42000 invoices per month, hundreds of hours had to be put in to expand the system capabilities.

It's not all roses in the AS/400 world.

Comment Re:Maybe you should own your hardware (Score 1) 113

At my previous job at a Fortune 100 company...

Me: Hey boss, we spend half our time cleaning up the mess that is caused by this one bug. I suggest we put a little time into fixing the bug. Boss: Fixing the bug is build work and that requires a business unit to provide a request and the capital to do the work. Cleaning up the mess is maintenance work and the whole company pays for that. So, until some other department pays us to fix this problem, we must continue to put our time into maintenance work. Me: But, the only people that are inconvenienced by it is us - no one else cares. Oh well, I'll just go home and kick my dog.

success will prove very elusive indeed

That company makes $3 billion a year in profit.

Comment Re:Is that all (Score 2) 49

Due to the cost of security breaches being borne primarily by victims, investing in security has never been a good financial decision. That's the primary reason that security sucks in the IT industry. If it weren't for public shaming and the associated damage to a company's image, it would be even worse.

Comment Re:Isn't that legislative? (Score 4, Funny) 36

They need assurances because the executive branch has a history of holding "unconventional interpretations" of our own laws, then avoiding judicial oversight by slapping gag orders on all potential defendants so no one has standing in court. The also invented a parallel court system for these cases, where no judge ever says no to anything.

Then they're shocked when one or two operatives grow a conscience and find a way to shine a light on the situation - so they pursue them to the ends of the earth and threaten them with the death penalty.

Comment Re:Precedent (Score 1) 131

Me saying that you have to show up to work and not be half-naked if you want to continue to be a sub-contractor is NOT outrageous. It's the norm.

That's still within the boundaries of "getting it done" as a form of risk management. A worker that shows up inappropriately clothed is at risk of being arrested or being kicked off site by a helicopter mom. That's similar to a requirement for a contractor to have proper insurance. The insurance doesn't affect the result of a typical job, but is does affect the result of a job that has gone wrong.

Also, as I said earlier, there are a lot of subjective areas to contract law in almost all jurisdictions. Since the penalty for imposing a restriction that isn't allowed is so great, it's best to steer very clear of the line.

Comment Re:Precedent (Score 1) 131

If you only want them cleaned to your satisfaction - no. If you want them to wear gloves manufactured by your brother-in-law's company - yes. Any messing in the "how it gets done" is out of bounds unless it directly relates to the results. Sometimes there are grey areas - it's best to stay out of those or you could end up paying someone contractor rates and then providing benefits anyways.

Comment Re:I hate worker exploitation (Score 5, Insightful) 131

But a client specifying tools seems like a strange thing to determine contractor vs something else on.

A contractor produces results for a fee. If the purchaser of the service wishes to retain control over anything other than the results, then they need an employee, not a contractor.

Comment Re:Something is missing (Score 2) 359

This might be true. However, the MythBusters episode that's cited in the article shows that total fuel consumption goes down even though distance increases. UPS didn't do this to get routes done faster, they did it to save fuel. If there were some secondary effects, great, but those effects should have been enumerated.

Even the number cited seem to be misleading. Simply driving 747000km less and saving 190000l of fuel implies no per mile fuel savings if the fleet averages 25l/100km (or about 9.4 US mpg). That looks like a reasonable number, adding to the confusion about what they are actually saying. Come to think of it, given the previous calculation, it seems nearly all of the savings had to come from reducing total miles, which contradicts the Mythbusters experimental results and other anecdotal evidence.

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