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Comment Re:From the 4th floor (Score 2, Insightful) 387

Ok, I'm sorry for being insensitive, and maybe Amazon is a horrible place to work, but maybe this guy wasn't entirely a stellar performer who was unfairly underrated.

If you attempt suicide by jumping from the fourth floor of a twelve story building and you don't even double check that you've got a full four floors to fall, what conclusions might we draw about your ability to plan and complete your assigned tasks?

Ending your own life is a pretty important decision and not something you should just handle in a half-assed manner. If you half-ass your own suicide I wouldn't be surprised if you half-ass a lot of other stuff, including your paid day-job responsibilities.

Comment Re: employee improvement plan (Score 3, Insightful) 387

I'll see your anecdote and raise you one. I know someone who was put on an improvement plan (likely due to personality conflict with their manager, quite possibly the manager's fault) and continued on with the company until eventual retirement age and left at well over 70 years of age with full pension and retirement benefits.

Do we have enough anecdotes to call it data yet? I'm guessing no.

Comment Re:employee improvement plan (Score 4, Insightful) 387

employee improvement plan, a step that can lead to termination if performance isn't improved

Whoever invented "employee improvement plan" needs to die.

Sure, wouldn't want to actually let the employee know why they're getting bad performance reviews, just fire them.

That was sarcasm, by the way. I know nothing about Amazon's employee improvement plan, but the general idea of giving extra assistance to employees who aren't performing as well as their peers is absolutely a good idea.

It's utterly naive to think that everyone can be in the top X% or that all employees will perform so equally that better or worse can't be distinguished. As long as some employees perform worse you only have three choices:

1) Do nothing. Just keep paying them for doing worse than their peers
2) Fire them. Hire somebody else that you hope will perform better.
3) Help them to identify why they perform worse than their peers and try to help them improve

I can't see any reason why option 3 is worse than option 1 or 2.

Unless you dispute my assumption that there exist some employees who perform worse than others, it absolutely makes sense for companies to have a goal and plan for improving their lowest performing employees rather than firing them or ignoring them.

Obviously if someone is utterly hopeless then you have to just get rid of them to prevent them from contributing negative value (i.e. creating problems for their peers to fix to the net loss of the company's productivity) but if they're just "ok but not great" then actively working to improve them benefits everyone. Maybe Amazon's plan is broken, I wouldn't know, but the general concept is a good one.

Comment Re:Sickdays==Lossofprofits, can't have those! (Score 4, Insightful) 193

He may not fully understand why it seems bad, but it is part of a trend to value human life as well as almost everything else in terms of money alone.

Are you aware that the sole purpose of money, the only reason it exists, is to enable people to assign values to things? If we didn't care about comparing values of arbitrary combinations of things we could just use a barter system. The wealthy could get just as wealthy owning land and machinery and livestock and fuel, we'd just have a much harder time comparing how wealthy they are if nobody assigned numbers in fungible units to those things.

Complaining about people measuring value in money is like complaining about measuring sound volume in decibels. The sound's not going to get any louder or quieter just because you''re squeamish about assigning a numeric value to it's current volume.

Maybe you don't want to know the value of a human life. Maybe it makes you uncomfortable to even think about the question of whether every human life has precisely equal value in quantifiable units. Maybe you hope to never allow yourself to think about how much money you'd be willing to spend to extend a stranger's life by sixty seconds.

But that doesn't mean that "money" isn't the appropriate class of units in which to measure "value" and if life has any value at all then money is the correct thing to use to estimate that value in units that can be compared against other things of value. Decibels for sound volume, kilograms (or other mass units) for mass, meters (or other length units) for distance, and dollars (or other monetary units) for value.

Just because you'd prefer not to know what the number is, doesn't mean that it can't be measured. Nor does your preference not to know affect which units are appropriate for quantifying the measurement.

Comment Re:Need to focus on priorities here! (Score 3, Insightful) 393

That's nonsense. A pound of meat can't contain more than a pint of water even if it contained nothing but water. A cow may drink a lot of water, but most of it is returned to the environment when the cow urinates. The water is most certainly not destroyed.

Perhaps California needs more water treatment plants, but that's hardly the cow's fault. Maybe some of those people displaced by automation can go work in sewage treatment instead of going on the dole. Or, if the doomsayers are correct that absolutely everything will be automated leaving everyone unemployed then I assume the water treatment systems will be fully automated as well. Either way, there's no reason to worry about water temporarily spending some time inside a cow. It's not a long term problem.

Comment Re:Trump's Failure (Score 1) 430


I just find it odd that his supporters built a case to elect him based on his statements and then when he is elected acted as if they knew all along that he was lying.

He said he was anti-establishment: they said to elect on that basis. Turns out he is as establishment as they come.

What reasons remain to have him as president?

Well, "he's not Hillary Clinton" is a pretty solid one.

I didn't vote for Trump and don't expect great things from him, but I certainly would not have voted for Clinton. If there hadn't been a third candidate that I could vote my conscience on then I would have had to think long and hard before choosing between "voting for 'not Clinton'" or "not voting". I really dislike not voting, so it would have been a tough dilemma.

But I certainly wouldn't have voted for the candidate whose best characteristic is that the democratic party bosses believe she is marginally less horrible than the republican candidate. I can't support the democratic bosses attempt to force us to accept a bad choice by aiming for "just slightly less bad than the republican option"

If the democratic party aims higher next time they'll have a shot at receiving my vote. But they'll have to aim much higher.

Comment Re:Yes! (Score 3, Insightful) 412

Clinton had a chance to win (and wasn't far from it, actually).

If you have a means of visiting alternate universes and/or timelines then you correct. However, in this universe and this timeline you are incorrect. Clinton had zero chance to win as demonstrated by the fact that she didn't.

Speculating on what would have happened if 100,000 people did something other than what they did is pointless. And you're making a big assumption in thinking that 100,000 people who didn't vote for Clinton would be happy if she won.

I didn't want to Trump to win and didn't vote for him, but I'm glad Clinton lost. I certainly wouldn't have felt good if I learned I was the person who put her over the top. If Clinton had won it wouldn't have been the end of the world, and the world isn't going to end because Trump won either, but neither one of them deserves to claim that I voted for them. My vote counted and is reflected in the election results as part of the small but statistically significant percentage of the US population who took the time to go out to their polling place and register their belief that neither Trump nor Clinton are a worthy choice as president of the US.

Unfortunately the polls don't distinguish between the opinions of "I think Hillary Clinton will be the best president ever" and "I think Hillary Clinton will be the worst president ever but I'm going to vote for her anyway" so I would say people with the second opinion threw away their vote by making it indistinguishable from people with the first opinion.

Now, for someone who thinks that Hillary is fantastic but voted for someone they thought was just a tiny, tiny bit better, then maybe that wasn't a good choice. But for someone who thinks that Trump and Clinton are both horribly bad choices, voting for the one who is marginally less horrendous is not a rational course of action.

What makes you think you can even claim that 100,000 people in Wisconsin were on the edge of choosing whether they loved Clinton more than the third party candidate they voted for?

Maybe those 100,000 feel like the choice between Trump and Clinton is the choice between drinking out of a septic tank or out of the pre-treatment tank of a residential sewage treatment plant. Maybe they voted for drinking out of a clean mountain spring even though they new they'd end up drinking sewage one way or another. And maybe they're glad they didn't vote to drink sewage even if that's what they ended up with.

Comment Re:Yes! (Score 1) 412

IMHO this is the result of decades of people saying "don't throw your vote away by voting third party."

And they are all correct, in our First Past the Post election system, you ARE throwing away your vote by doing that...

If you want to change it, you have to change the election system.

In what sense? Do you mean that by voting for a third party you threw away your vote because your candidate couldn't win? I would say the same applies to voting for Hillary Clinton. The election results are clear evidence that she couldn't win. Maybe you mistakenly believed that she could, but if so, reality proves you were wrong. By voting for Clinton you voted for just as much of a losing candidate as Johnson or Stein or any of the others.

There's no second place in a US Presidential election. If you didn't vote for Trump (and I didn't) you voted for somebody who lost. It really makes no difference if the loser you voted for was different than the loser I voted for.

All the votes were counted, but only one person won. If any vote was "thrown away" then every vote that wasn't for Trump was "thrown away". It's foolish to think that a vote for Clinton is somehow more valid than a vote for any other candidate who also lost the election. The fact that she maybe could've/would've/should've won an election in an alternate timeline or alternate universe is irrelevant.

Comment Honestly, the ones I knew weren't very interesting (Score 1) 181

My first modem was 2400 baud. The hand-me-down computers I had before that didn't have modems and I couldn't afford to buy one sooner.

I dialed into a bunch of BBSs with that 2400 baud modem but honestly didn't get the appeal.

When I discovered Usenet via college Sun servers it was a totally different story, but BBSs just never clicked for me. Maybe the ones in my area weren't any good. I couldn't afford long distance and although I wasn't aware of phreaking I wouldn't have considered BBSs access a good enough reason if I had known how.

Some friends had better computers than I did but I don't recall them having much interest in BBSs either.

Comment I've heard of slack but don't see the point (Score 1) 113

Aren't there plenty of IM options already? And doesn't Lync already do this? I haven't really looked because my company has had an excellent IM solution practically forever and IRC works great for discussions with people outside the company. I've heard about Slack because apparently a lot of people are using it to discuss OpenContrail, but after installing it on my phone I just didn't see the point.

Aren't there plenty of interoperable XMPP clients that don't tie you to a single provider?

Comment "Fell out of his pocket" (Score 1) 89

Is there any way to read "fell out of his pocket" that isn't a euphemism? Unless the cops picked him up by the ankles and shook him I find it very difficult to believe that anything just "fell out" at the random moment that they just happened to be arresting him. Of course if it was ever really in his pocket to begin with then they would have found it when they booked him. But it seems more likely that it "fell" out of the arresting officer's pocket instead.

Comment The elephant in the room (Score 1) 467

I'm not a gamer, but the thing that interests me that no one is talking about is the fact that they apparently know how long you have played the game. Why is anyone OK with that?

Every Windows 10 story on Slashdot is filled with vitriol over Microsoft's tracking, but here's a story about a company that apparently knows exactly how long (and presumably that implies they know exactly when) you've played the game and nobody seems to even mention what a grotesque invasion of privacy that is.

Why does Microsoft get chastised but apparently tracking by Sony doesn't even warrant a mention? Bizarre.

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