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Comment Depends on the situation (Score 5, Interesting) 765

I just quit without notice from a job at an established old and large corporation after less than three months. The main reasons were:
  • * Being told our group was in a "startup" mode and a huge red flag at any established company, especially with a paltry sum of shares barely above $5k.
  • * The first week I was there I was told the Tier 2 customer care person was leaving and that I'd be taking over their duties in addition to mine - a position that consumed >55 hours/week, but was not told this at the interview and was completely different than the job description I was given.
  • * When I asked about a product roadmap, I was told not to worry about it and to focus on the next six months of work (which didn't matter since the product was obviously not going anywhere and was severely underfunded while architected around a third-party solution that was insanely expensive).
  • * Complete disorganization to the point where development was accused of slipping but there was no product feature backlog nor user acceptance testing, despite being called an "Agile" development environment; just trying to put together a backlog and some processes that remotely resembled a proper development environment was a 60 hour/week job and they wanted to scale!
  • * A micro-manager who gave ZERO positive feedback about ANYTHING, claimed that they were not, who would change their mind on a whim (too much this time, too little next time, too little the following time, etc. etc.) and throw everyone under the bus, indicating a lack of empathy and self-awareness; also the first time I had ever worked somewhere where my office mates had thrown some item at a desk or on the floor out of frustration.
  • * Horrendously long commute which would've been tolerable if it was a good job with good treatment.

The last day I showed up to work, I was thrown under the bus by the manager in front of our VP and the rest of the team for a lie to cover up the manager's incompetence. I went home, got up the next day, went to my doctor for a note to get the rest of the week off, and marched in on the following Monday to the reception desk with a letter of resignation and dropping off all of the company equipment. Didn't even talk to my manager, and didn't answer any of the manager's phone calls or e-mails, nor anyone else on the team after the day I got thrown under the bus. I, quite literally, disappeared.

Why did I quit like this, especially without another source of income or health care coverage? Because leaving a gaping hole with a giant question mark in my wake was the only bit of power I had left to send a message for all of the misrepresentation, incompetence, unreasonable expectations and malice of the team that I had experienced . My mental and physical health has improved substantially since quitting, and so has the relationship with my loved ones. That team was screwed either way, but royally so with some of their deadlines that I had left the gaping hole in their roster for. I would've loved to have worked for another part of the company and was more than qualified to do so, but corporate rules prevent changes in position for the first year, and I had no expectation of a good review despite having been a high performing employee at other companies.

In the end, these issues point directly to the utter contempt that technology employers have for their employees, particularly their low-to-mid-tier individual contributors. What else should they expect when they themselves give no notice to employees when they terminate them? What else should they expect when they treat their employees like trash, expect them to work startup hours while receiving established company pay and bonuses, change job descriptions at a whim, and don't have the decency to form any kind of coherent team environment or structure?

The real message to HR departments and upper management on this phenomenon is this: if employees are quitting without notice more frequently, your problem is with your current corporate structure, management, and business, not with the employee that quits without notice, and you ignore this problem at your own peril.

Comment Internet of Temerity (Score 5, Interesting) 153

The idiocy surrounding IoT is mind boggling at nearly all levels in the chain. Ease of use and security are almost always at odds with each other, and the former typically wins at the expense of the latter. Secure device enrollment, VLANs, air gapping...who needs this crap when you can download an app, put the device on your home network with a button press on the router, and go?

In this case, we have a bunch of designers without a real background in and/or regard for infosec putting out products that use the "security by obscurity" model and get called out on it. To top it off, it is also the model of personally identifiable information being shipped overseas for who knows how many violations of privacy, and subject to violations of rights by governmental entities monitoring the same information. That this is now common with so many Chinese-made products (especially web cams!) is particularly galling. Even better, the "threats" against this man would normally result in automatic termination of the threatening employee in most Western countries. I suspect this company is like the uncountable numbers of cockroaches on Alibaba, Ebay and Amazon hocking their trash - they'll sell it until they can't, then they'll re-form under a different name and do it again, and think that they're right until they get called out like these idiots did.

Last year a recruiter presented me for a job at a lighting company in Eastern Pennsylvania for their IoT product efforts with my background in security and cryptography as well as electronics. They passed on me because I didn't have enough of lighting background (which is a hell of a lot easier to pick up than security). When I countered to the recruiter that security was the most important thing for them, he agreed wholeheartedly but said there was nothing he could do to convince them otherwise.

If this is the future of IoT, I want no part of it.

Comment Binding arbitration is anti-consumer (Score 4, Informative) 89

Two-thirds of customers who challenge credit card fraud, improper fees or late charges lose in binding arbitration. All of this arose when the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act was extended to consumers and employees in 1985.

By the way, Google and Comcast force their employees to sign binding arbitration agreements. Now you know who you're dealing with.

Comment Really scary (Score 1) 159

The recent admissions by Facebook and Twitter for politically slanting/altering their feeds combined with the average idiot's inability to obtain information from multiple sources indicates one of the most dangerous times for this and many other countries.

Even worse, the attention-mongering media that can't be trusted either now uses the most outrageous social media posts to create controversial news stories and attract viewers/listeners/clicks.

The real failure is in the system of education. Few people are taught to view all sources of media rather than surround themselves with a conglomerate echo chamber of someone else's view of the world. I have even less faith that there will be any meaningful change to alleviate that problem either.

Comment Network gaming and conversion mods (Score 3, Informative) 351

I had my first taste of network gaming with Snipes on some old PCs back in the 80s, and later on Netrek, but nothing compares to the leap with LAN gaming (or even dialup) with the first Doom. Such a blast playing with friends. Even though the network code and graphics got prettier, there hasn't been such a big jump in the type of gameplay as with multiplayer Doom.

The other big thing Doom brought was community-contributed mods, from individual maps to total conversion mods like the very well done Aliens Doom. All of a sudden, whole new worlds were opened up beyond the core game and there was nothing like it. Many happy times including being a play tester for some of these levels. Yet nothing will compare to recording ridiculous voices and mapping them over the Doom event sounds when you're drunk. Burps, insults, snippets of political ads, assholes we hated on campus and any other ridiculous crap that only college kids would find funny. We had whole themes done for various things, especially professors in lectures and the odd photo that made certain college classes tolerable.

P.S. The Aliens Doom conversion mod led to the Aliens Quake conversion mod which was the best Aliens game that ever came out (if a bit buggy) until Fox killed it with a cease and desist.

Comment Developers Developers Developers Developers (Score 4, Insightful) 154

You hit the nail on the head - it's all about the app ecosystem. What killer Windows phone apps ever made any waves? None. Even BlackBerry got the message about Android apps though far too late to save them. If the developers aren't there, the apps won't be there and the customers won't use your platform.

Comment Doctor says I can't lift my hands above my head (Score 1) 278

I'm sorry sir, but I don't want to destroy my shoulder joints which have been injured during years of manual labor and could cause an immediate medical event. Please make sure that you pat me down instead. Thank you. What are they supposed to do at that point? Risk a federal lawsuit for discriminating against disabled individuals?

Comment Retaining core competency = retaining value (Score 1) 181

Who the hell is going to derive any value from this scheme for their company? You can't build core competencies around ongoing development with a la carte development unless your product is just that cookie cutter simple, in which case you're probably already too late to the game.

It's crap like this that to me sounds like the beginning of the end for Dotcom bubble 2.0. People think that outsourcing grunt work is some new thing and that it will solve all problems.

Comment Winbook 7" Win8 Tablet for $60-$80 + Linux (Score 1) 508

Microcenter has these for $60, $80 on Amazon. Quad core Bay Trail with built-in display, full Windows 8, Office 365 for a year, microSD slot and microHDMI out. Don't like Win8? Nuke it and put a Linux distro on there. It won't get much easier or cheaper than that from a practical perspective.

Comment Re:Verilog (Score 3, Insightful) 93

I think VHDL is better than Verilog to learn HDLs for two main reasons:

1. VHDL is based on ADA, which is a concurrent systems language that is verbose and relatively easy to read versus Verilog's C-based syntax that is more terse, which leads me to...
2. Verilog, being C-based, can reinforce procedural language thinking rather than concurrent system thinking where inherent timing-independent parallelism is the norm in an HDL (e.g. multiple clock domains, or even *shudder* asynchronous feedback).

That said, VHDL has its own problems, such as its relative lack of use in the workplace like the United States, packages and library dependency being a bit clunky, and lack of efficiency in some situations versus Verilog where equivalent Verilog is just less typing and IMO much easier to read a netlist for a standard-cell design.

For a $25 package, it's really hard to go wrong with this and I hope it will take off. I only wish there were better tools to reinforce the principles of timing and design pipelining, especially a tool for static timing analysis. Then again, I suspect nobody was expecting to get a copy of Synopsys PrimeTime with this package either!

Comment HLS will win if DASH is patented (Score 1) 66

HLS already dominates by streamed hours of content, is implemented in every connected device stack, is patent free due t using MPEG Transport Streams and M3U8 playlists, and is much simpler to implement than DASH. If the MPEG-LA and the DASH-IF wants DASH to fail, they should take a good look at why they're trying to grab for more money.

Comment Sick and tired of the political correctness (Score 4, Insightful) 185

Why is Tim Cook even wading into this discussion? Mainly because the SJWs are shaming companies such as Apple and Intel to do something about what they perceive to be an epidemic of gender skew in technology professions. Funny how they're nowhere to be found when it comes to nursing or other female-dominated professions, nor all the factory positions in China where men are worked to the death. Yet all the idiot CEOs take the bait and run with it.

What they all fail to realize is that equal opportunity does not mean equal outcome. Nobody gets me out of bed in the morning, brushes my teeth, forces me to do a particular job or anything else, so it's up to me to do that. Same with careers. If you have a specific problem, there are LOTS of legal protections to prevent this kind of thing - lawsuits, DoL complaints, and so on.

Ask any person of any identifiable group whether they feel good about being hired not because they were the best candidate, but because of some identifiable characteristic. You'll get two groups of answers - the majority who would feel awful about it, and the minority who would feel proud and entitled because of it. As long as that difference exists, this nonsense will continue.

Comment Reddit, like Digg, is eating itself... (Score 5, Interesting) 474

Reddit has an outrageously smug user community with a chaotic moderation system. I've been on Slashdot since the 90s, and I can at least say that it's a somewhat sane place to discuss tech-related and nerd-related topics (other than the typical political/religious commentary nonsense). The metamod system alone is a great balance, as is limiting the number of votes and randomizing who gets the votes prevents upvote and downvote brigading. It's pretty rare for factually-incorrect information to get upvoted or factually-correct information buried. Even when mods approve some article that looks like an advertisement, Slashdot users spot it and bring those comments to the top.

I occasionally read Reddit, but I get very frustrated watching completely factual information get downvoted or subreddits banned because it doesn't fit users' or moderators' view of the world. Between this and the Ellen Pao controversy, sites like voat might actually have a chance of doing to reddit what reddit did to digg. In fact, voat is doing the exact same thing to reddit that reddit did to digg when reddit posted the infamous shovel logo to welcome disgruntled digg users by welcoming the "fatpeoplehate" refugees. Oh how fickle the social media world has become...

Comment Not a match - here's why (Score 4, Informative) 108

The Intel-Altera deal, while beneficial for Altera shareholders, is not any kind of huge win for Intel. Intel was already Altera's fab partner, and there's very little incremental revenue compared to the cost. $2B/year for a $17B acquisition, even at a modest discount rate, is a questionable ROI.

The reason is that this deal is questionable is that system design considerations vary considerably, and a fat CPU like an Intel Xeon is not always the best match for a networking application with an FPGA that close. Most of these server-side applications are, in any event, I/O bound in a server environment. That means fast backplane technologies for interfacing the various physical layer devices for networking and storage. Integration of programmable logic rather than putting it on a daughter card with a dedicated interface defeats the purpose of the flexibility that the FPGA provides in this environment, and that's to be able to bridge new and emerging standards while standard products eventually come in and take up the slack. Too little programmable logic and you have to replace the entire part. Too much, and you're killing your margins even now that gates are supposedly "free". Why would a system architect bother taking the risk on that without substantial advantages over the lifetime of their rack-mount beast? And this is essentially true whether or not the die is integrated or put in an multi-chip module or 3D die stack. Even if we consider other applications such as artificial intelligence and image processing, there are already alternatives out there including dedicated processors and GPUs that are doing much of this today, and they're off-the-shelf parts without dependency on the host CPU which - again - would be an I/O bound operation that you wouldn't necessarily want to involve the CPU in directly.

Bringing this to Xilinx, AMD - as the article suggests - has even less presence in server. More importantly, AMD is always 1-2 generations behind in process technology versus Intel, which translates to even greater sensitivity to how much FPGA one devotes to the die. There is no Xilinx fab relationship with AMD since it's effectively fabless. Xilinx and Altera also play in other spaces where x86 is either not relevant or insufficiently so to justify integration (e.g. automotive, broadcast). All of the above points for Intel-Altera apply even more for AMD-Xilinx.

Even in 2015, we're still dealing with external GPUs and Ethernet PHYs on small motherboards. Unless an application reaches true ubiquity and the cost-benefit is clear, integration for integration's sake is a losing cause. If Xilinx and AMD merge, it may very well hurt both companies. Stay tuned.

Comment Back doors = Security Weaknesses (Score 4, Insightful) 108

No matter how well intentioned the government may be in requesting a crypto back door, all it does is open up a hole for potential criminals and state actors to steal information from individuals and corporations alike. Unless the government was somehow able to indemnify and protect all parties involved, there should be no back doors. End of story.

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