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Comment Re:Depends on factors not covered in the question (Score 1) 379

In most cases, working on outside projects will be grounds for some kind of disciplinary process,

I've never seen that happen. Nobody at work cares what I do on my own time. I have seen cases in some states where the company successfully claimed the outcome of the outside project, but that's illegal in mine.

ok, I was not totally clear on that point, my bad. :)
The focus with that sentence was not on what the employee does in their own time, but rather what they do during their contracted employment hours.
Apologies for the confusion.

Comment Depends on factors not covered in the question (Score 2) 379

Daylighting. Some companies (Google, for example) embrace it, while others try to stamp it out.

Does the employee contract state that working on outside projects is not allowed, on company equipment and/or on company time?
Does the contract state that anything external that the employee works on automatically becomes IP of the company (good luck with trying to enforce that in some countries)?
The employee contract usually defines responsibilities for both the employee and the employer. Using the employee contract to enforce behaviour on the part of the employee can be problematic if the employee has a good lawyer versed in employment law on their speed-dial, and will often result in a shit storm for all parties that does nobody any favours (except for the lawyers).

In most cases, working on outside projects will be grounds for some kind of disciplinary process, but if the employee is valued then asking them why they are daylighting. Look at whether they are completing projects/meeting targets on time, and whether you are happy for the employee to walk away.

Comment Re:difficult to tell who is at fault from article (Score 1) 513

I would say that the supervisor was probably 100% honest and totally ok with it. He then goes to HR and asks what kind of support they can give, and the HR troll hits the kill switch. Although the idea that a cryptographer for a defence contractor would be granted remote access to the systems they would need to do their job is an interesting one from a security perspective.

Of course, it could be that the supervisor is a wet blanket who cannot handle conflict, plays the sympathetic boss and then runs to the HR girl to get her to do the shitty thing. She is then pissed at the supervisor for putting her in that position, and takes it out on the candidate.

HR might also be pissed at both supervisor and candidate that the wife's terminal cancer diagnosis has obviously not been mentionned at all during the interview process - as a candidate in that position, I would be tempted to keep quiet about it unless the cancer was so advanced that my wife had only a couple of months to live, in which case I pretty much have to 'fess up to it at an interview - "look, my wife has terminal stomach cancer, and has at most a few months. During that time, I am her out-of-hours carer so if OOH work is required, I would need to tackle that from home".
From the HR perspective, if that vital information was not forthcoming during interview, what else is there to come out, and is this candidate suddenly a bad risk? At the very least, will the candidate need extensive bereavement leave that was not anticipated during the hiring, or will this go on for an extended period because the wife hangs on for years rather than weeks/months (not likely with stomach cancer, but that is not an evaluation HR can make). It should still be handled professionally and with compassion, rather than by going postal on the guy, but the interview and candidate evaluation process is the stage where all such issues need to be raised.

On balance, and from my experience as a supervisor and working with HR, I would say that the supervisor was probably being honest and that the HR woman was either being a bitch or was pissed that the limitation didn't come out during the interview stage and just did not handle the situation well.

Comment Needs a certain size of apartment building to work (Score 1) 136

The way that I read the article (sorry for not following /. tradition) is that you have a central grocery distribution point within the apartment building, condo complex or similar, and in those situations it could work, and becomes more viable the larger the apartment building/complex. For small apartment buildings, or for people who live in houses, it would almost certainly not be viable or workable.
Doing it the "other way" - you order online via and the groceries are shipped from a warehouse using some combination of delivery process that includes autonomous drones/vehicles for "last mile" service would work for all cases but is not much more efficient than current solutions and is prone to package loss/damage.

Comment Disconnect = Lack of effective communication (Score 2) 119

When you have a situation where each party is blaming the other, the cause is almost always a lack of effective communication by BOTH sides.
If each thinks that the other is responsible, then neither has successfully articulated their opinions to the other.
As an IT person, I do not mind being given the responsibility for handling cyber attacks, as long as I am also given the express authority that "handling" will require, and the budget to provision security and prevention measures.
Of course, I am not going to get the budget that I ask for, no department head ever does. But then my acceptance of that budget comes with the written caveat that a reduced budget directly impacts my ability to "handle" cyber incidents and will increase the risk of successful attacks or sub-optimal mitigation of attacks.

Comment Why question just Government data? (Score 3, Interesting) 460

This is maybe not quite so much of a tinfoil-hat post as the title might make it seem, but any data published by any party which uses that data to support their argument has to be seen in the light that the data is a supporting argument for their point of view.
Whether it is a scientist/politician/manager/slashdot poster tweaking their selection criteria to give more favourable results or just wholesale making up statistics by pulling them out of a dark hole, we are all human and we are all going to be tempted. Citation and open availability of the complete dataset for peer/independent review is the only way to avoid it.
And yes, I am sure that my post would benefit from some citations to confirm the described human behaviour. But as 95% of /. users will not read the comment and 90% of those that do will not click on the citation links, and 100% of the people involved in writing the comment are too damned lazy to go and find the citations and link them, someone else can write the [citation needed] comment below.

Comment Re:monopoly (Score 2) 182

Not sure would say Intel has a monopoly, but there is a huge capital cost involved in adopting each new generation of fabrication facilities, to the point where there are very few companies that can take a seat at that table - that is the reason why most chip design companies outsource their fabrication requirements to one of the companies with the desired/required technical facilities.

Comment Re:Go on strike? (Score 1) 813

This may be a silly question since I've never been in this kind of situation, but why doesn't the IT staff all collectively refuse to train their outsourced replacements? Or go on strike? Even if they aren't unionized, they could go on strike (I assume). Am I just making some bad assumptions here?

Two main reasons - One of the conditions of getting a half-decent severance package will be that you have to train the outsourced labor to a standard satisfactory to the remaining management; secondly, one of the unwritten but impossible to avoid/prove conditions of getting a good reference from the employer will be training the replacement.
So... refuse to play nice with the managers screwing you over like this? No problem, you're fired immediately and you will get no reference from the employer (or even worse, an "off-the-record" conversation between your old manager and a potential new employer saying that they were happy to get rid of you because you are not a team player, have a bad attendance/disciplinary record, poor standards, racist views, take regular holidays in the MIddle East, and take regular breaks every hour or so to pray to Allah.

For the small minority who have enough money in the bank to get them through a lean year, or who get head-hunted, it is deeply satisfying to play the clown for a week while "training" the new hire then walking into the manager's office and taking a crap on his expensive chair. For the vast majority, though, who have the kind of personal finances that most members of the consumer society have, that severance package is badly needed and should just about cover the basics.

Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 2) 235

Very true... but outside of the article title, the article makes no distinction or breakdown between mass transit and personal transit, while alluding in the text to cars and other small/personal transport options - the Mike Orcutt article mentions vehicle sales, trucks, SUVs and cars, thus giving the impression that the increase is down to the American vehicle owner. Maybe the paper it references, written by John DeCicco, has a bit more of an objective viewpoint, but this particular paper is not yet linked from Prof. DeCicco's page on the MIT Faculty so it is impossible to say for sure.
Having said that, much of the language of his other linked papers specifically references "cars" and seems to point to an assumption that private transport is a greater contributory problem than mass transport so I would not hold my breath waiting for a balanced view on the relative impacts of mass- versus private-transport solutions.

Comment Interesting priorities for an elected official (Score 1) 84

So, an elected official is either approached by an AT&T/Comcast lobby group or approaches them, and she then allows that lobby group to submit legislative proposals to the council in her name because (paraphrasing somewhat) "she was too busy doing other stuff to make time to do it herself".
You know, I recall a few British and European politicians doing that over the last 15-20 years. One example, the "Cash for Questions" scandal in the 1990's... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
It was labelled Corruption, and resulted in the end of a few political careers.

Comment EpiPen's value is in reliability/standardisation (Score 0) 327

I am all in favour of using a cheaper option that is equally as effective as its more expensive alternative - that is simply an expression of one of the bases of most Capitalist economic models, after all - that an existing incumbent in the market can be challenged by a new competitor providing the same or similar service at a lower cost. I also happen to love home-built and self-built solutions to many problems. But I mostly apply that passion when making furniture and tinkering with my car or the innards of my computers.
The reservation that I have with that approach around medicines and pharnaceuticals though, is the dosage, effectiveness of the delivery and consistency of the product. A case in point - Sanofi's Auvi-Q (the main EipPen alternative) which was withdrawn by Sanofi in 2015 because of concerns about its ability to deliver the correct amount of epinephrine. These pens are designed to be used without medical training, so someone with the skill required to recognise an under- or overdose may not be present. Heathkit solutions are great, IF they deliver a consistent (and correct) dose of the medicine, and IF the medicine contains a consistent (and correct) dose of the active ingredients. Without that reliability that the mechanism is going to work and deliver the correct dose, it is difficult to put trust in that solution, especially for for a parent or guardian whose child may have such an extreme allergic reaction that their health or life will be in danger without proper care.
For sure, this is a pretty blatant (in my opinion) example of price-gouging by Mylan. Trying to blame it on the US Healthcare system is weak, but they have been given a pretty clear monopoly in schools thanks to their political lobbying efforts and now they are extracting the maximum value possible from the situation - another example of capitalist economics at work - setting the cost of a product/service at a level the market can bear and that the seller is happy with, rather than the cost the market would like to pay.

Comment "Number of contributors" can be a misleading stat (Score 1) 118

I would applaud any serious attempt by any company to contribute to the Open Source community, both in terms of active contributors and also the open-sourcing of projects (particularly widely-used ones, such as the .Net Framework).

However, purely focussing on the number of contributors is potentially misleading for a number of reasons.
For example, a contributor who posts a single one-line update fixing a spelling mistake is still a contributor, and in the total that contributor carries as much weight as a contributor who has pushed out thousands of high quality updates across several/many projects.
Also, the quality of the contributions is important - on one level all contributions are welcome as they are an effort to help. But contributions which require subsequent additional contributions to resolve issues they have introduced are less desireable than the actual fix. I would assume that programmers working for MS and the other big contributing companies are more competent and therefore less likely to introduce problems than a part-time coder working from home, but that is a potentially dangerous assumption. Either way the quality of the contribution would be important, while also being hard to measure and quantify on a site-wide basis.
However, my biggest feeling for the misleading factor of the total contributors number is the range of projects on which those contributions are seen - if MS's 16k+ contributors all contribute solely to the open-sourced MS products, then (purely in my opinion) that somewhat devalues those contributions - they are still useful, welcome and gratefully accepted because the projects they are contributing to are themselves useful, but I feel they do less to improve the overall ecosystem of the Open Source community than the contributors putting time into projects from a range of different sources.

Comment Re:It's Sony - duh (Score 1) 467

.... How do you manage 50 hours of gameplay over a 48 hour period?

Start playing at 18:00 (6PM) on Friday, leave the computer switched on and the game loaded, finish playing at 20:00 (8PM) on Sunday. 50 hours.
Bonus points if you mainline coffee, and give up at 06:00 on Monday morning just before leaving for work/school, because then you clocked up 60 hours... if 50 hours is theft then 60 must be close to murder.

Comment Re:Ok, why? (Score 5, Insightful) 311

Mainly for failing to perform any checks to see if the party filing the DMCA notice actually has the authority (i.e. copyright ownership) to be able to enforce the notice.
However, such checks would go a long way toward invalidating the defense used by media companies who abuse the DMCA provisions when faced with such patently absurd filings - that they filed this specific request in error as a result of a failure of an automated reporting system, and that nobody at the media company making the filing was aware that the filing was incorrect. In the meantime, sanctions related to the number of DMCA notices received against content uploaded by specific accounts remains triggered even when many/most of the notices are shown to be bogus/in error, meaning that there is no incentive for the media companies to change and there are no satisfactory mechanisms in place for small uploaders to recover their content/challenge the behaviour.

Comment Customer dissatisfaction but little/no competition (Score 1) 148

The C-level executives in any large company are disconnected from the customers who buy/use their products, being concerned with the "high level" views. But for most of those companies, they know that they have some competitors in the marketplace and will lose market share to those competitors if they fail to deliver.
In the case of domestic US ISPs, decades of almost completely unregulated consolidation have put pretty much the whole country in a situation where each geographical area has a single large incumbent ISP (read, monopoly) and many have managed to get legislators in those areas to enact laws that effectively ban or put unfeasibly large hurdles in the way of competition starting up (for reference, see the "fun" that Google has gone through when trying to build out their fiber service in various cities).
In a typical capitalist model of an economy, when the large incumbent enterprise is unable or unwilling to provide customers with the service they want, a smaller competitor can come in and provide that service - whether it is lower cost, higher speed, no/higher data cap, or monthly bills hand-delivered by Playboy Bunnies. However, that model assumes that the economic barriers to starting to offer that service are low and that there are no legal blocks protecting the incumbent - in the case of domestic ISPs, there are both - because most of the cables, backbone to door, are owned by those incumbents, a competitor either has to buy from those incumbents thus limiting their ability to compete (because the incumbent can say "no" or set the pricing to be prohibitive, or set data caps on the competitor), or the competitor has to build out their own network of cables (resulting in a high capital cost - a significant barrier to market entry - and running up against many of those legislative blocks that state or city legislators have put in place).

So the ISPs can be pretty comfortable - they know that complaints are on the rise, and that they are more unpopular now than they have been for years, but they also know that their customers have little or no choice than to keep on giving them money.

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