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Comment This. (Score 1) 149

I have close knowledge of one project in which a codebase performs an action using an initial human-supplied table of data, then records the result as either a positive or negative outcome and adds that result back into the table. Then it performs another action based on the table data, records the result as a positive or negative, and adds that back into the table. Over time, of course, the table entries with the highest positive rate rise to the top and influence the actions that are chosen. It's CS101 stuff on a fairly mundane dataset.

But the codebase is hosted on Amazon and it's a marketing-led company, so they went to press with "Our innovative new artificial intelligence system uses a deep machine learning algorithm running on new exascale computing platforms to determine the best course of action to take in each case."

The engineers in the room were not happy about this. The marketing person said, "Don't sell yourself short. You developed a system that records data about what has already happened, remembers it, then makes decisions about what to do next based on what has already happened. I call that artificial intelligence."

One of the engineers shot back with, "When I was in college, we just called that 'computation.'"

Comment Credit card chargeback. (Score 4, Informative) 87

Go to your card provider (Visa/MC/Discover/Amex) and tell them to remove the charge because the service was not rendered and/or the charge was improper.

They will.

Once AT&T starts getting a lot of chargebacks, they will do something about it.

I had this sort of thing happen do me years back in NYC with Verizon. I called to cancel, was given a confirmation # and everything, and was still billed again the next month. When called again, furious, the manager I was escalated to said that they could not offer a refund because they did not have that policy. I said I don't care about policy, give me a refund, and he said there was literally no way for him to do that in the system and suggested (of course) that I accept the service for a month, since I'd already paid for it, and then if I didn't want it next month, I could call and cancel [n.b. AGAIN] then.

I hung up on him, dialed Visa, and had them charge it back. Of course THAT got Verizon's attention and a day or two later I was called by retention or some similar department to offer me a discount if I would stay on, along with a lot of apology garbage.

I told them I'd rather eat a bug.

Comment Re:As someone that had used a Palm for many years (Score 1) 168

Updates are critical to me, too, but also filesystem access.

I wavered when switching from iOS the first time, I really did, but it was jailbreak carousel or "no files for you." iPhone's data model was light years ahead of other mobile devices when iOS was launched, but now it is a noose around the iOS neck.

On Android, root and filesystem access are much easier to get and maintain, and many, many more apps acknowledge the existence of files. I'm not a huge fan of managing my own updates—I'd rather have OTA—but I can do it when jailbreaking is the alternative. I refuse to use any device that doesn't give me filesystem access to work with data.

iOS is still powerful, esp. given some of its apps. For writers, Daedalus and Ulysses; for lightweight databases, TapForms or Ninox, etc.; for personal information management, DevonThink to Go. And of course there are excellent options for artists, videographers, musicians, etc. There is no equivalent to these in the Android space.

I don't have to do the art/music stuff, though, and so I'm not as tied to iOS as some. I recently tried to switch back with an iPad to be able to use TapForms, Ulysses, and DevonThink (I use all of them in my Mac OS space). I couldn't stay. Maintaining jailbreak was a massive PITA, and on top of that, the experience sucked. iOS right now is laggier, harder to use, more crashy, app-by-app, and has zero customization. It's also damned hard to sync local stuff on and off (images, music, files, etc) because iTunes is craptacular and getting worse.

On my Android devices, I plug them into USB, have USB mass storage support, copy the files over, and then can open them in any app that I please. For a work device that needs to quickly onboard and access, say, two dozen files that are a mix of Excel sheets, Word docs, and images, that workflow is head and shoulders above what iOS currently offers, even with jailbreak.

Yes, you can do the cloud thing, but then (a) you have to wait for sync and trust that it worked, then open each file one-by-one to localize (i.e. download) it using the cloud viewer app (e.g. Dropbox), then (b) hope that the app you need will be in the menu to let you open it. Eight times out of ten, maybe more, it won't.

I was sitting there one night using wget to pull files down from my own web server that I needed to access, then going into local application folders to and editing configuration files with vi to "onboard" them into the app on the iPad. Then I thought, "What am I doing?" and I logged on and bought a Galaxy Tab S then and there. Two days later it arrived, I ROMed+rooted (took about 20 minutes) and I'm back to my old workflow again.

iOS is a dream for lightweight consumer use. But for doing work—which (if you watch the original keynote) is how it was pitched—it is now behind the curve. But it's still 100,000x better than Palm or Blackjack back in the day. That was a nightmare. Even if you were totally wedded to your device for work, you always felt like "it's just not worth it" and "why am I even doing this, gaaaaah!?"

Those devices, which were state of the art just a year or two before iPhone, became laughable at the iPhone's release. Like, completely laughable. I still have a Palm 6xx somewhere around here. I stumbled across it and powered it up a while back. It's like using a mechanical typewriter vs. a Macbook Pro.

Comment Re:You don't get it. (Score 1) 427

Because you said "can better be described as bullying."

That is false. That is on the order of the same lineages I traced.

Impolite behavior / poor norms ~= aggressive behavior ~= bullying ~= abusive behavior ~= gaslighting (abuse)

It can not be described as bullying at all, and so none of what you cited matters in the least. If his co-worker(s) had hit him, hazed him by stealing his pants and forcing him to walk around the office naked, etc., that is bullying.

Changing appointments on a calendar, micromanaging, etc. is categorically NOT bullying. It is normal office politics, and the questioner needs not a shrink to feel sorry for how abused he is, but to do something about it.

And as I said before, if he goes to his boss claiming that this is "bullying" rather than saying that office politics are impeding his work and this person needs to stop, then he is putting himself in a position to get fired, because that is what happens in offices. I'd fire him on the spot if he came to me and said he was being "gaslighted" and then came out with those details.

Comment Re:You don't get it. (Score 1) 427

Of course I understand what you are saying. And of course it comes from the left.

Listen, I have a social science Ph.D. and have fought battles in this area. Just because something is published research doesn't mean that it's settled fact. Most of the body of research to which you are referring concerns custodial situations with ongoing physical abuse, or at the loosest, domestic co-habitation with the ongoing threat of physical abuse, and even then the findings are hotly contested, many of them having come out of the very ideologically driven (and, to my eye, nonsensical) unholy alliance between gender studies and a parts of post-theraputic psychology.

It is nowhere near having achieved consensus and the battles are pitched, primarily political battles inside the academy and in the journals. That of course doesn't stop the press from reporting on them, or more pointedly, the left from adopting them.

But point 1) the literature that you cite does not correspond to the situation that you site at all. Custodial/cohabitative threat-of-violence, most severe cases leading to psychological "trauma" that renders the subject unable to function vs. workplace hijinks and bad co-workers.

UNLESS you are suggesting (and here is where the left comes in) that workplace hijinks and bad co-workers == a most severe case of abuse leading to psychological trauma with all of the (hotly contested) psychological consequences that this implies, in which case:

Point 2) this is left activism run amok and is of the general form of many other "slippages" on the progressive left:

Donald Trump ~= Racist ~= KKK ~= Nazi Party Member in 1940, ergo Donald Trump == Nazi Party Member in 1940, ergo Trump Voter = Genocidal War Criminal
Classroom Topics ~= Uncomfortable ~= Triggering ~= Abusive ~= Violent, ergo Classroom Topics == Violent and Abusive and requiring federal intervention
and so on.

In this case, it is:

Co-worker violates norms ~= Co-worker is gaslighting ~= Co-worker is abusive ~= Co-worker is an abuser leading you to severe psychological harm,
ergo Employee is the victim of several psychological trauma rendering them dysfunctional to the point that the literature on extended intensive abuse must be cited

(Nevermind that they still have enough agency to post a whine to Slashdot)

And I am saying that any employer that sees the claim that the workplace is so incredibly abusive that a person has experienced complete, agency-neutering ego-destruction, rendering them unable to function or take initiative, is going to look for five minutes around them, walk to the water cooler and back, and then decide that this employee is a snowflake, can't hack it, and needs to be let go.

Or, the simpler claim, which is the one I made before: It's bullshit here, and that literature has nothing to do at all with this case, or indeed most any case, even most domestic abuse/violence situations (and again, even those have contested operational definitions and vary from project to project in the research), which do not rise to the level of the circumstances that you describe.

Comment As someone that had used a Palm for many years (Score 4, Insightful) 168

when I got my first iPhone, let me say—there is no comparison between the two.

Palm OS and Windows CE were clumsy, trying devices that you didn't trust with anything because they weren't all that stable, they were deeply, closely tethered to desktops with finicky sync systems that would break down often and whose connectivity to existing apps tended to last about 10 minutes beyond version releases, they had the capacity of a thimble, and anything you put into them was basically trapped there unless you mounted heroic and time-consuming efforts to get it back out again.

The iPhone showed that this state of affairs was *not* "as good as it gets" for a PDA and I got an iPhone because it made my life instantly immeasurably easier and saved me bucketloads of time. Plus, when apps happened, they were cheap as dirt, unlike the $34.99-$79.99-yet-still-crippled-and-often-incompatible apps that were out for Palm or CE.

Of course iOS is now not best-of-breed but rather an out-of-date, crippled (in comparison to current-best-of-breed products) just like PalmOS and CE once were and Android is running circles around it (all except in the apps space, which remains vexingly thin on Android, though that is gradually improving).

But that doesn't change the fact that the iPhone was transformative and the tech was exponentially better than anything that was present in the mobile space to that point. It hat gigabytes (not megabytes) of storage, a fast processor and a real web browser that could load any (!!!) web page, had Wi-Fi and a fast, USB-based sync, and so on. Then the app store came along and we were in a new era.

Sorry, but anyone that pooh-poohs the iPhone is as out to lunch as anyone right now that says iOS is king of the hill. The iPhone was absolutely transformative. And right now, iOS is absolutely struggling to keep up. Both are true.

Comment No, it's not ignorant. (Score 2) 427

I've spent a lifetime on the left and I'm seeing a lot of young people that have never had to do anything hard claiming that to do anything hard is either (a) mentally abusive, (b) impossible, or (c) unjustified and unfair.

Older generations went thousands of miles overseas to engage in trench warfare. Older feminists scored women's rights without having patron saints above them that would protect them from harassment. This idea that you're incapable of doing anything hard because prejudice, because anger, because abuse, etc. is bullshit. Sorry, it is.

You grow a backbone by growing a backbone. It is hard. It is scary. You may be beaten down. You may have had your ego destroyed. Oh well. There is still a moment at which you have to stand up and be counted, or face the consequences. Life is hard, get a helmet.

People left abusive situations in their home and married lives for thousands of years before you heard about "gaslighting." It was hard. It was scary. They were beaten down.

You may well want to make it easier for them, and that could in some ways be laudable, but the fact is that it is nonsense to claim that it can't be done or it wasn't ever done, and the last thing that's going to work in most workplaces (nor should we necessarily want it to) is to go in and claim that you are the victim of such catastrophic-marriage-style-abuse that you can't mentally function any longer. Your boss is not going to want someone who has literally become unable to function due to the nonphysical, merely "head games" actions of a fellow, non-position-of-authority co-worker.

This is the workplace. It's not your home life. Your "abuser" is just another schmo with a job three desks over. They are not your spouse, your abusive parent, etc. You are basically going in with an admission that you are socially stunted, emotionally vulnerable, etc. Even if your boss tries to be noble about it themselves, he/she is going to have a particular impression of you as an employee that precludes giving you future responsibilities or promoting you when the time comes because the risk/reward proposition for the company does not safely include giving a person who can be "gaslighted" at work any more responsibilities.

I'm not saying that the questioner shouldn't take this up the chain. Note my original comment. I'm saying that they shouldn't claim the language of domestic abuse to do it. They should state what is happening and state that it is affecting their world. Period. It's bad advice to suggest that they do anything but avoid "gaslighting" that language entirely, unless they are positive that their boss is a progressive-left-leaning SJW who is an anti-domestic-abuse activist in their off hours.

Comment It's from an old movie, but it's become a buzzword (Score 1) 427

on the left. It is a way of saying "I am a victim of abuse" without actually claiming explicitly to be a victim of abuse. With the younger crowd, it's seen as something that men do to women, typically, and is used a lot in feminist circles. By saying "I am being gaslighted!" the goal is to elicit the sympathy and understanding that come from abuse claims without having to justify the notion that you are being abused. You go straight to "Oh you poor thing! You are so strong and patient!" without having to cross the "So tell me what's going on" part of the conversation.

It's not something I would try on a boss. Your approach is the right one. "So-and-so is impeding my work. They're moving my files, changing my appointments, spreading rumors that are harming my necessary work relationships, and generally making work impossible. I need it to stop so that I can continue to be effective. I've been unable to stop it. I need you to support increased separation between myself and them, as I'm finding it difficult to work when I have to interact with them multiple times over the course of a day."

It's not perfect, but it's better than going in with an indirect claim of abuse, hoping that your boss will understand what you're asking for.

Comment Basically, it means having an ulterior motive. (Score 0) 427

Going on about being a victim, or about wanting to save the world, or about anything else not because you actually care about the thing itself, but because it shows what a victim/noble person/whatever you are.

Basically, posing. "I'm being gaslighted, do you know how bad it is?!" sounds dangerously like a pose designed to elicit a particular response.

That's why I referenced DailyKos. I could just as easily have said Facebook. Because a workplace is not a college campus or a progressive activist event. You don't score any sympathy or nobility points just you're being "gaslighted" and woe is you and you've showed so much restraint and you are so noble and so on.

You score points in the workplace by handling your shit and never, ever seeming to create any trouble for those above you. Going in with "I'm being gaslighted!" is 100x worse than going in with "I have a problem with employee X who is preventing me from doing my job. And I really want to do my job. Can you help?"

That does not hold true in many places or among many crowds these days, but it does hold true in the workplace.

Comment Oh, and one MORE thing. I came back to post it. (Score 0) 427

Lose the DailyKos talk. "Gaslighting?"

You are not being abused. Employment is voluntary. Again, if you try to paint yourself as the victim of something unethical, management is going to want to see the backside of you very quickly. They want go-to problem-solvers who don't stumble over basic interpersonal issues, not people who feel sorry for themselves while virtue-signaling.

Don't go in and say "Another employee is gaslighting meeee!" unless you want them to laugh at you mercilessly (before firing you) when they're having drinks at 7:30 pm.

Comment One other thing— (Score 1) 427

If you have the leverage to do it (seniority, centrality to key projects, etc.) you might be able to parlay the conflict.

"I've had several conflictual interactions with so-and-so recently and I'm worried that there is a power struggle emerging about key decisions. I'd like to nip this in the bud so that we can all get on with our work. To me, this speaks to ambiguous responsibilities and hierarchy, and I wonder if this is going to grow as an issue. For this reason and on the strength of my importance to what we're going, I think it would help to promote me so that the difference in seniority is clear, decisions have a single point of signoff, and someone is clearly accountable—i.e. me, since I take that responsibility seriously already. Think it over, but based on what's been going on, I think it would be best for the project/department/company if my title was increased to ___ and my current responsibility set were reiterated formally to the group, to stop this kind of confusion from turning into an issue that slows us down."

That only works if you are in a position with the rest of your co-workers and your management to make the claim, which—based on your question—I'm guessing your'e not. But if you are, do it and take the promotion, then you get to tell this person where to go and what to do going forward.

Comment Re:Develop a backbone. (Score 4, Insightful) 427

I should add—you have probably already screwed yourself over.

The right time to hit fan with shit is the FIRST time an incident happens. Show that you're worth a lot, and you know your worth, and you won't stand for it.

By waiting until it's a whole narrative and you're posting to Slashdot, when you do go to management about it, they're going to see you as someone that can't solve your own problems and lets them fester in secret and grow, then brings them up the chain when they're too big for you to solve. This is not a desirable characteristic in an employee.

Live and learn.

Next job, the first time someone fucks with you, tell them in no uncertain terms, "Unless you somehow get promoted ahead of me, you are NOT my manager and I won't stand for that shit. This is a boundary. I'm drawing it right now. Cross it and it'll be you or me around here."

Then, immediately tell your manager, "I just had a bad experience with X. They did Y which I found to be unacceptable and not conducive to my work. I set a boundary. It was conflictual. I told them that if they do it again, this will be a significant issue. I'm not leaving this on your plate or anything, but I did want you to be aware that that happened, and that that's what I said."

Comment Develop a backbone. (Score 5, Insightful) 427

Raise hell with him/her and with management about him/her. Be ANGRY. Say you'll walk.

And then, if you have to, do it.

I speak from experience in my past. You do NOT want to go down the road of trying to "make it better in a non-confrontational way." Do you know what that makes you? A weakling. A loser. Someone who has to tiptoe around. Someone who spends too much time thinking strategically about how to get from mundane point A to mundane point B without experiencing problems.

Your productivity will fall. Your self-esteem will collapse. And you will find that you also enable the behavior, and it gets worse, and then worse again.

You're already a victim, and you're letting yourself stay one. Don't make yourself a target, too.

I know the whole schtick about "it's not that easy," and finances and economic realities and justice and whatever else. Used to be there, too.

The fact is, you will regret it in the end. All of the consequences you are hoping to avoid will happen, because you will lose the respect of your co-workers, your bos(ses), and you will lose your own productivity. Long term, you have one choice: confront or not. And not confronting is a SURE loss (again, long term). If you don't confront, WILL be out of a job eventually, you WILL find that you have been made worse for it with respect to your ability to do the next job.

If you confront and raise hell, you have a CHANCE of coming out of things intact. A chance may seem like a risk you don't want to take. But the other way, losing is a certainty.

So accept the hard truth that someone has decided to fuck you over, accept the hard truth that unless you metaphorically punch them in the face they WILL continue to do it and will intensify the behavior, and then grow a backbone and take your best shot back. Even if you lose that way, at least you took a shot. You didn't sit there like a weenie (which I did for far too long) and take it, then whine like a little girl, lose your self respect, and then find out that that's what everyone thinks of you and that's why you got let go despite taking shit like a hero. You're nobody's hero if you take shit. Management does not want employees that take shit.

Comment Not quite. (Score 2) 228

I have 2TB SSD storage inside my MBP 17" and am fighting the temptation to back one of them to a spinner go to 3TB—mainly because I don't want to invest in installing more parts in a seven-year-old machine and can't stand the slowness of spinning hard drives.

When I'm in my home office, I am regularly plugged in to all three USB ports (and one of them leads straight to an 18-port USB hub that has about half the ports full at any time).

You can't even carry 3TB with you on a current MBP, under any circumstances, not to mention that you are severely overcharged for the storage that you do buy. And while I realize that it's still possible to use the USB peripherals, the thought of *more* cord spaghetti in adapter form is not appealing to me, and neither is the much more fragile set of smaller connectors anchoring so many devices. I am very suspicious that I would see the effects of the tiny-connector robustness in my uptimes or data integrity.

And I already use one external monitor in addition to my 17" screen, and I'm equally hesitant to investigate solutions that would push me to sit a second external monitor on my desktop and try to drive it, etc. but at my at 13" and 15" are just too small for comfort, to use all those pixels for what I need to use them for.

Maybe I'm an edge case. Maybe I'm "picky" as some people hint. But the fact is that "Pro" designations aren't just about specs, they're about flexibility and the long tail of different kinds of productivity that "professionals" engage in. Pro gear isn't sleek and elegant. Pro gear is powerful and above all flexible with high longevity so that investments can be amortized.

So the fact is that even if Apple added the USB ports back in, if that's all they did, I wouldn't be all that excited. It's just a different mindset and strategy at Apple than it used to be, big picture.

However, if they released tomorrow a 17" or 19" clamshell that had multiple internal SATA bays, RAM to 32 or 64GB, multiple full-sized USB ports along with an SAS port, and a renewed their commitment to some of their "professional" application lines, I'd pay $5-$10k for it happily.

They won't sell me one. That's their business decision to make, but then they're stuck worrying when a lot of people like me (and I'm far from the only one, in my circles there are a lot of people asking everyone to share what they buy next) go where they can get the work tools that they prefer, whether you call that a want or a need.

I just don't have the time or the inclination to fuck around with the current MBP products. I see a million roadblocks and stumbling points that I just don't want to deal with. I have other things to do.

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