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Comment People have workflows. (Score 4, Informative) 388

They invest the time and the learning to master a workflow. They expect a payoff from this investment in their ability to use these workflows to achieve other ends. When you mess with a workflow, you negate that investment. They have to spend time learning and mastering a workflow all over again before they can apply it toward their actual goals.

Nobody uses software "to be using software" or "for a good experience." They use it to get things done. If they have to spend two weeks mastering a new workflow then your improvements had better deliver a multiple of that value in return, or they're going to come back with "that's cool, but it would trip me up for all of my muscle and click memory to be invalidated."

People aren't averse to improvements. They're averse to evolutionary improvements that cost more to the user in practice (time invested and mistakes avoided) than they deliver on the other end. "Small tweaks" often fall into this category. Some dev moves a button to a more "logical" placement and for the next two weeks, the users lose five or ten seconds every single time they need to use it because their absent minded clicking—absent-minded because they're focusing on what they're really trying to accomplish, not on 'using the software'—keeps ending up in the wrong place vs. what they're accustomed to.

Dev says "BUT IT'S BETTER." User experience is actually that of being irritated and not getting things done as efficiently as usual, so their response is "IN PRACTICE, IN THE CURRENT CONTEXT OF MY LIFE, NO IT'S NOT."

Comment I see tons of them in this neck of the woods. (Score 1) 406

Makes me a bit sad because I'm a big believer in analog wristwatches, and instead, all the young adults and college kids are walking around with Apple Watches strapped on. Not a fan of the aesthetics, and didn't have a good smart watch experience myself (though this was before Apple Watch, with a Sony) but nonetheless, I can name at least 20 people that have one in my circle, and some of them are blue collar folks so it's not all luxury buyers either.

Comment Out-of-the-box solution: battery in protector. (Score 2) 87

Instead of placing the battery inside the handset, make a handset that just has a connector on it (wouldn't have to be a bulky, thick connecter like the USB series, could be done in any number of ways, including contacts on the back.

Open up the design, then let case manufacturers include batteries in their cases, since people overwhelmingly use cases anyway. Now the phone is very thin, so the case can be thicker to accommodate a battery.

Consumers needing long, long battery life can choose a wacky big case. Consumers needing very little battery life can choose a case with a battery that gets them close to current thickness levels. Need a new battery? Replace your $60 case instead of your $700 phone. Going on vacation? Get a fat silicone case with a fat, fat battery in it, just for the trip.

Comment Ha! I had the same thing happen to me. (Score 5, Interesting) 277

I owned a small consulting company in the late '90s and we were hired to do some work for a VPN vendor. We had to sign a rather onerous NDA and then they stiffed us on payment after six months' work and proceeded to ship what we had built anyway. The "separation" was acrimonious and involved court just so we could get paid.

Two years later, the president of the company contacts me begging for archival copies of what we'd produced, as they suffered some sort of catastrophic event and had lost a lot of source code.

I rather gleefully told him that (a) I had to take him to court to get him to pay me for shipping our work last time around, and (b) as per the NDA that they made a serious issue of in court, we had dutifully wiped everything we had ever worked on for them, and good luck.

I smiled for about a month after that.

Comment This. (Score 1) 158

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) 88

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) 433

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) 433

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) 433

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) 433

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.

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