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Submission + - Acceptable Use Policy - how verbose?

brendan.hill writes: As CIO of a large franchise group, I was recently approached to draft an "Acceptable Use Policy" for the ~40 staff at our head quarters.

Rather than adopt management speak or legalese, I decided to use everyday language, and keep it to half a page, and came up with the following:

This relates to your usage of computers, phones, internet, email, and other electronic equipment on the site.
1) Keep it work related. {Our Franchise Group} owns all this stuff, and we might monitor your usage.
2) Be polite and constructive. Your emails are stored permanently, and might be used in a court of law.
3) Don’t use them for anything illegal or offensive, including defamatory material, breaches of copyright, pornography, etc.
4) Don’t give any passwords to anyone else.
5) Don’t install anything on your computer without checking with the IT department first.
6) Please don’t send email attachments over 5MB. They probably won’t be received.

And that's it.

It quickly attracted the criticism of being somewhat unprofessional or incomplete, but I would argue that it is more accessible, more likely to be read and understood, and more likely to have an impact than the more traditional, abstract, management-ese policy documents you tend to see. The document is designed to actual influence people's behavior, instead of simply provide a declaration of what we can legally fire people for (which is probably covered by more generic legislation anyway).

Admittedly there is only a small audience and we have a rather informal culture anyway, but I think taking this approach has a lot of merit. Your thoughts?

Comment Vodafone fundamentally sucks at stuff in general. (Score 1) 136

My company got sucked into moving several thousand numbers to Vodafone (via Crazy Johns) several years ago, suckered in by cheap prices.

The first month, their whole computer system crashed. They couldn't recover the statements and in the end we got that month for free.

The second month, every single charge on every single statement was overcharged by about 30%-40%. It took 3-4 months to get this sorted out, massively delaying our billing cycle. Eventually we had to issue 3 months of bills within several weeks which caused huge amounts of ill will (towards us, not Vodafone).

By then it had turned out that their billing system wasn't actually capable of processing the phone plan they'd sold us. It literally couldn't compute the fees. So, I had to personally develop custom software (took about 2 days) to make the micro adjustments to each item on the bills before we sent them on, then chase Vodafone for the appropriate refund. Running this internal rerate each month is now a standard part of our billing process.

In the midst of all this fucking stupidity, for about the first year, they were unable to bring up our account on screen because it was so large (kept crashing), so they couldn't effectively respond to our account enquiries.

That's just my own personal direct experience, but more broadly they're recognized as having the worst coverage, they may have a class action coming against them for unreasnoable network drop outs, and now on top of that they've demonstrated deplorable security policies.

Vodafone: you suck at life. Fuck you. Fuck you fuck you fuck you.

Submission + - Muck Zuckerberg, budding philanthropist? (

brendan.hill writes: Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old wunderkind behind Facebook is making a move to become a player in philanthropy just before the opening of a film that portrays him as less than charitable.

The recipient of his $US100 million ($A104.64 million) donation — thought to be the biggest of his young life — is the Newark public schools, a long-struggling district that could use the money to become a laboratory for reforms.

The donation is being announced this week on Oprah Winfrey's TV show in an arrangement that brings together the young internet tycoon, Newark's celebrated Democratic mayor and a governor who has quickly become a star of the Republican party.

Comment What the fuck am I missing here? (Score 1) 130

All home broadband plans throttle speeds after you hit your limit. Most business plans charge you an excess.

What the hell are they supposed to do, let you go past your "limit" as much as you like with no consequence? Some penalty is implicit in the advertising of a x-MB/GB plan.

The fuck am I missing here?

Comment Re:"BUT SHe'S UNELLECTED!! BLAAAAHH!!11!!!!!!" (Score 1) 419

Let's take a look a this:

You're basically repudiating thousands of years of history that culminates in sayings like "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

This is a good guiding principle, but no-one seriously believes in its ubiquity. Why are children not allowed to vote? Why are some people taxed more than others? Why are some people jailed up for years? etc, etc.

They are endowed with reason and conscience

Most of them aren't.

and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Yeah, unless they're being a dick...

Hey, it can bring the viewpoint I advocate some temporary advantage, let's throw the whole system down and start discriminating on basis of intelligence. You do know denying voting rights to "stupid" people has a dark, fascist history, right?

Take a person who knows little about politics, the media, the world, or even how various policies will effect them personally. They vote based on personal impression - they like Julia Gillard's hairstyle, for example.

Name one good reason for this person to have a vote, other than the impracticality of discriminating against them?

How about this one? "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression;

Except if they're expressing racism, terrorism, pedophilia, etc...

this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." What if said opinions are, in your opinion, "stupid"? After all, it's not inherently wrong to discriminate against stupid people.

Sorry, this confused me a bit... anyway none of the ideals you mentioned are ACTUALLY considered to be universal. Therefore the question becomes one of degree and context, rather than upholding unalienable and fundamental values...

Comment Actually I apologise... (Score 1) 419

I said "Basically I hate the way democratic politics works, it's crap" and this came across as hating everything about democracy.

Actually I think democracy is probably the best known political system around, currently.

I do, however, hate the way it leads to populist politics, how it gives influence to people who wield it irresponsibly (members of the public), how political communication in the media is generally in the form of a barrage of universal abuse, and how election campaign degenerate into the kind of mindless rubbish in the ad I linked to.

So I utterly reject the fascism reference, but I concede my last comment could have been interpreted in that way.

Comment Re:"BUT SHe'S UNELLECTED!! BLAAAAHH!!11!!!!!!" (Score 1) 419

Hey, this post is worth responding to without a barrage of sarcasm, so I'll take it seriously.

It's really frightening to see feelings so solidly against representative government modded up to +5.

I, and my post, are not against representative government. I'm against stupid, simplistic, and pathetic criticisms of political events like "She's unelected!!!"

I'm also profoundly disillusioned by the influence of cheesy cartoons in political campaigns. This is not a criticism of the politicians, or even their campaign advisors - it's a criticism of the general population, specifically, the fact that they are influenced by that garbage.

And I do believe it's a tragedy that stupid people are allowed to vote, even if I don't have a workable alternative.

When did Slashdot become a fascist playground?

Uh.... no comment.

It says "people shouldn't have this much influence" right there.

Why shouldn't we discriminate against stupid people? We already discriminate against young people, or people with extreme mental conditions etc.

Of course we'll never *actually* discriminate against stupid people, but that's because there's no effective way of actually doing it in practice, not because it's inherently wrong.

Comment Hey gorgeous! (Score 1) 419

Explain again what "voting for a party" means exactly?

I didn't know, so I googled it, and thought this summed it up pretty well:

"When we go to the polls, we are voting for a set of these policies and the team that champions them."


We also vote with the chief in mind. Look at the difference between the abbott and turnbull factions on the other-side. Would you have wanted to vote for Turnbull only to have it changed to Abbott half way through? Who the prime minister is matters you ignorant arse.

Of course it matters, you (umm....) son of a motherless goat fucker, but the truth remains that the unelected status of Julia is about as relevant to the future of Australian politics as your average slashdot thread. In fact she was elected, indirectly, by the strong support of her party, the party which received more votes (basically) at the last federal election.

Comment Re:"BUT SHe'S UNELLECTED!! BLAAAAHH!!11!!!!!!" (Score 1) 419

Yeah it really scares me how almost half the people have below average IQ. We need to do something about it.

More seriously though, while I hate certain aspects of democracy, I don't have an alternative. There's something fundamental to the nature of complex systems (like a population of selfish human beings in a resource-limited environment) which leads to crap of some sort or another. Democracy seems to simply be the latest, somewhat-less crappy attempt at working it all out...

Comment Re:"BUT SHe'S UNELLECTED!! BLAAAAHH!!11!!!!!!" (Score 1) 419

Rudd's unpopularity is in part a reflection of his ineffectiveness as a leader and a politician.

More likely he didn't connect at a personal level with the voters, came across as cold, snobbish and distant. He's also a bit ugly (sorry Kevin). The average people on the street have a general bad attitude towards politicians in general, and don't tend to make cold, calculated evaluations of their actual performance.

Realistically, that's the reason he was unpopular, I suspect.

The electorate selected him because they expected significant change. The electorate also voted the previous PM out. Yet Rudd's tenure is marked by a parade of wasteful ineffective policies. He was all talk and no delivery.

Perhaps, but this is the sort of generic criticism we find levelled at all politicians, from someone, somewhere, basically all the time. There's an almost universal, unstoppable stream of criticism hurled by all sides, at all other sides. This can mean that the actual, specific criticisms of a politician may not be that relevant to their popularity, as anyone who is already supportive or critical will find the praise or abuse they need to justify their bias.

I really find it frustrating, actually. The media is virtually useless when trying to form an opinion on political issues.

Disaffection has been brewing for some time now, for years for some people who voted for him only to be quickly disappointed (myself included). We by our politics may disagree on these points, but from my point of view and my political leanings his ousting is a good and rational outcome. Gillard's own policy execution record is flawed but to give her benefit of the doubt she was to some extent executing Rudd's vision. Lets wait and see what new vision she can bring forward as a leader.

The Leader, the PM is actually important. Yes party is important, but so too is the leader. Especially if the leader is a bit of a control freak with a narcissistic streak who genuinely believes (s)he is the smartest person in the room. The PM has significant influence in steering party policy. Just look at opposition party and how its policy focus has dramatically shifted from its parade of leaders in the past 18 months from Howard to Nelson, Turnball and now Abbott - all very different people who all set different policy tones for the opposition party.

While I believe the actual intricacies of the inner workings of a political party are far beyond the comprehension of the average voter (which is why a funny cartoon could be more persuasive than something of substance)... ...yes I agree, the leader is hugely important to the party, and the party is best positioned to select their leader.

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Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing. -- Ambrose Bierce