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Comment Re:bright idea - volunteer layoffs (Score 1) 179

A lot of government departments already do this. A previous IT job I had at a shared government / university research facility always asked first before they tapped folks on the shoulder. If enough people volunteered, no layoffs. And they always gave the volunteers a nice package.

Comment Re:Cloud needs server huggers (Score 3, Informative) 409

I've been in IT since the '80's, and every company I've worked for, large or small, has had their own backup generators of some sort. Some, at start-ups, were just a portable gas generator that they could set outside the back door and fire up to keep a few critical servers running. Other larger companies had jet turbines on standbye.

All for the same reason that companies are hesitant to commit all of their IT to the cloud - keeping control. It's not about jobs, it's about being sure that critical services are available when you need them, and also who's neck you're going to throttle when things go wrong.

Comment Re:All the news that matters (Score 5, Informative) 894

In most U.S. ports, it's not Customs that makes the decision to inspect, it's actually ICE.

In the olden days, back when I worked as a contractor for Customs, entry into the U.S. went like this:
1. You went to Immigration Control first. Pre-ICE (US Immigration Control) checked your passport and entry form, OK'd you to enter, and then you reclaimed your baggage (whether you were traveling onwards or not).
2. You then had to clear Customs, which looked at your itinerary (e.g where you'd been), your bags (i.e were they bulging, smelly, etc.) and your face and non-verbal cues to determine if you warranted a further inspection. If you did have something questionable, there were actually expert (!!!) customs agents available to determine compliance.

Today, it goes like this:
1. You go to Immigration (ICE) first. Based on your facial expressions, non-verbal cues, and passport history, they determine if (1) you're OK to re-enter the US, and (2) if you need further "assistance" with customs. They make a mark on your entry form, which you later turn in to a customs agent, to indicate if you should be further "assisted". The decision regarding inspection and possible seizure of goods is left almost entirely with ICE, who specialize not in Customs enforcement but Border Control.
2. You move on to Customs Enforcement, which looks at your ICE-noted entry form and either inspects, detains, seizes, or lets you go based on ICE notes on your entry form. If ICE didn't mark your entry form for further scrutiny, you move through Customs very quickly.

The reason for the change? Efficiency. Most people re-entering the US don't need any re-entry assistance, and Customs agents are otherwise very busy. Giving ICE the job of determining 90% of Customs work saves time for travelers and money for the government. But the downside is that most ICE agents aren't trained to sniff out the difference between a guy with handcrafted musical instruments made of foreign raw materials from a guy bringing foreign raw materials into the US with the intent of defeating embargoes and/or tariffs.

The point is, it's not Customs that are dim, it's ICE... and as long as it saves most travelers some time at the desk, it probably won't change.

Comment Steve Jobs looked at this option and rejected it (Score 1) 123

Steve Jobs thought about using plastic, in fact one of the prototype iPhones had a plastic screen. He rejected it because of the cheap feel of the plastic, and went with the Gorilla Glass that he used in original iPhones. So I guess it's down to, do you want an indestructible phone screen, or do you want one that feels good?

And, btw, not an Apple fan boy here, I just happened to read Jobs bio by Walter Isaacson, he covered Jobs' choice in fair detail in the book.

Comment Re:Good (Score 5, Insightful) 429

Reading the article helps. He was arrested for "downloading excessive material". In other words, he had a legal JSTOR account, he wasn't accessing it illegally, he just downloaded more material than they wanted him to. Really? That's a crime now? Even the civil matter was settled with JSTOR, but prosecutors went ahead and harassed him anyway.

One day in prison means the likely end of a promising technology career, and is one day too much for someone accused of "downloading excessive material".

Just hope that one day you don't get sent to prison for going over your mobile data usage.

Comment Re:The PC is Dying (Score 1) 622

It's not very efficient or ergonomic to have HR (or any) staff staring at reports on a 3" screen all day. It's great to check your mail on the run or a quick text message, or using the browser to find a spot to have a few beers. But it's not intended for reading reports, or working on full screen apps that manage portfolios (for instance) or analyze sales leads.

Comment Re:The PC is Dying (Score 4, Insightful) 622

(Replying to Original Commenter's comment): Yeah, HP sucks, but so does Dell and Acer and Gateway and everyone else who makes PCs.

(Replying to both comments, but mostly AC's): I think you over estimate the demise of the PC and also don't understand what they are used for in Enterprise. I agree that, in general, the PC business is declining. I think that will result in a lot of consolidation, likely into segments where the consumer PC business will consist entirely of low end PCs and the enterprise business will consist mostly of high end servers. And HP's bread and butter is in the Enterprise, so I suspect that a company like Acer or Dell will end up "owning" that business and HP will "own" the Enterprise business. Everyone else will go out of business.

Speaking of enterprise, there are a LOT of applications running on PCs in the enterprise. Salespeople run client / contact management software, account managers run portfolio analysis software, HR runs tons of HR-related apps, there's a myriad of software running on desktops in the enterprise and upgrades are required all the time. I don't see PeopleSoft being replaced by an iPhone app anytime soon.

Comment Re:How does this work? (Score 2) 612

Actually not exactly. Police can stop diplomatic vehicles, they just can't detain anyone in the vehicle who has diplomatic immunity. Ecuador would thus have to grant him diplomatic immunity AND drive him to the airport AND put him on a flight with diplomatic status. And of course he'd still have to step onto British soil to get from the car to the plane, and I doubt his diplomatic immunity (if he had it, and that's a big if) would protect him there.

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