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Submission + - What has become of the severance package?

JamesNT writes: By now we've all heard about the IT layoffs that occurred, or attempted to occur, at Disney. And now we have Suntrust who went a step even further in trying to ensure the cooperation of terminated employees long after their termination without compensation. In both cases, IT employees were told they would lose their severances if they failed to cooperate. Has the severance package horrifically devolved from a way to part ways on amicable terms during bad times to a weapon to force IT people to agree to otherwise humiliating terms before feeling the boot? Other questions also abound such as how companies that have outsourced all IT are faring now? Are companies breaking any laws? What resistance can today's IT person have against his/her own employer other than keeping personal debt low and finances in check just in case the need to walk out the door on their own terms arises? What would have happened to Suntrust or Disney if the IT staff had, all to a one, declined severance and just left all at once?

Comment Phone defect tracking opportunity? (Score 1) 126

When buying an Android phone: Measure how many days it takes from the vulnerability report (at least publicly) until it's patched in phones already used by customers. Focus on phones more than 2 years old, since your phone will be that age someday. Then: Don't buy from unresponsive makers. I suspect that if a few buying guides included those numbers, some manufacturers and service providers would start paying attention.

It would be very helpful if there were a website that tracked cellphone support information, such as outstanding defects, and average defect correction time. I don't know of any such existing site, but suspect it would be a splendid opportunity to attract a large number of clicks.

The Military

United States Begins Flying Stealth Bombers Over South Korea 567

skade88 writes "The New York Times is reporting that the United States has started flying B-2 stealth bomber runs over South Korea as a show of force to North Korea. The bombers flew 6,500 miles to bomb a South Korean island with mock explosives. Earlier this month the U.S. Military ran mock B-52 bombing runs over the same South Korean island. The U.S. military says it shows that it can execute precision bombing runs at will with little notice needed. The U.S. also reaffirmed their commitment to protecting its allies in the region. The North Koreans have been making threats to turn South Korea into a sea of fire. North Korea has also made threats claiming they will nuke the United States' mainland."

Comment But I *DO* care where my content comes from! (Score 4, Insightful) 153

There is a huge chunk of the Internet that cares very much where the content came from:
  • Who exactly is asking me to transfer money out of my account?
  • Did this patch that I downloaded come from a reputable server? Or will it subvert my system?
  • Is this news story from a reputable source?

And the list goes on....

Comment Re:I concur (Score 2) 253

The perpetually want a set of requirements. And they get upset if a new requirement is added later.

I agree that this is a good, if terse, summation of the basic conflict.

Poorly named, most "Computer Scientists" are NOT scientists. There is no application of the Scientific Method to solve unknown problems. Instead, they are Software Engineers trying to adapt known problems to solution by a versatile tool (the computer). No Science. Just Engineering.

I see software as a way to explore a space. Model it. Determine what more modeling is needed. You are constantly trying to do something that usually is beyond what is computationally possible so you have to figure out what approximation is going to work. What has to be done at full scale and what can be done at lower resolution. Mock up stuff.

This sounds like Science. Very indeterminate. And, not easily estimated. Business managers that employ Software Engineers demand estimates. And schedules. And progress reports.

Also, users of developed software often have - shall we say - hazy views of what is really needed. This can lead to disappointment when the software does not meet expectations.

Thus, to avoid being placed in a bad position, Software Engineers demand detailed requirements, so that they can make accurate estimates and avoid end user disappointment.

You live in a different world, pal... Not necessarily better or worse, but different.

Security

Submission + - Cyber Attack Threats Nearing Statistical Certainty (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: It’s rare that a day goes by without seeing news of another breach or other form of cyber attack in the news headlines. According to a recent survey, organizations are currently experiencing multiple breaches, with more than half (59 percent) of respondents citing two or more breaches in the past 12 months.

The survey included responses from 583 IT and IT security practitioners in the United States with an average of 9.57 years of experience. More than half (51 percent) were employed by organizations with more than 5,000 employees. The results revealed that the threat from cyber attacks today is nearing statistical certainty and businesses of every type and size are vulnerable to attacks.

Overall, respondents to the survey indicated that security breaches have cost them a least half a million dollars to address in terms of cash outlays, business disruption, revenue losses, internal labor, overhead and other expenses. Most respondents (59 percent) said that the most severe consequence of any breach was the theft of information assets followed by business disruption.

Comment Re:Computer Science is just a problem-solving tool (Score 1) 453

Lots of people do comp sci and mathematics for the sake of themselves. There generally is a practical application, but it only tends to get discovered many years later. Can you tell me a practical application of the four color theorem?

I understand that. I did say "most", not "all". I am a big proponent of research into purely theoretical topics because they tend to pay big dividends in the future.

However, there are many more people applying mathematics and computer science to practical problems than doing theoretical work - as it should be.

I still maintain that the name of the game is solving practical problems, and a good computer science practitioner should be adept at applying his knowledge to different domains. That is what makes Computer Science important and relevant.

Comment Computer Science is just a problem-solving tool (Score 3, Insightful) 453

... just like Mathematics.

It means nothing by itself, except as a means to an end of solving practical problems.

That said, it makes all the sense in the world for most Computer Scientists to learn other domains of knowledge to apply to.

The more disciplines you are familiar with, the more adept you will be at applying your programming skills to solving real-world problems.

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