Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×

Comment Re:The benefits of Single Payer (Score 1) 15

Having witnessed the creation of a centralized IT system close up, I have seen just how disastrous, and ultimately how expensive the results can be. I think the logic behind unifying infrastructure is seductive, but rarely does anyone honestly assess the massive costs, because if they did, no government would ever pay for it. So you put together an upgrade plan that has an absurdly low pricetag, knowing full well that by the time the job is actually done (if it is ever completed), the costs will be orders of a magnitude greater. The critical step to this "unlimited budget via the back door" is to bring the new system up, regardless of how far away from actual completion and stability it is, then immediately shut down the old systems, shred the hard drives and dispose of the hardware, so that no one can ever contemplate returning to the old system as a standby. This is critical. You have to make the cost of retreating back over the proverbial Rubicon so great that you end up being stuck with the new system, and thus with the costs of making it work.

To my mind, the more logical way to approach this is to create a centralized RDBMS, make sure that all the disparate systems at least can regularly vomit out a batch job in one common format, and dump it to the RDBMS. Over time you could conceivably use this new database as a the core of replacement systems, or not , as you choose. I've worked on this kind of system before, puking out batch exports from one system, throwing it into another database and then processing, reporting or whatever it is you want to do, and then pushing changes back up to the systems. It was all done with common shared import/export formats. Now admittedly this does mean having to write code for each system, but that is almost invariably a fraction of the workload of building an entire replacement system and then spending years of ever-inflating budgets, downtime, and in the case of a police force, possibly even risking lives.

But companies like Deloitte, IBM and HP have basically made selling "unified solutions" that inevitably turn into IT catastrophes a vast cash cow, and so long as they can con bureaucrats and politicians into buying into their bullshit, they'll keep making money hand over fist even as the products they roll out remain utter shit.

Comment Re:Didn't some country do this? (Score 1) 58

That is true enough. And even though OpenOffice and LibreOffice are more than capable of doing almost all the tasks one can ask from an office suite, there are enough differences between that and MS Office that one can get tricked up. But the reality here is that whenever you bring in new software, you have to put resources into training. With MS-Office being near-ubiquitous, organizations and firms tend to have the expectation that existing staff and new hires are just going to know at least the basics, and with MS having done what I think anybody can see as an excellent job with low-cost editions for students and the like, MS-Office is a software ecosystem with a high degree of penetration. Frankly, in my company, I haven't seen a CV cross my desk in years that didn't cite experience with Word and Excel, which means that even if I wanted to save money on licensing, and go with LibreOffice or OpenOffice, I'd end up having to do a lot of training and support, and while I suspect the cost of retraining existing staff would be lower, it would also mean having to train every new employee, so in a way, you have a recurring cost that may end up not being that much different than MS licensing.

Comment Re:My experiences in other companies and opinions. (Score 1) 192

The problem is that it is a shitty manager who insults any subordinate. If you have a problem with a member of your team, you take them aside and try to deal with it. If it rates disciplinary action, then so be it, but that can still be done respectfully. Either we are adults who can behave with some decorum, or we are unruly children. I won't have unruly children as managers, period. Behave appropriately or you will be demoted. Calling anyone a "fag", get into shouting matches with them, and I will be making you apologize to the persons involved and to anyone who overheard them, and do it repeatedly, and you'll be shown the door. A work place should not be a place where people with power feel some right to behave badly to other people.

Comment Re:Left and right (Score 1) 154

My experience from my coursework was that the cited studies seemed to me to be pretty rigorous. There was an entire section dedicated to what might have been titled "junk science", though as I recall the authors of the textbook used a somewhat more diplomatic term. In there were all kinds of commonly-held disorders like pre-menstrual syndrome, seasonal affective disorder in the like where research suggests that while the disorders may be real, they in fact effect a far smaller group of people than earlier studies had claimed. In other words, even in psychology it sure looks to me like there is at least some psychologists who follow valid methodological principles.

The other thing to remember is that "psychology" is a pretty damned broad term, and that in a lot of cases other professions like psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, counselors and the like often get lumped in, and in some cases these other groups publish in journals of varying degrees of quality. That's not to say that some of these people don't adhere to pretty strong methodologies, but it does tend to be a bit of a wild west in some cases. But when you're talking about cognitive psychology and other similar branches, there's a lot of overlap there that pulls in neurological experts, behavioral experts and the like who sit within the harder edges of the psychology field. It most certainly isn't all just kooky neo-Freudians.

Comment Re:Conversations before Appointment (Score 1) 895

I don't see that happening in the Senate long-term.

IMO, Democrats will be running the House sooner rather than latter, for the simple reason that it's where seats are allocated proportionally to the populace - so large Democratic majorities in dense areas like the coasts do translate directly into seats there. But for Dems to take the Senate, in the age where party affiliation is the single most important question deciding whether the politician gets a vote or not, would require there to be more blue states than red states. Which, right now, means more urbanized states than rural states. And I don't think that's happening anytime soon.

Comment Re:What field are these abused H1B visa workers in (Score 1) 271

You have described everything precisely. The only thing that I would add is that for the two different "castes" within the H1B system that you have identified, there's one other difference.

People who are working for Apple, Microsoft, Intel etc are using H1B as a gateway to a green card, and ultimately to citizenship - which they can do, because H1B is explicitly "dual intent", so you can apply for a green card without getting kicked out of the country; and because there's a specific process whereby employer sponsors the employee for a green card. This isn't to say that every single H1B working for these companies will do that - but the majority will. The companies in question are generally interested in retaining employees long-term, so they do sponsor any employee who asks for green card (in fact, they will proactively push you to apply if you don't do so yourself), and will provide lawyers to handle the application for you, pay various fees etc.

People who are working for Tata, Infosys etc are not there for citizenship. It's not that they wouldn't want to - it's that those companies will generally not sponsor them. So it's really just a gig to come work in US and earn a lot of money (comparatively to what they could earn at home), and then come back rich, and with a US job on your resume.

Comment Re:Fix the abuse, keep the program (Score 1) 271

Kill H-1B, and replace it with a proper skilled immigration track. Look at Canada for inspiration:

I am a former H-1B (now with a green card), who previously acquired Canadian permanent residency via skilled immigration program, so I had a chance to compare both. Canadian system wins hands down, and not just because it was easier for me personally. It just makes more sense in general, especially the overall points system, where the immigrants know what kinds of skills and traits maximize their chances, and citizens know that those getting visas and citizenship are actually screened to maximize benefits for their country.

Comment Re:"equalize the marketplace" (Score 1) 271

H1Bs create both supply and demand. They create supply in the industry in which they work, but they create demand in numerous other industries - services, housing etc. For that matter, they also create demand in their own industry - they're still using those products (and higher wages mean that they can use more of them, being able to afford better devices, faster Internet connectivity etc).

Slashdot Top Deals

I just need enough to tide me over until I need more. -- Bill Hoest