Actually, I think its better than that.
(IANAL, but have negotiated numerous consulting contracts) Most contracts require fairly explicit language to be enforceable. "Reasonably available" == "meaningless" as far as a contract is concerned. If someone declined to cooperate with Suntrust's definition of "reasonable", Suntrust now has to decide if its worth their legal teams' time/money to pursue legal action. My guess is they'd threaten, then disappear. And if it was really urgent, they'd start discussions for a consulting contract. As stupid and draconian as their contract may be, they are in the business of finance, and know that money talks, and bullshit walks.
Frankly, I'm surprised their legal team even put that in the contract. Probably some AVP forced it in over legal's objections.
Actually, wrt to Samsung, no need to wait. They just released the S2 tablets. Very thin/light, doesn't seem to be as infected with the usual Samsung bloatware (tho the floor model I played with did show some unsightly bloatware warts). Nice Super AMOLED screen. Camera seems a bit dated, but I don't use tablet cameras anyway. But it is a bit out of the OP's price range. ($400 for the 8 inch, $500 for the 9.7 inch)
I share the OP's pain: have an old-ish Nook HD I picked up cheap when they cleared them out. Great screen, but mostly an abandoned product that's very underpowered for all the junk websites shove down the pipe these days. I tried to sideload "real" Android on it, but it was too flaky to rely on. I'm not a fan of iOS (not Apple hate, just personal preference), so the new iPads aren't too interesting to me. I'm not a Samsung fanboy, but they seem to deliver pretty good product for a reasonable price (tho their last generation tablets had some issues).
I just need to convince myself to pry open the wallet about $500 wide...
Actually, their problem extends beyond the bad reputation; its a bit of a self perpetuating cycle.
They've erected significant barriers in the interview process to avoid hiring lower performers, but they have a pretty high turnover. As a result, I suspect that they're grossly understaffed (a manager as much as admitted it when I interviewed there a couple years ago). So if you manage to navigate the hiring gauntlet, you're setting yourself up for long hours and high stress. Pay is pretty good (tho not particularly better than their SillyCon Valley peers), but its pretty well known that most people don't last more than 2 years.
Hard to imagine why high-demand IT people would choose to work there, but it does seem to have a lot of cachet in Seattle. Bottomline: Its not a place to build a career, especially if you also want a home and family.
While your analysis is very much spot on, you've missed the biggest barrier to moving off of Oracle. In many instances, those Oracle instances (and the various Oracle or Oracle-partnered apps running on them) are guarded and tended by Oracle consultants. And an Oracle consultant's primary job is to own and control the client's management.
In the distant past, I worked at a major aerospace firm that was trying to move away from Oracle (due to the inability to provide analytics on very large data volumes). Problem was, the managers were essentially owned by the Oracle consultants. Any technical question about the new implementation had to be vetted by the Oracle consultants - who, of course, went to great lengths to exaggerate any possible issues, and would even fabricate fictitious issues, to infect the management with FUD. Needless to say, the project was eventually scrapped (not replaced by Oracle, but completely scrapped).
I've seen and heard of similar situations at other large organizations. Sometimes, technology is the least of the challenges in such projects.
otoh, if you're looking to use regular CPUs, Azure has an infiniband tier that may be a better interconnect for HPC purposes than AWS's 10 Gbps VPC's.
The biggest problem is that decent standing desks aren't cheap, and companies treat them like a luxury
Not a problem...build it yourself, as I did. Took an old TV cart I wasn't using any more, bought a few pieces of 1x4 and a few bolts, applied a bit of maker elbow grease, and now I've got a perfect solution, including a nice spar to mount a 28" monitor (to free up valuable desktop space). Hopefully your company will let you bring it in (not a problem for me, I work from home). Its not adjustable, but I just piled some books up to determine where the right desktop height should be, and then built to that height. I could probably get fancy and make is adjustable, but its not all that important.
I'd also suggest getting a memory foam bath mat to stand on (4+ hours on your feet can get tiresome), and maybe a tall chair (I just bought a cheap barstool that works great).
Also, 800notes.com has a few humorous recordings of someone scamming the scammers...good for a few chuckles.
(btw, DICE, maybe you need to be screening this stuff a bit better ? iirc, those sort of job postings are illegal)
I also figured out when the 2000 tech bubble was about to burst: I was at the local grocery store and overheard the following conversation between the clerk and bag boy as I was checking out:
<clerk>: "The manager said you don't need to come in to work tomorrow."
<bagboy>: "*chuckle* Hehe thats ok, I'll just stay home and day trade..."
I literally went home and cashed out 90% of my mutual funds after that. Unfortunately, my judgement failed me a couple months later, when I bought back in...and lost most of it...
As a multi-startup veteran (without much to show for it but a few scars), the biggest issue is how opaque ownership percentages are. The current SillyCon Valley game is to give 5-6 digit option grants - so it seems like you're getting a lot - when there are 10-12 figure shares outstanding - and it can be impossible to find out that last figure.
Another complaint is the legalese of grants, which is usually waaay over the top, so you end up spending a lot on lawyers to translate the terms. The grants should be in "plain English" - most of the terms are pretty simple, once you clear away the legalese.
And another big deal is the little things that you might overlook, e.g., is there an acceleration clause if the startup gets bought out (very possible in this age of acquihires), or what happens if the startup actually IPOs: can you sell on the open market, or only back to the investors (which can limit your profit) ?
Also, on the topic of acquihires, if your startup gets bought out and you're a key employee, then your options may not mean anything, cuz you can -and should! - negotiate whatever you can get when the deal goes down. So it may be better to position yourself as a key contributor, than to get hung up about options.
The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.