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Comment Re:BIG (Score 1) 90

I think the MCU deal - read: DISNEY - is a good thing for Netflix. One of the golden rules of Hollywood: Don't fuck with the mouse.

Netflix got strong-armed by Comcast a while back. With Disney on their side, Comcast is going to think twice before pulling such crap (illegal, but no charges laid) again.

On top of which, Disney has a long history of using independent subsidiaries to produce their 'riskier' content, thus keeping the 'Disney' name pristine and family friendly. Netflix is truly 'independent' :)

And, of course, Disney owns ABC. While the old networks are struggling to stay relevant, and slowly crawling into the 21st century, Netflix is there. *Any* partnership gives Disney/ABC an edge over the others. There were rumours that ABC shows would be streamed on Netflix, too, similar to how the network sites release them after they air (usually either a day or week delay). That hasn't happened - yet - but I wouldn't be surprised if it does.

Comment Re:State sponsored corporate spies (Score 4, Interesting) 469

We had an ugly situation locally, where a supremely over-qualified graduate, from a top-tier university, was passed over for even an interview, and sued. Born Chinese. The company in question does sensitive work, and had run an extensive program to detect leaks/spies ... and every person they identified was Chinese. They started running the same process on new hires ... and, over a five year period, every Chinese hire turned out to be a spy. So the company simply stopped hiring Chinese. At some point, you can sympathize with their position: why the eff are they spending huge amounts on this aspect of security, when simply saying 'No Chinese hires' solves most of the problem?

It sucks, but unless the governments start treating corporate espionage seriously, and make the penalties serious enough that people won't engage in this behaviour, it is going to continue.

The other issue is that even second - and sometimes third - generation Chinese are leaned on, because they still have family back in China. Again, really sucks, but companies are just protecting themselves.

The question becomes, at what point does 'Not hiring Chinese' go from discrimination to simply safe practice? There isn't a clear answer :(

Comment Re:What about the NBA? (Score 1) 469

Technically, there are no human 'races', as we can all interbreed. However, I'll forgive your lapse :) That said, there is one ethnic group - identifiable by both genetics and culture - that actually does have a statistically significant higher IQ: the Askenazi Jews. And yes, there have been several studies, so that qualifies as 'reproducible'.

Comment Re: Dey tek er jebs! (Score 4, Insightful) 332


In part, it's all about how things look on the budget sheet. Replacing one North American worker for two Indian workers - and paying less - looks good. And the numbers can be shown to management. The downside - inferior code, taking longer to produce - isn't captured as neatly. And the numbers can't be shown to management anywhere near as easily.

And one other fun fun fun detail ... managers get promoted based on the number of people they manage, not the total salary of their underlings. So replacing your home-grown, competent North American worker with multiple lesser-skilled, lesser-paid foreigners means the managers get bumped up a pay-grade.

So ... while the outsourcing (or, in the case of H1-Bs, in-country outsourcing) means that companies pay much, much more for the same software, the people making the decisions don't care about that - they care about promoting themselves.

And one final candle on the cake: the stock market punishes companies that deviate from the pack. If one company were to stand up and say "Hey, this outsourcing is costing us more! Let's stop doing it!" then their stock would take a hit. And corporations are run by the board, for the board: the largest part of their remuneration is stock options.

Comment Re:Denormalize (Score 1) 674

Gotta say, one interesting benefit of working on a Netezza machine (massively multi-parallel) is that tables can be normalized to BCNF ... and joined (as views) so the users never realize they aren't looking at anything but a nice, fat, logical, (business) understandable table.

Not to mention, gets rid of all those pesky nulls. Netezza, of course, being one of *those* systems that recognizes true/false/null ...

Comment Re:The balance of value.. (Score 1) 128

IIRC, the requirements for a frontline TSA grunt are a high school certificate ... or a few months in a 'related' occupation: read security guard. This means any high-school drop-out, with a few months as a mall guard, or night watchman, is qualified. And, the TSA refused, repeatedly, to fulfil their legal obligations, under FOIA, to disclose what the breakdown (graduates/drop-outs), citing 'SECURITY!!!'.

Pathetic. Then again, un-tested x-ray machines, and you are forbidden to carry any radiation monitoring device. Passengers caught with such things can expect to miss their flight, at a minimum.

A group so under-qualified for what they are supposed to do it is staggering. And, when their failure rate is over 98% on any tests, their solution is "We need to hire more people!".


Comment Re:Some thoughts (Score 2) 302

"Dual criminality" used to be pretty important ... of course, that got thrown out the window in the EU when they introduced the EAW (European Arrest Warrant).

Since its introduction, abuses of the EAW have been well documented. Poland and Greece have been using them as means of simply extorting money from tourists. e.g. You claim you didn't steal that five euro towel when you visited their country, but the staff swore the towel was missing. A criminal charge was lodged, and an EAW granted. You can either fork over a few hundred Euro, or head back to the country, and try and fight the charge in the (obviously corrupt) courts there.

Evidence? What, some countries require more than "An unnamed informant told us the suspect was seen near the crime"? Among other things, this is why the US kind of has a low percentage of extradition requests honoured. Other countries tend to view forced confessions and anonymous sources - and, increasingly, sworn US LE Officer testimony - as insufficient grounds.

Yep, the US does its best to game the system, to the benefit of the corporations running the place. That's also why it should properly be referred to as 'The Legal System', NOT 'The Justice System'

Comment Re:Guns, freedom and all the rest (Score 1) 1144

I agree with nearly everything you said, except the part about what the American Constitution says. "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." As 'arms' is a rather broad term, and 'militia' is in the first part of this amendment, and militias often use "high-powered semi-automatic weaponry", it would be a reasonable conclusion to claim that the second amendment DOES support the carrying of such weapons.

The US v Miller (1939) case was interesting, in that the judge ruled a sawn-off shotgun was not protected by the second amendment, because it was not a gun used by militias. This, of course, leads to two questions: since then, the US military has deployed shotguns that qualify as 'sawn-off', so does that invalidate Miller? And does the decision imply that any weapon used by the military - or militia - is thus covered?

If the latter is true, can someone legitimately carry an M-29 Davy Crockett? (Man portable tactical nuclear bazooka, deployed with the US military 1961-1971)

Comment Re:You do the world a favor.... (Score 2) 145

"Scientific publication charges are a huge, multi-level scam"

Even with access, you don't get a copy of the papers on your system: you get the right to access a copy on *their* system. Which means, if, for example, your University goes "OMFG, we can't afford this journal anymore!", after several years of insane price increases, and fails to renew their subscription .... *poof*, you have nada, no stored papers, nothing.

Comment Re:Burning coffee machines? (Score 1) 156

Insurance companies want access. Ya know, make sure you are in your house, with no more than a 3 day absence which would invalidate your household insurance. Or to make sure the temperature doesn't go down too low so they can a) call you to notify you of the problem, and b) if no-one home, remotely crank up the heat. There's also remote cut-offs for water, in case they detect the flow continuing for hours on end (thanks to the smart meter). Smoke detectors, so they can notify the fire department, again, if no-one calls. On one hand, all good intentions. (And probably good *overall*)

OTOH, so much for home firewalls. Or in-home privacy. Your NEST and smart-TV (and bluetooth phone, if hooked in) all provide audio surveillance; your X-Box and smart-TV provide video surveillance; not to mention the nightmare of a big-brother your home-security system becomes. There have already been thefts where hackers have been able to determine no-one is home. Including one case where the fingerprint-scanner on the door allowed the hacker entry without any need for a key or crowbar. SWATting has become a real nightmare, and turning someone's heat or water or electricity off would appeal to the same trolls.

It will take some high profile incidents - like cars or homes being hacked, possibly with loss of life - before the security side becomes important to the people pushing these technologies.

Comment Re:There are good reasons for gvt bureaucracy, rem (Score 1) 275

Which group? Both!

Of the second group, the Koch Brothers are responsible - through corporate means - of plenty of deaths: to be fair, not in the same league as Stalin, though.

Of particular note are the many oil-related 'deaths' in Africa: you try and organize a union, or oppose Koch (or Koch-Glitsch), and a bad case of lead poisoning seems to occur with great regularity.

That's not mentioning the increase in deaths in the good ol' US or A, caused by lung problems ... attributable to fossil fuel emissions, and sustained gutting of EPA laws, and enforcement of those they can't get repealed.

Also wonder how many deaths can be attributed to the John Birch Society? Their father was a co-founder, and both brothers were members. A group that has had laid at its door, over the years, lynchings, preaching hatred (and the resulting violence), and funding of many other Patriotic, Anti-government, Anti-Immigrant groups (e.g. KKK, White Patriot).

Stalin was an abomination: Ché was a direct response to the de facto slavery situation in Cuba, including immunity to any criminal charges by 'The Masters', perpetuated by American capitalists run rampant; the Koch Brothers are a near-perfect example of American capitalists run rampant, merely with years of evolution of how to give themselves plausible deniability, and hordes of corporate lawyers to prevent anything ever being pinned on them.

Gotta love tricks like funding the anti-anti-XL-pipeline group, in Canada. Supplying transport and signs. And taking a page from another "By whatever means necessary" paragon, Roger Stone, regarding mounting protest signs being mounted on a solid piece of wood. Oddly, most of the Koch funding of groups that support their goals use Structuring (a.k.a. Smurfing), which is a technique primarily used by larger criminal groups to hide where money is coming from and going to. Really, a corporate entity using the same strategy as criminal entities? You can draw your own conclusions about that.

Comment Re:I have a fun time with these calls (Score 2) 246

Used #5 myself - another 'The New Age' fan.

My wife has used the "But, we don't have any computers in the house. Phones? Yes, we've got one of those, with the dial that spins around."

I've also used the "There's a pop-up window. It says "Navigation to this site has been blocked. This site contains malicious software. What does that mean?"

Comment Re:Change Jobs (Score 1) 275

I take the opposite view - when I see version control, bug tracking, and automated testing, it sets off alarm bells that a company is in the compartmentalization downslide. An IT group that is stretched too thin, asked to do too many things, or held accountable for things beyond its control, and has therefore devised methods to insulate itself from complaints ... and accountability.

"Thank goodness for quality control; without it, who knows what heights quality could soar to!"

Take HPQC (please!) ... the overwhelming majority of people who use it are challenged by anything more than drag-n-drop. Worse, management of these groups goes for the easy metrics it can provide (e.g. # of typos), rather than anything meaningful. One project I was part of had nearly thirty testers checking on such important things as 'Did Field A make it from Database 1 to Database 2?'. Checking the financial totals matched? 1.5 people, not using HPQC, which simply couldn't do that testing. Needless to say, the HPQC team put out lots of reports showing how the number of defects was rapidly decreasing ... and the entire project went down in flames.

(I have a theory that Mercury, the company that originally devised this product, simply hit upon something that appealed to management; the reality was that it did more to destroy quality than improve it was part of their scam. And the company, and subsequently HP, ended up paying tens of millions in fines when all their other scam-like behaviour came out. It's hard to imagine something useful ever evolving out of a criminal origin)

"When people start to value process over product, it's time to kick them to the curb."

The use of these tools _can_ have value. But, more often, it results in people who take refuge in the cry "But I did what was required of me!" Yep, 'The patient died, but the operation was a success!' mentality.

Comment Re:That kinda sucks (Score 1) 172

I thought Sony had learned their lesson after losing completely and utterly to VHS. Most would agree Betamax was a superior product, technically speaking, but being the 'better' product is no guarantee of success - pricing and marketing are critical. They priced themselves out of existence.

Blu-ray was a much better roll-out. They enlisted major studios before the product hit the market. Licensed it to many other companies. And the pricing - while still not making most happy - is keeping them in the game. (And Toshiba's HD DVD died just like Betamax did before it)

I had a pair of the Sony eReaders. They were great - insane battery life, excellent controls. And no stupid touch-screen - like any sane person wants fingerprints on their reading surface? OTOH, the software, as you said, sucked big-time. And then, both readers died within a few months of each other. And my customer experience with Sony pretty much drove me to the competition. And while that is a technically inferior model, I don't suffer from the software pains that Sony caused.

My Sony library still exists - inaccessible - on my hard-drive, thanks to their !@#$ DRM insanity. Again, part of the friendly service from the Sony people - their advice began and ended with 'Buy a newer Sony eReader!'

Comment Maybe ... (Score 2) 218

It's not you.

I've had some odd interviews over the years. One in which the head of IT was a Luddite - and proud of it. One in which the phone and HR interviews went well, but the interview with the manager left me wondering if she had psychological problems ... later, from my headhunter, I learned her sister was going though a very bad breakup, including stalking, and I was very similar to the ex.

And, of course, sometimes the interview is for show. They've got someone they want, but have to keep HR happy, and demonstrate they considered other candidates.

My best advice is a) research the company/position, b) be honest, and c) try and be positive. Note that 'being honest' doesn't preclude omitting horrendous things. e.g. "I made an internal transfer as soon as I realized my boss was a lying, backstabbing hypocritical s.o.b., and was much happier with my new position." can be reworded as "I made an internal transfer, after achieving some great things in my first position, because the new job offered more opportunities for professional development."

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