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Comment Re:Holy flamebait batman! (Score 1) 910

Implementation is the key. There's so many 'red flags' with big consequences that it is very risky policy to implement in any large nation.

1. Would able bodied people keep working? I think it is nice for academics and others who have jobs they like to imagine they'd keep doing them. How about being a miner to dig for lithium? Even if you do keep working, will you do the part of the job you hate knowing you could always just say screw it and get on the UBI? Yes, maybe companies make work more pleasant and can keep people working efficiently, but the what-if it doesn't is always there.

2. Would you be able to compete? Unless the UBI is done on a global basis, it introduces some tricky timings. Maybe you lose economic competitiveness? Maybe your country gets flooded by immigration for the free money? Do you start to have stricter border controls? Does anything in it impact free trade rules.

3. Savings are theoretical. There's always talk of replacing all large parts of our social programs with UBI. I don't buy that. I'm in Canada. Just getting a wage freeze for public sector workers is hard enough. Can you imagine a government which says I'm going to lay off a million public sector workers (or whatever the number is). Yeah, good luck with that.

4. The UBI is theoretically capable of giving you an okay life. For simplicity, a single person gets a one bedroom apartment, cable, cell phone, food, clothes.. Will we set the bar high enough for that. Reality is we already have free money in most western countries. It's called welfare. It's just set so low and the process so arduous that most people don't want to be on it. Do we risk that happening long term and just having UBI end up as welfare.

5. What will people do with boredom. Yes, some percentage will pursue interests. But will people feel useless, unproductive...? Some people want something to do and work has provided that for thousands of years. Be it farming, cleaning, factory, technical, social... whatever.

I have nothing morally against a UBI. I just think it's really premature to be talking about it as a serious policy. There's just so much work that needs to be done right now.

I'd much rather see a focus on making jobs more pleasant and even guaranteeing / subsidizing jobs. Heck, we could use several more people on my team at work right now. Don't have the budget for it of course. But eh, if we're going down this road of UBI, why not have the government pay for a few folks to help out.

Comment Re:The most outrageous aspect (Score 2) 104

As someone whose worked for a few large firms, it's impossible for some senior leader not to know.

It's like the VW Diesel emissions scandal. What engineer just decides on their own to scam US emissions testing?

The order came down from somewhere.
Maybe it came directly from the top.
Maybe pressure from the top to meeting emissions standards cause a senior manager to push this scam onto their team.

About the only way it could be a rogue regular employee is if there's some really perverse incentive for them to take this risk. But those are the outlier cases.

In my view the senior executives should always be held liable. Either they instructed it directly or they didn't have enough controls in place to detect it or they applied too much pressure on lower levels.

You can also prosecute lower levels as well, but I think the exec should always be prosecuted if any of the lower levels are complicit like this.

No doubt any employee who setup fake accounts or actually turned on the VW emissions cheat knew they were doing something wrong and you can prosecute them; especially if they didn't make any kind of fuss to management.

Yes, I've done things as well that are against policy; nothing illegal, but definitely against the companies stated policies. I'm not a saint here. I just raise my concern, if my manager tells me to do it anyways; meh... I'd rather keep my good job.

Comment Re:Protectionism (Score 2) 813

I agree in general, everything is the same until it is not.

History is really long. We've had thousands of years of civilization.
So it is sometimes worthy to ponder where your grounding is.

Essentially so much of our understanding of labor and economics is rooted in the industrial revolution. Which represents a sliver of time under very specific conditions.

Are we leaving the conditions of our current economic system that worked well within the industrial age? Could be or it could not. But it is a great question. I'd just be careful about presuming everything continues as before and it will all work out because it worked out for the past 200 years or so. That's a short time scale historically.

Comment Re:A poor craftsman blames his tools. (Score 2) 531

Definitely agree.

It is really good that programming is so accessible. It was really easy for me to get started back in the day. First in BASIC. Then in C/C++.

The problem is that line between casual use and professional.

I've made bridges before. I built them using Lego at one point. I build them using wood and Popsicle sticks. But who would think that qualifies me to build an actual bridge across a river that people would use?

Or less crazy, I use Excel and know spreadsheets. I have pretty good knowledge of numbers and banking. Who would think that qualifies me to run their accounting department? The line here is much greyer actually. Because I could probably hack something together to do the books for a small business.

The problem with software is that use-cases aren't graded enough. I've written banking, networking, industrial/mining software. These are serious fields and in all these fields, the bar was pretty much the same as when I worked on some app. It's really sad actually.

The focus on programming languages not the issue in my view. It's that serious fields don't do enough to differentiate themselves from casual fields in software.

Comment Re:Net Neutrality (Score 1) 199

I recall a similar thing in Canada and it's interesting to see pricing mechanism evolve.

In Canada back in the day, unlimited usage was a common practice. Then people started seeing the ISPs throttling traffic. Normally Bit Torrent.. There was some outrage and Net Neutrality came to kind of mean you are not allowed to throttle anything.

Then pretty much all the unlimited plans disappeared and you got per-Gig pricing when you go over your limit. Unlimited plans are coming back again.

I worked in the networking field for a while, and it is simply true that 'network management' is a real thing. What to do when congestion happens. How do you keep a good user experience. Even if you're an absolute cynic, there is a cost when congestion happens. Increased support calls. Potentially losing a customer to a competitor.

And yes, the sad reality is that it is not viewed from the user's perspective. NetFlex, gaming, VOIP... are the last things a user might want throttled.

This approach does try to bring it back to the user, but I'm skeptical.

I think if we're going with a regulated approach, a solution might be to have ISPs publish their throttling rules. Hopefully the government can oversee that those rules are fair. Netflix gets the same treatment as the ISP video. They can also audit these rules. But how knows, they'll probably claim it a trade secret :P

Comment Re:Because there's no advantage (Score 1) 206

This is it right here.

Even for those people who use it occasionally, they still carry their wallet.

In theory, I might want to use a wallet. It would be very useful to store all my cards on it (credit, loyalty cards...). In reality, I have very few cards. I have 2 credit cards. I personally have tended to avoid loyalty cards mainly because I don't want to carry them and don't want my information out there.

So for 2 credit cards inside a wallet I'm carrying anyways... it's just not really a problem for me. My cards support chip/pin or tap for small transactions. It's so convenient.

Now it is possible this is a generation thing. Maybe the next generation doesn't carry their wallet around much; in the same way as my generation tended to give up home phone lines and just use a cell phone.

Comment Re:A real comparison? (Score 1) 286

I'm hopeful, but I've come to expect that whatever you 'save', *they* will eventually want the same amount of money they used to take.

Color me a naive young Canadian homeowner :P

Conserve water effort... refit my house with water saving items... oops now the government is not taking in enough money from water usage, they increase the base connection fee.

Conserve electricity effort... refit my house with energy efficient appliances and lights... oops now the government / electricity providers want more money for whatever their programs are.

Try to get off cable... get netflix and a home NAS... oops guess the cable company doesn't like that and they price it so you basically have to take cable. Don't get cable, your bundle is crappy and they raise the price of the internet to make up for their cable losses.

Oh sure, there might be some short term saving from electric cars. But I don't think you're going to save money in the end. Oh sure, you might not use gas. But then the government is going not have as much tax revenue from gas taxes. Oooops, suddenly there are more road tolls or distance driven based pricing. No doubt these electric cars will be 'highly' connected and oops... the complex electronics are designed to fail after the magical 10 year mark.

Now you can call me a cynical Canadian :P
So yeah, I still do things to be better for the environment or what have you. But I've pretty much given up on the idea that I'll be saving money long term. Do it because it feels good to do the right thing if you want. But I just don't see them letting us drive for less.

Comment Re:they also found... (Score 1) 314

That every well might be true, but the issue is more complex.

I think the issue is made worse by our use of the word racist; a highly charged word.

People do that a lot, when in reality different words should be used.

If some one dies, it could natural, murder, second degree murder, man slaughter, negligence, an accident...

The accusation of racism is thrown out and it is taken as though the accused is morally repugnant.

It is kind of like abortion activists says abortion is murder.
It is kind of like anti-rape activists who say druken sex is rape.

You can play with the technicalities, but everyone knows the difference between these cases.

If you're a woman who is walking at night and is clubbed in the back of her head and dragged behind a bush and sexually assaulted... you know that is a vastly different thing than getting a bit tipsy and not giving your full informed consent to sexual intercourse.

And so we have this case. The connotation here is just so strong with racism. That there is a severe moral failing with AirBnB's landlords. They're like the KKK or running apartheid.

So of course people get up in arms. In reality, most are just decent people who are trying to maximize their gains and minimize their losses. They detect certain patterns in life and apply it.

I was born in South Africa. I've probably faced more 'racism' than anything African Americans today have faced. I literally was not allowed into white washrooms. We literally did have to apply and wait for housing approval. We literally were not allowed to own certain businesses. We were literally taught genetic inferiority. For the record, I'm not black or white.

That was racist policies. That and slavery and segregation are the mental images people have when you bring up racism and it is why we have such a revulsion to it.

But as we have solved many of these issues and get into less explosive issues, I think the moral failure angle has to stop.

I wouldn't call the AirBnB landlord racist; as in he think blacks people are inferior or genetically criminals.

They're just people in life making calculated choices. Same as I would avoiding a certain neighborhood or whatever the case.

THAT ALL SAID. Just because it is not RACISM, does not mean it is all 'good' and nothing should be done.

I applaud AirBnB for trying to find solution to these; whether it is hiding photos of people or education programs. This does expose a systemic issues of racism; not much different from a black guys trying to get a cab.

The average black person is harmed by the general stereotypes. That does hurt and should be addressed.

What's sad, is most often the solutions involve 'discrimination' in other ways that is equally fought.
I hate it. For example, we grew up poor and in a bad neighborhood when we moved to Canada. Yet, we were hella responsible. Good credit, no criminal record...

Now how could we show someone at AirBnb, that we are responsible. By making a point of no criminal record and good credit; even though we were from a bad neighborhood.

Yet, the anti-discrimination folks have almost pushed too far. In Ontario, Canada for example, they banned the use of credit card scores in determining auto-insurance rates.

They could still use your location. So if you're in a bad neighborhood, you will get screwed. And there's less ways to prove you're a 'good' person in a bad neighborhood.

Comment Re:All Cisco users had this problem? (Score 1) 103

This is really the answer.
Buggy or not, if you provide an SLA (service level agreement), then you are ultimately responsible for it.

You do what you have to provide that SLA.
Test the equipment you plan to use.
Add a lot of redundancy and failovers ...

SLA's cost money.
Heck one silly line in the article is
"The entire network often has to go down in order to patchâ"very disruptive in the best of times,"

I really have to wonder what kind of network these guys are running. There should be failover nodes to take on the load when one is being upgraded. Heck, in some firms, they even have entire sites as backup for major upgrades.

HInt... don't put SLAs in the contract unless you can meet them. Nothing to see here.

Comment Re:Completely wrong.... (Score 3, Interesting) 618

Sometimes irony is too much.

I imagine the university will also have the cognitive dissonance to talk about STEM and the information economy and the future of highly skilled work. We need to educate our kids in technology so they can have jobs in the future!

By that they mean the kids can take courses at the university to bring business to the university.

All the while doing this to actual tech workers.

Comment Re:If the content was once freely available... (Score 1) 154

I wouldn't say everything is going back to the 80s and 90s.

Just some positive news. Even if the front end is going back and forth, the back end communication is easier and more consistent than ever. JSON, REST, and other easy to access APIs are dominant. It's never been easier to communicate with another system; especially those from a third party.

Now granted, the idea of a nice indexable web under one HTML platform was ideal, in many cases, this is still the case. I can't think of a single content based app I use that doesn't have a webpage with the full functionality. Your experience may vary of course.

And if we're comparing the past with the present, I'll take an easy to access API/backend over a common front-end.

Comment Re:Stupidity to follow: (Score 2) 209

There must be a physical life example.

Suppose you have a combination wall-safe.
The police want to search that safe.
So they get a warrant.

Now, what happens if you don't give them the combination to the safe? This must have happened numerous times in the past.

I'm no lawyer, but I googled and it looks like they could NOT make you give up a safe combination; at least in the US.

So I don't see how cell phone password are any different. They shouldn't be able to compel you to give up your passwords.

Assuming they have a warrant, they can definitely try and break into your cellphone, the same way they'd try and break into a safe your refused to give the combination to.

Comment Re:Whiny Fanboy... but he has a point (Score 5, Insightful) 260

Same feeling for me.

Our laws are only enforced if people take actions. Otherwise, the slope keeps getting slipperier.

There could be legit reasons for it. Maybe those joker scenes were in the movie, but were edited out. However if the deleted scenes are a key draw, it could still be valid depending on the case.

Who knows, they might find a smoking gun email where some exec says 'Just keep the Joker scenes in even if we cut them. Those stupid nerds will pay for anything'

Comment Re:Nice propaganda piece (Score 1) 472

This is sadly the state of the discussion.

Perhaps policy was never coherent, but it seems to me that when it comes to trade, the inter-state laws that the US generated decades ago were far more coherent than our global laws.

For example, there was a time when minimum wages were first being introduced. Of course it would be an issue if New York had a $10 minimum wage and Alabama had none. You don't need a PHD to see that many jobs would head to Alabama.
The result were things like the FLSA that basically only applied to company engaged in interstate commerce.

So if you wanted to manufacture goods in Alabama for export ot other states, it had to obey the Federal minimum wage. Theoretically, if you're a local pizza shop in Alabama and never crossed interstate lines, you could have theoretically ignored the Federal minimum wage.
Now convention has seen that we basically all obey it.

But the logic was there. Now, the question I have is if they got this right with respect to trade between states, where was this logic when negotiating global free trade deals? How can we have global free trade without a global minimum wage?

It's an interesting question in my view.

You can find the same lack of coherence with the H1-B visa issue.

There's no doubt there are exceptional people in every country; India is no exception. So by all means countries want them working for their companies. Of course, by their very nature, exceptional people should get a pay premium. So to capture these people, there should be some high salary base. Let's say 2-3X the average salary for a comparable American in the field. So today, it would work out to be say 150k+.

You then have a large number of 'average' people that I don't think you get to claim America can't produce. America can produce an average developer, network engineer...
The biggest gap here that H1B systems have is in certifications.

Not a matter of skill, but companies/people centered around the H1B model know and can practice the certification game. Many of these firms hire people straight out of school in India, then train them quickly to get the certified. This makes them able to say they are qualified for X technology. This is a known investment as they already have customers willing to bring these folks over. Your average American firm isn't doing this and as a result your average people are left to chase certifications and apply manually without essentially a pre-made deal.

This one is harder to handle but I'd say if they haven't tried hiring an American generalist in the field and training them for some time period (6 months) to get whatever certification is required, then this path to H1b should also be blocked.

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