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Comment Re:Skeptical or terrified? (Score 1) 109

Your reply wasn't clear enough, but you may have been thinking that I was comparing GE to a startup. The startup that I was working for was a quasi-independent entity within GE, but it was using surplus cycles on a large network of Fujitsu mainframes. This was somewhat pre-Internet, and the actual model was CompuServe, which is already enough to discredit the entrepreneurial claim. Rather GE was just trying to claim a piece of the pie, and at that time no one (especially not at GE) understood how the pie was going to explode into the Internet.

If your comment is primarily about the original article, then I think we are in agreement. They (GE's managers) want the atmosphere of a startup, but without the risk, which is an unsolvable paradox (IMNSHO). The best approximation is to partition the company into small cells and accept that some of them will die. However, once that becomes institutionalized, the companies still seem to lose their entrepreneurial spirit. The chaos element is apparently necessary, but big companies (like GE) are allergic to chaos.

Comment Re: Skeptical or terrified? (Score 1) 109

Who are you talking to?

Whenever I see a comment like that from a low ID I speculate that the actual person passed away or otherwise abandoned slashdot and the account has been hacked for residual credibility.

In solution form, there should be a text analysis tool to assess when the tone of posts has changed enough to indicate a hacked account. Part of a broader security system?

Comment Skeptical or terrified? (Score 3, Insightful) 109

Many years ago I worked for a startup subsidiary of GE and I was not impressed with the management style. I don't think it's just sour grapes due to my being pushed out the door, because the entire subsidiary died a couple of years later. Some kind of Internet thing. Of course it was doomed, eh?

Then again, after reading Jack Welch's book, I think there are grounds for concern. If GE is still as he made it in his image, then it's a dangerous and sociopathic entity. If it were an actual human being, then it is probable that we would all be dead now. Shades of the vicious ASI (artificial super-intelligence) in Our Final Invention (My quasi-review at as of last week?) No respect for your humanity after GE gets enough IoT devices into the market, and they still design lots of devices for the Chinese to build. Of course the Chinese involvement creates another layer of concern.

We need an economic system that rethinks things in terms of freedom. Cf my sig, eh?

Submission + - Is there such a thing as bad publicity? If so, someone should tell the Donald (

shanen writes: Top news story right now is Trump's attempted political exploitation of another gun tragedy for his political advantage. It appears that he has captured the headlines with two tweets. I think the angle of Trump's response is fundamentally racist, but what is giving me a deep feeling of disgust is the abuse of another person's tragedy. Trump knows he has 11 million followers. (How many Blocks besides mine? Twitter should post that statistic, too.)

In case it isn't obvious, I think the Donald lacks the wisdom to serve as president. Only one of many personal deficiencies, but I think it's the most important disqualification.

Comment Re:Not just HP and also in Japan (Score 1) 193

Sounds like your company may have made the transition that I think my former employer is secretly working on, and if so, I understand why you didn't mention the name... I'll call it the Price Waterhouse model because of a friend who joined that company just after getting his MBA.

PW overhires fresh meat with the deliberate intention of eliminating almost all of them within the first two years. The cream of the cream are the only ones they want to keep, or at least that was how he described it those many years ago. As it would be adapted to the modern day, the new hires would essentially be one- or two-year interns whose contracts would mostly expire, with a few thousand retained each year for actual long-term careers.

The symptom at my former employer was a focus on optimizing the onboarding and offboarding processes so that most of the actual work can be done on a staffing-as-needed basis. Managerial guidance from the careerists, but that's another focus of cost containment.


Comment Calling all criminals (Score 2) 140

Well, not all of them, but I'm sadly sure that some criminals will be willing to take advantage of the situation. Of course the most serious threat is that the extremely black-hat hackers will exploit the unlocked WiFi networks to pwn routers and linked computers for later abuse. In accord with Dan Ariely's research, the criminals will think they are being relatively nice guys by saving their major depredations until after the immediate emergency has been addressed. is a quasi-review of one of his books about dishonesty, even including an honest email exchange...

However, I think it would be much better if we did it the other way around. Rather than maximizing the profits of the big Internet companies, we should always be configured to run as much of the infrastructure as possible on our own systems. In other words, WiFi routers would normally be configured for safe sharing, and handling emergencies would just be a natural extension of wireless communications that the big Internet companies are not controlling and profiting from.

Punchline is that profit is not the primary driver of the bad design. It's all about controlling our communications. I think the primary driver for centralized control of the Internet is the governments. They WANT the rules and laws to work that way. If things got out of control, if the peasants were actually in charge of the Internet, how would they control the peasants? Real democracy scares them more than anything.

Comment Not just HP and also in Japan (Score 5, Insightful) 193

Trying to decide whether or not to name names, but in a sense it doesn't matter. As near as I can tell, ALL companies hate old employees. Various companies have various reasons, but I think high-tech companies (like HP and my former employer) might be the most hateful.

Experience is NOT an asset when no one has experience with the latest and greatest technology. Even if the old folks are willing to work as cheaply as fresh hires, and even if the old folks are fast learners, salary cuts are intrinsically demotivating. You can try disguises like "declining health", but they don't work well and job satisfaction tends to decline. Anyway, the bean counters at the top prefer fresh meat. Cheap.

In Japan the situation is especially critical because the demographic transition is resulting in lots of old people and very few young ones. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has actually put out "guidelines" that strongly encourage companies to keep older employers who want to work until at least age 65, but the companies are just playing games with the rules.

Without naming names, I'm going to try to summarize "a friend's" experiences. For brevity, AF. The managers started pressuring AF to retire around 55, but AF declined. AF's job and working conditions were steadily made worse and then AF was shoved out the door ASAP, which was AF's 60th birthday. The MHLW had a response. Rough translation: "They aren't supposed to do that if AF wanted to keep working, but tough titties."

Anyway, I'm just an old philosopher, so I get to say "That's too bad" to AF. In philosophic terms, there are four quadrants to consider. Everyone wants to be in Q1 with good work and good compensation, and no one wants to be in Q4 with bad work and bad pay. The interesting cases are Q2, good work with bad pay, and Q3, bad work with good pay. AF wanted Q1 or Q2, but got shoved into Q3 and then Q4.

Me? I'm just an old bum who's outlived my usefulness. Insofar as most of my career was spent in Q1 and Q2, I can't complain too much. However, at this point it appears that my best outcome is to pass away before I exhaust my savings. I would contribute more to the economy if my new focus wasn't on minimizing my expenses, eh? You'd think the companies might be smart enough to worry about the loss of business from all of those penny-pinching retirees, but they obviously aren't that smart.

Comment Trump's speeches mix business with personal stuff (Score 0) 526

I really do have to feel sorry for people like you. Why are you so desperate to hate Hillary? Why are you twisting your entire mentality around justifying your numerous hatreds?

Thank gawd someone like you can't understand me. It makes me feel rather happy. Well, at least relieved.

Another one of those backward thinking results. People like you make Hillary look good and worth supporting. The extremists haters are quite probably the #2 reason that Hillary may win.

Of course the #1 reason is the Donald. It would be hilarious if they produced some examples of Trump's email to show him mixing his personal and business affairs. Then we could watch you Hillary haters going through fresh mental gymnastics explaining why it's completely different when Trump does it.

Comment Re:Hillary's a WITCH! Burn her! (Score 1) 526

Hmm... But the problem is that the Constitution defines the presidential election process in a winner-take-all way. That means that attacking Hillary, even by merely accepting and propagating the slander against her, is increasing the likelihood of the other winner.

In a winner-take-all election system there are only two stable states: Two balanced teams (parties) compete for the bulk of the voters in the middle, or one team has a permanent dominance of the game. In a sense the openness of the system actually makes it worse, because whatever technique works for one side will tend to be adopted by the other, and principles and philosophies be darned. I suppose the sad joke is that the founders feared the idea of political parties precisely because they expected the parties to put their partisan interests ahead of the nation's concerns--and I think the results have shown their fears were extremely well considered and justified.

If they had been even more innovative than they were, then they might have come up with the coalition solution, but they had their limits and that idea didn't come up until later. Nor could they anticipate the appearance of computerized gerrymandering...

Comment Re:A president who cannot separate personal affair (Score 1) 526

Okay, so now you are accusing your boss of being an inhuman monster and apparently trying to gain my sympathy for your sad work situation.

But mostly you're just proving my point that most of Hillary's enemies are nuts and will go to ANY length to attack her. I didn't like Hillary much, but I'm beginning to love her for her enemies. I have this visceral thing against liars, and her enemies are clearly the biggest liars in that valley.

After MILLIONS of dollars spent looking for smoke, her enemies have come up with nothing. Not for a lack of sincere effort and massive wastes of taxpayers' money. No, you can't prove a negative, but at some point the sane people are going to say there just isn't any fire there.

Comment Re:Hillary's a WITCH! Burn her! (Score 1) 526

Let's start with the hypothesis that Hillary had committed some crime. Millions of dollars have been spent investigating EVERY aspect of her life seeking evidence to convict her, and yet she remains unconvicted. The investigations are driven by people who are highly motivated and extremely hostile. Sometimes even insanely hostile. And yet, no conviction after MANY years of effort.

No, you cannot prove a negative, but at some point you have to say that the preponderance of the evidence is that she's been been careful enough in following the actual laws. Lawyers tend to be like that, and I do think that her primary personal identity is probably "lawyer" or "corporate lawyer". I wish it was "philosopher" or even "statesman", but I'm not holding my breath, especially after Citizens United. (On the rapidly growing list of bad decisions from the Supreme Court, I think that one is already near the top.) I still don't like lawyers.

Now let's consider examples of Trump saying insane things. How do you feel about the idea that Mexico is sending rapists to America? Something is insane about that idea. Do you want more examples? (Oh, and by the way, quite a number of psychologists and psychiatrists have said that they think there might be something wrong with the Donald.) Maybe you're imagination is too limited, but I can certainly imagine Trump coming out against guns--but only AFTER he's in the White House. If he did it before the election, then that would convince me that either he is insane or his entire campaign has been a sham.

Comment Re:The bigger problem... (Score 1) 10

I think you are addressing a different problem now, and I have written about it frequently. I think it is ironic that the so-called Republican Party loudly proclaims their devotion to the Constitution while abusing it quite aggressively. Probably most directly relevant to your comment is that the House of Representatives was deliberately designed and intended to be the part of the government that would be most responsive to the will of the voters, being held to account as frequently as seemed plausible in those days, every two years.

Nowadays the professional politicians use aggressive and partisan gerrymandering to choose their voters before the voters can choose them. By concentrating and effectively wasting many of their opponents' votes, a numerical minority of voters winds up with a dominating majority in the House of so-called Representatives. The situation is actually worse if you consider the effects of selective disenfranchisement, but at least the Founders were also guilty of that one. Not just the 2/5 thing, but women and most poor people, too.

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