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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

DutchUncle Re:I bet Amazon would love to hire more women. (475 comments)

I've worked with white American-born female computer programmers and engineers, and they fit the normal bell curve of competence - including one of the best-organized and most methodical people I've ever worked with, another solid engineer who became a terrific group leader, and a third "why did someone hire this person???" The best female engineer I interviewed was American-born to Indian parents; does that count as "native"?

2 days ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

DutchUncle Re:Here we go again (475 comments)

Half the population makes less money then the other half ...

If only. It's more like "99.9% of the population makes less money than the other 0.1%."

2 days ago
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US Gov't Seeks To Keep Megaupload Assets Because Kim Dotcom Is a Fugitive

DutchUncle Re:Business as usual for US justice (163 comments)

An introduction, for the lazy:

http://www.newyorker.com/magaz...
Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven't been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes.

http://gothamist.com/2014/01/1...
How The NYPD's Use Of Civil Forfeiture Robs Innocent New Yorkers
Any arrest in New York City can trigger a civil forfeiture case if money or property is found on or near a defendant, regardless of the reasons surrounding the arrest or its final disposition.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10...
“Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”
The federal government does.
Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes.

2 days ago
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Uber Threatens To Do 'Opposition Research' On Journalists

DutchUncle Re:Wow ... (297 comments)

As an engineer-type mindset, if there's an easy way to do something more efficiently and regulations are standing in the way, I blame the regulations, not the new solution for sufficiently stupid values of regulation (obviously safety regs are a different matter).

Ensuring that a taxi driver is a safe person, and that the taxi is a safe vehicle in good repair, sounds like "safety regs" to me. When Uber and Lyft claim that they can ignore all of those "archaic" regulations, I compare it to chemical companies complaining about environmental regulations when they used to dump waste products in the stream out back instead.

New York City has very specific differences between "taxi" and "car service", both of which are licensed and regulated. Maybe some of those differences really are archaic, and maybe one should be able to "call" a taxi to your door (whether by phone or app makes no difference) rather than have to go to a main street and hail one. The communication part of the business model is a great concept. Adding lots of unlicensed unregulated unchecked drivers may not be.

3 days ago
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Uber Threatens To Do 'Opposition Research' On Journalists

DutchUncle Re:There's not a lot to say, this is scummy (297 comments)

"The press is not beyond question"; on the other hand, Someone talking openly about blackmailing his opposition, or exposing something about them in an ad-hominem attack having nothing to do with the facts under debate, is talking about dirty tricks (at best) shading towards evil (at worst). To me this suggests that the opposition has valid grounds for suggesting that the Someone is acting unethically. The company as a whole (or at least the concept of the company) is ethically neutral, but the person running it may not be.

3 days ago
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Military Laser/Radio Tech Proposed As Alternative To Laying Costly Fiber Cable

DutchUncle Re:The Old is New again (150 comments)

Obviously people have already forgotten MCI (Microwave Communications inc.)

4 days ago
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Too Many Kids Quit Science Because They Don't Think They're Smart

DutchUncle Re:They're probably correct (273 comments)

I went to RPI. Yes, we had classes with county-high-school valedictorians who were totally shocked to be the least-prepared in the room. Since I had been in an NYC specialized schools (nowadays you'd call it a "magnet" school) it was just another day at the office. Well, maybe a little more painful.

about two weeks ago
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Tech Recruiters Defend 'Blacklists,' Lack of Feedback, Screening Techniques

DutchUncle "Is your interviewer qualified to interview you?" (253 comments)

Many moons ago, my senior year at engineering school, the placement office sent me a note (on actual paper!) that a big bank wanted to interview me. I couldn't imagine why, since I hadn't expressed any interest in business IT. A few days later, I met with a close-to-retirement VP who frankly admitted that he knew nothing about technology; his function was to assess people. The bank wanted people for their new IT headquarters in New York City, and I was on their list because I already lived there (or my parents did); they were trying to avoid hiring people who were looking for an excuse to move to NYC. We had a pleasant conversation, in which I freely admitted I didn't expect much technical challenge, and the older gentleman convinced me to put my resume in the queue anyway.

A few weeks later I went to the bank headquarters in NYC for "a technical interview", and it was every disaster on this page. The interview time was a myth, as was the person I was expecting to see; instead an HR person who had been a fresh-out last year, and who had no idea what he was doing in his own area let alone IT, gave up on questions and gave me a "skills test" to fill out (presumably my soon-to-be Computer Science degree from a top engineering school didn't count).

So I went back to school, took out my trusty typewriter and the VP's business card, and wrote him a letter describing my experience (staying polite!), and making clear that while meeting with him had been pleasant, the mismanagement after things left his hands convinced me that there was absolutely no way that I would ever want to work for the bank. I heard nothing for a few weeks, then a brief note of apology.

A few weeks later, my parents called me to tell me to go find a copy of The New York Times for that day. In the business section was an 1/8th page ad for that same bank with two profiles, one with a speech bubble including a dozen or more tech buzzwords, the other with a thought bubble empty but for a question mark. The sub-heading of the ad was: "Is your interviewer qualified to interview you?" I guess that old VP still had some pull . . .

about two weeks ago
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New GCHQ Chief Says Social Media Aids Terrorists

DutchUncle Re:Not a win (228 comments)

Don't tar everyone with the brush of extremism. I work/worked with people who are about as Muslim as Jon Stewart is Jewish - they know their heritage and some key words, they celebrate some holidays (especially if older generations are around), and mostly it doesn't matter. On the other hand, the good Christian folks who want "faith-based" laws scare me just as much as the guy interviewed on 60 Minutes last week, insisting that it was his democratic right to tell a woman to cover herself with a hijab AND expect her to comply,

about three weeks ago
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The Great IT Hiring He-Said / She-Said

DutchUncle Re:There's a clue shortage (574 comments)

People don't deliberately "put their company somewhere where the cost of living is high and there's a shortage of talent"; they start a company where they currently live (maybe even in their current home!), and if they're starting a tech company because they're tech people and previously worked in tech, they probably live in a tech area. And they're going to start by hiring other tech people who already live in the tech area. That's how these things grow (some would say fester) in one neighborhood.

about three weeks ago
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Signed-In Maps Mean More Location Data For Google

DutchUncle Standalone devices still have a purpose! (39 comments)

Anything networked has this problem (as multiple posters have pointed out) (cue Battlestar Galactica quotes about the dangers of networking). The only way to get "convenience" - which I conflate with "functionality" for this discussion - while retaining privacy is to use standalone devices. My GPS doesn't tell anyone where I go, because it's never connected to anything else (and because of that design, I'm betting it doesn't even bother trying to store anything for later retrieval). Of course, that means that a device needs all of its information locally, and updating has to be strictly controlled.

Google is offering a service. You're not paying them. As often said, if you're not the seller or the purchaser in a transaction, then you are the thing being sold. Just like broadcast radio & TV, the "entertainment"/"information" is the lure to bring you to view advertising, and in the networked era to encourage you to allow yourself to be followed.

about three weeks ago
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Tim Cook: "I'm Proud To Be Gay"

DutchUncle Re:Gay? (764 comments)

Not sure where you live, but I wasn't brought up to think it was acceptable to "beat the holy hell" out of anyone. Well, maybe in self-defense.

about three weeks ago
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A Mixed Review For CBS's "All Access" Online Video Streaming

DutchUncle Shows only exist to bring eyeballs to the ads (85 comments)

The television industry isn't about ads being inserted into shows; it's about shows being put on to draw people to the ads. Since there are other ways to watch shows, especially if one is willing to wait, sports has become the only "must-watch-live" item, which is why the networks are willing to pay so much for the rights to broadcast sports.

That goes for Facebook and Youtube and all of the other services, too. They just stumbled on cheaper ways to produce their "shows", namely provide the infrastructure for viewers to entertain each other.

about three weeks ago
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Suspected Ebola carriers in the U.S. ...

DutchUncle Re:Ridiculous (349 comments)

Would you have gone into that bowling alley and used the same bowling ball that the NY doctor used? Probably sweated on? Would you use the same glass that he drank from (if he got a drink), especially if the bar just washes the glasses by hand rather than in a sterilizing dishwasher? And yes, I realize that in the same crowd there was probably someone with a cold or influenza. You can consider the same questions for that person's bowling ball and glass.

about three weeks ago
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Suspected Ebola carriers in the U.S. ...

DutchUncle Re:How about... (349 comments)

Sure, if they aren't symptomatic they aren't contagious, but how can one be sure in the period when someone is sort of starting to feel a little warm, not feverish, I'll be fine after a good night's sleep, no, I don't need to take a day off . . . . You know, the sort of person who can cripple a whole office with a cold or flu? Sure, it's easier to catch the flu, but a lot less likely to die horribly of it.

Covering someone's salary and ensuring their job security - even if that means paying both the quarantinee and a replacement worker for three weeks - is a lot cheaper than cleaning up afterwards if someone *does* turn out to be harboring infection without symptoms *yet*. Especially in densely populated areas where the likelihood of cross-contact is higher. The nurse in Maine can certainly go sit out on her deck, do some yard work, etc.; it's a different story for the doctor in New York City who may have left sweat on the subway handgrip or pole that someone else wound up holding mere minutes afterwards.

The soldiers coming back from Africa who will be quarantined will be paid for that time, which will count towards their enlistment, and will probably be doing PT and other activities during that time. Anyone being quarantined should be treated as being "drafted" for the time. It would be a lot tougher to make that case if the incubation were, say, two or three *months*; but three weeks is an extended business trip. If someone has an event to attend, they just have to plan travel accordingly.

about three weeks ago
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FTC Sues AT&T For Throttling 'Unlimited' Data Plan Customers Up To 90%

DutchUncle Re:Meet somewhere in the middle (179 comments)

No, you can't. In fact, this is related to one of the strange places where government crosses religion. If you label something as complying with religious standards - like food being kosher or halal - then *civil* law says that you must have, and display, certification from a *religious* authority that you actually comply. The civil law does not set the standard, nor does it verify that the religious authority is valid; it just says that if you claim something you have to be able to verify it.

about three weeks ago
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FTC Sues AT&T For Throttling 'Unlimited' Data Plan Customers Up To 90%

DutchUncle Re:Meet somewhere in the middle (179 comments)

If they are going out of their way to throttle the bandwidth as a function of the quantity of data, then they're lying. Yes, available bandwidth and throughput vary as a function of system load, so if the whole neighborhood is watching youtube things get slower for everyone; but when they list a "cap" and throttle above it, they're contradicting the original promise of "unlimited".

about three weeks ago
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

DutchUncle Re:Alternatives? Same problem.. (572 comments)

If they're re-using FTDI's manufacturer ID, then they're counterfeit. I agree that blocking use and announcing why is very different from vandalism.

about a month ago

Submissions

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Slashdot finds a way to keep me from bothering to check it today

DutchUncle DutchUncle writes  |  about a year and a half ago

DutchUncle (826473) writes "By making everything unreadable without lots of extra effort, Slashdot has found a way to keep me from wasting as much time today. Thanks!"
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Can you patent a steak?

DutchUncle DutchUncle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

DutchUncle (826473) writes "Someone at Oklahoma State University has "discovered" a new steak. By now I would have thought that every possible part of a cow was already discovered, not to mention used for something. I can understand trademarking a name for a particular cut of meat; I can understand copyrighting the published instructions on what to cut where; but can this be novel enough for a patent?"
Link to Original Source
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No termination fee if Verizon terminates *you*.

DutchUncle DutchUncle writes  |  more than 4 years ago

DutchUncle (826473) writes "Just received the following email announcement from Verizon. Nice to know that if they cut off my service, I won't have to pay extra:

"The following is an outline of an important change to the Verizon Online
Terms of Service, which is effective as of November 30, 2009. ...

1. If you are on a term plan and Verizon ceases offering service to
your location prior to the end of your term commitment, you will not
have to pay an Early Termination Fee.

Please take time to review the complete Verizon Online Terms of Service.
Thank you for being a Verizon Online customer."

To which I add: For now."

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