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Free Copy of the Sims 2 Contains SecuROM

Joel Cahoon Re:Anybody know? (193 comments)

Don't worry, my friend, everything is alright:

No, SecuROM does not damage a computer in any way.

SecuROM Frequently Asked Questions

There's absolutely nothing to worry about here; move along, now.

4 hours ago

No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

Joel Cahoon Re:laying off...but needs more H-1B's (282 comments)

Sometimes, "what's best for Microsoft" may not be so immediately obvious. I have no doubt that someone far more skilled and knowledgeable than I ran the numbers and decided that their plans to "right-size our manufacturing operations to align to the new strategy and take advantage of integration opportunities" makes good business and financial sense in the near future. Long term is quite a bit more difficult to predict with any certainty (which makes such sweeping actions inherently risky). Even harder to forecast (or even quantify) are the intangibles, such as: the effect upon the corporate image held by employees, former employees, customers and potential customers, communities, governments, regulators, competitors, and the impact of that effect; the direct and indirect impact on the market itself, both present and future; and of course, the risks of untended consequences.

Perhaps this wasn't covered in business 101? I wouldn't know.

about a week ago

No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

Joel Cahoon Re:laying off...but needs more H-1B's (282 comments)

Companies no longer invest in their country, in their local community

And why would they? The real decision-makers in such large companies (and to an even greater extent, multinationals) rarely set foot in the communities they draw resources from, and frequently don't even understand their markets—this is why they spend so much on consultants and focus groups in an effort to do so. Said decision-makers may have, by virtue of the wealth and power synonymous with such a position, vastly different ideas (versus their labor force, markets, and those impacted indirectly by their decisions) of what it means to invest in their community, and of the value of doing so. Furthermore, in the case of publicly held companies, their hands may be tied by their investors, who are even further abstracted from every aspect of the company; except of course, for the financials.

The same applies whether you define community as a town, county, state, region, or country, to a greater extent for smaller groups, and to a degree correlating with the amount of influence the company has within (or over) the community.

about a week ago

No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

Joel Cahoon Re:laying off...but needs more H-1B's (282 comments)

"Nation's best interest" is a very subjective thing. Go ahead, ask 10 people on the street, you'll get 12 different answers.

about a week ago

Aereo Embraces Ruling, Tries To Re-Classify Itself As Cable Company

Joel Cahoon Re:Simplified summary (147 comments)

I thought this was supposed to be a simplification? I'm no expert, but I'm not entirely unfamiliar with the issue, either; and I wasn't aware that there were so many different ways to classify cable companies.

What exactly is the difference between:
i) a cable company for the purposes of copyright, and
ii) a special kind of cable company that gets statutory rates?

What determines where Aereo falls on this spectrum?

Is there a Venn diagram I can consult?

about three weeks ago

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Joel Cahoon Re:Can an "atheist company" refuse too? (1330 comments)

There are numerous protections enshrined in federal law that prohibit an employer from taking discriminatory action against an employee because of that employee's religious beliefs.

I wonder what happens when an employer claims that to be prohibited from taking such actions would be in violation of its own religious beliefs.

"Sorry, Jim, as an atheist corporation, we don't believe that your desire to attend religious services takes precedence over our business needs; in fact, it is this company's personal belief that attending religious services is detrimental to your well-being, as well as that of the company. If you don't come in on Sunday, don't bother showing up on Monday."

about a month ago

Robert McMillen: What Everyone Gets Wrong In the Debate Over Net Neutrality

Joel Cahoon Re:IANA Network Engineer, but... (270 comments)

This issue rests heavily upon who is responsible for the costs (and not just hardware) associated with the appliance. If Netflix is covering the vast majority, I can't see any legitimate reason for Comcast to refuse to install it. If the cost to Comcast is less than the benefit to them (admittedly difficult quantities to compare), they should have no relevant reason not to install the appliance.

The appliance is mutually beneficial to both Comcast AND Netflix, it just happens to benefit Netflix a lot more; this, along with their monopoly market position, puts Comcast in a position of power. It would be an abuse of that power for Comcast to accept or refuse the appliance based not upon the costs and benefits, but for political reasons or rent-seeking.

about a month ago

Robert McMillen: What Everyone Gets Wrong In the Debate Over Net Neutrality

Joel Cahoon Re:IANA Network Engineer, but... (270 comments)

You're telling me that someone at Netflix said to someone at Comcast, "Hey, we've got an appliance that will improve the Netflix experience for those customers of ours who also happen to be your customers as well. We'd like you to purchase the hardware and cover the cost of rack space, cooling, electricity, and maintenance for it. We're not going to help with the bill at all, but our customers will thank us."?

I find that hard to believe, but that would indeed be a raw deal.

about a month ago

Robert McMillen: What Everyone Gets Wrong In the Debate Over Net Neutrality

Joel Cahoon IANA Network Engineer, but... (270 comments)

I fail to see how CDNs and direct peering agreements between ISPs and content providers are particularly relevant to the debate over Net Neutrality. As an analogy:

Comcast owns all of the land and roads in a city (or region, or neighborhood). Google wants to deliver goods to customers in that city, but their warehouse is in another city. Google and Mom-n-Pop Content Provider, Inc. both use the same publicly funded highway to get their goods into the city, and the same Comcast-owned roads to deliver to customers throughout the city. Comcast can deliver goods faster because they have a warehouse in the city. So Google pays to build an air-delivery network (peering) and a warehouse in the city (CDN). I don't see the problem with any of this. The analog to net neutrality, then, becomes whether or not to allow Comcast to (abuse its monopoly ownership of the roads to) raise or lower the speed limit for individual delivery trucks, based upon whether or not they belong to Google, Comcast, or Mom-n-Pop.

As I've said, IANANE, so feel free to point out any relevant inconsistencies in this analogy. On an 'unrelated' note, Amazon...

about a month ago

IRS Recycled Lerner Hard Drive

Joel Cahoon Re:White collar prison (682 comments)

No, I'm not advocating that at all. My post was in response to:

...IT admin who received an order from above to do something that he thought shouldn't be done...

Emphasis added. I'm advocating some sort of consequence for someone who knew their actions were, at very least, against policy. I'm not suggesting we crucify someone for following an order that they believed was legitimate. In your example, if the poor weenie had a legitimate decommissioning ticket and carried it out faithfully, that doesn't call for any sort of punishment. If, however, the ticket was obviously suspicious, or he knew it wasn't compliant, but carried it out anyway (whether due to malice, laziness, or carelessness), then he absolutely deserves to suffer the consequences of failing to do his job.

This is not to say that the individual, as an easy scapegoat, should be dragged through the mud over a minor infraction simply because it affects such a serious issue—that would likewise be counterproductive, and also reduce the chances that those with real culpability be subject to appropriate action. The consequence should fit the infraction, and be applied with a grain of common sense to take into account extenuating circumstances. No, there's no fine line defining where moral and ethical responsibility begin and end, but on a case-by-case basis, you can usually get reasonably close.

about a month ago

IRS Recycled Lerner Hard Drive

Joel Cahoon Re:White collar prison (682 comments)

More people need to go to prison for "white collar" crimes. The brash disregard of the law has turned into an epidemic because everybody with an ounce of clout is let off the hook with a slap on the wrist.

Who would go to prison though, the person who ordered the mail to be deleted, or the IT admin who received an order from above to do something that he thought shouldn't be done (just like nearly every other order he gets from management)?

You seem to be implying that it would be unjust for the IT admin, who was "only" following orders, to suffer consequences for his illegal actions. I do not agree, but you have raised a crucial point; let's follow this course of thinking to its logical end.

If the lowly peon isn't held accountable for his direct actions, then the next time management asks him to do something wrong or illegal, there's one less reason for him to refuse. If he refuses, he can be assured of repercussions from management, but experience has shown him that threat of legal consequences is low if he complies; the path of least resistance is clear.

But, if you do hold him accountable for his direct actions, this has some interesting indirect effects, aside from the obvious direct consequences. The next time he or someone else is asked similarly to do something wrong or illegal, he's got to weigh the consequences on both sides. These concerns can be raised to the manager making the request as a reason (that would be less likely to result in repercussions for the IT admin) not to comply. Even if the threat of legal repercussions alone is not enough to deter the IT admin from complying with an illegal request, his moral or ethical views coupled with this threat may be enough to change his actions. The manager will have a harder time finding an IT admin to perform unlawful acts on his order. The threshold of reasons to even request such acts will be raised.

Let's not forget that the primary reason laws exist is to shape societal behavior; punishing or "rehabilitating" individual deviance should come secondary, as means to this end. If laws are not enforced, in this particular case if we let people off too frequently for "just following orders," then the laws can never have their intended effect: to prevent this whole stupid fiasco from happening in the first place.

That being said, let's not forget that overly broad interpretation and overzealous application of laws can result in witch-hunts which can be just as harmful, for reasons not entirely unrelated. Balance.

about a month ago

Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow?

Joel Cahoon Breaking News: US Gov. shoots itself in the foot (346 comments)

One more reason why whistle-blowers like Snowden should be protected, rather than demonized. If this is true, then his fear of repercussions is the key factor that allowed Russia this opportunity in the first place. Even if it isn't true, it's a scenario Americans should be concerned about, because it's highly plausible.

about 1 month ago

This 360-Degree, 4K Video Camera isn't Getting Kickstarted (Video)

Joel Cahoon Dashcam (61 comments)

This would be great as a dashcam. It would have retailed at $399, which is less than my $500 deductible; if it saves me from even one single careless, lying motorist who caused an accident and then tried to claim it wasn't his fault, it's more than paid for itself. And that's before even considering increased premiums and fines.

I really hope this gets produced anyway. I'll be first in line to get one.

about 2 months ago

Temporary Classrooms Are Bad For the Environment, and Worse For Kids

Joel Cahoon Re:waste (187 comments)

I'll never understand this.

Why aren't we doing this now?

they should

You make some excellent points. Have you brought them to the attention of others in your community, and to your city/county/state government? Change doesn't magically happen. Don't be an armchair politician and then complain when things don't happen the way you think they should. Get involved!

about 2 months ago


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