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Feds: Red Light Camera Firm Paid For Chicago Official's Car, Condo

Karl Cocknozzle Re:Pretty obvious (115 comments)

the process isn't really that much different in regions where there is enough moral fiber for the state to keep all of the proceeds.

The state never gets "all of the proceeds"--the entire thing is a graft to slurp money out of taxpayers pockets (while causing more accidents at the same time) and into the pockets of private industry. The money paid to the government is considered a "cost of doing business" for the people operating the graft. It's one of the most corrupt things in our modern society--automated law enforcement.

2 days ago

Getting IT Talent In Government Will Take Culture Change, Says Google Engineer

Karl Cocknozzle Re:Not creative rock stars? (165 comments)

don't have ANY of the perks of the private sector that techies prize, like working from home (HA!) flex-time, or flex-spending accounts.

(1) They do have work-from home. Didn't you read the story from yesterday about all the patent examiners working from home?

No, but most of the government jobs int his country aren't with the patent examiners, or the Feds in general. None of the government jobs I've looked at had this benefit because I live in a "red" state, so "government equals bad always."

(2) Flex-time is not a benefit, it is a way to screw over employees. Combining sick-leave with vacation they've reduced the total number of days off. Government jobs have much more generous vacation and sick-leave policies.

Ahhh... Youv'e confused "Paid Time Off" encompassing sick and vacation time with "flex-time." What it means where I've worked is your schedule is flexible to meet your needs. So if you need to come in at 6:30am so can get your kids off the bus at 3:30pm we'll do what it takes to accommodate you assuming it doesn't compromise our overall mission. Or you're a "night owl" who prefers to come in at Noon and work until 9-10pm. Again, not a problem as long as your work is handled.

(3) Flex-spending accounts - yet another way to screw over employees. Government healthcare coverage is some of the best out there, you don't need a flex-spending account because you have very little out-of-pocket expenses in the first place.

Not necessarily. Again, red state. Government = bad. So government employees are the scum of the earth. So around here, having the ability to put some of your own money aside pre-tax to cover the gaps is very useful. And yes, if you work for the feds, you don't need this.

But even still, let's just say I agree with everything you said--so what? It's still a soul-crushing graveyard for creativity.

about a week ago

Getting IT Talent In Government Will Take Culture Change, Says Google Engineer

Karl Cocknozzle Not creative rock stars? (165 comments)

Can you do what they can do? No? So then, how about a nice plate of shut the fuck up, then?

Government doesn't get good techies because they don't pay enough, have a lousy working environment, and don't have ANY of the perks of the private sector that techies prize, like working from home (HA!) flex-time, or flex-spending accounts. Workplaces are static (you can fight for the "best office" after 10-15 years of seniority, but will toil in an ill-lit cube farm until the,) schedules are inflexible, and benefits are one-size fits all.

I saw an advertisement for my job (basically to the letter) working for a "state" organization here... The Teachers retirement fund (it's a pension fund for the teacher's union, operated by the state under state employment rules.) What I make is irrelevant, but suffice it to say, their "max" was 40% less than I make today, and just over 50% less than what "the market will bear."

That's your ballgame.

about a week ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Are Online Job Applications So Badly Designed?

Karl Cocknozzle Re:Because they don't use them to get employees. (274 comments)

Real jobs don't come from HR. They come from business contacts.

Actually, this is NOT true all the time.

By any chance, do you work in HR? Exactly ZERO jobs "come from HR." Without a business need for a hire, there is no job. HR is the cadre of paper-pushers who stand in the way of getting a job, and make it impossible for teams to hire the people they actually need by enforcing meaningless, arcane, and bureaucratic "best practices" which also happen to enshrine the HR people themselves into unfirable, key-man positions. Their function is (literally) to prevent applicants from connecting with hiring managers--this is the exact opposite of what you should be trying to achieve. Until you're talking to the hiring manager, directly, and have permission to contact her directly after the fact with any followups, you're not a real candidate for a job. If HR can arbitrarily cut off your contact with the hiring manager (because you can only go "through HR") you're not a candidate--you're a person whose application is being used to justify the payment of salaries to HR people because otherwise "Who will deal with all these applicants?"

In fact, a any job you get from a corporation of any kind of size, you are going though HR and the only thing your contact can buy you is priority treatment (getting put top on the stack) and possibly having an advocate with the hiring manager.

It really depends on the company. Most organizations I know/have interviewed at intentionally recruit via third parties and "fix it on the back end" with HR because before they started doing so the HR "screener" disqualified all the good candidates and sent up clunkers with no employment "gaps," but no real achievements, either.

My last 3 jobs which cover the last 15 years of my life all came via HR and not direct contacts. In fact, most of my jobs came though the HR process and didn't involve an insider at all.

How many applications did you fill out to get those three jobs? 10? 50? 100? 1,000? 10,000? In the same 15 years, I've gotten six jobs. Five of them were recruiters, referrals, or placements. Only one involved "going in the front door" and that job paid the least of all the jobs, had the worst benefits, the longest hours, zero advancement opportunities, and generally sucked donkey-ass. And as for applications: I haven't filled one out since I started working with recruiters exclusively. "Fill out an application" is the same as being told "We'll call you"--it's a euphemism for "you aren't going to be hired."

Since I stopped doing the "front door" my salary has quadrupled (granted, I've also added a great skillset in the intervening 14.5 years,) my working hours are sane, and permit working remotely when going to the office is inconvenient. That "front-door" gig? If there was enough snow to make going to work dangerous, but the roads were open, you have to go or use a vacation day. Literally every job I've ever had has been better than the "front door" place. But I also spend less time interviewing and filling out pointless paperwork (that you'll have to fill out again when hired, because they can't just "type in what you put on your application" in your new hire paperwork, of course.

The bigger they are, the more likely HR is going to be in firm control of the initial vetting of possible candidates and having an inside contact is much less valuable. But in the small company, where they don't have an HR department., contacts are the only route to get in. So it just depends on what kind of company you are looking for.

Here's my advice, do with it what you will: If you're trying to get a job and the HR department is so "firmly in control" of hiring that they have total trump over every hiring decision run away as fast as you can. Don't walk--RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Why? Besides the nightmare of getting yourself hired, every time your team has an opening you can be guaranteed not to get a top tier candidate because the best candidates won't put up with the B.S. required to get a job there through the "front door." You won't have recruiters bringing you candidates, because when HR departments are "firmly in control" the first thing they do you'll be waiting until somebody "notices" your job opening and applies. And the best candidates aren't wasting their time this way--they're taking interviews setup for them by recruiters. This is how IT works--if you're in some other business it might be different.

But I'll go back to the old saw (because it is true): "The best job openings are never advertised." Which means the best job openings don't "go through" HR. The best companies use HR as a convenient way to get paperwork done, not as a gatekeeper for hiring.

about a week ago

40% Of People On Terror Watch List Have No Terrorist Ties

Karl Cocknozzle Re:So 40% dwarfs 60%? (256 comments)

I don't think it's necessarily an error rate. What they're saying is these people may be lone actors (Unibomber, Boston bombers) who are not linked to any actual terrorist organization. Or, they're people who they think may become radicalized but have not actually phoned up Al Qaeda yet.

It's still a ridiculous number, but one can be a terrorist without being linked to a terrorist group. Yet.

You're not incorrect in your logic--one can be a terrorist without having yet been linked to a terrorist group. But it begs the question of how they were identified as terrorists and put on watch lists in the first place. Is it because they look funny? Smell funny? Have a funny hair-do? Wear traditional "muslim" clothing when they travel? Have the wrong political beliefs? Have the right political beliefs but don't express them ardently enough for big brother's taste?

The basic problem with a "Terrorism watch list" in which 40% of the people on it have seemingly no link to known terrorists or terrorist organizations, where the criteria for getting on the list in this category are murky (or possible just don't exist) the potential for abuse is absolutely staggering. How many of those people up in Dearborn Heights that can't travel are actually just being declared terrorists for having a funny name and living down the street from someone interesting? With zero oversight, we really have no way of knowing WTF is going on behind the scenes.

about two weeks ago

40% Of People On Terror Watch List Have No Terrorist Ties

Karl Cocknozzle Re:So 40% dwarfs 60%? (256 comments)

In which mathematical system is 40>60?

It does. The list arbitrarily denies the right to free travel and movement among the various states for no reason whatsoever, almost 300,000 people in total. It draws into question the accuracy of the "60%"--that is, if nearly 300,000 people are arbitrarily on the list for no discernible link to terrorism, how many of the "60%" that they claim have ties to terrorism, actually do?

The incompetence of the 40% casts doubt on the claim of "60%" accuracy. I.e. "Of the 60% who do allegedly have terrorist ties, against how many of them is the evidence either completely non-existent or just because some arbitrary bureaucrat somewhere says so?"

That's what people are concerned about. An admitted 40% error rate is appalling, and it leads to wonder "If that's what they're admitting to their superiors, how much worse is the problem, actually?"

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would You Do With Half a Rack of Server Space?

Karl Cocknozzle Re:Keep It Ready (208 comments)

Keep everything ready, so you can switch back when the cloud services fail and/or your management team changes.

Indeed. The cloud fad is already starting to pop as executives find out "Holy fuck, you mean when something goes wrong there's no amount of screaming I can do to make them prioritize our service?" and other things that weren't in the brochure. "You mean we're on a shared infrastructure so when one of the other tenants gets DDOSed we're down too? "

Or (my favorite) "You mean to actually have high availability we have to spend almost double the quoted price to run identical machines in another geographic-zone"?

about three weeks ago

Geographic Segregation By Education

Karl Cocknozzle Re:Translation (Rough) (230 comments)

Apparently you never went to college.

Most four-year college kids aren't in technical program. They're in liberal arts programs. Typically they have lots of trouble getting up early enough to get to a 10 AM class, and bitch and moan that an 8-hour day is required to earn an A.

I don't know where you went to college, but if this was the norm you picked a party school. Real university is real work.

about a month ago

Geographic Segregation By Education

Karl Cocknozzle Translation (Rough) (230 comments)

"We want to be as wealthy and well-positioned as people who worked their asses off in their 20's even though we couldn't be bothered to educate ourselves after high school and spent our 20's living with our parents, partying, and having a sweet car that we could only afford because we lived with our parents."

Here's a thought: Teach your kids the concept of long-term goals... It worked wonders for me.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Unattended Maintenance Windows?

Karl Cocknozzle Re:And if it doesn't work? (265 comments)

Support for off-hour work is part of the job. Don't like it? Find another job where you don't have to do that. Can't find another job? Improve yourself so you can.

He might just need a better boss--it sounds like this one expects the guy to stay up all night for maintenance, then come in at 9am sharp, as if he didn't just do a full day's work in the middle of the night.

Rather than automating, he should be lobbying for the right to sleep on maintenance days by shifting his work schedule so that his "maintenance time" IS his workday. "Off-hour work" doesn't mean "Work all day Monday, all night Monday night Tuesday morning, and all day Tuesday." Or, at least, it shouldn't.

about a month ago

US To Auction 29,656 Bitcoins Seized From Silk Road

Karl Cocknozzle Re:Question: (232 comments)

Would a wheat based currency system be as you say "fake and worthless"?

Maybe not, but the fact that wheat is useful as a foodstuff makes it extremely unlikely to be chosen as currency, or to "back currency."

about 2 months ago

US To Auction 29,656 Bitcoins Seized From Silk Road

Karl Cocknozzle Re:I hope they get whatever they can for them (232 comments)

Let me blow your mind right now: all currency is fake. That's what makes it currency instead of bartered goods.

This. Times a million

Every currency (Yes, Virginia, even gold-standard currencies) are completely fake and arbitrary. The difference between fake and arbitrary fiat currency and fake and arbitrary gold-standard currency is exactly one layer of abstraction, because the "value" of gold is in itself pretty arbitrary. It is somewhat rare, but it's "value" is completely generated by the human mind. Which is actually for the best--can you imagine how high the price of gold would be if it was actually useful for something besides making jewelry and helping Fox News scam old people out of their savings with terrible gold investment opportunities?

Humans assigned "value" to gold because it was rare-enough to avoid hyper-inflation, but common enough that you didn't have to worry about deflation. And that worked just fine for a few tens of thousands of years... until there were too many humans for the world supply of gold to adequately represent new wealth and value as they're created.

If a more numerous race of aliens had evolved on this planet they might have assigned value to blades of grass, pebbles, or certain kinds of trees in a similar matter based on their own needs.

Which is why the entire "gold standard" argument (that "our money is fake and worthless") is so stupid: Yes, it is fake and worthless. So is all other money, everywhere--the value comes from the perception. So it doesn't matter if its "backed by gold" or "backed by Jell-O Pudding pops" the fact is, the value is based totally on the perception of value of something. With fiat currency, it's the perception of the value of what you can buy, with "gold-standard" currency it's the perception of the value of the gold. But neither has any "real" value without that perception.

about 2 months ago

Musk Will Open Up Tesla Supercharger Patents To Spur Development

Karl Cocknozzle Good idea (230 comments)

While you're working on it, how about a new name? "Supercharger" is already a "thing" in automobile-lingo. And yes, I know most Slashdotters may not be gear-heads, using a name of a thing that already exists is glaring to those of us who are.

about 2 months ago

GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

Karl Cocknozzle Re:Culpability at the Top (307 comments)

Why did GM write into their bail-out a few years ago the clause that they cannot be held responsible for malfeasance which occurred prior to that bail out?

Makes me sick thinking about it.

GM's "bailout" was actually a managed bankruptcy with the terms pre-arranged, and bankruptcy in most US states incldues the discharge of liability, not just debts. It is done that way so creditors can't short-circuit the bankruptcy system and just "Wait to sue" until after you're out of bankruptcy protection.

This liability discharge is one of the main features of bankruptcy. It is why the company that polluted the Elk River in West Virginia (leaving the 2/3 of the state without safe drinking water--some of them to this day) declared bankruptcy in short order after the incident--they knew they had no possible defense against the legal onslaught that was coming, and their executives (who were owed sizable bonuses--coal executives really rake it in) wanted to make sure they filed for bankruptcy BEFORE anybody filed suit, because if a suit was pending when they filed bankruptcy that party could go to court to stop bonuses and incentive pay owed to executives from being payed out. Because if the company was facing a bankruptcy judge and had an already-filed suit for billions in damages he would never (EVER) approve bonus payments to executives and would probably listen pretty favorably to a creditor who insisted the executives not be able to loot the place ahead of their judgement.

about 2 months ago

Google Foresees Ads On Your Refrigerator, Thermostat, and Glasses

Karl Cocknozzle Re:Just one detail they've overlooked (355 comments)

Well, the vandalism aspect can be "solved" by the simple means of on board video cameras. And since entry to the taxicab would most like require some form of ID prior to the doors unlocking, you could be pretty darn sure as to the identity of the passenger. And the "official" rational for the camera? Why, it's to gauge the customer's reactions to the advertisements. After all, that lets the system present advertisements that the customer finds more receptive.

George Orwell didn't go far enough. Google is correcting that mistake.

...Because on-board video cameras can't be vandalized, of course! And it may be the case that you have to identify yourself before the door opens on the car, true, but that doesn't stop a vandal from hopping in one of the other doors and damaging the car after you've identified yourself... Or they could just steal your mobile phone and summon a robot car with the robot car app...

Trust me: If it exists, there's a way to break it without getting caught. My first instinct is to use the technique used on british speed cameras: Kitchen plastic wrap strapped tight across the camera lens. If done correctly, the camera doesn't look "broken" to a casual observer, but this effectively renders images from the camera a useless, blurry, translucent mess.

about 3 months ago

US-EU Trade Agreement Gains Exaggerated, Say 41 Consumer Groups, Economist

Karl Cocknozzle Re:News at 11 (97 comments)

Random groupings of people say bad things about major international deal without any supporting evidence.

Seriously, the best they can do is "The language used is vague"? How about doing their own analysis instead of just pointing out that the documents aren't perfect?

I think the point is that the language is intentionally vague to conceal the meaning from an uncritical public. If critics of the agreements say they contain language that "could allow" certain bad things to happen, proponents can smear-them as "conspiracy theorists" to discount their point of view, and a pliant, lapdog corporate media will lap it up, eagerly.

about 3 months ago

A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

Karl Cocknozzle We treat ours grand! (255 comments)

...We promoted him to Director and now he sits in his office being distracted by shiny things, allowing the rest of us to accomplish the actual business of operating our department.

Try it sometime! The only way it can backfire is if the person has actual-authority over something important--then the company might go out of business. But other than that I'm drawing a blank on negatives.

about 3 months ago

Google Foresees Ads On Your Refrigerator, Thermostat, and Glasses

Karl Cocknozzle Re:Just one detail they've overlooked (355 comments)

That's because we old farts have learned to tune out the ads and use the time to think about something else.

I'm about halfway between the two extremes: I find ads jarring and disruptive to the narrative of programs. It is especially unpleasant to watch a movie on TV. A movie "enjoyed" in this fashion is essentially a butchery of the original picture, with TV commercials awkwardly inserted every 20 minutes or so. TV shows are slightly-less-bad in that the writers of the show at least know where the commercials will go, but that's annoying and makes shows predictable since you we've all, by this point, become adept at recognizing the rhythm of TV shows... how many times have you looked at your watch or phone and "known" it was going to end with a " To Be Continued..."?

It's because you know how shows work--their narratives all flow int he same basic patterns because of TV commercial breaks.

about 3 months ago

Google Foresees Ads On Your Refrigerator, Thermostat, and Glasses

Karl Cocknozzle Re:ads in car (355 comments)

Are you sure they have overlooked this? I think the words "google" and "car" and "driver" have been used in a lot of sentences over the last few years, especially with the word "driver" modified.

They have a vision, all right: About annoying human beings with advertisements at every waking moment. The part I suggested they were overlooking was the part where it is, at present, illegal to do what they're talking about doing. Yes, of course, they're google and they have scads of money to buy whatever laws they want, but I mean today.

about 2 months ago

Google Foresees Ads On Your Refrigerator, Thermostat, and Glasses

Karl Cocknozzle Re:Just one detail they've overlooked (355 comments)

And it is still working. As for the car, what about the car navigation voice telling you that you are nearing a burger drive-thru because it knows its time for you to be hungry again (it also know that you likely are hungover from activities day before and your Google searches...) and that you love your burgers..

For now, because there are so many of us old-fogeys from a time before advertisement skipping was possible/easily accessible to the masses.

Once we die off the advertisers are in for a world of shock: Young people do not tolerate advertisements. Without exception, NONE of the people I know under the age of 25 listen to the radio (and thus radio commercials) in their car, despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of older people still do. Among that group, also, most won't watch TV without having the show recorded on DVR either entirely, or at least enough of it recorded to time-shift the start long-enough so they can zap the commercials.

They've been raised to be advertising-averse by the sheer volume of crap that's been shoved in their faces their entire lives. It's funny, but kids are actually smarter than us in a lot of ways.

about 2 months ago



FCC Planning Rule Changes to Restore U.S. Net Nuetrality

Karl Cocknozzle Karl Cocknozzle writes  |  about 6 months ago

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) writes "In a statement issued today, FCC commissioner Tom Wheeler announced that the commission will begin a rule-making process to re-impose Net Neutrality, which was recently struck down in Federal court. Among the standards Wheeler intends to pursue are vigorous enforcement of a requirement for transparency in how ISPs manage traffic, and a prohibition on blocking (the "no blocking" provision.)

Which seems like exactly what neutrality activists have been demanding: Total prohibition of throttling, and vigorous enforcement of that rule, and of a transparency requirements so ISPs can't try to mealy-mouth their way around accusations that they're already throttling Netflix. Even before the court decision overturning net neutrality, Comcast and Verizon users have been noting Netflix slowdowns for months."


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