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Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

Registered Coward v2 Re:Admiral Farragut - and Cmdr. Taggart (561 comments)

I had never heard the story until my niece's graduation from Annapolis (she went Marines, so she's a 2nd Lt. now). When the superintendent of the academy got to the punch line, it was pretty thrilling to hear the entire graduating class shout, "Full speed ahead!" I also liked his advice - "wear sunscreen!"

Interestingly enough, the torpedoes he referred to were actual what we would today call mines. Congratulations to your niece. Next time you see her tell her you found out from an old sailor what marine stands for: "My Ass Rides in Navy Equipment."

yesterday
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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

Registered Coward v2 Re:I don't see the problem. (659 comments)

The EU may finally be spurred to approve more sanctions on Russia, but Russia can sell gas to China and other partners instead.

The Chinese will drive a very hard bargain for that gas. Delivering it will be time consuming and expensive. Volume will be limited by facilities for some time to come, and even after the initial scramble it can never be as efficient as delivering to Europe.

Replacing EU gas sales with sales to China would be a gift to China. They'd have Putin over a barrel; he needs the cash an they can do without the gas. There is nothing like a distress sale for getting a bargain. China could even resell some of it to the EU; although the sea borne shipping logistics would be more difficult than using a pipeline.

yesterday
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (423 comments)

...you could wind up with a discrimination complaint depending on the circumstances; even if you truly did not discriminate.They would nee to substantiate what the discrimation was.... It's not generally even illegal to fire somebody simply because you've decided you just don't like them... particularly during an initial probationary period. It can still risk you being exposed to a lawsuit, but as one can sue for pretty much any reason anyways, that risk is there regardless of what you say or do.

After such a probationary period, then generally the employer is obligated to give the employee sufficient time to conform to any new expectations, and communication to that effect will generally be in writing, along with acknowledgement that the individual understands that failure to conform to the newer standards will result in dismissal.

Certainly. No one is arguing about internal personal actions.

If the employee feels that he or she is being treated differently than other employees, then that would be the time to address the concern, not after they have already been fired.

There in lies the rub. They may feel that have been treat differently but feel it is not worth bringing up; until you say something to a potential employer and they decide to sue. While we agree on a number of thinks we clearly have differing viewpoints on the risks involved with giving a reference beyond verifying employment. My POV comes from having been involved, with two separate employers, HR situations similar to this with employees who we let go; even though I didn't give a reference nor was asked to give one it still was a pain to document and justify every single action I took and spending time with lawyers who said "that could be construed as X. How did you justify it was Y." In one case a person turned in inaccurate time cards and I spent an inordinate amount of time having to prove my guidance was clear on work expectations and proving the reasons he gave for his time reporting were invalid. I quickly learned how something I though was clear and a factual statement could be construed otherwise; at least I got paid to learn that bit of employment law.

2 days ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (423 comments)

If all I say is "he didn't fit into our company's corporate culture" the employee would somehow have to argue that there were other people who didn't fit in either who were not discharged. Since there's no possible way he could ever hope to prove such an allegation, how would he proceed?

Again, I think it would be a long shot but the general tack might be to force you to define what the culture is and then look for people with similar profiles that were not fired. For example, if he was late and your employee records show other who were late were not disciplined. INAL but would also hazard a guess if your are too vaque you could wind up with a discrimination complaint depending on the circumstances; even if you truly did not discriminate. In the end, even if you win you wind up paying to defend yourself.

3 days ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (423 comments)

Actually, they wouldn't have prove anything about the dismissal; they would have to prove your statement was not true and you should have known it was false.

Which, if I own a company and I say that I fired the employee because they didn't fit into my company's corporate culture, is not possible for anyone to do, since *I* would be the person that defines what my company's corporate culture is. In other words, they would have to allege that I had actually fired them for some other, completely different reason which I am not actually saying.

Unless you let other employees do at some of the things, at some time, you allege this person did that "didn't fit in the corporate culture." For example, let's say you said they did A,B, and C when asked to define what cultural norms they failed to meet. Now, if other employees did the same things then the fired employee was really acting within the norms of the culture. In the end, you are free to decide to say what you want and the fired employee is free to sue for whatever reason they want. The more you say the easier you make it for them, which is why most companies simply limit what is said to verifiable true statements.

3 days ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (423 comments)

Take "not fitting in with corporate culture." While they may hold that viewpoint saying that about an employee is making a statement, purported to be factual, about the employee; a statement whose accuracy could be reasonably questioned.

Actually, it's making a statement about the compatibility of that employee with that company... nothing more, and nothing less. Maybe the employer is crappy, maybe the employee was.. the point being made is that whatever the root cause of the problem, they *WERE* ultimately incompatible with eachother. If they really were compatible then there wouldn't have been any reason to have fired the employee in the first place. If it went to court, it seems to me that the employee would therefore have to allege that there was actually some other reason which was *NOT* being stated as the actual reason for dismissal, which, as you pointed out, can't be successfully used as a basis for arguing defamation.

Actually, they wouldn't have prove anything about the dismissal; they would have to prove your statement was not true and you should have known it was false. They don't need to show there was not the reason; although if they could that could show what you said was false in that they were not fired for not fitting in with the corporate culture. I'm not saying it would be easy; just that most companies chose to avoid the issue by merely verifying employment since that is factual and not negative or positive.

3 days ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (423 comments)

We're probably a lot closer in viewpoint than our posts seem to indicate. Sure, verifying employment tells you nothing assuming the candidate didn't lie on the resume. However, and this is where we seem to differ, first and last day are easily verified facts. Giving that information doesn't say anything one way or the other about an employee's performance and I suspect a lawsuit alleging defamation because "only giving employment dates may be taken as I was a bad employee" would get laughed out of court.

Finally, the examples you give are subjective and could lead to a more reasonable basis for suing; even if they wouldn't win.Take "not fitting in with corporate culture." While they may hold that viewpoint saying that about an employee is making a statement, purported to be factual, about the employee; a statement whose accuracy could be reasonably questioned. Maybe the person giving the reference was just a bad boss who didn't fit in and drove employees out.

Even the example where you claim to have hard numbers, such as time late may be questionable. Maybe they took sick leave and you didn't realize it. You may have talked to them about it and they gave valid reasons that you didn't accept. Or, maybe you let others come in late and didn't do anything about it because you had it in for this employee.

Sure, anyone can sue over anything, but the examples you gave could easily be construed as not factual and this potentially defamatory.

In the end, we may just have to agree to disagree.

3 days ago
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Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin

Registered Coward v2 Re:It's not really accepting Bitcoin any more than (152 comments)

By your reasoning, Dell doesn't accept credit cards either.

Credit cards don't claim to be currency either, nor does the company accepting it have to worry they'll be able to turn the receivables into cash. Bitcoin, however,is not s liquid so if Dell accepted Bitcoin they could be stuck with a large stash that is not easy to turn into cash. Credit cards also let you make large purchases, depending on your credit limit. A million dollar Bitcoin buy may be much more difficult since the processor is assuming all the risk while giving out cash with no assurance stye Bitcoins will be worth what they paid for them.

3 days ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (423 comments)

My point is not that the employee would win; but that what you say and think is a fact may not be taken that way and thus references can be a real minefield and therefore many company's policy is to simply verify employment.

And my point is that simply verifying employment when asked a completely different question is going to open up exactly the same risks anyways... because the employee can argue that being asked about performance and responding only with dates of employment creates the stong implication that there may be something wrong with the employee, and that implication is certainly no less subjective than any other allegedly subjective claim.

However, just because someone infers something from what was not said is in no way a defamatory statement by another since nothing was said. Just because the potential employer may imply that saying nothing is bad that does not mean the person who said nothing intended for them to so do, so arguing that somehow they defamed the former employer by saying nothing would be ridiculous and such a suit would probably be thrown out before right away.

So... you might as well just answer the question being asked, or at the very least, be explicit about *why* you won't answer the question... which again, can be entirely factual and objectively verifiable.

Sure. You can simply say "Our policy is to only verify employment" or " Our policy is to refer all such requests to HR..." which is what many companies do already. Answering the question asked, however, is a very different thing and opens up the potential of a lawsuit.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

Registered Coward v2 Re:How many? Hard to say (271 comments)

I work concurrently in a large company (45,000 employees) and a small company (50-ish, but for years we were in the 5-8 range). I am solidly convinced that the larger a company gets, the higher the number of excess employees.

certainly large companies have more excess employees, after all the are larger and if only 10% of a company's employees are excess then, using your example, one has 45k and the other 5 excess employees. I suspect the percentage is larger at large companies because it is easy to hide employees and hire, rathe than layoff, staff.

What is the right number of employees? It depends; largely on their revenue generating ability.I've worked at companies where if an employee was billable 65% of the time everyone was happy. I've worked projects where I did 20 hours of work and 40 of free time and that was fine because we still had huge margins. Not having the staff to put on projects costs more than keeping them around so they can work high margin jobs. I've worked at big companies and small ones and in defense of big ones is when you need resources to throw at project they have them; whereas small ones often don't.

4 days ago
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Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

Registered Coward v2 Re:Black box data streaming (503 comments)

Why haven't all airplanes been upgraded so the black box data is streamed to satellites/ground stations? It's so dumb to have to search for a airplane to find the data, that should be the fallback plan. Hey FAA, you listening?

Because there's probably way too much data for that to be a reasonable idea. Have you any idea how many planes there are flying at once?

And how much data does the flight recorder capture? 56k? and it doesn't even need to send it all. Location and some very low quality audio of radio communications would solve 99% of the problems we're having. It's kind of like the brain implants they've built for the blind in recent years. The first one they put into a guy only had a resolution of about 20 x 20 pixels. When asked how it was to see with such terrible resolution he said "I don't mind. If it stops me from getting hit by a car, I'll worry about being able to see a sunset for another day.

However, how often are black boxes not recovered? Sure, it would be useful in a few rare cases but does the cost justify it? There is already a load of data that gets transmitted during flight to data centers; and in the case of the missing Malaysia flight that data stopped after a while anyway so how can you be sure in those cases where you don't recover a lack box you'd still have useful data. I have no doubt more and more data will be streamed in the future, but you need to weigh the costs of retrofitting with the benefits.

4 days ago
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Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

Registered Coward v2 Re:Black box data streaming (503 comments)

That's a good point, but its a small percentage of flights that have Internet access. Even in the US.

Even in the US? I've never seen internet access on a US flight. Flying across Europe, the middle east and Africa, pretty much every plane I got on either had direct internet access or the plane offered streaming data you could pay for (i.e. it had internet, just no wifi) The lack of internet access in the US is entirely due to the FAA being stuck in the 1950s.

Uh, Delta has been offering pay as you go internet via wifi for a while now on their US flights. It works just fine. Other airlines probably do the same but I only fly Delta so I can't say for sure.

4 days ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (423 comments)

Point being, though... saying the employee didn't do the work they were expected to do doesn't need to be subjective at all.

Several points

1. Signing a poor performance review doesn't necessarily mean the person agrees with it; it is merely acknowledgement of receiving it.

2. Even if the signature is taken to mean agreement that doesn't mean a court could view it the same way. An employee could argue that they were afraid to lose their job and thus signed under duress.

3. Even if you think it isn't subjective that doesn't mean a jury wouldn't. You may believe what you said is factual; however they may not have been always true and thus not a true statement but a subjective one that could be construed as defamatory. You get into the "yes but he/she usually was a poor performer..." and then have to explain why you said they were a poor performer when it wasn't true since they did well sometimes. The follow on is "Maybe you gave them jobs they couldn't do to get rid of them. Is that the case?" What if at some point they got an award? How do you explain that?

My point is not that the employee would win; but that what you say and think is a fact may not be taken that way and thus references can be a real minefield and therefore many company's policy is to simply verify employment.

4 days ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (423 comments)

And if you provide the factual information that they were fired because they were repeatedly late for work, or because they didn't do the work they were iinstructed to do, that too, or even if they simply didn't measure up to the standards you had laid out, that would be just as much of a fact as when they were working for you.

Those, however, could be open to interpretation. How do you verify they were late? What was your policy and how was it enforced? What is repeatedly? Were your instructions clear? How did you let them know they we not doing what you wanted? Your standards clear and how did yoyo measure them? All of that is subjective to an extent, and thus may or not be considered the truth.

5 days ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (423 comments)

Not because they would lose a lawsuit but want to avoid one in the first place.

I get that... but when you get down to it, really, absolutely *anything* that they say other than "this employee was a good worker", especially if person calling about the reference actually asks a specific question pertaining to that, and the former employer provides what is essentially a non-sequitur answer that clearly reeks of wanting to avoid a lawsuit, which could certainly end up causing the person to not get hired, so the ex-employee could still try to sue them for saying stuff about the former employee that may have finalized the decision with the prospective employer to not hire them. The former employer can be just as damned if they do say something bad as damned if they don't say something good. They won't lose a court case, but would they lose, in court, if the previous employer just said that the employee didn't fit in with their company culture, or some such thing? After all, the employee isn't likely to know exactly what they said about them before filing a lawsuit... at most they would know only that something that they said led to the person not getting hired.

Sure, anyone can file a lawsuit; but if you all you provide is factual information, such as dates of employment, there can be no defamation. When you go beyond that and start saying things that are open to interpretation then you get into trouble; so not saying anything about performance is the safe course.

5 days ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (423 comments)

if it is corporate policy not to say anything beyond verifying dates of employment and possibly other facts such as title and last salary.

But that's not what you said. You said "We can only say positive things about the employee. I will therefore remain silent."

This is very different from "Our policy says that we cannot give any review of any employee's service"

While it may be difficult to get the new employer to say why they didn't hire you, there are plenty that will admit that it happened at the reference check.

I never said I would say "We can only say positive things about the employee. I will therefore remain silent." Those are your words. II only indicated I would follow my employer's guidelines, which would be to refer them to HR for verification of employment. In cases where it was somebody who was a good employee and left for a better opportunity, when asked for a reference I've worked out an agreement on what would be said and ask they use my personal, not work, contact information.

Even if the prospective employer said it was a reference check that cost them a job that does not prove it was your statement that caused it and even if it was since ethe information provided, dates of employment, was factual it's not defamatory.

5 days ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (423 comments)

If you can intentionally convey a message, it can be taken that way, and be used in court that way. A jury would certainly agree that it was meant as a negative review.

On what grounds would you sue? You have neither slandered no libeled the employee since you have said nothing; and proving you said nothing as a way of conveying a negative message would be high bar to cross, especially if it is corporate policy not to say anything beyond verifying dates of employment and possibly other facts such as title and last salary. In any case silence is not knowingly and / or maliciously making a false statement about someone, despite how someone may perceive the silence.

To prove you defamed them they need to show you intentionally made negative statements that damaged their reputation and you knew those statements were false. Not saying anything does not meet that basic standard and a jury would be hard to convince that not saying anything about a person's performance met that standard.

Specifics may be difficult to nail down, but financial harm would be easy enough to prove. Even worse, this doesn't even have the benefit of using truth as an absolute defense.

That's the problem. If you can't nail down specifics to prove a statement (or silence) resulted in you not getting the job then you can't prove any harm. Couple that with the prospective employer is probably only going to say "we found a better candidate and hired them" without giving specifics so they avoid being sued as well and you can see why such a case is hard to win.

As for not being able to use the defense "it was a true statement" since you have made no statement their is no need to prove the truthfulness of what you said or didn't say.

5 days ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (423 comments)

Realistically, if the employee was good I would say so, otherwise silence tells its own story.

And therein lies the problem. Silence then becomes a negative, and can open them up to a lawsuit.

On what grounds? You have not defamed or libeled the employee, and it would be hard to prove they didn't get the job because you didn't give a reference. Sure, you might find a lawyer to take the case but such a case seems beyond a long shot given how hard it is to win when they do give a bad reference.

More to the point, the very premise of providing a reference serves no purpose to the former employer, and is only done as a professional courtesy to the new employer. The status of the employee is meaningless to the old, so why risk a lawsuit when there is nothing to be gained?

Exactly, which is why many do not give meaningful references.

5 days ago
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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (423 comments)

Are there any explicit laws or precedents that indicate what specifically which data is safe for an employer to divulge that will not be considered incriminating to the character of the employee? I'd like references to them, if possible...

It varies by state to state depending on their laws and what recent court cases have decided so it's hard to say "this is safe / this is not" with any certainty. As an employment lawyer friend pointed out to me, employment law changes with every lawsuit so what was true yesterday may not be today. Thus, many companies prefer to err on the safe side. Not because they would lose a lawsuit but want to avoid one in the first place.

If a prospective employer of a former employee of yours calls and asks you what kind of worker they were and you retort with what is essentially a non-sequitur by saying that all you can give are the dates that they worked there, that's going to paint a pretty clear picture that if you say anything else about the employee, you feel like they might try and sue you, and that will still almost universally lead to them not hiring that person (employers tend to shy away from employees who might try and sue former employers for saying something that wasn't false).

Good point, although many may realize it's simply a way companies protect themselves and not be swayed by it. It's not just former employees that sue either. a company that hires someone could sue the previous employer if they gave a reference that resulted in hiring someone who turns out to cash etch same problems they did a previous job but the previous employer gave a good reference while aware of the issues.

5 days ago

Submissions

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Get off my lawn

Registered Coward v2 Registered Coward v2 writes  |  about 9 months ago

Registered Coward v2 (447531) writes "Identifying a nerd was easier years ago — calculator on the belt and a box of Hollerith cards. Part computer program, part note card, and part bookmark, they were a readily available source of nerd badges at any campus. As with many tech icons, they have drifted into oblivion.

So what do you do if:

you got a new computer, or maybe a software upgrade, only to find — error message! — that some of your old files are incompatible.

and the files you have are valuable historical data needed for current research? How about finding a USB compatible Hollerith card reader?"

Link to Original Source
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Supreme Court to hear First Sale Doctrine case

Registered Coward v2 Registered Coward v2 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Registered Coward v2 (447531) writes "SCOTUS is set to hear a case to determine how copyright law and the doctrine of first sale applies to copyrighted works bought overseas, imported to the US and then sold. The case involves a foreign student who imported textbooks from Asia and the resold them in the US to help fund his education. He was sued by the publisher, lost and was ordered to pay $600k in damages. Now SCOTUS gets to weigh in on the issue."
Link to Original Source
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iPads as overhead projectors

Registered Coward v2 Registered Coward v2 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Registered Coward v2 (447531) writes "A University of Michigan professor has combined iPads with a set of software tools to create an effective replacement for projected Powerpoint, clickers, and the like to allow students to interact and annotate the lecture notes on iPads, iPhones, and computers. As he puts it, he has used these tools to create " show your slides + ask questions of students (multiple-choice, true-false, rearrange lists, image-based and free response — take THAT clickers!) and display the results in real-time + collect and answer student questions + have access to analytical data on student participation + DRAW ON THE SLIDES LIKE WITH AN OVERHEAD!"

Even better — a roller equipped overhead."

Link to Original Source
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Apple Time Capsules Dying

Registered Coward v2 Registered Coward v2 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Registered Coward v2 (447531) writes "Reports are surfacing of dying power supplies in Apple's Time Capsule drives, leaving users with vey nicely designed 9and expensive) paper weights. The problem appears to be failure of the internal power supply, making it impossible to power up the device. One website logged 260 reports of dead Apple Time capsules since going live last weekend. Apple has not yet responded to reports of this problem."
Link to Original Source
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It's football, not a funeral

Registered Coward v2 Registered Coward v2 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Registered Coward v2 (447531) writes "From a Notre Dame University press release: In an effort to encourage appropriate behavior, fans will be able to utilize a new text messaging system to report any instances of unruly or disruptive behavior in conjunction with home games, including inside Notre Dame Stadium. The system will be in place beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturdays. Fans can simply text 41513 and type into the message the word "Irish" followed by a space, followed by a brief description of the issue and its location. Ushers, public safety personnel and/or University officials will respond as needed.

Interesting use of technology; but even with ND's performance on the field it's still a football game. I guess they expect people to sit quietly and occasionally utter a "nice play" and clap politely. At least you now have a way to complain about cold hotdogs and dirty toilets."
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Registered Coward v2 Registered Coward v2 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Registered Coward v2 (447531) writes "Best Buy has been caught using an intranet to limit price matching of their own web site. http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-watchdog0302, 0,5198012.column?coll=hc-utility-local Apparently, according to a company spokesman, their employees find it difficult to distinguish between accessing an internal site and their own external ones. Of course, they have no problem distinguishing between a higher and lower price nor charging the higher one."

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