Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Nasty Business: How To Drain Competitors' Google AdWords Budgets

Registered Coward v2 Re:Only if it's in google's interest to block this (95 comments)

...only if it's in Google's interest to block services like this instead of asking the victim to pay more money.

It is. If AdWords fail to provide a reasonable return people will stop using them and the price will drop significantly, cutting into Google's revenue. It's definitely in Google's best long term interest to stop this kind of thing.

yesterday
top

Bad "Buss Duct" Causes Week-long Closure of 5,000 Employee Federal Complex

Registered Coward v2 Re:The human side of the story (124 comments)

Perhaps you don't understand how governments and large corporations structure themselves in order to save money: they use contractors instead of employees for exactly that reason.

Regardless of the disaster scenario, employee/employer rules stipulate they have to pay their employees during the time when they're normally expected to work, even if they can get no productive work from them. If they have extended downtime due to fire, construction, etc., They would have to lay off the unused workers, which means paying unemployment benefits. Contracts, on the other hand, can be written so they can be paused or terminated at will. It's up to the contracting firm to manage the pay when they're "sitting on the bench", and most of those contracts provide no compensation for periods of non-work.

On the flip side, when you are hired as a contractor, you explicitly sign up for those risks. Even though it may look like a regular job, it isn't. It's a contract.

The human side of the equation was carefully measured and surgically extracted back when the government decided to use contractors instead of employees. Employees cost too much.

Oh, I realize that quite well. Government employees are required to take leave as well in many such situations unless they can work from home. The contractors are actually hourly employees of a company that then contracts with the government. Since government contracts, on a T&E basis, cannot pay for time not worked no matter the reason the contractor gets no money and doesn't pay their employees (who are actually employees not contractors so despite your employer / employee assertion there is no requirement to pay them) either. Sure they may realize that but that still doesn't change there is an often forgotten human side to such events.

yesterday
top

Do Apple and Google Sabotage Older Phones? What the Graphs Don't Show

Registered Coward v2 Re:Much ado about nothing (263 comments)

In the end, the professor, after writing thousands of words, comes to no conclusion.

He's an economist. That's his job.

yesterday
top

Do Apple and Google Sabotage Older Phones? What the Graphs Don't Show

Registered Coward v2 Re:Graph is search results, not speed measurements (263 comments)

The methodology of testing the hypothesis is to look for google searches about "iphone slow" or "samsung slow". Assumption made is if people search for "iphone slow" Apple might have done something to slow down iPhones. The control group is Samsung which has the same motive as Apple but not the means because it does not control the OS.

Actually, the data was gathered to see if the professor's view that his phone had slowed down was also shared by other iPhone users; they found an interesting correlation between search spikes and new iPhone models but were careful to say that doesn't prove anything other than people perceive a slowdown when a new phone comes out. He points out some valid reasons why the Samsung / Apple data differs, primarily that Apple releases a new version of IOS with the new iPhone and thus the new iOS may not be optimized for older hardware while many Android users remain on an older version. In addition, since the Andriod device makers don't control Android they may find it cheaper not to spend a lot of time on the OS and rather invest in hardware improvements as the differentiator.

yesterday
top

Bose Sues New Apple Acquisition Beats Over Patent Violations

Registered Coward v2 Re:Patent is for use without music? (161 comments)

As a simple analysis, Bose created and patented the noise-cancelling headphone. They made it and marketed that rather directly as noise-cancelling headphones, initially and specifically designed to do one thing..

Not really, the concept had been around a while, and pilots had been using them long before the first pair of Bose QCs hit the market. Bose, while he did a lot of research into ANR, popularized them for use outside of the cockpit. IMHO Bose are way overpriced, you can get a set of Audio Technica, or a if you prefer an open ear design, Sennheisers that cancel noise quite well for half the price of the Bose . A Sennheiser BT for about the same price but with BT. Al of them also work as regular headphones when the battery dies, unlike the Bose QCs.

yesterday
top

Bad "Buss Duct" Causes Week-long Closure of 5,000 Employee Federal Complex

Registered Coward v2 The human side of the story (124 comments)

Many of the effected people are not government employees, they are hourly contractors doing clerical and office work. They either have to take vacation or go without pay, and not getting paid for a week when you are making maybe $15/hour is not pleasant. Some can work from home but since the outage was unexpected they may not have their work laptop at home. How do I know this? I have a friend who works there.

2 days ago
top

Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs

Registered Coward v2 Re:What? (195 comments)

Now that Comcast will soon be the nation's only cable company, why don't they just tell the networks they will no longer pay for their channels once the current contract is up? What are the networks going to do, lose nearly all of their viewers overnight?

And Comcast would lose subscribers by the boatload as well.Cable companies have threatened that over fee disputes and the content providers tell subscribers "the cable company is taking away your sports..." Such battles don't last long as both are hostages of each other. With the OTA HD broadcasts if Comcast dud that you'd see some channels go that route if they could get airwave space; others go to internet delivery and fight with Comcast there. Comcast can't afford for companies to find alternative choices for cable because of the severe impact that would have on their revenue; as well as risking content providers discovering they can make more money and sell subscriptions at abetter price to viewers than via cable thus lowering the value of cable's subscriber base to them. The real losers will be those 200+ channels only six people watch but still get a few pennies per subscriber so it is financially viable to provide content for their six viewers.

2 days ago
top

Mac OS X Yosemite Beta Opens

Registered Coward v2 Re:Mac OS X Yosemite (165 comments)

Regarding pronunciation, I used to cringe/laugh every time Jobs said 'Jaguar.' It appears that there were three pronunciations depending on what you were referring to:

1. Mac OS: Jag-Wire

2. Large cat: Jaguar

3. British car: It's not running again

There. Fixed that.

As a side note, I wonder if Lucas' patent on the electrical short has expired yet.

4 days ago
top

Mac OS X Yosemite Beta Opens

Registered Coward v2 Looks like those who signed up when they first (165 comments)

announced the beta are already signed up even if they didn't get an email. I logged on under the email I requested a code for back right after the developers conference and got the code.

4 days ago
top

Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

Registered Coward v2 Re:Admiral Farragut - and Cmdr. Taggart (701 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."

about a week ago
top

Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

Registered Coward v2 Re:I don't see the problem. (667 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.

about a week ago
top

French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (424 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.

about a week ago
top

French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (424 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.

about two weeks ago
top

French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (424 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.

about two weeks ago
top

French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (424 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.

about two weeks ago
top

French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (424 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.

about two weeks ago
top

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.

about two weeks ago
top

Dell Starts Accepting Bitcoin

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

they're accepting GE stock because I can sell stock to a third party and use the money to buy a Dell product. Makes for a good headline though.

about two weeks ago
top

French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Registered Coward v2 Re:Do as they do in job references (424 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.

about two weeks ago
top

Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

Registered Coward v2 Re:How many? Hard to say (272 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.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

top

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
top

Supreme Court to hear First Sale Doctrine case

Registered Coward v2 Registered Coward v2 writes  |  about 2 years 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
top

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
top

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
top

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."
top

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."

Journals

Registered Coward v2 has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...