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Fraud Bots Cost Advertisers $6 Billion

erp_consultant Not surprising to me.... (190 comments)

not in the least. I never click on those annoying ads unless its by mistake. Which begs the question...who exactly is clicking on those ads? And how many of those clicks add up to actual sales? I think it's a lot lower than advertisers would lead us to believe.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft's New Windows Monetization Methods Could Mean 'Subscriptions'

erp_consultant Re:Hard to see how a subscription would play well. (415 comments)

"Users are becoming increasingly OS agnostic." - Good point. I've got an Android phone, a MacBook, a laptop running Ubuntu and I use Windows for work. All the bases covered. More and more I just care about getting the job done and could care less about which OS I happen to be using. I think that's the way it should be. I would rather focus on the task at hand rather than some silly OS eye candy.

What is more important to me is security, not the OS itself. I want to be able to use a computer or a phone without worrying about someone stealing my identity. That is the only thing worth paying for.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft To US Gov't: the World's Servers Are Not Yours For the Taking

erp_consultant Proton Mail (192 comments)

Just wondering if anyone has used this?

https://protonmail.ch/

It promises end to end encryption - and they don't have the encryption key. So if Uncle Sam comes knocking they have nothing for him :-)

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft's New Windows Monetization Methods Could Mean 'Subscriptions'

erp_consultant Bad move... (415 comments)

it will only accelerate the adoption of OSX and Chromebooks. Windows 8 home version costs about $100. It should be good for about 5 years before having to upgrade it. That works out to $20/year. Anything more than that does not make sense - unless they are going to offer some sort of extended support beyond the 5 years.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

erp_consultant Some advice.... (317 comments)

It looks like you want to continue on the management track. In that case, your best best is to get an MBA. Yes, it's difficult and expensive but you might be able to get your employer to pay for at least part of it. I think that certifications are generally better for hands-on types. As a manager you're not likely to get much of that. If you just want to nibble around the edges in the technology then look at taking some of the free online courses. You won't get degree or any course credit out of it but it will give you an exposure to it.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

erp_consultant Re:Maybe it's time for wage tariffs? (398 comments)

"We have been getting rid of tariffs on goods because they are little more than corporate welfare and because they hurt Americans, in particular low income Americans." - Can you site an example of how this is true? How does forcing American companies to pay the prevailing American wage hurt Americans? Flooding our labor market with cheap imports hurts Americans.

"The only way US workers get higher paying jobs (and that also means better benefits and better security) than overseas workers is by actually being better." - I have worked with a lot of offshore developers and have managed them as well. In my experience, American workers ARE better. I'm not just talking about basic coding skills. I am talking about basic communication skills. In most cases, English is not the first language for offshore workers. In many cases, I found that they were simply not able to understand the requirements. I would ask them if everything was clear and they would say "Yes" and proceed to deliver code that does not solve the business requirement. This would happen time and time again. In some cases I was forced to give it to an American that understood and was able to finish the job. This is the hidden cost of offshore development. Time differences, cultural differences that lead to misunderstandings,constant code rewrites. Over time that adds up and erodes the initial cost savings.

about two weeks ago
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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced

erp_consultant Maybe it's time for wage tariffs? (398 comments)

For a long time there have been tariffs to protect the importation of cheap goods (lumber, steel, etc.) from foreign countries into the USA. This system allows US companies to compete fairly against goods from other countries where wages and regulations give them an unfair advantage.

I think it is time for wage tariffs as well. If there truly is a shortage of skilled IT workers, as all the big companies are crying about now, then they should be forced to pay a tariff for importing cheap foreign labor. This system would help to protect US IT workers by forcing companies to pay a fair market value for their skills. And if the companies truly cannot find anyone in the US to do the work then the company should not complain about paying a wage tariff. They would be filling needed skills and acting in the best fiduciary interests of their shareholders, which is their legal responsibility.

Personally, I don't believe for a minute that there is any shortage at all. The only shortage is the number of US IT workers that are willing to work for sub par wages. My prediction is that if such a system were in place the number of H1-B workers would be reduced to practically zero. Only in the cases where skills were truly needed and nobody in the US could be found to do a given job would you see foreign workers brought in.

That is the way the system is supposed to work anyhow. An additional benefit is that all of this could be accomplished without the need of unions, which introduce a whole host of issues in their own right.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

erp_consultant Be careful (376 comments)

It might seem enticing to move into a management job but it's not for everyone. The skills that have made you an excellent programmer might not necessarily make you a good manager. I often use sports analogies to illustrate this. Look at all of the former outstanding athletes that have been utter failures as coaches and/or general managers.

The other thing to consider is this: if you are a good programmer it is probably because you really enjoy it and have worked hard at it to improve. Are you going to enjoy being a manager? Because if you don't really enjoy it then those 2 hour meetings are going to seem like they last all day long.

I have tried my hand at management and it's not for me. Most of the meetings seemed like, for me, a waste of time. I liked fixing code that didn't work. I didn't like fixing other peoples petty personnel squabbles. Lower and middle management can be a real wasteland. I looked around the room and I saw a lot of people that were not very good at what they did. Many of them seemed resigned to the fact that they were never going to get promoted into upper management. Many of them exhibited poor leadership and decision making skills. The worst part of it was all the politics and back stabbing. I just couldn't stomach it.

So I decided to stick with what I enjoy and what I'm good at.

Having said all of that, it was a valuable experience. I admire good managers. It's a tough job. If you are fortunate enough to have a good manager then count yourself lucky. Being a manager gave me valuable insight into the "other" side of business - the non technical side of it.

If you want to stay with programming you can. I know a lot of people in their 60's that are working at it and doing well. Unfortunately, all of them are consultants. Age discrimination is real. But as a contractor, employers see you differently. Instead of being a medical liability you are praised for your experience.

about three weeks ago
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Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Considering US Presidential Run

erp_consultant Re:Doesn't matter who runs... (433 comments)

I think that the problem stems from the fact that it's difficult to attract "good" candidates to run for office. As soon as one enters Federal politics you can pretty much give up your privacy. That's a big price to pay and one that not many are willing to sign up for. It's a price that not only you have to pay but also your family has to pay.

I admire people that have the courage to run for office. It's certainly not something I could ever do. So the pool of prospective candidates is reduced to one of relative weakness. I'm not pretending to have any answers...it's just an observation of where we are.

about three weeks ago
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Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina Considering US Presidential Run

erp_consultant Doesn't matter who runs... (433 comments)

No matter who the Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter) nominate that person will become poisoned by Washington. It is a cesspool of lobbyists, special interests and wedge issues.

Policy has become a bidding war between rich corporations.

about three weeks ago
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Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

erp_consultant Re:The Technical conundrum.... (204 comments)

As i understand it, you can rise quite high at Google as a purely technical person. Google, being a newer company, tends to have a flatter organization structure than older more established companies. Old companies (Banks, Government, Automotive, Insurance, etc.) tend to have a lot of fat in the middle.

about a month ago
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Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

erp_consultant The Technical conundrum.... (204 comments)

This kind of thing seems to happen a lot in big companies. People that are deemed "talented" in technical jobs are "promoted" into management jobs. Other managers see this as some sort of reward for being so good at what you do. Often the technical person has risen as far as they can in terms of salary and responsibility and the only place left to go is management.

That's the conundrum. Do you stay in your current position, effectively dead-ending yourself career wise, or do you make the leap into management for greater potential riches?

The problem, as I see it, is that very few companies offer a track to senior management by sticking to the technical path. Inevitably, someone will try and steer you towards project management or some other management job. Google is a notable exception to this.

Many technical people are just not well suited to management jobs. Too many meetings, too much posturing, too many political games...too many whatever. Putting people like this in management jobs helps nobody - especially the technical person that is Ill suited for management.

So what to do?

I think that salary ranges are part of the problem. It guarantees that eventually a person will "top out" salary wise at a given job. At that point you can either go the management route or, more likely, go to a competitor that offers more money. Your hand is kind of being forced. Instead, why not continue to give this employee raises? If they have hung around long enough to get to the top pay scale and they are good at what they do then why force them to have to make that choice?

I have been a technical manager and I can say without hesitation that one great developer is worth more than 10 average ones. If I have a great developer on my team I'm going to pay them really well. If he ends up making more than me then so be it. In the end, I will look good because this rock star will carry the team. It's a win-win.

about a month ago
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Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

erp_consultant I admire what they are trying to do but... (167 comments)

Ello has a steep climb ahead of itself. They seem to have adopted the mobile app business model. You get most of the functionality for free but if you want the good stuff you'll have to spend a few bucks.

Personally, I'd be happy to give them a few dollars if I had an iron clad guarantee that none of my personal information is going to be shopped to the highest bidder.

But in the social network space it's all about scale. Massive scale like Facebook and Twitter have. It's going to be a tough sell to people that are used to getting the apps "for free". Its not really free of course -- you just pay FB and Twitter using a different currency (information rather than money). But of course, most people don't understand that. They think that FB is "free" because you don't have to give them any money.

Then along comes Ello asking you to pay. It's going to be a tough sell.

I can see the comparisons with Google+. It's out there and it's pretty good but nobody you know uses it so you don't use it either.

about 2 months ago
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Flight Attendants Want Stricter Gadget Rules Reinstated

erp_consultant Re:They might have a point.... (406 comments)

I have to admit that most of my flights are short so I'm typically not on planes that are equipped to show the type of entertainment you mentioned. All I see are those old 4 inch screens on the seatback. So I've gotten used to bringing my own entertainment.

I've been travelling long enough to remember when food was really good on a plane. Especially if you were in first class. I fly first a lot and all I get is some snacks and a drink. Again, the longer flights have better meals in first class but on the short flights you don't get much.

Looks like I need to fly in Europe a bit more :-)

about 2 months ago
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Flight Attendants Want Stricter Gadget Rules Reinstated

erp_consultant They might have a point.... (406 comments)

Since the rules were relaxed on electronic devices on planes it's been kind of nice not having to turn everything off - just put it in airplane mode. What I'm worried about is allowing the use of cellphones in flight. We have all heard about recent skirmishes on planes over people reclining seats. What do you think will happen if cellphones are able to be used for the whole flight? Guaranteed in flight fights.

I'm not sure whether or not the flight attendants are considering this in their dispute but for the sake of all of us I hope they do.

Back in the day, airlines provided us with food and entertainment. Arguably, it was lousy food and entertainment but it was supplied none the less. Now we have no choice but to bring our own. At the same time, we are not provided with more space to store things. Sure you can check your luggage but that is not a viable option for frequent flyers. So the premium on space is even greater now than it ever was. The goal is to get on the plane as early as possible and secure your space for your stuff.

about 2 months ago
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The Correct Response To Photo Hack Victim-Blamers

erp_consultant Re:How are they not a victim? (622 comments)

"If your local bank gets robbed and you can't get accessed to your funds for a week, aren't you still a victim?" - If your local bank gets robbed there is Federal Deposit insurance that protects you in the event of a loss. As long as you have less than $250,000 in each individual account you are protected against loss. These are two entirely different issues.

"Or are you proposing that people don't put money in banks?" - No. I am proposing that people take reasonable precautions. Putting your nude photos on a phone is akin to having a safely deposit box and leaving it unlocked.

"Like a bank, these online storage services have a fiduciary responsibility to their customers" - Online storage services do NOT have a fiduciary responsibility to their customers. Why? Because those customers are not paying for the service. At least those that are using the free versions of Dropbox, etc. Now, if they are paying for the storage then you would have a stronger argument.

about 2 months ago
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The Correct Response To Photo Hack Victim-Blamers

erp_consultant It's not "Vicitim Blaming".... (622 comments)

it's a long forgotten attribute called taking responsibility for your own actions. If someone wants to take nude photos of themselves then go for it. But don't go whining when the photos get leaked.

How stupid can these people be?

They take a nude photo and store it on a cellphone that can easily be compromised or stolen - mistake #1
Then then store the photo on some "cloud service", or email it, or otherwise create copies of the photo that they can no longer control - mistake #2
Choose weak passwords that can easily be guessed - mistake #3

These days it seems that everyone wants to be a victim. Why? Because it provides a built in excuse for fucking up. Cast the blame on someone else rather than own up to your own mistakes.

about 2 months ago
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Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

erp_consultant I call BS on this one.... (575 comments)

It's all about control. Once the Federal government gets its nose in your business it never leaves.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Announces Windows 10

erp_consultant Re:Camel = Horse designed by committee... (644 comments)

The same XBox. I was being generous and trying to appear to not be some anti MS troll. Not to suggest that you are but I digress....

My point was that MS can build decent hardware. The often mentioned MS mouse and keyboards good examples. The Zune music player had some good technical attributes, despite being a dismal failure in the marketplace. Same with the Surface tablet.

The problem MS has, in my view, is that they can make decent products but they can't seem to convince people in the consumer market to buy them. And that is a Sales and Marketing failure. Time and time again MS comes out with good products that flop in the consumer market.

XBox, from a financial standpoint, has lost a lot of money as you point out. But MS's stated intent was to get a presence in the "living room" and from that standpoint I think they have succeeded.

about 3 months ago

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