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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Convince Management To Hire More IT Staff?

wisty Re:One word (383 comments)

So really, you just want your reports to keep you entertained, by showing walking you through their working. (Or maybe "in the loop", rather than "entertained").

Unless you've got complete incompetents reporting to you, that shouldn't be necessary (except to keep you in the loop, which I do agree is important).

But when people have a *real* problem that they can't solve (i.e. someone needs to be on a performance plan; or the project is failing and needs a massive overhaul; or the budget needs to be increased) then going to a manager with a solution might not always go down so well.

I guess there is some middle ground (hiring one more staff member, slight scope changes, etc). But I don't think most people have an issue making those kind of suggestions.

"Bring a solution, not a problem" is a good maximum for normal decisions, but it's also a crutch managers use when they don't want to make a hard decisions. It's a lame way to say "Nope, I just don't want to think about that ... just deal with it".

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Convince Management To Hire More IT Staff?

wisty Re:One word (383 comments)

Yes, and these are probably the ones management shouldn't even hear about (except in some update meeting).

You don't go to your boss saying "it would run faster if we cached X" or "Jim doesn't know how to use the API, so I'll show him how". You just do it.

The only reason someone asks their boss is if they aren't the right person to make the decision. If Jim can't use the API because he's just not competent, or there's no way a program will perform well without making major change, then that's something the boss needs to deal with.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Convince Management To Hire More IT Staff?

wisty Re:One word (383 comments)

The problem is, the problem is often the management. And while they can be fixed, it's very time consuming.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Are Tech Job Requirements So Specific?

wisty Re:To hire specific people (465 comments)

To be fair, HR are often doing exactly what the PM stupidly asked them to do. The problem is, HR don't understand the domain well enough to make flexible judgements.

The conversation will go something like this:

PM: "Get someone to replace Jill".

HR: "What does Jill do?"

PM: "She maintains the backend for the web app"

HR, not entirely sure if they want to know what any of those words mean: "Could you be more specific? What skills does she need to do her job?"

PM: "I'lll get her to send you a list".

So what's the solution, assuming you still need HR in the loop?

A lot of companies now separate the skills into "essential" (if you can't make a web app in a language like Python, Ruby, Perl, don't bother), and "nice to have" (RoR experience). The phrase "ability to rapidly acquire skills in" is also good - you don't really need git experience if you've used some other version control.

about a year ago
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Art Makes Students Smart

wisty Re:Multi-Modal Education (187 comments)

"Learning styles" is mostly debunked (just google "learning styles debunked").

I'd imagine it's mostly just that art is an engaging way to show students what the "big picture" is. If you could force them to learn about history from a text book, it would be equally good ... it's just that reading about history isn't so engaging.

Different "learning styles" aren't useful because they "exercise different parts of the brain". Different mediums are good because some are more engaging, or easier to understand. (And no, it's not "different students like visual things more" ... most students would rather look at a painting than transcribe a lecture on Napoleon's march to Russia - individual variations are often less important that the fact that *most* students find pictures kind of interesting).

about a year ago
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Art Makes Students Smart

wisty Re:Holy Crap!!! (187 comments)

> Several weeks after the students in the treatment group visited the museum, we administered surveys to all of the students. The surveys included multiple items that assessed knowledge about art, as well as measures of tolerance, historical empathy and sustained interest in visiting art museums and other cultural institutions. We also asked them to write an essay in response to a work of art that was unfamiliar to them.

> These essays were then coded using a critical-thinking-skills assessment program developed by researchers working with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Then from the actual article (well ... the abstract):

> Students who participated in the School Visit Program demonstrated significantly stronger critical thinking skills when analyzing a new painting.

So basically, visiting a museum makes students a little more interested and knowable about art. I'm not sure that actually makes them better thinkers (unless they want to be art critics).

The tolerance thing is the only really interesting thing. I guess learning about history (especially in an engaging way, even if it's a little shallow) can put things in perspective. You would equally say that watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos could help students see the big picture.

about a year ago
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Time For a Warrant Canary Metatag?

wisty Re:Slavery hack (332 comments)

My guess is, the harder it is to maintain a canary the less likely you are to get in trouble for breaching it.

If you promise to do a silly dance, and put it on Youtube every day, they may find it difficult to force you to continue. They might be able to take some action against you, but you have the paper-thin defence that you forgot to do the silly dance, or that your canary was simply not something that users really expected you to carry on with. Or you could even just make the silly dance less silly.

On the other hand, manually removing a tag from a page, or killing an automated canary is obviously a deliberate step you took to signal the search. They can definitely treat "sudo kill -9 canary", or manually editing a web page as a step you took to breach the gag order.

If you want to risk a canary, don't make it fully automated. There's no way in hell you'll get away with it.

I'm not a lawyer. I don't know if a "dead man's switch" is OK, because they they can't force you to press it. But I'm pretty confident that a fully automated canary is simply not going to work.

1 year,3 days
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Taiwan Protests Apple Maps That Show Island As Province of China

wisty Re:Not a mistake (262 comments)

Yes, they do. It's like saying "You can put a nude scene on the disk, and lock it in countries where the censors won't approve".

No .. you can't. Because someone will find a way to bypass your safeguards, and the censors will be angry. It's not a "cultural sensitivity" thing, it's a "this product will get banned from import" kind of thing.

1 year,22 days
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Taiwan Protests Apple Maps That Show Island As Province of China

wisty Re:H-1Bs ? (262 comments)

> Maybe if the Chinese weren't buying so many U.S. Megacorp products this wouldn't be happening.

FTFY

1 year,22 days
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Why Amazon Is Profitless Only By Choice

wisty Re:The problem being... (258 comments)

> You are really stupid, are you? Monopolies are _always_ exceedingly bad, no exceptions. That is Economy 101, first week. Also, we are not talking about some general case, which seems to have escaped you, we are talking about Amazon.

If you are talking about a real world system, using the word "_always_", and calling someone else stupid, I hope you are being ironic.

Because there's _always_ exceptions to the rule, in real world systems.

1 year,24 days
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How To FIx Healthcare.gov: Go Open-Source!

wisty Re:Rearrange the deck chairs. (307 comments)

Is it being developed by private contractors?

The US is required to make all their work public domain in the United States (kinda). But they can end-run it by hiring contractors, instead of employees.

It would be in the spirit of the law to require that all work by contractors is also public domain (to the extent to which it is technically feasible - I guess they can't force companies to release library code so easily), but they don't really care.

about a year ago
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AMD's New Radeons Revisit Old Silicon, Enable Dormant Features

wisty Re:Do the kids still chase the newest video card? (75 comments)

> from what I've read they're only comparable to current mid-range PC GPUs.

Yeah. But that's still shit-loads better than a 10 year old high-end PC GPU.

about a year ago
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Former NSA Honcho Calls Corporate IT Security "Appalling"

wisty Re:I can confirm this (174 comments)

It's not about "real security" (which is too nebulous). They do make an effort, and spend lots of money ... on a big firewall to protect the whole org.

It's about protecting specific assets. For example, you can take the whole NSA offline, which is a fantastic moat. But if one single insider can get root access to basically anything he wants, it's not protecting core assets.

Most businesses are even worse - high risk assets can be sitting on a shared drive where everyone in the company can access them.

about a year ago
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Did Apple Make a Mistake By Releasing Two New iPhones?

wisty Re:Apple makes money either way... (348 comments)

The iPhone is no longer a killer phone. Androids are basically the same.

The killer feature of the iPhone is no longer its looks, or its browser. It's the apps. A low-end iPhone will make the app market larger (so Apple will get their 30% on app sales / IAP), and will keep app developers happy (and make them less likely to target Android).

Apple has already seen what happens when a cheap competitor undercuts them, and steals all the developers.

about a year ago
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On Eve Of Election, Australia's Conservatives Announce Mandated Filtering Policy

wisty Another scandal too? (87 comments)

There's a thread on reddit Australia - some guy claims a Liberal Party Facebook app is harvesting data using hex-encoded javascript. I'm pretty sure it's against their own privacy policy, the Facebook ToS, and possibly illegal.

about a year ago
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Australian State Bans IBM From All Contracts After Payroll Bungle

wisty Re:Lol (212 comments)

Requirements:

Make it better than the old system.

Make it work the same way as the old system.

Make it compatible with every else's system.

The only trade-off allowed is cost, since it's just tax dollars.

about a year ago
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Wikileaks Aiding Snowden - Chinese Social Media Divided - Relations Strained

wisty Re:hope it was worth it (629 comments)

Anime fan. You forgot that bit. And people always try to rationalise his flight to HK as something other than "it's basically the only place in East Asia that's not a dictatorship, or practically US occupied".

about a year ago
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Don't Panic, But We've Passed Peak Apple (and Google, and Facebook)

wisty Re:Glass??? (307 comments)

Lots of businesses refuse to open cases to upgrade. They just scrap the old machine (or sell it, or give it to someone less important), and buy a new one. This is businesses, with professional IT staff.

Consumers are mostly even worse.

So the number of people who'll bother opening their cases is very small. The number of people who'll do so, and buy Macs is even smaller.

With thunderbolt, you can do a lot of upgrades just by plugging in a box. This makes upgrading a lot easier for most customers. And since that will be the only upgrade path, there'll be more (and cheaper) components than there are today. Plus, the resale of these components should be higher, since they won't just be sold to geeks.

So I'd say that the new MacPro will be *more* upgradable, to most people, even most professionals. Especially the ones who buy Macs.

about a year and a half ago
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Linus Torvalds Promises Profanity Over Linux 3.10-rc5

wisty Re:Profanity? (334 comments)

> If all Linus is going to do is mouth off then perhaps it's time he just STFU and GTFO

Rubbish. I bet 99.99% of the time he's calm, collected, and insightful. But Slashdot doesn't report on "Linus explains why the new patch improving memory use in large systems is a great example of OO-style C".

about a year and a half ago

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