Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Amazon wants its employees to convert to the gig economy and start their own businesses with A-trademark; "skin in the game"?

Amazon has most recently attracted attention by announcing that it will pay existing employees a $10000 stipend (and the best three months of salary) and offer various support to start their own delivery businesses. CNBC has a typical story. 

Amazon reasons that this networked arrangement would shorten delivery times for prime customers.
The idea appears to be open only to existing employees.
The plan certainly follows the idea of the gig economy, following onto Uber and Lyft, for example.

A good question would be whether the franchisee’s could have a health care program set up for them to offer employees.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb had warned readers in his “Skin in the Game” book, “You must start a business.”  But does that mean hanging the sign of somebody else’s brand, their trademark?  Do you lose your own identity?

Monday, May 13, 2019

Working in a phone bank, probably this one is illegal; very regimented

Here’s a link inside a spam call center, by Jim Browning.

This looks more like a tech support scam than a robocall center to sell health insurance or warranties.
But imagine what it would be like to work there.  It’s probably in India.

This is what goes on in countries without good job markets. A “phone bank” used to be the only job some people could get.  But they aren’t “bad people”.  I’ve heard that said exactly.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Can your laptop ever be accidentally wiped out by nearby magnets?

Yesterday, while at the Parkway theater in Baltimore, while in a lounge, I put my laptop down on a table at it held the computer like a magnet.

I immediately pulled it away, put it on a hassock, and it worked oK.

I’m told that you don’t have to worry about modern laptops and ordinary household magnets.  I guess you don’t have to worry about being near power lines either.  Also smart phones, tablets, cameras, etc. should be OK.

But I definitely remember that you could not get away with putting old floppy disks next to kitchen magnets.

The TSA tells you not to bring unprocessed film through checkpoints.
It you are in a building, could a neighbor with a flux device wipe out your electronics?  Has this ever even happened?  That’s the idea behind E1 EMP  (a Popular Mechanics article in Sept 2001, just before 9/11). 

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Does under-employment drive the skills gap? Do low wages?

Matthew Yglesias has an interesting piece on Vox about how the skills gap is a result of unemployment or under-employment, not its cause.

During the later years of my IT career (through the end of 2001) it became harder to keep up with the “new stuff” because it was so different in work style from the IBM mainframe world, which everybody needed to have to get a job in the late 1970s.

And IBM was different from Univac (Exec 8), Vax, Unix, Linux, etc, which in the 2000’s began to retake the job market back.

Friday, April 19, 2019

"Not Everyone Should Code": the Dunning-Kruger Effect

OK, “Not Everyone Should Code”, at least according to PolyMatter, which offers a new online class called Skillshare.  It strikes me that Skillshare could help with some projects I have (music - Sibelius -- and video -- Final Cut).  

The average programmer salary is now said to be about $79800 in the US.  When I left ING at the end of 2001, I made $73000.

Tech companies push the idea and politicians in countries with the tech companies (the US) push it because it gives them cultural power.
The video talks about the public perception of a Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Will former Trump administration officials really be blackballed? Dangerous idea

SJW’s are pressuring Fortune 500 companies to blackball former Trump administration officials in hiring, especially over the family separation at the border issue, Phil Bedard story in the Washington Examiner here. 

This sounds a lot like some conservative commentators being cut off by payment processors.
Maybe it sounds like the beginnings of a social credit score system in the US.
Should people be blackballed for having worked for an employer whom we now decide is anti-social?  What about a tobacco company?

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

More techies tell newbies "do not 'learn to code'"; maybe, learn to sell?

There are quite a few videos out there about (don’t) “learn to code”.

This monologue from Silicon Valley is pretty typical. He warns that artificial intelligence may eliminate the jobs.

I can remember being called a “coder”.  I was the grunt who did the work, and fixed the abends in the night cycle (at my own expense, undermining other people’s jobs). Remaining an individual contributor made your personal life freer, however, as to other "choices". 
So I’m glad I’m “retired”, developing the content of websites trying to help people “connect the dots” among policy issues.