Sunday, September 24, 2017

NYTimes article takes on the issue of older people learning to code in "newer" OOP languages

“To Old to Code: That Does Not Compute”, an article in “retiring” I the New York Times by Vivian Marino, on p. 5 of the Sunday Business of the New York Times, Sept. 24, 2017.  The by line is “You don’t have to be young to master skills such as web design or programming.”

There is information on Khan Academy courses as well as “boot camps”.  I wonder if there is such a thing for music composition software like Sibelius.
I found the transition from “mainframe” (COBOL, JCL) to “client-server” back in 2000 difficult. But one problem is you have to build an application from bottom up and support it yourself to become good at things. That's especially true of object-oriented programming.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Landlords, condos, insurance companies may become more concerned about "working from home"

It’s becoming more common for a lot of people to set up their own small businesses to supplement income or replace income after layoffs, or after retirement. Multi-level marketing has appealed to many more extroverted people.

Back some number of years ago, you heard a lot about Amway.  You still do. 

Much like with a franchise, you become an “individual business owner.  This would appear to mean you have to take the legal steps:  a DBA name, probably a home-based business license in most communities, and state sales tax filing (article).  

A lot of people obviously do this in apartments and condominiums, and I have wondered if people get into trouble.  Probably not often, unless they have large meetings of “subordinates” (which they may need to have) in their homes, requiring traffic and parking. But as local and state government systems go more online and as “public records” become easier to find, it would sound logical in the future if landlords or some homeowner’s groups become intrusive. Even homeowner’s insurance companies might become concerned.

Yet, you hear cases where people rent Airbnb in apartments they rent under the table, like here
I do wonder if this kind of problem could break out into the open. 

Another topic would be work-at-home customer service agents for companies like Sykes Alpine Access (list for VA).  But these sound like telecommuting jobs, not individually owned home-based businesses requiring legal documentation as such.  

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

What if the federal government tries to guarantee everyone a job?

Vox has a provocative article by Dylan Matthews, “What America Would look Life if It Guaranteed Everyone a Job”. 

I presume this would try to keep retirees (even me) working as long as possible, maybe well into their 80s, and cut social security dependence.

It would practically force people used to solitary “individual contributor” work into social contact with those in need or at other cognitive levels – note the child care, eldercare, etc. 

It is hard to see if less skilled people could do the infrastructure career.

It would also end the “inherited capital” based career I have as a citizen journalist.  You could only publish when you were going to get paid for it.  

Sunday, September 03, 2017

I do end user testing of companies as a customer

I worked on billing systems on two of my major employment gigs from the 80s into the 90s. 

Recently, I did overlook a bill with my local gas company.   I had had problems with its website before, but when I got a collection notice, I went online immediately and got in, and paid by check.

At first, it seemed to work.  The site listed the payment as “pending”.

The payment did not show up on my bank.  So I checked an hour later and the payment had disappeared. I did not get a confirming email. But I had written down the confirmation number. So I called the collections department.  The collector couldn’t find the payment, so I did it over the phone again.  It disappeared again.

The next day, though, both payments showed up again. 

Am I doing the user testing for this company’s collections system even though I don’t work for them?  

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Workplace rudeness

Jennifer Breheny Wallace has a nice WSJ essay, “The cost of workplace rudeness”, link here

I got my share of accusations of this over the years.  “Bill doesn’t know what he did.”  You would be surprised how people can interpret things, in their own space.

One time, a clerk at a Rite-Aid claimed it was rude for someone to put money down on a counter in front of her, thinking it implied she was untouchable because she was black.  That was the farthest thing from my mind.  It was just the physical arrangement of the space.  

I wonder how this issue would have played out on "The Apprentice". 

Sunday, August 06, 2017

A real job, again

Here's an example of a real job.

The cornet did not move off load point very much while I filmed.

Blue collar, anyone? 

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

More white collar people take proletarian blue collar jobs

The bourgeoisie may be turning into the proletariat, one person at a time, according to  USA Today article July 31 by Paul Davidson, ‘Tired of the Corporate Grind: A Blue-Collar Job Might Be for You”, link here.

Maybe a welding job is for you?

This has happened before. Even back in 1992, with the George H W Bush recession, the advice was to “take grunt work.”

In the next-to-last story in my DADT-III book, “Expedition”, this happens to one of the characters. 
For retirees, the issues has been more about being pushed into hucketerism.   Then there is the 1978 movie "Blue Collar".  Or my 1969 novel draft "The Proles" where this sort of thing has to happen. 

This may get us back to the doomsday prepper world.  How many of us can do our own home repairs?