Friday, September 23, 2016

Criticism of new overtime pay rules; but IT workers probably make too much; more companies offer paid family leave anyway


The Obama administration’s new rule requiring overtime payment to white collar workers who make less than $47476 a year sounds as if it could be disruptive to IT workplaces.  It is already drawing criticism from libertarian sources, as on FEE, particularly with respect to telework from home.

Most IT people are used to production support and being on call, and informal arrangements to take comp time the next day when fighting fires.  Probably most experienced workers make more than that floor now.  In the 1990s, the didn’t (my salary at all ING-related jobs from 1990 to 2001 ranged from $40000 to $73000).

Back in the 1980s, at Chilton in Dallas, everyone supported his own subsystem once in production.  There was never any comp time or expenses paid for coming in to fight fires, because they were presumed to be the associate’s responsibility.

That sort of arrangement hardly sounds realistic today in social media companies where 24x7 support is the norm, and where work is much more fluid.  I’ve wondered what it is like to work for Facebook or Google (or Microsoft or Apple) and how rollouts to hundreds of millions or billions of users in real time are handled, across multiple server farms in many countries.

I recall another story on Atlantic (by Bouree Lam) about being the most “competent” person, whom others rely on to fight production fires. 

The paid family leave debate becomes relevant.  When on-call work is essentially unpaid, people with fewer family obligations tend to do more of it.  When I point this out, someone on Facebook says, my parents must have been suckers when they had me.  I owe it back just for being raised?  Bad karma?

Discovery Communications in Silver Spring MD is now offering very inclusive paid family leave for 12 weeks (includes adoption, foster placement, caregivers).

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Microsoft Windows 10 Update can give a "bugcheck"


On a Toshiba Satellite Laptop, which had converted from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 without difficulty, I allowed the conversion to 10 Anniversary Update.

The startup and restart are much slower, and a couple times required hitting the power button an extra time.

On one occasion the computer restarted after getting a "bugcheck", and then looped in the restart.  I got it to come up normally by holding down the power button for at least five seconds.

Toshiba Service Station has pestered me to uninstall and reinstall a new version of some specialized firmware, which I do not understand .

One problem is that Microsoft (unlike Apple) has to work with to many vendors.  When rolling out massive operating system changes, problems with firmware are inevitable.  Many home users don't have the coding or technical skills to maintain all this on their own, the way corporate IT departments would have.

In its effort to add unusual interactivity for users (and embellish the chat assistant Cortana, who is rather like an AI science fiction character) Microsoft is creating a world that many ordinary users don't have the necessary technical skill (aka Edward Snowden) to maintain.

On a travel notebook Lenovo (whose keyboard is connected by Bluetooth, which sometimes fails until the keyboard's own battery is recharged) Windows 8.1 did a update on shutdown which hung.  I hit the power key and it booted up normally and canceled the update.  I then deleted a few big unnecessary files since the
solid-state hard drive is relatively small, and an update while the machine was still on worked normally.
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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sales culture did Wells Fargo employees in


Michael Corkery and Stacey Cowley have a story that explains “sales culture” at Wells Fargo, in the New York Times Saturday, link. Employees were told formally not to set up fake accounts but were pressured to close three or four sales a day to customers somehow to keep their jobs, often low wage.  Almost sounds like debt collection culture.  Or, maybe, “always be closing”. Or what David Callahan calls "The Cheating Culture" (2004). 

Elizabeth Warren took down the Wells Fargo CEO in Sept, 20, CNN story here.  This is not "cross-selling", a buzzword that justifies mergers of financial companies.
CNN Money has a story about the reported tendency of the bank to scheme to fire ethics whistleblowers. 

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Applicants should ask about security, modernity when applying for software jobs


FEE (the libertarian Foundation for Economic Education) has an interesting list “Ten Questions You Must Ask When Applying for a Software Job” (David Veksler),  Job applicants should interview the employer, too!

The one that caught my eye was the first one, source code control. There was a lapse in an elevation on the job in the summer of 1991 that might have caused a catastrophe.  But mainframe shops as a whole didn’t start taking this seriously until around 1988 or so.

I think it’s interesting that he says coders don’t make good QA testers.  But in my environment three decades ago you tended to “own” your work and you had to be.  I think this remark sheds some light on why Obamacare had so many implementation problems – the older professionals who understood the importance of very thorough testing had been laid off and moved on to other things.

 He also says its important that companies have the latest toolsets.  No more “you make do with what you’ve got” to evade a hostile takeover, like it was getting in the late 80s.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Windows 10 latest build (1607) runs into a problem today (what is the "tmumh service"?


Today, Word seemed to get stuck. This is three days after the newest version of Windows 10 1607. This happened on the HP Envy Windows 10 newest rebuild as of Sept. 1, 2016.

So I tried a restart, and it kept spinning.  I reset the power button and it came up normally, and then did a restart, which worked promptly, and then was able to open Word.

I see a few diagnostics on the Event Log.  Microsoft seems to need to do a fix for this.

"The application-specific permission settings do not grant Local Activation permission for the COM Server application with CLSID
{6B3B8D23-FA8D-40B9-8DBD-B950333E2C52}
 and APPID
{4839DDB7-58C2-48F5-8283-E1D1807D0D7D}
 to the user NT AUTHORITY\LOCAL SERVICE SID (S-1-5-19) from address LocalHost (Using LRPC) running in the application container Unavailable SID (Unavailable). This security permission can be modified using the Component Services administrative tool."

and

"The tmumh service failed to start due to the following error:
The revision level is unknown."

I have no idea what the "tmumh service" is.  Here is a link.  It seems to come from Trend Micro. Maybe this is a Trend Micro problem interfacing with the new Windows 10 build?

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Windows 10 Anniversary Update runs today when you restart


Tonight, my main HP desktop (which had a replacement hard drive, solid state, installed in June) did a major Windows 10 update, the “anniversary” (13 months), version 1607.

Unlike most updates, the restart went through a complete “updating windows” session, and then did the usual “working on updates” with a restart at 30%.  The entire process took about 25 minutes, much longer than for a usual update.



The features of the update are described here.
 
 Some of the features are indeed superficial (including more warning messages about settings), but Microsoft claims major security enhancements, hopefully additional protection against execution of scareware or ransomeware.

Update: Sept. 4

On a Toshiba Satellite, the update took about 75 minutes, took a long time especially at 91% on the applying windows updates, and had to hit the power key once to get it to completely come up.