Saturday, July 15, 2017

Non-compete agreements in tech a problem for employees in some states, especially in Idaho

Conor Dougherty of the New York Times has a disturbing front page article today “Quit your job for a better one? Not if you live in Idaho”, link .  The article discusses Idaho’s employer friendly non-compete agreement laws, making it relatively easy to sue employees (especially in tech companies) who quit for better-paying jobs with competitors.  “The Boys of Boise” indeed.  It is relevant that Boise, while a tech center, is geographically isolated.

California, on the other hand, doesn’t allow non-compete clauses.

Back in the early 1970s, EDS had a habit of firing programmers and suing them if they worked for someone else.

Wikipedia attribution link for Boise NASA aerial picture, p.d. 

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Security clearances and social media use

Here’s a piece by David Brown from early 2016 on the extra care techies with security clearances must use with personal social media, “Hold a security clearance?  Using social media can cost you your job

There is important discussion on “what is a public utterance?”  Apparently setting privacy settings (something insurance companies seem to advocate) doesn’t mean what you said isn’t public in the clearance area, where sometimes social media passwords are asked for.  This tracks backs to earlier discussions by me of “conflict of interest

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Would I go back to work at age 74? Maybe yes, "to serve my country"

As I approach my 74th birthday, I still wonder, would I go back to work?

I seem to have a full time job providing news content where “It’s free”.

But there are a couple of ideas where I think I could contribute something genuine by going back to work in a more formal way.

One of these is as a “business analyst” so to speak, specifically on health care policy  I do have about 18 years of insurance experience on my formal resume from the glory days  I could imagine revisitng Lewin (where I worked from 1988-1989 on simulating hospital Medicare operating margins --  there was a small corporate merger, so to speak, during this period in which I played a key, if unconventional, part).  But this time, work would be a kind of public service.  That is, figuring out a healh insurance plan that really will cover everybody and that can pass Congress.  I don’t care about the partisanship or about the “repeal then replace” jargon.   I presume the CBO has run models similar to Lewin’s.  Back in 1989, the government (PROPAC) ran models similar to Lewin’s on Medicare, and one of the technical problems turned out to be making sure that their own computer code (in COBOL) really matched the formulas and policies published in the Federal Register; in one critical incident, it did not.

As for policy, there are ideas, like making proper use of reinsurance, properly managing subsidies, and following some examples of private-public systems in countries like Singapore, Taiwan, and especially Switzerland, that could lead to a health care law that would work for both sides and yet seem to follow “conservative” principles supposedly favored by Republicans (although not allowing more tax breaks for the very rich).  For any policy, code has to be written to model it, and models have to be run with different policy parameter assumptions over different time periods.

The other would be that my blogging and associated body of research could be valuable to a news organization, probably one with a conservative focus.   OANN  (Washington Post critique)  is certainly interesting  as is Sinclair (which owns WJLA7)/   I think I could help a group like this in some specific areas, like health care, and energy policy (especially power grid security, which Sinclair has paid more attention to than any other major broadcasting company).  Of course, I am quite familiar with LGBT issues, ranging from the military issue of the past (and the transgender issue today) to HIV prevention and treatment, to workplace discrimination -- from the viewpoint of individualism, not identity politics.  And I am especially familiar with the potential pitfalls in the tech world, ranging from the phasing out of net neutrality to challenges to downstream liability protections (Safe Harbor and Section 230) and Internet business model challenges (from privacy concerns). Still another issue handling refugees and asylum seekers (the latter is much trickier) once this ridiculous travel ban fiasco gets sorted out (at least the Supreme Court made some progress in guidance on this recently).

Let me reinforce my conviction that the major news outlets (major newspapers, broadcasters, and CNN) are not purveying fake news (with rare exceptions). It is very important that the president and Congress answer to the valid criticisms being made about their behaviors.  I did work for NBC (as a mainframe computer programmer, Univac, on their financial systems) in New York City from 1974-1977.  That was a long time ago.  I wonder what it is like today.

I am not interested in contacting people to pimp things to them.  Since my end-of-2001 "retirement" I have gotten calls to sell life insurance, financial planning, tax preparation (some of these were more valid than others), even subprime mortgages, and Medicare replacement (with Advantage).  I'm not interested in being someone's lifestyle coach.  But I do understand that a lot of the US economy has been predicated on the idea of people being open to being approached by sales persons, and I haven't exactly played ball.  I don't think I'm a good fit to represent the interests of one particular charity or needs group (even AARP or LGBT insofar as it is an identity politics approach), or to supervise people in charity fundraising (I actually got a call about this out of the blue) or caregiving.

It isn't likely that my background fits exactly a conventional job posting at any such company.  But if I can help make a difference in solving this health care silliness once and for all, or in preventing a national catastrophe with the power grid (think solar storms, even North Korea) I would bite on it.
In the future, I expect that any detailed blog postings about my specific workplace experiences will be on my Wordpress “footnotes” blog, supporting my books, where I took up many of these issues (especially Internet speech) in the 2014 DADT III book.