Thursday, March 23, 2017

I get an all Windows 10 laptop, not converted from an earlier version


I finally picked up an all Windows 10 laptop today – a 2016 machine with Windows10 Cumulative as the original operating system, and not converted from 8 or 7.  It is the Asus “In Search of Incredibile” (like the 2005 animated movie “The Incredibles”) the Q11222.  It has a rather perfunctory quick start guide.

The trackpad now insists that you use only one finger, which is pretty hard to get used to (exception, when using a browser scroll bar).  So I got the mouse, which uses up one USB port.  There are two USB 3.0 ports, as well as a new USB-C.

The memory is 16G and the solid state drive is 512G.  It is about as fast at startup as any computer I have every had.



ASUS is from Taiwan, so I haven’t made America great again,  But at least Taiwan isn’t part of the former Red China (although there is still a one China policy)

This should be good for travel.  I don’t see Dubai or the middle East soon.  But I worry that problems with being able to carry laptops on board could spread.  But the ASUS is "well boxed".

Monday, March 13, 2017

Trump/Bannon war against federal "administrative state" has more good than bad news for job markets


Time Magazine has a feature story Marcy 20, “Inside Donald Trump’s War Against the State”  which comports with Steve Bannon’s promise “to disassemble the administrative state” (or was it "deconstruct"?).  How this matches up against nationalism, I’m not so sure.

But the Washington Post offers Damian Paletta’s front page story this morning, “Historic cuts in Trump budget; Plan would shake government; Top workforce contraction since end of World War II”.
 
How would this affect subsidiary jobs in the area;  will contractors also get cuts?  It seems to be mostly outside of the military and law enforcement.  Jobs in defense, homeland security and law enforcement (and especially in areas like cyber security) should increase.  W-2 contracting jobs for states' social service agencies could increase around the country if states have to take over more of their own business.   That could be good for the market nationwide but not so good locally in DC.  It might not be so good for real estate values either.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

GOP bill could give employers more access to associate genetic test results


MSN reports about a House bill that would allow employers to see employee genetic test results, if it’s in connection with an employee wellness program (presumably related to workplace hazards), story link here.

During my last year, 2001, at ING (now Voya) in Minneapolis, there was an employee wellness program that paid a slight bonus for getting an annual physical.  That resulted in my starting mild hypertension medication.



By the way, you may want to read George Will’s column, “The Liberals Who Love Eugenics”  with a video about disruptive protests at a Vermont college when libertarian author Charles Murray spoke.  I’ll mention that there have been negative news stories about IQ and immigrants from poor countries – but the cause is probably educational and cultural deprivation during childhood (which Nicholas Kristof and others want to address) and disease rather than raw genetics itself.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Companies pay their associates to disconnect completely during vacation


NBC News reported tonight that some companies will actually pay associates a bonus for staying disconnected from work during a vacation.  That means no reading of email or accessing corporate servers in any way (as to check on production cycles in I,T.)  NBC’s link for the report is here.

One of the companies was Olark Live Chat in San Francisco.  The report also mentioned Seed Factory Branding in Atlanta.

Unplugged vacations are legally mandatory in some European countries.

During my last two years at ING I did have four weeks vacation.  I went to Europe twice (1999, 2001).

Since I know somebody at Interface Engineering, I wonder how it fits into this paradigm.  The "paperless" drive is interesting.  Twenty years ago, it was common for people (me especially) to keep hardcopy paper trails for CYA purposes.  That's not feasible today, and absolute adherence to proper elevation procedures (wrt to security) is more important now than it was three decades ago. You want to forget your job when you are a few thousand miles away on vacation.  Or maybe you're in a space station orbit.  Sorry, to go to Mars it's a minimum of 3-4 years.

Picture: Brown Mountain, NC.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Are there "best places to work"?


Washingtonian Magazine has an article “50 Great Places to Work in Washington”(March 2017), link here.

The list online isn’t quite the same as in print.  For example, online we see American Immigration Lawyers, which is an interesting choice given the times (and the people helping immigrants need as much legal help sometimes as the immigrants themselves).

The last comprises a variety of small companies, some with fewer than 25 associates.  Many are partially “employee owned” – wonder if that means you get paid in stock.  Many offer all kinds of generous benefits and paid, gender-neutral family leave. All would be LGBTQ friendly, probably (although one of them is mostly working moms).

They are in a variety of businesses (one even sells cars);  some are Beltway-bandit software companies.  Some are in healthcare.

Many are located just outside the Beltway (Rockville MD is popular).