Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Windows 10 update issues; mouse issue




Here are some tips on what do if Windows gets stuck doing a scheduled 2nd Tuesday update, either starting the update, or doing the registry cycle (which once in a while can require two or three restarts to complete).
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I had some trouble this week (Windows 10 Creators) with the left click on my HP stalling or jumping functions.  I got a brief update once on Tuesday night.  Today I bought a new keyboard and mouse and everything seems OK. Oddly, the restart took longer after I put in the new stuff, like it had to fix the registry again.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Major League Baseball is not as diverse in employment (or players) as it claims to be



This may seem like an odd posting for an “IT workplace” blog, but big league sports is a workplace (remember the film “Moneyball”) and Major League Baseball has gotten criticism for not attracting more black players and employees, as in this US Today story by Bob Nightengale. 
  
The story of Jackie Robinson was well told in the film “42”.  In the early 1950s, in my own boyhood trips to Ohio, I was used to Cleveland Indians players like Larry Doby or Luke Easter, or the White Sox Minnie Minoso.
  
Baseball may become more attractive to minorities as football comes under a cloud because of concussion injuries.  Remember Bo Jackson, who played both pro football and baseball (for the Royals)?  

The Nationals released manager Dusty Baker after 2017 when he failed to get past the first round of the playoffs two years in a row, after winning two divisions. 

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

COBOL jobs seem to come back?; when you work for someone else, they own your output



My old LinkedIn profile recently has attracted more emails about COBOL jobs, which hardly seem appropriate at age 74 after a 16-year-hiatus. 

There does exist object-oriented COBOL, but I don’t know how often it is used.

It still is remarkable to me how the “style” of computing changed in the 1990s, with younger programmers getting used to less verbose languages where they could type commands quickly online (like Mark Zuckerberg, as played by Jesse Eisenberg, does in his dorm room while drunk when inventing Facebook).  “Kid’s stuff”.  Older programmers, who had matured in the days of punched cards and daily turnarounds, had trouble fitting in to a culture that was much more piecemeal.  Yet, that sort of slow-paced maturity was badly missing when the nation designed and implemented Obamacare.

There is one more thing to ponder.  When you get laid off from a job (as I did on December 13, 2001 after three decades with no layoff) you suddenly lose access to all your work.  As an independent blogger, there is no way that can happen – unless it is taken away force, either criminal or foreign enemy, or by government. 
   
Picture: Not where I was laid off, but I worked there in 1989.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

"Scrubber" and "Rep'n Up" will clean up your social media posts before job interviews


WJLA-7 in Washington has reported on a couple of startup products that can clean up social media posts and therefore “online reputation” before job interviews.

One of these is “Scrubber”.  Note that it says political and religious posts are fine with them, but they’ll scrub them if asked to.  The problem is political or religious creates a real issue for people with direct reports or underwriting responsibilities in the workplace.


The other is Rep’n Up.  DCinno and the Boston Globe have detailed stories.
  
It’s important to remember that when people are not allowed so speak about political (or religious) matters for themselves, organizations develop more power and pull to demand “solidarity” from others and to recruit people into their “tribes”.  I’ll take this up in more detail again on Wordpress. 

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Tattoos in the workplace



Should employees get corporate tattoos?  Should they be expected to?  Allowed to?
   
A story in the Wall Street Journal by Rachel Feintzel and Kelsey Gee examines the issue at places like WalMart, Anytime Fitness, US Forest Service, and more. Sailors have long used tattoos to mark places they have been (like crossing the Equator).
  
  
Workplace tattoos seem like a way to “join the tribe”.  That would fit into the ideas o Amy Chua’s book.
  
But body art might violate the idea of body sanctity in my style of thinking.

Picture: A DC restaurant appears to refer to the transgender character "Pie O Pah" in Clive Barker's Imajica ("Pie Oh My"). 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Do you mention the kids on a job interview?


Here’s an interesting perspective on whether to discuss family responsibility matters in a job interview, “When to Mention the Kids”, by Rob Walker.
  
  
It sort of reminds me of an ad from the Nemacolin spa in Pennsylvania, “with the kids”.
  
The conservatives are going to battle this – pay disparity is indeed affected by pregnancy. When you have mandatory paid family leave, the childless people will subsidize the families of parents with essentially free labor. So everyone plays.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Local DC station gives comprehensive result on fake business address scams



WJLA aired its story on search engine map fraud Feb. 15, here.
    
Map points turn out to be random addresses (sometimes homes) but not the businesses advertised. But they make it much harder for legitimate businesses to be found on Adwords, and divert customers away from legitimate businesses.
    
You would think the search engine companies could work with USPS (MoveForward, etc) to solve this problem.  If I were in the job market (at 74) maybe they would hire me based on my old resume.
        
But the problem could also link up to issues with county business licenses, home based businesses, state sales tax licenses, and even condo bylaws. 
    
Splinternews reports on a fake business experiment here
    
I would even be concerned about this problem for self-published book authors.  Some self-publishing companies pressure their authors to be able to retail books on their own commercially and advertise themselves as doing such, rather than just depend on Amazon.
   
The problem can also invite foreign hacking, as we saw from the story about Russian indictments today.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

USPS address software gets manipulated by scam artists for fake business listings




WJLA-7 TV in Washington was gong to air a story tonight on fake business scams, using real USPS land addresses, which would often be other businesses, even residences.

The airing was delayed by coverage of the Florida school shooting today.
  
However this early 2017 story in the UK Daily Mail seems to explain how the scam works.  Much of it has to do with attempts to manipulate Google search results with its map app.  Google says it now has procedures in place to counter the scam.  It's also possible for the scam to create false results on other sites like Yelp. 

 Unlicensed contractors would use the scam to get higher prices from consumers.
  
I’ve worked with the Pitney-Bowes (formerly Group 1) Software  Move-Forward (when I worked for ING-Reliastar – I did an NCOA implementation in 1998).  So I am aware of how clientization and address verification can work.
  
This might be an issue for local governments when they issue business licenses, especially for home-based businesses, as more governments move more of their public records online. So there could be more to this story.  Let’s hope WJLA airs it soon or gives its own web address for it today. 

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Companies trend toward not asking salary history of job applicants (Bank of America is the latest)


The Bank of America will stop asking job applicants for salary history in March 2018, according to multiple news reports, following an example set by Wells Fargo in October and by tech companie sin many states, typical story here

The Bank said that avoiding salary history discussions will allow more parity by gender in pay. But it won’t necessarily address other issues, like seniority and promotions.

But employers have sometimes asked salary history to avoid hiring “overqualified” people during recessions.  People also vary greatly, by temperament, in their interest in formal promotions, and that can distort attempts to show equality.
  
I took a pay cut at the end of 1981 when I moved to Chilton (in Dallas) and then again in 1988 when I moved back to DC to go to work for CCG which became Lewin.  Then when I went to work for USLICO at the start of 1990 I took the same salary, but got much more generous salary progression in the twelve years that would follow (ReliaStar, ING).

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How I fixed "iCloud not updating" my photos (cheating a little)


When I moved into my condo, I got a new cable-Internet (Cox) and pretty soon noticed that even though I was connecting my iPhone to wifi, my iCloud backup stopped working.

Then I find that scheduling an appointment with the “genius bar” at an Apple store is much harder than it used to be.  It was over a week in advance.  When I got there, they didn’t solve it.
So here is what finally happened.  I managed to change the PW to the iCloud account on my iPhone from the Settings, my name, ICloud. 

With the new one, I changed the logon to the  (https) icloud site on a macbook.  It took.  The Macbook keeps flashing two extra logons where the PW takes but it never sends back the two-step verification box on the MacBook.  This seems like an OS problem, might go away with a new OS.

I bought a new phone-USB connector at a Best Buy, and tried both windows machines and then the MacBook.  On Windows, I couldn’t easily get to the photos on the phone (without some third party app). But on the MacBook I did, and under iPhoto, it quickly added all the new photos to the MacBook HD.  Then suddenly, with the Icloud site logged on, it started updating the iCloud from the MacBook.   The whole event took about 90 minutes for 300 photos (it was slow), just before Trump’s SOTU. 

Update: February 2

Here is a detailed article on how iCloud works. 

Monday, January 01, 2018

New York State mandates paid family leave even on small employers; Vermont prohibits social media password demands


New York State has passed a law, starting today, to require employers to offer paid family leave for up to 12 weeks in a variety of circumstances.  These appear to include eldercare for parents or family pressures when someone (a spouse) is deployed in the military, as well as birth of a child.
The NBC article (by Pete Williams) did not say if it includes adoption of a child.
Vermont has passed a law, joining about half the states in banning employers from asking social media passwords. ]