Friday, December 14, 2018

Facebook is reported to have a two-month boot camp and weeding out for new engineers



Here’s an interesting one.  Someone asked on Quora, about being fired from Facebook in less than two months, and whether to include on the resume.

Facebook is reported here  as having a boot camp for new software engineers where you have to deliver a product in two months.

It’s not clear what languages (are the OOP – C++, java ,etc?) they use.   Also it’s not clear what operating system their servers are on, but their products have to work on everything, most of all mobile (both Apple and Android, and others).

So it’s likely there is a steep learning curve, because so few engineers could be fluent in all these.
It’s also not clear how many data centers there are, outside of Menlo Park, CA.
  
I was on the West Coast and visited the Silicon Valley area in September, and I drove around all three major tech campuses and met some people in Mountain Lakes.  It would be a nice lifestyle if you reallyu are a super-coder and know it.  But it has to be something you had started out young. 
   
 Learning coding is a bit like learning to play musical instruments.  The pace is much faster today than it had been in the mainframe days.
  
It’s a good question as to how the current scandals concerning data privacy and misuse of algorithms by foreign powers affect what they look for in hew hires.
  
I would think they could look for older pros (I am really “retired” at 75, but sort of) to help them design content moderation policies.  I could actually help them with that.  Yes, it’s OK for a company to contact me with this issue.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

"Are Boomers Taking Our Jobs": Economic Invincibility entertains his own generation; also, today is an anniversary of my own layoff





Economic Invincibility looks at the question, “Are Boomers Taking our Jobs?


He says, largely so.  In I.T., it was hard for older people to pick up the “quickness” of writing scripts on the fly, that young people learn as if it were playing piano.

But in general, there is a risk that older employees, after a career-ending layoff, will work for less if in fact they are empty nesters and don’t have a lot of debt (like, student debt).

I disagree with EI somewhat on the contention that immigrants take domestic jobs.  Cato Institute and Pew Research, etc. have produced countless studies saying otherwise.  Could I some time not have gotten a job offer because an immigrant was a better match?  Maybe, but I don’t know if this ever happened.  And when Morgan Spurlock picked oranges on his “Inside Man” series, he showed that immigrants (even undocumented) often take jobs Americans don’t want.

Seventeen years ago today, Thursday, December 13, 2001 (93 days after 9/11) I had my career-ending layoff at ING in Minneapolis, when at 9 AM CST, my terminal said “Your account has been disabled, please log off” while I talked to an internal customer.  I finished the call. Yes, I got good severance and retirement both and was much better off at 58 than most people.  But the abruptness was a shock.
  
Also, watch EI’s video, the problem with “Clean Your Room, which amounts to “Skin in the Game”.  I’ll cover this again. Some employers do have clean desk policies.  I wouldn't want my desk to be visible from the street. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wordpress goes to 5.0.1, and 4.9.9 for those who hadn't updated; 5.0 to 5.0.1 did not work!



I had a problem:  The one blog that I had put on 5.0 was automatically updated to 5.0.1 and when I went to the edit a page, the screen was blank (in Windows 10, Creator’s Update).


So I had to go install the Classic Editor plug in and activate. Then I was able to edit. The blog post is this.  On three other blogs, it went to 4.9.9 which still has the classic editor.  They operated normally. 

The video above discusses how Wordpress 5.0 affects freelancers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

More on Gutenberg in Wordpress 5.0


The best answer I can find so far on preparing the entire text for a post and then copying into the Gutenberg editor is to create one classic block and copy the text (multiple paragraphs) into the one classic block.  Here’s a reference from Wordpress support from early October 2018. 
  
Here is a good tutorial from iMark Interactive.
  
  
There’s a lot here on how to handle the blocks, but it doesn’t talk about pre-written text.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Wordpress offers 5.0 update with Gutenberg editor



On Friday, Dec, 7, 2018, I found that Wordpress was offering the update 5.0, with the new Gutenberg editor, to all of my Wordpress blogs.
  
Here is the original list of FAQ’s from Automattic.  There is a more recent, and eclectic list, from Matt Mullenweg, here

I tried in on just one blog, “Bills Media Reviews”, and found it a little hard to figure out at sight.  Finally I copied my Microsoft Word pre-written text in with a ctl-v, and later I noticed that it skipped spaces between some words.

I also copied the pre-loaded and pre-saved html (after finding html code mode) for my own YouTube videos and got some editing errors, but the actual post worked when displayed.  
Later I saw from the documentation that I should have been able to add the YouTube URL in as a video block without having to go into code.


Judging from the documentation, it appears that Atomattic does not believe users should prewrite their posts in advance, but should be comfortable with staying online while they write.  That means a lot more intermediate drafts would get saved before publication, which I wonder if that could create technical vulnerability for failure.

However, the FAQ says that users can load the classic (“copy as text”) editor and use it until the end of 2021 (which means at least three years until sunset, if you’re living on another planet, maybe).  

 There is also a classic block.  It may be that using the classic block will solve the space deletion problem.  I have a tweet in to Wordpress support on that question.

I expect to load the new Wordpress to the other three sites within the next week or so, after experimenting more with the first one.  It may well turn out I need the Classic editor, because I really need to compose the text of my posts off-line first.  (By the way, that gives me another layer of backup).

I do find I can edit older posts with the new Gutenberg and everything seems to display OK.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

"Millennials in the Workforce": the weak have been ruined by social media addiction


Millennials in the Workforce”, from After Skool, explains why millennials seem so spoiled when they get into the workplace.


Mark Zuckerberg conquered them all.  Well, except for the strongest, most gifted kids, who win science fairs or get people to vote.

Social media, after all, became their drug – except for the strongest. We have a new Darwinianism. The strongest young people will win. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Career advice: "Don't Follow Your Passion"; join "The Proles" instead





Mike Rowe speaks for Prager University, “Don’t Follow Your Passion”.


“Don’t follow your passion, but bring it with you.”  Also, “follow opportunity”.

Mike does talk about the gap between education (with the emphasis on the college “scam”) and the trades employers want.  During my upbringing, however, a college education was worth a draft deferment or staying out of Vietnam rice paddies.

I spent my long-track career mostly as a mainframe computer programmer with financial applications.  It was a good steady living, but not glamorous, and it fell out of favor as a field which gave you a “professional” identity, after Y2K and 9/11.  Why this happened is a good narrative that I explained in Chapter 4 of my DADT-III book (2014), but in general employers, using short-sighted algorithmic approaches to hiring, were no longer sure of what they needed.  When it came time to do, say, Obamacare, the older mature systems professionals used to very complicated cyclic processing on mainframe financial systems – the mainstay to the job market in places like New York, Florida, Dallas, Los Angeles, etc (not so much Washington, which was government), had moved on and were no longer available.  That fed the political tensions that would erupt in 2016.  Prager could look at this problem it wanted.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

In UK, some employers want to insert chips into workers' hands



Indeed, this video comes from “Russia Today”, but the message is disturbing: a report from the UK of some employers encouraging some employees to have chips implanted on their hands between thumb and forefinger.


That may not be in a very intrusive place, but in the video embed the man inserting the chip is heavily tattooed. 

The chips could contain a lot of PII, including use of digital currencies.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Gateway error 504 on a Wordpress site when trying to add a post: explanation



Here’s a small technical tip for hosted Wordpress.

If you use Wordpress as installed on a site hosted in a conventional way (like by Bluehost) and use it on more than one browser or more than one laptop, make sure you get out of the dashboard when you shut down a laptop or browser.

Otherwise, it will let you log in on another browser but it seems you get a Gateway Error 504 if you try to add or edit a post on a blog where you left the dashboard open.
  
By way of comparison,  Blogger doesn’t seem to care as much. It sometimes tells you if you logged on to the same blog in another session.  But often it seems to accept the most recent panel opened as current even if others are open.

Friday, November 09, 2018

More on whether to do internships; Census is starting to hire for 2020



“Economic Invincibility” advises “Never do unpaid internships” (Jan. 2017).


There’s been controversy over this, as to whether “working for free” is “paying your dues.”  It makes especially little sense when conservative organizations do that.

This is especially bad considering student loan debt.

Many unpaid internships are for political or issue advocacy – do you want to wear someone else’s uniform in public?  Beg for money in public?

Yet EI's vlog post reminds me of Bob Weinstein's 1994 book "I'll Work for Free" (for "longtime payoff"), which might be less applicable today. 

Also, in my condo building in northern Virginia, I saw a popup announcement for temporary Census Bureau jobs as interviewers for the American Housing Survey.  I could not confirm this online.  If I find the ads again, I’ll pass the info along.

Census is starting to hire for the 2020 diennial.  There has been some controversy about LGBT-related questions.  NPR has the details here.

I worked for the 2010 diennial, and then for the Current Population Survey in 2011. 
There may be less need for people for special surveys now because respondents can answer survyes online.  I answered an American Community Survey questionnaire online in 2013 and did not have a Census visit.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Apple fires an engineer after his daughter films illegally on campus and releases a trade secret



An Apple engineer was fired when his daughter came onto campus, made a video of  new phone, and posted it online, violating the company’s trade secret rules.


Normally Apple doesn’t allow cameras on campus (except in public areas like the “museum”).  I was there in September (the new Apple Park at the southern end of Cupertino). 
  
It’s like unwelcome filming of someone in a disco.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Google protests seem to call for "equity" demands for quotas among intersectional groups





Tim Pool reports on the demands from Google protesters:


Some of this is about the overpayment of an executive severance after sexual harassment allegations.

This sounds like a “strike” in a non-union tech company. That would have been unthinkable when I was working.

But there were “equity” demands that counters meritocracy. They want goals for “women of color” etc, with compensation by groups (and intersectionality). 

Here is an account of the demands at “The Cut”. 
   
Pool explains the difference between “equality” (as HRC defines it) and “equity”.  Does "equity" mean "quotas" and "affirmative action"? 
   
Pool notes that the ideological demands seem to come from campus and are not normal workplace compensation issues or even legitimate HR issues. Pool calls it “protest culture”. 
  
The lawsuit by an African-American employee in 1996 when I was working for an insurance company seemed more an equity issue than equality.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Why does Microsoft do a Creators Update to Windows 10 at least twice a year?




Peter Bright has a valuable article at ArsTechnica on how Microsoft developed Windows 10 as its “last ever OS” for the PC.


But that means that major rewrites – the Creators Update – happen twice a year.  Other vendors, like Apple for the MacBook, update only once a year.
  
I have not received the Oct 2018 Creator’s Update yet.  Knock on wood.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

"EI" describes hard labor life in a retail store



“Economic Invincibility” describes his own experience working in retail in a big box store.


It’s all pretty proletarian and humiliating.
  
My own father was fired from his first retail job in Chicago for not making quota – back in the 1920s.

Monday, October 01, 2018

WSJ op-ed proposes making paternity leave for fathers mandatory!



An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (of all places), by Joanne Lipman, “Want Equality? Make Dads Stay Home” is certainly getting attention this Monday morning.  You heard right.  Companies should force fathers to use paternity leave benefits when they offer it.  Obviously the proposal can be tweaked, if states finally get around to passing mandatory family leave laws.


The byline for the article is telling. “Mandatory paternity leave would close the wage gap and strengthen family bonds.”  That could apply in Europe, too, where according to the article often men don’t take it.

The mandatory part is to keep men from lowballing the system.
  
But as in yesterday’s blog post, what about the childless?  Do they pay for all this?

Update: Oct 2

The Cato Institute takes the libertarian view in a paper by Vanessa Brown Calder, link

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Who does the work when someone takes paid paternity leave? Should childless coworkers pick up the slack by working for free?



Here’s an important column on page 8 of the New York Times Sunday Business, p. 8, “Left Behind, when a colleague goes on leave”, on the Workologist, by Rob Walker. 

“There’s a lot of conversation about paternity and maternity leave, and the person who’s taking it. But there isn’t a lot of dialogue about those who cover for that person while he or she is out.”
That’s especially true with paid family leave.

  
Back in 1993, there was already the Family Medical Leave Act.  At work, we had a “night programmers” who fixed the abends in the night cycle.  She went on maternity leave. The on-call programmers simply handled the abends on their own time and expense.  I spent a weekend there at my own expense.  I was childless.  I simply did the work someone else would be paid for.
   
But of course I was a willing participant in the deliberate lowballing.  The NYT column never quite gets there. 

Picture: that's a dog on the airplane. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

How well do Facebook's family leave policies work?



Facebook is not as family-friendly with parents, especially working mothers, as it has claimed, at least according to a USA Today story by Jessica Guynn. 

 There are stories of mothers not allowed to work from home when they want to do child care at the same time.


The story sounds interesting since Facebook has hired many people to monitor content for fake sources in conjunction with the 2018 mid terms.  It’s not clear if these people are all over the country and could work from home.

Facebook also has probably had to hire more people to verify the eligibility of persons to run political ads (must prove residency in the country with which the ad refers to, for openers).

How would Facebook’s policies affect childless workers?

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

USB vulnerabilities



If you plug a device backward into a USB port on my HP Envy (like a Sandisk reader) you get a “power surge fault”.  It’s a little bit tricky because the plug on the cord is hard to see.

The port won’t work again in Windows 10 until you restart the computer.
  
But the idea is significant for another reason.  In extreme security-sensitive environments, it is possible to hack computers across air gaps through USB ports, I am told.   It may be that Microsoft’s requiring a restart is simply a security protection against this possibility.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The "gig economy" may be humbling, but it builds on skills people have; maybe UBI and single payer would support it



Louis Hyman has an interesting piece on Medium where we accept the “gig economy” and support it with universal basic income and some various tax supports.
He supports the idea of people using the skills they have to form small businesses when they get laid off, rather than having to be retrained (“coal miners to data miners”).

The sharing economy is certainly part of that.  But he thinks the sharing economy works better if you do support the basics with single payer health care and UBI.
  
To some extent, it’s less sexy.  It’s sort of like Nicholas Taleb’s “skin in the game” thinking.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Employers screen social media, and may actually shun job applicants without social media accounts



On Saturday, NBC News reported that an increasing number of employers are using social media posts to monitor employees and screen job applicants.  This applies to posts made on one’s own devices and on one’s own time.  Here is the video link.

The video reported that 70% of major employers now evaluate social media.  One person was fired for a post of his passing gas on the job.


What’s surprising is that up to 50% said they would not hire people with no social media accounts at all.  For example, had I become a teacher in the mid 2000’s I think I would have refrained from setting up social media accounts at all.  I would be concerned about the "compelled speech" potentiality. 
  
I don’t use SnapChat or WhatsApp.  I have LinkedIn (not used much), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (not used much), and beaucoup blogs and books.
  
The legal video above suggests that employers never ask for passwords, and screen only public posts, and after the first interview. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

San Francisco wants to ban tech companies from giving free lunches; "protectionism" for restaurants?




San Francisco is trying to get tech companies to stop giving free lunches, possibly with an ordinance, as in this Fox News video.

  
The reason is to help local restaurants.  Here we have a local government picking winners and losers.  Well, the big companies can’t be losers.

This sounds like protectionism.  It's like complaining about me because I give away too much of my own material free, competing "unfairly" with other authors or not helping booksellers have more job openings. 
    
Tech companies are also known to offer free meals at generous cafeterias on their main campuses.
   
Some companies offer free coffee.  But others have clean desk policies!  (Think about a bank with a desk visible from the street.)  Some pundits want to abolish lunch.  For walkthroughs, I’m used to having a donut run (at least in Dallas) first.  Good for hypoglycemia.  At Bradford National in New York, we did have a caterer who came by and sold delicious sandwiches, at $3.50 a pop in 1978 (even on the day the Yankees took the pennant from the Red Sox with Bucky Dent’s homer). 
   
There could be a good question as to whether the free meal is taxable compensation. For example, employers almost never pay commuting expenses (although some do have discount transit passes and may have van services).  They generally don’t pay relocation for new employees (although they did when I started working in 1970) or interviewing expenses (although they did again when I was leaving the Army with the late 1969 interviews).
  
Wikipedia attribution link for CoastoCoast picture of ATT Giants stadium in San Francisco, CCSA 3.0. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Can you prudently hire an undocumented person not here legally, ever?



Can a small employer “help out” in the current immigration controversies by hiring an asylum seeker or other immigrant, if the person does not have proper documentation?
  
The formal legal requirements are a bit complicated.  Maybe the best reference for explaining the employer’s responsibility is on Nolo, here. It’s possible to go overboard and have discrimination issues, too.

One question concerns hiring someone if you are a small employer, say, hiring a caregiver for an elderly parent.  I can’t find any reference online that says one-employee operations are exempt.  (Back in 1981, I once applied for a job as a mainframe programmer in Dallas in a two-person company.)  You can get around the legal risk if you go to an agency, which is supposed to have done the eligibility checks, and that makes it more expensive. 

However, Nolo says that if you hire someone as an independent contractor you may be relieved of the document verification, but you can get into trouble if you know the person remains here illegally. This sounds like “don’t ask don’t tell” or maybe even FOSTA (the moderator’s paradox).


The Nevada HR Daily Advisor gives a detailed history of how employers became responsible back in 1986 for the legal eligibility of people to work.  It’s gotten worse under Trump. 

The main USCIS page for employers is here.  The government says the E-verify is voluntary. 

Washington DC-based immigration attorney Jason Dzubow has a curious piece of advice on his Asylumist blog post from July 25 (“How Can I Help?”) under the section “Hire an Immigrant” where he notes the true legal ambiguities that the sites I named above don’t seem to address. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Airline pilots shortage looms as a result of an unusual international job market cycle


An odd job cycle may create increased fares and fewer flights for passengers soon.

Airlines are facing a pilot shortage as pilots retire.

But the situation is somewhat exacerbated by the fact than in the middle 2000’s, after 9/11, there had been many pilot layoffs and many pilots went to work for airlines in the Middle East and Asia, where air travel was booming.


Some of those pilots are indeed returning to the US.

Robert Wall and Andrew Tangell provide the story for the WSJ.  The story also appeared on the NBC today show.
  
I had a friend-acquaintance in 1990 who tried to get me enlisted into his aviation issues.  He disappeared.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

When should old tweets cost someone his (her, "their") job?



Consider the New York Times’s sacking of Quinn Norton last February for his past misdeeds on social media and apparent connections, as outlined here in Wired. 

So then the New York Times stands by the hire of Sarah Jeong  after some of her old tweets surfaced, although she could quickly retort that she was hitting back by simply throwing back offensive tweets into the original offenders’ faces.
  
  
Vox explains the comparison today in a piece by Aja Romano. It also covers firings of other high profile people, like director James Gunn.

Jeong’s tweets were much more context dependent. Vox characterizes unearthing of bad tweets as a tactic of the alt-right.  It’s well to note that Norton had worked for The Verge, which belongs to Vox. 
  
Mike Smercomish compared the two cases on CNN Saturday morning, and didn’t pick up the distinction.  A speaker from National Review said that her behavior was questionable but that she shouldn't be denied a job now for tweets that happened long ago before she was hired, and that are deliberately taken out of context. We are talking about "should".  As a private employer, the a newspapers isn't bound by the First Amendment legally. 

In the past, before modern social media, I paid a lot of heed to “conflict of interest” over self-published and searchable web content. My concern was with positions that impute authority over subordinates or underwriting of customers.



Update: Monday, Aug. 6

Rachel Feintzeig and Vanessa Fuhrmanns write in the Wall Street Journal, "Past social media posts upend hiring: Employers grapple with screening job applicants' online personas, including years' old tweets".  I can say, "I told you so" on this one.  The article talks about the cases above, as well as widespread problems.

Update: Wednesday, Aug. 8

Read Ezra Klein's, "The Problem with Twitter Wars, Explained: Behind our Twitter wars lies Twitter's problems." It's possible to set up your account to delete old tweets.  I doubt many employers actually mine old tweets to look for problems, but it's possible to imagine setting up an HR contracting company to do just that!!   You can also have old Facebook posts deleted automatically.  Not sure about Instagram. This is one reason why some people prefer Snapchat.  I don't feel that way for myself, but I see how many people do.

James Gunn now seems to be in demand again (MSN).

Update: Friday, Aug. 17

Victor David Hanson has a detailed op-ed in the Washington Times Aug. 16 that covers the problem pretty well, here

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Firing of Dulles airport worker dependent on tips raising disturbing questions (not just immigration)



Theresa Vargas has an important story in the Washington Post on the problems of workers who depend on tips but who are told they may not ask for them, in situations where consumers don’t know they should tip.

A legal immigrant from Sierra Leone was fired from a hospitality job at Dulles airport where she assisted handicapped fliers, when she was accused of asking for a tip and not allowed to defend herself.

She had sent money back to Sierra Leone to relatives who wanted to emigrate legally, but that is more difficult now with Trump and Sessions.
  
The article also gives, incidentally, some of the violent history in that country twenty years ago, which Sebastian Junger had reported on in Vanity Fair.

Friday, July 27, 2018

TSA Screeners now face 3 weeks basic training away from home, just like the military



In 2002 I actually went to a job fair for TSA screeners at a hotel in Bloomington MN.
  
Today, screeners have to take a three-week basic training course in Glynco, GA.  I presume they have to stay in barracks and travel to the site.

  
Over the next two years, all screeners are supposed to take the BCT course.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Should childless employees give up paid vacation for coworkers' maternity leave?


Last week, WJLA reported on a company where some workers gave up their paid vacation so that a coworker could take maternity leave.

I couldn’t find that story on their site, but I did find this.


If we had a paid family leave system like Europe and most of the west has, we wouldn’t think it controversial.  Same if we had single payor health insurance.  (Some countries, like Switzerland and Taiwan, have a private system that is much more regulated than ours and seems to work.)
  
Still, if that generosity were expected, I’d have a problem.  I, who never have sexual intercourse capable of producing a baby, subsidize those who do.  That’s what anthropology suggests gay men are supposed to do.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Ink jet printers are better than they used to be



Most of us don’t like to replace inkjet cartridges, because the underlying equipment feels fragile.
I had to take a refresher from HP.


The 7855 has the same instructions as the 5540.

You have to turn the power on and have properly aligned paper, and let it run the alignment and test print afterwards. This 3:1  ink-jet (about $165 at Best Buy when I bought it after the older laser gave out) is quite sophisticated as to firmware.
  
I got a power surge error when I plugged the cord in backwards to the computer.  I could clear it only by restarting the computer.


Monday, July 02, 2018

Windows 10 systems may need frequent restarts



A little Windows 10 Creators Update (version 1803) glitch, maybe.

Sunday morning (like in Britten’s Peter Grimes), July 1, I turned on the HP Envy (which at one time had been Windows 8.1 and has been retrofitted and updated), and it was very slow: to respond to the prompts to enter the password, then to boot up, and show all the icons. 

A restart fixed it (the restart took a little time), after which it behaved normally.

It seems that with Windows 10 Creators Update, you should restart at least every other day of heavy use to avoid any corruption of the quick start settings. 
  
Here is an article.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Workplace customs change a lot with the times; get use to it; AIG pimps insurance careers



Joann S. Lubin has a valuable piece in the Wall Street Journal, based on her own career with the paper,  about how to negotiate workplace policies as they change with time, especially on how employers reimburse moving expenses and certain other expenses (like hardships with overtime), link here .  These practices change with the times.
  
In the early 1970s it was common for employers to pay travel expenses for interviews and initial relocation, but that had stopped after the mid 1970s oil-driven recession, by the late 70s.
   
Here’s another curious link from the Washington Post’s “brand studio”, from AIG, which got bailed out after 2008, for millennials, to consider careers in insurance.  The site is a bit funky to use.  I got calls to get into this after I retired because I had worked in life insurance as a mainframe computer systems analyst, but I did not want to troll and recruit clients.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Legacy mainframe vendor IBM now vies for industry leadership in blockchain



Tonight on CNN, IBM advertised its own IBM Blockchainservice .

This is interesting to someone whose early mainframe career (in the 1970s and 1980s) was based on the idea of the need to “get IBM” on your resume if you had something else (like Sperry Univac, the biggest competitor until the late 1970s).


But control of a service by one corporation or vendor could provide an existential vulnerability, as Wikipedia’s article explains under “disadvantages”.

Any alien civilization will have mastered blockchain. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Workers today are much less mobile than a generation ago (even as I was)



A reader of the Wall Street Journal writes an LTE “Why workers aren’t as mobile as they used to be” in response to a heady piece “The Weekend Interview with Glenn Hubbard: A Conservative Economics of Dignity” (May 19), link .

The reader talks about family and filial responsibility, and interdependence of individuals in a family in hard times.  I have been a singleton all my life, and had to be very calculating on how I approached work.  Nevertheless, I “engineered” three relocations to new cities to my benefit, but returned “home” to near parents in pullbacks.  But I remained steadily employed in IT for 30+ years. 
  
But it’s true, only the most talented and able today can make relocation work in this “winner take all” world.  I do see teens making unusual accomplishments and entering college with huge financial independence already.  They are the minority.  But they are also the best parented. 

Note also the AP article today by Anne D’Innocenzio, “Entry-level jobs harder to snag”, link. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Underemployed actors work as undercover journalists, and more



Here’s an odd story about the workplace.  Underemployed or unemployed actors are hired to infiltrate companies that are on someone else’s hit list. 
  
Here is the May 15 Truthout story by Maura Stephens, here
  
Journalists have done this in the past, to investigate working conditions in companies like Food Lion, which have sometimes turned around and sued them and the news organizations for “breach of loyalty” or some such tort.
  
   
The other way this sort of conflict occurs is with associates writing about their employers in social media.  I even think when I was job-hunting in the 2000’s that some employers or clients feared I had a tendency to work somewhere, quit, and blog about the company after I quit.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Possible iPhone 8 bug; disruptive? -- solved by a retail clerk?



Today, I had a rather disconcerting experience with the iPhone8.
  
On the road, I was trying to locate an address in Google, and suddenly the screen went dark. I could barely see it, some bizarre message from Twitter.
  
I finally went into a retail store and a young clerk knew how to fix it – it had to do with the behavior of the activation button on the bottom.  You slide it a certain way and the settings for brightness come back and it lets you reset them.

This sounds like an unwanted feature that can disrupt normal operation.

I was a half hour late to an event because of this problem.
  
I feared it could be malware at first, but it sounds like a bug that a future release of IOS will fix.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

How to get Codeguard to work in Bluehost


I've done the Codeguard backup.

A few tips if you do it with Bluehost or a similar Wordpress provider.

You use the same IP address (as the hostname) for every database (if you have a "dedicated hosting" of a shared "bluebox".

You should enable SHH first (under security) and supply your main user ID and bh password and Port 22 to set up the FTP credentials.

The you add the databases.  The whitelist given by Codeguard may not be sufficient.  Bluehost will probably have to add 3-4 more hardcoded IP's through Remote SQL to make this work.

You should add a new user to each database in MYSQL with a separate password for each.  Bluehost may have to add one more master user on your principal account (if the other db's are addons).

During the backup, CodeGuard will tell you that the provisioning can take up to 4 hours.  Mine took about 10 minutes for the first backup, and then the other three (which are larger) each took around 5 minutes.

Bluehost identifies database names to blogs deep within the File Manager, under PHP code under public-html, specific to each addon.  This is rather analogous to the way a mainframe (COBOL) module might be written to access a specific DB2 table (like in a financial or health care company) through a separate CICS transaction, in the old fashioned work world.

Here's the best static codeguard writeup that I could find.

Note:  to see progress on Bluehost. log in to your account and then go to  .../cgi/codeguard.

Update: July 3

Here is the Codeguard video on the earlier step of adding the website first.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Does SCOTUS think workers should be able to low-ball one another?



The Supreme Court probably encouraged some worker lowballing today, as it ruled 5-4 that workers who have to sign arbitration agreements cannot use federal labor law to bring class action suits.  New York Mag has a typical summary story here. 

The case was Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis.

  
The general result is to favor individual workers who are willing to work for less, probably often singles, and to discourage organizing.  This seems to be a ruling for the “individualistic workplace”.
  
Here’s the document for the 5-4 opinion.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Looking into Wordpress backup products



Recently I have learned that the “free” Site Backup Pro from my Bluehost Wordpress sites is gradually being deprecated (I found out after I noticed the April monthly did not run); support suggests CodeGuard, which would provide a “time machine” backup for each website blog.
  

WPBeginner has some instructions here

Codeguard's directions for BH (India) appear to be here.  Here's a more detailed video. 
  
It appears that there is a choice between using the Plugin and using an FTP mechanism (presuming you have a paid hosting service).
  
Here’s another link, on the seven best WP backup products, of varying prices (from free to moderate, although most charge a price for each blog).  Of these, the most promising looks like Vault, which is associated with Jetpack.

I believe I tried to sign up for it in November 2016 and it never implemented, and in fact one time I got an internal server error.  I’ll grant that maybe I did something wrong.  When I did get the error, I had to use the daily Site Backup Pro (fortunately it was up to date for that day) to get the blog back up (BH support had to do this). 
  
I’ll look at both of these carefully and pick one pretty soon.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Microsoft Windows 10 "April issue" is the 1803 feature update



Today, Microsoft updated my HP Envy (2014, new solid state drive in 2016) Windows 10 to version 1803 with a feature update.  But it left my ASUS laptop at 1709 with a much smaller update.  Maybe it offers only one feature update at a time.


The update spun “restarting” for almost 10 minutes, and the computer restarted one extra time during the registry update part, which lay a long time at 84% and 90%.  It also spun a while when I logged on for the first time. The whole process took about 30 minutes.
  
Here is Microsoft’s own account of the update.


Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Companies encourage blue collar



BNSF railway, as well as many other companies, are offering signing bonuses for blue collar trade workers, especially in the Midwest, as with this Washington Post story by Danielle Paquette. 

So there is less reason for a lot of students to go into college debt, perhaps?

And the Wall Street Journal reports that some towns, such as Hamilton Ohio (SW Ohio) are paying people to move there and work.

  
And we have already examined why fewer men work today. Instead, they watch.

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).
 .
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.