Sunday, December 29, 2019

New Yorkers depend on taxi drivers in debt over medallions

How many ordinary workers understand that many taxi drivers in New York City and Chicago are in serious debt, because medallions have lost value in view of competition with newer rideshare services. Brian Rosenthal has a detailed story in the NYTimes on June 12, 2019. 
I looked at becoming a cab driver in Minneapolis in 2002 or 2003.  You had to pay about $400 a week to lease a cab.  You needed a physical in Minneapolis, not in St. Paul.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Chrome Major Update 79 has unusual security features, and a possible issue with tab retention

ThioJoe discusses the Chrome Major update 79.

The discusses tab persistence.  I had a problem Sunday with the Chrome trademark ball not staying pinned, and then the pin was the tab itself.  Restarting Windows 10 did not fix it.  But changing the Google password and resynching did.

Joe also talks about a new feature called Secure DNS (as opposed to https) which is available from only some providers.
Chrome is also now warning about dangerous (usually popup) websites in a manner similar to Trend Micro.  I’ll probably cover these later on the Internet Safety blog.  I have not yet seen any such warnings.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Odd problem connecting Apple USB Drive DVD player to new MacBook

My 2019 Macbook with Mojave will soon be converted to Catalina as I understand Avid Sibelius 2019.9 will be compatible and support will be available soon.  I would still wait a few weeks for any bugs to be worked out.

I had tried to connect an Apple USB drive and gotten this message, even though it worked on a 2015 MacBook with only USB.  But connection through a USB-C Belkin adapter did not work.

I purchased a newer one and got the same result.  I went to Best Buy and found that an LG drive would power through the device when you touched the door button, which the USB drive doesn’t have.

The store gave credit and exchanged for the LG device.

There seems to be an incompatibility between apple dvd US players and the newest macbooks that is not well known yet.

Apple says that the USB drive should work through the three devices listed, but Geek Squad said that the Belkin USB-C should be compatible.
Have others run into this? Please comment if so.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

How not to destroy your (desktop) computer (at least Microsoft PC)

ThioJoe gives advice of seven mistakes that can destroy your computer, most likely a desktop.

The first point involved “overclocking” which applies only when people custom build their own computers (or have them built, which used to be quite common with desktops in the 90s – remember Erols in northern VA?) 

The other points were more familiar:  use an uninterruptible power supply.

In August 2014, I tried to convert a large Toshiba laptop from Windows 8.0 to 8.1.  This installation took about three hours and the computer seems to work when it finished.  But then I could never get the computer to boot up again.

It was sent to BestBuy through warranty, and everything, including the Motherboard, had fried.  Apparently the computer had overheated during the install.

There have been problems with frequent operating system replacements, from Microsoft particularly.  

The replacement for that computer was a smaller Toshiba, when went through a conversion to Windows 10, OK at first, but started becoming very slow with the Creators Update.
I also got an HP Envy in 2014 desktop.  I had some occasional hard disk errors and the computer would always come up.  I copied the data and OS and had Geek Squard replace it with an SSD in the fall of 2016, and the hardware has been pretty stable for the past three years.
Yes, don’t delete your System 32 folder.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

CBS News reports about the low wages of "The Proles"

Aimee Picchi writes for CBS news that almost half of all Americans work in low-wage jobs, near minimum. 

After my career-ending layoff at the end of 2001, I pretty much started near the bottom to “pay my dues”.  But fortunately I did have a bit of a cushion.

This does seem to be about class social and political “power” doesn’t it.  We simply think less of people who seem non-competitive, about “The Proles”.
Tim Pool and his brother Chris certainly worked their way out of this. 
Barbara Ehrenreich played the role of low-wage worker for “Nickel and Dimed”.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Odd spurious error messages generated by newest Jetpack updates for Wordpress sites

Today, Wordpress and Automattic released Jetpack 8.0, but some users, including me, got misleading “fatal error” messages when trying to update the plugin, only to find that the plugin had updated anyway, upon refreshing the Plugin list on the left side of the Wordpress control panel page.
Jeremy Herve explains what happens in an article for Wordpress support. 
Users got emails saying that a “\Roles” subdirectory was missing.  Herve says that a few infrastructure files were moved to different directories, very much like a website’s moving articles around to new subdirectories.

I have four Wordpress blogs, and did two of these today and got the errors.  I’ll try the other two tomorrow and see if the error warning goes away.

It’s good to remember that the classic Wordpress editor is supposed to stay around until the end of 2021.  

Monday, November 25, 2019

Amazon fulfillment centers alleged to practice extreme regimentation, leading to worker injuries; WSJ also exposes excessive monitoring in many large companies

Will Evans has a substantial piece in The Atlantic regarding extreme regimentation in the workplace at Amazon’s fulfillment centers.

The results, like at some poultry processing plants in the South east, is maimed employees.

Yet availability to perform in such jobs become a moral issue sometimes, a sort of “pay your dues” kind of idea.

Amazon is, of course, controversial with the new HQ center being built in Arlington VA.

The Wall Street Journal has a slideshow about the monitoring of desk employees at "Large Company", taking screen shots every 30 seconds. Article by Elliot Bentley and Sarah Krouse, illustrations by Taylor Callery. The guy's gams are a disgrace, but this is "animation", "made for kids." 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Some GOP Senator want to move most Federal jobs to rural areas in the Midwest

Chrissy Clark, in the Federalist, reports that Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) have proposed moving 90% of federal “bureaucratic” jobs out of DC, or the area.  Of course, DHS is moving, FBI may move, and many agencies (like NIH, NBS) are in more distant suburbs, and CDC is in Atlanta. The IRS is in many locations (especially Kansas City and Philadelphia) and Social Security is in Baltimore. The NSA is closer to Baltimore or Annapolis than Washington. 
But these Senators want to move more jobs to midwestern rural locations to provide jobs to places gutted by previous plant closures, and possibly for national security (although coastal locations aren’t the issue they were a century ago).
What would that mean for real estate in this area?  Of course, Amazon is moving in. (Facebook, by the way, has rented 30 floors of a new Manhattan skyscraper.)

Picture: Lawrence, KS (KU, my trip, 2006;  I went to grad school there.) 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Buying a 16-in MacBook pro -- the pricing sequences are tricky

Max Tech has a video reviewing the new 16-inch MacBook Pro (I just bought at 15 inch in early October).

It would come with OS Catalina.  You need to be sure your third party apps are ready for Catalina (Avid Sibelius just checked in on that.) 

If you want to do film or video editing and it needs to look professional, there are decisions, as to the order of original equipment and then the upgrades, that could be very critical as to getting maximum performance for price.  The pricing algorithms have some contradictions and are tricky (the commutative law doesn’t apply – this is like quaternion math). Follow his video closely – he talks fast.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Paid family leave in California: It's not helping mothers keep up as much as expected, and there are hidden moral debates, still

Claire Cain Miller has a major story on paid family leave in the Business section of the New York Times, Tuesday, November 12, 2019, “Paid leave surprises researchers”, or (online) “A surprising finding on paid leave; that’s not the way we teach this.”  

In California, since adoption in 2004, mothers who took it were working and earning less a decade later. Men, who might have taken paternal bonding leave (they didn’t that much) showed no such effect.

The article suggests more subsidized child care, and more encouragement to fathers, as in Scandanvia.

An earlier article, Jan. 6, covers California’s debate on how to pay for it.   In practice, in the past, the childless worked longer hours to pay for their coworkers leaves, especially when on call.  This can be a big problem in the salaried workplace. PBS above reports (in 2015) that coworkers make “leave donations”.  Imagined pressured to do this if you are a singleton and have to sacrifice your own personal or vacation time for people who have kids.  We don't want to face this moral dilemma.
But most other advanced countries have done so.  (Just not Guinea.)  They accept the idea that having children is a normal community expectation. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

John Fish shows how to learn a new programming language in six hours (Golang)

John Fish shows how to learn a new programming language in six hours.

He is working with an LG laptop (sponsored), and then sets up Golang, or Go, in a hyper and vim in Windows 10 (I guess that gets around knowing specific windows 10 stuff).  This has nothing to do with the game of Go.

In the early part of the video he does “exam problems” (algorithm problem) rather than web design.
At 6:18 he shows to arrange information on a website from Accuweather.

The language (based on C++) probably would be useful to local weather stations (as on network-owned television channels) in keeping the material they send to visitors up to date automatically.

On the video, the icons at the bottom look very much like Apple's.  But I believe the other desktop is an Apple professional workstation. A tutorial on how Windows users can learn to get stuff done on Apple would be in order.

Picture: what my old legacy website used to look like. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Avid reports that a Catalina-compliant version of Sibelius for the Macbook is available now

Avid Sibelius reports that a Catalina compliant update is available.  
The Sidecar Capability apparently means that the iPad or tablet can now be connected to the Macbook as a second monitor with touch screen for writing notes with a pen, in NotateMe (Photoscore) which may make writing complex passages much more efficient to do.

If you have Mojave (as I do) there is a good question as to how long to wait for stability reports. 
I’ll talk more about my own experience on a Wordpress blog soon.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Buffalo Wild Wings incident shows that racism has not gone away completely from the workplace

This incident at a Buffalo Wild Wings near Chicago reminds us of a lot that can happen in the workplace.

Teo Armus et al give the story in the Washington Post. 

Numerous employees were fired, and the customer is supposedly banned from all of the restaurants.
Really, behavior like this has been unacceptable in most reasonable workplaces since at least the late 80s.  By the 90s, people were getting fired for making racist remarks at work (I remember a story like that in the Minneapolis Star in 1997 just after moving their).
But how you enforce a ban on a retail customer in a restaurant franchise world wide is a good question.  It sounds almost like they want a social credit score. 

I remember a franchise expo in Crystal City, Arlington VA, on a bitter cold weekend in early 1992. 

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Doctor shortage in US getting attention; loan forgiveness programs possible for doctors who will move to underserved rural areas

There is a lot of recent talk about a growing doctor shortage now, partly because of an aging population, as in this CNBC story by Kate Rogers. 
One problem is the number of years of medical school, internship and residency, and the still horrible hours, only slowly getting better.
And then you do residencies in specialties.  You’re not ready to go and earn back your debt until about age 35.
But there are federal loan forgiveness programs for new doctors who will work in underserved areas 
It’s possible to imagine using the national service concept to help with this problem with medical students (Buttigieg has suggested this).  This would make sense in some areas like public health, where cancers and infections are tied to the living conditions of poorer populations (including overseas), and where other practices (like agricultural now in some countries) can explode in sudden international pandemics (like many of the virulent influenzas).

Friday, November 01, 2019

Stories about provide a reminder about online reputation and the workplace, and employability

The recent attention (today especially) to MyLife and similar sites and their effect on online reputation should remind people that some employers will regard their associates as ultimate responsible for their own reputations.

That was the case at Chilton (now Experian) in Dallas back in 1987, my last full year there, when it decided to run credit checks on all its employees and require all personal delinquencies (missed car payments) be dealt with.
I’ve always wondered if my online activity interfered with my own job searches after my own career “cardiac arrest” at the end of 2001. It’s hard to say, but employers could have well been concerned that I might have a proclivity to write about them publicly after leaving myself.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Chrome browser update linked to major failure on some Apple Mac OS video editing work stations with file system corruption

There has been a spectacular software update failure that seems to be attributed to Google Chrome.
In a specialize environment especially with video editing and the use of Avid Media Composer, many workstations belonging to film editors, especially at some film production companies, on Mac OS Pro failed and would not reboot.

Google Chrome, in some unusual circumstances, could corrupt the APFS file system.  This might have to do with the possibility that the systems may or may not be in case-sensitive mode, as is normal with Unix and Linux-like systems.
The problems occurred mainly on Monday, Oct. 14,  Variety has a detailed story by Janko Roettgers. 
 A major part of the problem may have been disabling Apple’s own System Integrity Protection.
Malcolm Owen of Apple Insider had a somewhat different story and gave some coaching on terminal mode commands involved in the fix, here. 

Apple’s own instructions are here. It appears that you need a recovery disk and system backup (like from Carbonite).
Here is Avid’s own account.  I found this on Twitter when I routinely checked their Support account before buying a Mac today myself. 

There’s a moral.  I’ve never had to restore an entire computer myself.  But in 2016, I had Geek Squad replace a conventional hard drive with an SSD (Windows 8.1 then) after repeated errors, but was able to get a clean backup of the hard drive (as far as I know) and had Carbonite.

After my forced “retirement” at the end of 2001, I actually looked a IT jobs at Warner Brothers online, which at the time were mainframe and involved DB2.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Does OS Catalina and Sidebar give an efficient way to have a (iPad 2nd) touch screen with your MacBook?

I’m getting ready to upgrade my Mac environment for music composition, and a big issue is being able to use touchpad surface.

It seems like you’re supposed to use Apple Sidebar with Macbook and iPad’s that are new enough and have new operating systems. Apple's document is here

They should not to be sharing connections elsewhere (cellular for iPad, Internet for Macbook).
It appears that you are supposed to have Mac OS Catalina on your Macbook but I am still checking with Best Buy, Apple, and Avid.  It takes a while for the retail outlets to learn everything.

Update:  Oct. 10 

OS Catalina was released Oct. 7 according to Wikipedia.  Gizmodo explains the iPad as second screen here  (point 2).  Music is no longer part of iTunes but its own app.

Many popular applications, including AVID Sibelius, say they cannot yet guarantee compatibility with Mac OS 10.15.  There is discussion in various sources, such as here. NotateMe (with Sibelius Ultimate) would appear to benefit from the new features and right now (with 10.14.x) it requires an external scanner to view handwritten scores and change them (apparently).  Most of this issues have to do with complicated new security requirements.  Further discussion of these issues will continue on a new posting to be done on Wordpress soon.

Avid's own statement on "floating compatibility" is here.

Their direct reference on requirements for Sibelius Ultimate is here.

Monday, October 07, 2019

It's not that easy to "become" a "programmer"

Andy Serkowitz now explains “5 Reasons Why You’re Not Becoming a Programmer”.

The basic problem is that you need to start practicing and doing real projects immediately.

A second problem is “perfectionism”.

The third problem is “fear”.

A fourth is “bouncing around” without mastery not enough “fun” (Clive Barker would understand that).

The last is a poor job search strategy.
I would add to this discussion something about the difficulties many older professionals had in moving from mainframe to Internet and client server after Y2K.  The problem is that you have to do a project more or less from scratch to learn the style of OOP to be able to support the work of other people.  And Y2K, with the conversion of old mainframe apps, got in the way.  Then a few years later the IT world really wasn’t ready to do a good job with Obamacare, and you see where it is now. The welfare of the country is at issue with how well the job market and skill levels work.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Andy lists "5 programming anti-patterns" (bad habits) for beginners

“5 Programming Anti-Patterns for Beginners”, by Andy Serkowitz, talks about faddish OOP coding practices that make it harder for others to maintain the code.

Here are some bad practices:
(1)    Obscure or overly shortened variable names
(2)    Magic strings and numbers (like 21 as a drinking age).
(3)    Lava flows (includes dead code)
(4)    Cut and paste
(5)    Poltergeist  

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Remembrance of my last good job

It’s interesting to walk past a building you worked in for four years 20 years ago, and where your career had its cardiac arrest one morning, Dec. 13, 2001.

The building is rather plain, compared to the original building across the street, Washington Ave, in Minneapolis, where now Voya (was ING, was ReliaStar) is still flashy.

I was thinking today, however, that no one really has a handle on what happened to the IT job market, as in the mainframe world it disintegrated into a gig economy.  It seemed that the field now belongs to the prodigies, who learned new ways of thinking early enough in life.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

CBD might make you fail an employer's required drug test

Recently there have been news reports of people fired, especially from law-enforcement jobs, for positive THC drug tests when they took CBD over the counter for back pain.
Quest Diagnostic, for example, has a writeup on the problem.   

Cannabidiol is not illegal by itself and does not have significant mind-altering properties.  But sometimes CBD’s may contain trace amounts of THC that cause positive drug tests.
I can recall having to take a urine drug test before starting my job at USLICO in January 1990, which eventually became Reliastar / ING / Voya .  The company soon dropped the requirement.
Supposedly you don’t get a positive test from being in a room or bar where other people are smoking pot, although it is a precautionary measure I used to be concerned about.

Update:  Sept. 25:

NBC Washington reports on Federal employees and especially employees with security clearances failing random drug tests over CBD and getting fired. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

"You Can't Be Anything You Want To Be", according to Bernard

I think I’ve used this creator on my Movies blog, but I wanted to share a video by Bernard, Chubbyemu, about career. He says “You Can’t Be Whatever You Want to Be”.

The speaker says he is 26 and has two degrees, and has a relatively good life (as an apparent “Asian American” in tech).  He grew up near Chicago (as did Tim Pool).  He says he was bad in English, getting an F on a paper on a criticism of feminism in a Victorian novel. He says he was good in math in science.

The video goes on to give another anecdote about a law school graduate failing bar exams, and then settles in on the idea of not being spread to thin.

That’s good advice, generally, as “we” need to be schooling people in the jobs that need to be done, the trades – except that they could go away with automation.

I have a personal issue with this.  In my background, I was moderately good at a lot of academic things and wound up with 32 years of stability employed in mostly mainframe IT when that was the dominant computing culture.   I really did not make the transition well, and I can see the mistakes I made in retrospect.  I might have become a classical pianist or composer – say had I been born a few decades later and had the tech advantage.

Other speakers tell it differently.  Martin Goldberg (“Economic Invincibility”) is big on versatility but talks about learning employable skills rather than college for most people.  Tim Pool talks about learning in the streets.  John Fish talks about reading and study habits (and sells audiobooks and other items good for students) but is spending his gap year working in tech and, so far, teaching coding classes online. John’s other passion is running track.  (I had a grad student friend at KU who was big on track;  another was big on baseball.)  Jack Andraka has built a research career over his undergraduate years at Stanford and now finishing it with a Master’s, research which some biotech companies are paying for.  Unlike some others, he doesn’t really need a YouTube channel.  His other passion was competitive kayaking.

Magnus Carlsen’s one big passion (besides working as a male model at one time) is chess.
Taylor Wilson will save our power grids.
But Bernard’s channel has some interesting advice, too.  Don’t live on junk food, another video explains what happened to a teen who did, and still gives a personal take on fat-shaming, much constructively than Milo.    

I seem to remember that Tony Orlando and Dawn used to preach, "you can be more than you are." 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The CompTIA Security+ certificate experience, according to Martin

Economic Invincibility (Martin Goldberg) shares his experience getting the CompTIA Security+ certificate for work.  He discusses the workbook and test. 

He discusses the workbook and exam (75-82 questions), which includes 30 “performance questions”.  

 It takes about two months to prepare, he says.
I did come away from watching this video with the feeling that my own job search experience after the beginning of 2002 might have gone differently than it did.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

California AB 5: uber/lyft drivers, truckers, freelance writers

California is all set to pass a law, AB 5 which would force many employers to classify contractors as employees if they meet certaing guidelines.  California made an exception for newspaper delivery carriers for one year with AB 170.  Here is the USA Today story.  
Some of the biggest groups of workers who might benefit would be ride-hailing drivers, for Uber and Lyft.  The standards for remaining a contractor and not getting employee benefits would be:  having your own business as a separate platform, having discretion over how you do the job, and doing something out of the employer’s normal course of business. The last provision seems to ensnare Uber and Lyft and probably trucking companies. But there is the issue that the drivers use and insure their own personal cars.  That sounds like a problem.
Consumers in California could find ride-hailing more expensive and closer to cab costs.
Freelance writers pose another problem.  There was a suggestion that if you contributed 35 or more paid pieces to a publication, even all online, you become their employee. 
 It is common for IT contractors to be W-2 "employees" of staffing companies who give them benefits, and that has been common since the 1970s. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

"Professionalism" is no longer a virtue in the new workplace

“How less professionalism will get you ahead in the workplace in the future”, by Aaron Hurst on the Big Think.

I became a “professional amateur” after my Dec 2001 big layoff (at age 58), and I would get asked “what is your profession” and they wanted me to sell insurance (since I had done the IT for it). Hurst says that AI will change everything. 

Friday, September 06, 2019

John Fish conducts "learn to code" (so to speak) livestream class from his new setup in Montreal

John Fish gives a two-hour class in coding Python from his new studio in Montreal, (Learn) Code with Us, in a livestream on Friday Aug. 30 that attracted over 800 students.

The title of the video brushes up against a supposed ban of the meme "Learn to Code" on Twitter since the phrase is thought to harass laid-off mainstream journalists. The phrase might have been meaningful right after Y2K two decades ago as older mainframe programmers needed to learn the style of terse scripting languages coded from the command prompt (or terminal mode) on the Internet. And do you learn it for Windows?  Linux? (more or less Apple).  
This is done on a Mac Pro (it looks like), so this could be useful to me soon as I prepare to set up a new Mac studio for my music.  If John knows much about music software, that would be a great idea for another class.

One issue for the Mac (I think I’ve covered it here before) is the controversy over why it doesn’t offer touch screen on the monitor, but requires some kind of interface like Wacam. 

There are supposed to be major announcements from Apple and Avid on their software next week from a conference in Amsterdam (Netherlands).

John seems to publish his videos on Saturdays, so I don’t know if there will be more classes (like what I just suggested), or coverage of workplace issues like bilingualism in Quebec. 

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Tips for using the Apple "Genius Bar"

Here’s a little article with tips about how to make sure your appointment with the Genius Bar at an Apple store really works, in Business Insider, by Lisa Eadicicco. 

One of the testiest problems is your iCloud password, which I have had trouble with, and which can be tricky to get reset. My iCloud PW seems to be the same as the Macbook.

Another issue is having the device backep up beforehand.
I find with Sibelius that if I change something (like an sib file) or add something, it doesn’t back up on Carbonite until the next time I log on to the Apple.  It is always one day behind.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

China uses LinkedIn to recruit spies in the U.S.

Edward Wong writes in the New York Times, front page, today, Wednesday  August 28, 2019, “Wanted: Spy. Employer. China. To Apply: Click.” Online, it says “How China uses Linked-In to Recruit Spies Abroad”. 

 The idea is to use fake linked-in accounts. They probably prefer people who look like they come from North America. 

LinkedIn (owned by Microsoft) is known as the “professional” social network for looking for work or setting up a professional presence.  There is Monster (which I became familiar with after my 2001 layoff). It has not been viewed as controversial like Facebook and Twitter. It has been a place for people to indicate clearances.

The long story is provocative and could escalate Donald Trump’s claims he wants to cut off companies doing business with China, starting with the tariff war. I can see how it relates to Trump’s claims of “intellectual property theft”.

I was repeatedly approached near the end of 2013 about whether I wanted to register my “doaskdotell” site in China, despite the fact that Blogger is blocked. They don’t seem to block non-social-media hosted accounts and may find them useful to gauge American social politics.  My own records show hits from China, Russia, and various mid-eastern authoritarian countries.

Monday, August 26, 2019

A cautionary tale on non-compete agreements

Joshua Fluke, a (former?) software developer in Utah, in a video “I’ve Been Targeted”, talks about his father’s career.  Another video which I embedded on my Retirement blog talked about his having to support his dad.

This video shows him talking to his father, who was 52 when laid off.  He had been hired at 27 in 1990.  He signed a non-compete clause which said he would no go to work for a competitor.  It is true that these agreements were common then.  I have signed a few of them.

When his laid-off dad formed his own business doing the same thing, and was still sued over his own business.  I haven’t really heard of a non-compete suit under these circumstances (it was in Utah).  He even had money seized and got evicted from an apartment.

The dad said his job had been to sell consumers things they didn’t need.  That was a real problem with “sales culture” (like the movie “100 Mile Rule”) after Y2K and 9/11 when I was interviewing.  I don’t want to manipulate people for a living either. The Internet has changed everything and lot.  I am a little bemused if his dad was selling things in his own business, when he says he doesn’t like to sell things people don’t need. Agreed.  Blogtyrant used to talk a lot about that.

I signed a non-compete agreement with Chilton when I went to work for them in Dallas in the fall of 1981. The agreement said you could not work for another credit reporting company (Pinger in Houston was conceivable).  Chilton would be bought by Borg Warner in 1986, sold to TRW in 1988 and get spun off as Experian and is still in Dallas. You could be laid off (people were in 1989 although I had left), but the policy was programmers were simply expected to look for work as mainframe programmers in other industries.  The environment was Amhdah MVS, compatible with IBM mainframe, but it had Datacomm DB/DC instead of IMS and CICS (later DB2) which is what employers wanted then.  So the non-compete was problematic. 

He presents a post where another blogger excoriates Josh for his “attitude”.  I’ll let the visitor decide for himself. I don’t think you can film at your workplace generally (just like you can’t go into a MacDonald’s and film the people working without permission).
I think that Grindreel is Josh’s business now?

Wikipedia attribution:   
By NASA Astronaut -, Public Domain, Link I was in Salt Lake myself in May 1981, and at airport in 2012. Salt Lake’s streets are very logically named and easy to follow.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Meritocracy in the workplace, may melt like the ice caps

Does meritocracy drive the workplace in IT?

For me, in mainframes three decades ago, not exactly.  It became a rather stable culture that went nowhere after Y2K and broke down into gigs, when we were going to need mature old-fashioned professionals to rewrite health care.

And we needed to train people to do security.

The “business” got used to low-balling, to expect on-call production support without pay.

The rest of the world was preoccupied with selling things, and billable hours.

Read, in the Atlantic Sept. 2009, “Meritocracy’s miserable winners”, by Daniel Markovits (p. 14). 

There is also a “conversation” about “your professional decline” on p. 10.

The article reminds us that “the rich now dominate society, not idly but effortfully.” 

But Tim Pool seem to believe that the meritocratic rich can afford “luxury beliefs” that don’t require their skin in other people’s games. It’s based on Rob Henderson’s piece in the New York Post.

I had written a "legacy" piece on meritocracy myself back in 2002, old, fixed html, here

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Why does Apple resist putting touchscreens on its computers when Microsoft encourages it?

As I get ready to set up a studio to “finish” some of my music, I wonder why Microsoft-based PC’s offer touch screen (which would respond to pens writing music by hand on a staff, as with NotateMe) and Apple has split the world, offering touch technology only on tablets and phones (iOS) and needing a separate interface for music software processing on the main computer (a MacBook or iMac) under a modern MacOS.
iMore offers some insights with a 2018 article by Rene Ritchie. There is a belief that sitting at a desk and working with a touchscreen is not very ergonomic, unless you are working with a pencil, and then you would want a tablet in your lap (like a piece of paper).  There are also some indications that Apple and Sibelius will announce major improvements possible in MacOS 10.15 at a conference in the Netherlands in September (according to an Apple store I visited).

I’m not sure how much the Touch Bar on the newer MacBooks accomplishes (I don’t have it on my 2015 MacBook), but that’s discussed here by Busten Hein on Cult of Mac.  .

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Should the childless subsidize paid family leave? Another debate

Donald J. Boudreaux has an interesting article in AIER, the American Institute for Economic Research, “Unseen victims of government policies”.

He uses a “Stanford experiment” scenario, fictitious, to dramatize his point.

But then he gets around to explaining how mandatory paid family leave is paid for by others, particularly those who don’t have (or at least adopt or foster) children.
Rick Sincere shared this in his Daily “li” paper Tuesday.  The video above seems to come from the UK.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Can you be expected not to act "gay" or "fluid" on the job?

Some different for this blog to start a sleepy August.

Should you be expected to act gender binary in the workplace?  Or just neutral?

Speaker Riyadh Khalif talks about this.

His boss (in the TV station business) asked him to tone it down.  He says he didn’t.

Social media and the preoccupation with pronouns has had an effect on corporate America.

But of course, gay men in the workplace in the past weren’t noticed for behaving any differently, particularly independent media.

In the past, the paradigm was salesmen going out and meeting customers and having to behave in business-like fashion. 

My own father did that for 40 years, although he sold only wholesale. 
And, yes, YouTube has a few softcore “comedy” videos of job applicants “giving in” to get jobs.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Wall Street Journal reports on employers spying on workers; and for chefs, hand appearances matter

Sarah Krouse has a big article in the “Exchange” section of this weekend’s Wall Street Journal (July 20, 2019), “The new ways your boss is spying on you”.

A lot of the article deals with movement monitoring for jobs like waiters, but some of it applies to desk workers too.  One of the packages discussed is comes from Ambit Analytics.

The article also advises against “bring your own gear” and suggests separation between personal and work-related hardware, even phones. It is also taking the position that most people need to be sparing about the way they use social media (although I’ve talked a lot about that before, as I made a career of it early in the game).

The Russia Today video above misspelled "employees".  
Nick Kostov has a whimsical piece about the importance of the appearance of chef’s hands on food videos. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Walmart uses an Oculus Go virtual reality system to screen, train associates

Peter Holley describes a new kind of interview tool for companies putting people into regimented retail jobs, at least for promotions, on p. A21 of the Washington Post Monday July 15, 2019. 

That is an Oculus Go virtual reality headset, through which applicants will be tested to see how well they can perform tasks and how quickly when confronted by practical situations that happen suddenly in a retail store.
In March 2004, I had interviewed for a retail job at Hollywood Video before I started substitute teaching.  I guess I was overqualified (“IYI”).

Monday, July 08, 2019

YouTuber loses job because of his videos supposedly connecting him to Pewdiepie

A YouTuber named Isaiah Photo relates how he lost his job (or a major client) because of his “fun” videos making fun of (or with) Pewdiepie.

At about 3:40 he reports that a client said it didn’t want to work with someone “associated” with Pewdiepie, who was perceived as a “racist” or “anti-Semitic”.  That is certainly false objectively, but Wikipedia gives a little bit of an idea why some people have this impression (see a couple of sentences under "Media Controversies").

Later in the video Isaiah talks about the possibility that the Christchurch attack aggravated the situation, which might not have otherwise happened.

Seriously, there have been deplatformings (as by Patreon) against persons merely because of their perceived "associations" with other groups or persons thought to be connected to white supremacy or neo-Nazism, but nearly always these supposed connections (with a very few exceptions) are false. Very few high profile speakers in the US, UK. etc. actually advocate ethno states. And Donald Trump does not.

There is a problem of  "dumbing down" as companies have to deal with the gullibility of a rather illiterate public in understanding social media. 
I’ve talked about my own issues with “conflict of interest” in my own self-publishing and the workplace (esp. Feb. 4, 2014).  

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Apple moves its assembly of its top-line Mac Pro to China, maybe risking tariffs?

Apple seems to be defying Trump’s tariff actions and threats by announcing it will move final assembly of the Mac Pro to China, from Austin, TX, as in this Ars Technica story by Jon Brodkin. 

The new desktop would cost around $6000, but theoretically tariffs could raise the price to $8000.  This possibility doesn’t seem to be explained.  We’re left with Trump’s senior moment, calling the Apple CEO “Tim Apple”.   This product is said to be low in volume compared to the smaller computers. 

I will replace my Apple MacBook (2015) with a new unit by the fall, in order to complete my music projects and bring them into performable shape. My own investigation seems to show that the Sibelius Ultimate product would need an Apple unit that costs around $2300 or so (and apparently no tariff).  But I’ll look to see what ThioJoe has to say about this.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

How reliable is shared web hosting?

On Monday, June 19, 2019, Bluehost, which hosts my four Wordpress blogs, started getting timeouts through Sitelock and soon I could not log on to the hosting account.  I called the tech support and they told me that 900 servers were down!

The outage lasted 11 hours and was noted on downdetector.  One other site, “isitidownnow” which does pings, noted non-responsiveness for about two hours before the pings would work.

The outage happened very shortly after controversial news on major media about US covert cyber war against Russia behind Trump’s back.  You can imagine the rumors.

This problem sounds more like a spanning tree topology problem, which had occurred at this company in December 2016. A misconfiguration can cause a network to start looping and stop responding. It reminds me of the dreaded java “thread death”.

If the server you are on had to be replaced by the host, you might have to wait a few hours for repropagation of your new IP address to work.

The company’s twitter support account is not monitored late at night.  I messaged them at the start of its early morning shift, and the person who answered at first seemed not to know about the large outage.

I found a couple of interesting articles on hosting companies.

Here is one on how shared hosting works, and with some advice on outages.
Generally, hosting companies don’t get involved in censorship except for specific AUP violations (which now includes violating FOSTA, as well as running illegal pharmacies and sometimes selling weapons).  But after Charlottesville, Godaddy and other hosts became sensitive to activist complaints about hosting white supremacist content, and this problem may well be spreading.
Here is one about Endurance, which owns many hosts silently.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Tim Pool warns job seekers: going "woke" on Twitter will keep you from having almost any decent job, and Twitter followers are not useful "dark money"

Tim Pool, in a video today talking about Think Progress, talked about Subverse’s hiring.

He gave a stern warning to applicants for anything in media to watch their social media, especially Twitter, at about 9:25.

He warns people about becoming “woke warriors” destroying their own personal credibility when they play the clickbait game with tweets (or Facebook posts) that they personally don’t even believe. 

Twitter followers won’t pay your rent, he says.

I’ve talked about online reputation and employment a lot on my blogs ever since I started them.  I made a very important post about the founding of “Reputation Defender” on Nov. 30, 2006 on my main blog. The idea of online reputation and its effect on the workplace started to develop around 2000, when a few employers started announcing “blogging policies”.  I wrote a controversial piece in March 2000 on my old hppub site that I recently republished here

Heather Armstrong founded her site “dooce” after she was fired in 2002 by a software developer for blogging about her own workplace.