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.