syskill + business   161

Elizabeth Warren has a plan to save capitalism
“[W]hile the codetermination aspect of Warren’s proposal does draw inspiration from Germany, fundamentally, the pitch for the overall package is a lot closer to ‘Make America Great Again’ than to ‘Make America Like Scandinavia.’ The basic notion is that the American private sector used to operate in a better, more inclusive way before the rise of shareholder supremacy and with a couple of firm regulatory kicks we can get it to work that way again.”
usa  politics  economics  business 
august 2018 by syskill
AI winter is well on its way
"We currently don't have the technology that could safely drive us coast to coast, though we could have faked it if we really wanted to (maybe). We deeply hope that some sort of exponential jump in capabilities of neural networks will soon happen and save us from disgrace and massive lawsuits."
computing  technology  science  business 
may 2018 by syskill
Ten years in, nobody has come up with a use for blockchain
“Someone starting from a human perspective on banking security—who is currently harmed and how can we help them?—would come up with something very different from blockchain.… In conversations with bitcoin entrepreneurs and investors and consultants, there was often a lack of knowledge or even interest in how the jobs were being done today or what the value to the end user was.”
technology  security  cryptography  business  bitcoin 
january 2018 by syskill
Snoops may soon be able to buy your browsing history. Thank the US Congress
Bruce Schneier speaks for me: “Telecom companies have argued that other internet players already have these creepy powers – although they didn’t use the word ‘creepy’ – so why should they not have them as well? It’s a valid point. Surveillance is already the business model of the internet, and literally hundreds of companies spy on your internet activity against your interests and for their own profit.… Of course the telecom companies want a piece of the surveillance capitalism pie.… The bigger question is: why do we allow for-profit corporations to create our technological future in ways that are optimized for their profits and anathema to our own interests?”
usa  congress  idiocy  surveillance  business  paranoia  schneier 
march 2017 by syskill
The GOP’s guiding principle: You’re on your own
“By Ryan’s logic, homeowner’s insurance is crazy, because those whose houses weren’t destroyed by tornadoes are paying for those whose houses were destroyed. If you didn’t get into a car accident this month, your insurance premiums paid to repair the cars of people who did. What an upside-down world we live in.… [I]f you already have wealth or power, ‘You’re on your own’ will be terrific. You’ll be able to keep more money without being burdened by taxes to pay for a bunch of stuff that doesn’t benefit you and you only.”
usa  business  politics  congress  trump  republican  corruption 
march 2017 by syskill
Clinton Foundation Still Not Criminal, Still Not Great
“The emails do not show that Clinton Foundation donors received any policy favors from Hillary Clinton or other elected officials. What they show is that people who donated to the foundation believed they were owed favors by Clinton’s staffers, and at least one of those staffers — the odious Doug Band — shared this belief.… [T]he internal culture revealed by the Clinton emails is mostly one of earnest bureaucratic befuddlement, not corruption.… At the same time, criminality is not the correct standard to which a public official ought to be held.”
politics  government  business  hillary 
august 2016 by syskill
Toledo same-sex couple stunned by bakery's refusal to make birthday cake
The Bible clearly says that birthdays are between a man and a woman
ohio  religion  business  idiocy 
july 2016 by syskill
“There is, of course, much to criticize about Israeli politics from a general perspective.… The willingness of non-Jews to single out Israel as unique among the malefactors of the world, and even among the plausibly democratic malefactors of the world, nevertheless replays the historical special status of Jews, Judaism and Israel in Western thought that most BDS supporters would treat as a prime example of unconscious bias in almost any other circumstance.”
israel  business 
december 2015 by syskill
Agile Is The New Waterfall
"The reality of Agile is that you still have immutable decisions made by business people with no real understanding of technology. Those decisions are then forced on to developers. The end result is the same as Waterfall, only the names have changed. Unfortunately, with little or no documentation, now the developer is accountable for the outcome while having little or no authority to create a winning one. This responsibility without authority makes Agile even more toxic than Waterfall."
programming  business 
october 2015 by syskill
Google Confirms That It Fired Engineer For Breaking Internal Privacy Policies
That time when a Google SRE turned out to be a skeevy man-child with a god complex
google  business  sysadmin  security  privacy 
september 2015 by syskill
More On The Political Economy Of Permahawkery
“[T]his also means that the common claim that QE is a giveaway to bankers is the opposite of the truth; to the extent that journalists with close ties to bankers spread this story, it’s Orwellian. Remember, the Fed isn’t lending money at low interest to banks — banks, with their $2.5 trillion (!) of excess reserves, are lending vast sums at low interest to the Fed.”
usa  government  economics  finance  business  nyt  krugman 
september 2015 by syskill
The U.S. computer industry is dying and I’ll tell you exactly who is killing it and why
“If the CEO is driving the company into bankruptcy or spends too much money on his own perks, for example, the previous theory of business (and the company bylaws) say shareholders can vote the bum out. But that’s so mundane, so imprecise for economists who see a chance to elegantly align interests and make the system work smoothly. The only problem is the alignment of interests suggested by Jensen and Meckling works just as well – maybe even better – if management just cooks the books and lies. And so shareholder value maximization gave us companies like Enron (Jeffrey Skilling in prison), Tyco International (Dennis Kozlowski in prison), and WorldCom (Bernie Ebbers in prison). It’s just a theory, remember.”
technology  business 
june 2015 by syskill
Carnac the Magnificent
“The ‘Carnac the Magnificent’ anti-pattern is setting up a situation where the only way to pass is to guess what the interviewer is looking for. Here’s an example from a blog post that is currently causing tongues to wag… Here’s the most naïve code I can think of. Every single thing you can say negatively about this solution represents an unstated requirement.… Part of the job of being a software developer is to understand the ways in which things that appear simple—like code, user experiences, security protocols, and almost everything else we touch—are not actually simple.”
programming  business 
may 2015 by syskill
Concerns grow over Safeway plant in Merced bottling and selling groundwater
H/t Mother Jones <URL:>, who point out that if you've been buying bottled water at Starbucks then California's drought is all your fault
california  environment  business 
may 2015 by syskill
Comcast Says It’s Tripling Size Of Social Media Customer Service Team
Consumerist's writers are my new role models: “According to Tom Karinshak, Comcast’s head of Customer Service, the company is both adding more people to its ‘social care’ team and giving them more tools to help customers; presumably so they can copy/paste ‘Sorry to hear that. Did you try resetting the modem?’ more efficiently.… In a statement that we assume is intended to make customers feel better, but which demonstrates Comcast’s lack of understanding of its dismal level of customer service, Karinshak explains that ‘The social care team has access to all the same advanced tools and training as our call center agents do.’ The social media team will also be able to schedule appointments for tech visits to your home. Of course, the ability to schedule an appointment doesn’t mean that the tech will keep the appointment or be given the correct information so that they show up prepared to deal with the problem.”
comcast  business  idiocy 
march 2015 by syskill
FCC Votes To Make 25 Mbps The New Minimum Definition Of Broadband
“Chairman Wheeler spoke last, directly calling out the discrepancy between telecom’s lobbying and advertising. ‘Somebody is telling us one thing and telling consumers another,’ Wheeler said of Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable. Speaking of Verizon, for example, Wheeler said that Verizon’s filings with the FCC read, ‘Consumers continue to find that services at the existing 4Mbps/1Mbps threshold meet their needs for broadband services and a higher benchmark would serve no purpose.’ Verizon’s own marketing materials, meanwhile, explain that although FiOS provides great bandwidth, ‘you’d be surprised how fast it goes,’ and specifically says that their 25 Mbps connection ‘is best for one to three devices at the same time,’ but that a family or household with three to five devices in it should go for 50/50 or better.”
technology  business  government 
january 2015 by syskill
Five Things to Know About NYC's Ultra-Popular ID Cards
I've been saying for years that NYC needs its own version of the Yerushalmi card, and they're finally doing it. O joyous day!

Only cultural institutions offer a discount with the card (so far).
nyc  business 
january 2015 by syskill
Debts Canceled by Bankruptcy Still Mar Consumer Credit Scores
“The problem, state and federal officials suspect, is that some of the nation’s biggest banks ignore bankruptcy court discharges, which render the debts void. Paying no heed to the courts, the banks keep the debts alive on credit reports, essentially forcing borrowers to make payments on bills that they do not legally owe. The practice — a subtle but powerful tactic that effectively holds the credit report hostage until borrowers pay — potentially breathes new life into the pools of bad debt that are bought by financial firms. Now lawyers with the United States Trustee Program, an arm of the Justice Department, are investigating JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Synchrony Financial, formerly known as GE Capital Retail Finance, suspecting the banks of violating federal bankruptcy law by ignoring the discharge injunction… threatening the foundations of bankruptcy.”
finance  business  corruption  nyt 
november 2014 by syskill
Industry Group Files Lawsuit Seeking To Kill Seattle's Minimum Wage, Claiming It Violates Their Free Speech
“The lobbying group argues, for example, that Seattle’s new minimum wage violates the First Amendment because ‘by increasing the labor costs of franchisees, the Ordinance will reduce the ability of franchisees to dedicate funding to the promotion of their businesses and brands.’ In other words, the law requires businesses to spend money paying workers a living wage that they could otherwise spend on advertising, and this somehow violates the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech. If this were actually what the Constitution required, then any law imposing costs on anyone would be unconstitutional, including all taxes. After all, every dollar paid in taxes is a dollar that can’t be spent to buy an ad promoting the deliciousness of the Big Mac.”
seattle  business  law  idiocy 
june 2014 by syskill
Industry and carbon limits: Claws in the dirt
"In retrospect, the industry response to environmental regulation in the 1970s can best be described as mendacious, homicidal, greedy whingeing. Predictably, the US Chamber of Commerce's Energy Institute and the American Petroleum Institute have recently released reports warning of economic disaster if Mr Obama's new rules limiting greenhouse-gas emissions are implemented."
environment  economics  business  corruption  economist 
june 2014 by syskill
Homeopathic remedies recalled for containing real medicine
Teh irony probably won't give you teh cancer, but it's still bad news if you're allergic to penicillin
medicine  crackpot  business 
march 2014 by syskill
In Defense of Not-Invented-Here Syndrome
"The best advice I can offer: *If it's a core business function -- do it yourself, no matter what.* ... The only exception to this rule, I suspect, is if your own people are more incompetent than everyone else, so whenever you try to do anything in house, it's botched up. Yes, there are plenty of places like this. If you're in one of them, I can't help you."
business  culture 
february 2014 by syskill
Everything You Need to Know About RIM Is in This Post
Also everything you need to remember about the iPhone: "Coming from a two-way pager background, RIM decided that phones should have two-way push synchronization of pretty much everything that Exchange provided along with a limited WML browser. The general thought was that phones would never have sufficient power density or radios sufficient bandwidth to allow anything more. That was incredibly predictably wrong, but it's how things went down.... So the point is that all these companies were fighting over what amounts to overgrown PDAs with phones and wireless stacks strapped on. Everyone assumed power density was no where even close to what was needed for general computing, that a full featured browser and heavy duty Internet services were impossible due to bandwidth and latency. Take a look at how our Java expert groups named standards, how people at the time talked about what features smartphones should have, and it's clear that no one thought an iPhone was possible. Even Danger, which eventually went on to work to create Windows Phone 7 and Android, was just working on a better Blackberry. The iPhone did many amazing things, but what stands out in my mind was how it proved that these assumptions were flat-out wrong beyond any reasonable doubt. Apple pretty much gave everyone the finger and said, 'Fuck you guys we can build your distant impossible future today.'"
computing  technology  cellular  hardware  business  history 
october 2013 by syskill
Mastering the Craft
“I’ve mastered the Python language, and very nearly mastered PostgreSQL’s every in, out, and what-have-you. Since being acquired by eBay, I’ve been pushing to write all new code in Python, pushing to get PostgreSQL officially supported, pushing in every direction, so long as it was away from Java. That has been a mistake. I know Java well enough, so I haven’t been resisting because of my skill set, I resisted Java because it’s enterprisey. Because I thought it was an inferior technology. Because I had a chip on my shoulder about technical superiority. That’s not mastery, that’s just being a prick, and I’m done with it.”
programming  business  culture  liquor 
august 2013 by syskill
The Long Con
Rick Perlstein's piece on the American conservative movement as a scheme to fleece its rank-and-file
usa  politics  corruption  business  culture 
july 2013 by syskill
Finally You'll Get To See The Secret Consumer Dossier They Have On You
Acxiom may or may not make all or some of its individual commercial profiles available to those individuals for free or for pay soon, possibly in September. I read the entire article and could not find a single definite statement in it.
security  privacy  business  paranoia 
july 2013 by syskill
The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill: Colonoscopies Explain Why U.S. Leads the World in Health Expenditures
“While the United States medical system is famous for drugs costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and heroic care at the end of life, it turns out that a more significant factor in the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care bill may not be the use of extraordinary services, but the high price tag of ordinary ones.… Colonoscopies offer a compelling case study. They are the most expensive screening test that healthy Americans routinely undergo — and often cost more than childbirth or an appendectomy in most other developed countries.”
usa  medicine  business  economics  nyt 
june 2013 by syskill
As Big Investors Emerge, Bitcoin Gets Ready for Its Close-Up
"The perils have been obvious over the last two days, as bitcoin has gone through its most volatile stretch ever, sinking from a high of $260 a bitcoin to a low of $105, before ending Wednesday around $175. On Thursday it was down again to $120 when one of the major online exchanges called a 12-hour halt on trading. The volatility has raised questions about whether bitcoin can even be called a currency."

Let's think about that last sentence a bit more. The definition of "currency" in economics is threefold: a store of value, a medium of exchange, and/or a unit of account. Bitcoin can certainly be called a currency in that (AFAICT) it serves well as a medium of exchange; however, it has yet to be proven for the other two functions of a currency. If this volatility continues then I doubt it ever will be.
economics  business  bitcoin  nyt 
april 2013 by syskill
How Newegg crushed the “shopping cart” patent and saved online retail
"Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that."
 ―Lee Cheng, general counsel for Newegg
technology  law  business 
january 2013 by syskill
Karl Rove's Mission Accomplished
“Remember how Rove and others were supposed to raise vast sums from billionaires and corporations, then totally saturate the country with GOP messaging, drowning out Obama’s message?… What happened? Well, what if we’ve been misunderstanding Rove? We’ve been seeing him as a man dedicated to helping angry right-wing billionaires take over America. But maybe he’s best thought of instead as an entrepreneur in the business of selling his services to angry right-wing billionaires, who believe that he can help them take over America. It’s not the same thing. And while Rove the crusader is looking — provisionally, of course, until the votes are in — like a failure, Rove the businessman has just had an amazing, banner year.”
usa  politics  business  election:2012  rove  krugman  nyt 
november 2012 by syskill
Romney to bosses: Talk to your workers about this election
“It’s true that Romney is not partisan with his recommendation — he also tells employers who support Obama to talk to their employees about that. But this is still disturbing because of what it says about Romney’s view of the relationship between employers and workers. Implicit in the request for business owners to ‘make it very clear’ to their employees what is ‘in the best interests of your enterprise and therefore their job’ is coercion. When a friend says, ‘think about who you vote for,’ it’s a piece of advice. When your boss says ‘think about who you vote for,’ it carries the weight of a threat — after all, your boss can fire you. Romney complains that he’s been caricatured as a heartless plutocrat, but he seems intent on proving it.”
usa  politics  election:2012  romney  business  corruption  wapo 
october 2012 by syskill
Bain the scrappy little start-up
"I learned the real lessons about how America works from experience. When I was 37, I helped start a small company. My partners and I had been working for a company that was in the business of helping other businesses. So some of us had this idea that if we really believed our advice was helping companies, we should invest in companies. We should bet on ourselves and on our advice. So we started a new business called Bain Capital."

That's Mitt Romney, trying to spin the founding of Bain Capital with an initial investment of $37 million (cf. <URL:>) as the Great American Small Business Success Story
usa  politics  election:2012  romney  business  idiocy 
october 2012 by syskill
Lunchtime pints key to economic recovery
“Professor Brubaker believes a mandatory minimum lunchtime beer consumption of three pints could restore Britain’s economic vigour. He said: ‘Returning from the pub to the office you feel sleepy, and entering a waking-dream state which is when you have your cleverest thoughts. I call it the “creative stupor”.’”
humor  uk  economics  business  beer  daily-mash 
september 2012 by syskill
Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital
Here is Taibbi at his Taibbiest: "Forget about the Southern strategy, blue versus red, swing states and swing voters – all of those political clichés are quaint relics of a less threatening era that is now part of our past, or soon will be. The next conflict defining us all is much more unnerving. That conflict will be between people who live somewhere, and people who live nowhere. It will be between people who consider themselves citizens of actual countries, to which they have patriotic allegiance, and people to whom nations are meaningless, who live in a stateless global archipelago of privilege – a collection of private schools, tax havens and gated residential communities with little or no connection to the outside world.... Romney is the frontman and apostle of an economic revolution, in which transactions are manufactured instead of products, wealth is generated without accompanying prosperity, and Cayman Islands partnerships are lovingly erected and nurtured while American communities fall apart. The entire purpose of the business model that Romney helped pioneer is to move money into the archipelago from the places outside it, using massive amounts of taxpayer-subsidized debt to enrich a handful of billionaires. It's a vision of society that's crazy, vicious and almost unbelievably selfish, yet it's running for president, and it has a chance of winning."
usa  politics  election:2012  romney  economics  finance  business  corruption  taibbi 
august 2012 by syskill
At Caterpillar, Pressing Labor While Business Booms
"Despite earning a record $4.9 billion profit last year and projecting even better results for 2012, the company is insisting on a six-year wage freeze and a pension freeze for most of the 780 production workers at its factory here. Caterpillar says it needs to keep its labor costs down to ensure its future competitiveness. The company's stance has angered the workers, who went on strike 12 weeks ago.... Caterpillar, which has significantly raised its executives' compensation because of its strong profits, defended its demands, saying many unionized workers were paid well above market rates."

Caterpillar's chairman and CEO received a 60% pay raise to $16.9 million in 2011 (cf. <URL:>).
business  corruption  nyt 
july 2012 by syskill
Romney's "You Didn't Build That" Fails
"[F]ortunately for the Romney campaign, this particular attack benefits from a widespread American cultural delusion that success has nothing to do with structural advantages and everything to do with individual excellence, or that you can't be proud of your accomplishments if you acknowledge the collaborative efforts of others on your behalf. So even the individuals Romney cited are indignant about the idea that they received help, despite knowing that they did. Jack Gilchrist, the businessman featured in Romney's ad who received millions of dollars in government contracts and loans, simply rationalized it as getting 'some of my tax money back.' Brian Maloney, the Roxbury businessman who started his auto repair shop with a government loan, told National Journal 'We don't need any more of government's help. We haven't had any.'"

Dear Jack Gilchrist: Your characterization of the income you received from the government as "some of your tax money" is self-serving and erroneous. In fact, that was *our* tax money. Sincerely, all U.S. taxpayers
usa  politics  election:2012  economics  business  romney  idiocy  adam-serwer 
july 2012 by syskill
The Terrible Management Technique That Cost Microsoft Its Creativity
"[A] management system known as 'stack ranking'--a program that forces every unit to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, good performers, average, and poor--effectively crippled Microsoft's ability to innovate.... One former Microsoft engineer says that his performance reviews were 'always much less about how I could become a better engineer and much more about my need to improve my visibility among other managers.'"
business  microsoft 
july 2012 by syskill
The Microsoft Surface Tablet Is Going To Be A Total Flop
"There are a couple of reasons the Surface won't be a success, but the two main points are: [1] The premise is flawed. Microsoft's appeal to consumers is that the iPad can't do enough. The Surface is supposed to replace the tablet and the laptop. Consumers are happy with the iPad as an additive product -- it's not meant to replace a laptop right now. Trying to be two things at once will lead to the Surface being neither. [2] It will start at $600. Why pay a premium for an inferior product? The iPad 2 costs $400, and it's great. The new iPad is $500 at entry level and it's really great. The Kindle Fire costs $200, and it's adequate. Microsoft isn't going to win the high-end battle, and it's not fighting the low end."

Microsoft seem to be taking a page straight out of RIM's losing playbook (no pun intended). With their latest marketing campaign, RIM have bet the firm on their ability to convince consumers to pay a premium for a BlackBerry because iPhones are crap. This is never going to fly; anyone who's in the market for a smartphone already knows at least half a dozen people who have iPhones and are quite satisfied with them. I expect that the iPad will be similarly entrenched in the tablet space by the time the Surface is released.

This is in contrast to the apparent strategy of Samsung, HTC, and the other manufacturers of high-end Android devices, whose products are competitive with Apple's on features and price. Declaring your products to be beyond competition from Apple is simply not a viable business plan.
microsoft  hardware  technology  business 
june 2012 by syskill
The New MacBook Pro: Unfixable, Unhackable, Untenable
"Apple has consistently introduced thinner, lighter products. They learn from experience. They react to their customers. They're very adept at presenting us with what we want. And they give us options from time to time and allow product sales to determine their future designs. We have consistently voted for hardware that's thinner rather than upgradeable. But we have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. Our purchasing decisions are telling Apple that we're happy to buy computers and watch them die on schedule. When we choose a short-lived laptop over a more robust model that's a quarter of an inch thicker, what does that say about our values?"

OTOH iFixit rated the non-retina MacBook Pro very highly for its ease of repair. So, MacBook users of the world: the choice is yours!
apple  hardware  technology  business 
june 2012 by syskill
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