* Posts by MachDiamond

2549 posts • joined 10 Aug 2012

Who cares what Apple's about to announce? It owes us a macOS x86 virtual appliance for non-Mac computers

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Walled Garden? Linux?

From the beginning, Apple has approached the Mac as being a tight integration between the hardware and the OS. They wanted to avoid the headaches of trying to support the OS on multiple, random implementations of the hardware like it is with Windows. Old folks like me will remember that print drivers used to be built in to the applications so you had to have a printer that worked with the application you wanted to print from. Apple thought that was nonsense and defined a spec for printing so it was seamless across all programs.

I think the announcement they are going to switch CPUs yet again is going to kill sales. Why would somebody invest $6,000 and more for a professional level Mac if the chance of a upgrades to the OS and core software is going to end shortly? Anybody thinking they will be able to get reasonable money on their used current model Macs is going to be disappointed. I have a couple of Mac Pros that have been left behind and worth so little that selling them is more bother than the money they'd bring. One of them I have down-graded the CPU and RAM so it draws less power and use it as an internet appliance and NAS.

Apple to Epic: Sue me? No, sue you, pal!

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: SLAPP

"So all Apple need to do is to demonstrate that a member of the public can buy the iOS version of an Epic game from either the Playstation or Xbox store and install it on their iOS device, without involving Apple..."

That's not the issue. The problem arrises from Epic violating the terms of the contract they have with Apple. If they tried to argue anti-trust, the judge would/should terminate that line of defense from being considered. If the judge wanted to be very loose, he could ask Epic's lawyers to convince him first that it would merit being heard in open court. I don't see it.

Epic wants a bigger piece of the pie and decided to just take it without saying "please sir, may I have some more". Not being a ignorant waif, they are up for a spanking.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Anti-Trust

"Second once an app is available it is pretty much survive or sink without interference from Apple or Google."

Not really. There is no option with IOS to sell your software through a third party. Unless the user jailbreaks their phone, they can't load software from anyplace other than Apple's app store unless they are a registered developer. This is the number one reason I have an Android phone. Cost is another big factor. I really don't see any value for me with the most expensive phones. The only one I'd consider spending big bucks on is the CAT phone with the IR camera built-in. Very useful for trouble shooting electrical/electronics.

MachDiamond Silver badge

"Apple might be forced to open their closed ecosystem."

Perhaps, but this doesn't seem to be the case that would crack that nut. Epic breached their contract with Apple and I expect the contract states that breaches can result in removal from the Apple Store along with other remedies.

If Epic had a viable suit that claims they have software they'd like to peddle to IOS users and meets all of Apples requirements that Apple refuses to publish because they have a secret agreement with another publisher that protects them from Apple listing competing software.

Epic's issue right now isn't one of anti-trust. Apple is certainly monetizing their control over IOS and their IOS customers. Something that would be hard to do with desktop/laptop users. This is why I do "work" on my desktop and use my mobile devices for very limited things. The portability is a big step forward, but the input methods and the umbilical to the makers are a huge steps backwards. I see the same thing with newer cars. No longer is your car a stand alone product but remains attached to the manufacturer forever. If they drop support, your car is worthless and the really convenient features become antiquated very quickly. I'd rather add my own satnav and entertainment system than to have them inextricably integrated into the car. It might also mean a massive expense to "upgrade" a core black box so the car can continue to receive limited updates.

Unexpected risks of using Apple ID: 'Sign in with Apple' will be blocked for Epic Games

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Free ride

Epic agreed to the terms and instead of negotiating with Apple for better terms at the next contract renewal, they explicitly breached the contract. Epic knew that they were doing this as they had all of their lawyers in a row to file suits when Apple caught them.

If Epic had told Apple that if they didn't get better terms, they'd make Fortnite Android only (and told Google the same sort of thing), Apple might have looked at the ledger and decided to make some adjustments if it made sense. 30% sounds like a really big cut, but for small transactions, it's not. If the cost for the transaction is $.20, a $1 buy only brings in $.10 or 10%. If the average buy is $50, the cost per transaction of $.20 is lost in the weeds. This is just pulling numbers out of thin air, but illustrates where the numbers are more important than the percentages. Other times the percentages are more important than the numbers.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: More secure? Only maybe

Doublelayer,

Well said. It's also easier to work with customer service of the company you are having login issues with directly. A friend of mine almost lost his domain name because a person he had a falling out with held the password and was no longer reachable. We were able to convince the registrar to transfer the name to my friend (a blues singer and the domain name was his name) and let him pay the registration to keep it from expiring. It's always the best course to deal directly with vendors and not through a third party. The whole point of "sign in with...." is tracking and advertising. All the participants get to share in the data that's derived. Companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook get to build an even more comprehensive database on people via the services they use and how often they use them.

This post has been deleted by a moderator

India makes buying a used cow easier than buying a used car

MachDiamond Silver badge

All assuming...

There is an app for everything although I find most apps useless bits of spyware. To use them you have to assume that there is signal where the people would use it. You have to assume that the people have access to the tech and are savvy enough to understand it. It has to bring enough extra value to make it worth using in the first place.

Every time I grab some fast food there is a banner telling me to download their app. Why? In 1/4 of the time I can tell the PFY I want a #1 without pickles much faster than poking about trying to learn the latest layout of the bloody app. I don't find ordering in advance to work either. The food has either been sitting around getting cold and manky or it isn't ready when I arrive. (I've learned all this via lemmings that love to download apps since I refuse to compromise my phone). I expect that before too long voice ordering will be done via kiosk at the restaurant with a touch screen to help sort out glitches. I'll just walk up, hit a button to start a new order, say "#1, no pickles, Sprite" and it will appear on the screen and when it looks correct, I hit "order", pay and retrieve my food. I always pay with cash to minimize tracking and useless ads.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Buying a used cow now easier than buying a used car

Too right, Igors are hard to find these days.

Oh what a feeling: New Toyotas will upload data to AWS to help create custom insurance premiums based on driver behaviour

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: I don't see the problem

"The phone in your pocket is already telling the men in black where you're going, how fast you're going, how long you stay in a single spot.

Why can't Toyota?"

I keep WF, BT, GPS and data shut off on my phone unless I'm actively using them. There wouldn't be the equivalent "off" setting in the Toyota other than, perhaps, opting out of their data harvesting. Tesla does that, but you lose some of the best features of the car if you do that. No OTA, no map updates, no satnav, no pre-cooling/heating and maybe no access to the Superchargers. You either accept the tracking or get a crippled car.

Again, I see this sort of thing as a business opportunity for people to reverse engineer what the car companies are doing and coming up with work-arounds and off-switches that can be sold to customers willing to pay for their privacy.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: That's settled, then.

"About as fucked up as carrying a smartphone in your pocket - ar least you leave the car in the car park."

Hang out with me and see how many times the phone gets left at home or in the car. The upside is WF,BT,DATA and GPS are all off by default. I only turn them on when I'm using them. I have a stand alone SatNav in the car and don't use the phone for that. When I use Torque Pro on a trip, I use an old phone with no SIM card so my phone that works as a phone is ready if I need it. I managed to get the phone co to disable text on my line. That took some doing.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: eCall only activates when there's been an accident

"When and why did our society decide that an accusation was proof of guilt?"

Is this about cars or sexual harassment allegations?

The "News" can double dip if they run the story that somebody is "really" guilty when they've been accused and then have another story if they are properly tried and convicted. If they are found not-quilty, that isn't likely to be nearly salacious enough to put in the nightly report unless the trial was very public and "of course they are guilty and only got off on a technicality".

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: eCall only activates when there's been an accident

"If the car is driving with the door open it must be on test. How else will VW know when to reduce emissions?"

Nice one. I hadn't thought of that, but it makes a lot of sense. The only downside is if the tester closes the door, but I guess it's easier to leave the door open with the OBDII connection than to thread the cable through the window.

'My wife tried to order some clothes tonight. When she logged in, she was in someone else's account ... Now someone's charged her card'

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Never store your card

Another good reason for not storing your card details is you have to do a little work to make the purchase. Even a few minutes of "cooling off" can be good. You might also suddenly remember an expense you need to cover or that if you want to upgrade the travel on your holiday booking, you will need a few quid of space on the card for that.

eTailers know that the easier they make it for you to make impulse buys, the more money they'll make. Do yourself a favor and self-impose so road blocks to spending money on stuff you probably don't really need. If you do need it, a couple of extra minutes of typing isn't going to end life on the planet.

Nokia 5310: Retro feature phone shamelessly panders to nostalgia, but is charming enough to be forgiven

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: This is NOT that suitable for older people

Simple non-smartphones are good for kids too. They can destroy them and you aren't out a mint. They are harder to destroy and they have less of a chance of getting into trouble through finding "adult" websites and pedo trolls looking for them.

Amazon spies on staff, fires them by text for not hitting secretive targets, workers 'feel forced to work through pain, injuries' – report

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Freedom is slavery

Freedom is the abdication of thought. To have somebody do all of your thinking for you and simply tell you what you are to do is so liberating. Until it isn't.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Taught to hate unions

"Conservative propaganda has taught most Americans to hate the idea of labor unions. "

A lot of what unions fought for has been codified into law. They can still be useful, but many people don't want to be required to pay a portion of their small wage packet to an organization that advocates for things that they don't like. Want to take a holiday job at UPS? In the US you have to join the union, pay an initiation fee and have dues withheld from you pay for a job that's often in the wee hours of the night for a few hours. You could work for a couple of weeks before breaking even and then only be contracted for a month or 6 weeks until the holiday rush is over. You'd be better off taking work elsewhere because you are required to join the union and pay their cumshaw to get the job.

I worked for a union for a while (you are more an employee of the union than the business) and it sucked. Stewards on power trips and the most asinine and counter sense policies that can be imagined. Things like being 2 minutes from finishing a task but required to stop and take a scheduled break in a designated area and then have to return to where you were working for that last two minutes. That could means stairs, ladders, getting out of an enclosed space, etc. I've always worked to the task and not the clock. I found that leaving for lunch a bit later than everybody else meant not waiting in line, finding a seat and a longer period not having to put up with certain co-workers. I also like working salaried jobs since some days I might hit a natural stopping point in my work early or a bit later and could just stop there. If I finished early, I can come up with endless ways to mump until 5, but I'd rather go home. On days I might need to stay late, it means being able to put a line through an item on my to-do list and I could start something fresh the next shift. For engineering work, it's much more efficient to not have to pick up something later as it takes time to reacquaint oneself with where you were. Works for me.

MachDiamond Silver badge

"There is a difference between supervision and spying, though. "

Much will depend on how the data is used too. If the goal is to improve systemic efficiency and not as the means to surveil an individual employee, no problem.

I wonder if holding an employee for "security checks" can be considered kidnapping in some cases. They aren't free to leave and rather than being physically restrained, they are being financially restrained. I imagine that if they don't submit to the security checks, they will be sacked. I've seen some places where the exit is a one way revolving gate and the only other way out would be through a fire-door. Is that physical restraint?

It should be hard to screen people. Scotty at Strange Parts (youtube) did a show in China of a small shop where everything had an RFID tag and you carded in and the system charged you for all of the items you took. He went on to research the tags and it's well worth watching. The tags are super cheap. They have to be if they are going to be used on a packet of crisps. The same sort of thing could be used to scan employees on the way in/out as the system would tell security what the item is. Somebody like Amazon could require vendors to include the tags inside the packaging so It can't be easily removed. If an employee is bringing in a product with a tag on it, it can be found and removed so it won't bark on the way out.

Theft can be a huge problem in a big facility that carries high cost small items though it's easy to segregate those items so they are handled in their own area. Any mixed order with some high value products would be assembled with the lower value stuff first and the unsealed box sent to the high value area for final loading and sealing. Just like people working in a bank vault, workers in a high value area should understand they are being watched much more closely and that's just part of the job.

When I had a manufacturing company and later when I managed another one, I ended the work shift 15-20 minutes ahead so things could be put away and cleaning done rather than tools being left out and work in progress left as whatever stage it was in when the clock said it was time to leave. I never saw that as man-hours lost. On the contrary, it was time saved the next day or at the start of the next shift not looking for tools or trying to figure out where work on something had been stopped. I also like having a clean shop every once in a while.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Jeff Bezos is a complete a-hole

Jeffs billions are from stock. While he may be a complete bastXXd, he's not acquiring his billions by underpaying staff and skimming off the ill-gotten profits. A big portion of his net worth is also paper, not cash in the back. The value of that paper goes up and done by gamblers buying and selling Amazon stock.

He "could" improve the employees lot by selling off stock and sending them all a bonus check. He "could" forgo any salary and have it go towards higher wages ($.02-$.04/hour?) Jeff is said to be drawing a salary of nearly $82,000/year. That's a paltry sum given the size of the company. I didn't look into total compensation, but I'm sure it's impressive.

Amazon makes a pretty ho-hum margin on the backs of its slave labor and economy of scale. They aren't charging enough for the products they sell and the service they provide to be able to pay the lowest tier workers any more money. Plenty of people in the company are likely overpaid for their positions, but bringing those salaries down wouldn't be enough. They need to raise prices. The reason they get people to work for them and starve to death at the same time is they've gotten to the size where they've killed off any other jobs and are the only employers in town or one of only a few and will take people without a college degree.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: I watched this happen to an Amazon employee

It would be too scary to take a job and then not know if you are going to be scheduled. I've run into the same thing with some service companies that require you to only do work for them, but make no guarantees on salary or work assignments.

Self-employed people sort of have the same dilemma in not knowing if they'll have work, but they also have control and can go out and try to bring work in. Not something you can do with one of these very casual jobs.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: And this is why I stopped buying stuff from Amazon about 3 years ago

heyrick, The big box stores are exactly like what you describe. I don't do special orders with them as it's a nightmare. If they had an order desk for just that, they could do really well since those products are sold in advance and don't need to be shelved. Most stores have a very limited return policy for special orders which insulates them from "I didn't like the shade of brown it came in" returns.

This is why I emphasize dealing with small locally owned shops. The better you know the owner/manager, the better the deal you can get. For things that fit in a mail box, shipping is cheap. For things that come on a truck, it can be very dear so getting it to within a couple of miles of your home can save loads of money. My local hardware store has a truck with a lift gate just for local deliveries and they don't charge much for that.

A good rule of thumb is that the larger the company, the less your business means to them. You can stop doing business with them and bad mouth them all you like and it won't affect their bottom line in any noticeable way. If the local shop routinely burns it's customers, they'll be out of business before long.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: The saddest thing IMO

"There is a destructive dynamic built into US financial markets - monopolies (or the promise of one) attract a lot of investment money as a safe bet,"

The financial press will write lots of articles about how XXXX (ticker symbol) is the "market leader" in <shiny new buzzword tech thing> and that's where people with more money than brains will make their "investment". How can they go wrong by investing in the market leader? The favorites get chosen outside of due diligence. Maybe it's big companies employing writers that produce Press Releases with just a slight amount of bias and written in such a way that "reporters" only have to cut/paste and do a little tiny bit of wordsmithing to have an article to turn in. I know a guy who's job was just that. He wrote "articles" for magazines that featured the products of the company he worked for that were published under a couple of pseudonyms. He was paid by the company and the magazines.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Easy solution to this, profits tax based on externalities created

""Google and Amazon pass on UK Digital Services Tax by hiking ad prices and fees at same rate the government takes""

As They® say, "Companies don't pay tax, people do". When I sell stuff on eBay I have to estimate the shipping price and add a "handling" charge to cover the percentage that eBay collects on the shipping (10%). They did that due to sellers marketing items for $.99 and charging $21 for shipping to avoid the fee on the sale. Companies aren't going to just absorb the new tax and make less money.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: I'm glad...

"it appears immediate termination for any intoxication - even without a blood or other test - is easier than your estimate. The website has many case studies."

You'd still have to be careful. If a person "appears" intoxicated but has a medical condition such as the doctor prescribing new meds or dosages, there could be protections under the "Americans with Disability Act (ADA)". If they come back from lunch reeking of pot or alcohol and staggering, that would be different, but to CYA, requiring testing and going from the results puts the employer on firmer ground. You don't want to win but have spent satchels full of money to lawyers and spent endless hours with the Labor Board filling out paperwork and appearing at hearings.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: If you do not like this ...

Jeff's making money on stock way more than salary. Amazon's profit margin is just so-so and they are still climbing out of all of the debt they accumulated from years of losing money. That debt, BTW, is why they don't have a huge tax bill. They are amortizing that debt going forward. At the point they break even, they'll have to start paying taxes in whichever tax haven they base their "headquarters" in.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: It’s “tech washing” the dismantling of the 20th century

Some of the issues are self-inflicted. Think of all of the things with a monthly bill that are "normal" now. Cable/sat TV, everybody in the home having their own phone, new car every 5 years, music/movie subscriptions, store membership fees, banks fees on every transaction rather than paying cash, and on and on. A 9 y.o. doesn't "need" a £200 phone. Everyone in a household with their own TV sucking up 200-300w each. Paying for music and movies they don't own a physical copy of and could, therefore, stop paying a service to listen to. It was great when you could buy the one hit song rather than the whole album but then the terms shifted so when you stop paying the monthly fee, They can delete your local copies on your phone/tablet. The movie you paid for suddenly is unavailable over the holidays when you might want to view it or put the kids in the other room to watch while the adults get potted.

I grew up many years ago when dad brought home the bucks and mom looked after the house and kids. At least until I was 7 and they divorced. The difference was that there was far less emphasis on material wealth. I had plenty of toys, a bike and friends where I could go and we could play with their toys when I was bored of mine. On a nice day is was expected that I would go play outside. The alternative was to make my self useful and do some housework. I opted to go play outside. Later on when my dad remarried and had a ranch, I had a list of chores to do each day and spent less time playing. One TV in the house and I was the remote control under the direction of the dad. I was not unhappy and there wasn't 500 channels of nothing on so whatever he chose to put on wasn't going to be better or worse than what the other 5 channels were showing.

I agree that effective wages have dropped considerably. Many blue collar jobs don't pay what they used to or have been taken over by automation. At the same time, people are nickel and diming themselves to the poor house. Not being able to do math is a hinderance. That 6 figure salary to work in San Francisco is tempered by the extremely high cost of living in SF or Cupertino. A person may have more money at the end of each month with half of that salary living in a lower cost region where it's better to raise a family. The house they could afford to buy would also have a lower tax assessment.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: This shitshow must end

"and by extracting natural resources, which no one made and (arguably) belong to everyone."

Somebody had to find those natural resources, find a way to mine them and transform them into materials suitable for use in making products people want. Good luck with trying to overturn millennia of property rights perception. If there are valuable minerals under my house, do they belong to everyone? What would that mean to the structural integrity of my house should everyone exercise their "rights" to those minerals? Property is bought and sold for the resources on that property. Not just to put a house or strip mall on. In some instances in some countries, a claim can be made to extract resources on a piece of land owned by the "government". In the US, people can stake a claim for a mining gold if they meet certain conditions without buying the land. There is a tedious number of details I won't go into.

MachDiamond Silver badge

"He'd automate every role there is if he could."

Likely and then the only jobs would be to oil the robots. Look up Kiva Robots. Amazon owns that and uses them in some warehouses. Items are brought to the packers and they pull the item with the laser shined on it and put is in the box at the position with the light on. When the order is complete, a different light lights up and they seal the box and send it on it's way. I'm not sure that working as a meat robot within a 1 meter square is better than running around a warehouse and grabbing things.

The most popular displays at fast food conventions has been the automation. We'll get to McSwinies before too long. ("A Stainless Steel Rat is Born", by Harry Harrison).

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Its not just Amazon

"(But at least Amazon pays minimum wage in the US......)(...that is, they're employees, not so-called 'independent contractors')"

Amazon has no way to argue that warehouse staff are independent contractors. Uber and Lyft have thumbed their noses at government using their size as leverage. It's a matter of control. I believe that drivers for Uber and Lyft should be classed as employees. They have no control over pricing and can get penalized if they don't provide a ride even if they don't like the look of the people when the arrive to pick them up. I'm talking about a load of obvious gang members or people that are drunk AF and likely to despoil the car at some point during the ride. U and L are also dictating vehicle requirements and abusing the fact that they aren't paying enough to compensate for the wear and tear on the car. Taxis are often ex-police cars that have been designed and built for extended service. Most passenger cars are built with the expectation that they'll sit most of the time and still last 10 years or more. Put one of those cars in taxi service and it's going to wear components out very quickly.

I am an independent contractor. I set my prices (negotiated with the client). I use my own tools. I set my own hours and my services are marketed to many different companies. My customers do not guarantee any amount of work or any work at all. They don't impose any restrictions on my doing work for their competitors. I am free to decline any work they want to hire me to do with no penalty. I do all of my own accounting and carry my own commercial insurance. I maintain all of my licenses and pay for all continuing education and renewal fees. My customers only specify the final product and I decide how I'm going to get there. There is no "bright line" test, so it's good to stay as far to one side as possible. If I were to work exclusively for one client, I'd want to be considered an employee and have them pay the taxes and carry the liability. There wouldn't be much upside for me to be an independent contractor at that point. I could still negotiate a contract that gives me more flexibility on many things that are important to me.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: For what it's worth

"Right to Work" also means you don't have to join a union to be eligible for a job. California is very employee biased, so while you can be fired for any reason, your employer has to still show cause and document a pattern of bad behavior on your part or you can collect unemployment and their rates go up.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: For what it's worth

"(who knows what it will be like when their droid flotillas blacken the skies)"

I'm skeptical about the droid delivery business model. It's an expensive way to do it which means that people aren't going to be ordering a 2-pack of bog rolls delivered by drone. It will be expensive tech. That means good hunting for the people that figure out how to jam the drones and force them to land. Not only might they wind up with the latest £1,000 phone, they can breakup the drone and sell off the parts. I wonder how long it will be before Banggood and AliExpress have a replacement main board for sale to drop into an Amazon drone along with a control box. Like they have for the rental scooters that litter larger cities.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: I'd like to stop buying from Amazon

Go to your local store and ask. They might have the jack oil behind the counter. They may have pood the scrouch and should carry it, but it got dropped from the standard store stock list but they can have a bottle for you the next day.

Hardware stores are often affiliated with a distribution network such as Ace or DoItBest in the US. They have a stack of catalogs of things they can order and have in short order with no delivery charge and no membership. I agree that Home Despot and places like it are useless for special orders. If they don't have it in stock, good luck.

There are a couple of industrial hardware stores near me that have quality tools. They will also get in whatever I want in under a week if there is regional stock. Any large city will have a few of these stores and they're worth finding. They'll be buried in an industrial area and not in a strip mall. They are also open from 6am to 5pm rather than staying open late. The one I go to closes at noon on Saturdays and closed Sunday. It is a B2B shop and a candy store for nerds. I don't know of any other shop that stocks both imperial and metric grade 8 bolts in a large number of sizes. Not to mention fasteners in brass, nylon, aluminum, stainless as well as steel.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: After reading this article

"As for treating people like crap, I found out a long time ago that you get better results with carrots rather than using a bigger stick.... because the bigger the stick, the less people will do for you..."

it doesn't scale. Carrots have to be tailored to the person or small department whereas, a stick can be very universal. In a big operation, it's hard for the company to deal with employees one to one. This is why there is a love hate relationship between auto manufacturers and unions. Having a blanket contract regarding pay, rises, holidays, day off requests, etc is easier than having an HR department dealing with all of it on an individual basis for a campus that has 40,000 employees.

In a small company, the "carrot" can be more pay, flexible scheduling, days off in lieu and all sorts of other things and it's not hard to do with a small number of employees with managers that know everybody and what makes them happiest. I doubt that a supervisor/manager at an Amazon distribution warehouse could give you the full name of somebody on the floor you randomly pointed to (unless they are a problem and headed to the chopping block).

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: And this is why I stopped buying stuff from Amazon about 3 years ago

If you try a little bit harder, you can ween yourself completely.

Plenty of local shops can order stuff for you from their suppliers that they don't stock in their store. Local hardware stores are really good for this. Mine gets their big delivery once a week on Wednesday. If I order something in stock at the regional ware house by 9am Tues morning, I can have it on Thursday morning. This is awesome for freight items. For a very nominal fee, they will deliver something big and heavy to my house like a 5hp air compressor and I can wangle a discount since they don't have any stocking costs. The owner of the corner market picks up stuff in bulk for me from the wholesaler he buys from. This is really brilliant when there is a closeout on crisps I like. I can get a whole case for pence on the pound that are a day past the best by stamp. Still perfectly fine and It's not like I leave them in the cupboard for ages. These are the reasons I shop locally as much as possible. I know the shop owners, they know me and are always looking out for bulk deals I'll buy. No eTailer can do that.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: The saddest thing IMO

"Unhappy

The saddest thing IMO

is that he could pay people a really good wage and still be coining it."

Not really. Jeff has gazillions of bucks from bloated stock, not profits. Amazon still has lots of debt from years of operating at a loss. Their margins aren't that great, but they do such huge volume the raw numbers look impressive. I've seen people whinging about oil companies like Exxon with profits of $XXX billions but don't realize that the profit is a percentage of $XX Trillions of revenue. From a percentage standpoint, they are pretty ordinary but the raw figures have lots of zeros and that's what they are focusing on.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: If people didn't vote with their credit card

"Call me a cynic but a vast majority people are not altruistic, I heard a quote once but can't remember where from, people do the most selfless of things for the most selfish of reasons."

That's me. I'm happy to do work at no charge if I'm getting something in return that's worth more than the cash I would have charged. I'd be happy to work a couple of nights a week stocking shelves at the grocery if I was paid the equivalent of $25/hour in food and household goods. I would be spending that money anyway and the store might come out ahead since we'd figure the exchange via retail prices.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Easy solution to this, profits tax based on externalities created

Amazon, Walmart and other companies can get away with paying starvation wages in the US partially due to people still being eligible for public assistance. They'll even help employees fill out the paperwork so they can get welfare, food and housing subsidies and so forth. If people working for them could not get those benefits, they'd have to pay more to fill openings. In essence, the US government is subsidizing these large companies through the backdoor for their staff and through the other door via tax abatements, free land, buildings, low interest loans, infrastructure to support a new facility such as utility access, roads and traffic lights, etc.

Just look at all of the US cities that were ready to prostitute themselves to get Amazon to locate their new headquarters/regional office in their towns. Tesla got Austin, Texas to give them $64 million in tax relief to build a factory to assemble their toy truck in. They are saying that it will employee around 4,500 people, but I don't think that number is a guarantee. Likely it isn't as Elon's goal is to make assembly as automated as possible. The payroll and other taxes on those workers isn't going to come close to $64mil. The city may also need to build more roads to handle the traffic in and out of the plant, construct new sewage treatment plants to handle all of the new people moving into the area, more police, fire and EMT stations and staff for the larger population, etc etc. Things didn't work out for New York and the Tesla/Solar City gigafactory there. Rumors are they had to hire a bunch of people to sit around since paying minimum wage would have been cheaper than defaulting on the employment guarantees. If Tesla's weird truck thing doesn't take off, Tesla might not be able to keep the plant fully staffed and there could be an interval where it's shut to reconfigure it to make something else. Since the company hasn't made any profit selling cars, they may also find themselves having to abandon the plant leaving Austin with a specialized car plant that nobody else wants to occupy (and a bunch of new fire stations, sewage plants, ambulances....)

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: I'm glad...

"Didnt apple lose a similar court case in california just recently?"

California is very employee biased. Employers really have to watch their behavior. If you want to sack somebody, you need to have documented a pattern of sub-standard performance or discipline issues. Some things are over the top such as assaulting somebody at work or shouting hurtful words. Grand theft is a one strike deal too. If somebody is showing up hung over, you have to document that a few times after having meetings with them about it. Being drunk or stoned is gray for a first offense unless the job is operating machinery, driving, etc.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Before shouting at Amazon...

"I find "It isn't illegal" a feeble excuse to treat the employees badly."

Well, we have a government and employment tribunals to catch these sorts of things and THEY need to be informed and lobbied. There is no way to have a law that states "Employers must treat all of their employees decently". It's way to subjective. It is possible to have a law that states you can't sack an employee for failing to meet job performance criteria that isn't published to them. Even then, most places the criteria has to be reasonable and managers have to meet with the employee in person and discuss what can be done to bring them up to scratch. Having a computer send out texts based on some algorithm should be a liability for the company. There are numerous reasons for somebody not picking enough orders ranging from more care being needed for fragile items, congestion in the aisles, mis-invetoried items that take time to find, safety reasons where a direct path is blocked and an employee has to go around the long way to find an item. You could have a day where you are assigned big, heavy or oddly shaped items that take more time to pick and package. A human supervisor would be able to see this. They'd also know if there were issues at the facility that was slowing people down. The HVAC could be out and the warehouse blazing hot or perishing cold. Either extreme would slow people down.

Companies will always use whatever tactics they can to get around any rules they think are impeding any amount of profit. If taxes are considerably less in Ireland, they'll open an office and shift accounting around to make their profits in Ireland. All perfectly legal. It's up to the shiftless politicians to forego the payoffs and close those loopholes. The companies themselves are behaving as there is no such thing as "fair" in the real world. This includes "fair share".

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: If you do not like this ...

"All restaurants are Taco Bell.

"

Unless you buy the DVD and they have changed the name to Burger King or something I can't remember.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: If you do not like this ...

"here they give the postal services a lot of extra work."

In the US, they use the post office to make deliveries to the unprofitable to deliver rural addresses. That puts the post office in a bad position as they charge the same money for every post of a given distance between the two points. There are some small towns near me that are way at the end of a long and lonely road. Often they have their mail boxes located on the main road, but packages may not fit in the one or two parcel lockers, need to be signed for of there are already items in those parcel lockers. That mean 30-45 minutes round trip for the postman. Amazon isn't going to do that with their own delivery network and neither will their contractors.

The work they give the post office is costing the post office lots of money.

MachDiamond Silver badge

I'd be very concerned with leaving a wallet and phone in a locker. Many people have far too much PII on their phones including bank details, etc. Cash would be easier to lose than a debit/credit card, driving license, health card, ad nauseum. Getting replacements would take weeks and cost more than what I normally carry around in bank notes. I also want to have my ID on my person should something happen. I want emergency services and a hospital (or a corner) to find out who I am quickly and contact my family. Co-workers aren't going to have that info and the supervisor should, but might not be allowed to access it on the company network due to restrictions.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Dystopian Nightmares Inc.

"For some people it's more important to work a job where they can switch off after their shift, and not have to think about work until their next shift."

There's that, but it doesn't sound like being an order picker for Amazon is that sort of job. You are constantly worried that you'll receive an anonymous performance warning or someday after a shift you'll get a text telling you you're sacked (or a message coming through the air delivery tube, for another 5th Element reference). You leave the stress of the the actual job at the workplace, but you keep the stress of wondering if you'll be going back the next day and the next. How do you plan anything if there is a real chance you'll be unemployed out of the blue? If you are working at a company where you can get a sense of how well the business is doing, you know that you might be on the chopping block from scuttle butt around the plant. With somebody like Amazon, you don't know how close you are to expected performance and you also don't know if the corporate office has done a deal a few counties over to build a whole new distribution center with a fresh set of tax abatements and free stuff. Where you work may wind up closed with a couple of day's notice and the whole thing shifted further away than is convenient for you.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: I'll flip burgers

I stared off making pizzas and sandwiches at a beer bar by the beach. We had grazing rights. The owners just figured out we would be eating anyway so no point in trying to stop us. We would even sometimes trade a small pizza to the shake shop or cookie shop next door. That was pushing it a bit, but nothing was said.

Forget fast food and take a job at an independent eatery. The owners and managers are often more caring of their employees and there isn't some corporate boss questioning their every move. The cost of the food is actually pretty cheap. The bigger costs for a restaurant is the rent, utilities, insurance, etc. Most people are hunting down food at roughly the same time of day so the times between breakfast, lunch and dinner are a net negative in terms of profitability but there isn't a way to close down. They can only adjust staffing levels.

I'd rather have a minimum wage job where I'm getting fed than one with the reputation of an Amazon. When you work at a place like that, your supervisor is under pressure to meet quotas and so is their boss and their boss..... it's turtles all the way up. The worker on the floor should be able to excrete diamonds with all of that heat and pressure from above.

You leak our secrets? We'll leak your book sales, speech fees – into our coffers: Uncle Sam wins royalties fight against Edward Snowden

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: If Snowden had balls ... faced a jury

Ed has stated many times that he would return to the US and stand trial if he were allowed to defend himself and be tried by a jury of his peers. The US won't do that so it's better for him that stays a free man in Russia. I think he did a good thing and maybe President Trump will pardon him in the usual flurry of pardons that outgoing Presidents usually do at the end of the terms. Given that Joe Biden is being counseled to not debate the President or answer questions live, Trump can only lose the election through his own actions. It's been very apparent that Mr. Biden is past his "best by" date. Once again, an election cycle with no good choices.

Life with Amazon's fitness band: Upload your half-naked pics to see how fat you'll look without exercise. You now sound stressed – relax!

MachDiamond Silver badge

They just need you to download the app

Governments can find ways to access your location data and other stuff on your phone, but the private sector needs a way in that you install yourself (after clicking that "I Agree" box without reading what you are agreeing to. Deleting the display makes the sensor band that much cheaper to make and gives it much better battery life so if you forget to put it on the charger one night, it's not going to be dead and unused the next day. You've made your resolution to improve your fitness and some tech is going to help out. Right? Perfect wedge to get you to pay somebody you trust (ack) and install their app. Presto, they're in.

IBM ordered to pay £22k to whistleblower and told by judges: Teach your managers what discrimination means

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: £22K? Is that all?

"Her only option now is to sit at an empty desk with nothing to do and collect a salary from IBM who desperately want to get rid of her but dare not sack her."

In Japan, that's called being given a "Window seat". I'm not sure that it would be as big of a deal as it once was. Bring a laptop with your own mobile hot spot and take online college courses or certificate programs. In a few years when you have earned your advanced degree, you bail and apply elsewhere. You may not get a glowing review, but they may still have to tell another employer that you left voluntarily and have X many years at the company in <these> positions. Since you wouldn't be doing any work, it should be easy to get your holiday schedules approved. Your office/desk may be in the sub-basement, but that's a great place to do your school work as long as you can get mobile reception.

If you want a good reference from a company that you left in a less than amicable way, give the name of a friend you have at the company. This works the best if they are a manager or have been promoted to a manager position after you have left. The person calling for the reference won't have any clue that they were never your supervisor. All they know is they dialed the published company number and either punched in an extension or reception patched them through to the person you designated. You could use a friend that isn't a manager, but if that's found out, you may be sunk.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: £22K? Is that all?

" I'll bet she's gone within 3 years, either resigned or due to some completely unavoidable office closure that's totally above board."

The Court's ruling has to be made part of her reinstatement in included in her personal file which could mean that she will not be having any further problems with HR or other management. Any manager thinking that this lady is going to bow to intimidation is going to wind up selling pencils at a tube station. Any further actions against her will be seen as retaliation by any subsequent judge.

If anybody is transferred to a new posting due to a business unit closure, she'll be at the top of the list or could do them again.

If you think Mozilla pushed a broken Firefox Android build, good news: It didn't. Bad news: It's working as intended

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Unfortunate ...

"Sorry Mozilla, but the "release early, release often, break always" strategy just isn't working."

When something has matured to the point where it's solid, there is no need to keep playing with it as much. Much better to build a completely new product. eBay does this all of the time. They come out with new layouts that eat up more screen space and delete the best features. No real reason for it. They just turned some 20 somethings loose. As a seller, I want consistency so I can log in, post things for sale quickly and get out. I need functionality, not bling. I also don't want my desktop experience to mimic the frustrating mobile version.

Release software when it's done and always leave the option to roll back. What if some big company such as Dow Chemical was using addons necessary to their employee workflow and an update borked their whole set up? Now think of 5 o 6 such companies where a an addon maker had sold their products. All of those employees would see Firefox as the enemy as they'd fall way behind on their quarterly, annual, monthly goals and miss out on bonuses and not be able to get their work done on time and in good order. I am always thinking about what I would do if..... I'm old enough to have plenty of software go away completely when an OS broke it and the company decided it didn't have the money to revamp their software. I've had computers go Tango Uniform on me or my internet connection go down at a critical point. Back up plans are crucial.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Already posted one star review

"The only problem is getting your bookmarks and extensions back if you don't use Firefox Sync"

They were balmy to think I'd store my bookmarks and data with them. I work on way too many projects that are legitimate but scare the pants off of failed lawyers (politicians).

I use Safari plus VPN for my white bread and jam stuff and Tor for everything else. I have a bookmark manager rather than using the bookmarking feature in either browser. These days everybody is harvesting your data, so the less you feed them the better off you are.

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