* Posts by fpx

109 posts • joined 15 May 2013


Return of the flying car, just when we all need to escape


Yay, another flying car prototype. This one looks fairly similar to the Terrafugia Transition, which had its maiden flight in 2009 and is still awaiting certification.

The flying car has a lot of disadvantages, some regulatory, some convenience. You need a pilot's certificate. You can only take off and land at airfields, when they are open. Because they are so different from regular aircraft, the companies try to certify them as lightweights, which severely restricts their weight. The Transition has a "useful load" of 227 kg, counting pilot, passenger, luggage and fuel. Night-time or IFR flight is not possible -- so if there is a risk of bad weather between you and your destination, you'll have to stay on the road. And if there is any ding to the aerodynamic surfaces -- which includes the entire body of the car, it's back to the shop to check whether it's still airworthy.

All that for a price that buys you a car, an ultralight plane or a small used aircraft, and limo service from any remote airport to a destination, many times over.

NSA: We've learned our lesson after foreign spies used one of our crypto backdoors – but we can't say how exactly


Re: How do you avoid US spy gear, it is everywhere.

Can you please explain to this court why, twenty years ago, you googled "iron maiden"? Doesn't that demonstrate your intent to torture someone?

The data trail that all of us leave behind alwys contain some dubious nuggets that, selectively edited and taken out of context, will make you look bad.

As foretold by Kafka. We know there is a crime hidden in all of that data, we just have to find it. You will not be in a position to defend yourself, since you will have long forgotten. Too bad.

TikTok seeks injunction to halt Trump ban, claims it would break America's own First and Fifth Amendments

Black Helicopters

All Data Belongs To Us

The US is concerned that China might use data collected by Tik Tok to spy on and influence americans. The same can be said against US data aggregators. The US essentially does not want any other contries to have the same abilities that they have.

If TikTok is a threat to US national security, then Facebook, Google etc. are a threat to global security, using the same arguments.

Adidas now stands for All Day I'm Disconnecting All Servers as owners of 'smart' Libra scales furious over bricked kit


Product Labels

I remember reading about proposals that "smart" devices should get mandatory labels indicating their support period. I.e., companies would have to clearly specify something like 5 or 10 or 20 years on the package, and then commit to supporting the product for this period, retaining functionality, compatibility with future devices (such as the next generation of smartphones) and with security updates if applicable. Without a sticker, you would only have your bog standard two year warranty period to rely on.

We would need the same for software, though. There is plenty of software that refuses to re-install or even run when the licensing servers are switched off.

This wouldn't do you any good if the company goes bankrupt. Still, it would be an improvement on today's sorry state of affairs.

Google Chrome calculates your autoplay settings so you don't have to - others disagree

Thumb Up

Re: Consumer friendly options

I would also like to add:

4) Play animated gifs only when clicked on.

5) Ignore Javascript attempts to replace image content.

Now is there a browser that lets me do all of that?

Mozilla doubles down on anti-tracking tech: It'll be tougher for wily ad-biz cookie monsters to track Firefox


Re: Barking up the wrong tree

"But what if the two sites KNOW each other."

That would not matter. E.g., the Facebook cookie in the Register session would be different from the Facebook cookie in the Amazon session, and both would be different from the Facebook cookie in the Facebook session, meaning that Facebook would not be able to slurp the articles that I looked at.

So that would work unless they shared identities (i.e., your account information).

As for "Isn't that why you have multiple browsers installed?" Yes. I have Firefox, Opera, Edge, Chrome and Vivaldi. I am running out of browsers.


Barking up the wrong tree

The problem is not first party vs third party cookies. If third party cookies were banned, advertisers would simply make the switch to first party cookies. That would need a bit more server side plumbing but could be done easily by major sites.

I do not want to be tracked all across the web. What I want is a browser that lets me compartmentalize my cookies into sessions. Like an "Amazon" session, a "Register" session etc. Private tabs are too restrictive, because I want multiple tabs per session. Cookies are limited to one session and not shared between sessions. Then each site could track what I am doing on the site itself, but not my browsing habits elsewhere.

For example, a browser could manage one session per window. Then I could have multiple sessions/windows, and multiple tabs per session/window.

Does that exist?

Garmin staggers back to its feet: Aviation systems seem to be lagging, though. Here's why

Black Helicopters

"We have no indication that any customer data [...] was accessed." They don't know how the hackers got in, yet they are perfectly certain that no customer data was lost. Right. You can be certain that the hackers downloaded a few terabytes over the past months. Now that they know that they can squeeze Garmin for $$$, blackmail over customer data may be next.

I use my Garmin 235 offline only. While they keep nudging you to use Garmin Connect, I do not want to upload my tracking data to the Cloud. When I connect my 235 to a PC, it shows up as a disk drive, and I can copy the FIT files. Frustratingly, there do not seem to be any remaining offline tools to read and view them. There used to be SportsTracks, but their offline version 3 (which I still use) is end of life-d; they are nudging me to upgrade to their new cloud-based version.

Black helicopter, because it's the most navigation-themed icon here.

After 84 years, Japan's Olympus shutters its camera biz, flogs it to private equity – smartphones are just too good


Re: Sensor format

For me the sensor size is an advantage, because the glass scales with sensor size. There is little difference between full frame, APS-C and µ4/3 mirrorless body sizes these days, but plenty of size and weight difference in lenses.

Bigger is not always better. I do not need 50 megapixels or ISO 100.000. WIth the pancake 14-42 lens, my OM10 is almost pocket sized. With the 14-150 and a spare battery, it is still well below 1kg, good enough to carry around all day without a dedicated camera rucksack. And my pictures are still pretty when printed as an 80x60 poster.

Skype for Windows 10 and Skype for Desktop duke it out: Only Electron left standing


Re: Classic

> "it isn't practical anymore to write your own software"

That's always been the case since computers became cheaper than the team of engineers you needed to run them. Certainly for the last 40 years.

What irks me is the DRM built into online activation of licenses these days. I can still run the software that I purchased 40 years ago in an emulator. With contemporary software, that will not be possible, because they will refuse to work once their licensing services are switched off or have merely been upgraded to a more recent version.

Pan-European group plans cross-border contact-tracing app – and promises GDPR compliance


Optional, Anonymous and Effective? Choose Two. At Most.

The media keeps hyping contact-tracing app as the miracle solution to the pandemic. They keep telling us how it will be optional and anonymous, when it really can be neither.

If it existed, the app would become a prerequisite to living normally again. You would like to dine in this restaurant? Show me your app. That would hardly be optional, else I could conveniently uninstall the app once it shows a potential exposure.

It can not be anonymous, because as the pandemic winds down, you really want to follow up on those contacts that were potentially exposed but that did not get tested. Once there are numbers like "x people had their status turn red but did not show up for testing" there will be enormous public pressure to de-anonymize those walking bio-terrorists.

At present, the app also just can't be effective. Living in a big city, just going out for a walk and shopping, we cross paths with hundreds of people, and with the current number of cases (symptomatic or not), there will be enormous numbers of false positives (i.e., you crossed path with a person that was later tested positive, but did not get infected) and false negatives (i.e., you crossed path with a Cov-positive person that was never tested because he was not symptomatic, or did not have a mobile phone with the app running at a time, but still got infected).

I'm sorry, Elon. I'm afraid I can't do that... SpaceX touts robo-rides for orbital vacations, lift-off in 2021-ish

Paris Hilton

Rich and Richer

If you are merely rich, you will have to suffer the close presence of strangers.

If you are slightly richer, you can buy all four seats for yourself for that extra privacy, or to bring along only those friends that you can actually tolerate.

Brave, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla gather together to talk web privacy... and why we all shouldn't get too much of it



I would really like to use micropayments instead of seeing ads. Unfortunately, that is never going to work. If you are willing to pay for content, then you are worth so much more to advertisers, and so much more valuable to the site. So you will be seing more ads than before! But hey, at least they might be more relevant to you than as if you were surfing as a cheap anonymous freeloader. Or not.

World's richest bloke battles Oz catastro-fire with incredible AU$1m donation (aka load of cheap greenwashing)


Taxes versus Philantropy

When rich people claim that philantropy is better than taxation, their argument is essentially that their causes are more worthy and/or that they can manage them better than governments. They are putting themselves over governments. These are the arguments of kings. Sure, there may be some benevolent ones, but history has proven that they more often than not invest in causes that are more important to them, their family, and their friends, and not the needs of the pauper.

It's sure nice that some bazillionaires donate to worthy causes like eradicating tuberculosis, measels or cancer, but if we hauled in more tax money, we as a society could invest more in those efforts as well.

Let them blow their money on rockets and flying taxis, and donate to issues they believe in, but only after proper taxation.

Amnesty slams Facebook, Google over 'pervasive surveillance' business model


Why would governments act?

Governments are perfectly happy with surveillance capitalism as long as they can tap into that data. With a simple subpoena, not even a warrant, governments can now "legitimately" get detailed dossiers on anyone.

Player three has entered Cray's supercomputing game: First AMD Epyc, now Fujitsu's Arm chips



I thought there was just a single set. Anybody can clue me in?

Apple fakes intimacy in our dead-eyed digital world with software fix

Paris Hilton

Whatever happens in Vegas

I think it was on my first trip to Vegas around the turn of the century when I came across a slot machine that looked at me. It had a large screen with a beautiful young woman. The machine tracked me as I walked across the floor, and adjusted the image to show her looking directly at me. Now of course this was just a sequence of static images, and her view only adjusted horizontally, but still it got your attention, which is all the casino cares about.

But no, I did not feed her.

Flight Simulator 2020: Exciting new ride or a doomed tailspin in a crowded market?

Black Helicopters

I once spent a nice hour in this flight simulator: http://www.flugsimulatorfrankfurt.com/simulator/unser-simulator/bilder/ It is not full motion, with no force feedback, but the cockpit looks pretty much like the real thing to someone who has not seen the real thing. Controls like sticks, pedals, dials and buttons are in the right place and functional.

And yet, behind the scenes, it is based on Microsoft Flight Simulator. Pretty impressive! Just the physics part seemed a bit too simplistic, since my co-pilot, with no prior experience, nailed the landing of an Airbus 320 at Hong Kong's Kai Tak airport.

Finally, people who actually understand global trade to probe Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods


Antigua and Barbuda

The US has ignored WTO rules before. One of my favorites is when the US forced credit card companies to stop money flowing from US gamblers to online casinos in Antigua and Barbuda, which violated a free trade agreement between the two countries. Antigua and Barbuda complained to the WTO, which ruled in their favor. When the US did not comply, Antigua and Barbuda got a free pass to retaliate by ignoring US copyright. See https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds285_e.htm

If you're ever lost on the Moon, Ordnance Survey now has you covered for Apollo 11 anniversary


Yes, but how do I know which side is up? A genuine question - do compasses or GPS work on the lunar surface? Wikipedia says that the moon's magnetic field is a couple orders of magnitudes weaker than earth's. You have good line of sight to many GPS satellites, though. They are much farther off, but the signal does not have to go through an atmosphere. But will receivers get confused by the altitude reading?

From Red Planet to deep into the red: Suicidal extrovert magnet Mars One finally implodes


Wish I'd Thought Of That

Seven years of publicity, speaking engagements, media coverage, minor celebrity status, all while living off donations. Just by producing slideware, photoshop and hot air that's plausible enough for the gullible. The world just wasn't ready for his vision.

So much better than slaving away in an office all day.

This guy is a genius!

Should the super-rich pay 70% tax rate above $10m? Here's Michael Dell's hot take for Davos


Expert Opinion

For an expert opinion on this debate, see this piece by an actual economist: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/05/opinion/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-tax-policy-dance.html, quoting other economists that (Nobel laureate) "Diamond [...] estimated the optimal top tax rate to be 73 percent."

To everyone who argues that taxing high income does not address the wealth that the rich already have, or that it's futile because the rich will find tax avoidance loopholes anyway -- you are right, of course, but that is a separate debate, and you have to start somewhere. That each single measure to skim and redistribute some wealth has little effect should not be reason to not do anything.

I find it paradoxical that so many "poor" people fight tooth and nail to lower taxes for the rich. My theory is that people are convinced to be rich eventually, and therefore proactively fight taxes that they think might eventually apply to them.

Court doc typo 'reveals' Julian Assange may have been charged in US


The Cat Angle

Ecuador is doing the kitty a favor by keeping Assange around. It fully deserves round the clock attention by its resident can opener. They're absolutely right to demand that Assanges takes proper care of his cat! Cat abuse to be punishable by extradition.

On the other hand, if Assange proves himself worthy of the cat, a nice Ecuadorian pasture to both of them!

Big Tech turns saboteur to cripple new California privacy law in private


Long article about this bill in the NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/magazine/facebook-google-privacy-data.html

Android ain't done until Samsung won't run? 9.0 Pie borks Gear watch app


The statement that you should enable WiFi to "improve location accuracy" deserves an award for most misleading myth to sucker you into allowing data gathering.

No matter the Android version, my solar-powered Citizen dumbwatch will still excel at telling the time.

Gov.UK to make its lovely HTML exportable as parlous PDFs


Offline Reading

I frequently print web pages to PDF for storage and offline reading. In my experience it's not the PDF that goes out of date but the online content disappears or gets modified. The "1984" experience where information is centrally controlled and modified as necessary is easier to pull off every day.

The article says that "most [PDFs] come into existence because designers want total control." Unfortunately that's very much the same for Web content, where every element is arranged down to the pixel, images are deferred-loaded so that they can track when and how far down you scroll, and random ads appear all over the place as you move around.

Beardy Branson: Wacky hyperloop tube maglev cheaper than railways

Thumb Up

Re: Usual Beardie/Virgin BS

As much as I agree with your article, Virgin Galactic is ... business. Branson is taking a gamble that there will be enough rich idiots to take the ride, and he is willing to invest a lot to make that vision a reality, in the faint hope that the enterprise comes out in the black eventually. It's not a bet that I would be willing to make with my money, given the long odds, but I admire him for doing so.

We all know it's not quite the same as being in space, but it fills a gap between the vomit comet and going into orbit. It will be an experience that you can't have anywhere else, for any kind of money. Going into orbit is not available yet and will be more expensive by two orders of magnitude. So it's not completely idiotic to go.

Either way, he gets good press off it, and that alone may make the losses tolerable for him.

Avengers: Infinity War: More Marvel-ous moolah for comic film-erverse, probably


I'm tired of Superheroes

Despite all their powers and abilities, in the end, it all comes down to a fistfight. Because, inexplicably, you can't scratch a superhero with explosives, death rays, or by smashing them into buildings at supersonic speed, but only with a bare-knuckle fist, sometimes by the token human among them.

This week in storage: Film folk, HDDs, tape and stacks and stacks of dusty data


Way Ahead of You

Pretty much all of my legacy stuff is digital by now. Paper to PDF, Music CDs to MP3, Data CDs to ISO, VHS and DVD to MP4, even my old casette tapes. Took me many months of manual labor, though. Now it's all on a local NAS, with a thorough backup regimen to external HDDs, one of them externally stored just in case the house burns down. This data is my life, so I prefer to have it under my control.

Still undecided on books, though. I'd love to have some of them as PDFs, but there's no good solution to scanning them myself. There's online services, but they are costly.

In a sorry state again: Zuckerberg dusts off apology playbook in mea culpa to Congress


Shout at me all you want, and I'll pretend to be sorry, but please please don't regulate me. There's no danger of that happening, though. First, Zuck can point to the terms of service which grant them everything they did and more. Second, Politicians lust after the same data, and third, they don't understand the concept of privacy either. Four, Google, Microsoft and Apple lobbyists have Facebook's back. So let's have a Kodak moment and then we'll all go back to our merry ways.

More ad-versarial tech: Mozilla to pop limited ad blocker into Firefox


Already Complicit

They could have added much-desired configuration options to block invasive forms of advertising (flashing images, background reloads, autoplay videos, sound, pop-ups) years ago but didn't. That they did not want to give users the option of disabling annoying ads to me always signalled that they did not want to tread on advertising business.

Guns, audio and eye-tracking: VR nearly ready for prime time


Simplicity is Key

One major advantage of the mobile phone-in-headset gadgets is its simplicity. You download an app to your phone, drop it into the headset, and off you go. You do not need a PC, and you have few compatibility issues. Sure, the quality is often marginal, but that's an experience that you otherwise only get with closed systems like the PSVR.

Once you have a PC in the loop, you have CPU and GPU speeds, driver issues, cable form factors, connectivity etc. to worry about. Heck, why does the head tracking driver not install properly? Ah, it's incompatible with the Bios. Have you tried installing the latest updates? Flickering on the right-eye display? Oh, on Intel you must revert to version 158.1. Then how about a reboot!

That long-awaited Mark Zuckerberg response: Everything's fine! Mostly fixed! Facebook's great! All good in the hoodie!


Facebook is Angry

... but only because someone made money off their data that they would rather keep for themselves.

Governments are not going to act, because they lust after the same data for, er, you know, terrorists! They just need to scare Facebook into a little more data sharing, pretty please.

Cambridge Analytica CEO suspended – and that's not even the worst news for them today


In this case the data was gathered by an application that gathered data for research.

But the data is out there, and it's a feature of the Facebook platform that it can be vacuumed by applications. Nobody hesitates to grant Farmville or Angry Birds all the permissions that the damn app asks for, even if it is to sell out their own and all their friends' data. I imagine a lot of app makers are now realizing that they can make a fortune by selling their app's data to Cambridge Analytica and the like.

Maybe we should hurry and buy some Zynga or Rovio stock. I'm sure they have detailed data on pretty much anyone on the planet by now.

And Facebook can happily claim that they are just a platform, not responsible for what it is used for.

NSA boss: Trump won't pull trigger for Russia election hack retaliation


Nice Euphemism

"Proactively address Russian cyber threats."

Now that is a great euphemism for "first strike"!

Data-slurping keyboard app makes Mongo mistake with user data


No Non-Free Option

Re: "It raises the question once again if it is really worth it for consumers to submit their data in exchange for free or discounted products or services"

I wish. I would love to pay for some apps to have ads or tracking removed. However, most of the time I do not have the option. Usually Apps only unlock additional features when you pay for them instead of using the free version, but do not disable tracking. Tracking users that are willing to pay is the most valuable data for them!

Cortana, please finish my sentences in Skype texts for me


Insert Dirk Gently Reference Here

One step closer to bots talking to bots.

Can I get an auto-reply feature for Outlook while we're at it? "Yes, thank you Dave, I did receive your mail a fortnight ago and will respond as soon as my bot has received the next update to parse it."

Let's go live now to Magic Leap and... Ah, still making millions from made-up tech


Someone Else's Money

Keep in mind that many VCs don't invest their own money, but someone else's money from the funds that they are managing.

Therefore, the VCs also have a vested interest in keeping the hype machine going, because then they can keep pretending that it all looked very promising and seemed to offer great returns on their investments -- when they are eventually sued for neglect by the fund's shareholders. Hey, the demos looked great, and how was I supposed to know that the engineering was impossible?

And in the meantime they make a pretty dime for their fund management. Or sitting on the board. Or both. Hey, they've all been pals at the same fraternity!

The bigger the drone, the bigger the impact

Black Helicopters

Nice Myth

This dream has already fallen flat with Cargolifter. They had the same vision of transporting cargo to hard to reach places (like Alaskan oil rigs) and found out the hard way that demand was not sufficient to pay for the staggering cost of building large craft for that purpose.

When you're talking about tons of cargo, the additional design cost to design in a pilot's seat is small, and the additional operating cost for the human pilot becomes negligible. (That's one of the reasons why some pilots can command insane salaries -- it doesn't factor in next to the capital costs and fuel costs!)

Sure, airborne vehicles' advantage is that you don't need infrastructure between points A and B. But there's still some overhead needed at points A and B, like fuel delivery and storage, equipment for repairs, etc. And even without a pilot, you don't want your million dollar drones to crash, so marginalizing safety is not an option.

Eventually, except in a few rare cases, it will be cheaper to build a land-based network. And there's more innovative solutions beyond asphalt to choose from, such as aearial trams or riverboats.

Flying electric taxi upstart scores $90m from investors


"During flight mode, less than a tenth of the power is needed, dropping its energy consumption down to be comparable to that of an electric car."

There's this thing called glide ratio. It's the ratio between altitude and distance you can travel horizontally without power. Sailplanes get up to 1:60 these days, i.e., one kilometer of altitude gets you 60 kilometers of distance. That's with sailplanes that have a wingspan of 18 meters, and are designed for the purpose: low weight and optimum wing surface. Large aircraft have a glide ratio of 1:20 to 1:30, still with a pretty big wing area. Fighter aircraft are around 1:10.

The glide ratio defines your power needs. If this gizmo with its stubby wings and no laminar flow because there's fans all over the wing should even get 1:20, you still need to gain 15km of altitude to go 300km. Sure, you don't go 15km up all at once, and you gain some distance while in powered flight, but you catch my drift.

So you'll need enough juice to lift 500 kilos by about 10 kilometers. Oh wait, that is just the payload? The airframe plus engines is another 500 kilos, easily. Plus the batteries themselves. Good luck with that.

They should just glue on some solar panels. Problem solved!

Airbus issues patch to prevent A350 airliner fuel tanks exploding


Not Unusual

Aircraft are complex, yet few accidents happen. There are surprisingly efficient procedures for discovering, tracking and correcting issues, especially for large aircraft. Check out the airworthiness directives ("AD") database at the FAA, https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/airworthiness_directives/

For example, there was one published on Monday affecting all Boeing 777 aircraft, reading in part, "We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracks in the underwing longerons, which could result in fuel leakage into the forward cargo area and consequent increased risk of a fire or, in a more severe case, could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane."

This type of language is not all that unusual in an AD. And it's only the most recent of currently 80 ADs affecting the 777. And you could make a scary headline like this article's pretty much from any of these ADs! Even "emergency" ADs, where aircraft are grounded until inspections or repairs are made before the next flight (like the 777's burning batteries issue) are not that unusual.

This does not mean that the A350 or B777 is unsafe to fly. Flying remains the safest mode of transport, because of rules and regulations, and authorities that rigorously enforce discovery and distribution of issues.

ASUS smoking hashes with 19-GPU, 24,000-core motherboard


What a Topsy-Turvy World

People spending $10k on a PC to mine fictional cryptocash, for profit! Something's seriously wrong with reality. Or I'm in the wrong line of business. Or both.

Flash fryers have burger problems: You can't keep adding layers


Re: we're running out of options

"Sure you can use TSV, but its expensive and that only delays the inevitable"

Chip design and manufacturing has been pretty good at delaying the inevitable for like 30 years.

I've got a verbal govt contract for Hyperloop, claims His Muskiness


Re: Wait a second!

On second thought, digging a tunnel without any hyperpods to shoot in them is merely like building a spaceport without rockets to fly. So this is not entirely without precedent.

Trump wanted to spend $1tn on infrastructure. Who would've thought he'd spend it all on a hyperloop link from Trump Tower to the White House to ease his daily commute!


Wait a second!

So he claims that The Boring Company is getting a contract to bore a tunnel ... but from who?

Digging the tunnel would probably be subcontracted from the company building the hyperloop itself. Even the US government would not be stupid enough to build a NY-DC tunnel without somebody to operate the entire system. And none of the contenders are remotely ready for that.

Never mind boring through the most densely populated parts of the US. There would not be a contract before it's clear where to build it, including the terminals in the city center. NYC Grand Central to DC Union station? Good luck with that!

Also, who would be stupid enough to give such a major many billions-US$-contract to a company that hasn't built a single meter of tunnel yet!

Dead serious: How to haunt people after you've gone... using your smartphone


Intentional Spelling

Of course the misspelling is intentional, for the sole purpose of having something both (somewhat) readable and, much more importantly, trademarkable.



Tough Business

One major issue is that the areas without good 4G coverage are not very populated, poor, or both. Otherwise they'd have 4G already. So the customer base is either small, or can't afford pricey satellite internet. Plus IoT installations.

'Nobody's got to use the internet,' argues idiot congressman in row over ISP privacy rules


Gilmore vs. Gonzales

There's a precedent in the decade-old decision in Gilmore vs. Gonzales, where the requirement for mandatory identification in air travel was challenged. Among other things, the government asserted that showing identification was no undue burden because you always had the option to use other means of transportation if you preferred to travel anonymously.

"The Supreme Court has long recognized that the nature of our Federal Union and our constitutional concepts require that all citizens be free to travel uninhibited by regulations which unreasonably burden this movement. However, burdens on a single mode of transportation do not implicate the right to interstate travel."

See https://papersplease.org/gilmore/

America halts fast processing of H-1B skilled worker visas


That Sucks

My previous employer imported a lot of talent on H-1B visas, including myself. We were not low-cost replacements, but the employer had genuine difficulty finding enough residents. And no, that was not because they were skimping on pay. We were all treated fairly.

The company always paid the extra cost for expedited processing. Without it, you essentially become hostage as you are merely tolerated in the country while your application is being processed. You have to file for "advance parole" every time you leave the country, with a certain risk that you could be turned away at the border when you return. The bureaucracy and uncertainty gets on your nerves eventually.

Sure, expedited processing is unfair to begin with, as it allows you to skip to the head of the queue if you can pay the price, increasing wait times for everybody else who can't afford to pay this tax.

These days, the H-1B system is useless for importing talent because the queue is swamped with cost cutters that file 100 applications just so that 20 random ones are approved and they still benefit on the average. Few responsible persons would subject themselves to six to twelve months of uncertainty whether they will be allowed to work or not.

But please don't make the generalization that every H-1B holder is a blood sucker taking jobs away from poor yankees.

Facebook hires Hillary Clinton to lead assault on fake news*


Sharing is not Believing

The fake news hype keeps assuming that when a story is shared a million times, then a million users will be influenced. But that is nonsense. I might identify a story as fake and share it with my friends because I find it funny, and I will assume that my friends will also identify the story as obviously fake.

Arguing that only I am smart enough to tell real news from fake, but that other people are too dumb to do the same is disingenuous as well.

Sure, some people might, but I'd be willing to bet that the majority is not. So when a fake news story is shared a million times, how many people will swallow the crap and accept it for real? One percent? 10 Percent? I don't know but would be interested in research on the subject.

Also, what will happen to humor and sarcasm, will that be outlawed as well?



Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020