Monthly Archives: April 2012

Where Are The Intelligent Hiring Managers

I’m unemployed again.  There’s one bizarre thing I noticed.  Most hiring managers have parasitic/psychopathic tendencies.

When I first started working 10 years ago, there were occasional intelligent hiring managers.

Now, it seems like almost everyone has an abusive personality type.  It isn’t just that I have greater awareness.  It’s a noticeable shift.

Most of the leaders are criminally insane.  This “trickles down” and most of the middle managers have evil tendencies.

Paradoxically, it’s a handicap to be honest and intelligent.  It’s a “mistake” to hire someone who’s a better worker than you, because then you start worrying about your own job.

People say “We want to hire the best and brightest”.  Nobody writes a job ad that says “We want someone mediocre and barely competent.”  However, that isn’t what people actually do.

I know that I’m a good programmer and a good worker.  I’m surprised that I’m not doing better career-wise.  The solution is to start your own business, but that isn’t as easy.  In a free market, some intelligent business would realize that I’m a good bargain.  However, nobody seems to notice that.

Most of the hiring managers have evil tendencies.  It’s a symptom of a collapsing economy.  It probably affects all areas of the economy, but I’m only noticing the software area.  With computer programming, a good liar will have a more successful career than a good programmer.

Twitter Vs. Patent Trolls

This story is interesting.  Twitter took an unusual step.  They put an unusual clause in their employee agreement.  That clause guarantees that none of Twitter’s patents can ever be used by a patent troll, even if Twitter goes bankrupt and sells them.

The correct answer is “Intellectual property is not property.”  Patent lawsuits have become a huge drain on the productive sector of the economy.  Almost any successful business will be ion the receiving end of a patent lawsuit.

A patent troll has a call option on any successful business.  If the business fails, the patent troll won’t bother suing.  If the business is successful, then the patent troll files a lawsuit.  The “justice” system is unable to distinguish valid claims from frivolous ones.  If you have a vague patent that might apply, go ahead and sue.  Maybe you’ll win the lottery.  Maybe the victim will settle instead of paying legal fees and risking losing.

Another problem is the way patent damages are calculated.  The formula is “% of total sales” and not “% of total sales, adjusted for the importance of that feature”.  If a feature is only 0.00001% of my product, I can face 10%-25%+ damages in a patent lawsuit.

A pro-State troll says “IP belongs to the inventor.  It can be bought and sold just like any other property.”  The fallacy is that it takes a lot of money to get a patent.  In practice, all patents are owned by large corporations.  Most employment contracts say “Anything you invent while working here belongs to us.”

How do patent trolls wind up with patents?  Sometimes, the patent troll pays people to file for patents.  One example is “Intellectual Ventures”.  Failed startups sell their patents to patent trolls.

Here is an example,  When a VC funds a startup, he gets “liquidation preference”.  That means “If the startup is liquidated at a loss, the VC gets paid first before anyone else.”  Suppose a startup has a patent, but fails.  The VC has a practically worthless shell.  The VC sells the shell and “worthless” patents to a patent troll, for $25k.  The VC figures that getting $25k back is better than $0.  The patent troll buys of a lot of “worthless” patents cheaply.  After some clever lawyering, some of them are converted to patent lawsuits.

One VC funded startup X, which failed, and he sold the patent to a patent troll.  That patent troll then sued startup Y, where Y was also funded by the same VC!  Doh!

The patent troll files the lawsuit from a shell corporation, owning nothing but the single patent.  Even if the defendant wins and is awarded legal fees, there’s no assets to seize except the patent.

Twitter’s clever idea is that the employee patent assignment isn’t absolute.  The inventor retains the right to license the patent, even though Twitter owns the right to use the patent defensively.  This guarantees that the patent can never be used by a patent troll.  (However, the employee could sell that licensing right later.)

The patent office clerk is overworked.  His performance review is based on “# of patents reviewed per hour”.  If the patent clerk rejects a patent, the applicant will probably appeal, which is more work for the patent clerk.  If the patent clerk improperly approves a patent, nobody complains.  The patent office clerk thinks “If this patent was improperly approved, the legal system will throw it out later.”  The judge thinks “This patent must be valid.  Otherwise, the patent office would not have approved it.”

That’s a common State trick for shirking responsibility for evil.  Each State actor assumes that, if he makes a mistake, someone else will correct him.  Each State actor assumes that other people did their jobs properly, so that decisions of others are not carefully reviewed.  “Checks and balances” degenerates into “Don’t bother, because other people are checking.”

The patent lawsuits are decided by non-experts.  During “jury selection” in a software patent troll lawsuit, any juror who worked as a software engineer would be automatically disqualified.

 

The patent system is one big mess.  It’s a huge tax on the productive sector of the economy.  The “justice” system lacks the ability to tell the difference between a serious invention, and an obvious idea wrapped in a lot of fancy legal arguments.  Most software patents are obvious ideas to any good software engineer.  Unfortunately, judges are technically illiterate.

GSA Wasteful Conference

This story was interesting.  GSA, a US government agency, had a “teambuilding exercise” conference.  They wasted a lot of money.

I liked this quote

a raucous, extravagant, arrogant, self-congratulatory event

That’s pretty funny. That’s a typical attitude for State bureaucrats. They think that they’re geniuses doing a great job, when they’re leeching off productive taxpayers.

The Daily Show was ridiculing the “$4 shrimp” part of the scandal.  That’s one of the amusing bits of government accounting.  The contractor does funny billing.  They undercharge in one area, but then overcharge in another.

Another trick is kickbacks, alleged in the second link. X picks Y to organize the conference at a high price, and Y kicks back money to X. It can be a direct kickback. It can be an indirect kickback, such as “I’ll hire your brother-in-law or other friend.”

At one of my jobs, they had one of those “teambuilding” conferences.  It was a stupid waste of time.

The “point” of the conference was not to help the government agency do its job better.  It was a huge pork project for the conference organizers.

Reader Mail – 04/08/2012 To 04/14/2012

Note: Due to a defect in the rawr plugin, the formatting for this post shows up wrong on the blog homepage, but it does show up correctly if you view it as a single post or in a RSS reader.
Fred Chien commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.
Just like you, I used to hate JavaScript before, because JaveScript is very slow, and also a lot of JavaScript developers always wrote nasty code, they never know how to manage system resources and computer how to work. With flexibility of JavaScript language, many developers do programming job that's just like a baby do.

But I really love JavaScript now, since I researched the V8 JavaScript Engine and Node.js. Google got a good job on JavaScript engine and JIT integration, to improve JavaScript performance. Not only V8 become faster, Node.js also has a pretty good mechanism of module, easy to write C/C++ Add-on to extend any functionalities for Node.js application.

So if you are familiar with C/C++, Node.js is the best language for you.

In my opinion, Node.js can do ANYTHING well right now. We can add new APIs with C/C++ to do that JavaScript cannot do, such as multi-threads and system programming.

For web purpose, node.js has different design to process requests. In fact, Non-blocking model was proved that good performance for web service, even better than Thread solution, handling thousands of request is not difficult for Node.js. In order to use multi-processor or multi-core, Node.js has already support API to do fork to spawn more instances.


horace commented on Open Pandora, PSP, or Android?.
You would still be limited by the available emulators for Android, but you could pick up an iControlPad (basically OpenPandora controls without a keyboard) that snaps onto your phone. Much cheaper than an OpenPandora, and probably much more convenient than carrying around both a cellphone and an OpenPandora.

I have an OpenPandora, and it is fairly cool, but your phone has higher build quality, faster hardware, and a nicer size.

I'm content with my keyboard as control pad, and using the touchscreen for analog controls. The emulators vary in quality. For example, NESoid and GBAoid don't work properly when I press 3+ keys simultaneously, even though I have a multitouch keyboard.

Also, it's a PITA to properly configure an Open Pandora. The good Android emulators are easy to configure.

It's easier for me to get fpse and DosBox Turbo rather than an Open Pandora.

I'm probably going to get the next generation Motorola Droid when my current contract expires in mid-2013. By that time, I should be able to get a PSP and DS emulator for my Android phone! (one that runs without frameskip) Hooray for Moore's law!


Paul commented on Buy Physical Gold, Get Robbed?.
I'm an (ex)antique dealer. I was always amazed by the number of my customers who strolled around their own house, took pictures of their valuables and then sent the film off for developing by post. Once they had the prints they would then send them off for insurance valuations. That way the crook who may work for the print developers or more likely in my experience the insurance valuers gets a look at the layout of the house, what's inside, the address and phone number!

You can buy insurance on gold/silver stored in your home. Unfortunately, the premium is 0.5%-2% per year. If insurance is that expensive, then you might as well buy GLD or a safe deposit box or a warehouse receipt.

The only way to safely hide gold in your home is if nobody knows you have it.


commented on Nobody Knows How To Build Things Anymore.
Lost skill? You obviously have no idea how many people died building all of the bridges and skyscrapers we have today. How many people died building the empire state building? Or was that "before" we had this "no construction death" skill. What point in time specifically did we have this skill? You are obviously a pencil/keyboard pushing tool that has never had a blue collar job. Some of these jobs are dangerous no matter what advances in safety are made.

Justin commented on Nobody Knows How To Build Things Anymore.

5 people were killed constructing the empire state building, troll. It is apriori true that the less free competition there is, the less skilled the people become. He never claimed this is a unique period in history.

His point is that construction deaths 100 years ago would have been unnoticed, but recently every one is a headline.

I still say that if you count deaths per construction project, the number is increasing over the past 5-10 years.

Here's a link that says construction deaths have increased recently. I couldn't find a better source after briefly googling.

commented on Nobody Knows How To Build Things Anymore.

I am not a troll. Accidents happen in construction because the nature of the job is dangerous, as they are in mining, firefighting, power plant operation, large factories, logging, etc. There has never been a time when these jobs were 100% safe, and until the jobs are only done by robots, there never will be. Even in safe conditions, random freak accidents and mechanical failure of equipment can occur. The danger of thinking about something and not paying attention in an office may be just tripping into someone, while the danger while working near heavy machinery is much greater. People are not perfect, and that is why there will never be a 100% no death rate in dangerous jobs. Most "dangerous jobs" you must be 18 or over even to apply to, as a 16 or 17 year old is not of the age to consent to excessive risk.

Reading the article, I does start out saying there was a "building boom" More construction overall can lead to more accidents when counted by individuals and not by percentage of total workforce injured. Pertaining to scaffolds, They are required to be inspected daily, with a tag left by the inspector at the base. If you use scaffolds in your work daily, I don't know, maybe checking that the scaffold is correctly anchored every so many feet and on level ground and not shaky with uncracked planks would be in your best interest.

If we have a lost skill in this country, it is not "construction without deaths" It is, realizing that "you are responsible for your own safety" and "how to pay attention"

Unless dangerous jobs are performed by robots, there will always be some accidents. 112 people died just building the Hoover dam. That is excessive.

I still say that "accidents per project" is increasing over the last 5-10 years. I don't have hard statistics.


Justin commented on Reader Mail - 04/01/2012 To 04/07/2012.
Openstreetmaps is indeed a decent free alternative to google. In fact if you believe the hype apple "stole" and skinned openstreetmaps.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2012/03/08/did-apple-steal-their-new-map-software/


Justin commented on Stale Dunkin Donuts.
In&Out (its a west coast burger chain) recently raised their prices AND lowered their burger freshness. I was so insulted I won't go back. I was so loyal I might have excepted either higher prices or lower quality, but I will not accept both.

Another example is Russell Stover. They changed their boxes from 16oz to 12oz *AND* lowered the quality.

I've also had problems with Subway. Their bread is almost always stale, even when I go during peak lunch hours.

"Higher prices and lower quality" is a symptom of hyperinflation. Like you, I'd accept the higher price if they didn't cut the quality.

Here's a tip. When you're considering a restaurant, look how busy it is at lunchtime. If it's packed, that's good. If it's empty, it's bad.

Anonymous Coward commented on Stale Dunkin Donuts.

Off-topic, but important none-the-less.

Previously FSK has advocated gold and silver. I can't remember in what way - a gold/silver backed currency or for savings.

Anyway I recommend that FSK and the viewers here watch The Secret Of Oz (Best Documentary 2010).

The URL is

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swkq2E8mswI

At just under two hours it is too long for casual viewing. I've just watched the first 30 minutes and have learned a lot.

Using gold as money does have big problems. Historical evidence is referenced in the video.

Anonymous Coward commented on Stale Dunkin Donuts.

Perhaps I should expand on my previous comment.

I think the banking industry hurts our real economy. I disagree with debt-based money.

I agree with Ellen Brown that governments should issue debt-free money, instead of getting in hock with the banksters.

In The Secret of Oz, it is discussed that when Rome used money based on cheap, base metals their economy thrived. When it went back to gold-based money, there was unemployment, the rich took over everything and eventually the City was sacked.

Your fallacy is "Government is controlling money and forcing people to use the gold standard and fractional reserve banking." Also, "Government is adjusting the amount of gold per monetary unit, increasing and decreasing it."

In a really free market, people would use gold and silver as money.

Anonymous Coward commented on Stale Dunkin Donuts.

But the entire silver production for a year would only amount to 1 - 2 silver coins per person in the USA.

There isn't even one gold coin for each person in the whole world (or near enough).

What we need is debt-free money.

Anonymous Coward commented on Stale Dunkin Donuts.

Or at least _honest_ money.

That's a common fallacy. You assume that "size of economy" must equal "amount of physical gold and silver". The same coin can be used for many transactions. Gold and silver are a benchmark for price.

The way it probably would work is gold for big transactions, silver for medium transactions, and copper for change.

With paper money, whoever controls the paper will steal via inflation. In a really free market, there's no way to force other people to use your paper as money.


Anonymous Coward commented on Income Tax Mailing Address?.
As we both know, the government only gets something like 30% (or was it 70%?) of its needs through taxes. The rest is borrowed from banksters.

As Ellen Brown says, there is no need for the government to get into debt. It should issue its own debt free money. The interest payments to banks for money created from thin air is crippling everyone through higher and higher taxes and more and more debt.

If you want to reduce unemployment and have a real free economy, YOU NEED CAPITAL. You can't have capital, if the government sucks up all the money. The government only wastes all the money on wars and money to their incompetent friends.


Anonymous Coward commented on Taxing Stolen Money.
George Osborne is the Chancellor in the United Kingdom. He is in charge of the tax department.

But George's family use trusts to avoid inheritance tax.

David Cameron promised before the election to increase the threshold of this tax. He broke his promise in a deal with the slimy LibDems to get into government with only 20% of the population voting for his party.

So if Mr Osborne's family obviously thinks tax is too high, why don't they decrease it for everyone?

The law isn't the law if it only applies to poor people and not rich people.

George Zimmerman Charged With 2nd Degree Murder

My previous post on Trayvon Martin led to a flamewar in the comments.  I had to censor some offensive comments, which I normally don’t do.

In Florida (and also in NY), a prosecutor can submit an “information”, without using a grand jury.  That’s what the prosecutor did in this case.  Here is a link to a copy of the warrant.

There was one serious omission.  There was a charge of 2nd degree murder.  Why didn’t the prosecutor include the lesser charge of manslaughter?  Is that a mistake, or an intentional oversight?  Or, will manslaughter charges be added later?

In a murder trial, the prosecutor normally includes a lesser charge of manslaughter.  That enables the jury to “compromise” and acquit for murder but convict for the lesser charges.  That enables the prosecutor to say “We didn’t convict for murder, but we did get a partial conviction.  Hooray for the State!”

What is the “advantage” of omitting the lesser charge?  It forces a jury to either convict or acquit for murder.  It prevents a lesser conviction for manslaughter.  That could work in George Zimmerman’s favor, if the evidence is too weak to support murder.  That could work in favor of a conviction, because the jury can’t compromise and convict for a lesser offense.

This isn’t going to be dismissed in pre-trial arguments.  The judge is definitely going to let a jury decide.  “Was it self-defense or not?” should be decided by a jury.  “Stand your ground” shouldn’t apply in this case, because George Zimmerman initiated the confrontation with Trayvon Martin.  However, some appeals court might see things differently.

There’s another interesting bit.  George Zimmerman can waive a jury trial and ask for a bench trial.  That could work in his favor, due to all the negative publicity.  On the other hand, one defense lawyer wrote “Always use a jury.  Never get a bench trial.  If the judge likes your client, that will affect the jury.  If the judge doesn’t like your client, there’s a chance that some jurors will think for themselves.”  However, policemen frequently ask for a bench trial, when accused of a high-profile crime.

I was surprised that George Zimmerman was not also charged with manslaughter.  Is the prosecutor doing George Zimmernan a favor?  Without manslaughter as an option, the jury might straight acquit.  However, the jury might decide to convict for murder, if a lesser conviction is not an option.

That’s a serious omission.  In a case like this, the prosecutor almost always includes lesser offenses.


“No third solution” had the most interesting analysis. There were a couple of interesting points.

The State police monopoly was doing a lousy job.  People felt the need to form a “neighborhood watch” to supplement the State police monopoly.

The State police failed to protect Trayvon Martin from George Zimmerman.

The State police failed to arrive quickly, once George Zimmeman called them.  If they arrived quickly, George Zimmerman would not have felt the need to follow and confront Trayvon Martin.

Trayvon Martin didn’t trust the police.  When he noticed he was being followed by someone with murderous intent, Trayvon Martin called a friend instead of calling 911 himself.

If Trayvon Martin was carrying a gun, he might have been able to defend himself.

The blame for this disaster lies 100% with the State.  Most of the proposed “solutions” increase State power, such as “stricter gun control” or “change the law so it’s harder for someone to claim self-defense”.  The State “justice” system can’t tell the difference between sincere self-defense, and murdering someone.  None of the proposed solutions are “Eliminate the State police monopoly and State justice monopoly.”  Anything else is patching up holes in a fundamentally flawed system.

Taxing Stolen Money

This story was missing the point.  President Obama released his tax return.  He paid a lower tax rate than his secretary.

If you receive a high salary due to the State, your tax rate is mostly irrelevant.  When State insiders pay taxes, it is merely a partial return of stolen property.

“High tax rates on wealthy people!” doesn’t hurt insiders.  Those taxes hurt a successful businessman who’s growing his business.

Here’s a typical conversation between a CEO and his compensation committee.

CEO: How much should I get paid?

compensation committee: How much do you feel like getting paid?

If the CEO pays 20% more in taxes, he can just demand 20% more in salary.  The cost is passed on to the corporation’s customers.  The cost makes no difference, because the corporation has a State-backed monopoly/oligopoly.

That’s the reason CEO pay is so ridiculously high.  It isn’t a free market.  The CEO gets paid whatever he feels like getting paid.  The cost is passed on to customers.

“Tax the rich!” in practice means “Tax a successful small businessman, preventing him from building his wealth.”

Here’s an example.  Suppose you steal $100M via the State, and pay $50M in taxes.  A pro-State troll says “That patriotic person paid $50M in taxes.”, but really he stole $50M.  If the tax rate is increased from 50% to 75%, then instead of stealing $100M and paying $50M in taxes, he’ll steal $200M and pay $150M in taxes.

Warren Buffett is an advocate for high estate taxes.  That isn’t patriotism.  It’s selfishness.  When a family has a successful business, they’re forced to sell due to estate taxes, and Warren Buffett is a buyer.  Warren Buffett owns a bunch of small businesses inside Berkshire Hathaway.  Warren Buffett also advocates high taxes on “millionaires”.  High taxes prevent someone from bootstrapping a successful business, and competing with Warren Buffett’s businesses.

It is meaningless to discuss the taxation rate on State insiders.  They are negative taxpayers.  The real burden of “Tax the rich!” falls on successful businessmen who aren’t successful enough to buy their own Congressmen.  High taxes prevent someone from successfully bootstrapping a small business, and competing with the State monopoly/oligopoly.

Income Tax Mailing Address?

There’s a weird thing I noticed about the income tax.  There are two different addresses.  Based on whether you include a check or not, you mail it to one address or another.

WTF?  Are tax collectors that incompetent and lazy?  They can’t have them all go to the same address, and then sort them after they arrive?

It is offensive to fill out a tax return.  Only the State could demand that you tell them about everything you do.  Then, you figure out how much of your stuff they should steal, according to the rates they chose, and mail them a check.

It’s also amusing, that a tax return is an “obeying orders” exercise.

Top 100 Libertarian Websites

This post was interesting.  It tracks the “most visited” Libertarian websites.  I rank #79.

It appears to use an Alexa-like system to rank the websites.  I have about 200 regular readers.  Most of my readers wouldn’t install the Alexa toolbar, so that type of ranking underestimates my true rank.

Best Buy Problems

This story was interesting.  Best Buy is having problems.  They are losing market share and sales.

When I first went to Best Buy a couple of years ago, the workers all seemed alert and intelligent.  I actually was impressed, that Best Buy managed to hire so many competent workers.

When I went to Best Buy recently, the workers didn’t care.  It was a huge contrast.  In less than 2 years, Best Buy went from having an intelligent and hardworking workforce, to having not-so-bright employees that weren’t motivated.

It looked a lot like Circuit City and K-Mart, just before they went bankrupt.  The workers weren’t trying and the store inventory was disorganized.

For example, I bought my new PC at Best Buy, via their “Buy on the Internet and deliver to a store!” feature.  The box was dented, which shows sloppy work.  The PC worked so it was OK otherwise.

Best Buy does have an advantage over Amazon.  “Buy on the Internet and pick it up in a store!” is a neat idea.

Best Buy isn’t losing market share because of “That nasty Internet competition.”  Best Buy is losing market share because they forgot how to hire skilled workers.  At one point, they had process for picking good employees, and now they don’t.

Lamar Odom – Jerk Or Victim?

This story is interesting.  Mark Cuban got into an argument with Lamar Odom.  Lamar Odom wasn’t playing well and wasn’t giving 100% effort.  Mark Cuban decided to bench Lamar Odom for the rest of the season, and will trade him or cut him after the season (his contract has a buyout clause).

The mainstream media spin is “Management and owners are always right.  Mark Cuban is the owner, and everything he does is correct.”

There’s another possibility.  Mark Cuban and the coach were being real jerks.  Lamar Odom got disgusted and stopped trying.  The “advantage” of playing poorly on purpose is that it guarantees a trade to a less abusive environment.

Mark Cuban never played in the NBA, but he’s criticizing his players after every play.  That sounds familiar to me.  It’s frustrating to have a boss that can’t write software and knows nothing about managing software projects. but that boss still tries to micromanage every detail.

The mainstream media says that owners and management are always correct.  For another example, most sports leagues have a policy that says “Players may not criticize referees, even if they make a mistake.”  The important idea is “State authority figures cannot be questioned.”

When I read that story, I sort of read between the lines.  Mark Cuban was being a real douchebag towards Lamar Odom.  That’s why he stopped giving his best effort.