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Open Thread 7-13 August

by Bjinse Mon Aug 7th, 2017 at 09:19:49 PM EST

I wish I were a thread again, half-savage and hardy, and free

The google thingy. It's all over the internet today and frankly there are people who know far more than me discussing it in minute detail. I have nothing to add to that debate.

But David Gerrold, the writer, said something on his FB today that gave me pause.

"Whatever business you think you're in, you're not. Whatever business you think you're in, you're really in the business of providing service. When you figure out what that service is, you will create a relationship with your customers -- and as long as you maintain that relationship, the customer will give you his loyalty."

Additionally, a company must also serve it's employees. Service has to be transparent throughout or it's little more than a performance, another buzzword that some companies use to disguise their hypocrisy.
the short version -- if you want my custom, then treat me like a partner in a mutually successful relationship. Otherwise, don't waste your time or mine

I think a lot of the tech companies haven't really worked out the answers to these basic questions yet, except that some of the people who work for them seem to believe that they exist to enable their own personal mania

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 04:35:36 PM EST
By "Google thingy" you mean their firing of James Damore?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 05:10:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course. We always talk about trivial things like this, rather than their reducing hits to fake news sites like the ACLU and Amnesty


by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 05:41:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yea, but no but yea.

Both google and FB have done this in the last couple of months and, as you note, it seems to be a lot of liberal/left sites that are taking a hit. That said, I'd like to know if right wing and alt-right sites are getting clobbered as well.

But, given the attitude of people like the google guy, is it any surprise really. Libertarians are right wingers with an even more confused idea of how economics, society, rights and responsibility work than is normal for a conservative. So, of course they're gonna take a swipe at left blogs.

Go bing. Or if yahoo wants to rescue its business model, maybe make a thing about being a different algorithm and google can become conserva-search

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 07:08:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
antiwar.com is rightwing
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 07:10:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sort of, but they're Rothbard libertarians and VERY anti-neocon.
by rifek on Fri Aug 11th, 2017 at 12:16:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of the best coverage on this:
The key mistake at the base of the Google anti-diversity manifesto

And from a former manager at Google:
So, about this Googler's manifesto.
(In short: despite being an engineer, he's disregarding scientific evidence, he doesn't understand engineering work and doesn't care about the destructive consequences of airing his views within his workplace).

Oh, and about race, the Guardian is comparing and contrasting the Silicon Valley and DC technology ecosystems.

As expected, the guy has become a martyr for the online right and also reportedly landed a job offer from Julian Assange (Sexist A-holes of the world, unite).

by Bernard on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 06:57:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bottom line with this little jerk is that, aside from being a Class-A privilege-hoarding snowflake, he has a mental disorder common among engineers and programmers that I call Heinlein's Syndrome, namely the belief that because they can work with differential equations, Fourier transforms, or machine code, they know more about everything than anybody else, including those who work in the particular field.
by rifek on Fri Aug 11th, 2017 at 12:23:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Point of information: most programmers can't do any of the above.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 11th, 2017 at 09:08:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those capabilities are found among some electrical, electronic, aerospace and mechanical engineers and with physicists/astronomers - especially at the Masters level and above.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Aug 11th, 2017 at 04:08:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most "programmers" aren't programmers, just cut-and-paste script kiddies.  That's why they had to pull people out of the crypt for Y2K.
by rifek on Fri Aug 11th, 2017 at 09:57:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't need to argue, some of the very best coverage is in these comments which are a vital sample of normative US social life beyond the hypertensive conceits of "tech" corporate culture. 3,148 responses to "Why I Was Fired by Google" (WSJ, 11 Aug 2017).

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Aug 12th, 2017 at 06:43:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should have fired the idiot.  Lots more TechBros where he came from and he would have been a sexual harassment law suit in waiting.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 07:16:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As also abundantly pointed out, firing this one guy (he's already fired, BTW) is not going to fix the endemic problem, not only in Google but throughout the tech industry.
by Bernard on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 07:50:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I have managed to hijack Helen's thread about a customer saying "if you want my custom, then treat me like a partner in a mutually successful relationship."

Which is more interesting but about which I have nothing to add.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Aug 8th, 2017 at 08:13:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Except you didn't.

You managed to hijack a thread about an employee saying "if you want my service , then treat me like a partner in a mutually successful relationship."

Despite what he may think, companies don't "serve" their employees, employees serve their companies. The subtle hint, which he obviously missed, was that Google was paying him a financial remuneration in exchange for his services.

He wanted to change the terms of service in the form of his freedom as an employee (as opposed to as an individual) to express personal opinions that were counter to explicitly declared company policy. Google, as the service recipient, decided it did not want to avail of his services under these terms and quite reasonably decided to stop wasting both its time and his.

His screed would have carried more weight if he had delivered it while walking out the door of his own accord. Just another person that wanted to have his cake and eat it.

by det on Wed Aug 9th, 2017 at 07:05:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For the big tech companies part of the problem is that their customers are not the people using their services. How much do you pay for Google?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 9th, 2017 at 08:22:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Aug 9th, 2017 at 11:35:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The more pertinent question (given the "social media" marketing mix on which GOOG revenue relies) is, How much does GOOG pay you?

to forget or deny best practices at HQ

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Aug 9th, 2017 at 05:39:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't read anything on the subject. But I just got home from, among other things, visiting my nephew in Munich, the one who works for Google. The interesting thing that came up in discussing this issue is that Google tried to do an on-line town-hall meeting on the issue; elements of that company-wide discussion were leaked to the internet in real time by the Randian rearguard; and the meeting was cancelled.

It sounds like there may be a wider purge of such elements who have, to put it mildly, overplayed their hand. Challenging company policy internally is one thing (arguably, that is all Damore did); openly biting the hand demonstrates a lack of understanding of how the job market works.

Perhaps they see themselves as whistleblowers? Whatever.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Aug 14th, 2017 at 10:29:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps they see themselves as official policy of the US government?
by Bernard on Tue Aug 15th, 2017 at 09:28:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Steady improvements in American life expectancy have stalled, and more Americans are dying at younger ages. But for companies straining under the burden of their pension obligations, the distressing trend could have a grim upside: If people don't end up living as long as they were projected to just a few years ago, their employers ultimately won't have to pay them as much in pension and other lifelong retirement benefits.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Aug 9th, 2017 at 12:17:38 PM EST
The Atlantic - Kurt Anderson - How America Lost Its Mind

When did America become untethered from reality?

I first noticed our national lurch toward fantasy in 2004, after President George W. Bush's political mastermind, Karl Rove, came up with the remarkable phrase reality-based community. People in "the reality-based community," he told a reporter, "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality ... That's not the way the world really works anymore." A year later, The Colbert Report went on the air. In the first few minutes of the first episode, Stephen Colbert, playing his right-wing-populist commentator character, performed a feature called "The Word." His first selection: truthiness. "Now, I'm sure some of the `word police,' the `wordinistas' over at Webster's, are gonna say, `Hey, that's not a word!' Well, anybody who knows me knows that I'm no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They're elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn't true. Or what did or didn't happen. Who's Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914? If I wanna say it happened in 1941, that's my right. I don't trust books--they're all fact, no heart ... Face it, folks, we are a divided nation ... divided between those who think with their head and those who know with their heart ... Because that's where the truth comes from, ladies and gentlemen--the gut."

Whoa, yes, I thought: exactly. America had changed since I was young, when truthiness and reality-based community wouldn't have made any sense as jokes. For all the fun, and all the many salutary effects of the 1960s--the main decade of my childhood--I saw that those years had also been the big-bang moment for truthiness. And if the '60s amounted to a national nervous breakdown, we are probably mistaken to consider ourselves over it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Aug 9th, 2017 at 04:40:32 PM EST

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Aug 9th, 2017 at 04:45:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This train has been coming down the track a long time.  The first sign was in 1964 with Goldwater's slogan "In Your Heart You Know He's Right" (talk about a fascistic slogan) which the Johnson campaign parodied with "In Your Guts You Know He's Nuts," which the overwhelming majority still viewed as an accurate assessment.  By 1980 the overwhelming majority had switched views to Goldwater and voted for The Blessed St. Ronnie Ray-gunz, and we've been goose-stepping into the swamp ever since.
by rifek on Fri Aug 11th, 2017 at 12:52:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't care if you didn't like Frazier, but the pay off in this is in the last 2 paragraphs but you need the lead up to really get it.

New Statesman - Helen Lewis - Martin Crane's hideous chair was the true star of Frasier

I'm surprised to find myself writing about Frasier, because Friends was the great behemoth of my teenage years, winkling its speech patterns and preoccupations deep into my subconscious, and I date the end of my youth to the day I met Real Live Matthew Perry.

But what was the theme of Friends  -  what wisdom did it have to impart? Only that . . .  it's nice to have friends in your twenties? And a nice apartment. (And Ross is a monster.) By contrast, Frasier has a proper emotional core, woven through the story from the beginning. It is about what happens when you move social classes. What you gain, and what you lose.

That message is clear from the pilot episode, which begins with Frasier Crane returning from the Boston of Cheers to his hometown of Seattle. The episode is structured quite simply, introducing each of the other characters in turn.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Aug 10th, 2017 at 11:46:43 AM EST
I love that show.
by rifek on Fri Aug 11th, 2017 at 01:04:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Aug 11th, 2017 at 06:43:04 PM EST
This one is good.

White Skin Privilege

Unlike liberal interpretations of white privilege used to attack dissent, Allen's understanding was that white privileges are contrary to the long-term political and material interest of white people. The benefits, bribes, and appeals to white people do have a real value, which is one reason they work, but that value is far less than the value that would be produced by class solidarity and cross-racial action to raise wages, win political power and establish justice.
by fjallstrom on Mon Aug 14th, 2017 at 02:05:55 PM EST

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