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Preferring Not To

I’ve just read Bartleby the Scrivener which is a short story about a scrivener who refused to work saying “I’d prefer not to”.

It reminded me of some situations in the computer industry. I’ve never seen a single case where someone preferred not to work when everyone around them (colleagues and management) wanted them to [...]

Phone Calls and Other Distractions

Harald Welte has written about the distraction of phone calls and how it impacts engineering work [1]. He asks why people feel that they are entitled to interrupt him given the cost to his work.

Some years ago while working as a programmer I was discussing such things with a colleague who worked for the [...]

Recruiting at a LUG Meeting

I’m at the main meeting of Linux Users of Victoria (my local LUG). A couple of recruiting agents from Interpro [1] are here and have been working the crowd, one of them is on each side of the room and it seems that their plan is to speak to every person at the meeting and [...]

Security and Hiring

The main sources of information used when hiring someone are their CV, the interview, and references.

CV

The CV is written by the applicant or sometimes for the applicant. Naturally it says only good things, if a CV notes no skill in a particular area then it may be used to exclude an employee from [...]

Ownership of Laptops for Work

Jetstar has announced some new changes to the way they manage their IT infrastructure [1]. Some parts of it are obvious things that people have been doing (or wanting to do) for a long time – such as using thin clients with no moving parts (not even cooling fans).

But the really interesting part is [...]

Increasing Productivity through Clean Air

Kamal Meattle gave an interesting TED talk about using plants to produce enough oxygen to support people in sealed buildings [1]. The combination he advocates is Areca Palm for the living-room (four shoulder-high plants per person), Mother-in-law’s Tongue for the bedroom to produce oxygen at night (six to eight waist-high plants per person), and Money [...]

A “Well Rounded” CV

When discussing career advice one idea that occasionally comes up is that someone should be “well rounded” and should demonstrate this by listing skills that are entirely unrelated to the job in question. Something along the lines of “I’m applying for your C programmer position, and I like spending my spare time playing tennis and [...]

IT Jobs and Working Conditions

Mark Glossop has written about the best designs for offices to increase productivity and attract qualified staff [1]. He makes a lot of really good points and cites the Joel on Software blog post about “Bionic Offices” [2], it’s sequel “Updated Offices” [3], and Joel’s “Field Guide to Developers” [4]. Interestingly Joel disclaims a connection [...]

The Main Security Problem

All security problems are to some degree people problems. Code may be buggy, but it was written by people who could have been better trained, had more time to spend on code review, etc. When there are multiple programs, OSs, libraries, etc to choose from then choosing a suitable combination of software is a matter [...]

Normalising Wages

John Robb writes about the normalisation of salaries that is driven by the use of the Internet and global corporations [1]. He cites an example of IBM forcing many of it’s employees to work in developing countries for lower wages.

It seems to me that IBM is leading the field in this regard and many [...]