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Tivoization 
Attention Open Source Authors: If you have not been keeping up with the latest motivation behind the GNU General Public License (GPL 3), then you might want to tune-in to the current debate, as sparked by TiVo's success.

Having supported Richard's movement in code, prose, and affection since I wrote about Mr. Stallman (via The Fortworth Star Telegram's STARTEXT system) decades ago, I believe that the sentiments of Linus Torvalds are presently more in keeping with the problems targeted by the original GNU Manifesto.

Decide for yourself:

http://www.reference.com/search?q=Tivoization

Enjoy!

Rn




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Resume Robers! 
In a previous post I wrote about the horrors of being employed by people who do not respect our countries notion of what an "employee" is. Far from complying with the IRS regulations on what it means to be genuinely "employed", today hosts of unscrupulous people typically employ us for statutory work, force us to pay our own expenses, then dump us back into the market whenever any single contract is over.

Worse still, by studying the resumes that we give them, these same people can easily learn who we worked for, and when. Indeed, with the help of a careless secretary or two, from discovering the name of our projects, to the technologies, hiring managers, and their phone numbers, the information you provide a would-be contract ''employer'' can be twisted and doctored in such a way so as to allow legions of inferior workers to steal your job. Indeed, farming the content off of American resumes has become so profitable that Monster.com reported it's first on-line break in this year!

I personally ran into the result of this type of misrepresentation recently at a major telecommunications company. Outrageously, the person who we interviewed on the phone did not even match the person that arrived on-site. Upon confronting the would-be consultant with the problem, we discovered that not only had this imported worker stolen many of the project names and buzzwords from somewhere else, but that the combination of the contract signed and the internal HR process made it a long time before we could be free of the impostor.

Another example: While working on an extremely well paying gig (it had to be - I was to succeed where four others had not), I saw the resume rip-off artists in action again. This time I was the reason for the security breach. How? Well, after telling a head-hunter 'friend' that I was getting twice the rate he was offering me, he hounded me day and night to tell him who I was working for. After declining time and time again, this person finally tricked a reference I had given him into telling him the name of my client.

What happened next took place in less than six weeks: The VP of IT was contacted by a series of outsourcing firms. Entire teams of workers were hired. After a few weeks, my client declared - from then on out - that she would only use Indians. They started letting people go.

I completed my project and left the company. Interestingly, and within less than 7 months, I discovered that every other project - one of which was generating over 10 Million dollars a month in revenue per month - had to be scrapped. It seems that their paper-pushing employees could simply not do the work that they said their they could do, let alone perform under pressure. A mere 14 months after the first impostor set foot in that troubled company, I discovered that the the company had filed for bankruptcy. While they tried to get their former workers back, good people do not often sit around too long in any type of market.

Indeed, I heard similar tales from my friends at Borland. -After surviving four layoffs (the last under the hand on an Indian manager who had replaced my boss,) the last several years the company stock has routinely traded for under $1 per share. Welcome to the 3rd world.

Of course I do not mean to pick on any particular nationality here. While the problem is common amongst all nationalities (even our own), I can only relate what has happened to me personally.

So what is the problem? I suppose most of it is that Americans can indeed be a rather trusting lot. We tend to take people at their word. But the moral of the story is this: Be careful who you give that resume to! If you are an employer, today more than ever you need to check those credentials carefully. Just because a body smiles and says that they are from MIT, Stamford, Harvard, or even Georgia Tech, it does not prove that they have any college education what-so-ever. The same can be said for any projects and / or technologies they may pretend to represent.

In the words of an extremely competent friend of mine from India: "Americans are so stupid. They think that all Indians are intelligent... but let me tell you, we have plenty of stupid people here!"

So beware of those resume snatchers. The job they are after just might be yours!

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Carpe Vous! 
"He only earns his freedom and his life
Who takes them every day by storm."

---Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, from Faust.

This quote contrasts an innocent practice many find a bit curious. Rather than telling our friends to 'take it easy' as we depart, why not offer up something like the Latin phrase "carpe diem!" Popularly interpreted as "seize the day", would not that be a far, far better sentiment to wish for those we like?

Indeed, if truth be told, each of us has just as many hours in the day as anyone else. -Even as many hours as those who we consider to be our heroes.

One thought that I cannot help but to chuckle over these days is just how much LESS someone like Leonardo da Vinci would have been able to accomplish if he had television in his time?



So I concede that if we want to move ahead in the world then perhaps each of us needs to revisit how we choose to spend, or waste, our time.

To put the spirit of the above idea a lot better, someone once told me that 'we cannot kill time, without injuring eternity.' Still another recently reminded me that 'any woman or man who takes but a single step forward each and every day will, after the course of a lifetime, be miles ahead of anyone who is standing still.'

Finally, here is one of my favorite quotes on a related subject. When once moved by an annoying bit of professional jealousy, a companion reminded me that 'When we see a man or a woman standing on a hill, we can be sure that they didn't fall there.'

So seize the day!


R.A. Nagy


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