/blog > archive > June 2012

Runway-repairs

I didn’t think it was possible. But, hey, the human heart can surprise you. I never thought I could hate any airline as much as I hated United, back in the day, back when I was flying three or four times a month. But tonight Southwest — of all airlines — gave United a real run for their money. First we should note that what happened was not the fault of any airline. What happened was big. Midway Airport was closed to flights this evening due to runway lighting problems, according to the FAA. It was unknown when flights would resume at the airport, according to the FAA’s website. Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Karen Pride said an “unknown electrical outage” affected the airfield lights at about 8:30 p.m. Midway operations are working with the airlines and FAA officials regarding diversions from the airport to other airports, said Pride. As…

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goodpeoplecantgetjobs

On the IEEE Spectrum podcast, Peter Cappelli, author of Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs, has some provocative things to say about the major problems facing employers and job-seekers these days. In the process, he takes on some of the most well-established conventional wisdom surrounding the job market, refuting obvious “truths” such as: Employers can’t get the people they need because of a skills gap. Employers can’t hire workers at the going wage. Students aren’t graduating with the right qualifications. Students aren’t majoring in the right things. All false, according to Cappelli. He explains that employers face a training gap, not a skills gap. Workers are available at the going wage — if they weren’t, the “going wage” would be something else. Stduents graduate with the right skills, but employers are looking for people with 3-5 years experience. And students are increasingly majoring in the “right” things. The real problem,…

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fifththird

Got this gem a of a letter from my mortgage company the other day. (If that’s too small, click on the image to see it in all its glory.) My response: Dear P. BRIAN MOORE — Well I can certainly see how this would be a confusing situation for you guys. The amount I sent was the exact amount I’ve been sending every month for the past, what, four years? A less careful and thorough company than Fifth Third might look at that payment and conclude “Oh, he forgot to note the payment change and has inadvertently sent us too little. We should remind him of the change and ask for a full payment.” No such hasty conclusions for you, eh? Now granted, some might view this business about being “unclear” on how you want the payment applied and asking me to “review my records” as nudging into passive-aggressive territory. But,…

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marthalunch

Everything you need to know about how web technology empowers regular people to take on The Man — and win — is encapsulated in the story of Martha Payne, a precocious Scottish 9-year-old who drew worldwide attention by blogging daily photos of the sometimes nutritionally sub-optimal lunches provided by her school’s cafeteria. Martha told her teachers she was doing this and even had the school’s permission to do so. When the blog became ridiculously popular, she decided to use it as a means to raise funds for a non-profit that helps to feed the hungry. Sadly, none of this was enough to keep the Argyll and Bute Council (some local government body; I’m not entirely clear on who they are or how they derive their authority) from ordering her to stop taking a camera to school, effectively shutting down the blog. When this decision resulted in a media firestorm, the…

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tor

Here’s a news story that highlights some of the issues discussed in my previous post, The Limits of Transparency: Hunting for child porn, FBI stymied by Tor undernet Recently released documents detail the federal government’s inability to pursue cybercriminals shrouded by the tricky anonymity tools used by the Silk Road marketplace and other darknet sites – tools which are funded in part by the federal government itself. In this particular case, a citizen reported stumbling upon a cache of child pornography while browsing the anonymous Tor network’s hidden sites, which are viewable with specialized, but readily available, tools and the special .onion domain. Documents, released through a Freedom of Information Act request by Jason Smathers on MuckRock, show that after being given details of the illicit material, investigators were stymied as to the origin of the pornography’s host. In the investigators’ own words, “there is not currently a way to…

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blindfolded

In Friday’s piece on being open and stretchy, Joe Brooks raises the all-important question of what we information we should be allowed to access versus what information we actually get to access: The question is, who has the right to decide what you and I can or can’t see and, once you start cutting access to one area or topic, a lot of very grey areas appear, so where does it stop? Transparency and visibility of everything may be the ideal, but somebody somewhere is making rules as to what exclusions should be made to that. What do we have the right to see? The short answer is “everything.” The slightly longer and more precise answer is everything except: Other people’s / organizations’ proprietary information (which includes military and state secrets). Information that exists purely to support illegal activities: how to make meth, how to build a nuke, child pornography,…

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stretch

This week I attended a lecture at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences about the The Evolution of the Internet: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities. Speakers Tim Berners-Lee and David D. Clark spoke about how the Internet has evolved in ways far beyond the original vision for enabling the sharing of packets of information into a tool that virtually all of us use and depend on every day for all sorts of different things. They continued with a discussion about open data and visibility across the web and how there are immense amounts of data available and if this could be accessible to everybody, so much more could be achieved. Much like open communication and collaboration within an organization, often all the information needed to make the “right” decision exists, but it has been broken up and used in different places, rather than all pulled together into one project. Berners-Lee…

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unemployment-office

The health of the economy is measured in many different ways — the stock market, GDP, interest rates — but the defining factor always seem to be employment. US economic outlook worsens after jobs report The faltering U.S. job market has prompted economists to take a much dimmer view of the country’s growth prospects. That’s a shift from just a few weeks ago, when many were upgrading their forecasts. Friday’s surprisingly bleak jobs report for May followed a spate of disappointing data. Manufacturing activity slowed, an index of home sales fell and consumer confidence tumbled. Mounting troubles in Europe and elsewhere have heightened economists’ concerns. Even at stronger levels of hiring, Americans’ incomes had been already growing only weakly. They increased 0.2 percent in April, the government said last week, the slowest pace in five months. Other reports last week showed that more people sought unemployment benefits, a sign that…

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extra2hours

Domo has put together a really nifty infographic exploring what we all might do with an extra two hours a day. Get in shape, launch your own business, spend time with your kids — there are many possibilities. Where would these extra two hours come from? The Domo blog claims that knowledge workers spend on average nine hours per week tracking down information. But what if we didn’t need to do that? What if everything we were looking for was immediately available ? Alakazam! Two free hours per day. Well, here’s the problem. Even if we stipulate the not-backed-up-by-any-cited-research nine hours per week as accurate, is there any reason to believe that solving that problem would provide some kind of spare time dividend? Technical and process fixes that improve productivity have proven over the years to be effective ways to give us more time to work, not self-actualize. But whatever….

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