This telecom company rebrands just after Y2K and gets a few leadership changes -- and all the new bosses are friends of the new CEO and not very technical, reports an IT pilot fish working there.
"My new boss was in charge of running all of the data centers and infrastructure operations," fish says. "He was a nice guy, but added very little value to a highly technical company.
"At one of our first meetings with him, we were reviewing the final approval to purchase a new storage area network, and he was shocked at the cost of the new storage hardware. So during the meeting, he decided to show his true level of technical experience."
After fish's team discusses the configuration and pricing options, the new boss stands up and asks, "Why do we need this SAN in the first place? In the IT storage area we have boxes of unused floppy disks. Why can't we use them in place of a new SAN?"
The most-hated non-politician on Twitter this weekend was designer Josh Williams, who showed off his Chipotle ordering hack (make the employees package each ingredient separately) and asked “Am I weird? Or brilliant?” Twitter mostly chose Option C: Josh is an asshole.
Josh’s tweet went the bad kind of viral, through critical quote-tweets that far outperformed the original:
Gamely digging himself deeper, Josh addressed most other critiques of his hack: He doesn’t want to cook, so he drives 45 minutes to a Chipotle. Even if he could cook, he said, on Sunday in Napa Valley, “everything closes at 5pm,” including grocery stores (which is just not true). Plus he doesn’t know the Chipotle salsa recipe (thereareseveralonline, though they do take work). He even defended the wasted plastic. But he didn’t dispute the main critique, as quoted above: His order is a pain in the ass for the Chipotle workers. He even screencapped former food service workers who pointed this out:
This opinion wasn’t unanimous: On BuzzFeed’s writeup of the incident, several commenters said they work in food service and have no problem with this request. Others pointed out that “real” taquerias do this all the time. Of course, that doesn’t erase the employees who do hate the extra work, but have no choice. Josh, ever willing to learn and evolve, agreed that these employees deserve a tip.
This is all a dramatic reminder that many lifehacks just outsource your problem to someone else. Often that’s fine! That’s basically what commerce is. Some retail hacks, like buying the floor model or shopping in the off-season, provide some benefit for the other party. Others, like using fake personal info for loyalty cards, exploit a highly profitable company that’s trying to exploit you. But the Chipotle hack mostly relies on extra labor from a low-wage employee who can’t say no. For many of us, that’s ethically dubious.
Here are some other “hacks” that cashiers and other service workers hate, according to a fewRedditthreads:
Ordering “secret menu items” and expecting employees to know the recipe (though many employees are happy to take a special order if you politely explain it)
Dropping your kids off in the toy section like it’s free childcare
Asking for discounts or trying to skirt corporate policies that the cashier can’t control
Making a “ghetto latte” by ordering an espresso in a large cup and filling the rest with free milk
Combining massive amounts of coupons
Breaking large bills with tiny purchases
Putting your cash tip on the table and visibly docking it every time the server displeases you
Some of these behaviors aren’t universally terrible; they just require careful judgment and empathy for the person carrying out your hack. If the employee doesn’t have the freedom to tell you when you’re being unreasonable, it’s up to you to avoid crossing the line, and to properly reward someone who’s doing extra work for you.
Back in January, federal authorities filed criminal charges against six Volkswagen executives for their part in the company’s “dieselgate” scandal. Just last week, international arrest warrants were issued for some of those individuals who live in Germany, prompting lawyers for one engineer to warn him not to leave the country.
Jalopnik reports that legal aid has advised former head of development for VW Heinz-Jakob Neusser from leaving the country, lest he be arrested for conspiracy to defraud the United States, defraud VW’s U.S. customers, wire fraud, and violations of the Clean Air Act.
According to the Justice Department’s indictment [PDF], starting with the first model year 2009 of VW’s new “clean diesel” engine through model year 2016, Neusser and other co-conspirators installed or allowed for the installation of the software.
The defendants, according to the DOJ, then concealed the defeat devices and true emissions levels from U.S. customs, customers, and federal regulators in order to import the vehicles into the U.S.
While it was unclear at the time the indictment was released how the VW allegations would be resolved, then current U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch noted that the DOJ has previously worked with German authorities to resolve criminal issues against German residents.
Jalopnik reports that the German Constitution outlines certain extradition procedures that allow authorities to bring citizens to other European Union countries or an international court. However, those protections don’t go beyond Germany’s borders.
Because of this, Neusser’s lawyer has advised him to simply stay put.
“I have urgently advised my client not to leave Germany. Only here is it safe,” lawyer Annette Voges told German publication Bild Zeitung in comments over the weekend.
Neusser wouldn’t be the first VW executive to be arrested if he did happen to leave the country. Back in January, Oliver Schmidt, a former executive with VW’s regulatory compliance office, was arrested while visiting Miami.
Schmidt, who worked in the compliance office from 2014 until March 2015, reportedly played a central role in trying to excuse the findings of the West Virginia study that first found VW vehicles included so-called “defeat devices” that skirted federal emissions standards. He was charged with defrauding the U.S. government.
The limited public beta starts today, with the official on-sale date set for Aug. 8. For the moment, the virtual assistant can only support commands in Chinese, which will keep it from threatening the likes of Amazon in other countries for the time being.
But it’s an increasingly crowded field in China, with competitors like Tencent, Baidu, and JD.com introducing their own speakers with digital assistants, points out CNBC.
There could be even more competition on the horizon, as The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung is working on its own voice-activated speaker powered by its digital assistant Bixby.
At the moment, the voice-activated home speaker market is dominated by Amazon, which sold about 88% of the 4.2 million units sold in the fourth quarter, notes Bloomberg, while Google has about a 10% share of the action.
Should former Chicago Bulls player Dennis Rodman get booted from the NBA Hall Of Fame for visiting North Korea and paling around with the Hermit Kingdom’s oppressive leader, Kim Jong-un?
Otto Warmbier, an American student who was imprisoned in the Hermit Kingdom for 17 months, died Monday after returning to the United States with a severe brain injury. Three other Americans still remain in North Korean custody. An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 North Koreans are currently detained in labor camps and political re-education camps, where conditions are reportedly worse than in Nazi concentration camps, according to survivors.
Warmbier’s release coincides with Rodman’s most recent visit to the Hermit Kingdom, during which he gave Jong-un a copy of Donald Trump’s “The Art Of The Deal.” During a visit in 2014, Rodman implied an American missionary deserved to be held captive by the oppressive regime — a remark he later apologized for. He has also described the erratic leader of the North as a “friend for life.”
“I love him,” Rodman said after his first trip to North Korea in 2013. “The guy is awesome. . . He was so honest.”
“Dennis Rodman’s complacency and coddling of Kim Jong-un romanticizes and makes light of how dangerous North Korea is to its own people and Americans who travel there,” said Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Director Marion Smith in a statement Tuesday. “Removing Rodman from the Hall of Fame will send a message that all Americans are united against this regime.”
The nonprofit organization is circulating a petition on Change.org to get the NBA’s attention.
“As a professional athlete and an NBA Hall of Fame member, Rodman is called to be a role model and set an example for the next generation,” the petition reads. “Individuals that praise murderers have no place being idolized by America’s youth or in any Hall of Fame in the United States.”
During WWII, an American pilot defected to Nazi Germany. Despite this, he was allowed to reenlist in the US military.
Martin James Monti was born on October 24, 1921, in St. Louis, Missouri. One of seven children, four of his brothers would go on to serve in the US military. Monti had every reason, therefore, to be a patriotic American. And he was, in a way.
The Coughlin way, that is. It all started in the 1930s with Charles Edward Coughlin – a Canadian-American Roman Catholic priest who ran a very popular radio program from Detroit, Michigan.
By 1934, Father Coughlin had a following of tens of millions throughout the US and Canada – making him the first televangelist, albeit via radio. Though initially supportive of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he had a change of heart and became a hostile critic of the New Deal – a series of liberal social programs.
It didn’t take long for Coughlin to become anti-capitalist, however. From there, he became virulently anti-Semitic, as well as fiercely anti-communist. His views made him very unpopular with the Catholic Church which tried to silence him in 1936.
Not that it made a difference, since it made him even more popular among his followers. This encouraged Coughlin to take things a step further by supporting the Fascist regimes of Germany and Italy. It was only when WWII broke out in 1939 that his broadcasts were finally taken off the air.
By then, however, Coughlin had a devoted fan – Monti, who had been listening to the priest’s broadcasts since childhood. In October 1942, the 21-year-old Monti visited his childhood hero and spiritual guide. Whatever happened during their meeting must have had a major impact on the younger man, according to his later psychologists.
Because the following month, Monti joined the US Army Air Forces as an aviation cadet. He finished flight training in 1944, became a commissioned flight officer qualified to fly the P-39 Airacobra and the P-38 Lighting, and got promoted to the rank of second lieutenant.
In August of that year, he was sent to Karachi (then in India, but now in Pakistan) to join the 126th Replacement Depot as a replacement pilot. Shortly after, he was made a first lieutenant. It’s still unknown if he went to India planning to do what he did next, or if something happened there to push him over the edge.
On October 2, Monti went AWOL and flew to Cairo, Egypt aboard a Curtiss C-46. From there, he made his way to Tripoli, Libya which had just been liberated from Axis control. He then made it to the Foggia Air Base in Italy (also under Allied control) where he became chummy with the 82nd Fighter Group… but not for long.
Monti’s next stop was at the Pomigliano Airfield with the 354th Air Service Squadron. It was there that he found a reconnaissance P-38 that had just been fixed and was in need of a test flight. He volunteered to fly it, of course. Not knowing about his AWOL status, they let him.
He flew toward northern Italy, landing in Milan on October 13 – which was still under German control. That they didn’t shoot him down was amazing.
“I defect,” he said… or something to that effect.
They didn’t believe him, of course, which is why they chucked him into a POW camp. But he was consistent with his story. Like Coughlin, he was virulently anti-capitalist, anti-communist, and anti-Semitic.
What he wasn’t, according to his own later testimony, was anti-American. He did what he did to save his country from its true enemy – Bolshevism. It wasn’t his fault that America couldn’t understand the real threat.
Cautiously impressed, the Germans took him to Berlin. There Monti was brought into the SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers studio – a propaganda arm of the Waffen-SS where many foreign defectors worked. He made his first mike test in December and was deemed good enough to make radio broadcasts.
In January 1945, he was employed by the Reich Broadcasting Corporation (RRG) and given the pseudonym, “Captain Martin Wiethaupt.” His job was to be the equivalent of Coughlin, but over German radio.
It was there that he met another defector – “Axis Sally.” Her real name was Mildred Elizabeth Gillars – an American who had married a German and found herself stuck on German soil when the war broke out. It could have been a match made in heaven, but it wasn’t.
Gillars couldn’t stand Monti and threatened to resign rather than continue working with him. Fortunately for her, Monti was useless as a radio personality, so the RRG sacked him. Fortunately for him, he got a job with the SS – writing propaganda leaflets.
It didn’t last. The war ended, and he surrendered to the US military on May 10, 1945… still in his SS uniform. He claimed to have been caught by the Germans, but had escaped thanks to the Italian underground. The uniform? He stole it for his protection and to gather intelligence for the Allies.
No one bought it, of course. As to his brief stint as “Captain Martin Wiethaupt,” he claimed that it was done at the point of a gun. They didn’t believe that either, but they weren’t exactly sure what he did do. All they could do was charge him with desertion and stealing a plane – for which he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
On February 11, 1946, Monti was given another choice – rejoin the military as a private and all would be forgiven. So he became a sergeant when he was honorably discharged on January 26, 1948… then arrested minutes later by the FBI. Military intelligence had found out about his SS affiliation. A federal grand jury charged him with 21 counts of treason on October 13 – remanding him to 25 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Monti pleaded guilty to all charges on January 17, 1949 – surprising everyone who had expected a long, drawn-out trial. He changed his tune in 1951, however, claiming he had been pressured into it.
He tried again in 1958, but failed, serving out his term at the Leavenworth Penitentiary in Kansas. They finally paroled him in 1960.