Monday, June 29, 2009

New Haven Firefighters

"Daniel P. Westman, a Washington-area lawyer who works extensively in labor and employment law, said: “This is a ruling that every business covered by Title VII will need to take into account. Some companies may have thought this was just a public sector firefighter case that would not apply outside the government employment context, but that is not the case.” Mr. Westman said the decision could affect hiring, firing and discipline in the workplace, as well as promotions."

I find this baffling - doesn't the ruling confirm that an employer should not consider race (which is the simple lay interpretation of current legal obligations) when making hiring, firing and discipline (and other) decisions? I would think the ruling makes no change to current decisionmaking except those who WERE considering race when making decisions.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

multi-tasking smartphones

I sort of get it but don't really. Separate from battery life/heat, I don't see any downside to multi-tasking on a phone but, with the limited screen real estate and what multi-tasking truly means, I don't see much upside either.

If multi-tasking is simply returning to where you were, I don't get it at all.

If multi-tasking is notification, I think notification is the important point.

I think multi-tasking is really only useful in the phone context for non-visual applications that require being always-on. For example, listening to music, beaming location information, etc. And note that beaming location information can probably be handled through a subset of notification (rather than flashing a box with the notice to the user, have the phone respond when pinged from the outside).

At the end of the day, I don't really "multi-task" on my computer either - I work on one application at a time and only keep more than one open simultaneously because I have the screen real estate and start up of each program is slow.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

fund management and alternatives

This week's Economist has an editorial regarding funds that says:

"A survey by Watson Wyatt, a consulting firm, found that the cost of running a pension scheme increased by around half between 2003 and 2008. That was because schemes allocated more of their portfolios to hedge funds and private-equity managers, which charge much higher fees. Chasing performance by paying higher fees might work for individual investors, but in aggregate it is doomed to fail. The return to the average investor is the market return minus costs; if costs rise, returns must fall."

I don't think this is quite right if hedge funds and private-equity managers are investing in under-represented parts of the market. In that case, although the statement "The return to the average investor is the market return minus costs" is true, it unfairly treats the "market" as being the entire market even where it is not.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Police" ?

Why do the police uniforms in Iran say "police"? And only "police"? Weird to use the english language at all, let alone exclusively.


I'm sure it's been written before - I don't understand "tiger-proofing" a course. Not the desirability of it. That makes sense. But the method doesn't. If the concern was that his drives are generally longer (thus turning par 5s into par 4s), wouldn't it be better to shorten the holes so that more golfers could turn the 5s into 4s? That would even the playing field just as much.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

DirectTV and iPhone

DirecTV should release a (free) app for iPhone (especially the new 3Gs, given the compass) that helps to orient and point the dish. With the tilt sensor, mapping, internet access and now compass, it's the perfect tool (and avoids the "how is the signal now?" shout-a-thon).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The unbelievable has become the everyday

The Air France disaster shows how what was unimaginable only a few years ago (in an area of 100s of square miles, to find wreckage in less than a day) has become possible. And so, while I believe the sincerity of statements that the black boxes may never be found, I suspect we will be surprised in short order by their recovery.

I feel terribly for the families and hope some future tragedy can be avoided by review of the event.