Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Privacy and the Public Interest

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  • Stephen R,

    It really annoys me when politicians organise the economy so that wages stay low (by keeping a large enough pool of unemployed that low-skill workers are desperate to get minimum wage) and then castigate the unemployed for not having jobs.

    It just seems ... vindictive. Like blaming a bleeding accident victim for getting blood on the floor... and it pisses me off.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW, in reply to stephen clover,

    Don't know if this helps and can't find web resource to back this up but I'm pretty sure that is a Wayne Youle (Māori artist) tee.

    Yeah, I don't think it helps - context and all that - but thanks and to Joe Wylie for the suggestion.

    Looks to me John Key still thought his business was selling derivatives ...

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to JonathanM,

    I just wanted to repeat this: It seems like a (relatively) simple thing that could be done to improve participation. I’m relatively well informed about politics, as I find it interesting, yet I constantly see how so and so had a town meeting in my area – always after the fact.

    Taking it further, I'm not even sure where to look for official info about who's even standing as a candidate in my electorate... short of turning up at the polling booth and reading the options on the ballot paper. Is there somewhere?

    Surely the Electoral Commission should be the authority on this info, but the commission's own website seems to be entirely focused on getting people enrolled, explaining the voting system, and providing info for parties and candidates, without actually saying who they are.

    So, like the meetings, it seems to be a case of hit-and-miss searching for billboards or similar to discover who's running, and probably asking the parties themselves who's on their party lists. What's up with this? Some central, official place, which tells people what their registered choices are, and where they can go to hear from the candidates, wouldn't go amiss.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Thanks Joe. Yes, I'm optimistic. I don't think history will repeat itself by following the same path as the last big capitalist crisis. We've evolved a little bit as a species since then, and there's nukes. I think that bit-by-bit capitalism will morph into a better system. It could take a long bloody time, but I think it will. I'd rather it happened sooner than later and think we could take simple positive steps in that direction, which is why I bother to speak on it at all. But eventually I think even the richest capitalists themselves will come to realize that raising the bottom dramatically is actually to their own personal advantage, quite aside from it being the morally right thing to do. They will still have the greatest access to the goods of humanity by far, but they must surely see in the end that a society in which humans are more fulfilled by default is a better one to live in. I don't see an end to a rich poor divide (well not for a long time), but I do see a society in which the divide might not be quite such a burden on the true productive potential of the species.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to UglyTruth,

    The reference to “God” in the common law is cultural, it doesn’t signify that Christianity has any special status at law.

    You fundamentally misunderstand the meaning of secular. The reference to God in common law precisely signifies that Christianity has special status. Ask any non-Christian who is asked to swear on a bible.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth,

    You fundamentally misunderstand the meaning of secular.

    Hows that?

    The reference to God in common law precisely signifies that Christianity has special status. Ask any non-Christian who is asked to swear on a bible.

    Swearing an oath is essentially an act of calling deity to witness. A non-Christian who wants to swear an oath has no obligation to use a Bible.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to UglyTruth,

    Swearing an oath is essentially an act of calling deity to witness.

    No, not really. It's making a strong promise, which you can maybe be held to. If you have to call a deity to witness, then it's by definition a religious thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth, in reply to BenWilson,

    No, not really.

    It is. You can't swear an oath without doing it.

    Jurare est Deum in testum vocare, et est actus divini cultus. To swear is to call God to witness, and is an act of religion. 3 Co. Inst. 165. Vide 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 3180, note; 1 Benth. Rat. of Jud. Ev. 376, 371, note.

    http://wiki.actsinjunction.info/CommonLaw/Maxims

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to ChrisW,

    It really annoys me when politicians organise the economy so that wages stay low (by keeping a large enough pool of unemployed that low-skill workers are desperate to get minimum wage) and then castigate the unemployed for not having jobs.

    There are new jobs being created such as in ICT, but they tend to be at the top rung of the ladder and have steeper learning curves than the low-skill jobs they replace. On top of that, the fact that experienced professionals are commonly imported from overseas speaks volumes about the under-investment in training in our parts.

    As it stands, I’m currently working in an industry that’s in danger of obsolescence, not unlike the car factory jobs of a generation ago. When I look at the ICT jobs advertised on places like Seek, they insist on several years’ experience with the right ‘tools’. I have the equivalent experience of an A+ Cert, but it seems to count for not terribly much when I look further up the ladder, and the financial barriers to retraining are very high – including, but not limited to the non-eligibility of student loans for the latest & greatest IT courses – and I’d rather not have to reinvent the wheel. I've secured a mentorship with the IITP in the hope of filling the missing rungs in the ICT career ladder, but so far I may have to go on a treasure hunt for the rungs myself.

    I’d be perfectly suited to Labour’s proposed ICT apprenticeship scheme, as most industry figures agree that it’s more a trade than a profession. I just hope the Nats can look past their dogma to even consider it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to BenWilson,

    capitalism will morph into a better system. It could take a long bloody time, but I think it will. I’d rather it happened sooner than later and think we could take simple positive steps in that direction,

    WE? I love the use of the collective word as if WE are all working in a specific direction. WE'RE not you do realise. Sorry but capitalism is, at the moment, standing in the way of change.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to UglyTruth,

    It is. You can’t swear an oath without doing it.

    Yes, I certainly can.
    Merriam Webster definition:

    "a formal and serious promise to tell the truth or to do something"

    Oxford definition:

    "A solemn promise, often invoking a divine witness, regarding one’s future action or behaviour"

    and most other dictionaries in a brief search give the same level of commitment to there being a deity involved.

    Quod erat demonstrandum.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to andin,

    Sorry but capitalism is, at the moment, standing in the way of change

    OK, fair enough, I'm using the word very loosely, because it is a very loose word. By capitalism I'm really just meaning a system in which people's ownership of capital can be individual or in small groups. And I don't think that particular part of the system has to disappear before there can be any improvement. But you're right that at our particular point in it, it's going backwards on some important measures and obsession with a strongly neoliberal flavour of it is majorly contributing to that, and we can probably look forward to quite a few more years before that winds up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    When I look at the ICT jobs advertised on places like Seek, they insist on several years’ experience with the right ‘tools’.

    My experience with this, from both sides of the interviewing table, is that for developers at least, there is a dearth of people with exactly the right skills. Generally people advertising jobs ask for their ideal candidate and then hire the best they can find; who will almost certainly be missing a range of things they want, but will have convinced the interviewer that they can learn them.

    Also most people worth working for know that technology is changing all the time. Chances are, any new job is going to be 50% stuff you know, and 50% stuff you have to learn, and that over time you're going to have to keep learning; if you can demonstrate that you know some stuff, and that you can learn, then someone will take a punt on you. How you demonstrate that might be via sample projects, home projects, volunteer work or similar (I'm not entirely sure what it's like starting now. I got a break working for a friend on pretty shit wages for a few years, but then it took off.)

    Once you've had a job for a couple of years, then your job performance and the things you've done are much more important than your qualifications for most things.

    Good luck for the future.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to BenWilson,

    it’s going backwards on some important measures and obsession with a strongly neoliberal flavour of it is majorly contributing to that, and we can probably look forward to quite a few more years before that winds up.

    And here I was hoping for some optimism :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to UglyTruth,

    Which is why those giving evidence in court, or in any other analogous process, have the opportunity to affirm, and have done since 1695.

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2006/0069/latest/DLM393905.html

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Stephen R,

    Generally people advertising jobs ask for their ideal candidate and then hire the best they can find; who will almost certainly be missing a range of things they want, but will have convinced the interviewer that they can learn them.

    As a software dev I’ll second this where ICT many jobs are concerned. Once you have some core skills (and maybe that’s an issue), recent experience often counts for more than qualifications in many jobs, I guess because trends tend to shift so rapidly. If you’re not familiar with a specific tool or technology listed (especially some of the more obscure ones), it’s often enough to just look it up and read about it so you’re not dumbfounded when someone asks about it in an interview.

    My current software dev job is deeply tied to HP TRIM (a very specific records management system), but when I applied, they were more than satisfied with a developer who had any records management exposure at all. In hindsight despite many months looking, and getting frustrated with mass-mailed generic CVs sent mostly from India, I think they hadn’t realised that they’d probably have been just as well off to advertise for a good developer with some reasonable commitment to responding to the job description points, and just teach them about the specialist requirements early on.

    By far the hardest part of the process, IMHO, has always been that of getting through recruitment agents, many of whom aren’t interested in anything beyond buzz-words and will refuse to tell you who their client is (assuming the actual position hasn’t already expired long before you responded to their ad) in case you apply directly, but still refuse to put you forward. Some agents are much more onto it and helpful to deal with than others, though. Knowing people in the industry often helps, sadly, and if you can figure out where to apply directly for an ICT job, definitely go that way rather than through an agency. All NZ government jobs are always listed here (though that's mostly Wellington for ICT stuff), even when recruitment agents are also advertising elsewhere, and lots of companies have their vacancies listed on their websites these days, but the down-side is that it’s not always obvious where to look.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to izogi,

    . All NZ government jobs are always listed here (though that’s mostly Wellington for ICT stuff),

    It's a good theory, but it doesn't always happen, even though there was a Cabinet Directive that it be required. It shouldn't be ignored but don't neglect other avenues. Knowing people on the inside is still the best way to hear about the sort of job you're looking for.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth,

    Yes, I certainly can.

    No, you definitely can't.

    The atheism of the civil law is widespread, and will in some cases misrepresent the facts, eg Merriam Webster, (the US opposed the theism of the common law from the time of the founding fathers), and Oxford, which was an early adopter of the civil law in England.

    Merriam Webster definition:

    "a formal and serious promise to tell the truth or to do something"

    Oxford definition:

    "A solemn promise, often invoking a divine witness, regarding one’s future action or behaviour"

    Note how the pro-civil law definitions differ from the early definitions:

    oath (n.)
    Old English að "oath, judicial swearing, solemn appeal to deity in witness of truth or a promise," from Proto-Germanic *aithaz (cognates: Old Norse eiðr, Swedish ed, Old Saxon, Old Frisian eth, Middle Dutch eet, Dutch eed, German eid, Gothic aiþs "oath"), from PIE *oi-to- "an oath" (cognates: Old Irish oeth "oath"). Common to Celtic and Germanic, possibly a loan-word from one to the other, but the history is obscure. In reference to careless invocations of divinity, from late 12c.
    http://www.etymonline.com

    And as posted before:

    Jurare est Deum in testum vocare, et est actus divini cultus. To swear is to call God to witness, and is an act of religion. 3 Co. Inst. 165. Vide 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 3180, note; 1 Benth. Rat. of Jud. Ev. 376, 371, note.

    http://wiki.actsinjunction.info/CommonLaw/Maxims

    Further misrepresentation of the facts about theism in the law is documented here:
    http://www.actsinjunction.info/corruption.html

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to UglyTruth,

    The atheism of the civil law is widespread

    Thank God! (I'm not actually literally thanking God).

    Jurare est Deum

    Yodagu adagare WRODAGONG! #$%&! 45. Imp. Doc. Elseif {ASSERT!=FACT}

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to UglyTruth,

    Note how the pro-civil law definitions differ from the early definitions:

    Ah, the old etymological fallacy.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to izogi,

    Knowing people in the industry often helps, sadly, and if you can figure out where to apply directly for an ICT job, definitely go that way rather than through an agency.

    Too bloody right. On the surface of it, it comes across as something of a closed shop. I'm hoping my mentorship can at least link with the right people, because from experience, ICT recruiting agencies generally aren't interested in anyone under a certain skills/experience threshold. In that respect, nothing seems to have changed much in over a decade.

    I came to grief horribly with coding at tertiary ed level, and I'd rather not have to reinvent the wheel all over again, so I think something like testing/QA, GIS or tech writing would be more suitable. Sometimes I even question if ICT is even the right career path for me, if my skills & experience count for nothing and the rungs in the middle of the ladder are all missing.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Sometimes I even question if ICT is even the right career path for me, if it’s effectively shut out to trainees.

    I don't think it's shut out to trainees. If you're straight out of a training course, companies like Xero or Datacom or Intergen (just a few I can think of) often like to slurp up graduates, but whether that's for you is a matter for you to decide. But good luck figuring out what you want to do. I had a thing about 10 years ago, thinking I might enjoy some kind of technical documentation job instead of coding, which over time has become much more about software engineering processes than just writing code. It took me an interview at the Defence Force (ugh) to realise I really didn't want to go down that path, both for the type of work and for that particular workplace. After that interview they didn't want me and I definitely didn't want to work there. :) I'm not totally sure where I'll be in 10 years, but right now I still like writing code.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to izogi,

    I've had bitter experiences with university-level ICT courses, possibly attributable to undiagnosed ASD/ADD. Some years after flunking out of Otago, I approached the Open Polytechnic but they shut down their IT school some time ago, and they referred me to Massey Uni in Wellington. Everyone I asked who graduated from Massey's InfoSci course had nothing positive to say about it. There are numerous private courses that are more relevant to the industry, but most aren't NZQA approved and don't qualify for student loans.

    I'm keen to learn, and I seem to learn best at my own pace or on the job. But the old job-experience catch-22 continues to raise its ugly head. I'd be the ideal candidate for an ICT apprenticeship if they ever get implemented.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    I’m keen to learn, and I seem to learn best at my own pace or on the job. But the old job-experience catch-22 continues to raise its ugly head. I’d be the ideal candidate for an ICT apprenticeship if they ever get implemented.

    One option for gaining tech writing experience at your own pace is to join an open source project and contribute documentation. I can't guarantee that all employers will count this as 'experience', but some definitely do[*], and will in fact look extra-favorably on it as showing initiative/commitment/etc.

    Be warned, though, that some (not all) technical writing positions[**] and many (probably not all?) testing positions do involve nontrivial amounts of coding.


    [*] source: have been involved in hiring people whose experience was gained through open source work.

    [**] source: am technical writer.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to izogi,

    Taking it further, I'm not even sure where to look for official info about who's even standing as a candidate in my electorate... short of turning up at the polling booth and reading the options on the ballot paper. Is there somewhere?

    It was directly linked on the front page until early voting came up. Events, 2014 Election, Information for Voters.

    http://www.elections.org.nz/events/2014-general-election/information-voters-who-when-and-where

    Select the pull-down, gives candidates, polling places, and a link for finding your electorate on a nice google map, if you didn't notice when they sent the enrollment checkup. Everyone's enrolled, right? Not too late.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

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