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  • jkabtech 4:17 am on April 6, 2018 Permalink |
    Tags: about, , , , Willing   

    Toshiba Says It’s Willing to Talk With Western Digital About Chip Unit Sale 

    Highlights Toshiba said it was open to talks with Western Digital in their dispute WD has sought a court injunction to stop Toshiba’s chip unit sale Toshiba flagged a net loss of $9 billion for the year ended in March

    Toshiba said it was open to talks with Western Digital in their dispute over the sale of the Japanese conglomerate’s prized chip unit – an apparent olive branch after it chose another suitor as preferred bidder.

    The two have been feuding bitterly and Western Digital, which jointly runs Toshiba’s main semiconductor plant, has sought a US court injunction to prevent any deal that does not have its consent.

    The softer tone from Toshiba comes on a day of further indignities as the crisis-wracked conglomerate saw itself demoted to the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and estimated bigger losses for the past financial year.

    This week it chose a consortium of Bain Capital and Japanese government investors as preferred bidder for the unit, the world’s No. 2 producer of NAND flash chips. It wants to clinch a deal, worth some $18 billion, by June 28, the day of its shareholders meeting.

    Foxconn Says Pursuit of Toshiba Deal ‘Not Over’

    “Western Digital used to be a good partner, so we want to continue talks. I’m disappointed with the current dispute,” Toshiba CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa told a news conference, adding it was important that they joined forces to better compete against bigger rival Samsung Electronics.

    “We want Western Digital to jointly invest to fight against Samsung. It will be so disappointing if we can’t do so because of the dispute,” he said.

    But in a sign that tensions were still high, Tsunakawa also said Toshiba was not going to be the first to propose the US firm join the consortium and it was still considering whether to block Western Digital employees not based at the plant from accessing joint venture data servers.

    Tsunakawa also said he did not expect any changes to the make-up of the consortium before June 28.

    Western Digital’s offer had not found favour on price and because the US firm wanted to take control of the unit, he said, adding that he expected executives from Toshiba to still be running operations after the sale.

    His comments come after sources familiar with matter said earlier this week that the Bain consortium members had made resolving the dispute with Western Digital a condition of their investment.

    Representatives for Western Digital were not immediately available to comment.

    Hynix hurdles?
    South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc is also part of the Bain consortium and its membership has raised concerns that the winning bid may find it difficult to clear anti-trust reviews.

    Its presence has made Western Digital reluctant to join the group in its current form due to worries that high-level technology for NAND chips, which provide long-term data storage, could be leaked to its rival, sources familiar with the matter have said.

    But Tsunakawa said SK Hynix would not be holding any equity and would not be involved in management – an arrangement that was unlikely to raise regulatory red flags and would prevent leaks of key technology information.

    SK Hynix, which is relatively weak in NAND flash memory chips, has said it has joined the group because it sees new business opportunities. It will provide half of the JPY 850 billion ($7.6 billion or roughly Rs. 49,262 crores) that Bain plans to put up in the form of financing, sources have said.

    Earlier in the day, Toshiba flagged a net loss of around $9 billion (roughly Rs. 58,060 crores) for the year ended in March with negative shareholders’ equity of around $5.2 billion, both worse than expected on an increase in liabilities at bankrupt nuclear unit Westinghouse and potential legal damages.

    With negative shareholder equity confirmed, the Tokyo Stock Exchange said it would move Toshiba’s listing to the second section of the bourse from August 1 – the latest in a series of humiliating developments since December for a firm that has been in business for more than 140 years.

    Toshiba also received regulatory approval to delay filing its annual earnings by more than a month amid a prolonged accounting investigation at Westinghouse. It is the sixth time since 2015 that Toshiba has delayed an earnings filing.

    Regulators have now given Toshiba until August 10 instead of June 30 to submit the filing. Failure to gain an extension would have put the troubled company’s stock exchange listing in further jeopardy, although it still needs to dig itself out of negative shareholders’ equity by the end of this financial year to stay listed.

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  • jkabtech 4:17 am on March 19, 2018 Permalink |
    Tags: about, Anymore?', Cares, Couple, , Hundred,   

    Xbox One Lead Engineer: ‘Who Cares About a Couple of Hundred Million PCs Anymore?’ 

    Highlights According to ex-Xbox One lead engineer, all CPU innovation is on mobile However, power efficiency gains do help reduce costs on PC gaming servers Game developers, he opines, don’t make full use of PC hardware

    At the Develop Conference 2017, the one-time lead engineer on the Xbox One and Xbox Live founder Boyd Multerer stated that mobile devices are driving innovation in CPUs.

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  • jkabtech 12:17 pm on January 17, 2018 Permalink |
    Tags: about, Interviewer, ,   

    What to Say When an Interviewer Wants You to Talk About Yourself 

    Image credit: Pexels

    Job interviews are notoriously stressful. While you can’t really prep for every single question an interviewer is going to hit you with, there are a few questions you can prepare yourself for that will likely set the tone for the remainder of that hour-long interview. The first question someone is likely to ask you:

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    • Alex 12:33 pm on January 21, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

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  • jkabtech 8:17 pm on December 20, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: about, , ,   

    How Much Should You Worry About Your Tap Water? 

    Beth SkwareckiToday 10:00amFiled to: dose of realitywaterhealthhydrationewgchemicalscontaminantswater filterbottled watertap watersafetyenvironment471EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalink

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  • jkabtech 8:17 pm on December 18, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: about, Immigration, , ,   

    What to Do if Local Police Ask About Your Immigration Status 

    Splinter VideoThursday 6:00pmFiled to: ImmigrationIcePolice4212EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalink

    In Trump’s America, the line between local law enforcement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has become more and more blurred.

    In May, a Minneapolis transit cop was caught on camera asking a passenger for state ID and questioning whether he was here

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  • jkabtech 12:17 pm on October 13, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: about, Freaking, , Orgasms, Wife’s   

    Ask Dr. NerdLove: I’m Freaking Out About My Wife’s Orgasms 

    Image via Shutterstock

    Hello all you petrochemical meerkats of the Noosphere, and welcome to Ask Dr. NerdLove, the only dating advice column that helps you get the perfect Loot Box for your love life.

    Before we get started, a quick self-serving plug: I was a guest on this week’s Kotaku Splitscreen podcast! If you haven’t yet, go give it a listen. Host Kirk Hamilton and I talked movies, pick-up artists, cam girls, the friend-zone, and so much more. You can listen to that below; my segment starts at 35:43:

    This week’s column is all about handling the road bumps and humps that come in a relationship, whether at the end or even after many years of happiness. Let’s talk sexual anxiety, post-break-up etiquette, and orgasm-inducing apps.


    So my wife of just over 5 years freaked me out last night and I can recognize I am wrong for feeling freaked out but can’t help it. First a bit of the back story, in the most honest self appraisal I can do. We are in our mid thirties. We both love each other very much, and outside of the usual relationship issues, things are good. I treat her very well, I give her preference in nearly everything, and am chivalrous (not just an act) every single day. She makes me very happy, and is very sweet, beautiful, smart and loveable. We don’t have any financial issues, or fidelity issues or family issues, in my honest opinion a much better than average relationship, with its modest flaws.

    The issue is sex. We have it, 2-3 times a week. I am very satisfied, my wife seemed to be… She orgasms 80

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  • jkabtech 8:17 pm on August 22, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: about, , , govt's,   

    Why you should care about the govt’s encryption crackdown 

    And why the new laws are unlikely to make a difference.

    There’s an argument that tends to rear its head every time there’s a debate about privacy in the digital age: if I’m not doing anything wrong, what do I have to hide?

    It was promoted by advocates of the national data retention regime before it came into law, and it’s resurfacing now that the government wants to force technology companies to help it get access to encrypted communications.

    The problem is, encryption and online security is about so much more than privacy. It’s fundamental to the way we operate on the internet. Confidentiality and an individual’s right to privacy is important, but so is keeping malicious actors out of your banking transactions, your online accounts, your personal devices.

    It’s what ensures no-one can tap into your online purchases and nab your credit card details or sensitive personal information.

    This is no hypothetical situation: just this week the chief of a security company was declared bankrupt and subsequently removed from his job, without even knowing it.

    Even the leader of the crusade against encryption, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has HTTPS deployed on his own website.

    “The focus on encryption at the moment seems to be all around it being used for terrorism, neglecting the fact that there are many really important aspects of encryption we’re using every single day,” security expert Troy Hunt says.

    “Encryption wasn’t built so terrorists could use it. I don’t think people appreciate just how much of a fundamental component encryption is.”

    This debate is raging because the government wants to impose an obligation on encrypted communications providers to assist law enforcement in accessing decrypted messages.

    Terrorists are using these channels to communicate, the government says, leaving citizens at risk because law enforcement can’t monitor their messages and prevent attacks.

    It hasn’t published its proposed legislation yet, so we only have vague and at time at-odds public statements about the government’s intentions.

    But Turnbull and co have made it pretty clear that where the government can’t get what it wants by politely asking the likes of Facebook, Apple, and Google to help it access messages, it will bring down the heavy arm of the law.

    There’s a strong indication the Australian government will follow the UK and NZ models, where tech companies are required to ensure they have the technical capability to decrypt communications, should law enforcement come knocking with a warrant.

    However there’s no indication the government will specify exactly how this should be done: Turnbull on Friday said tech companies had built the platforms and now needed to help governments ensure they aren’t exploited.

    The problem this creates is: end-to-end encrypted communications providers aren’t able to crack these codes. That’s the entire point of their business model. The keys that are needed to decrypt messages sit with the user of the service to ensure full security.

    It’s why many have criticised the UK – and now Australia – for giving companies no option but to build backdoors in their systems.

    Can it be done?

    Encrypted messages are scrambled and and translated through a set of keys, one public and one private, that need to be used in combination to decrypt the message.

    The private key is stored on an individual’s own device, and neither that key or the plaintext message is ever available to the operator of the service.

    Technology companies could potentially restrict the range of keys an encrypted messaging app can generate, according to Monash University software engineering lecturer Robert Merkel.

    The longer the key is, the harder it is to crack – a 56-bit key, for example has 72 quadrillion possible combinations.

    Restricting the length of this key would make it much faster to scan through the range of potential combinations, find the right one, and access the message, Merkel says.

    The US government did this briefly in the 90s, a decision that ended up being responsible for the damaging FREAK attack discovered in 2015.

    And if we’ve learnt anything else recently, it’s that secret government backdoors don’t stay secret for long, meaning it’s not just going to be the good guys exploiting these weaknesses.

    Other public comments by various members of government suggest it is considering targeting the sender and receiver ends of the communication; introducing a lawful interception capability for endpoint devices so messages can be grabbed before they’re encrypted.

    But Hunt argues that weakening a company’s encryption would simply drive both criminals and legitimate users to other platforms the government can’t get into.

    Take open source encryption technologies like PGP: it’s extremely simple to encrypt a message locally on your own machine and send it to someone for them to decrypt without using any commercial services.

    “I doubt they’ll get value out of forcing big providers to compromise privacy when there are so many other options they have no jurisdiction over,” he says.


    Many of the companies likely to be caught up in this encryption crackdown – Apple, Facebook, Google, and Signal operator Open Whisper Systems – aren’t located in Australia.

    This makes it somewhat difficult for the government to make them comply; they could simply decline a request for assistance.

    LIV-accredited specialist in administrative law Katie Miller expects the impending draft legislation will include some form of fine or penalty for non-compliance.

    “The thing with compulsive powers is it’s always open for someone to say ‘no’, but there are consequences for doing so,” Miller said.

    “Governments traditionally have had a lot of trouble with this where there’s a jurisdictional question; how do you fine an overseas company and enforce it? You’d probably need the co-operation of the country of origin.

    “You could also set out rules of operation for that service in your country, and say ‘if you don’t follow these rules we’ll just ban you’.”

    There’s also the legal test of what “reasonable” and “assistance” mean.

    Miller says the ‘reasonable’ term allows the court to take into consideration the context surrounding a particular case.

    “It’s likely that everyone will agree reasonableness will be limited in terms of time and money. If the only way to break encryption is to run supercomputers for decades at the cost of millions of dollars, the court is fairly unlikely to find that reasonable,” she said.

    “Where the dispute will be is: is it reasonable for a company to develop a patch or update to create a weakness or backdoor?”

    It’s difficult – based on the limited information the government has provided on its plans, whilst considering the stance firms have previously taken – to see this ending up anywhere else but the courts.

    Facebook has already said weakening encrypted systems for Australian law enforcement would mean weakening it for everyone, including attackers.

    Miller suggests it would be a matter of “who blinks first” should an overseas tech company deny a request for help.

    “I think the Australian government would end up in a similar position as the FBI was

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  • jkabtech 4:17 am on August 21, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: about, buckets, ,   

    AWS warns users about open S3 buckets 

    Following Dow Jones bungle.

    Amazon Web Services is contacting customers with S3 buckets that are configured to be freely accessed by anyone on the internet to review access controls following the leak of two million Dow Jones user details.

    This week cyber security firm UpGuard revealed the personal details of at least 2.2 million Dow Jones customers had been exposed online as a result of an unsecured S3 repository.

    It said the number could be as high as 4 million. The data exposed included people’s names, addresses, account information, email addresses, and the last four digits of their credit card numbers.

    The data was stored in an AWS S3 bucket configured to allow access to ‘authenticated users’, which in AWS language means anyone with an AWS account, which is free to obtain.

    Last week a similar data breach at US telco Verizon exposed 6 million customer records through an unprotected S3 server.

    And in June, a trove of top secret data managed by government security contractor Booz Allen Hamilton was left accessible to the web through the same misconfiguration.

    Emails circulated to AWS customers, sighted by iTnews, warns those with open access to S3 buckets to reconsider this configuration.

    “We’re writing to remind you that one or more of your Amazon S3 bucket access control lists (ACLs) are currently configured to allow access from any user on the internet,” the cloud giant said.

    “While there are reasons to configure buckets with world read access, including public websites or publicly downloadable content, recently, there have been public disclosures by third parties of S3 bucket contents that were inadvertently configured to allow world read access but were not intended to be publicly available.

    “We encourage you to promptly review your S3 buckets and their contents to ensure that you are not inadvertently making objects available to users that you don’t intend.”

    S3 access control lists can be changed through the management console or command line interface.

    By default S3 buckets are set to allow read access only to the account owner.

    View the Original article

  • jkabtech 12:17 pm on July 29, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: "Luck", about, Perspective    

    "Luck" Is All About Your Perspective  

    Photo by Bradley Weber.

    Welcome back to Mid-Week Meditations, Lifehacker’s weekly dip into the pool of stoic wisdom, and how you can use its waters to reflect on and improve your life.

    View the Original article

  • jkabtech 9:51 am on July 17, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: about, , Clinton, Fusion Trump, , , Nonsense, Putin, Root Ph, Tweeting   

    Fusion Trump Was Tweeting About Hillary Clinton Nonsense Before His Meeting With Putin | The Root Ph 

    Kinja!Friday 10:58amFiled to: Morning Favorites01EditPromoteShare to KinjaGo to permalink

    Fusion Trump Was Tweeting About Hillary Clinton Nonsense Before His Meeting With Putin

    View the Original article

  • jkabtech 9:51 am on July 15, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: about, Allergies, Truth   

    The Truth About Cat Allergies 

    Photo by Kevin Dooley

    Cat allergies, like sexuality, run on a spectrum. If you’re only slightly allergic, you might be ready to bear it, if you can find a cat that will meet you halfway. While there’s no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic cat, some breeds are easier on the sinuses than others. Unfortunately most online advice is unsourced or anecdotal. We asked allergist Joseph T. Inglefield III, M.D. to fact-check some popular beliefs about cat allergies.

    Breed Matters

    Dr. Inglefield approves of the recommended breed list on PetMD.com, which lists low-allergy breeds like Siberian, Burmese, Russian Blue, and Sphynx.

    Fur Length Doesn’t Matter

    According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, pet hair is just the carrier of allergens, not the cause, and fur length and amount of shedding don’t matter. Even hairless cats carry allergens in their skin, saliva, and urine. But Dr. Inglefield disagrees:

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  • jkabtech 7:32 am on March 20, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: about, automakers, , , ,   

    FBI warns automakers, owners about hacking risks 

    Friday, 18 Mar 2016 | 6:22 AM ETReuters

    The FBI and U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a bulletin Thursday warning that motor vehicles are “increasingly vulnerable” to hacking.

    “The FBI and NHTSA are warning the general public and manufacturers — of vehicles, vehicle components, and aftermarket devices — to maintain awareness of potential issues and cybersecurity threats related to connected vehicle technologies in modern vehicles,” the agencies said in the bulletin.

    In July 2015, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recalled 1.4 million U.S. vehicles to install software after a magazine report raised concerns about hacking, the first action of its kind for the auto industry.

    Also last year, General Motors issued a security update for a smartphone app that could have allowed a hacker to take control of some functions of a plug-in hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt, like starting the engine and unlocking the doors.

    In January 2015, BMW said it had fixed a security flaw that could have allowed up to 2.2 million vehicles to have doors remotely opened by hackers.

    “While not all hacking incidents may result in a risk to safety – such as an attacker taking control of a vehicle — it is important that consumers take appropriate steps to minimize risk,” the FBI bulletin said Thursday.

    NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind told reporters in July 2015 that automakers must move fast to address hacking issues.

    The Fiat Chrysler recall came after Wired magazine reported hackers could remotely take control of some functions of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee, including steering, transmission and brakes. NHTSA has said there has never been a real-world example of a hacker taking control of a vehicle.

    Two major U.S. auto trade associations — the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Association of Global Automakers — ate last year opened an Information Sharing and Analysis Center. The groups share cyber-threat information and potential vulnerabilities in vehicles.

    The FBI bulletin Thursday warned that criminals could exploit online vehicle software updates by sending fake “e-mail messages to vehicle owners who are looking to obtain legitimate software updates. Instead, the recipients could be tricked into clicking links to malicious Web sites or opening attachments containing malicious software.”

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  • jkabtech 11:54 am on March 2, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: about, , Negotiation, Searching,   

    What Developers Should Know About Job Searching and Negotiation 

    Patrick McKenzie is the CEO and Cofounder of Starfighters whose mission is to “unbreak dev hiring.” He’ll be speaking at SIGNAL, our developer conference for communications May 24-25th in San Francisco. If you’d like to come to Signal and meet Patrick along with 2000 other developers, register here and use the promocode PATIO11 for $100 off your ticket.

    Last week, Patrick graced us with his presence on Twilio Radio. This is a transcript of the latter half of that conversation. Here’s the full audio: 

    Many parts about the way the tech industry and many other employers of developers do hiring are unsound, unserious, probably unsafe. There’s many other “uns” you could put in front of them. Unfun. It’s just a frustrating process from beginning to end.

    What typically happens is that people are screened into a hiring process on the basis of what’s on their resume. Then some crazy percentage of resumes are discarded at that point and never seen again, no matter how much raw talent the people have. It gets compressed and filtered down into a resume, and then those resumes are screened by, in most cases, non-technical people, just on the basis of the keyword scan. That already throws a lot of the baby out with the bathwater.

    Then people are given interviews. The interview process at most tech companies is enormously stressful for the candidate. They’re asked to do tasks which are very unrepresentative of what we actually do as engineers, like, “Oh yeah, you’ve been writing web applications everyday for the last five years. Great. Can you please go up to a blackboard and using chalk write out how to reverse a binary tree?” Which I can guarantee you there is no practicing engineer in the entire United States of America or the entire world whose primary choice for an IDE is a blackboard and chalk, which is not how we operate. It’s like saying, I don’t know, juggle bananas instead of balls. Then just juggle bananas so that we can extract signal about your engineering talent. Has very little to do with the work.

    The false positive rate for hiring is absurd. The false negative rate for hiring is absurd. Rather than fixing the underlying problem, people instead make hiring more of a hazing ritual with the idea hopefully discouraging some of the people who would otherwise get through it. This has a variety of negative impacts on the industry. Candidates hate the hiring process. Every company is causing many good candidates who would otherwise interview with that company to not interview with that company, simply because they dread the hiring process so much. People who are incredibly talented get selected out of the process very early on, simply because they don’t have the right university on their resume or because their last several jobs don’t read as software engineering jobs. For example, someone who’s spent time in network administration, and then systems administration, and actually has quite a lot of skill in, say, writing Python will generally not receive a call back for an interview at a software engineering position, simply because the people who are making the comparison say, “Oh, no relevant software engineering experience.”

    This is crazy. Rather than measuring proxies for talent, [at Starfighter] we just decided to try to measure talent directly. Hopefully we can go to our clients and say, “Look, Matt, for example, is someone we introduced to a client in the last week. I know this person, technically speaking, has never had a software engineering position before. I know they have an educational background which is not associated with many software engineers in Silicon Valley. I know that there is the other thing that people try to hire for is demonstrated experience in open source project. I think there’s a variety of reason why that’s a little bit problematic. We found someone who had a background which is not well represented among backgrounds of people who work at high-flying Silicon Valley startups.

    I was able to tell a hiring manager, “Look, I understand just if I start to read through the resume, it doesn’t look like the most promising candidate, but when given a very complicated engineering task, which involved both security research, and then a complicated open-ended data analysis task, they not only successfully solved the task, but produced a deliverable which could literally be published in a research journal, in terms of what the thought process was to do the number crunching and data analysis to find the task, including three different theories of independent approaches that one could take to do the data analysis, given a variety of world preconditions and what that would do to the strength of the analysis that one could perform.”

    I tell the hiring manager, “Clearly this is someone who is worth an hour of your time to get together and talk about bringing in for a group internally which does a lot of programming that involves data analysis.” An interview, and I got a call back from the hiring manager like, “So that candidate that you referred to us, yeah. Do you have clones? Can we have 10 of them, please?”

    It’s not rocket science. I think that many, many companies could do something similar, if they were willing to take a little bit of a risk with what they do for hiring practices. At the moment, a lot of companies feel like they’re firing on all cylinders for doing the other parts of the business. We’re kind of taking a risk on the hiring process for them.

    I’ll give you my most important piece of advice first. This is something that goes against, I think, a lot of our inculturation. Is that a word? That the expected habits of middle class Americans. That is we think that the job search process starts out by sending a formal application or formal resume into some place which is labeled “deposit formal applications and resumes here”. Then if the company is interested in you, then they take the next step. This is not how people successfully get jobs. Underline that for emphasis. Sending in resumes is not how people get hired for most jobs. What you do instead is find someone within a company who has hiring authority and convince them that they want to hire you. Then the formal interview process starts, but with an internal champion who is invested in bringing you into the company. In many cases, an internal champion who has full or partial decision making authority on the decision to bring you on.

    What that looks like in practice is you somehow find that an engineering company is hiring, which by the way, every company that has more than 10 engineers is going to hire engineers this quarter. If you go to a meetup and someone says that they are working on a company that has 30 people on it, they are hiring engineers right now, regardless of what their job site says.

    Important lesson number two: you ask them are they team leader or higher in their company. If they say yes, they either are a hiring manager or they know who is the hiring manager. Then you just talk to them like you would talk to any other person, geek out about subjects which are mutually interesting to you, whether that’s Python or MongoDB or whatever it is, ask, “What are you doing with your company these days? Oh, that sounds really interesting. We should talk about that a little more.” Then just try to, at the end of that conversation say, “I really like what you guys are doing. I think I might want to explore being part of it.” Have them get the ball rolling on a job application.

    This is something that you’re going to have to do more times than you’re comfortable with, because the job search process should generally be performed in parallel for a few reasons. Go out to meetups, meet people, get introduced to five people who have hiring authority, have five talking dates, turn three of those into ongoing job applications. Then do that the next week, and then do that the next week, and then do that the next week until you find a job which you feel meets your criteria, whatever those criteria are.

    People who do consulting or freelancing for a living might realize this is isomorphic to getting consulting engagements. It really is. It’s fundamentally running a sales process for yourself, which is a really weird skill for a lot of engineers, and it’s something that people in our community unfortunately don’t value enough and are often times actively discouraged from becoming better at. It is transformatively life changing if you realize that a job search is not a series of terrible events that just happens to you, but rather it’s an algorithm that you can optimize for.

    Every company’s hiring process is a little different, but at some point in the process you achieve something which I describe as “yes, if” rather than “no, but”: “Yes, we want to work with you, if we can come to a mutually satisfactory offer,” which is distinguished from, “No, we don’t want to work with you, but we might work with you if it turns out that you’re disgustingly cheap.”

    After you have agreement in principle from the person that is hiring you that, “We want you to work here. What’ll it take to make that happen?” Then and only then do you start talking about money. People will ask you about money and other various negotiation related topics before that in the process. Your job is to stonewall that question. I know many developers don’t exactly have huge reserves of internal confidence, which is okay. Fake the confidence here. If they say, “What are your salary requirements?” You say, “Well, it’s really too early to talk about salary. I just really want to make sure that we’re a great fit for each other. If we’re a great fit for each other, we can work something out. If we’re not a great fit for each other, it doesn’t matter. We shouldn’t work together no matter what the numbers are.” Whatever you need to say, just do not answer the salary question until you’re actually negotiating.

    After the negotiation part, they’re going to say, “Okay, we want you to work here,” which is great. You’ve crossed the biggest hurdle. “Now what’s the number?” Most developers will do something like say, “Okay, I hope to get $100,000.” That might or not be a realistic number in your neck of the woods, but let’s say their number is $100,000. That’s unfortunate that the developer just threw out a number there, because they’re never going to get more than about 105,000 to 110,000 as a result of that negotiation now, no matter what the company’s actual hiring scale is. Instead ideally the developer came in with an idea from their peers of that company what the company’s scale looks like. If you don’t know anybody at the company, you’re connected to the Internet. You can find people’s Twitter accounts. You can find their email addresses. You can find their information on LinkedIn.

    It is well worth your time to take another developer out for a hamburger and say, “Hey, tell me a little bit about the company. Do you guys pay …” Don’t go directly to salary questions, but ask about the working environment, ask whether they like it or not, and then at one point in the conversation ask a fellow peer line engineer, like yourself, “Hey, salaries over there, what’s the range look like?” Surprisingly often people just flat out tell you that, which is now information that you can use in the interview.

    When they ask you the salary, you turn the question back on them and say… There’s a variety of ways to dodge it, but one dodge I like is, “You do this conversation with lots of people. You have a great idea of what each engineer is worth to the company. This is the first time I’ve ever had a conversation with you. I’m not in a great position to tell you what my value is to you. You tell me. What number do you think is fair?” Then they name a number. Then you say, “That number is interesting.” Now that number is now your floor for the negotiation. Absolutely nothing you say from this point on means that you get a result lower than that number. You can only go higher. Then you start going higher by asking for more of whatever it is that you must.

    Money, in most cases, you can always ask for more money, and then turn that into an ask for something you actually care about, but money’s the primary thing that they’re keeping in their head for this conversation. For example, if they say, “For someone in your position, we feel like the approximate range is 110 to 125.” Then you say, “125,000 is a very interesting number. I think we’re very close. I’m very interested in working with you. Could you do maybe 135,000?” Then the negotiation processes kicks in in full, but eventually where that negotiation is going to settle is probably something in the 130,000 range, and then maybe some slight concessions on other things in the offer, like you get a little more vacation, if you’re smart about it and can negotiate that.

    Notice how much better that is for your life than just throwing out the number, “How much money do I need? 100 would be great.” The company really doesn’t care whether they pay you 100 or 130. I know that sounds like a crazy thing, but as someone who runs a business, let me tell you. Businesses have more money flowing around in them than any developer can … The normal human brain is not calibrated to understand the amount of money that flows through a business that’s operating at that size. The difference between 100,000 and 130,000 is ultimately not that big for a business. It’s basis points on a [inaudible 00:52:58] after two weeks. The difference between 100,000 and 130,000 for an actual human though is pretty huge. That could be the difference of whether you’re able to afford a house, for example. Given that the company perceives very little difference between the two, and you perceive quite a lot of difference between the two, negotiate aggressively. Negotiate like a confident, restrained professional who understands that they are worth whatever number that you can successfully extract out of the company.

    By the way, it feels like it’s a conversation between two people, because it’s just you and the hiring manager in there talking about the salary, or you and the HR director, whoever your counterparty is. Ultimately, the money isn’t coming out of their pocket. It’s just coming out of a budget somewhere. There’s a cell on a spreadsheet in a spreadsheet that has 68 other cells in that column. The cell is going to be different by a little bit by the standards of the spreadsheet. Just work hard at getting that cell to be the highest number you possibly can.

    I’ve written a blog post a few times about developer sort of career design and things. One post is called Don’t call yourself a programmer and other career advice for engineers. Another is called Salary Negotiation for Engineers. I’m the top of the Google search results for that. That’s me. In terms of people who write very interesting stuff about careers generally are Ramit Sethi, who’s at http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com, consistently gives some of the best career advice I’ve seen, particularly for people who are younger and very highly driven. He also has some paid courses available, but the free blog posts are pretty good on that, too. He’s been interviewed on my blog a few times. We’ll link up the posts in the description. Another gentleman wrote a book on salary negotiation, which I read recently. There are the likes of maybe Josh Doody [Fearless Salary Negotiation].

    Then there exists lots of stuff written on this subject. Unfortunately I feel like — not that our industry and our time is completely unique — but many people who are, say, in another industry or another generation have a very different set of cultural expectations with regards to work, to careers, to the nature of a career path, which makes their advice, perhaps, not maximally relative to us.

    For example, my parents, I love them very much, they have always suggested to me that I get into a nice, safe job at a big mega corp, and stay there for my entire career receiving regular promotions every three years, which I’m at the early end of the millennial generation. Man, I hate that word. Whatever. It exists, I guess I have to deal with it. The nature of careers for us is just working for 40 years for IBM and then receiving a gold watch  is something that very few of us are going to be able to successfully do, and that frankly, I’m not even sure I want. Actually, I much more than not sure I want. I’m sure I do not want, do not want, do not want.

    I think for the average developer, you’re probably going to be going through quite a few jobs in a relatively compressed period. I would expect your first job as a developer to likely last on the order of two to three years. Then you’re going to do several stints of roughly two to three years prior to really understanding what you know, and focusing in on a particular problem or a particular tech stack, or what have you. You could even potentially go through many more jobs, if you happen to do something like working in start-ups where they get shot out from under you every 18 months. Reading advice that’s written for people whose schema of a successful career is attaching themselves to a large organization and growing with the organization is probably not maximally in your best interests.

    I’m going to primarily be talking about the ins and outs of doing job searches for engineers. Very similar to the topic we’ve been talking about here, but more about the nuts and bolts details of:

    how one connects a search for positions which are openhow to present yourself to an engineering managerhow to know whether you’re a good fit for a position prior to investing a lot of time into applying for ithow to conduct yourself in a negotiationhow to use the fact that you have multiple offers on the table to optimize for what you care to get with a particular negotiation.

    If you’d like to meet Patrick at SIGNAL, register here and use the promocode PATIO11 for 20% ($100) off! 

    View the original article here

  • jkabtech 7:53 am on February 11, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: about, , , , Serious, Starts   

    Congress Starts to Get Serious About Online Privacy 

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    View the original article here

  • jkabtech 4:52 pm on January 17, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: about, , negotiating, , , , ,   

    Things you should know about stock options before negotiating your offer 

    Are you considering an offer from a private company, which involves stock options? Do you think those stock options might be worth something one day? Are you confused? Then read this! I’ll give you some motivation to learn more, and a few questions to consider asking your prospective employer.

    I polled people on Twitter and 65% of them said that they’ve accepted an offer without understanding how the stock options work.

    I have a short story for you about stock options. First: stock options are BORING AND COMPLICATED AND AWFUL. They are full of taxes, which we all know are awful. Some people think they’re fun and interesting to learn about. I am not one of those people. However, if you have an offer that involves stock options, I think you should learn a little about them anyway. All of the following assumes that you work for a private company that is still private when you leave it.

    In this post I don’t want to explain comprehensively how options work. (For that, see how to value your startup stock options or The Open Guide to Equity Compensation ) Instead I want to tell you a story, and convince you to ask more questions, do a little research, and do more math.

    I took a job 2 years ago, with a company with a billion-dollar-plus valuation. I was told “we pay less than other companies because our stock option offers are more generous”. Okay. I understood exactly nothing about stock options, and accepted the offer. To be clear: I don’t regret accepting the offer (my job is great! I ? my coworkers). But I do wish I’d understood the (fairly serious) implications at the time.

    From my offer letter:

    the offer gives you the option to purchase 114,129 shares of Stripe stock. [We bias] our offers to place weight on your ownership in the company.

    I’m happy to talk you through how we think about the value of the options. As far as numbers: there are approximately [redacted] outstanding shares. We can talk in more detail about the current valuation and the strike price for your options.

    This is a good situation! They were being pretty upfront with me. I had access to all the information I needed to do a little math. I did not do the math. Let me tell you how you can start with an offer letter like this and understand what’s going on a little better!

    The math I want you to do is pretty simple. The following example stock option offer is not at all my situation, but there are some similarities that I’ll explain in a minute.

    The example situation:

    stock options you’re being offered: 500,000vesting schedule: 4 years. you get 25% after the first year, then the rest granted every month for the remainder of the time.outstanding shares: 100,000,000 (the number of total shares the company has)company’s current valuation: 1 billion dollars

    This is an awesome start. You have options to buy 0.5% of the shares of a billion dollar company. What could be better? If you stay with the company until it goes public or dies, this is easy. If the company goes public and the stock price is more than your exercise price, you can exercise your options, sell as much of the stock as you want to, and make money. If it dies, you never exercise the options and don’t lose anything. win-win. This is where options excel.

    However! If you want to ever quit your job (in the next 5 years, say!), you may not be able to sell any of your stock for a long time. You have more math to do.

    ISOs (the usual way companies issue stock options) expire 3 months after you quit. So if you want to use them, you need to buy (or “exercise”) them. For that, you need to know the exercise price. You also need to know the fair market value (current value of the stock), for reasons that will become apparent in a bit. We need a little more data:

    exercise price or strike price: $1. (This is how much it costs, per share, to buy your options.)current fair market value: $1 (This is how much each share is theoretically worth. May or may not have any relationship to reality)fair market value, after 3 years: $10

    All this is information the company should tell you, except the value after 3 years, which would involve time travel. Let’s see how this plays out!

    Okay awesome! You had a great job, you’ve been there 3 years, you worked hard, did some great work for the company, you want to move on. What next? Since your options vested over 4 years, you now have 375,000 options (75% of your offer) that you can exercise. Seems great.

    Surprise! Now you need to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in an uncertain outcome. The outcomes (IPO, acquisition, company fails) are all pretty complicated to discuss, but suffice to say: you can lose money by investing in the company you work for. It may be a good investment, but it’s not risk-free. Even an acquisition can end badly for you (the employee). Let’s see exactly how it costs you hundreds of thousands of dollars:

    Pay the exercise price:

    The exercise price is $1, so it costs $375,000 to turn your options into stock. Your options go poof in three months, but you can keep the stock if you buy it now.

    What?! But you only have 300k in the bank. You thought that was… a lot. You make an amazing salary (even $200k/year wouldn’t cover that). You can still afford a lot of it though! Every share costs $1, and you can buy as many or as few as you want. No big deal.

    You have to decide how much money you want to spend here. Your company hasn’t IPO’d yet, so you’ll only be able to make money selling your shares if your company eventually goes public AND sells for a higher price than your exercise price. If the company dies, you lose all the money you spent on stock. If the company gets acquired, the outcome is unpredictable, and you could still get nothing for all the money you spend exercising options.

    Also, it gets worse: taxes!

    Pay the taxes:

    The value of your stock has gone up! This is awesome. It means you get the chance to pay a lot of taxes! The difference in value between $1 (the exercise price) and $10 (the current fair market value) is $9. So you’ve potentially made $9 * 375000 = 3.3 million dollars.

    Well, you haven’t actually made that, since you’re buying stock you can’t sell (yet). But your local tax agency thinks you have. In Canada (though I’m not yet sure) I might have to pay income tax on that 3 million dollars, whether or not I have it. So that’s an extra 1.2 million in taxes, without any extra cash.

    The tax implications are super boring and complicated, and super super important. If you work for a successful company, and its value is increasing over time, and you try to leave, the taxes can make it totally unaffordable to exercise your options. Even if the company wasn’t worth a lot when you started! See for instance this person describing how they can’t afford the taxes on their options. Early exercise can be a good defense against taxes (see the end of this post).

    I don’t want to get too far into this fake situation because when people tell me fake situations, I’m like “ok but that’s not real why should I care.” Here’s something real.

    I do not own 0.5% of a billion dollar company. In fact I own 0%. But the company I work for is valued at more than a billion dollars, and I do have options to buy some of it. The options I’m granted each year would cost, very roughly, $100,000 (including exercise prices + taxes). Over 4 years, that’s almost half a million dollars. My after-tax salary is less than $100,000 USD/year, so by definition it is impossible for me to exercise my options without borrowing money.

    The total amount it would cost to exercise + pay taxes on my options is more than all of the money I have. I imagine that’s the case for some of my colleagues as well (for many of them, this is their first job out of school). If I leave, the options expire after 3 months. I still do not understand the tax implications of exercising at all. (it makes me want to hide under my bed and never come out)

    I was really surprised by all of this. I’d never made a financial decision much bigger than buying a $1000 plane ticket or signing a lease before. So the prospect of investing a hundred thousand dollars in some stock? Having to pay taxes on money that I do not actually have? super scary.

    So the possibilities, if I want to ever quit my job, are:

    exercise them somehow (with money I get from ??? somewhere ???).give up the optionsfind a way to sell the options or the resulting stock

    There are several variations on #3. They mostly involve cooperation from your employer – it’s possible that they’ll let you sell some options, under some conditions, if you’re lucky / if they like you / if the stars are correctly aligned. This post How to sell secondary stock says a little more (thanks @antifuchs!). This HN comment describes a situation where someone got an offer from an outside investor, and the investor was told by the company to not buy from him (and then didn’t buy from him). Your employer has all the power.

    Again, this isn’t a disaster – I have a good job, which pays me a SF salary despite me living in Montreal. It’s a fantastic situation to be in. And certainly having an option to buy stock is better than having nothing at all! But you can ask questions, and I like being informed.

    Stock options are very complicated. If you start out knowing nothing, and you have an offer to evaluate this week, you’re unlikely to be able to understand every possible scenario. But you can do better than me!

    When I got an offer, they were super willing to answer questions, and I didn’t know what to ask. So here are some things you could ask. In all this I’m going to assume you work for a US company.

    Basic questions:

    how many stock options (# shares)vesting schedule (usually 4 years / 1 year “cliff”)how many outstanding sharescompany’s current valuationexercise price (per share)fair market value (per share: a made-up number, but possibly useful)if they’re offering ISOs, NSOs, or RSUshow long after leaving do you have to exercise?

    Then you can do some basic math and figure out how much it would cost to exercise the options, if you choose to. (I have a friend who paid $1 total to exercise his stock options. It might be cheap!)

    More ambitious questions

    As with all difficult questions, before you accept an offer is the best time to ask, because it’s when you have the most leverage.

    will they let you sell stock to an outside investor?If you can only exercise for 3 months after leaving, is that negotiable? (pinterest gives you the option of 7 years and worse tax implications. can they do the same?)If the company got sold for the current valuation (2X? 10X?) in 2 years, what would my shares be worth? What if the company raises a lot of money between now and then?Can they give you a summary of what stock & options other people have? This is called the “cap table”. (The reason you might want to know this: often VCs are promised that they’ll get their money first in the case of any liquidation event. Before you! Sometimes they’re promised at least a 3x return on their investment. This is called a “liquidation preference” .)Do the VCs have participation? (there’s a definition of participation and other stock option terms here)Can you early exercise your options? I know someone who early exercised and saved a ton of money on taxes by doing it. This guide talks more about early exercising.Do your options vest faster if the company is acquired? What if you get terminated? (these possibilities are called “single/double trigger”)

    If you have more ideas for good questions, tell me! I’ll add them to this list.

    I think it’s important to talk about stock option grants! A lot of money can be at stake, and it’s difficult to talk about amounts in the tens or hundreds of thousands.

    There’s also some tension about this topic because people get very emotionally invested in startups (for good reason!) and often feel guilt about leaving / discussing the financial implications of leaving. It can feel disloyal!

    But if you’re trying to make an investment decision about thousands of dollars, I think you should be informed. Being informed isn’t disloyal 🙂 The company you work for is informed.

    The company making you an offer has lawyers and they should know the answers to all the questions I suggested. They’ve thought very carefully about these things already.

    I wish I’d known what questions to ask and done some of the math before I started my job, so I knew what I was getting into. Ask questions for me! 🙂 You’ll understand more clearly what investment decisions might be ahead of you, and what the financial implications of those decisions might be.

    Thanks for Leah Hanson and Dan Luu for editing help!

    View the original article here

  • jkabtech 3:18 am on January 13, 2016 Permalink |
    Tags: about, attitudes, Educating, , , participating, ,   

    Educating patients improves knowledge, attitudes about participating in research 

    A five-center national study led by Neal Meropol, MD, and a team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Case Medical Center demonstrated that a little information goes a long way in encouraging cancer patients to enroll in clinical trials, a decision that could be potentially lifesaving.

    The findings, which appeared in the December 21st, 2015 issue of Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), showed that among 1,255 cancer patients taking part in an educational program, 21 percent of patients chose to enroll in cancer clinical trials. Traditionally, less than 5 percent of cancer patients choose to participate in clinical trials, according to the American Cancer Society.

    “Unfortunately, although clinical trials are critical for advancing cancer treatment and ultimately serve as the basis for new standards of care, very few patients participate,” said lead author Neal J. Meropol, MD, Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and Chief, Hematology and Oncology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center Seidman Cancer Center. “We want to close the patient knowledge gap and positively affect their attitudes toward clinical trials.”

    In this study, a tailored video education program, PRE-ACT (Preparatory Education about Clinical Trials), was compared to information delivered as simple written text. PRE-ACT videos were more effective than text at improving knowledge, and decreasing negative attitudes that serve as impediments for patients to take part in clinical trials.

    Half of the patients received PRE-ACT, which delivered tailored video education based on their individual knowledge gaps and attitudes, while the other half received written information about clinical trials that was not specifically chosen based on their responses to an initial survey.

    “Although both the PRE-ACT videos and the written materials improved participants’ knowledge, reduced attitude-related barriers, and improved their preparation to consider clinical trials as a treatment option, we found that PRE-ACT was better than the written information in reducing barriers,” said Dr. Meropol.

    Participants rated the Web-based video educational program significantly higher than the text-based education material in satisfaction with the amount of information presented, the way the information was presented, and the feeling of being more prepared for them to consider clinical trials for cancer treatment.

    PRE-ACT, developed by Dr. Meropol and collaborators, is a tailored intervention where patients access a Website to take an online survey. The survey gauges the individual patient’s knowledge and attitudes about clinical trials, and then, based on that patient’s answers, video clips are presented addressing their specific concerns.

    For example, patients sometimes worry that they will receive a placebo rather than active treatment, so one video clip explains how placebos are used ethically in cancer studies, and the fact that very few studies will include a placebo without any active treatment. The videos also help patients clarify their preferences in terms of quality of life or length of life.

    “By identifying knowledge gaps and negative attitudes and addressing those before patients meet their doctors to discuss cancer treatment, the patient will be better prepared to make a good decision about whether a clinical trial will be an appropriate option for them,” said Dr. Meropol, also Associate Director for Clinical Research, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We hope PREACT will result in increased participation in clinical trials by cancer patients through improving knowledge and attitudes and facilitating treatment decision-making.”

    For the study, researchers sought a robust sample of patients representing a variety of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic backgrounds. Therefore, they enrolled patients from five centers: University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University in Chicago, and Fox-Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

    Dr. Meropol has partnered with the American Society of Clinical Oncology to make PREACT widely available to cancer patients worldwide at http://www.cancer.net/PREACT. The development of this Web-based program was supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), according to Dr. Meropol.

    During the course of their research, investigators did uncover another surprise finding. Video clips meant to address concerns about the costs of clinical trials treatment actually caused a spike in worries about out-of-pocket costs of clinical trials. These financial concerns generated yet another paper that appeared in the same JCO edition as the main paper.

    “What was a surprise is that giving people information about costs in general terms made them more anxious,” said Dr. Meropol, the senior author of the financial concerns paper. “It was not surprising to us that these concerns actually affect distress, add to decisional conflict, and interfere with decision-making. This finding highlighted for us that communication about costs is both necessary and challenging. It indicates that we need to be sensitive to patients’ cost concerns as they navigate decisions about cancer care.”

    Next steps in research include developing new tools to assist patients with financial navigation. Additionally, the NCI is funding a project led by Dr. Meropol and Barbara Daly, Ph.D., Professor of Nursing, to develop a Web-based educational program for oncology nurses to help them in their discussions with patients about participation in clinical trials.

    Journal References:

    N. J. Meropol, Y.-N. Wong, T. Albrecht, S. Manne, S. M. Miller, A. L. Flamm, A. B. Benson, J. Buzaglo, M. Collins, B. Egleston, L. Fleisher, M. Katz, T. G. Kinzy, T. M. Liu, S. Margevicius, D. M. Miller, D. Poole, N. Roach, E. Ross, M. D. Schluchter. Randomized Trial of a Web-Based Intervention to Address Barriers to Clinical Trials. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2015; DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2015.63.2257 Y.-N. Wong, M. D. Schluchter, T. L. Albrecht, A. B. Benson, J. Buzaglo, M. Collins, A. L. Flamm, L. Fleisher, M. Katz, T. G. Kinzy, T. M. Liu, S. Manne, S. Margevicius, D. M. Miller, S. M. Miller, D. Poole, S. Raivitch, N. Roach, E. Ross, N. J. Meropol. Financial Concerns About Participation in Clinical Trials Among Patients With Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2015; DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2015.63.2463

    View the original article here

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