Category Archives: Business

Is Anyone Paying Attention, or Do they Just Not Care??

Regarding the issues with Apple’s connectivity problems. My stats, which I never talk about, say one (1) person has looked at that post. One. I just tried to report a problem with my handy dandy feedback reporter as I’m a beta tester again, since I volunteered when Yosemite was first up for testing. I tried to report that the wi-fi was effecting everything at that point, including, it turned out, the feedback reporter, which gave me a cute little message:

“Oops, an error occurred. Please try again later.”

Yes, I know it’s a long post. Try, please, to focus for just a few minutes. I normally don’t get upset at the few readers I have, because I am mostly writing for myself, I figure, anyway. But for the love of Aperture, if you’re an Apple user, pay attention for just a little bit! Please! I dearly love my iMac. I love my iPad, and my iPhone. It’s getting to the point where I am near the point of ditching them because I am furious at the way Apple is treating their customers. I hesitate to say it, because I don’t honestly know anymore, but I don’t think this would have happened if Steve Jobs were still alive. He loved Apple. Tim Cook loves money. But who can prognosticate the past?

When this computer shuffles off it’s technological coil, what awaits? I should possibly start learning to speak Penguin.

 

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

 

Made with Repix by W. Clements. Made on an iPad.

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Is Yosemite for Apple what Windows 8 was for Microsoft?

“My hope is that the reliability issues we are seeing in iOS and Mac OS X in recent releases are largely the inevitable result of Apple going through numerous transitions simultaneously. Extensions, XPC, iCloud Drive, Continuity — these things require coordination between all three of Apple’s platforms (mobile, desktop, cloud). That what we’ve been seeing the last few years is this decade’s equivalent of the first few years of Mac OS X — rapid development and flux that precedes an era of relative stability and a slower pace of change. Let iPhone, iPad, and Mac settle in — and let the rapid change and flux flow through Apple Watch, CarPlay, a new Apple TV, and whatever else comes next.”

In a nutshell, Apple is dealing with a lot right now. It’s not that it wants to give competitors a run for their money simply by speeding up software releases. The reality is Apple may have bitten off a little more than it can chew. But it’s nothing that can’t be fixed.

via John Gruber Explains Why iOS and OS X Today Are Buggy – Softpedia.

I really hope it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. Apple has not been fixing the wi-fi issues since the release of Yosemite. I know they are probably trying. Are they trying as hard as we deserve? I really don’t know the answer to that question. They re-opened the beta testing to the public. The beta testing? Yes, to the next fix. As if we’re the one who are some sort of addict, as opposed to the fact that they’re trying to fix everything that went wrong, or was never right in the first place, from releasing software too soon.

I am not a programmer. There was nothing wrong in Mavericks with the wi-fi, however. How could something so intrinsic, not just in general, but to the use of their own devices such as the iPad, many of which have no other way of connecting to the internet, go so, so wrong in just one release? To the point it still isn’t fixed? I have gone past the point of looking at my connection. On, looking for wireless, on, looking for wireless, that I have gone past the anger and have gotten to the ridiculous stage of acceptance, which one should never have to do when using a product like this that is supposed to work. We’re not supposed to just sit back and accept mediocrity, but we’re being, in a way, forced to. Unless we want to switch OSes.

I love my iMac. And all its devices, infernal or otherwise. And no, Cassandra Clare doesn’t own the TM on that one, it’s been used by others and is pretty much a Steampunk term, as far as I know–I’ve definitely seen it elsewhere. But this has been bordering on the ridiculous for a while now.

Too much, too fast, and too soon. Part of what differentiates Apple from the other major players is that they haven’t in the past debugged their software on the public or turned out shoddy merchandise in their attempt to “keep up with the Joneses.” Now, I do think that their elitist attitude sucks in terms of pricing their phones. Is it as bad as Abercrombie and Fitch simply coming straight out and saying, “That isn’t the market we’re selling to.” I think Tim Cook sort of has said that. When someone shoots a parent for not getting them an iPhone for Christmas… A brand shouldn’t carry that much power. Any brand.

And it’s fine and dandy for Steve Wozniak to say that Apple is not doing what he thinks it should in terms of releasing components. Well, Steve, come back, then, and straighten things up. You’ve given up your baby. Apple lost its creative heart and soul when Steve Jobs died, and I think it shows in what has happened since. Tim Cook might not be the right man for the job. I’m not sure he has the same creative vision. You need to have a certain child-like quality to possess the right type of creativity that makes a man like Steve Jobs, along with at least a little sense of fun.

Some Engineering schools are requiring their students to attend Art School and take classes there simultaneously, saying the creativity has gone out of engineering, and without it…phfhhllt. Okay, that’s my intelligent take on the situation. But I think they are spot on–the arrogance of the hard sciences (in some cases, not all–I hate blanket statements) is just that, hard. Creativity is one thing that has definitely fallen by the wayside these days. Look at what is being cut from Primary and Elementary curriculums these days due to financial constraints. And then look at what’s happening with this new development in Engineering schools. To make up for having the creativity beaten out of them (not literally, I hope) because this is science, folks (oh, please, tell me, oh ye great hard science nerds, that you don’t have just as much fun as I do with those big expando balls, which I’m sure are some fine example of a scientific principle at work, but also help with breathing examples and, occasionally, putting over over your head, just for fun).

When Antonio Gaudi graduated, the professor who handed him his diploma told him they were either graduating a genius or a fool, only time would tell. Well, time has told, and quite spectacularly so. It also shows that while I applaud the efforts of the Engineering schools mentioned above, I think the melding of the creative and the scientific needs to be a little more complete, and I hope what they’re trying works.

But back to Apple and Yosemite. Well, and Microsoft, too. I am not broaching this situation blindly, with no knowledge of Windows 8. I needed a laptop for work (I know I have written about this before, or else I’m just having nasty Badger flashbacks, what I named my HP laptop. Now, this isn’t a knock on HP–I just bought an HP printer–I know, different thing, peripheral, not an actual computer, but HP printers, in my experience, rock). I love badgers, mostly because I’ve never run into one in person, which might change my opinion of them slightly. I also know better than to corner them, but an OS isn’t an animal, which leads to another of my theories which I’ll discuss shortly.

Granted, I approached Windows 8 with a great degree of caution. I liked the tile system, most likely because I was already used to iPhones and iPads. So that was a vague correlation for me. The OS itself was a disaster. It needed constant rebooting from the neverending stream of updates, it crashed, it generally wasn’t user friendly, which earned my laptop the name of Badger. The one redeeming quality was the bubbles screensaver, which my then two year-old niece loved.

Now, I hated the name, “Mavericks.” I thought it was full of Hubris, which I suppose summed up Apple’s mentality at the time. What was wrong with having the names of cats for the OS? Linux has no problem with their penguin, who probably has a name and is instantly recognizable. It may even be dwelling in my house, things continue to go this way for Apple, when it comes time for me to invest in a new desktop. No, I still don’t have a laptop, that’s why I bought an iPad, which is now usually available for use in terms of going on the internet, depending on the mood of the wi-fi. Apple is so clever there is no other way to transfer work to the main computer–I haven’t examined whether or not there are lightning compatible external hard drive peripherals in lieu of their abandoning even the micro USB. As consumers, we are told to back up, back up, back up. Lovely. How do we do that when, say, you work at home, don’t want to go out (and shouldn’t have to), and your wi-fi is wonky.

But, no more cats, so we get Mavericks, and no, I don’t buy the reasons for the name, Mr. Cook. And then, to top that off, you pick something less annoying, but still one of the biggest National Parks, Yosemite. It is any wonder this OS hasn’t been plagued with problems? Has Apple learned that “haste makes waste?” It also pisses people off. I love my iMac. My iPhone. My iPad. I do not love what Apple is doing right now in terms of the iOS and OS for these products. And people wait with bated breath (wormy tongues, a friend of mine aptly described once) to see new products.

In my opinion, f*ck the new products. Fix the ones that you have now, and fix them well. This is becoming a country that doesn’t protest enough when given inadequate technology. We’re already being spied on with it, the least it could be is good quality. It makes the wi-fi issues…odder than they already are, whichever way you look at it. Just fix it. Fix the problems you have made and be accountable for what you have messed up before trying to distract the public with your latest gizmo or gadget or the next iPhone that won’t work reliably with Yosemite.

Accountability. This is something our entire nation lacks by the truckload right now. Oh, I don’t have to sell to you, Jesus told me I didn’t have to. We don’t like gays, let’s just say as a state we don’t want you here. How utterly pathetic and despicable. And I still can’t get over Moses helping to write the Declaration of Independence. Such staying power the man had. If he wasn’t just a parable. Accountability, folks. We’re lacking it from the government on down. Religion doesn’t think it needs it, because it can just say “God or Jesus said–” and that seems to be enough. Well, you know what, it isn’t. No one just gets to pass Go, get out of jail, and get $200 anymore, unless you’re in sports, in which case, that seems to be all the accountability you need. Or Congress.

And I’m stopping there with that, because it makes me too upset. And yes, that does mean I have to stop. I’m trying to be responsible about my health, which is why I don’t blog as much as I used to, at least about things like this and other political issues. I am doing something completely alien to me for my own health and sanity, literally, and trying not to pay attention. This is effecting me personally, however, the wi-fi bit, and I always get off tangent.

Apple, basically what I’m saying is, be accountable for what you’re doing. Clean up your mess, which is a pretty damn big one, before going off and jumping up and down in glee over your new infernal devices that won’t connect either. Get your act together. Windows 8 lost Microsoft China. Think about that for a minute. That’s huge. Now we find out you have yet another security leak, on top of the wi-fi issue. The madding crowd is so wild for the iPhone, and seemingly not tech news readers, that I don’t think you have anything to lose right now. But it doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. I am disappointed. I hope things improve.

This One I Will Let People Make Up Their Own Minds

I subscribe to a newsletter online, it might actually be helpful to some people–it usually is for me: it’s called Medical News Today, and covers what is new in many medical fields. I’m particularly interested in what’s going on in depression research and some of the other medical areas, and while I’m supposed to be keeping away from the news, there’s usually nothing upsetting in it to me. Until today. An article published by Drs. Wiltermuth and Cohen, titled, “I’d Only Let You Down’: Guilt Proneness and the Avoidance of Harmful Interdependence.” Now, from the title it doesn’t actually sound so bad, it wasn’t until I read the abstract that I got upset and sought out more information. This is from USC’s business site:

USC Marshall Research has Implications for Team Building in the Workplace
December 23, 2014 • by News at Marshall

Some people hate to disappoint—and you should definitely get them on your team. It turns out individuals who are highly prone to feel guilty for disappointing their co-workers are among the most ethical and hard-working partners. However, new research suggests that these highly guilt-prone people may be the most reticent to enter into partnerships.

Scott S. Wiltermuth, assistant professor of management and organization at the USC Marshall School of Business, along with Taya R. Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University, explains how guilt proneness may prevent people from forming partnerships in “‘I’d Only Let You Down’: Guilt Proneness and the Avoidance of Harmful Interdependence,” which will be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Understanding this phenomenon, managers can make the best decisions about team building and increase productivity.

The Guilty are Good Workers
Highly guilt-prone people (i.e., people with a strong dispositional tendency to feel guilty for wrongdoings) make valuable work partners because a concern about letting others down drives them to complete at least their fair share of the work.

“Because of this concern for the impact of their actions on others’ welfare, highly guilt-prone people often outwork their less guilt-prone colleagues, demonstrate more effective leadership and contribute more to the success of the teams and partnerships in which they are involved,” Wiltermuth explained.

However, these same behavioral tendencies may, in some instances, also lead these individuals to be reticent to enter into certain partnerships at work.

In five studies, Wiltermuth and Cohen demonstrated that highly guilt-prone people may avoid forming interdependent partnerships with people they perceive to be more competent than themselves, because benefitting a partner less than the partner benefits them could trigger feelings of guilt.

“It may come as a surprise,” Wiltermuth said, “but our findings demonstrate that people who lack competence may not always seek out competence in others when choosing work partners.”

In studies where Wiltermuth asked participants with whom they would like to partner to complete a task, given information about their potential partners’ expertise in that area, highly guilt-prone people with less knowledge or skill in that area were less likely to choose the most competent partner. They were afraid to contribute less to the task than their partner and, thus, let them down.

But They Won’t Ask for a Bonus
In the studies, highly guilt-prone people were also more likely than others to opt to be paid on their performance alone and to opt to be paid based on the average of their performance and that of others whose competence was more similar to their own.

“Guilt proneness reduces the incidence of unethical behavior,” Wiltermuth said. “Highly guilt-prone people are conscientious. They are less likely to free-ride on others’ expertise, and they will sacrifice financial gain out of concern about how their actions would influence others’ welfare.”

Those in supervisory roles can use this research to create the most effective dynamics in the workplace and increase productivity.

“Managers could try to ensure that highly guilt-prone people are creating the partnerships and perhaps even assuming leadership roles on teams,” Wiltermuth said, “despite highly guilt-prone people’s fear that by accepting these leadership positions they might be putting themselves into position to let their teammates down.”

http://www.marshall.usc.edu/news/releases/2014/guilt-complex

Above link goes to USC’s Marshall Business school.

Now, part of me sees the advantages in this, the other 95% screams out that it’s taking advantage of the guilt complex, which isn’t a good thing, as is something a lot of people with depression suffer from. I was so upset at the thought of people being used for something that makes them so easily manipulated by others that I simply started to cry. Granted, I’m going through dosage changes of my current med. I’m wary of businesses ability to use things like this in ethical and moral ways, and since I don’t think it’s ethical or moral to start with… I know businesses use personality traits already. In our society, which is so Corporate centered, the person at the top gets the money (the CEO), the heading, “But They Won’t Ask for a Bonus,” was just another kick in the stomach. So people shouldn’t get paid what they’re worth. It’s like Scrooge. This is a particularly Capitalistic p.o.v., where the concern is for how much the people at the top make. Look at where the US is compared to other countries financially. Last. Along with other English-Speaking countries that had followed the same model; eliminating apprenticeships, not caring so much for the workers and caring more for the shareholders and the CEO in terms of who benefits financially. The European model is different. Germany was at the top. They have apprenticeships. They are not as Capitalistic as we are. No, I don’t know a lot about business, only that they do things differently than we do, and the reason they have companies that have been around for a couple hundred years and are still at least all or partially family owned is that they are invested in the companies at a personal level. They are proud of them. Koh-I-Noor, who makes some of the coolest darn pencils ever, is celebrating their 222nd anniversary this year. They are Czechoslovakian. I’m noticing this a lot in art supplies from Europe. Faber-Castell has been around for a very long time, at least a hundred years, maybe longer. They did merge with another company. I don’t think they play the crazy take-over games there–I would have to ask my friend who lives in Germany, but I don’t think he pays a lot of attention to business either. He tries, like me, to support indie businesses, of which I’m a supporter as well. And which I’m sure doesn’t use guilt in their employees as a factor for putting together teams.

I have calmed down a lot, but I am appalled that this is considered psychology, and is being published as such, and as seemingly acceptable practice. It’s published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. I wrote a comment to the “article” on MNT, definitely influenced by the fact that I had a terrible experience at my last job and my current state of depression, which is accompanied by some feelings of guilt as well:

My opinion on this research is that using people because of their tendency to feel guilty about letting others down, “but they won’t ask for a bonus” is sick and unethical, and part of the reason that I hate the structure of business culture in America and other places that use tactics like this. At others’ expense to get ahead, and make more money for themselves. And this is Psychology? I subscribe to this, MNT, because I have MDD and have been suffering from a long episode of severe depression for over a year. I want to see what is being done to help other people like me who are running out of options, and also what is being doing to help with the other health issues I have, chronic kidney disease, migraines, etc. Not how our psychological problems can be used against us for profit. This is so disheartening. I recently had a breakdown because of stress and a med change that jumped too quickly for my system. If any of you corporate types read this and think this article is a good idea, consider the following; the Abilify that keeps some of your employees that may have guilt issues coming to work costs approximately $1,100 out of pocket, and some insurance companies only cover enough so they “only” have to pay around $431. That’s per month. That’s just one drug of many. Some of us have tried all the lower level, first line of defense against depression drugs, and they don’t work, so we have to up the ante. I’m very happy knowing I’m a long term guinea pig for Merck, when they don’t even know the dosages yet for their latest foray (that I’m aware of) into the anti-depressant market, but when you’re in a battle against depression, and you do happen to have a lot of guilt, you don’t have a lot of choice. It’s so nice to know that I’m a good candidate to help people, not because I’m altruistic, which I am, but because I also feel guilty for a lot of things which aren’t even my fault. Thank you for your support in my healing process by using me or people like me for your own ends. I’m not equating that everyone with guilt issues has depression, but often they do go hand in hand. For you to get ahead and build your little successful teams, how much are you putting out for your employees’ health insurance? What do you really know about your employees? I am so disgusted by this–you can just say that this is some troll, someone raving because of their “mental illness” that they would rather not see the “mentally ill” side of. But this is the truth, and sometimes is takes a mentally ill person to point it out in a way that you can see it for what it really is; not a good business decision, but an unethical money-grubbing ploy.

I hate the fact that I get melodramatic when I’m upset, but I have issues with people so isolated from real life, either because of socioeconomic reasons or Ivory Tower reasons (I considered going on to get my Ph.D in English Lit and teaching, but that fact, the isolation from reality, is one of the reasons I didn’t), that their grand “ideas” for improving business, despite how good they sound in their bios and how impressive their educational backgrounds, and despite the fact they are writing about psychology, they seem to know nothing about the morality of dealing with people empathetically, which in my mind is the most important aspect of treating people with and earning their respect. That’s how you get them to work their best for you. Acknowledge them as human beings, give them a living wage, good health insurance, days off without question, flexibility with their schedules if they need it; acknowledge that life is messy and it doesn’t just fit into a little box because the office manager wants it to. They may have sacrificed their life, but the people who work for them don’t have to. Genuine kindness and understanding, knowing the people who work for you, are what win their loyalty. Treating them with dignity. Do we really need to resort to using their guilt against them? Just because it’s easier than actually doing any of the aforementioned? Big business is killing itself. It merges and takes over and bloats itself like a giant amoeba, until, eventually, will it just collapse on itself? Because an amoeba is an ever changing thing, with no strong foundation, and without that foundation, in this case, the workers, the companies are only as strong as their weakest link. And when they resort to using guilt because it gets more done for less money from them, the word pathetic isn’t adequate. And if that’s what the psychological research is telling them to do? The psychological research from people who pride themselves on their interest in moral and ethical behavior in the workplace, what is the world coming to?

There are a couple of Robin Williams quotes I’ve been wanting to put somewhere, and I’ll probably make them email signatures at some point, but for now here they are, and feel free to use them as your email signatures if they touch you. They sort of have to do with the topic, kind of, but the first, I think, more with perserverence, and the second, a little how I started to feel at work, which was a sign I was in the wrong place, and if it weren’t for the financial issues, I should have left before a lot of what happened did.

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
–Robin Williams

“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”
–Robin Williams

 

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