40-Hour Work Week

The forty hour work week is only a compromise between indentured servitude and a healthy amount of work a person can do in one week.  It isn’t an ideal number of hours for human labor in one week, nor is it a good ruler with which to measure how long one should spend working each week.

If the number of hours an hourly worker needed before s/he receives overtime was shortened to 30 or 35 hours per week, there would be a number of benefits to society:

  1. Increased income for those who do have high amounts of time/energy to devote to earning income.
  2. Higher value placed on time taken away from family.
  3. More companies who have employees who decide to opt out of the overtime in order to more effectively raise a family.
  4. More individuals who would have time to do volunteer work in areas that don’t earn income, but would benefit our world.
  5. A new ruler against which to measure the appropriate hours a salaried worker should be working.
  6. More think time to see the big picture of human existence (and better plan one’s position within it).

Here are some reasons I can think that anyone (in power) wouldn’t want a shorter work week.

  1. More think time to see the big picture of human existence.
  2. They think that hiring two people each to do 50% of a job would mean less profit — but I’m thinking it would actually mean greater efficiency of both workers.  I’m guessing that more than 2 people’s worth of work could get done, or that mistakes or accidents would decline.
  3. Workers are better at not complaining if they don’t see the big picture (but less efficient, too, since they’re typically pushed beyond the boundary of diminishing returns).
  4. Fewer entrepreneurs to compete against.

Websites for Utilities and Services

I have some suggestions for some institutions that give me some access online to manage my account with them:

  • Bank of America: Quit it with the SiteKey shit! (If you’re a site that still doesn’t have SiteKey, please, please never implement it). It makes the site less secure, not more secure, and it does not make phishing any more difficult. I am only your customer because you bought out MBNA, and I only stuck with MBNA (and now you) because of the ShopSafe feature where I can set a false limit and expiration date on a virtual credit card number that functions like a partition of my real credit card. Oh, and please don’t ask me the state either. Just require a 12 or 16 digit password, and let me know if it fails on a dictionary attack. You could even let me choose from a list of randomly generated passwords. Then, also suggest to me that I store the password in my browser. That way it will only be filled in on the legitimate site, and not phishing sites. Give me graphs!
  • WaMu: I only have a couple minor suggestions. Overall WaMu’s got it right. First, don’t tell me “Welcome back, _________” and then make me have to click “I’m not _________” just so that I can use my browser’s stored password. Second, please allow me to input checks prior to you knowing about them. I can input the check number and the value, and (when the check goes through) if the values don’t match, please flag it for me. I’d like to know my real balance ASAP, and this would allow me to balance my account online. Third, (this would go well with#2) allow me to annotate transactions in my online records. Give me graphs!
  • Wells Fargo: Please make it so I can easily make a payment for a student loan even when it’s in deferment. Give me graphs!
  • Cell Phone Carriers: What couldn’t you change? Open your networks to all devices. Charge significantly less for bandwidth. De-obfuscate your websites. Make it easier to change plans online. Give me graphs!
  • All utilities and services:
    • I don’t care how small of a utility company or M.U.D. you are, you need to have online account management.
    • I don’t care how you do it, but every utility needs a way to pay the bill online with zero fees for doing this. It’s just as convenient for you as it is for the customer and should be offered free-of-charge.
    • Don’t mess with login screens or login page URLs! We want our browser to always know how to save, and then automatically fill in (I’m talking to you Comcast), the username and password.
    • Make every connection to your website https (SSL)! This is how you show us you care about security.
    • Don’t say that the challenge (or “security”) question makes the site more secure.  I started with a unique username and a 12 character long random string, and then you make me give a single word (from the dictionary or baby name book) so that someone (hopefully only me!) can use this as a backdoor to my account.

BSA could end easily software piracy

The BSA could end piracy very easily if they convinced software developers to release all software for free, except for business use (which would be audited to check that everything’s paid for). It is ridiculous that home users have to pay for Windows. There should only be one version of Windows (just like the case is for OSX), and it should be free for non-commercial use. It’s easy to catch people who start making substantial profit off of the use of software.

dvorak.org/blog

  • Tiny Laptops For Fresno Grade School Kids — I think that we do need OLPC for US kids
  • The White Continent — Beautiful
  • The Mainstreaming of Atheism — Sunday School for Atheists — good luck being respected for your beliefs in the US if you’re atheist … Philip Pullman’s trilogy is being banned from public school book fairs as we speak
  • Small change in IMAP Protocol could help reduce SPAM — this is one step closer to the setup I’d like to see. IMAP should just be notified that there’s a message in the outbox of someone and it’s for you. Then you’d be able to ignore it or download it to your inbox. If it sat in the sender’s box long enough, then that outbox would fill , and if it was spam, then the account would become useless. It would shift the download burden to the sender. You could set your IMAP client to auto-download from any entities you’d already oked.

Multiple Instances of Firefox at the same time

I don’t know if the MOZ_NO_REMOTE workaround is still necessary for Firefox 2.0, but I do know I’m at the point where I want to run multiple Firefox profiles at the same time. I kept searching for firefox instances concurrently, but apparently I’m going to run multiple profiles concurrently, not instances. Oh, well.

I used to use IE, Opera, Safari, and more in order to separate out multiple logins to the same site for the different online identities I use (personal, work, anonymous, etc). I can’t live without Adblock Plus, though, so I need to run multiple profiles of Firefox now.

It turns out that there’s a -no-remote option that seems saner than MOZ_NO_REMOTE (also at How-To Geek and Lifehacker).

I thought this was going to be a PMO post, but it turns out that since I now can safely test Firefox 3 Betas, it’s a DNPMO.

There are a few quirks, but overall it seems to be working how I want.

iTunes

Why does it annoy me so much … why isn’t there a truly good alternative (including netcast support)?

It like totally infests the machine. Would it be too much trouble to ask that iTunes (and the bundled programs) only run when I ask it to? At least give me the option.

Why the heck is is so large of a program? Why does it consume so many resources?

There should be more advanced settings (there should actually be a “configure” mode for all programs) for power users, and extensions would be nice, too.

I should be able to rip songs and encode them using an external encoder like LAME.

Open Source Software and Education

Here’s how it ought to be:

Each district in the United States hires1 or 2 programmers (predictable yearly IT budget). They all use a bugzilla website to communicate on software projects. The software projects are voted on by employees of the districts. The software is free for anyone to use (not just schools).

Here are programs that I already know that schools need:

  • Linux OS
  • Open Office
  • Smart Board Software
  • Blogging tools for teachers (or CMS with teacher-controlled pages)
  • intranet bulletin board for students (phpbb would probably do, as long as the accounts could be tied to district network accounts for students)
  • computer lab monitoring software (watch and record about 30 screens at once, from one teacher workstation)
  • Scheduling checkout of shared resources or labs
  • enterprise account management for IT, with email, drive space, etc. for teachers, admins, students, etc. with granular control over permissions for each kind of user
  • grade book
  • attendance
  • media players
  • multiple monitor support (for monitor + projector use)
  • web browser (firefox, with adblock plus … because really, teachers and students have no business clicking on ads anyway)
  • email client (IMAP)
  • webmail client (roundcube looks nice)
  • chat client (pidgin)
  • jabber accounts (tied to other accounts)
  • single username and password for network users — password complexity checks, retrieval system for passwords
  • intranet CMS, internet CMS
  • any other ideas = please comment

Internet Explorer 7 standards compliance

There were huge discussions about IE7 being better at supporting web standards, but it didn’t mean microsoft finished implementing support for the primary web standard: HTML.

IE7 doesn’t support all of the elements (“element” meaning “a fundamental or essential constituent of a composite entity”). It leaves out the Q element for short inline quotations.

How can any talk of support for web standards begin until the HTML standard is supported.

If it had been implemented, that would mean you’d see a Google Quotes function for searching for quotations.

Personally, I just code to spec and feel sorry for IE users who aren’t getting the proper web.

ISP data transfer caps

(this does piss me off)

Yes, there’s a limit to the amount of data that an ISP should allow it’s users to transfer in a given month. That’s the speed of the connection (megabytes per second) times the number of seconds in a month.

If they don’t want as much data flowing through their networks, lower the speeds users can achieve. Don’t wow us with the speed, only to tell us that we can’t use it every single second of the day.

Update: Cory Doctorow describes this problem (though doesn’t offer the suggestion) on TWiT 124 at about 52 minutes into it.  The suggestion is, lower the speed when you’ve got too many users in any location, but make sure we know that that’s the true limit of the connection.

Hunters as Environmentalists

I guess it should seem appalling, and maybe it used to to me, but now it just makes sense. What hunter would kill the last of a species — a poor one. There’s already good common sense about gun safety in the hunting culture — why not conservationism, too?

(I’ve realized I won’t stop killing things like bugs, or even stop eating fish, so I have to have a healthier relationship with my feelings about hunting)