Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What is your worth?

The other day my nephew twitted the following thought:
"I have the potential to be one of those great professors that complain that their peers earn much more"
That made me think that, if at his age I knew what I know now I'd be making at least twice what I'm making now and if I didn't know what I know now, I'd be making at most half.
This post is for Diego.
First some definitions (maybe not the academic ones)
  • Value: The intrinsic value
  • Worth: The economic value
  • Price/Earnings: The actual amount of money received in exchange.
Your value
One of the things I know now (or believe) is that, in human terms we are all equivalent and what we earn or what we are worth does not change that value. 
Your worth
We are "economic products" with an economic worth. How much you know, contribute, produce, help, etc. With your talent and intelligence you have the potential to have a high worth. Keep cultivating it.
Your earnings
Your earnings will rarely reflect your worth.  But who sets the price? Look at examples around you and you'll see the answer: Some people let others establish their price, some set their own. That's how two to products (people) with the same worth (knowledge and ability) can have very different prices.
An extreme example: A pet rock was $4 while the same rock from a quarry was a fraction of a cent. The difference? The presentation (packaging and marketing)
Look around again and you'll see many "pet rock" people. 
I am not advocating for you to be a "pet rock" as people eventually realizes what your actual worth is. It is really up to you to decide if you want someone to undervalue your worth, to fight to have earnings commensurate to your worth Or to increase your perceived worth and increase your earnings. This same worth, same effort, very different results.
Your potential
Regarding that last point: It seems to be human nature to desire things with a higher perceived worth. An expensive restaurant won't necessarily be more nutritious than a small restaurant run out of someone's garage, however expensive restaurants are always packed. They package themselves in style, presentation, service, popularity, etc.
This is, if you project a high worth, people will perceive you have a higher worth and will pay accordingly!! Crazy, right? The more your charge the more desirable you become.

Bottom line: It all comes down to confidence, self esteem and your ability to project that worth. I started working on that late in life. You have a chance to start working on it right now, if that's what you want.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Canadian democracy works

Every time there is an election or there are news about an elected representative you can just expect the bickering and name calling.

"Harper is a $@%& and ruined Canada", "The Liberals are corrupt and have ruined Ontario", etc.
Well, Harper hasn't ruined Canada, the Liberals didn't ruined Canada and haven't ruined Ontario and the NDP hasn't either.

 I may dislike some policies but I think politicians are trying to do the right thing, even though we may differ on the means. I hope the federal election comes soon and we can have a change, but let's stop the partisanship bickering. We all want a better Canada, calling people names won't make it better.

Representatives get elected. I may disagree with the lack of proportional representation but even that was put to a ballot and it didn't pass. Which means that even the fact that you can have a majority without a majority of popular vote was a democratic decision.

 A democracy is resilient. People may make mistakes and things may go bad some times; but we have the power to have alternation . If you think Canada is ruined, then do something to fix it or go somewhere else. When I thought the country I came from was ruined, I left, and came to a place where I feel I can do something about it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Google glass potential

Back in 2006 I wrote a post titled The next revolution. I got reminded of it while reading WIRED's critique of Google Glass pointing out that it is not useful enough (yet)

In summary : Not cool enough for non geeks and not good enough for geeks.

While I concur with that assessment, I still see huge potential. Like the Apple "Newton", the Google Glass is probably ahead of the curve, both the technological and social

The more I think of it, the more I see it integrated with the car controls. With product location and pricing at stores. meta content on movies and TV programs.

I don't know how long it will take to be a reality but as I pointed out on my original post, 20 years does not seem to be that far these days.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Does Linux have too many versions?

Today I was reading a response to a SuSE 3.1 review. The responder commented on how "Linux" has too many versions that work differently and that they should all amalgamate.

That made me reflect on one of the main difficulties of explaining GNU/Linux based operating systems: We (Free software advocates) haven't been able to properly explain that "Linux" is not an operating system, It is the kernel that drives many operating systems, most based on the GNU operating system.

When people say "Linux has many versions" it shows that even people that use one of them don't fully understand that they are talking about many different operating systems. Some more experimental, some more free (as in freedom), some more stable, some more mass market appealing.
  • SuSE falls in the later categories, stable and mass market appealing as it includes many proprietary extensions
  • Debian is more experimental and more free (as in freedom) 
  • Mint is in between both.
  •  gNewSense is mean to be totally free or proprietary extensions.

"Development teams" for the different operating systems are mainly responsible for the packaging and polishing the configuration. That's why the packaging and configuration tools tend to be different. But for the most part they all follow the same standards and moving from one to the other is not a difficult task.

If you are new to Free software, just try a few of them. Stick to one you like. After a while, you will be able to do things in any of them with little difficulty.

If you are a seasoned Free software user, I ask that, when speaking to other people, you to use the name of the operating system (Distribution) you are using and maybe "which is a GNU/linux based operating system".

This may help new users understand how they don't have fragmentation, they have options.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

LulzSec, Hacking and other crimes

If you don't know it by now, LulzSec is a group that took unto themselves to uncover security flaws at several companies and organizations.

Hacking into other peoples data/property is illegal whether they misuse that data or not. But so is the negligence shown by the companies caught with their guard down.

Nobody but me should care if I leave my home unlocked but even if I do it is still illegal for someone to enter without permission. That's my home and my risk.

That's not the same if someone entrusts me with their property. In that case I become responsible for that property and I must make sure it is well secured. If something happens to that property I am on the hook.

In the LulzSec case, it seems that the authorities are only interested in the people that hacked the data, not on the people that didn't secure it properly.

If in fact LulzSec did not misuse the information, I'd say that the companies that didn't secure it properly are even guiltier as they are exposing OUR data to someone else that may misuse it.

Both are wrong, Both should be held accountable but it seems that authorities think that the real problem was the messenger, not the message.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Are you ethnic?

Harpers Conservative party is trying to attract "Very Ethnic" people.

I've always found that the way the word "Ethnic" is used in Canada is very offensive. As if saying "us vs. them".

Go to the dictionary and check what it means:
"pertaining to or characteristic of a people, especially a group (ethnic group) sharing a common and distinctive culture, religion, language, or the like"

Why, then, do people refer to "Ethnic food" or "Ethnic people" ONLY when referring to someone that identifies with a non European or Canadian ethnic group?.

How come schnitzels are not referred to as "Ethnic food" but Tacos are?

Are Sikh "Ethnic people" but Christians aren't?

Some people are Very Ethnic, of course, meaning that they closely identify with a common group. But that is regardless of origin. I live in Kitchener/Waterloo, with a quite visible and Very Ethnic German population.

Some other people, whether from European, Indian, Chinese or Mexican origin, do not have that strong ethnic identification. They are not Very Ethnic.

I understand and accept the term "Ethnic minorities". I'm an Ethnic minority, but not Very Ethnic.

I would also accept if, when they say "Very Ethnic", they were also referring to the organizers of the Octoberfest or the Highland games which are Very Ethnic festivals.

Only referring to people of an origin different than our own as "Ethnic" is plain racism.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Can you downgrade for your next computer?

I was reading a ZDNet blog where the author argued that point.

It was interesting to me how some people totally missed the message. As they didn't feel the need to downgrade, they thought that no-one should downgrade.

Some people can downgrade some people cannot.

Me for example, at work I used to develop, I required all the CPU and memory I could get.

Now, I am a systems integrator, connects to servers. Do project opportunity assessments, proposals, architecture diagrams. I just need as much RAM as necessary to keep open 10-15 applications. CPU does not matter that much. I'd rather have a lighter computer that I can carry to meetings and presentations.

My children are in University: Science. What they need is portability and long battery life. They carry netbooks. They each have a 23" monitor to hook up for when they are at their desk.

Of course, were they in Graphics or Computer science their set up would be very different.

It was funny, when we bought one of the netbooks (i3 with 4 GB DDR4). The guy at the store was lying through his teeth trying to convince us for a larger model: "With that computer you'll barely be able to use the Internet". He didn't know my son and I knew better.

My dad? almost 80, has a Quad core with 4GB and lots of HDD as he likes to do photography. To go to the country club, he takes his netbook and he is happy as long as he has a wireless connection.

My Mom? She is a computerphobic. She just needed a computer to email some friends but didn't want to go into my dad's den to use the desktop. I got her an old Dell C610.

At home I have an older P4 desktop. It has lots of expansion bays, and several HDD. CPU solow, memory, 1.5 GB. It does not matter, It's for storage, media server, casual browsing and preparing my presentations.

I mean. Different needs, different computers. Not everyone needs an SUV, not everyone can get by with a compact.