Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Airline Boarding Passes Hate You and Are Out To Get You - What I am reading 10/7/2015

Which brings us to rent seeking and the TfL response that Dabbs was talking about. Quite the most eye-popping of the proposed new rules to me was that drivers should only be able to drive for one specific network. This struck me as a very clever indeed move on the part of the rent seekers. And yes, this is rent seeking: so is the whole structure of The Knowledge and so on for black cab drivers.
Sure, it started out as a form of quality control: only those who know that Fleet Street is in the vicinity of Ludgate Hill get to ferry people around town, those who think that one or the other is in Wimbledon don't. But we do have these phones now, $50 Android and mapping services. It just isn't necessary for people to spend two years learning the roads before we want to let them take peoples' money.
Sure, it's a different form of rent seeking than the NYC taxi medallions we discussed here but it is still a form of rent seeking: attempting to restrict the competition so as to increase incomes.
But.. But, Uber is the future.  Bull, Uber is a cab company with a slightly better delivery model and a penchant for exploiting it's workers.

Tech Crunch - How Google Thinks About Hiring, Management, and Culture -
Managers thinking about self-improvement should think small. (9:13) People learn best when they focus on the smallest possible things, when they practice one small skill that is a constituent component of a much bigger thing. Doing that has two benefits. One is immediate repetition of that skill, and the second is immediate feedback and course correction. People learn best when they have those two things working.
Sweat the small stuff. (13:26) Managers have to be acutely aware of how small things can affect the culture of a company. Things like slamming a door or leaving garbage on the table after lunch in the boardroom: Those signals get internalized by everyone in the company. There was one tech firm where they had free towels in the gyms. And then one day they decided, on some cost cutting exercise, to start charging some trivial amount for towels, like two bucks a month. But that small decision was a tipping point in the culture; people realized, “This isn’t the place I joined.”
Amazingly nowhere in this do I see illegally collude with other companies to prevent workers from leaving for a better job or Pay Unfairly, but throw a fit when that fact is exposed.

Ars Technica - Trans-Pacific Partnership accord’s copyright details leaked -
The deal, which now needs approval from the pact's member nations, makes copyrights last for the life of the creator plus 70 years after death, according to the New Zealand government (PDF). That's basically the same as in the US.
I don't know enough to make a final definitive decision but so far I am against this deal.  I think copyright is headed in the wrong direction and currently defeats it's constitutional purpose.  

Krebs on Security - What’s in a Boarding Pass Barcode? A Lot -
“Besides his name, frequent flyer number and other [personally identifiable information], I was able to get his record locator (a.k.a. “record key” for the Lufthansa flight he was taking that day,” Cory said. “I then proceeded to Lufthansa’s website and using his last name (which was encoded in the barcode) and the record locator was able to get access to his entire account. Not only could I see this one flight, but I could see ANY future flights that were booked to his frequent flyer number from the Star Alliance.”
So the lesson here is anything with a barcode is a potentially evil document waiting to lead you to your doom and should be shredded.  Unless you need it for an expense report in which case it should be turned in but all employees with access to it should be shredded insteade.  Wait... does that work? Never mind, just be careful with the data.

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