Thank You Consumerist

I’ve been a long time reader of The Consumerist (long before its acquisition by Consumer Reports) as I find bit of schadenfreudian satisfaction from reading consumer stories.

I found myself in the victim role with AT&T over a billing issue that resulted in a personal loss of over $9,000.00. I spent weeks getting a case opened with AT&T and then waited many weeks just to be told no, they could only refund me $200.00 or so.

I was looking into the TOS paperwork and what would be necessary if I had to contact a lawyer. Since I had kept meticulous records, I put everything into a timeline and prepared to post it here. Before doing that I sent it to The Consumerist because I’ve read many a story on AT&T victims over there (they even have secret phone numbers for AT&T executive customer support). Within hours, they got back to me and said they would speak with their AT&T contacts. Within a day, the office of the president had reached out and apologized for how poorly I’d been treated the past few months. The short of it is they re-opened the investigation and found no fault on my part and agreed to provide a full refund.

Last week I received the full amount owed (after they inexplicably sent my first check to the wrong address).

Again, thank you and yes, corporate behemoths do have a soul, you just need the right contacts.

Who Gives a Fuck

This is a trending story on feedly. Really?

MacOS High Sierra Changes

So far the impact of the installation has been minimal. I haven’t noticed the (perceived) dramatic file system speed increase with APFS. I also haven’t seen the size benefits of HEIF or HEVC, but did get a prompt on my iOS device immediately after MacOS installation telling me the formats were going to change.

I guess the biggest difference so far is the totally hidden xcode cli tools and OpenSSL being replaced by LibreSSL.

You can install the dev tools by running `xcode-select` from the cli after getting Xcode from the App Store.

You can deal with the missing OpenSSL by installing your own version and adding `–with-openssl-dir=` to any ./configures you do.

If you’re using brew, you can slap this in your .bashrc: `CONFIGURE_OPTS=”–with-openssl-dir=`brew –prefix openssl`”`

These days I run most things in containers so the underlying OS is going to matter less and less, but I’d like a new shell at some point:

18:15 ~/vagrant/projects/dd-service (master)$ bash –version
GNU bash, version 3.2.57(1)-release (x86_64-apple-darwin17)
Copyright (C) 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Mini Chrome Game

When the power goes out, there is this fun game hidden in Chrome. Watch out for the the pterodactyls.

H1B Visas and Indentured Servitude

Update: There is a ton of nuance this post has brought to my attention. Yes, you can transfer your application to your new employer, see this quote:

Generally, if your I-485 application has been pending for 180 days or more, you are eligible to change jobs and continue your green card application.

Search Google for A21 or read some Quora.

The last thing I want to do is mention politics here, but talking to friends over the weekend and reading the news today, I’m pretty convinced that the only people benefiting from the H1B are the employers (or owners). The effect on workers is a reduction in salary as the number of H1B visas go up.

This isn’t about immigration or saving US jobs or preventing offshoring, it is simple economics. The system is rigged to screw everyone involved except owners. Breaking it down:

  1. H1B workers have limited mobility (yes, there is the H1B transfer, but you have to start over on your green card application).
  2. Unwillingness to restart the green card application limits mobility.
  3. Limited mobility paves the way for abuse – lower salaries, no raises, fewer benefits.
  4. The H1B holder is thus more appealing than the American, thus lowering her salary.

We should be letting more foreigners into the country, so how do you do that?

  1. Allow H1B holders to transfer the green card application to the new employer.
  2. A possible minimum salary threshold, but this is a slippery slope.

The other suggestion is to set a minimum salary threshold (75th percentile), this means you have to pay big bucks for the H1B so you must really need that person. Yes, this will probably do away with the bullshit hoops companies have to jump through – advertise the opening, prove there is no qualified US citizen, etc. – but still erects an artificial barrier. We would miss a newly graduate Einstein.

Really, in the end I believe in less border, more meritocracy.