True story: a team I belonged to, which had rock bottom morale after a series of restructurings, made the mistake of answering honestly on an engagement survey where we were asked for our opinion on the performance of the executive team. When our supposedly "anonymous" results were received, we were all bundled into a stuffy meeting room and subjected to a two hour PowerPoint presentation about how great the CEO and each of the members of the leadership team actually were. We were then "asked" to resubmit our answers to the survey.
A logical way for an organisation to proceed when income falls and it can't afford current staff costs would be to look at which employees are giving the least value for money and get rid of them.
Speaking from experience: it isn't always easy to do this. Many companies that you would expect to have robust internal quantitative reporting on productivity don't, both because of the limited statistical knowledge of many managers, and because making these kinds of numbers available is often seen as painting a target on yourself and your staff if none of your peers within the business start producing their own quantitative analysis. ("Oh, you've experienced a 3% drop in productivity this month? Well no other departments have reported anything like that, so start looking for 'efficiencies'.")
I work in the same industry as Gilbert, and I've seen this trend towards more quantifiable testing in action. When I first applied for a call centre role back in the early 2000s, I was required to complete what was, effectively, a reasonably well- administered IQ test by the recruitment company. The results were never disclosed to me, and almost everyone in my testing group was offered a job, so I doubt the test itself was seen as critical, but what I found worrying was that the test results were apparently kept in my HR file and were available to be viewed by whoever my team leader was that week.
After I moved to a different company within the same industry, personality-typing tests became more common. They were generally administered in a completely unprofessional manner (emailed questions, answers typed into an Excel spreadsheet and interpreted by people with no training beyond a couple of PowerPoint slides.) Employees tended to answer these based on what they thought they were expected to say, and the tests themselves weren't sophisticated enough to account for this behaviour. The results were usually ignored except as ticks in a box for management to show how "sophisticated" their management style was.
Interestingly, I got the impression that the dreaded "employee engagement surveys" filled a similar role: less about good management than about quantifying things that generally didn't need to be quantified.
It's been educational for me to see this kind of thing build. I'm usually a little behind the curve on new music, so seeing people I usually rely on referencing "Royals" lyrics in their tweets, or posting that Billboard shoot on their Tumblrs, months after I'd first heard the tracks on Soundcloud...well it's been an impressively smooth run. Folks (not least of all the lady herself) have obviously been thinking and working very hard to make all this seem so effortless and natural.
Telecommunications users can encrypt content easily enough, but not so much network activity, which is likely to play an important part in any surveillance activity. And (as so often with this debate) the discussion around "encryption" really only applies to internet activity, not standard voice or SMS activity.
I think we're all in the same boat then! Jill Pantozzi over at The Mary Sue has a crack at summarizing what happened, along with Tumblr's official response.
The Tumblr thing was interesting, and as with most "official" changes on Tumblr, it wasn't announced in advance or (clearly) explained afterwards.
It's not that posts with those tags were blocked per se, but that a person browsing those specific tags could only see posts on their own blogs and blogs they follow, rather than every post on every blog that used those tags. (For context, most people on Tumblr find new blogs and posts by searching tags, so this was a pretty big deal.)
There was also a setting added in the user account page to allow these posts to show up in searches again. It appears that this setting was set to block posts by default for many people (although not everyone-my account didn't have this setting enabled, for example.) Because there had been no announcement, no one even knew the setting was there until well after the collective freak out started.
This isn't the first time Tumblr has altered the way tag searches work-prior to the Yahoo acquisition, a change was made to prioritize "popular" posts (with more Likes and Reblogs) in searches, effectively hiding some posts in specific tags. Again, this was an unannounced change, and again there's a workaround that appears to be as simple as adding /everything to the search URL. Third party extensions like Missing E, xKit and Tumblr Saviour also have options to handle this sort of personalized filtering, which is why they're so popular, but unfortunately Tumblr historically has a very poor relationship with authors of Tumblr extensions.
That yoghurt hack is brilliant!
Speaking of prawns and citrus: you can buy one of those packs of frozen prawn tails, chuck them in a skillet with some butter or a light oil and some chilli (flakes work fine) then grate zest from a lime straight on top while the prawns cook. No need for fancy seasoning with that combo, and it's done in ten minutes.
Red cabbage is magic. It's a perfect food to add when you want to add substance to a dish but don't want to overpower other flavours. It's cheap as too.
My current go-to for a quick, light meal is chopped red cabbage, grated carrot, toasted sunflower seeds and fried haloumi with a bit of balsamic vinegar and a light oil (I use rice bran.) Takes about ten minutes, including time to fry the haloumi.
Another use is in "burritos" a la Alessi. Chop up the red cabbage, lay it out in a line on a pair of tortillas, spoon over some chilli beans (canned stuff works fine, especially the Delmaine black beans in chilli, but you can also fry/refry the beans from scratch) , throw on some grated cheese, roll the tortilla up like a kebab (tucking closed one end) and grill for about fifteen minutes at 180 degrees. Throw on some guacamole and salsa or chipotle, and you're good.
You can also replace the cabbage with scrambled eggs in the burritos if you prefer a breakfast-y treat.
I wonder whether our rulers actually *wanted* to release this stuff. The rationale would be that by letting the fact of their access to corporate data into the public domain, a row will ensue, and unless legislators move to prevent this, that access will become the “new normal”. In the same vein would be the NZ government’s response to the Dotcom illegalities of substantially widening GCSBs powers.
I don't think TPTB are happy with this leak, as such, but I also don't think many people are all that surprised about the scope or intent of the data collection. The leak itself might be the most surprising part of thus story; most of us have assumed the rest was true for years.