If you needed any convincing that the Internet is fully integrated into the fiber of the world, just look at the Egyptian government's response to a rapidly rising tide of protests against President Hosni Mubarak. As people swarmed into the streets demanding an end to the Mubarak regime, the government deployed police, mobilized the military, imposed an ineffectual curfew and shut down almost all Internet connectivity in the country.
Peter Bright, writing at Ars Technica, described it: "In response to increasing civil unrest, the Egyptian government appears to have disabled almost all Internet connectivity with the rest of the world. The Internet's global routing table, which is used by Internet routers to determine where to send traffic, has had virtually every Egypt-bound route withdrawn, giving the Internet traffic no path either into or out of the country."
Lines of communication are vital in any kind of large-scale conflict. The Internet could allow the anti-Mubarak forces to communicate with sympathizers outside Egypt more easily than many other communication options. But this might be the most extreme move any government under siege has made. Bright reports that civil unrest in Tunisia recently led only to the blocking of a few specific sites and that Iran's government responded to unrest in 2009 by throttling, but not blocking, Internet access.
Posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 7:01 PM1 comments
Well, that was one helluva rush "hour" yesterday, huh? Up to 13 hours for some.
In an interview on WTOP radio Thursday morning, OPM Director John Berry said feds who were equipped for telework were permitted to head home before offices closed and ahead of the storm. That should have eased the strain on the roads, but many people chose not to leave until the bad weather arrived, Berry said.
Unfortunately, once the sleet and snow began in mid-afternoon, traffic got very snarled very quickly, and some commuters didn't get home until well after midnight, according to news reports.
What was your experience? Did you leave early? Did you get the word about the 11 a.m. option for teleworkers? Did you get caught in traffic? Are you among the nearly 500,000 area residents without power? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
Posted on Jan 27, 2011 at 7:01 PM18 comments
The latest attempt to squeeze savaings out of federal employees came in the form of a bill that would require agency employees to take 10 days off without pay in fiscal 2012. The furlough would not require employees to take off two weeks straight -- they can take one day a month during 10 of the 12 months of the year, for example -- but it does require losing a day's pay 10 times during the year.
The impact of this on employees would of course vary. For some feds in higher pay grades, or with spouses who also earn substantial incomes, it might be minor. For younger, lower-paid single federal employees, it could be very difficult.
But there's another question, raised by an anonymous reader who posted this comment: " In this age of expanded teleworking, what manager is not going to expect people to work from home even when furloughed? If I get furloughed, I am going to drop the BlackBerry on the boss's desk on my way out."
Another commenter. RayW, said the workload is too heavy to take time off even voluntarily. "I have a hard time using my PAID leave because of my work load," he wrote. " If I knew I had a week off without pay I would have to do overtime before and after to get my projects back on track since we are evaluated on FIRM dates of delivery, not sliding dates at the whim of some over-paid over-benefited lawmaker. So where is the savings when I am doing the hours in overtime to compensate for the time off?"
What about you? If you're required to take unpaid time off, will you still try to do some work? Check e-mail? Return calls? Work on documents? Will you take the day off completely off? Will your work suffer to the extent you'll need extra time to get it back in order?
Tell us in the comments.
Posted by Michael Hardy on Jan 20, 2011 at 7:01 PM61 comments