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John Klossner's Ink Tank


John Klossner: Everybody's doing it

Earlier this month the Federal Aviation Administration became the latest in a long line of agencies and companies that have had data hacked into and/or stolen. It announced that "the personally identifiable information of more than 45,000 employees and retirees was stolen electronically.(As an aside, the FCW headline said that a "massive" data breach had occurred. It makes me wonder what the journalistic levels are for this terminology. At what number does it become a "massive" breach? I suggest the following terminology levels:

  • 1- 99 "Human error."
  • 100 - 751 "Trend-setting."
  • 752 - 5,499 "Noticeable."
  • 5,500 - 10,000 "Knocking on problem's door."
  • 10,001 - 24,999 "someone's bound to hear about this."
  • 25,000 - 39,999 "Typical."
  • 40,000 - 74,999 "Massive."
  • 75,000 - 125,000 "There's no such thing as bad publicity, right?"
  • 125,001 - 250,000 "I'll call the press just as soon as I update my Monster.com profile."
  • 250,001 - 750,000 "I'm not telling. You tell."
  • 750,001 - 999,999 "Thank goodness we have a form letter for this."
  • 1,000,000 - 10,000,000 "What's the record?"
  • 10,000,001 - 50,000,000 "Can we get a book deal?"
  • More than 50,000,000 "Do you think California will be mad?"
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Posted by John Klossner on Mar 03, 2009 at 12:18 PM0 comments


John Klossner: Is anybody there?

In the past few weeks I have encountered a variety of technology-related problems. At the risk of boring you, it goes like this:

The battery on my laptop started acting strange. The machine would turn off even though the battery claimed to be 50-65 percent full. It is a little over two-year-old battery, with much fewer cycles than the claimed lifetime of the battery. I found a chat room on the Apple site (LINK BELOW) (I'm a Mac user) that fully recognized and described the same troubles I was experiencing. The discussion also claimed that in some cases Apple would replace the faulty battery for free. When I took the laptop into my local Mac dealer, a place where I have done frequent business, the clerk and store manager wouldn't even listen to my story -- once they heard my described symptoms, they immediately declared that I needed a new battery. When I told them about the discussion online, they acted as if they hadn't heard me, and repeated that I needed a new battery. I went home and called Apple support, which did know of the problem I described. They looked up the serial number of my machine and battery, and then told me that my battery was not among those listed that would have been replaced. I bought a new battery. More

Posted by John Klossner on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:18 PM1 comments


John Klossner: Telecommuting heck


My daughter once came home from her elementary school to tell us how embarrassed she was because that day someone was speaking to her class about careers and asked everyone whose parents went to a workplace to raise their hands, leaving my daughter as the only student with her arms by her sides.

We'd like our children not to be ostracized at school, but we also like working at home. I have not gone to a workplace for anything other than a meeting with a client for over 20 years now, and my wife, who works part time for a federal agency, goes in one day each week, working the rest of her hours from home.

(As an aside, the president works from home, doesn't he? Does that mean that the people who go into a centralized workplace are the exceptions? Or is this merely executive privilege? When asked the same question, are the president's children singled out among their classmates? I've never seen the president with a half-finished bowl of cereal on his desk in the Oval Office, but I assume that's something that's off the record.)

I suppose I can't call myself a telecommuter. I have been working from home since before the term "telecommuting" was coined. I assume that in order to telecommute, you have to be telecommuting from some central office. Also, I would suggest that one of the rules of telecommuting be that you know what the person or people on the other end of the telecommute look like. I rarely know what the people I'm working with look like and, if I do, it is always by accident.

My wife is probably a more official telecommuter. She works part time -- 18 hours -- for a federal agency, half of that from home. When I recently reached her in the kitchen, I was able to ask her a few questions about her fed telecommuting experience.

What are the pluses to your telecommuting experience?

Not having to commute, obviously. The time and money saved by not commuting. Could you pass me the sugar? And the flexibility of being here. There are no interruptions, and I'm able to be more productive.

And the minuses?

I feel out of the loop, but that might be because I'm part time. I think this causes my co-workers not to ask me to do as much, because I'm not there to ask. Communications are harder on my end -- sometimes I can't reach someone I need to talk with as easily as if I could go into their office. Are you going to the store today?

Is lunch better at work or at home?

Much better at work, because I go out to lunch there. I think my office relationships are better from my telecommuting. We make a more concerted effort to connect with each other when I'm in the office. Speaking of which, don't eat that leftover salad in the fridge -- I'm saving it for my lunch.

How has working from home affected your relationships with managers?

I think everyone who works at home feels a sense of guilt by not being at the office. I've always had bosses who understand that productivity is more important than the time clock. I've heard of bosses who are constantly checking in to make sure the workers are at home. Not that I'm not.

I've got you covered.

Can you remove that? I don't want to give the wrong impression. I'm very productive.

I know that. I don't think I should remove it. You have nothing to hide.

No. Seriously. Please remove it.

But then it will seem like this interview is hiding something. I want it to be a truthful experience for the reader.

How can it seem hidden if the piece isn't there to begin with?

This is a very savvy reader group. They can pick up on these things.

C'mon. Please take it out.

No. It will be okay. Trust me.

I'll let you have my leftover salad.

No, thanks.

See if you ever get an interview with me again.

I'm sure that I can find another federal employee in a pinch.

Think they'll let you have their salad? Fat chance.

Maybe I should consider going to an office.

You? I'm sure there are all kinds of openings for a cartoonist who watches old Jack Benny clips on YouTube for an hour each day.

That's pretty harmless on the list of potential flaws. Besides, it gives me ideas.

I've got to get to work. See you at lunch.

Can I have this salad?

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Posted by John Klossner on Jan 30, 2009 at 12:18 PM3 comments


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