Equal pay for equal work – globally

The pandemic has changed attitudes towards work in many or most parts of the world. The experts are now debating why this is but, as the battle for talent rages, more and more employers are having to reconsider the terms of their relationships with employees.

For white-collar workers, companies are coming around to the idea of working “hybrid” (part office, part remote). Some are going beyond this to become fully remote-friendly or even remote-first or remote-only. “We’re happy for you to work from anywhere” is increasingly a lure that companies can use to attract top talent.

Facebook’s Prineville Data Center

I like big server rooms, I cannot lie. One of the things Dan Maslowski showed me on my first tour of Sun’s Broomfield campus in 2007 was the server room – an entire floor of a large building, chock full of Sun hardware, with thousands of fans whirring and lights blinking (data centers are LOUD). I was enthralled, and continued to be every time I got near big hardware in my subsequent career.

The Efficiency Expert

When we lived in Bangkok during my childhood, my mother taught English as a second language at a language school for adults. One year, the teachers staged a Christmas play. I suppose that they did this partly to celebrate the holiday and give the students exposure to Western holiday traditions, but also because the students didn’t have many opportunities to hear English spoken. (This was well before videotapes. There was only one TV channel in Thailand at the time, which only ran a few hours of programming per week in English, and not many English-language movies were shown at Thai cinemas.)

The play, called “Santa and the Efficiency Expert,” was probably from a book of material considered suitable for children. The story takes place at Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, when someone decides that Santa’s operation is too old-fashioned, and brings in a ruthless efficiency expert to modernize it. The efficiency expert is accompanied by his wife (played by my mother), an even less sympathetic character. 

Into Africa: Desktop publishing goes to Cameroon

Below is a piece published in Ventura Professional magazine (for users of Ventura Publisher software) around September, 1988. I was horrified that the magazine added cartoons of monkeys unloading a boat in a jungle, a giraffe, and a crocodile. I sent copies of the article to my students in Buea because I thought they’d like to see their names and accomplishments mentioned in print, but I apologized to them for the images. The photos above were not included in the article. – at the state of printing technology at the time, line art was a far cheaper option for the magazine.

Interesting aside: My writing style really hasn’t changed in 33 years.

Into Africa

Have Desktop Publishing, will travel? This lady does, and did from, as the movies used to say, darkest Africa to the snows of Kilimanjaro!

by Deirdré Straughan

What did I do on my summer vacation? Well, I spent most of August in Buea, Cameroon (West Africa), installing a desktop publishing system at the Pan African Institute for Development. PAID is one of four regional institutions which develop and conduct a variety of training programs for public and private sector participants from all over Africa. All such institutions generate a lot of paper, particularly in the form of training manuals. The World Bank’s Economic Development Institute saw that desktop publishing could be valuable to PAID and similar institutions, and asked us to install a system at Buea as a pilot project.