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State-Sponsored Solitaire? 331

Posted by timothy
from the callous-indifference dept.
jefu writes "According to this story the state of North Carolina may be considering banning solitaire on state owned machines. It seems that state workers are now perceived as having replaced leaning on brooms with playing solitaire or minesweeper. The story provides coverage of both sides of the issue, noting that playing solitaire (or other games) may provide workers with a way to burn off some stress, but that this kind of activity is likely to be perceived as time wasting. My favorite bit (especially as April 15th draws ever closer) is where the author notes that fifty percent of the time an IRS employee is on the computer they are playing games, shopping online or gambling."
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State-Sponsored Solitaire?

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  • by bigtallmofo (695287) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:44PM (#11993727)
    It sounds to me like the real problem is that government workers aren't able to hit Alt-Tab fast enough. Once we address that, then the problem will be neatly swept under the rug.

  • PANIC!!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:45PM (#11993733)
    It's only a matter of time before they ban Slashdot.
    • Re:PANIC!!! (Score:5, Funny)

      by SimplePaul (807846) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:00PM (#11993827)
      then they would be on the right track to stopping time-wasting ;)
    • What terrible new form of loafing will arise to take its place?

      Leaning on brooms could perhaps hurt one person if they fell off their broom. Hanging out by the watercooler could injure half a dozen in a freak watercooler accident. Slashdot slashdots whole websites that companies depend on to get their message out, taking down the original source of information and replacing it with reams of discussion.

      what next? What next!? will someone please think of the children?
  • by zecg (521666) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:47PM (#11993739)
    ... and with this regulation fell the last obstacle to Linux acceptance in North Carolina.
  • by Ianoo (711633) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:48PM (#11993747) Journal
    I admit it. I have had to delete Gnome Games and Windows Solitaire/Minesweeper/Freecell/Hearts from my machines at work. I just couldn't get any work done before.
    • Some of us have the coveted job of taking all the data on paper tax forms and typing it into the computers. I assure you, none of us in data entry have time to make a phone call, let alone play solitaire. I'm hoping for another dot com bubble so I can get a salary job playing air hockey.
  • At places I've worked at, Solitare and Minesweeper have never been installed by default. On the other hand, access to Slashdot is still wiiiide open, so there's no need to resort to brooms yet.
  • by zecg (521666) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:49PM (#11993755)
    where the author notes that fifty percent of the time an IRS employee is on the computer they are playing games, shopping online or gambling

    Would that mean the IRS employs 50% too many workers?
    • Would that mean the IRS employs 50% too many workers?

      Not necessarily: they only mention the time spent at the computer. The minimum number of redundant personnel is zero (no-one spends time at the computer such that no time is lost), the maximum number may as well be much higher than 50%, assuming the non-computer time is even spent worse, e.g. leaning on brooms.

    • Nope, do you realize how many employees gambling it takes to lose all of the taxpayer money? They get billions in each year, they need to do something with it! Although I guess that whatever money they spend on gambling they get part of back when taxes come due... Damn them, even when they lose they win!
    • by weighn (578357) <weighn.gmail@com> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:18PM (#11993937) Homepage
      OH&S SITE INSPECTOR: So, how many people work here?
      IRS SECTION MANAGER: Oh, about half of them.
    • Duh!! (Score:2, Informative)

      by DigiShaman (671371)
      Oh come on! This is the government we are talking about. In order for each orginization to get more funding, they need a reason to spend it. Either hiring more unnessary employees, or increasing the hourly wage (not going to happen as it raises a red flag).

      I've had friends work for the US gov in IT. From what they've told me, it basically a Union. Once your in the game, you actually have to TRY and get fired. It's totally the opposite of the corporate word.

      And did I mention, your tax dollars are paying fo
      • Re:Duh!! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by slashkitty (21637) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:46PM (#11994099) Homepage
        It's totally the opposite of the corporate word.

        Uhm, no, it's pretty much like that in many big companies as well. If you've been reading slashdot, you could have read about the support guy that tapped a managers computer and found that he only spend 10% of his time working. I'd have to say that's about how much I worked in my last full time job. (Which I tried to get fired from, but eventually just had to quit.)

        Computers have helped productivity so much, but many companies still have all these jobs for people. It's a shame really, because the whole business world could run on an hour or two instead of the 8+ hours that many people need to see you in the office.

      • Re:Duh!! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheGavster (774657)
        You feel like you have to try to get fired, until you see your first major staff reduction. When you're in, you're in, but they feel no attachment to you. The slackers are the first to go in budget tightening. And every budget gets tightened from time to time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:49PM (#11993756)
    All I can say is that it's a good thing Windows doesn't come with Tetris.
    • Like this?

      http://extensionroom.mozdev.org/more-info/blockf al l
      "Blockfall is a Tetris-like game,..."

      Obviously not installed by default. But I am sure you can work it out.
  • by gardyloo (512791) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:51PM (#11993768)
    ... work there?
  • Minesweeper (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sandstorming (850026) <johnsee@NoSPAm.sandstorming.com> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:51PM (#11993769)
    As soon as I worked out the cheat that shows a colour changing pixel in the top corner of the screen I lost all interest in Minesweeper. Most my friends now believe I am psychic because I can 'sense' whether a square has a mine under it or not :)
    • I lost interest in Minesweeper when I did the smallest custom board size, with the maximum number of mines.

      10 x 10 grid. 99 mines. I fluked it, and the very first game I played, I hit the only free square. Since there would be no way I could ever top that, I didn't. (and no, I didn't have the xyzzy cheat on).
      • IIRC, in Windows Minesweeper, the first square you click will always be bomb free. It avoids having people lose on the first click.

        So you didn't challenge yourself at all. If you want a challenge, use 98 mines on a 10x10 grid.
      • Re:Minesweeper (Score:2, Informative)

        by Chris Mattern (191822)
        Hmmm. Is that funny or clueless?

        In case you don't know, Minesweeper doesn't lay out the mines until *after* you make your first pick, and won't put a mine where you made that pick, to avoid the "unfairness" of losing on your first move. So a board with only one clear square cannot be lost. You make your pick, Minesweeper puts mines on all the other squares, you win. Every time. Actually, you can't do it any more. On an m by n board, recent editions of Minesweeper won't let you have more than (m-1)*(n
    • by arodland (127775) on Monday March 21, 2005 @12:49AM (#11995556)
      Most people I know think I'm psychic just because I know how to play minesweeper. They don't get that there's actually a logic to it, so they think I have really good luck.
  • Brilliant! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:52PM (#11993774)
    I can see it now: employees sneaking in 52-card decks into the office and playing solitaire on their desk. Boss walks buy, they quickly throw their keyboard on top of it and get back to work. Gotta "burn off stress" somehow.

    I just hope Minesweeper addicts don't resort to planting landmines in the office to get their fix.
  • Great (Score:5, Funny)

    by ornil (33732) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:53PM (#11993776)
    fifty percent of the time an IRS employee is on the computer they are playing games, shopping online or gambling.

    So, if we ban Solitaire, the IRS employees will probably spend more time gambling. Whose wise idea was that, I wonder?
  • Slightly OT but... Where I attend they have locked down the Windows machines to the point where you can't do much of anything. Only professors/administrators can use the floppy drive. Mspaint, Solitaire, and Firefox are amoung the banned software (they claim this software is abused). Thankfully, the admin has is using less restriction on my account because he realizes mspaint and firefox can be useful, and not just for abuse circumventing the porn-blocker. I realize there is not likely anything productive
  • ... with the "Boss" Hide Key.

  • ... this will no longer be a problem.

    lock down the machine: ban games, and any other apps which are not "approved".

    oh, darn. it's a windows-related article. *thinks*... let's start again.

    Subject: when SE/Linux takes over the wooorld...

    this will no longer be a problem...

  • Thats so 90's! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by IAMTHEMEDIA (869196)
    Man I was playing Solitare and Minesweeper back in tha day! Day meaning 1995 or so, but the point is, its time for those of us /.ers to acend and transcend. Theres plenty of flash games on the internet that provides way more fun, not to mention it can be easily concealed by clicking on your toolbar to show your fileing those TPS reports.
    • A boss walks out of his office.

      *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP*
      "Come on you bastard!" *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* "Jump already!" *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP* *KEYTAP*
    • Re:Thats so 90's! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by maotx (765127) <maotx.yahoo@com> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:33PM (#11994016)
      Why play Minesweeper or Solitare when you can play a SpyHunter like game?
      In Excel under file menu, do 'Save as Web Page'
      Say 'Publish Sheet' and 'Add Interactivity'
      Save to some htm page on your drive.
      Load the htm page with IE. You should have Excel in the middle of the page.
      Scroll to row 2000, column WC. Select row 2000, and tab so that WC is the active column.
      Hold down Shift+Crtl+Alt nad click the Office logo in the upper-left.
      Use the arrow keys to drive, space to fire, O to drop oil slicks, and when it gets dark, use H for your headlights.

      Requires DirectX and Microsoft Office 2000 SP0.
      If you update Office it will no longer work.
  • "But research done by the IRS has shown that over 50 percent of the time an IRS employee goes on a computer, he or she also hooks up to the Internet to shop, gamble or play games."

    Anyone else wondering where this "research" was published?
  • by reallocate (142797) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:09PM (#11993882)
    Leaving aside the snobbery and bigotry of that "leaning on brooms" comment, this proposal is seeing some discussion here in North Carolina. Most that I've heard and read correctly points to this as a management issue, not something that merits legislation.

    That is, if an employee is not meeting expectations because he is spending too much time trolling the net, that's his fault, not the Internet's. The same problem would exist if he spent too much time doing crossword puzzles are talking to his girlfriend on the phone. The core problem is the employee not meeting expectations, not what he's doing to divert his attention.

    As for Solitaire, don't install it, OK? And if a manager thinks someone is spending too much time playing online games or whatever, ask the IT guys to verify it and then do a bit of "counseling".

    Now, if this guy really wanted to enhance productivity, he'd propose outlawing watching NCAA basketball playoffs at work. Heh. :-)
    • by mccalli (323026) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:20PM (#11993943) Homepage
      That is, if an employee is not meeting expectations because he is spending too much time trolling the net, that's his fault, not the Internet's. The same problem would exist if he spent too much time doing crossword puzzles are talking to his girlfriend on the phone. The core problem is the employee not meeting expectations, not what he's doing to divert his attention.

      Agreed, but I'd like to introduce a slight cautionary note. For some jobs I simply disbelieve that it is possible to be productive 100% of the day for 100% of all working days. I always love these productivity studies which say "600,000 man days of work are lost to <daft activity x> every year, employers say <daft activity x> must be banned from the workplace to ensure productivity rises."

      Which, of course, it doesn't because 600,000 man days of work are now being 'lost' by the employees switching to <daft activity y> instead. That 600,000 days was an illusion - the productivity was never there to be had, in some jobs it's impossible for people to work as if they were machines. I including programming in this by the way.

      I don't play games at work, but I certainly browse the web and spend some time talking to my wife over SMS messages. In days when desktop internet access wasn't common, I'd do crosswords at lunchtime or go for coffee breaks. Granted some of the figures mentioned sound extreme, but still - 100% of everybody's time isn't always a realistic target.

      Cheers,
      Ian

      • by minion (162631) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:45PM (#11994091)
        Which, of course, it doesn't because 600,000 man days of work are now being 'lost' by the employees switching to instead. That 600,000 days was an illusion - the productivity was never there to be had, in some jobs it's impossible for people to work as if they were machines. I including programming in this by the way.

        That is a very good arguement. I work for a company that realises this: Most of our staff doesn't take coffee breaks, or real lunchtimes. Instead, we prefer to sit spend half of our lunch hour eating and the other half shooting eachother in video games.

        Productivity is higher than if we simply ate our food and went back to work - our minds are refreshed because we took a moment away from critical thinking (IT/Programming job, BTW).

        I'm glad I work for a company like that now, and I wish other companies would realize that as well.

        There'd be a lot less depressed people in the world if more companies treated employees like humans, rather than bottom lines.
    • by KingSkippus (799657) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:39PM (#11994059) Homepage Journal

      I've been saying this to no avail for years now. I wish someone would start listening.

      I get so frustrated at management trying to pass off their responsibilites to the IT folks at companies. Simple example: Internet content filtering. I work at a large (Fortune 100) company, and I handle second-level support calls. One common theme that generates hundreds of calls a month (it is multinational) is, "I need access to such-and-such a site for legitimate business purposes, but it says that it's blocked due to (whatever reason the content filtering company had classified it)." So we have to get on a directly-connected machine, check out the site, verify that the person actually needs access, get approval from the person's manager, put in a request with the guy who manages the content filter, wait a few days until he can get around to it, then call the person back and let them know that the site has been allowed.

      That's an awful lot of work to keep the very few people who may browse porn at work from browsing porn at work, and it's a major pain in the ass to the honest people trying to do their jobs. I haven't done a formal study, but it must cost the company thousands of dollars every month (maybe more) in the cost of the service plus the man hours spent going through this exercise. How much would the company lose if they just stopped content filtering? Significantly less.

      But that doesn't matter. Management looks at this as an IT issue, not a management issue. If they push this responsibility onto us, that's one less thing they have to do, and one more level of blame that separates them from potential violators of corporate policy.

      Going back to topic, games are the same way. If someone goofs off all day playing Solitaire, management looks at it as a problem with the computer or a problem with the IT department. Funny, they never seem to see it for what it really is: a problem with the employee or a problem with the employee's manager.

  • by roblaird (633935) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:11PM (#11993894)
    We have a cartoon on the door of the IT room that shows some users playing solitaire on their desks with actual decks of cards. The caption reads "Our systems are down, we have to do everything manually."
  • at sourceforge [sourceforge.net] will be popular =)
  • by KingSkippus (799657) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:17PM (#11993931) Homepage Journal
    I have worked at a lot of companies, and one common theme among them is almost always, "Let's get rid of the games." As a sysadmin, I've actually been the one tasked with implementing it. However...

    I think these policies are, in a word, stupid. If someone is going to waste time, they're going to waste time. If it's not on a game of Solitaire, it will be on some other non-work activity. The fact is that you cannot command a person to work for eight (if they're lucky) solid hours. Or as Scott Kirwin put it in the article, "Managers [have] lost sight that workers are real people, not robots."

    Every time I've been asked to delete the games off of machines, I've expressed extreme disapproval. I've tried to explain until I'm blue in the face that it will not increase productivity. I've tried to explain that if you treat employees like they're four years old by taking away their toys, it will only cause resentment and a resulting LOSS of productivity. I've tried to point out that small Solitaire breaks (or any other mindless activity) actually help a lot of people get back into a more productive mindset going forward. I've also tried to point out that games such as Solitaire help people new to computers learn their way around. For example, it taught my mother, who had only used DOS-based accounting software, how to use a mouse. Sure, it sounds simple to you, but keep in mind that she had no idea what left-clicking, dragging-and-dropping, minimizing and maximizing, etc. were, but she was up to speed within a few minutes thanks to Solitaire.

    But in general, all that stuff makes no difference to management. Since companies have layed off and outsourced to the point where they can't function any more, all that matters is that we have to be productive 24x7. Barring that, all that matters is that we have to LOOK productive 24x7.

    So stupid...
    • If you ban solitaire, you'll need to ban boring phone calls as well.

      For some people, it's more critical - my department used to have a secretary who played solitaire a lot. Her most important jobs were to keep track of the managers' appointments and answer their phones, and when she'd done any available paperwork, "answering their phones" meant "sitting around being bored", occasionally interrupted by people calling.

    • by garcia (6573) * on Sunday March 20, 2005 @09:01PM (#11994194) Homepage
      The fact is that you cannot command a person to work for eight (if they're lucky) solid hours. Or as Scott Kirwin put it in the article, "Managers [have] lost sight that workers are real people, not robots."

      You have never worked in a call center have you? They have supervised slave labor down to a science. Outside of taking advantage of 3 minute leeway for phone logins and clock punches there was very little time available for screwing off.

      They had all the computers locked down, no applications installed other than those you needed for your job, remote screenshot ability, and apparently an alert when you were surfing on a page other than the ones that were permitted.

      You were scored on your performance and adherence to the time schedule.
      • In other words, they wanted to get value for what they were paying. Shocking!!!

        If the employees are getting their paychecks and can quit whenever they like, it isn't slave labor...

      • by Martz (861209)
        My girlfriend has just left a company which ran the same call center setup as you describe. The "Team leaders" have monitoring applications which show how many calls are in the queue, the longest call waiting, staff logged on etc. More importantly to them - who is logged off either because they are away from their desk, toilet break or aftercall time of 3 minutes to do administration and paperwork.

        However, even this wasn't enough. They decided that people were taking too much time between calls and abusing
  • by ccnull (607939) <null@@@filmcritic...com> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:18PM (#11993940) Homepage
    I wonder how much time the employees collectvely spend smoking cigarettes -- a colossal waste of time, not to mention the associated health issues.

    CN, anti-smoking crusader

    • I wonder how much time the employees collectvely spend smoking cigarettes -- a colossal waste of time, not to mention the associated health issues.

      You're missing the fact that smoking is as much a social activity as it is an unhealthy one. I can't fault you for this, most non-smokers (at least most of the ones who aren't ex-smokers) don't notice this.

      It's hard to explain to non-smokers, but smokers tend to have a subconscious yet very strong social bond with one another. Smokers are generally relegated to

  • ...society will collectively struggle to find something to do with the leftover time. Ideally we'd have somem kind of utopia where everybody is free to meet their best potential. Socialism aspires to do this, but human nature causes it to fail. Look on the bright side though--would you rather your tax dollars go to more weapons, or towards people figuring out how to hide games from their bosses? And if the whole tax dollar thing pisses you off, just remembe there is a pretty good chance that you are "ea

  • ... playing solitaire (or other games) may provide workers with a way to burn off some stress ...

    Relieving stress? That's what breaks, lunch, workday evenings, weekends, holidays, and vacations are for.
  • Actually, the interesting problem underlying all of these problems with computer games starts from something we'd all agree with: Everyone agrees that time is the most precious resource, and everyone wants more time. So if time is so valuable, why are computer games so popular? Computer games simply kill time in a painless fashion.
    1. Write computer game.
    2. Game is popular, many people kill lots of valuable time.
    3. Profit!
    Something is wrong with this picture.
    • Time is only precious insofar that what you do with that time makes you happy (or happier). For some, gaming can make them happy, whether through the challenge, or just escaping the rest of their miserable, depressing lives.
  • "In all large corporations, there is a pervasive fear that someone, somewhere is having fun with a computer on company time. Networks help alleviate that fear."
  • by britneys 9th husband (741556) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:29PM (#11993994) Homepage Journal
    fifty percent of the time an IRS employee is on the computer they are playing games, shopping online or gambling."

    Are these IRS employees paying the full amount of the tax due on their gambling winnings? It is considered income, after all.
    • That's really not the purpose of online gambling websites. In real casinos, you need to have some people winning to generate enough excitement to keep the other suckers busy losing, but in online casinos, that doesn't happen, so you only need to let the suckers win often enough to keep them steadily losing money while they hope for the next big win. And gambling losses are only deductable up to the amount of your winnings.
  • Doh... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:30PM (#11993996) Homepage Journal
    More hours =? more productivity?

    I know that it's bad to lose work time into games, but... really, what's worse? A worker who clears up his mind by playing sol 5 minutes, or a bored and tired worker who PRETENDS to be working but his productivity is actually half what it should be?

    Bureaucracy...
  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:32PM (#11994010)
    I'm not playing Solataire... I'm studying the Terrorism Deck of Cards...

    Looking for:

    M'Balz Es-Hari
    Graabir Boubi, and
    Haid D'Salaami
    Hous Bin Pharteen, his cousin I-Bin Pharteen, and their close companion I-Zheet M'Drurz

    Shaif Hirboush.. Al-Suq Akweer.. Mustaf Herod Apyur Poupr. I hope I got that right! Awan Afuqya.. Yul Strokheet Al-Wauch.. Apul Madeek - who we believe will be targeting adult bookstores sometime in the near future. And this man, the notorious Yuliqa M'Diq, A.K.A. Uwana M'Diq, A.K.A. Usuqa M'Diq. Uh.. thank you, that is all... [SNL]

  • But Microsoft said (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Orion Blastar (457579)
    that Solitare and Minesweeper are intergrated with the OS, and removing them can cripple the OS. This is the type of thing that happens at Microsoft, apparently. Microsoft says it would not be possible to make a version of Windows without the Solitare and Minesweeper applications.

    Ah well, if Solitare and Minesweeper are removed, what will stop government employees from installing other games?

    You boss, just wants to challenge you to a Doom 3 Deathmatch anyway. ;)
  • by mrcrowbar (821370) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:43PM (#11994074)
    Let the IRS play all the games they want. The more games they play the less time they have to audit me.
  • I can safely say that I don't think this would fix anything. People are creative. If it's not solitaire, it -will- be something else. I read one comment that said something along the lines of 'once you're in [state gov't], you actually have to TRY and get fired'. I believe that too. I know quite a few people that could be more way more productive than they currently are. But it's not just the games. It's the phone, or the email, or the internet, or the conversations in the hall. Passing this bill will only
  • by srobert (4099)
    In any work environment, whether private sector or public, there is slack time. What would be the macro-economic impact of eliminating all that slack time from the workplace? Mass unemployment? Cheaper goods and services? A shorter workweek?
    What would be the impact on the distribution of wealth?. What would be the impact on the quality of life, considering that most of us have to go to work most of the days of our lives?
    You agreed to pay me such and such an amount to do such and such each week. Now you f
  • by KidSock (150684)
    Before you pooh pooh this ask yourself if playing another game like say Grand Theft Auto should be banned on State owned computers. If so, what's the difference between playing GTA and Solitare on company time?
  • True Story (Score:5, Funny)

    by telemonster (605238) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:49PM (#11994113) Homepage
    Check this out,

    Setting is a place I used to work at, a gov't place. We were contractors installing and administrating the network and servers.

    A coworker and myself had to go to the 2nd floor of this other building, to fix one of the fiber optic drops (They ran 10mbps fiber to the desktop, we had to remove the included Intel 10/100 NICs and replace them with $400 10baseFL nics).

    We came in, everything was call. But we had forgotten a tool. The workers were mostly quiet, as the cubes didn't allow us to see them. The old barrick buildings turned offices had a spacious and hollow feel on the 2nd floors. It was my coworkers turn to go get the piece or part we had forgotten. So hung tight as my coworker left.

    The minute the door shut and his footsteps were heard thumping down the stairs, I could hear the mouse clicks increase. Immediately I could hear the Space Cadet pinball game from multiple computers. It was fairly funny. As my coworkers footsteps were heard coming up the stairs, all of the game noises went away as the games were minimized.

    I said really loudly "DOUDE, you MISSED ALL THE ACTION"

    Many gov't jobs = welfare/wealth redistribution.

  • Clean Sweep (Score:4, Funny)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:52PM (#11994128) Homepage Journal
    Following their success boosting productivity by banning brooms...
  • by lowe0 (136140) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @08:53PM (#11994136) Homepage
    Before: users spend x hours playing solitaire.

    After: users spend x hours trying to get solitaire working again.

    All my management courses drilled into my head the idea that you can only expect six hours of productivity from an employee per day. I don't see any point in fighting it. Why piss them off in the process?
  • by Parsa (525963) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @09:02PM (#11994204) Homepage
    I work for a government agency and we don't bother removing the default games with Windows. If the program isn't on the desktop then the users don't think it's installed in the first place.

    J

  • by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon @ g m ail.com> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @11:51PM (#11995305)
    In these days where I get a call in the middle of the night to disable x part of the system while they run Y process or when I get called Saturday morning because Z office can't print, if I take a 1/2 hour to check out things on the web on Slashdot or whatever....that makes up for all those 10-15 minute things I get asked to do after hours. If I end up dialing in and working on something for 2-3 hours in the middle of the night or on the weekend, I tell the boss, hey I am taking off early because I did this and he says sure. I am flexible....the company beter be to. If I have to leave early to go to my kids soccer practice or to watch his game but you need me to do X at 2 am....well, you better be cool with me leaving for the soccer game. Having unlimited net access and the ability to install programs not sanctioned or supported by our PC/Network support lets me get my job done or lets me cool my jets before tapping off that nasty e-mail to the idiot who can't unjam his own printer. Talk to the idiots I constantly have to go spoon feed and get them to work better and I may have more time to do real work.

    Also, you want me to do remote support, BUY ME A LAPTOP. I spent my hard earned money on my machines, they are NOT to be used for my work. It's not like I am a independent contractor and have to pay for my own stuff. Oh and don't complain if I have images or other non work software on it either. You want me to do the support and take it home, then you better let me do what I want to do with it, within reason of course. You have my promise there will be no kiddie porn on it too. Start getting uppity and my laptop and my cell phone just may not make it with me on my next business trip.

    There's no way you, the manager, does work all 8 of those hours either. IN fact, most managers are worse than employees or at least the same. Managers are constantly checking the stocks and the damn NCAA tourney or planning their next "business" trip to Las Vegas...shyeah. Take it easy on the employees, and when you really need them to do that extra 8 hours on Saturday, they just might say sure, I had nothing planned.
  • by wk633 (442820) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @11:57PM (#11995330)
    Some people aren't paid by how much the do, but being there to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.

    e.g. Firemen.

    Granted, firemen are usually municipal not state workers. But they have lots of goof-off activities at the station to fight boredom.

    Gee, nothing else to do since they took our T.V. and foosball away. Let's wash the shiny trucks AGAIN!
  • It's Welfare (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Art Tatum (6890) on Monday March 21, 2005 @12:16AM (#11995417)
    It has for some time been obvious to me that government bureaucracy is the *real* welfare program in America. It's a jobs program for people who can't get work in the private sector.
  • by intnsred (199771) on Monday March 21, 2005 @12:57AM (#11995585) Homepage
    My favorite bit (especially as April 15th draws ever closer) is where the author notes that fifty percent of the time an IRS employee is on the computer they are playing games, shopping online or gambling.

    Isn't that a good thing?!

    Considering that the IRS is far more likely to investigate/harass poor or average-income taxpayers as opposed to the rich, I see them wasting their time as a plus.

    Now, if we could only spread this idle time-wasting idea to the Pentagon, maybe Iraqis and other people who are under the thumb of the empire could breath a little easier...
  • by neves (324086) on Monday March 21, 2005 @10:10AM (#11998269) Homepage
    This remembers me of an old joke [holroydcom...als.org.au].

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.

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