The All-Seeing Employer

An overseer of remote employees stops by their virtual cubicles every few minutes

3 min read

At first glance, oDesk, a site that helps employers hire, manage, and pay online contractors, looked like just another marketplace to Web developer Jason Cartwright. So when a former colleague booked him to work on a few projects already managed through oDesk, Cartwright agreed.

There turned out to be one catch: oDesk’s electronic monitoring feature, which takes computer screen shots randomly six times an hour. If you’re reading personal e-mails or watching YouTube on billed time, your employer will find out. ”As I’m an independent developer, it was very invasive at first,” Cartwright says. But he quickly got used to the screen shots and saw the flip side. ”I like the accountability. Knowing that I was being monitored forced me to reduce distractions and stay focused.”

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
Vertical
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
DarkBlue1

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":["31996907"]}