Friday, April 20, 2012

Estonian IT companies and immigration

I acknowledge that with this topic I might wander to an area of strong emotions. Nevertheless I think this is a topic that should be discussed and there is a lot win-win opportunities here. I will start by a few background facts:

In 2006 a population analysis of Estonia was made that you can read here According to the analysis by the time I will retire somewhere in the 2040's the Dependency rate will increase from the current 47% to 70% in Estonia. This means that 30% of the population will be working age and all the rest will be either children or retired. Instead of 614 000 persons working we will have approximately 300 000 people in the working age, but approximately the same number (700 000) people depending on them.

So if we would like to keep the current level of pensions (a pathetic 300 euros/m), social support, education, roads, military etc we would have to double the taxes. In 2045 you will pay 66% social tax, 40% VAT, 42% income tax. So if your employer would pay out 1000 euros, your bruto salary would be 340 euros, your net salary would be 204 euros and you could buy a thing worth 145+VAT. (I would appreciate if anyone could check the math and prove me wrong.)

When the topic of immigration is brought up people tend to think about the "Paris riots" type of problems. Unemployed, uneducated, unfortunate souls living in concrete buildings. But this is only a small part of the truth. Looking at the phenomenon historically then most of the current big nations have grown big thanks to letting others in. USA is the primary example here, but russians, chinese, hindus and many other big nations are mixes of people from various ethnic groups. Letting and getting others in is a good thing I think. And not the least economically. A person with a university degree (especially in medicin or engineering) is very valuable for the society and should be welcomed by every country. Especially by Estonia with the current demographics.

There is huge unemployment in South-Europe and there is no sign of that situation easing. So there are also many IT consultants looking for jobs. For example the number of IT specialists from Greece looking for a job in Sweden doubled this year and from Spain grew 30% according to Resurs Bemanning. Estonian IT companies forecast that they will lack about 6000 new IT specialists in 3 years.

Given this background it is obvious that Estonian IT companies and The Estonian State should encourage IT consultants, software developers and other IT specialists to move to Estonia.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gmail down...

For an hour now it seems that Gmail has been down for many users according to the Twitter feed. You can also follow the status here.

All Telia, Sonera and Elion e-mail services are up and running.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The disaster of Google Picasa

I have been a fan of Google's products for many years and have been using Picasa as a wonderful web gallery service. I am a paying customer buying storage from Google. But well ... not anymore. I just did a radical change and deleted all my albums from Picasa because it turns out Google has done some nasty changes in the service. Done them without any respect to privacy and without giving any choice to the customers. Here is how the thing now works:
- If you tag a photo with a person in Picasa and the person is in your Google+ circles then the whole album is opened to that person automatically.
- The person tagged can then share the whole album to his circles. Maybe even make it public.
- According to the new Privacy terms Google gets to keep all the photos with name tags and location tags, essentially saving the information of millions of people's life's, their whereabouts, friends....
- Picasa web albums is probably soon to be end-of-life and Google+ photos (web gallery in a social network) is going to substitute it.

I did analyze what I should do about it and went through the following reasoning:
- After the surprise of finding my Picasa photos on a social network (Google+) I came to the scary conclusion that I don't have anymore control over the permissions of the galleries.
- Google can and has done changes in the permissions without clear warning and my acceptance.
- And most importantly the people on my photos that I have tagged have not given me the right to publish their photo and information publicly.

Therefore deleting all the data seemed like the only option. So can anyone suggest a good web-gallery service? :-)

The next thing Google should do is to implement the same policy on Gmail: wherever someone's name is found in an E-mail this should automatically be posted onto his Google+ account, publicly and with tags stating who, when, whom and where wrote this text about him. This would indeed lead to a totally transparent society. But if you think of it then this is exactly what happened to Picasa .... and how Facebook Photos work.

And give it a try: Go to and choose "Photos from your Circles" and see how many personal galleries you can find. I did find a lot of "daughters birthday party" and "family reunion" type of galleries that should be private.