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Ask Slashdot: Learning DB the Right Way; Books, Tutorials, or What?

Call Me Black Cloud The Manga Guide to Databases (106 comments)

The Manga Guide to Databases is the best introduction to (relational) databases I've come across. It provides an entertaining and thorough overview of database terminology and concepts. I've used this book for years with junior engineers and interns who have all loved it, and the DBAs I've loaned it to were impressed by how much ground the book covers.

about a year ago

Does Coding Style Matter?

Call Me Black Cloud Formatting is the IDE's job (479 comments)

There are best practices and rules a programmer should follow and those should be set at the team that "style" if you want. But formatting? Who cares? The IDE takes care of that. If the diff engine on your IDE or repository can't tell the difference between code changes and whitespace changes then something's wrong. I was on a (Java) project where half the team liked braces on a new line and half didn't. When I worked on code written by someone else, the first thing I'd do is hit alt-shift-F (Netbeans) to reformat the code. I'd do the same if I pasted some code...reformat the file to get the new code formatted the right way.

Our SVN repository wasn't glutted with meaningless diffs and I didn't face hundreds of conflicts when updating code. In this modern age (despite the lack of flying cars) it's silly to have to conform to one standard to make the software happy. Software works for us, not the other way around. I use software to format code the way I'm most comfortable with...why should everyone compromise so no one is happy? Just set up your tools properly and stop worrying about formatting.

about 2 years ago

Do Headphones Help Or Hurt Productivity?

Call Me Black Cloud It helps me and my ADD (405 comments)

I'm a coder and I've found I'm much more productive when I'm listening to music through headphones (usually the Foo Fighters or 311). Without music I'm much more prone to distraction, and not just from office noises. I'm more inclined to get a random thought and end up surfing the web when I'm not listening to music. Meds will help me stay in the zone but music definitely increases my productivity, on or off meds.

more than 2 years ago

"Brainput" Boosts Your Brain Power By Offloading Multitasking To a Computer

Call Me Black Cloud No big - I've been studying this for years (121 comments)

I never referred to my studies as "bra input" like they did but I guess that's what it takes to get funding. All my research has been self-funded...

more than 2 years ago

Blue Gecko is an 11 Year Old Remote Database Administration Startup (Video)

Call Me Black Cloud Who set up the camera? (63 comments)

I'm sure that's a comfy couch but it doesn't need to fill the frame. How about zooming in on the speaker?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: A Cheap, DIY Home Security and Surveillance System?

Call Me Black Cloud Let me know when you get new stuff... (508 comments)

...I'll be by to take it because you don't seem very bright.

You announce on Twitter when you leave your house ("Off to IKEA!"), you're too cheap to pay for ADT (or even ADT signs and stickers), yet you don't mind paying for equipment so you can sit around and monitor your home.

Let me know when you get the webcams up and running...I'm sure you'll fail to change the default password. I'd rather use the webcams to see when you leave rather than following you on Twitter.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Freedom From DRM, In the Social Gaming Arena?

Call Me Black Cloud Re:XML (71 comments)

Brilliant! I will now rule the workplace!

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Freedom From DRM, In the Social Gaming Arena?

Call Me Black Cloud Re:URI missing (71 comments)

Really? did that game get funded?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Copy Protection Advice For ~$10k Software?

Call Me Black Cloud Hardware dongle ftw! (635 comments)

We faced a similar problem once upon a time and used a USB key from Wibu as the solution ( - they have a newer product out now). It's been a few years since I worked on the project but in general what we did was used the key to decrypt small, critical portions of the code. The software couldn't run without the key and it was non-trivial to patch the code to an unencrypted state. No solution is perfect but that worked for us.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Go Paperless At Home?

Call Me Black Cloud Re:Use a mounted camera (311 comments)

It would take an amazing camera to photograph both sides of a document at once. That's why I use the ScanSnap s1500 - it will beat your 12-15 pages per minute while scanning both sides in color and creating PDFs on the fly. Its footprint is small enough that it sits on my desk.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Go Paperless At Home?

Call Me Black Cloud Re:Fujitsu ScanSnap or similar (311 comments)

I second the above post. I also have an S1500 and like jrkotrla says, it's magic. I open the unit, load the docs, press the blue button and the PDF is stored in the correct folder. Load more docs, press the blue button, etc. I rename the files and remove unneeded pages before moving the PDF to its final location but that's all the effort I expend.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Where Are the Open Source Jobs?

Call Me Black Cloud What's your current job? (506 comments)

Are you a janitor? Programmer? DBA? SA? Middle manager?

And what is "an open source job"? Is that a job where anyone can come by and do your work for you?

Your knee-jerk reaction makes no sense. You didn't say what you do or how the change will affect you, only "OMG M$!!!!!". In the end your company will be better off without you.

more than 2 years ago

IBM Seeks Patent On Judging Programmers By Commits

Call Me Black Cloud Re:What crap (182 comments)

No, because everyone knows braces go on a new line!

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Money-Making Home-Based Tech Skills?

Call Me Black Cloud Are you a shut-in? (332 comments)

If you're able to leave the house on occasion then look for local work instead. It took my wife a while but she found part-time work that she can do partly from home. Granted, it took a lot of wading through scams on Craigslist. My job is more flexible than hers so I can cover things at home if she needs to be out.

You need to find a task that either can't be outsourced (personal assistant, Girl Friday) or that the employer doesn't want to outsource. Find local companies that would rather have their tech needs met by someone they've met in person, yet that don't want to have a full-time person.

The catch is you'll have to work to get those jobs. You can't just sit around surfing the web looking for work. You need to call companies, leverage your friends and neighbors, and even cold call businesses in person. You have to earn the's not going to fall from the sky.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Money-Making Home-Based Tech Skills?

Call Me Black Cloud Re:Home porn videos? (332 comments)

Damn...too bad I already spent my mod points. Any comment that causes me to spray soda on the monitor is worth +1, AC or not!

more than 2 years ago

Why We Should Teach Our Kids To Code

Call Me Black Cloud Re:Please stop! (427 comments)

You're absolutely right. I'm a programmer and I'm forced to rely on those who can build houses and furniture and appliances. If only I'd gone into the house/furniture/appliance trade.

Oh, wait...I forgot how things work. It's a good thing someone invented money so I can exchange my labor for someone else's using a mutually agreeable medium. Now I don't have to be a furniture maker/doctor/farmer/weaver...I can do what I'm good at and allow others to do what they're good at.

more than 2 years ago


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