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The Case For Working With Your Hands

Firrenzi Change of careers (386 comments)

I used to be a self taught IT technician. Nothing overly high reaching, but enough to manage a network and look after pc's. The long and the short of it was the job burnt me out. With no official quals under my belt I had a hard time getting another job in the industry (circa 2004). So I decided to become an electrical apprentice with the local government supplier (distribution).

Best thing I've done:
PROS:
Pay's not too bad as a second year adult apprentice
working conditions are good
I haven't worked hard since I started, no pressure.
I can still utilise my IT skills in scada and maybe later on in the network control side of things.
The pay is as a first year tradesman out of their time is about the same as a recent graduate (and can go up from there)
Awesome job security (everyone needs power)
Working is still challenging and interesting.
Out and about without a boss breathing down my neck
Scope for further study

Cons:
The risk goes up, but the company is *very* safety conscious
Some occasionally filthy environments
Attitude exists that you know nothing because your 'just the apprentice'

All in all, having the general IT skills gives me an edge in an industry where some tradies still struggle to use a computer (usually the older ones, but some of the younger ones aswell).

Think about it, it might be worth in your area/state/country or then again YMMV

more than 5 years ago
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Think-Tank Warns of Internet "Brownouts" Starting Next Year

Firrenzi Re:why would a computer "jitter and freeze" (445 comments)

That's pretty much the marketing of Australian ISPs. I've been off work for the last week and have been able to pull speeds during the day that are great for my service. Come 4 -7 o'clock and up till about 10 pm, the service is pretty average. It doesn't take a think tank to see this stuff.

Load shedding is a work around when you realise that your network is crap and it's turning to shite around you, but companies will still have to pony up and expand the infrastructure properly, instead of just rolling out enough to keep the funny-numbers-balance-sheet looking pretty.

(U.S. Fed reserve are you listening?)

more than 5 years ago
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Australia To Build Fiber-To-the-Premises Network

Firrenzi Re:Sounds Great (300 comments)

Particularly when it comes to the Australian govt on telecommunications. Their track record leaves a bit to be desired

more than 5 years ago
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How To Keep Rats From Eating My Cables?

Firrenzi Re:I always wondered (1032 comments)

Usually it is by regulation to reduce inteterferance from adjacent electrical. Or to ease the process of a cable pull.

In australia, the S009 standards are a fixed seperation of 150mm or a semi durable barrier with no seperation for data/telco from LV cables (240 - 1000V)

YMMV

more than 5 years ago
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Ireland's Largest ISP Settles With Record Industry

Firrenzi Re:Let' see how fast they will run out of customer (222 comments)

Or do you only care if your actions affect people you know personally?

I don't have the resources to worry about everyone else all the time. Charity begins at home

more than 5 years ago
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iTunes DRM-Free Files Contain Personal Info

Firrenzi Re:Seriously... (693 comments)

Fuck it. I steal music. I can live with it. I wish others would admit to it aswell

more than 5 years ago
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Obama Picks RIAA's Favorite Lawyer For Top DoJ Post

Firrenzi Two important things in politics (766 comments)

There are two important things in politics:

1) Money
2) And I forgot what the second one was...

more than 5 years ago
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Home Generators (or How DTE Energy Ruined My Holidays)

Firrenzi Re:Slashdot advice can equal death (695 comments)

Yes I was ranting, though for some reason the rant tags I wrote didn't show up. The reason LV is more dangerous is that HV tends to blow people away like you described. Still I contest that familiarity in something we use every day breeds contempt.

more than 5 years ago
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Home Generators (or How DTE Energy Ruined My Holidays)

Firrenzi Slashdot advice can equal death (695 comments)

I understand the author of the article knows his/her limits; this is not directed at him/her.

It never ceases to amaze me the advice given on slashdot. How to make network cables, what 2 way radio I should buy, what widget is good, what version of *nix should I run to do abc (insert favourite version of *nix here).
The above advices is often very helpful and gives many including myself a point in the right direction for learning. However as an apprentice electrician with a background in IT and telecommunications, I have learnt there are just some things you don't fuck with unless you have the necessary experience. Electricity is one of them. I work on the industrial distribution side of things where the smallest is 230V (Australia) and the more usual is 11/33 kV. I have done some contracting also.

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. With a electricity, even a moderate amount of knowledge is a dangerous thing. If a plumber stuffs up his pipes, the shit goes in the sewer and the storm water goes down the shit. An environmental issue, but not immediately life threatening. I'm not having a go at plumbers, just that water doesn't kill in the same sense. We mix active and neutral wires around and we kill someone. This is called polarity because the neutral is bonded to the earth by a multiple earth neutral (MEN) link. So now that you weren't sure which socket to put that wire into, congratulations, you just livened up every tap in your house. There have been many cases of this happening with workers and people dying.

The other thing to consider is how many KVA that you are going to need. This is related to power factor; in short how much extra overhead is needed to run the system, let alone you basic current draw. Examples of power factor (overhead) include starting currents for running fridges (up to 8 times it's operational current to kick over the compressor). Too much voltage drop on the circuit (a fair amount here, not just 1 or 2%) because of too high a load and congratulations you've just burnt out your fridge. What happens is the compressor does not have enough initial voltage to kick it over and continues to attempt to do so. If the voltage has dropped by half for example, the fridge is going to pull twice as much current to try and start. At 8 times *initial* starting current, we've just doubled that. We are now pulling current outside of what the fridge is designed to carry. Increased load = increased heat = increased resistance = increased load and so the cycle continues. Magic Black Smoke ensues.

Safety: I will keep this brief
It takes 0.4 A to induce an heart attack.
Our cells operate at very close the frequency of electricity (50hz in euro/aus, 60Hz in North America)
It can be said that low voltage (240 to 1000V) is more dangerous than high voltage (1000V to 33kv). I'm sure many here have mucked around with power supplies or power outlets and gotten a tingle. Some people get thrown across the room, if you unlucky enough to touch it with the palm of your hand, your muscles will contract and lock down. And will stay that way until you are a puddle on the floor.
The general resistance of a human is approimately 1000 ohms, thus doing the math (i = v/r) 110/1000 = 0.11 A. Those figures are starting to push into the major danger area. If you are slightly wet, sweaty or not wearing the right gear, your resistance goes down and your likelihood to die just went up a whole lot.
To put into perspective the testing tolerance on a working electrical glove for LV is 8mA at the very most before fail.

The calculations that go into design are not hard, and in the Aussie standards there are load recommendations as well. The point is a good electrician is also an engineer at heart, designing the system so you are not paying too much for something and not killing your system either. You pay for an electrician's skill, experience and insurance that he won't make it go bang or *kill* someone when he walks away. For those giving advice on slashdot, can you guarantee that your advice won't kill someone in the process? I know I am rambling, ranting and probably foaming at the mouth, but the death of someone from your handiwork would be a tough one to live with. Some advice is good and it will do the job, it's when things go pear shaped (badly) that you need to consider the consequences

A what of what I do in my trade as a whole is trade assistants work, just your basic trade work; stuff that makes a person a good tradesman. The key here is applying the detail you learn at college where you realise the requirements necessary for an installation. Are you sure you want to turn that breaker on? You'd better be otherwise things can go bang, and when the Magic Black Smoke comes out of it, it's very hard to put back in, let alone the issues of life and limb.

more than 5 years ago
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Octopuses Have No Personalities and Enjoy HDTV

Firrenzi Intentional spelling error? (482 comments)

Call me cynical, but I thought the obvious spelling error may have been placed to simply obtain attention. It seems to have worked considering I am posting.

more than 5 years ago
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Meteorite Destroys Warehouse In Auckland, NZ

Firrenzi Relevance to slashdot? (278 comments)

How is this news on Slashdot? The mere scraping of something astronomical and it appears as a news feed. Next up... Paris Hilton's new dog..

more than 5 years ago
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Scientists Achieve Mental Body-Swapping

Firrenzi Hypnosis (297 comments)

This is not new. This has been done by hypnosis and embedded commands for quite a while now

more than 5 years ago
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75 Comics That Are Being Made Into Films

Firrenzi Re:Sorry for offtopic.. (256 comments)

Or maybe Kevin Smith's version to the ending of the LOTR

more than 5 years ago
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Woman Admits Sending $400K To Nigerian Scammer

Firrenzi Blame and Responsibility (857 comments)

To blame others is to disempower ourselves by not accepting our own 'response-ability'

more than 5 years ago
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Raising Doubts About Australia's Broadband Upgrade Plan

Firrenzi Southern Crosstikas (98 comments)

One thing that I cannot understand about Australian, particularly in Brisbane is the attitude of 'Australia: love it or leave' combined with the surreptitious nationalism. Our easy going nature is simply apathy that we will not admit to. When constructive criticism is made, it is often met with derision by the general populace because it is not the Australian way. For all the multiculturalism in this country, tt concerns me the bigotry, racism and provincial mindset that so many have on this island.

Sadly enough, it makes me want to hand in my pass at the door. We are the 51st state of the US (foreign policy, economic policy, etc) , and have learnt it's lessons and bettered them. (ie we are more litigious per capita then the US). A country that chooses to play second fiddle instead of stand on our own two feet.

I guess we shouldn't knock bacteria, after all it's the only culture that some people have in this country.

more than 5 years ago
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iTunes On OS X Finally Has Competition

Firrenzi Songbird Sings (668 comments)

Songbird has potential, but it needs to lose weight and refine its technique before it can fly with the big birds. (Sorry, couldn't help myself...)

So it's song is a symphonic siloquy of a solo soaring

more than 5 years ago
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A Linux-Based "Breath Test" For Porn On PCs

Firrenzi Dumb Criminals get caught.... (345 comments)

It's a fair comment to say that images that are changed are going to have different hash values. But how many non tech people who download images en masse that are of interest to law enf0rcment are going to reneame them? Often, it's those that don't think about what they are doing that these tools are designed to catch; end users as such.

Tools like these I believe are for the majority of cases and the occasional big ring crackdown. It's not so that they can shut down kiddy pr0n, but to tell everyone that they are doing something about it while putting in minimal effort and thus justifying a government job. It's amazing how many people in government jobs will keep a cruisy job going if all they have to do is justify it every now and again. I see it around me every day in my job. Maximum output on paper, with minimal input in reality.

Then again I could be wrong, but I've been known to lean on my government 'shovel' from time to time aswell.

more than 5 years ago

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