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Ask Slashdot: Best Training To Rekindle a Long Tech Career?

JoshuaDFranklin Your position in enviable (162 comments)


As your post points out, it's obvious that "the Cloud" is a valuable skill. That term means many things, but although I've been hearing the same things for the last 5 years I've only had the chance to mess with running virtual machines on the public cloud for the past couple months. Why? Time didn't permit me the luxury of exploring it myself, and only recently has my employer decided to it's a priority and paid me to work on it. My bet is that a lot of technology professionals feel that way. I know this sounds cliché, but getting laid off may be the best thing that ever happened for your career. Take the skills you know and add on some pretty deep exploration of cloud technologies. Up to you, but since you mentioned Java you might start with Amazon's Elastic Beanstalk (deploy .war files on Tomcat running in the cloud), which has a 1-year free tier: http://aws.amazon.com/elasticbeanstalk/#pricing

If you want to be really hip, we've used JRuby to deploy Rails applications to beanstalk, there's a "Hello World" tutorial from Amazon here: http://aws.typepad.com/aws/2011/02/rack-and-the-beanstalk.html

I'm sure there are other free or low cost options out there as well. Even unemployed, your time is very valuable so use it to your advantage.

more than 2 years ago

Software Engineering Is a Dead-End Career, Says Bloomberg

JoshuaDFranklin senior software architect (738 comments)

Sound like that's because you should be able to graduate to a higher level software develpment role by then.

more than 2 years ago

Schooling, Homeschooling, and Now, "Unschooling"

JoshuaDFranklin Re:What would these kids grow up to be? (1345 comments)

John Holt and Daniel Greenberg have written about it for about 40 years. The school directory in the article is just not informed on the area, here an example peer-reviewed academic journal article: "Teaching Justice through Experience.

Unschooling is much more closely related to free schooling or democratic schooling as has been practiced successfully since the 1920s at places like Summerhill School. These students are sought after by colleges because they are articulate, self-motivated learners. It is actually much like college because students choose what to learn about (often through classes or workshops), rather than the high school model of everyone taking the same state-required classes. I would bet nearly all Slashdotters learned to code this way.

The biggest drawback to unschooling is that it pretty much requires one parent to stay home (or both to work part time). On the other hand, in areas where the public schools are underfunded, private schools can eat up all the income from a second job anyway.

more than 5 years ago

The Hidden Costs of Microsoft's Free Office Online

JoshuaDFranklin Re:well duh (174 comments)

You don't understand what Sharepoint is, do you? We rolled out MOSS Sharepoint and used it for a few months. Even Windows users preferred email because the interface made it so painful to find things. Sharepoint does not have any of the functionality you list, either. There is an add-on that includes access control, but guess what? Client machines much be logged into the same domain (or have a a trust set up). In other words, Sharepoint has no access control functionality that can be used any differently than a Windows Server fileshare! It also stores documents in a database, and as you get a lot of documents (say, 1000) performance degrades. Maybe Mediawiki is a bad comparison since it has a completely different feature set, but any business would be better served with an actual document management system like Alfresco. (People also seem obsessed with Sharepoint's "blogs" which have much less functionality than Wordpress.)

more than 5 years ago

Staying In Shape vs. a Busy IT Job Schedule?

JoshuaDFranklin Re:Its not rocket surgery... (865 comments)

You could move closer to work and walk. Ideally your workplace is also nearby grocery stores, library, etc. and you can walk there too. It's a little exercise and definitely increases quality of life. If it's in a major city there are often a lot of apartment choices downtown with various amenities like weight room or pool if you're into that.

more than 5 years ago

Google Tricycles To Map Footpaths For Street View

JoshuaDFranklin Re:Mapjack.com already does this (274 comments)

Nice, but MapJack only has a couple dozen places, mostly in the Bay Area. Google is talking about worldwide.

more than 5 years ago

Making Sense of Mismatched Certificates?

JoshuaDFranklin Re:Not nothing. (322 comments)

In the case of a large bank they really should have things configured properly. However, I've also see this in cases of a certs for things like www.some-small-online-business.com and I really wish Firefox would offer to redirect you to the proper domain for the cert.

more than 5 years ago

Lawsuit Stops Headline Scraping

JoshuaDFranklin Re:Lawsuit Stops Headline Scraping (85 comments)

Summary is wrong. Massachusetts District Court cannot set binding precedents, which are "findings of law made by a higher court" such as Appeals or Supreme Court that must be honored by a lower court. The lowest court on the hierarchy cannot set a precedent even if this had gone to court!

This seems like a case of "pay off the annoying buzz" rather than anything important in a legal sense. (IANAL, etc., etc.)

more than 5 years ago

Barack Obama Sworn In As 44th President of the US

JoshuaDFranklin Re:I am already so tired ... (1656 comments)

Guess what? This whole "race" thing dominates the lives of a large percentage of American citizens. Only privileged whites feel like it's not a big deal. This is a monumental occasion for the United States, and for the world. Before today, every single US President has been a white male, and the vast majority from the upper class. Obama's parents' interracial marriage would have been illegal in Virginia (and in 15 other states), and less than 60 years ago blacks were not even allowed in many restaurants.

Barack Obama was raised largely by his white maternal family, but they continually held up black role models and taught him that his race was a positive trait. His grandfather had black friends, he read black authors and listened to music from Harlem. Obama has been immersed in the African-American community since college and seen first hand what racist institutional practices like redlining did in Chicago. He is our first African-American President, and not just on a technicality.

The most inspiring aspect of Obama's campaign and hopefully Presidency is that he is bringing all races and creeds together, which you may remember is the central theme of Dr. King's 1963 speech: "I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. . . in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

about 6 years ago

How Best To Deal With WiFi Interference?

JoshuaDFranklin Re:Solution (451 comments)

Hmm, must be an older condo. All the new ones I've seen come wired.

Well, I'm afraid that my suggestions involve spending money or time, but maybe you don't mind. You might also consider whether you might be getting other interference (microwave running, 2.4Ghz phones, etc).

First, you could buy a different WAP. 5.4Ghz is an option, or one that transmits at higher power. Cisco Aironet comes to mind--they've got better radios and transit at 100mw instead of the Linksys 80mw. That's professional level equipment.

However, that solution moves the problem to someone else or puts you at the mercy of the next guy doing the same thing. Do you have a condo association? You could organize a co-op or partner with a company like Meraki that does this sort of thing for a living. In the long run that will save all residents hassle and, if you get enough buy-in, money.

about 6 years ago

Re-purposing a Student Tech Service Group?

JoshuaDFranklin Re:Student start-up hosting (185 comments)

I guess that was a joke, but the thing most recent graduates I run across are actually missing is software lifecycle skills. So what you can do is drop a pile of fairly well written code on them and tell them to add features x and y. That's probably the sort of thing their first job will require, and it will help them learn to really use a debugger, source control and such. You could probably use an open source project for this and (if they're any good) contribute the features they add. Of course, this is assuming your members actually do know how to use a debugger.

more than 6 years ago


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