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Anonymous No More: Your Coding Style Can Give You Away

Lodragandraoidh Here's a great idea... (218 comments)

You can have/use this idea for free:

Before a system will build said code, have the build system verify the code not only by the public key/code hash, but as a secondary method - the code fingerprint of the author in question.

This turns a creepy idea into something worthwhile.

3 days ago

Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

Lodragandraoidh I'll let you know when I've met one... (211 comments)

I have yet to meet a really competent programmer. I don't consider myself much beyond capable - but I have too many flaws in my output to be considered really brilliant.

I have worked with or dealt with the output of other programmers who's performance was egregious - most egregious was the contractor who's naive use of a commercial java framework managed to produce the effect of a memory leak in java (e.g. hamstrung java's built-in garbage collection mechanism).

Experience has taught me practical measures of quality programmers in no particular order:

1. They must know how to program at the most simple level (e.g. competency in structured programming in C would be a good starting point - a basic understanding of LISP programming a plus) before tackling more complex programming tasks. I get the sense there are a lot of cut-and-paste programmers out there who really don't understand what the underlying code they are creating is actually doing.

2. Have an innate ability to focus on simple solutions, rather than being clever. KISS principle must be understood and brought into every design decision from the start. That is not to say there are no complexities, but understanding what is simple given the problem at hand - some simple things are complex when compared to other systems - and having the ability to avoid needless complexity.

3. Literate - must be able to not only communicate effectively externally - but also their comments in code should illuminate the subject matter in a clear, concise manner. Ideally should be able to get workable technical documentation straight from their comments - via doxygen or the like (perldoc, pydoc etc).

4. Their code must be maintainable and extendable. If an average programmer cannot maintain the code, and is required to rewrite the system from scratch - then you have failed as a quality programmer. Change is inevitable - how resilient your system is to change is a measure of your ability as a programmer.

5. They must understand a lot about technology outside of the world of their application. Their application will live in a world of networks, machines (physical and virtual), storage systems, communication protocols, and APIs - they must understand the implications of software design choices given a set of environmental requirements. The best programmers not only know how to code up systems, but also how to give advice about what their systems will be capable of doing given the environment, or lack thereof - and act upon that if it is possible to adjust via changes to software alone (e.g. choosing multithreading/multiprogramming design over single thread of execution).

6. They must be able to create secure code. If the company they work for doesn't produce a guide to that, then they should develop that on their own - and live by it - and consistently improve it. If they are using frameworks/libraries written by someone else, they should audit or test it to be sure the underlying implementation is secure.

7. Must be able to get along with others and work as part of a team; ideally if they are really a quality programmer, I would expect them to also mentor and share their ideals and capabilities with their peers to bring everyone up as much as possible. Quality programmers are not primadonnas.

That's it from my standpoint.

3 days ago

Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

Lodragandraoidh I'm flaberghasted at the sheer stupidity... (307 comments)

Define 'Application'. Technically the blackberry operating system is an application - so based upon his own statement, blackberry OS should be made to run on any other operating system. In the annals of dumb-assedness, this is one for the record books!

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Ends Mainstream Support For Windows 7

Lodragandraoidh Running Windows 8.1 Pro -- (640 comments)

I'm running Windows 8.1 Pro on the few gaming machines in my home - and happy as a clam. I have one Win7 machine left in the network that is getting ready to get the treatment (new video card, power supply, and Windows 8.1 Pro).

about two weeks ago

How Relevant is C in 2014?

Lodragandraoidh Agree (641 comments)

I agree.

about 2 months ago

Which Programming Language Pays the Best? Probably Python

Lodragandraoidh Re:Why program in Python (277 comments)

P.S. I would have thought your statements more appropriate to Perl than Python:

I came to python after using perl for over 10 years - and have never looked back. Hands down it can do everything perl can do - while providing clear, readable code that is consistent from one developer to the next...you have to really dig down into the bowls of python to create anything that would make me scratch my head - whereas that is trivial to accomplish with perl - and was the cause of many headaches over the years when needing to work with multiple developers' code. I debugged my last hanging curly brace/missing semicolon long ago.

about 2 months ago

Which Programming Language Pays the Best? Probably Python

Lodragandraoidh Re:Why program in Python (277 comments)

What versions are you using, and what features are broken between them that you are complaining about? 3.0 was clearly a departure from the 2.X versions - and that is well known; if you have code that needs 2.X, you can stick with that until it makes sense to transition/migrate your code to 3.0. Right now I'm using 2.6/2.7 - and it is solid as a rock, so I'm not sure what you're complaining about; no one is forcing you to upgrade versions if you don't want/need to, right?

about 2 months ago

It's Not Developers Slowing Things Down, It's the Process

Lodragandraoidh Re:Say no, nobody listens... (186 comments)

Or worse: they simply bypass you:

A: We need your widget X to be modified to produce wingnut Y by March.

B: I can't commit to that now; I need to work up the design and give you a good estimate.

A: Never mind. We'll go with Team C and their widget Z - they assure us they can have it done well before March (the implication being they are more responsive/better than us - never mind that the new widget isn't integrated with our network or systems - and they are going to need us to do the integration work anyway because they know nothing about the systems etc..)

At this point the PMs and Program Managers break into song:

I want a feast I want a bean feast Cream buns and doughnuts and fruitcake with no nuts so good you could go nuts. No, now! I want a ball I want a party Pink macaroons and a million balloons and performing baboons and Give it to me now. I want the world, I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket It's my bar of chocolate Give it to me now! I want today I want tomorrow I want to wear them like braids in my hair and I don't want to share them I want a party with roomfuls of laughter Ten thousand ton of ice cream And if I don't get the things I am after I'm going to scream! I want the works, I want the whole works! Presents and prizes and sweets and surprises in all shapes and sizes, And now! Don't care how I want it now! Don't care how I want it now!

about 2 months ago

It's Not Developers Slowing Things Down, It's the Process

Lodragandraoidh Re:Constant Planning (186 comments)

From what I've learned in the last three companies I worked for that used agile, agile means that an ungodly amount of time is spent in meetings and constant, meaningless record-keeping. God, I hate agile. It gets in the way of doing good, timely work.

They should probably start off by reading the Agile Manifesto...where it talks about the values of agile development - one of which is to value Working software over comprehensive documentation. Sounds like they have the wrong focus.

Mediocrity is not uncommon, and there are way too many people in the development end of things that shouldn't be. I've been dealing with these clowns for almost 20 years now - and this very topic is what is driving me to retire early and do something else with my time, instead of the endless death marches to nowhere.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Workaday Software For BSD On the Desktop?

Lodragandraoidh Fork Linus? (267 comments)

But fleeing from Linux to BSD doesn't solve the problem, that's just running away from it. If the major BSD distros decided to incorporate a systemd-like system then what?

Then it will be time to fork Linus...


However, maybe someone should give the Linux POSIX APIs some loving - and implement a new improved non-systemd distro, and add good support for features/apps that were lost in the 'Great Systemd Landrush of 2014' (basically fork projects that decide only to support systemd - if they are something we gotta have on BSD and Linux).

The one thing I think we can depend upon is the Linux Kernel itself...everything else is questionable given limited resources; if you care about having a given feature that is threatened - put your money/sweat where your mouth is - and support it.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Workaday Software For BSD On the Desktop?

Lodragandraoidh Re:OpenBSD (267 comments)

I would like to know what kind of administration you are doing through a 'flash web gui'? Isn't command line sufficient for admin work? Or am I missing the point in some (not so) subtle way?

Interestingly enough, as I wrote the above, the flash player in Chrome decided to die...heh.

about 2 months ago

Greenwald Advises Market-Based Solution To Mass Surveillance

Lodragandraoidh De-evolution (157 comments)

There are people who think that advising citizens to devolve into consumers is a dubious proposition.

Devolve? I'm still waiting for them to evolve into citizens.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Where Do You Stand on Daylight Saving Time?

Lodragandraoidh Against it! (613 comments)

It is a royal pain in the arse. I prefer recognizing the seasons, rather than trying to hide them. It also mucks with our normal sleep pattern during the switch over.

about 3 months ago

Real Net Neutrality Problem: 'Edge Provider' vs 'End User'

Lodragandraoidh Re:Which way are the bits going? (97 comments)

Who is going to pay for all of that fiber - and associated changes to the network to allow it to go the last mile (so far, the only fiber we've seen to the home is in very small enclaves of people who can afford premium services anyway)?

If you believe that should reside in the corporate realm, then how do you as a corporation turn a profit while also investing in a universal fiber network?

If you believe it should be in the government realm - how do you get politicians to support fund allocations for it - and who does the money go to (municipalities, the aforementioned corporations, someone else)?

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

Lodragandraoidh Re:What system d really is (928 comments)

For those who think SysVinit style init systems is what Linux should be using the next 30 years, there is Slackware. It is a nice general purpose distro that is very traditional. So nobody is forced to use systemd if they don't want to.

Until some key functionality used by people is no longer available in that distro due to decisions made upstream to no longer support the code base, or other dependencies.

If I use KDE - which I do - then packages for that become unavailable at some point in Slackware given the above. That means I will be forced to use systemd if I want to continue using KDE; which also means I will have to change distributions, assuming Slackware remains systemd free, as well.

Not trivial. Not easy. Not freedom of choice.

It simply solve a lot of real world problems and makes life easier for both upstream developers, distro makers and end users.

That is simply a lie.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

Lodragandraoidh Re:What system d really is (928 comments)

... Keeping SysV init is an easy choice for a distro that does care about the needs of sysadmins. ...

There; fixed that for you. Your statement made a very big assumption - not borne out by statements I've read here by system admins.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

Lodragandraoidh Re:It freakin' works fine (928 comments)

It's like being told that if you use bash, you must use emacs.

I thought that was a given?

about 2 months ago

It's Time To Revive Hypercard

Lodragandraoidh Re:No, it's not time to do that. (299 comments)

While, in principle I agree with you (I learned at a university that had several MIT PHDs in the computer science department - one of which was the head of the department - and later in my career when interviewing new candidates, and working with people from what I will call 'sub standard' programs - I saw first hand that all CS degrees were not equal) - I also realize that the people coming from the top university are going to gravitate to where the money is - meaning if you are a small company, or in a company that can't attract the top talent you will be stuck with what you can get.

This situation isn't bound to change, so how do we deal with this? I think the solution should be multifold and systematic to have possibility of success:

1. Every programmer shouldn't have to be a system developer; partition your developers into two camps: a very small group of system developers (for OS, building development tools, and embedded work as needed), and a very large group of what I will call 'application' developers (for applications end users will touch).

2. Limit the tools your Application Developers have available to them. They shouldn't be able to shoot themselves, or their users, in the foot.

3. Focus your System Developers on building tools and libraries for selected application class languages that do not allow Application Developers to reinvent the wheel for things that they shouldn't be - such as memory management and security (the aforementioned 'loaded guns'). Enforce standards for access to and use of the tools by the Application Developer group.

4. To avoid having developers working on software that will only benefit one user - provide safe tools to allow end users to build their own simple applications (e.g. Hypercard - or other paradigms that are appropriate, above and beyond spreadsheets and word processing software). Once an application created in this way becomes popular enough - you have to option of translating it through your application developer team...or leave it as is. If you were smart when you built your (hypercard-like) tool - you allowed it be integrated with, or translated to other systems in safe ways - so that it can be shared with minimal impact/workload.

If we don't find a way to something like what I describe, we will continue to suffer as we keep expecting all CS graduates/programmers to be equal. HR and Execs don't like this because they want all developers to be interchangeable widgets...but reality does not bend to policy.

about 2 months ago

It's Time To Revive Hypercard

Lodragandraoidh Re:For the rest of us (299 comments)

I had the pleasure of access to and use of an Amiga 1000 in '86. It hosted many of my firsts in computing:

First use of a graphical interface

First use of virtualization (hosted an IBM DOS virtual environment in a window - used for running and building DOS applications for IBM PC - the Amiga OS was perfect for this - since it virtualized it's own components as well)

First filled polygon video game (3D up to that point was wireframe)

First real multimedia PC used

First use of a PC with a multitasking operating system

First use of full featured embedded scripting capabilities in an operating system (MS DOS batch processing doesn't count)

After using the Amiga, nothing that followed really surprised me - but most commercial solutions I found limiting in one way or another (e.g. Windows 3.1 lack of preemptive multitasking).

In '95 was looking at OS2 Warp as a better alternative to Windows '95 [I wanted something that had tools I could quickly be productive with; I spent many hours with the Win32 API bible with little to show for it - and J++ just was a fail from an interoperability standpoint] - when I was introduced to Linux - which had what was missing, and dovetailed nicely with my studies at the university - (the computer science lab was well equipped with Sun Solaris machines - and we did all of our development coursework on Unix as a result - and when I got Slackware 2.3 up and running - I started dialing in my projects from home - my first exposure to telecommuting).

The biggest lesson I took from my experience with the Amiga is that being productive with a computer should be easy - and if it isn't then you should look somewhere else until you find it. It may seem counterintuitive given that I ended up with one of the most difficult distros to install at the time. Having a built-in tool set in the form of command line scripting, and other extension languages, in addition to the core system programming languages was key to my own efficiency in getting things done. That being said - today, even for someone who knows how to program, finding easier/quicker ways to get work done is valuable. Everyone is not a computer scientist - and shouldn't have to be to make working tools for themselves easily. While projects have addressed subsets in this arena (spreadsheets, wordprocessing etc), no one has address the fundamental problem of creating a malleable tool for general purpose use - that I am aware of.

IT departments in large companies, and the shrink-wrapped software companies do a good job of accomplishing large projects and particular popular niches (standard office suites) - but they are horrible when addressing the unique needs of the individual. That's where something like hypercard would find a home.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

Lodragandraoidh Thinly Veiled Attempt... (928 comments)

The only good thing I can see about systemd is the exposure of some Linux system APIs that were not exposed via the POSIX subsystem. Nice - but not required by most of us - and could be added to existing standards based initialization daemons without totally rewriting the rules.

Otherwise it seems to be more likely a thinly veiled (actually not veiled at all...given comments of the principles) attempt to fragment the POSIX world - and forcing projects with limited resources to make a Hobson's choice of whether to support systemd based Linux or POSIX standards exclusively. It breaks write once - compile/run anywhere - that was generally available for those who made sure their applications were POSIX compliant. This means that a lot of software that was available across Linux, and Unix flavors (BSD) will now be exclusively available on one or the other - thus fragmenting the *nix world.

Software is not separate from the ethics that surrounds it. This approach and apparent rabid anti-interoperability view is arrogant and self-serving at the expense of cooperation and choice. Furthermore, the monolithic architecture, obfuscated binary logs, and centralized configuration are antithetical to the Unix way - and makes a linux system as difficult to deal with as a Windows system from an automation and management perspective, and raises concerns in terms of security (the greater the complexity in a system, the greater the opportunity for bugs - and thus the greater the attack surface).

Finally it throws away many many years of experience/knowledge acquired by system admins, developers, and users about how a *nix system operates and is configured. This fragmentation of the human factors aspect will by its very nature cause faults/issues during operation.

So - for a host of reasons, I believe it is technically - and more importantly - ethically wrong.

There is actually one more good thing I can think of: it will spawn new distros, software projects to provide alternatives of various applications in the stack, and perhaps new operating systems altogether - with a renewed focus on design simplicity (KISS) and all of the benefits that come from that. Once a system becomes too complex to understand - are you sure you can trust it? So to recap: systemd has two things going for it; exposure of Linux APIs, and the power to breath life into the further exploration of alternatives in the OS/application layer.

about 3 months ago



3rd Space Vest Takes Pwnrship to New Level

Lodragandraoidh Lodragandraoidh writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Lodragandraoidh (639696) writes "TN Games is selling a device that allows a user to feel the impact of a bullet striking their avatar in FPS games (and I imagine it would find other uses for other genres). "Unlike traditional force feedback devices that rumble or buzz, the 3rdSpace Vest gives you precise impact where it happens, as it happens. Get pounded with body slams, crushed with G-forces, and blasted with bullet fire". Probably not a good idea if you happen to be a 'nub' — unless you are a glutton for punishment."

Lodragandraoidh Lodragandraoidh writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Lodragandraoidh (639696) writes "From CNN — Austrian Police combing through the house where Natascha Kampusch was held captive for 8 1/2 years said Tuesday they made an unusual discovery: her captor, a communications technician, used an obsolete computer — and his odd choice now threatens to complicate their investigation. The chief investigator said "it would be difficult to transmit the data to a modern computer without loss.""




Lodragandraoidh Lodragandraoidh writes  |  more than 4 years ago

The title says it all. The buzz is reaching a crescendo and doesn't feel like it's dropping off anytime soon.

1. No Phone
2. Limited Multitasking
3. No Camera
4. Unanswered Questions (Will it be able to sync .txt, .pdf etc files or .mp3, .wav etc files from my laptop?)

1. iBooks
2. App Store - large number of existing apps out the gate
3. Multitouch on large screen
4. Sync - Write, Numbers etc.
5. iPod/iTunes functionality
6. Calendar
7. Email + Photos
8. Bluetooth
9. WiFi n/g/a/b
10. Price
11. Long Battery Life
12. 64 Gig solid state drive

1. 3G
2. Closed/Filtered Development (but $99 doesn't seem like a lot of scratch to have access to the App Store).


Lodragandraoidh Lodragandraoidh writes  |  about 10 years ago

I have recently seen some poor metaphors regarding computers and software.

This is my attempt to clarify the issue for the community in more simple terms (see notes below for more technical explanation if so inclined):

1. A computer is a simulation device which can simulate anything at all, given unlimited resources.

2. In practice we (programmers) build a subset of simulations that are most useful or entertaining for the users (because that pays the bills).

3. An operating system is a simulation that allows us to more easily manipulate our computer to run other simulations and communicate to and through ever more complex and sophisticated devices (sound cards, video cards, network interface cards, joysticks, mice, etc) that we hang off the side.

4. A very small subset of programmers have made an ungodly amount of money selling said simulations. The article kind of loses focus at this point and goes off on a tangent - I won't burden the reader here with that.

5. The CLI will not die simply because its utility and expressiveness outweigh the lack of utility and expressiveness found in pure graphical interfaces. The future is begining now - and is a hybrid - both the CLI and GUI coexisting for mutual benefit leveraging the strengths of both in ways far more sophisticated than we can envision today.

My own editorial: Until people stop reading altogether, or natural speach recognition becomes a reality, keyboards will be around for the foreseable future.

Notes (numbered to reference the numbered sections above):

1. The term simulation is defined in the dictionary as the " representation of the operation or features of one process or system through the use of another". This term is quite common in general use; everyone knows what a 'flight simulator' is for example. A computer program is really just a simulation. A bit of history will illustrate this point:

Alan Turing came up with the concept of a Turing Machine which could be used as a general purpose device to simulate any other machine or process using very simple instructions in building block fashion to produce more complex simulations. The brilliant scientist John Von Neumann further extended the idea* to encompass the first stored program computer architecture for practical use (which exists in modified form in all present PC computer cpus).
*(Though this is debated; it is true he worked at Princeton University in New York when Turing was a graduate student between 1936 and 1938 - Von Neumann even asking him to stay on as his assistant - to which he declined. What would the world have been like from such a partnership, had not WWII interceded?)

It is interesting to note that modern computer chips do not have what we think of as the basic instruction set - Assembler - hardcoded into the chip. Instead the Assembler instruction set is itself a simulation running on a far simpler 'micro code' instruction set that is hardcoded into the chip.

I think a better metaphor for computer software (which encompasses everything running on a computer, from the OS to what we think of as applications) is a series of of small boxes within larger boxes, which themselves are inside of a larger box. Some of the boxes may have more than one box inside of them (like the OS running multiple applications, for example). The largest 'lower level' boxes have the ability to serve as simulation 'stage' for the boxes that they contain. At the highest levels (the small boxes at the 'top' of the stack) they may or may not have facilities for doing further simulation (now-a-days it is more prevelant to see applications that have macros up to and including full-blown programming languages and interpreters for creating your own simulations within the instruction sets provided). The OS is simply one of the larger boxes near the bottom of the stack.

2. Sometimes the users are ourselves; this is why we see a plethora of noddy programs/simulations that don't do much usefull for larger audiences.

3. See the 'boxes-within-boxes' metaphor in number 1 above.

4. Not much more can be said. I will state my own philosophical view: I think it is more useful to programmers and to society as a whole to invent more flexible and open simulations that allow computers (and other less-general purposes devices) to communicate more seamlessly and make them a true and natural tool to augment our senses and intellect. It is not impossible -- we just have to dream it up and make it happen.


Lodragandraoidh Lodragandraoidh writes  |  about 11 years ago

I come bearing an olive branch. I stand astride the precipice seperating CLIs and GUIs, Linux and Windows, plain text versus proprietary file formats.

The questions I hear always revolve around the core principle that there is something universally 'right' or 'wrong' about operating systems - and that we can discern those qualities.

The reality is nowhere near this black and white paradigm. The truth is each one of us individually holds the key to that answer, and we are all correct!

Given the truth of that statement, isn't it silly for us to argue about any OS aspect without prefacing it with 'For me...'? For me, Linux is the best development workstation OS. For me, Windows is a toy that lets me play some of the more interesting games available.

For you, this might be different, but then again, who am I to tell you how to enjoy your CPU cycles?


Lodragandraoidh Lodragandraoidh writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Un pobre guey (593801) pointed out the basic futility behind my sig in this article.

While not perfect, by any means, I did come up with some pretty good stuff - which I intend to massage into something more useful over time.


Life is about that [struggling for what is right against greed and stupidity]. However, our performance is rarely as consistent as our best intentions.

Conversely, the same thing can be expressed as:

Life will always be about furthering our greedy desires, despite our stupidity, at the expense of truth.

It all depends on where you mostly fall in the desire/righteousness continuum.

[commenting upon Un Pobre's suggestion that these ideals get 'crushed on a vast scale on a daily basis']

The key to not becoming disheartened is to pick your battles carefully. That way you aren't always getting squashed. Know when it is most useful to expose your hand, and when it is better to work quietly behind the scenes.

Overall, it is much better to gather 10,000 allies quietly over time, than to run out into sunlight alone and get squashed right away - unless you are into being a martyr. Patience and sacrifice = success. Sacrifice alone = death.

I do not advocate blind sacrifice. I do advocate struggling for what is right - but smartly, with your eyes open.


Lodragandraoidh Lodragandraoidh writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Here is my advice to those of you looking for a steady job in the computer field (or trying to keep the one you've got):

Stop thinking of yourself as a 'Programmer' or a 'Coder', or a 'DBA' or whatever narrowly defined field you think you are in. From now on you are a 'System Integrator', 'System Developer', 'Computer Guru'. Stand up straight - stick out that chin - be proud of who you are.

Learn as much as you can about iterative/agile development - characterized by rapid prototyping, frequent incremental releases, and a really meaningful feedback loop with your customers and team members that addresses the three key questions: What did we do not so well this iteration? What did we do very well this iteration, and finally, what can we do to improve ourselves for the next iteration?

Avoid the strict waterfall method (where specifications are defined in detail - often taking many weeks or months - before implementation - during which specifications are frozen until final release. At which point the application is 'maintained' - usually by a different group than who developed it - and changes have to go through a review process - many months - and vye for IT resources with other projects; I have lived through these - and it is not pretty); build quickly to get something in the hands of the users so they can give you feedback and shape the design where it needs to go. With vendors and internal IT development teams it is sometimes an uphill battle to break them of old bad habits - but its a good fight that pays dividends in the end.

Learn portable tools First, then everything else Second. By this I mean don't specialize in .Net or Visual Basic before you learn Python, Perl, Java and C/C++(GCC). Be able to prototype quickly on whatever hardware and OS your customer may have available (don't tie yourself to a particular architecture/OS) with minimal setup on your part. Ideally, build a tool archive that has the things you need on it - ready to go with templates for standard functionality - this will impress your clients.

One suggestion for a client-server web enabled application toolkit (90% of my projects fall into this category) is to have a tar/zip file containing Zope with your favorite products (extension modules) installed - as well as example applications, and Python - for scripting, and rapid GUI development - again with modifiable examples of stock applications you have developed available for rapid prototyping. If you have internal customers - have a machine set up this way so you can do the prototyping quickly and get feedback as soon as possible.


Don't be afraid of change. Be flexible - and make your customers so happy - they come back to you for more quality tools. Figure out who your customers are and what they want - then give it to them without having to be asked - it is easier to beg forgiveness for something useful, than to get permission to build it before hand.

Keep your technical skills up; practice your craft by building small applications that exercise some aspect of a language you are not familiar with. Keep up on the development, system integration and various standards swirling around - be like Bruce Lee: take what works, and discard the rest. Don't waste your energy trying to master every fad. Know where all of the best 'wheels' are - and use them; don't reinvent the wheel if you don't have to. If all else fails - reinvent the wheel. Remember - the only true measurement is working tools; build many and often.

Finally, examine yourself. Are you the best Computer Guru/System Integrator you can be? Are you doing the right things to satisfy your customers? More importantly, are you satisfied with your job, or would you be happier in some other line of work (there are plenty of other unemployed IT workers ready and willing to step into your empty slot).


Lodragandraoidh Lodragandraoidh writes  |  more than 11 years ago

He traveled far and wide from coast to coast, and gathered warm clothing against the frigid blasts of the 15 ton airhandlers, and avoided the slings and arrows of 48 volt DC power supplies. And lo, he found inscribed upon a lowly cabinet in an empty corner of the data centre floor...

The 1010 Commandments:

0001: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's information.

0010: Thou shalt not hold any OS above the one true POSIX Compliant OS

0011: Thou shalt not worship graven languages, like Visual Basic, C#, or

0100: Thou shalt not spread pestulence, disease, or internet worms in

0101: Thou shalt keep the backup day and make it holy.

0110: Thou shalt regression test agressively, for this is the way to

0111: Thou shalt patch frequently, and tithe heavily for every bug that
            is found.

1000: Thou shalt not let marketroids and suits guide your projects; this
            is the path to perdition.

1001: Thou shalt share thy computer science knowledge freely with all
            those who grok; for all others: RTFM and FAQ.

1010: Thou shalt not use proprietary standards, in all its cloven forms;
            just as Eve was seduced by the fork tongued devil, so too will
            you be expelled from the raised floor of the data center for
            your transgressions.


Lodragandraoidh Lodragandraoidh writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Sco begat Caldera; Caldera renamed Sco; Sco shat on Linux.

Somewhere in there USL begat BSD; BSD broke free.

Things continue to look dark. The totalitarian internet dictatorship enterprise (TIDE) is rising swiftly now. How long will it last? Will we survive it? What of our children? I remember, as a child, having fantasies of surviving a nuclear holocaust. I would pack all of my 'survival gear' into my backpack, food, extra clothes, gear (my trusty compass and swiss army knife), as well as books that I thought important to preserve ('Alas Babylon', 'Lucifer's Hammer' et al). Things never got quite as bad as my nuclear winter nightmares, and I have learned that we are never fully prepared for the increasingly unexpected happenings of adult life.

I keep telling myself that reality is always somewhere inbetween my worse nightmares and my best wishes. I hope that holds true. Hope is a rare commodity now. Perhaps we have to make the world the way that is right by being active - being that lone voice crying out against the screaming hurricane and the enveloping tapestry of night; maybe waiting will only plunge us into darkness faster...what will happen as we stand by and do nothing?

The first rule of Animal Farm: Don't talk about Animal Farm....


Lodragandraoidh Lodragandraoidh writes  |  about 12 years ago

Back on dry land with a new gold tooth, and a healthy appreciation for the vagaries of wood...

Considering my options...one troll, several funnys, and a handful of insightfuls later, and still no moderation points...I kick around the idea of becoming invisible electronically:

No more credit cards - chop them all up. No more ATM transactions; and cancel my direct deposit - cash and carry from this day forward. Select various facial artifices, prosthetic noses, cheekbones, change the color of my eyes and dye my hair in a rotating basis. Clothing to mask my gait. A cabin in the back woods away from prying video cameras. Inside of the cabin, a metal lined room with isolated power - a digital oasis with no contact with the outside world - just me and my perl scripts, happily beeping away...until that day when they finally come to see me - having missed my monthly diatribe mailed from the local trading post - to find my bloated corpse perched in my last resting place, green fuzz encrusted Funyons and empty bottles of Bicycle Ale encircling me like a wreath, a faded 'EFF' poster created with ASCII art leaning forlornly to one side upon the dingy wall above the monitor, holding steady at the soft white glow of a boot prompt.

Are we staring down the maw of the digital dark age? Are we entering an electronic 'Spanish Inquisition'? Does the all seeing eye rein supreme? More importantly, where is Hagbard, and what is he doing about it?


Lodragandraoidh Lodragandraoidh writes  |  about 12 years ago Embarking on my voyage, I wave goodbye to my friends and family on the rat infested dock, and turn toward my destiny on that distant shore. Only a splinter and a chipped tooth mar my passage, Parliment plays softly in the background...

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