"Microsoft Killed My Pappy"
Microsoft, your officers and directors and your senior managers,
I hate your fucking guts. Something about "cut off Netscape's air supply".
I have not used a Microsoft product since 2000. Nothing, nada.
I have converted more desktops to Linux since 2007 than you sold licenses for Windows ME.
I have converted one school district to Linux. Now there are several more school districts looking at that conversion: lower equipment costs (WinXP to Linux, same equipment), lower (zero) license costs, lower tech support costs, near zero malware remediation costs, ...
I hope to live long enough to see you in Chapter 7. Given your track record in recent years, I may get to see it.
Security Researcher Attacked While At Conference
Just one phrase: "Adria Richards"
Did he or didn't he? I don't know.
Is she telling it like it is? I don't know.
There's just too much other stuff to rely on a single person's allegations as evidence enough to convict.
The Birth and Battle of Conficker
OK, just speculating. Tin-foil hat firmly in place.
I wonder if Conficker is a government (which government?) black-ops project disguised to look like organized crime?
The technology looks pretty sharp to me. Not to discount the skills and ability of any competent software developers, but ... I smell a rat.
Obama Looking At Open Source?
Just idle, hypervigilant speculation!! ... Please! DHS, NSA, CIA, FBI, SS(Treasury), et al. I'm just speculating!
Given Microsoft's propensity to undermine any potential conversion to open source software by big government, such as by: going over the head of proposers; spreading FUD about the proposer; getting proposers fired; paying people with influence (like legislators and regulators) to get the proposal blocked; subverting standards processes; and other monopolistic practices ... does anyone but me think that Microsoft might try the same things here?
Given that the dollar amounts at stake are so large and the prestige of an open source win and the damage to Microsoft, does anyone also speculate that Microsoft might go so far as to have Obama, McNealy, and others killed to prevent it from happening?
Again, I'm just speculating!!
Tech-Related Volunteer Gigs
There are lots and lots of opportunities to "give back" using one's technical skills. There is everything from Linux User Groups (LUGs) Install fest assistance; open-source projects of all kinds doing programming, documentation, testing, and other activities; developing software and/or IT infrastructure for non-profits, NGOs and QGOs.
I have been involved in this kind of thing for a number of years. In that time I've had mostly good experiences. There have been a few occasions where I felt compelled to withdraw my support from some organizations when, after working with them for a while, I came to believe that what they purported to be or do was not the case, that in whole or in part their existence was based on tax-avoidance schemes or to create sinecure(s) for the operators of the non-profit rather than provide a real cost effective service to their claimed constituency.
In one case, I came to believe that I was personally at risk if there was an IRS compliance audit because I could be seen to have sufficient information about the organization and operation to be complicit in its bad faith dealing. I left them as quickly as I discovered what I believed to be bad behavior. They had me fooled for quite a while in some cases because they talked a good game, had public and local press support: in effect very good self promotion for unquestionably good causes, were they on the up and up. In all cases they had never undergone a critical outside examination of their financials and operations.
Since that point, I have been very cautious about what kinds of organizations I've been willing to work with. Though I still work with some small non-profits that I've had relationships with for years, I mostly turn away requests from these types of organizations because my experience suggests that a disproportionate number are something other than what they purport to be or that their expense ratios far outweigh the good they purport to do. I now confine my volunteer work to QGOs, such as state chartered volunteer fire departments. The regulatory oversight is better, the paid professionals are better at what they do and the financial controls are very public.
Of course, YMMV. Of course, I could be wrong.
CAN-SPAM Act Turns 5 Today — What Went Wrong?
... Extraordinary Rendition, then professional spammers in foreign countries is it.
Given that law enforcement in Russia is not helpful in getting spammers shut down, at least, and better prosecuted, then the remedy should be to just go in and get 'em and deliver 'em to GitMo.
Note: I do not support unconstitutional means nor violating international treaties in any way. However, since it's on the books, use it where it is necessary.
IT Job Without a Degree?
Degree or not. I'd say it depends on a several factors.
First, and probably the most important, I believe, is how bright (IQ) you are. I'd say that you might fare better over the long term with a degree if you IQ is 120 or less. Less than 110, then consider a different career.
Second, is your personal learning style. If you learn best in a classroom setting, then the degree is probably the way to go. If you can RTFM and figure it out yourself, then you may do fine without.
Third, is your overall career goal. Sysadmin is a good start and pays well enough. If you think you'll do your entire career in sysadmin or operations management, then no degree might be OK. If you see yourself designing and coding software of some significant complexity, or managing software development then the degree is probably a good idea.
Fourth, is the curriculum you plan to study if you pursue the degree. If your aspirations are toward software development and design, then the curriculum should have courses specific to that career direction. I do not mean programming language courses, but theory courses such as analysis of algorithms, discrete math for comp-sci, and the like.
From my own personal experience, a high school dropout with a GED, there were times over a 30-something year career where I faced software development issues where I knew the degree, at least some very specific knowledge during the pursuit of the degree would have helped a lot. There was one assignment where my employer told me to go buy the books, take 3 months to learn the pre-requisite theory (on their nickle), find a mentor among my peers, then do the job. I did exactly that, but that was a good employer and I had a good track record with them.
There were at least two jobs I did not get because I did not have a degree. In retrospect, those two jobs would not have benefited my career anyway, but there were doors closed because I did not have the degree.
Given my career goals, given the advances in compsci over the years, given the kinds of jobs I had, the degree would have been a good thing. Then again, at the time I was of age to have gone to college (1963), there was no compsci, or IT focused degree.
On reflection, at the time I retired (2001) I'd say that there were, and still are, some holes in my software development education. Had I been able to pursue the degree when I was younger, I might have taken a different path through my career. That path not taken may, or may not, have made a difference in job choices, money made, my personal legacy, ... whatever. At this point, it's moot. For you, however, your decision now will influence your long term career outcome.