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I expect to retire ...

NewWorldDan Re:Software developer (235 comments)

It turns out I only want to code about 25 hours a week. I'd like to spend more time either outdoors or in my workshop.

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?

NewWorldDan Re:Whatever you're interested in (282 comments)

I still enjoy getting magazines in the mail. I find them more satisfying than trying to read something on a tablet. Mostly I get woodworking magazines (Woodworker's Journal and Fine Woodworking). I also get the print edition of MSDN Magazine, which I like to take with me when I go to lunch.

2 days ago

Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

NewWorldDan Re:Only in America... (307 comments)

That's good, because I only own a metric shotgun.

5 days ago

Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

NewWorldDan Re:Pretty much true (578 comments)

Try hiring programmers sometime. I've replaced the interview with 2 simple programming tests:

1) FizzBuzz
2) Read a list of numbers, sort it, write it back out.

The candidate is expected to do this in C#. For the applicants that I get, with decent looking resumes, less than 30% pass. A good programmer can do both easily in under 10 minutes. Entry level should be able to do it in under 20 even if they've never used C# or .NET. A lot of candidates look at the screen for half an hour before admitting that they just can't do it. One guy with a degree and 5 years experience took 50 minutes to produce something that mostly worked. So I hired an entry level guy who had never used C# or .NET or Visual Studio, but still managed to finish both tasks in 12 minutes. It took some work to get him trained on MVC and EF and good web security, but it was worth it.

I don't care where they studied or even if they have a degree. If they can pass my little test, they've got a good shot at being hired. If they can't, they should be looking for a different line of work. Try hiring programmers. Give them my little test and then tell me what you think.

about a week ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Start With Linux In the Workplace?

NewWorldDan Re:False economy (451 comments)

You might also find that for 2 employees, switching away from Windows is just not an option. There may be an accounting package or some other piece of software that they're using where changing OS is just not an option. Before you even think about making a change, take a very detailed inventory of the software that your users need. Especially the things that only get used a few times a year. That's where you'll usually find your biggest stumbling block.

about two weeks ago

Do Free-To-Play Games Get a Fair Shake?

NewWorldDan Re:The play store needs categories (181 comments)

You forgot a category:

* Buy it once

I'm completely willing to shell out a few bucks up front in order to not be bothered by irritating grabs for money. Of course, I also prefer single player offline games, so this works for me.

about two weeks ago

Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party

NewWorldDan Re:10 REM HAPPY BIRTHDAY (146 comments)

As memory serves, you would want semicolons after lines 60 and 70 so as not to cause a new line. The dangers of posting untested code to the web.

Anyway, I thought I'd share the greatest program I ever wrote: a chat-bot. I was 8 and taking a summer school BASIC class in 1984. Near the end of the summer, we had a group of seniors visiting, so I wrote a really simple chat program - just asked some questions and provided canned responses. When those seniors saw the computer talking about the weather they got up and backed away in fear and I had to explain that it said the same thing no matter what you typed, but they still wouldn't go near the computer again. Looking back, that was totally awesome.

about two weeks ago

Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

NewWorldDan Re:Hardware requirements (641 comments)

That suggestion is utter nonsense. I have used open source programs that were later abandoned. I don't have the budget to hire 5 programmers to modernize and maintain them. At that point, I might as well hire a staff to write nearly all software I depend on.

By comparison, XP has been maintained as Vista, 7 , 8, and 8.1. Unfortunately, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and you can't produce a modern OS without sacrificing some backwards compatibility.

Pretty much everyone who has outdated hardware tied to XP has a way to modernize. It's just... very expensive.

about two weeks ago

Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

NewWorldDan Re:Microsoft (226 comments)

Microsoft has always been the lesser innovator. They're always late to the party. But they still have a stranglehold on the business desktop and that isn't going to change any time soon. Too many businesses have legacy apps that haven't been updated in 10 years and that they can't realistically migrate away from. The hard part for Microsoft this time around is that they're having to change their business model - from making money selling software to giving away the software and making money off every stupid thing the user does. Personally, I prefer to buy the software and be done with it, but the times they are a changing.

about two weeks ago

Amazon's Fire TV: Is It Worth Game Developers' Time?

NewWorldDan Re:Easy answer (88 comments)

No, it's not an easy answer, you target the platform that will have the best sales when the product is released (say, 12 months in the future). Further complicated by the fragmentation of the Android platform. So now you've got the Play store, Ouya, Fire TV, and a dozen other Android platforms that you may need to customize for, each with varying hardware specs, so it's hard to predict if your game will perform as expected. Then you compare that to the Steam ecosystem, Windows, Apple, Wii U, XBone, and Play Station.

So, smartass, what's the gameplan that's going to target the greatest number of the right kind of users while minimizing development and administrative overhead? How successful will these various platforms be a year from now, and how crowded will their various marketplaces be? How many other games on that platform will you be competing against? It's a very complicated puzzle to try and figure out.

about two weeks ago

Should Patients Have the Option To Not Know Their DNA?

NewWorldDan Re:opt-out (157 comments)

Well, there are people who avoid going to the doctor if they think they'll be switching jobs in the near future because they don't want to be burdened by a pre-existing condition.

Of course, I think in 20 years, this will all be moot. Everyone will be gene-sequenced at birth and they'll have this database of information to work off of and it will just be the new normal. Medicine will eventually learn what spam fighters already know: dumb beats smart. Which is to say, however clever you think you are, given a large enough data set, brute force data analysis will always outperform.

about two weeks ago

The Connected Home's Battle of the Bulbs

NewWorldDan Re:As one-way as X10 (176 comments)

If they're Bluetooth based, I wouldn't be worried about random hackers. I'd be worried about my asshole friends drunkenly screwing with my house. Or that I'd get a new phone and have to reprogram all my lights. To hell with that nonsense. Either I want the lights on or off. I can hit a switch as I enter or leave a room.

about three weeks ago

Nature Publisher Requires Authors To Waive "Moral Rights" To Works

NewWorldDan Re:There are many journals (82 comments)

This sounds like a bit of much ado about nothing. US law, as I understand it, doesn't really provide for "moral rights" to a work. That's more of a European way of thinking. This is more of a boilerplate, if we publish this, don't sue us ever kind of thing. Moral rights to a work are idiotic anyway. In the European way of things, there's a period of time where you're not allowed to offend the work (like, say, making a porn version of Star Wars) after the main copyright period ends. The US workaround for this to comply with treaty obligations is just to extend copyright until the period of moral rights would expire. Which as luck would have it also keeps Mickey Mouse out of the public domain. So in the US, if the law is still as I remember reading it many years ago, completely moot.

about three weeks ago

If Ridesharing Is Banned, What About Ride-Trading?

NewWorldDan Re:don't prop up a dying market (353 comments)

Actually, in most of these services, the driver has been vetted by all of his previous passengers and complaints are public (same goes with riders). Get a bad reputation for inappropriate behavior, you're not getting any more business. Furthermore, there becomes a record of all pickups and drop-offs.

As opposed to a conventional taxi, where both the driver and passenger are complete unknowns.

Both approaches have their problems. Requiring drivers to have an upgraded license and appropriate insurance is certainly reasonable. The medallion system that a lot of large cities use is absurd.

about three weeks ago

Level 3 Wants To Make Peering a Net Neutrality Issue

NewWorldDan Re: Users who pay for high bandwidth connections s (182 comments)

And if we had more than 2 choices, we would. Right now, it's a duopoly and neither incumbent is willing to rock the boat.

What really needs to be done is to separate the providers from the last mile connection. A lot of ISPs could get in to the game if they only had to get their fiber to a local substation.

about a month ago

MtGox Finds 200,000 Bitcoins In Old Wallet

NewWorldDan Re:Possible (227 comments)

I place the odds at about 3:2 for incompetence over malfeasance. When you run that much money through a website for trading Magic cards, the probability of either is pretty good.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks?

NewWorldDan Don't fight it (306 comments)

I think the biggest problem we encounter when moving to a new platform is looking at it and seeing everything that's wrong with it. Moving from C# Windows apps to HTML/JavaScirpt/CSS has been very frustrating because nothing works the way I think it should. It's a terrible platform, but that's just the way that things are done now, so you better get used to it and just accept it.

But to make a modern web app, you're going to need some additional frameworks on top of the HTML, JavaScript and CSS. So you've got jQuery and BootStrap and whatever else on top of whatever is assembling pages on the server side of things, MVC, or whatever else. So you've just got to dive in head first and fully commit yourself to doing things the new way or you're going to get left behind. I've seen old programmers who made the change, and I've seen guys cling to what they're comfortable with and slowly become obsolete. And that's why I'm using the Slashdot beta.

about a month ago

EU Votes For Universal Phone Charger

NewWorldDan 10 years ago this made sense (358 comments)

Over the last decade, everyone has already standardized on USB as the default. Everything I need to charge can be charged off a USB port, and I only need 2 different cables, one for my wife's iPod, and a micro USB for everything else.

The reason this is a terrible idea, is that when someone does come up with a better connector (for example, Apple's Lightning connector), they may not be able to produce/sell it because the standard has already been set. As usual, the EU is late to the party and trying to solve a problem that's already been solved, while potentially causing problems for the future.

about a month ago

White House: Get ACA Insurance Coverage, Launch Start-Ups

NewWorldDan Re:Why is it people utterly ignore history? (578 comments)

Interest rates on credit cards are high for a reason - they're a high risk loan. People that carry credit card debt are at high risk for declaring bankruptcy. The system is working correctly. Meanwhile, I love my bank. Free checking, great service. Interstate competition in banking has been fantastic. I've got 6 separate banking options within walking distance of my house. 2 national, 2 local, 2 credit unions. Heck, there are only 4 liquor stores in walking distance.

In any event, separating health insurance from employment is a great thing. I know so many people who are afraid to leave their jobs for something better because they have some sort of long term health issue that they're afraid won't be covered if they end up on a new plan.

about a month ago

Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

NewWorldDan Re:Clueless people (712 comments)

Have you actually read Atlas Shrugged? It's about creating "fair" competition by legislative fiat. I still don't get how Galt's Gulch could function without a bunch of low paid labor, but that's a separate problem. Whatever. Buying the coal mines and power plants from willing sellers is completely within the realm of free markets.

The real problem is that if you shut down the coal industry and all the cheap energy that comes with it, energy prices are going to go up, and this will in turn hurt the poor. The remaining coal assets will become that much more valuable and so this $50B number might be a bit small. And 10 years sounds like a naively short time period to accomplish this. It takes 10 years just to get a plan approved to build a nuclear power plant. Where's our electricity going to come from in the meantime?

about a month ago



How to respond to a fishing expodition

NewWorldDan NewWorldDan writes  |  more than 2 years ago

NewWorldDan (899800) writes "I recently had a phone call from some gentlemen with very thick foreign accents. They claimied to be from Microsoft and had detected a malware infection on my PC and were going to help me fix it. I kept them on the line as long as I could to keep them from bothering anyone else. I'd never received a scam call like this before, much less one so blatant, so I'm wondering what should one do in a situation like this?"


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