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Ask Slashdot: Recommendations For Linux Telecommuting Tools?

RiffRaff06078 Re:Easy fix... (212 comments)

Everyone's needs are different, but between WINE, PlayOnLinux, and a single VM running Windows XP, I successfully switched to Linux over five years ago, and haven't looked back since. Started with Ubuntu, but have been using Mint for the past couple of years. VPN, RDP, VNC, IM, Skype calls, E-Mail, website administration, etc. all from a single dual-core laptop running Mint 10 and XP in a VM. In fact, I've found that what I use the VM for more than anything else is watching Netflix at home and disinfecting other Windows systems. I learned that the easiest way to make the switch to Linux from Windows is to just do it, and prepare yourself for lots of research when you hit a snag of some sort. I start with, "Can I do what I need to do in Linux natively?" Once I exhaust that option, I move on to, "Can I do what I need to do using WINE/PlayOnLinux?" Once I've exhausted that option, I move on to my last resort of using my XP VM to do what I need to do.

more than 2 years ago

Firefighters Let House Burn Because Owner Didn't Pay Fee

RiffRaff06078 Firefighters fight fires, by definition (2058 comments)

I've worked on a volunteer fire department in Indiana. Besides being supplemented by county-level taxes, we held fundraisers for what the taxes wouldn't pay for.

And one thing I remember very specifically from my training: You *NEVER* just let a building burn. For any reason. If it's too far gone to save, you still fight it to keep it from spreading. You lose water pressure, you form a bucket brigade. You lose your buckets, you piss on the fire. But you never, ever, under any circumstances just sit idly by and watch a building burn to the ground.

That fire department may have been enforcing a code approved by the voters in their area. But there is sometimes a difference between what is legal and what is right. Those firefighters don't deserve the title they have, and should have their certification revoked.

more than 3 years ago

Windows 95 Turns 15

RiffRaff06078 Re:Within months? (461 comments)

Vista was the final straw for me with Microsoft products as well. I was part of the club that initially bought into the greatness of Windows 95/98. I didn't know any better back then, really. I made a lot of the same arguments in defense of Windows versus Mac and Linux that I've seen in this thread.

My dissatisfaction with Microsoft didn't begin until my first XP installation, and the third party firewall I always installed (Kerio), which clued me into the evilness of Microsoft's empire. Basically, I ran a file search on my local hard drive. I forget now what I was looking for, but Kerio popped up an alert for outgoing traffic the second I clicked the search button. Seems that Explorer.exe wanted to contact Microsoft servers every time I performed a search, even though the search was limited to the local drive. I permanently blocked that action, but it left a really bad taste in my mouth. MS has no need nor right to be contacted when I am looking for personal files stored on the local drive.

When the abortion that was Windows Vista came out, I switched to Ubuntu, and haven't looked back since. I keep a copy of Windows XP on a small virtual machine with no outside access for the occasional task that requires a Windows OS. Other than that, I have been free of the Microsoft teat for almost four years now. That's not to say that Linux and FOSS don't have their own problems and frustrations, but I'd rather search for a solution on the Ubuntu forums than the Microsoft Knowledge Base any day of the week.

Over the past four years, I have switched all of our corporate servers over to Linux, and am slowly switching workstations over to Linux or Mac, utilizing Windows on locked down VMs wherever it's necessary.

I wish I would have had the foresight to make the switch sooner; I would be just that more experienced with it.

about 4 years ago

Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Benchmarked and Reviewed

RiffRaff06078 Went Back to 9.04 (164 comments)

I will give 10.04 another shot at some point in the future, this time with a fresh install rather than an upgrade, but I ran into so many bugs, crashes, and lack of compatibility that I switched back to 9.04. I am a huge fan of Ubuntu, and I hope this was just an upgrade glitch, but for now, 10.04 is on my back burner.

more than 4 years ago

Recourse For Draconian Encryption Requirements?

RiffRaff06078 Re:Dual Boot (555 comments)

A VM might be a good solution. Allows the IT staff to implement whatever they want without risking your system.

As to your IT staff, their network, their rules. As a network admin I am under no obligation whatsoever to allow my users to access the corporate network with their personal systems.

That being said, based on what you've described, I'd agree with your assessment of them being over-reactive and borderline incompetent. There are easier methods of keeping a network secure.

more than 4 years ago

Microsoft Refuses To Patch Rootkit-Compromised XP Machines

RiffRaff06078 Re:Hmmmm.... (330 comments)

Yeah, okay, the analogy sucked. I was half asleep at my desk when I wrote it. I still stand by the basic argument that Microsoft's tactics of forcing customers to upgrade, combined with their draconian verification protocols, would not be tolerated in other industries.

more than 4 years ago

Microsoft Refuses To Patch Rootkit-Compromised XP Machines

RiffRaff06078 Re:Hmmmm.... (330 comments)

Can you imagine if the auto industry adopted the same strategies used by Microsoft:

A: Sell new 2010 automobile

B: Release new 2011 version of same automobile (with LED widgets!)

C: Inform everyone who purchased the 2010 model that parts for their model will no longer be available after 2012.

D: Inform car dealers that they will not be allowed to sell used 2010 models.

E: Inform gas stations that they must use new nozzles at their pumps that only fit the 2011 models.

F: Sit back an wonder why people take cheap shots at your company and begin purchasing motorcycles.

G: File lawsuits against the motorcycle companies for restraint of trade and IP infringement.

I don't rag on Microsoft because they make a substandard product. I rag on Microsoft because they *force* their new products on their customers, and then treat those customers like thieves until proven otherwise. If I don't want to upgrade from Ubuntu 6, I can still download it and use it if I so choose, and I won't be accused of software piracy if I blow a system board and swap the drive into a new system.

more than 4 years ago

Office Work Ethic In the IT Industry?

RiffRaff06078 Re:All things in moderation (709 comments)

That would be the difference, then, I guess. All of my EUs are hourly. I would still argue that the principle is the same, however. Person A accepts a job with Company B at $xx,xxx per year, based on a 40-hour work week. Said employee has no standing, at least in my mind, to complain later that he/she is being paid half what their worth, *unless* the job description has changed drastically since the date of hire. They accepted the job at that yearly income of their own volition.

more than 4 years ago

Office Work Ethic In the IT Industry?

RiffRaff06078 Re:All things in moderation (709 comments)

Well, I guess the kicker is who is determining what is a fair amount of work for their pay. They filled out an application; they were told they would be hired at $x per hour; they read and signed an employee manual that clearly states the corporate network is not to be used for personal surfing unless they are on a break.

If they think any of the above is unreasonable, they should have spoken up when hired and said, "I'm sorry, but my work is worth twice what you're offering."

Nobody is holding a gun to anyone's head, forcing them to work here against their will. All of this was consented to. Unless your workload has doubled without an equivalent pay increase, then your claims of "They pay me half what I am worth" mean nothing to me.

more than 4 years ago

Office Work Ethic In the IT Industry?

RiffRaff06078 Re:All things in moderation (709 comments)

My users aren't programmers or otherwise IT related, but I'm not sure it makes much difference. They get paid for an 8-hour day. You're saying it's acceptable for them to use half of that time to surf websites? Why not just lock down the network and have them work a 4 hour day? You get the same amount of work accomplished at half the cost, and they still get four hours at home to surf. And, no, I'm not in management. But my annual bonus is dependent on how productive the company is, and I see no reason to piss away my profit-sharing so some EU can surf Fox Sports on the clock.

more than 4 years ago

Office Work Ethic In the IT Industry?

RiffRaff06078 All things in moderation (709 comments)

Is it a sin to spend a few minutes talking about last night's game while you're on the clock for the company? No. Socialization creates camaraderie in the workplace, which ultimately increases morale and productivity. Is it a sin to spend several hours surfing sports websites while on the clock for the company? You betchya, and I'll be the first one with my boot up your ass when I review the network activity logs. As usual, it all comes down to common sense. Our network policy states "no personal surfing on the clock." Period. Do I enforce that to the letter? No way. I have no problem with someone checking their bank account or a news site while they're sitting on hold with a customer. I recognize that employees who do this are going to be more productive and happier in the office. When I review network activity, I always allow a small percentage of personal traffic even though it's technically against company policy. My superiors know I do this, and they trust my judgment. As for your situation, you have two options as I see it. You can abide by your own work ethic, which might not accomplish anything other than being able to sleep better at night; or you can lower yourself to the standards of your coworkers. Either way, until you have more seniority or move into a supervisory position, there is little you can do about it.

more than 4 years ago

Central Anti-Virus For Small Business?

RiffRaff06078 Untangle Gateway (359 comments)

Last October I deployed Untangle gateway - - in our office, which has multiple security solutions, including AV and spyware blocking. There is a free package which would serve a small business very well, and there are subscription packages available if necessary. Granted, I run AVG 8.5 on the client side as well, but since deploying Untangle, I have had zero virus infestations, and spyware incidents have dropped to almost zero. Further suggestions, and forgive me if these are repeats, because I simply skimmed the other comments, include disabling the Windows Autoplay feature for CD & USB drives, and blocking all executable downloads at the server level to prevent that &##$(#*@^%!-ing XP AntiVirus 2009 from installing itself. Definitely check out Untangle; I can't recommend it highly enough.

more than 5 years ago

IT Job Without a Degree?

RiffRaff06078 It's possible, but you have to work for it (1123 comments)

Speaking from experience, it is possible to attain an admin position without a degree, but as has been pointed out, it will take longer to find, and you'll start at a lower salary, but it's possible. I would start by looking for smaller, locally-owned and operated companies that need an IT professional, but don't think they can afford one, and try to work something out with them. Also, a couple of basic certifications won't hurt you, and they're cheaper and quicker than a college degree. Best of luck to you, Riff

more than 5 years ago


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