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US Climate Report Says Global Warming Impact Already Severe

RocketScientist Here's what I think should happen. (627 comments)

I think the President should go on a few more golf outings, you know, fly in his big old 747 to somewhere far away and play a round or two, and then fly back to DC. Then, we need to have a UN Climate Summit somewhere tropical, and figure out how to solve the logistics problems inherent in having a meeting in a remote location, like how to make sure adequate supplies of caviar are flown in fresh daily and where to park all the jets ferrying individuals to their destination.

I'll believe it's a problem when the people who are telling me it's a problem start acting like it's a problem. When the logistics problems go from caviar to videoconferencing bandwidth. When the President decides that golfing locally is a better idea than flying somewhere.

"Oh, you just don't understand international diplomacy and the need for face-to-face communications to achieve consensus!"

You're asking me to change my life and not accepting any changes in the way you live yours. Hypocrisy at its finest.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Does Your Employer Perform HTTPS MITM Attacks On Employees?

RocketScientist Re:Yes they did. (572 comments)

Yup, and I left a company over this exact problem. They couldn't show me that they weren't recording sensitive information (i.e. logging in to manage my health insurance benefits) so I decided I could better offer my services to another employer.

Badly architected, badly designed, badly implemented, badly documented, poorly tested, and no security or audit controls. Yeah, gonna take a pass on that, thanks though.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: When Is a Better Career Opportunity Worth a Pay Cut?

RocketScientist Re:I just went through this... (263 comments)

Yeh, if you do the math on my post above, you'll see I'm making about 25% more and working 50% more. My income is up, income/hour is down and my free time is way down. Is that really an income increase? Nope.

Was this a bad move? Not really. I've learned a lot and filled out a huge blank spot in my resume. I've now managed a very large database, managed a very busy database, managed replication and mirroring, done a data center move, done 2 hardware refreshes and a DBMS version upgrade. Long term it's going to pay off. Short term it's kinda hell.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: When Is a Better Career Opportunity Worth a Pay Cut?

RocketScientist I just went through this... (263 comments)

You'll find about a dozen people in this thread that are gonna say "follow your heart".

Those people are wrong. That's the last thing you should do.

I went through this, and it's got upsides and downsides. You need to weigh those against your work-life balance and make a well thought out decision about your priorities.

The company I left 2 years ago had a rich culture, a workout room, showers (nice to go with the workout room), weekly social things, great work-life balance with a 45 hour or so work week and alternating Friday early out, a great career ladder, and great coffee. The job was mildly interesting, not very challenging, but I had a lot of fun and free time, so I could do contract side work to fill out those needs. Work life balance was awesome, I worked about 40-45 hours a week, and got a lot of time at work to do career development (teach myself new stuff) and learned on the job. Manager was a bit of a git, but hey, nothing's perfect.

The company I'm at now has no amenities to speak of (ok, coffee, that's it though). No gym, no weekly social things, nothing really. I took a pay cut to come here, but since them I'm making about 35% more, because I'm a good performer and fixed a lot of key infrastructure problems and took a management position. I'm working with more up-to-date technology and doing some cutting-edge things because there wasn't a massive technical legacy to support that prevented it. However, I also work a huge number of insane hours, I'm basically always on call, and I'm getting a lot of great physical job stress effects, which is just great.

So there's the question. Can you do the stress and the extra work to re-earn the extra (and probably more) money? How important is work-life balance to you? Do you have a family? Do you want to learn a lot of really neat things and do work you can look back on and think "that was really awesome, I can't believe I pulled that off"? Is there a likelihood that the new place will grow to the point where you'll come out ahead in 5 years?

Those are the questions you need to ask yourself, and you need to be brutally honest about.

about 5 months ago
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Good Engineering Managers Just "Don't Exist"

RocketScientist Re:Kind of right... (312 comments)

Firstly, I bow to your low 5 digit user number. You are an old hand...

Nope, I'm just old. My hands are the same age as the rest of me.

about 5 months ago
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Good Engineering Managers Just "Don't Exist"

RocketScientist Kind of right... (312 comments)

People go into engineering to engineer. Not to tell other people how to do it. Let me explain my day:

Meetings: 2 hours, minimum, per day. Every meeting starts 2-10 minutes late, depending on the most senior person in the meeting. The more senior, the more they impress by being late to the meeting to demonstrate their importance. "Sorry I'm late, had to stop in the bathroom, fill up my coffee, and blah blah blah don't care". Anything discussed in the meeting could have been done in a 5 minute conversation or 10 minute email composition, but nobody "has time" to read email and comment, because they're in meetings all the time.

HR Crap: Wanna hire someone? That's at least 40 hours of solid work to pile through the paperwork, which by the way changed completely since the last time you did it, WHY ARE YOU DOING IT THE OLD WAY YOU MORON! Doing annual objectives. Doing semi-annual reviews. Approving timesheets. Approving expense reports. Sitting in on interviews for other teams so they have enough feedback to fill out their paperwork, so they return the favor when you need it. Touchy-feely manager training. Sexual harassment training. Diversity training. Interviewing training. Training training (not kidding).

Stupid Management Stuff: Talking to every single person on the team, asking about their kids, their favorite sports team, whatever. Every day. 1 hour/day or so. No, I don't care, but *I* get reviewed on that stuff as well. Dealing with making sure people are happy so you don't have to spend the 40 hours of interviewing and HR crap to hire someone else.

Bureaucratic Crap: Buying things (Budget approval, another approval to actually buy the thing, approval to install it, and security team approval to actually get access to it). Borrowing things. Getting office space, computers, and computer upgrades for the team. Putting in tickets when phones don't work, when people need security access to new systems. Acquiring software is the WORST, I work for a multi-million dollar corporation that has sales people expense accounts for a week over $20k, and it's taken me 8 weeks to get a $10k software acquisition approved.

Building things: fill out forms to make something. Spend a lot of time reviewing forms and approving them. Don't spend any time actually doing things, that might be fun, you have to delegate that onto your team. You might get some design work in, but you should leave that to your Architect, aren't you late for a meeting?

Mentoring: The only fun part of my job that's left. 2 hours per day. Max.

All of this and what do you get? Better pay? Nope, I got a guy working for me making the same money. An office. Well, yeah, sure...untilNO. YOU HAVE TO BE SENIOR MANAGER TO GET AN OFFICE. Until then, a cube like everyone else. Respect of peers? LOL.

Honestly, being a manager is a shitty, shitty, shitty job. It simultaneously doesn't pay enough and can't pay enough, so it doesn't even try. You don't get to do fun stuff anymore, and you get yelled at if you try. I got roped into it because everyone else took a step back faster when they were looking for volunteers.

Why yes, I am sending out resumes. Why do you ask?

Honestly, the best thing to do in IT once you hit a certain level is ask yourself "Do I want to be a manager". If the answer is no, you essentially have to quit and go be a consultant.

about 5 months ago
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Kansas To Nix Expansion of Google Fiber and Municipal Broadband

RocketScientist Re:A little misleading (430 comments)

As someone who lives in the area, let me be really clear what's going on here.

The Kansas City, Kansas (KCK)/Wyandotte County area is largely working class, a lot of immigrants or first generation citizens. Basically, Democrats. Yes, they do exist in Kansas. This is also the area that has had the most growth in "cool stuff" over the last few years: The national champion soccer team's stadium is there (Sporting KC), the NASCAR track is there, and they just finished building a HUGE 2-building office space there for Cerner (a big medical software company). All of that is in a very nice shopping/entertainment district, so it's self-sustaining (they gave tax breaks on property taxes, now they get income taxes from an additional several thousand employees, which is a pretty good trade). Their local government is doing an exceptional job, their roads are great, they are building good infrastructure, and people are pretty proud of their town, which would *NOT* have been the case 15 20 years ago.

As someone who has lived in Kansas City for about 20 years, I can say in the last year I've spent more time and money in KCK for entertainment than I've spent in KC, MO or the more affluent suburbs on the Kansas side.

So these evil Democrats are out being successful, let's put a stop to that and make sure it can't happen anywhere else, and try and put a stopper back on the bottle in KCK.

about 6 months ago
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Detroit Wants Its Own High-Tech Visa

RocketScientist Don't forget the weather... (398 comments)

So yeah, snow, ice, snow, sleet, ice, cold rain, snow, sleet, and ice.

Sorry, any place that advertises, among its many amenities, great ice fishing isn't somewhere I want to live.

"Hey, you can move to Detroit and freeze your ass off 6 months a year, or you can live anywhere south of there and it's better!"

Yeesh.

about 6 months ago
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Asus CEO On Windows RT: "We're Out."

RocketScientist Another victim of the Microsoft Tax (246 comments)

Apparently some reports say that Microsoft is charging $90 per tablet to license RT. Consider that most retail "stuff" has a 100% markup to MSRP, and that means in order to compete with the cheaper offerings from Google ($200) and even Apple ($249) they'd have to be able to build the tablet for $10 to $60. You're not gonna get build quality for $60. That's the real reason the Surface tablet exists: nobody else really can make one and be profitable, so Microsoft wanted to show how to make one profitable (go high-end and put everything in it, despite that it cost a bit more than a nice iPad with less features, and rely on the Microsoft name).

If Asus wanted to make Microsoft look bad, they could ship the same tablet, one with Android and one with RT, and just have one be half the price of the other, and see how they flew off shelves.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Getting Exchange and SQL Experience?

RocketScientist User groups for SQL Server (293 comments)

I'd suggest finding your local SQL Server user's group or a virtual chapter on administration. Start by looking at www.sqlpass.org, the Professional Association for SQL Server. It's a nonprofit that runs a bunch of user groups and chapters and various free training events nationwide (SQL Saturday for example).

For specifics on SQL Server admin, the true path to mastery starts with understanding transaction logs, backups, and restores. Paul Randal (http://www.sqlskills.com/blogs/paul/) is the foremost expert on teaching such things, since he wrote a lot of it when he worked for Microsoft. He covers backups, recovery, transaction logs, troubleshooting, and general storage-end stuff. I've been doing SQL Server DBA work for almost 19 years, and his blog still teaches me things regularly.

As for Exchange, learn the basics of how Active Directory authentication works, how SMTP and IMAP work, and most importantly for any mail administration, how spam filters work and which ones are good and which aren't. Exchange is a complex system and I'm not as familiar with it as I used to be.

People (especially here) will tell you that Exchange is crap, which totally explains why millions of companies that are profitable use it, because it's crap. Oh wait. That's right, they use it because it works and provides value to their businesses. Perhaps they have logging requirements imposed on them by various regulations (SOX, for example) and they'd like to share the liability if something doesn't go right, have off-the-shelf commercially supported and legally recognized tools for discovery, and having that security blanket provides them with value for their business. If you go into an interview situation and they ask you about your Exchange experience and you start with "Exchange is crap, use Sendmail instead!" they'll thank you politely and walk you out.

As for anyone starting out in the tech field, especially on the admin side, I'll offer a few little bits of advice:
Keep things as simple as possible. It's usually cheaper in the short and long run to throw hardware at a problem than it is to build something elegant and hard to manage.

"Robust" doesn't mean it works all the time. Robust means it fails in predictable ways.

Centralized Logging + Morning Coffee means never having to tell your boss you don't know what broke overnight.

Checklists. Build them, use them, every time. Server builds. Software deployments. Backup procedures. Restore procedures.

Don't plan backups. Plan restores. Figure out how you want to recover from a backup, and then figure out how to do backups to support that.

about a year ago
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Windows: Not Doomed Yet

RocketScientist A poor workman blames his tools (737 comments)

I've been thinking about the saying "A poor workman blames his tools" a lot lately.

My conclusion after a lot of thinking is that it isn't that the workman who doesn't like his tools isn't skilled, or doesn't take care of his tools Maybe his set of tools is just worn out and it's the workman's duty to acquire a new tool set. The tools change over time.

I'm a SQL Server DBA. SQL Server as a product is great. The tools, however, suck. Random crashes. Random issues. Inconsistent UI. Example 1: Mouse wheel doesn't work in a combo box. Why? Who decided that was "OK"? Lots of other piddly issues that just tick me off all day long. I hate my tools. It's probably time to try something else. This really came to roost when we put Windows Server 2012 on a box so we could do cross-subnet clustering. Love the cross-subnet clustering. The UI, however, is Metro. "Go hover over an invisible spot on the upper-right-hand corner of the UI to get to something sorta-like a start menu so you can run SQL Server Configuration Manager". Why? Why?

The user interfaces, now "improved" through the use of Visual Studio integration, are absolute crap.

I'm getting tired of being stressed on poor tools when I'm stressed on a ton of other things that actually I should be stressed on, like data integrity, performance, and efficiency. Instead I get to spend a ton of time figuring out how to start applications? Every single day I start working and I find something new that makes me go "Why do these guys think they can make good user interfaces that work consistently? Who allows them to do this?"

about a year ago
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Google's BigQuery Vs. Hadoop: a Matchup

RocketScientist Google? Really? (37 comments)

I mean, if you want to have an ad agency host your databases, you've got lots of other options:

R&R Partners
Mccan Ericson
BBDO
J Walter Thompson
Omnicom Group
Young & Rubicam
DDB
Olgivy and Mather
Saatchi & Saatchi
Leo Burnett

Personally, I think I'll try to find a company where cloud computing is their core business, so they don't just write off the service a few months down the road as not-profitable and leave me hanging.

Why the hell would want to have your mission critical systems hosted by an ad agency?

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Practices Impede Developers' Productivity?

RocketScientist Generally, interruptions (457 comments)

Interruptions and a poorly designed work environment that encourages them. Right outside my cubicle is a BIG OPEN AIR MEETING ROOM with included MEDIA CENTER.

OK, so BIG OPEN AIR MEETING ROOMS are bad. Very bad.

Other bad things:
Speakerphones. Damn things should be destroyed on sight. There is no reason for anyone not in an office to have a speakerphone on their desk. Any "manager" who says developers in cubicle farms need speakerphones should be fired. Don't allow speakerphones on the same *floor* as the development team, except inside of small, well-sound-isolated offices.

Not enough meeting rooms. Encourages people to do what I'm hearing right now, which is stand around between cubes and have loud conversations.

Phones in general. The only people who call me are recruiters or customers who got lost in our phone system and got me by mistake. Which of those 2 groups do you want me to talk to?

Bad climate control. Too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter.

Requirements to be on email or messenger at all times are counterproductive. They let managers feel important, but that's the only benefit they have.

Cell phones with obnoxiously loud ringers left on desks. I tell my team "in your pocket or on silent" is the rule for all cell phones. Anyone in violation of this rule that receives a call returns to their desk to find their phone turned off and the battery removed if possible. If they find their phone at all. I've hidden them in the ceiling before.

Here's a list of the seating assignments I've been given in buildings:
Share a conference room with other developers.

about a year and a half ago
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Kickstarter Games: Where They Are Now

RocketScientist FTL: Faster Than Light (97 comments)

FTL is an incredibly fun game that they mention shipped pretty close to their timeline. All software timelines are somewhat fungible, and game producer provided timelines even more so. But they got pretty close. And the shipping product is *great* and was on steam sale last weekend. Rounds don't take a stupidly long time, the game's pretty replayable, etc.

Good times.

about a year and a half ago
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U.S. Election Day In Progress: What's Been Your Experience?

RocketScientist Re:GA- not allowed to vote due to id problems (821 comments)

Missouri requires ID, but the types of ID they take are legion. Driver's license (even expired), water, electric, or phone bills (with your name and address), state-issued non-driver ID, CCW ID, property tax receipt. We don't require a photo ID, just some kind of ID, mostly to prove you're voting in the right place. It's pretty fair as far as I know, a good balance between preventing voter fraud and turning people away unjustly.

State-issued non-drivers photo ID's here are like $8 by the way. Probably about what they cost to produce.

about a year and a half ago
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U.S. Election Day In Progress: What's Been Your Experience?

RocketScientist Kansas City, MO (821 comments)

Got there 10 minutes after they opened (6:10am) and was out before 7. Lines were long but moving quickly. Efficient process and good poll workers, who don't get nearly enough credit for what they do. Scantron-style voting machine (paper ballots ftw). The stuff I expected on the ballot (President, senate, congress, governor and associated state executive, state representative, and a ballot measure) along with a couple other ballot measures I wasn't familiar with but I read through and voted on.

about a year and a half ago
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GM Brings IT Dev Back In House; Self-Driving Caddy In the Works

RocketScientist Nice places to visit also... (171 comments)

Michigan is a beautiful state. Once you clear Detroit you get a sportsman's paradise with fishing, camping, and hunting in some very scenic and well tended state and county parks. The summers are very temperate (rarely gets into the mid 90's) and the humidity is pretty comfortable.

The winters are...more interesting. Not horrible, but lots of snow and cold.

about a year and a half ago
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Alan Cox to NVIDIA: You Can't Use DMA-BUF

RocketScientist Re:And this is why (946 comments)

Exactly what's the impact-level difference between the GPL and software patents then?

Oh yeah, patents expire, and copyright doesn't. Gotcha.

Great PR here guys.

about 2 years ago
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What Windows Phone 8 Needs To Do To Succeed

RocketScientist They could try having a product... (246 comments)

They could try having a product when they have a product announcement. You know, a thing to sell, or pre-order with a solid ship date. I saw the new Nokia phone announcement and was like "that sounds great, I need a new phone now anyway" and looked for a ship date. nothing. Looked for a price. nothing. Looks like a great phone.

Shipping is a feature. Announce when that feature's complete, not other features. Amazon had an announcement, they had products, they had pre-orders, they had hands-on demo production products for the press, they're burning through sales. Apple had an announcement, they have pre-orders, they had hands-on demo production products for the press, they're selling product and their online store is already on backorder.

Microsoft and Nokia had announcements. They have no product, no preorders, people didn't get any hands on time with what the actual shipping product will be, the phone demo movie was faked up to the point where if they hadn't backed off they'd be looking at criminal fraud indictments, the actual "products" they had for demos were showing powerpoint slides for all they were worth.

Tease launches only work for industry-new products. Apple pulled it off with the original iPhone and iPad because there weren't any competitive products in the space, so the market didn't have an option to go out and buy something that filled that need *right now*. Microsoft and Nokia are trying to do a tease launch, when I can go to the store and buy something very similar for a probably similar price and have it in my hand before Microsoft and Nokia will get around to announcing prices, much less ship dates.

Microsoft is so used to being the industry leader they've forgotten how to act when they're not. Little hint guys: Apple's iPhone business is bigger than Microsoft. Not that Apple is bigger, Apple's iPhone business. Just that one piece of their business. Not that Apple couldn't be taken down by an innovative competitor with an effective marketing strategy, but Microsoft is neither an innovative competitor nor do they market effectively.

So, again, Microsoft is too little and too late to the party, and will be utterly ignored.

about 2 years ago
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Why Businesses Move To the Cloud: They Hate IT

RocketScientist Re:Short-sighted and thoughtless (538 comments)

I think the IT groups are short sighted and impatient. The rest of the business is trying to get work done, IT staff is trying to implement and preserve policy, and said policy is generally geared towards protecting IT turf and keeping people from getting their work done and is so far from being aligned with the rest of the business strategy that it's pathetic. This is not a new problem.

Why did the PC get popular? To circumvent delays in reporting from IT controlled mainframes, accounting departments bought PC's with Lotus 1-2-3 so they could produce their own reports and do analysis on financial information without a multi-month IT project.

Why did SOAP get popular? To circumvent firewall restrictions on RPC. Getting a firewall rule put into place for different apps is really hard, not from a work perspective but from a process perspective. Dropping in a single web server and making it handle all the requests is a one-time thing and removes the power (and security management) from IT.

Why are cloud services popular? Because IT is trying to keep everything so locked down that people have to use dropbox to get access to their data or share it outside the organization.

All these technologies were huge risks and have, in the long term, created a lot of security and manageability problems for IT. And every problem that was created was created indirectly by IT by not giving people the tools they need to do their jobs. It's raised costs, it's raised vulnerability, and it's increased the IT workload because IT wasn't foresighted enough to realize that, hey, sometimes people do need to share big files with people outside the company, or sometimes people do need to send an attachment through email that's more than 10 MB.

Most people in organizations aren't paid for being in compliance with IT policy. They're paid to get work done. Very few IT departments understand that.

more than 3 years ago

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