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New NSA-Funded Code Rolls All Programming Languages Into One

TheMCP Re:Wyvern = Wyrm (306 comments)

It *has* been done before. I worked on it years ago. One of my colleagues came up with it in 1999.


It was brilliant to work in, but it didn't catch on.

about 6 months ago

How Does a Self-Taught Computer Geek Get Hired?

TheMCP Re:Examples (523 comments)

A job seeker can create a piece of software with the intent of it being an example of good work. Ideally, the project should look professional and have some useful purpose. The person can then point at it as an example, put it on their resume, mine it for code samples, and if all else fails maybe it'll make money on its own.

more than 3 years ago

Borders Books, Dead At 40

TheMCP Re:They did it to themselves (443 comments)

They outright contracted out their online sales to amazon for a long while, so if you wanted to buy from borders online you were actually doing it through amazon, so with every transaction Borders was giving money directly to their competitor. The general consensus about this practice was "they're either high or just plain insane."

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Certifications To Get?

TheMCP Re:Certifications don't impress... (444 comments)

I am a senior software engineer with 23 years of professional experience. I've built web sites and web applications for Fortune 500 companies and major nonprofits and for the air force and joint chiefs of staff, and my past clients included all but one of the top 50 largest financial institutions in the country.

When I'm looking for work, the #1 thing that generates the most calls about my resume (by a long shot) is the one product certification I have, which is (and all of this is indicated plainly on my resume) something like six major versions behind on the software I was certified in, was 11 years ago, and I've never done a complete installation of the product. Even knowing that fact, people are desperate to get me to do work for that product because I was certified in it and hardly anyone is.

So, while smart companies look for experience and a track record of successful projects, it remains true that if you get the *right* certification, it will still get you more work anyway.

more than 3 years ago

Academic Publishers Ask The Impossible In GSU Copyright Suit

TheMCP Re:Only a Plaintiff Proposition (221 comments)

Even as merely a proposed injunction by plaintiffs, it's absolutely insane and the plaintiffs' lawyer should have his right to practice questioned for even proposing it.

I used to be an IT director at a small university. If this proposal landed on my lap, I would tell the university lawyers and the university management that I would immediately quit, and advise my entire staff to do the same, if that injunction was issued by the judge because it would involve giving the publishers access to all student records without the students' permission, which is illegal (federally), and I'd rather be out of work than go to jail.

It's my professional opinion (as an IT professional) that if a judge issued that order, Georgia State would have no choice but to cancel all classes and close its doors.

more than 3 years ago

Mediacom Using DPI To Hijack Searches, 404 Errors

TheMCP Sue 'em. (379 comments)

Wait till they insert their own ad into a web page and then get the page owner to sue them into the ground for violating their copyright by altering the content.

Or sue them for violating your privacy by monitoring your communications with other parties. Would that constitute wiretapping? Perhaps you could report it to the FBI, and maybe after they go to jail they'll stop interfering with your net connection.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Do I Give IT a Login On Our Dept. Server?

TheMCP Jail time (1307 comments)

As a medical organization, your IT director has to make a legal certification that all systems within the organization are HIPPA complaint. If they do so and you set up a rogue server and someone places patient medical information on it and it becomes compromised, your IT director could go to jail. Or possibly you, you'd need to consult a lawyer to find out.

more than 3 years ago

US Gov't Mistakenly Shuts Down 84,000 Sites

TheMCP Re:Welcome to the USA (296 comments)

Not if the property seized is not the property specified in the warrant, it isn't.

more than 3 years ago

Backscatter X-Ray Machines Easily Fooled

TheMCP Re:Adam Savage of Mythbusters (342 comments)

If I correctly parsed what he said, he walked through the backscatter machine, while they never noticed the two 12" razor blades that were in his *luggage*. But it's inexcusable anyway.

more than 4 years ago

Digitizing and Geocoding Old Maps?

TheMCP Re:Handheld scanner (235 comments)

For that matter, why not use a digital camera and some stitching software?

Or, if you've got a good way to align a map against the lat/lon grid (which you'll have to have or you won't be able to use the maps anyway), why bother stitching it at all? Just photograph the map in sections, and use your alignment method to align each section separately.

more than 4 years ago

It's 2010; What's the Best E-Reader?

TheMCP Re:Kindle (684 comments)

If that's your only comment on the Kindle, then you clearly don't know what you're talking about.

Yes, Kindle ebooks purchased from amazon usually have DRM. Not always, but usually. However, the Kindle works perfectly well with ebooks not purchased from amazon, if they are in MOBI, PDF, or several other formats. And before you start complaining about its lack of EPUB support, I'll point out that you can get the free Calibre software and convert your EPUBs to MOBIs effortlessly... unless you bought them from Sony, B&N, or Apple, in which case they're probably crippled by DRM, in which case you can't say they're any better than Amazon.

But if you want to live in a DRM free ecosystem, the Kindle is a beautiful piece of hardware that is entirely capable of reading DRM-free books. It's just your problem to acquire DRM-free books. But then, that'd still be your problem with some other reader too.

more than 4 years ago

Arrington's CrunchPad Dies

TheMCP Re:Who Is Doing What? (175 comments)

It doesn't matter whether he's just an ideas guy or provided money or whatever. What matters is what the contract he signed with Fusion Garage says about who the intellectual property belongs to. If it says he owns all the IP, then they have to cough it up for him so he can take it to another firm for manufacture. If it says they own the IP, then Arrington can go suck a lemon while Fusion Garage releases hardware. If the contract doesn't specify who owns the IP, then Arrington is an idiot.

What really pisses me off is that he could have hired Americans to do the design and sourcing and coding, and had a responsible reputable firm do just the manufacture. I even know a large number of the people he'd need, and at least most of them are available.

more than 5 years ago

Reporting To Executives

TheMCP A useful metric: summary of support requests (301 comments)

A lot of the sort of reporting on the IT end of things that would normally be included in this sort of report assumes an enterprise environment with a large support department, so it would normally include things such as average time to response after a trouble ticket is opened, average time to completion, etc. These aren't really appropriate and indeed may be harmful in a small company with only one administrator: I have been a lone admin in a tiny company like that, and when the boss got his hands on some metrics like that from a huge company (I didn't provide them, he saw an article on it in a business magazine) he suddenly expected that I was single handedly going to provide the level of support that would have required me to be a 5 person team, and demanded I produce metrics to prove I was doing it.

All of that said, I would do one particular IT metric for management: a summary of support requests by category. Select the categories you feel are relevant, and then start tallying the calls. Usually mine include things like computer hardware broken, software needs configuration, software inadequate to task, new software requested, printer difficulties, new hardware requested, and EOBUE. The latter is "Error Occurred Between User's Ears", and I usually phrase it more politely on the report to management, something like "user difficulty". Sometimes I break it down further into things like "training needed" and "user wants admin to do work for them" if that's a significant problem.

Anyway, this report can be useful in several ways... if you're having a lot of hardware problems, it demonstrates that management should be investing more in replacing machines because they're costing downtime and admin time, so it helps you argue for a better IT budget. Same with software inadequate, or requests for new hardware or software. The EOBUE stuff helps you argue for two things: training for existing staff, and that computer skills should be part of hiring selection. Yes, I have worked with companies that didn't screen for this, and they consequently got a bunch of computer-phobic twits who were used to doing everything on paper and tried to get the IT department to perform their every interaction with the computer for them. By showing that these idjits were running the support group ragged with constant stupid requests, I was able to get the company to start asking applicants about their computer skills before hiring. And in another case, I was able to get the employer to send an entire department for training, after which they were told that they could no longer pester me to do their work for them because they were supposed to know how now.

more than 5 years ago

Lulu Introduces DRM

TheMCP Re:Why complain about choice? (222 comments)

Are you SERIOUSLY trying to equate DRM to slavery? Have you COMPLETELY lost your mind?

more than 5 years ago

Computer-Based System To Crack Down On Casino Card Counters

TheMCP Re:This is not what gaming should be (597 comments)

Moreover, doesn't this constitute unlawful card counting on the part of the casino?

more than 5 years ago

Is Working For the Gambling Industry a Black Mark?

TheMCP Re:Isn't that a highly regulated industry? (467 comments)

Moreover, it not only shows those things, but if you had gambling industry experience and good references from it and you came to me and outright said "This demonstrates that I am trustworthy and have experience with high security software handling large dollar volume," I would take you *more* seriously as a job candidate, not less.

more than 5 years ago

Firefox To Replace Menus With Office Ribbon

TheMCP Mac. (1124 comments)

Dear Timothy,

I use a Mac. Menu bars are built into the system. It also has "Aqua" rendering, not the knockoff "Aero".


more than 5 years ago

Heart Monitors In Middle School Gym Class?

TheMCP HIPAA? (950 comments)

If the school is collecting any data from these devices, that could be considered medical data, and they could be forced to comply with HIPPA. That may be enough to stop them from doing it right there, because it might mean that they have to have a doctor present to collect and maintain the data. If you want to put a stop to it, I suggest you do some googling about HIPPA, print out some scary web pages about it, bring them into the school, and demand that if they don't handle all of the data from the monitors in a HIPPA compliant manner you will be speaking with your lawyer.

more than 5 years ago

Trust an Insurance Company's "Drive-Cam?"

TheMCP Seems like a really stupid idea to me... (480 comments)

The insurance company claims that they would never use any information obtained to consider changes in insurance rates, but that really sounds unbelievable.

What I notice is not so much what they're promising, but what you're not saying they're promising.

They're (apparently) *not* promising not to use the footage to discriminate against the kid in regard to rates after the kid becomes an adult and wants his/her own policy. I also don't see you saying that the footage won't be shared with other insurance companies or placed in some sort of centralized database. So, you could be saving yourself a few bucks now, in exchange for screwing over your kid for the rest of their life.

And I think it's vitally important to consider that the footage could be subpoenaed by practically anyone, and could be used against your kid even if the kid didn't really do anything wrong - if the kid is in an accident, you can bet the other party's lawyer will demand the footage and try to construe it to make it seem like it shows your kid doing something wrong.

I would *never* allow such a camera in my own car - even if I own it myself - and I would *never* allow it to be installed in my kid's car, if I had a kid.

more than 5 years ago

Motorola Introduces Android Phones, Social Software

TheMCP Re:Motorola's great return? (195 comments)

I'm with you - this could be a winner. I owned a RAZR - for one night. I bought it at 4pm, hated it so much that I decided within an hour to return it, and took it back the next day. The software sucked. BUT THE HARDWARE WAS AWESOME. It was slim and light and comfortable and felt like it was built like a tank - in fact, it was the most solid feeling cell phone I ever used. Later, I owned the Motorola branded "hip-top" phone using the Danger software... I didn't love the software and eventually replaced it with an iphone, but again, the hardware was awesome and felt really really solid.

The combination of rock-solid Motorola hardware with a great OS and software should make for a really fantastic phone and experience, and I wish them the best.

more than 5 years ago



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