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

Thumper_SVX Re:Ability to design and write software... (578 comments)

Good for you... but truth is you're probably an exception.

Not everyone can code; it requires a very specific mindset and very specific way of thinking to effectively code. It also requires a desire to code. Being a carpenter probably actually set you up much better to be a programmer than you think; it's all geometry and understanding load. I know because my best friend happens to be a carpenter. A coal miner... well I'll be honest I don't know what skill set is required for that but I'd wager that it falls into the realm of unskilled labor, whereas carpenter is definitely skilled labor. There's a difference.

Now on my second point; desire to code. I'm really good at coding. I learned at an early age, self-taught and was writing assembly language stuff in my teens while my class at school was struggling with Pascal. I wrote tight, well-written code that I shared with friends and took code they shared with me and together we built great stuff including a game... which granted didn't do well but it was a hell of an accomplishment for four teenage boys with no Internet and communicating mostly through the phone and by mailing floppy disks. But when I was in my 20's I realized suddenly that I didn't like coding. I still don't. While the feeling of accomplishment was great when something worked, there was a degree of slog in getting there. After a fashion I made the realization that hardware was where I found the most interest, not software. So I pursued work as a hardware engineer in embedded systems.

Now at 40 I have settled into being a (well, actually THE) storage administrator and systems engineer for a multinational company... because it interests me. The skillset is extremely specialized, but used in a lot of companies and so therefore isn't going to leave me without a job anytime soon. The risks are high because if I screw up I potentially affect a lot of people, but the rewards are also pretty damned good. The closest I've gotten to coding in the last 20 years has been writing scripts to make my job easier. I do it quite a bit, and while it's similar to coding it's far more focused on immediate needs. I still build great "code" but it's an adjunct to my day job, not my entire day job. I think if I were to code for a living I would've quit long ago to pursue something more enlightening. But that's just me.

Also be aware that there are people who have no desire to learn. I've dealt with them many times too. They settle into unskilled labor not because their brains can't handle the information but because they choose not to. And add to that whether you like it or not as one gets older it becomes far harder to learn a new skill. Add all these factors up and yes... Bloomberg is probably right on this one. He's an ass, and quite often wrong... but on this one I have to give him credit.

5 days ago

Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

Thumper_SVX Re:Viva La XP! (641 comments)

Thing is; it's valid. There are cars that have been built in my lifetime (I'm 41) for which you have to buy new wheels if you want to put tires on them because the tire sizes, materials and rim requirements have changed so much. Yeah, I happen to also hang around with a lot of car guys because a lot of them are fun... it's interesting how much of the parts we take for granted to repair our cars now have to be worked around or even fabricated for cars built as late as the mid 80's.

about a week ago

Skydiver's Helmet Cam Captures a Falling Meteor

Thumper_SVX Re:Ummm, probably not (142 comments)

There's almost zero indication of the size of the rock in question. The background is clouds and there's no absolute way to tell how close that rock is to the camera lens. Could be 20 feet, could be 2 inches.

about two weeks ago

Short Notice: LogMeIn To Discontinue Free Access

Thumper_SVX Re:Uh? (408 comments)

I'll side with you a bit. I do technical remote support for a couple of small companies near me. While I have actually paid for the paid version of TeamViewer for supporting their PC's, I do use SSH -L when I'm doing server-side work more often than not. I don't like putting remote access solutions onto my servers, and having an SSH connection available is really handy... though not on port 22! :)

Honestly, your solution is just fine for the technical... and if you're a little lazy there's nothing stopping you from creating a set of shell scripts for frequent connections. I do this all the time.

Of course, the advantage of a solution like LogMeIn or TeamViewer is simply that you don't need static IP's for it... or even for RDP to be turned on (it isn't at most of the companies I do business with except for servers).

about 3 months ago

Short Notice: LogMeIn To Discontinue Free Access

Thumper_SVX Re:Uh? (408 comments)

Welcome to the future :)

Yeah, I've been running TeamViewer for a while. I have my two home servers (one Linux, one Windows) and my two personal laptops (Linux and a Mac) connected to my account. While I'm at work it's sometimes really handy to dial into any one of these and do some stuff (use Windows at work)... particularly when doing online banking or stuff like that.

The only gotcha I've found is versioning; quite often with the Linux client when they update the Windows client the backward compatibility with the Linux client isn't terribly good. It usually works fine for one major version back on Mac, but when they update the major version number you probably need to upgrade your Linux clients first. It's a minor maintenance issue in my opinion, and I just add it to my workflow when I do system updates on the Linux boxes to check for a new version of TeamViewer.

Even free, it's really handy for helping out with technical problems for friends and relatives, too. Just two weeks ago my son had a problem with his laptop and I was able to connect in while I was out of town in Denver and fix his problems. Even if they don't have TeamViewer installed there's a standalone executable version that you can talk someone through downloading through an emailed link or even on the phone. Now obviously if they are having network or Internet problems that's not going to work... but neither is any other solution short of an on-site visit.

about 3 months ago

How Ya Gonna Get 'Em Down On the UNIX Farm?

Thumper_SVX Everything in its place (606 comments)

As many have already pointed out, it's irrelevant. Different tools do different jobs better, and that's just the way it's always been. I find managing my email in a GUI a hell of a lot easier than a command line for example, but when it comes to managing the Brocade switches at work (I'm at least partly a storage admin) it's a hell of a lot quicker for me to SSH in and type a few commands. Of course, it doesn't help that the Brocade GUI is probably one of the worst out there but my point still stands. Managing the SANs I manage is actually easier with a well designed GUI (primarily Compellent at the moment) because I don't have to use my own brain-cycles to visualize it; I can see it on the screen. But yes, if I'm doing bulk stuff then dropping to a command line is key. Similarly, I also manage vSphere... for day to day management the GUI is pretty good but when doing a lot of repetitive stuff I use PowerCLI which is VMware's PowerShell extensions... they work fantastically well and make me look like a hero.

Now having said that I do see the point of the article a little. My personal feeling is that as a parent it falls to me to make sure my son is familiar with the command line and sees the value in it as well as the GUI. I decided to put my money where my mouth is and bought him a Fuze for Christmas. I was concerned he would hate it because he is used to having a Windows-based laptop and is well familiar with the GUI tools there. But he has really taken to it, learning BASIC programming and fiddling with the command line with a few things I've taught him. In fact this morning I was having a hard time getting out the door and heading to work because he wanted to show off the program he'd written to flash a set of LED's in the breadboard in sequence. I was incredibly proud of him for it and wanted to show my enthusiasm. I was late for work and didn't care.

Honestly the way I see it; my 13 year old boy if he continues on this path will be programming and working with the hardware that goes into satellites, space probes and the like where a BSOD cannot be tolerated. He will have work for life because there will be even more need for the microcontroller programmers in the electronic, wearable and increasingly digital world he will grow up in. Meanwhile his peers will compete to administer Windows computers and maybe write apps for the iPhone 26... and may even struggle to make ends meet as they convince themselves that their app will make them a billionaire. So long as my son continues what he's doing and learning even as I write this, he'll find himself comfortable and in-demand until he retires. Just like his old man (hopefully!)

Despite my working as an administrator of systems, I have a background in programming. The command line taught me how to pipe, how to use variables and so on. I write a surprising number of scripts in a number of languages because they make my job easier and make me look like a hero. I find myself occasionally competing with new kids coming into the workplace with their "Mad GUI Skillz" and their macros. If they go toe-to-toe with me they can rarely compete. The ones who know command line stuff and scripting we tend to keep... the ones who don't, tend not to last.

about 4 months ago

Putting a Panic Button In Smartphone Users' Hands

Thumper_SVX Glance for Pebble (175 comments)

Glance on my Pebble Smartwatch does this. I think a smartwatch is a much better place for a true "panic button". I mean, in a truly difficult situation you're going to have problems entering a passcode or pattern if you have your device locked... which you should, by the way.

In Glance there's a function that allows me to set a button long press to send an emergency text to the contact of my choice including my longitude and latitude (obviously only as precise as the smartphone itself can manage). Quite a nice feature in my opinion. And it's a lot easier to do a long press on a button on your wrist than fish your phone out of your pocket or purse, enter a passcode, find and launch an app and hit a button on the screen.

A physical panic button is the best solution. If you're in dire need (heart attack, accident etc) then you may not be in a position to use the app on the phone. The old "really dumb phones" like the Firefly had it right.

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Laptops For Fans Of Pre-Retina MacBook Pro?

Thumper_SVX Re:Lenovo hi-res (477 comments)

I don't mind soldered-in RAM so much... but only 4GB of it? Ouch.

about 5 months ago

Movie Review: Ender's Game

Thumper_SVX Re:Hitchhiker's Guide (732 comments)

Even as an Asimov fan, I liked the movie. It stayed true particularly to later Asimov books that delved into the fundamental flaws of the "Three Laws" and how interpretation would win out with a sufficiently intelligent machine.

No, it wasn't I, Robot... but it was a decently good science fiction romp that I rather enjoyed. I could've done without the ridiculous product placement, but it also didn't really detract from the story to me... just gave me a few eye-rolling moments.

about 5 months ago

Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Thumper_SVX Re:Control... (926 comments)

So what you're saying is that bread is fear? or circuses are fear, and bread is consumption? Or that nothing is something, which has changed?

Circuses have CLOWNS, man!!! Of course they're fear!

about 5 months ago

SkyRunner Car Goes Off-Road and Off-Ground

Thumper_SVX Re:Off road and off ground ... (26 comments)

I'm not quite sure where you're getting the impression that you need to take off and land from an airport in the USA. While I've never done it I have seen a helicopter land and take off from the parking lot of a business here in St. Louis on more than one occasion. With an appropriately equipped plane you can also take off and land in fields without anyone batting an eyelid... so long as you have the permission of the land owner or own the land yourself.

Can you cite a FAR that shows that you can't fly from anywhere but an airport?

about 5 months ago

Atlanta Man Shatters Coast-to-Coast Driving Record, Averaging 98MPH

Thumper_SVX Re:Insurance (666 comments)

Which part of a car is the "break"?

My experience says that if it's an Jaguar, pretty much all of it.

about 5 months ago

Bill Gates: Internet Will Not Save the World

Thumper_SVX Re:NOW he tells us!!! (247 comments)

He didn't have a choice. If he didn't then Microsoft would've become irrelevant in no time flat.

about 5 months ago

Redesigned Seats Let Airlines Squeeze In More Passengers

Thumper_SVX Re:It not logical Captain (466 comments)

I might be asking a silly question here (from the UK), but don't they have trains where you live?

Not a silly question at all except if you've been to the US! Amtrak is the only real option here and the passenger rail plays second fiddle to the cargo rail 100% of the time. If you have a 3 mile long cargo train in front of you, you'll be going about the same speed. It also means the rails themselves are beaten to hell and back by the weight of the cargo trains.

I have taken the Amtrak a few times and it's pretty bad. I grew up in the UK and I honestly never thought I'd miss British Rail quite that much...

about 6 months ago

Gravity: Can Film Ever Get the Science Right?

Thumper_SVX It is what it is (438 comments)

Honestly, good science rarely makes good entertainment. Have you watched the NASA channel? While I did watch it back when I had cable, I found it tedious and boring... and that's actually pretty much what space is really like. Tedious, boring and procedural. And that's really how you want it to be; if you have "exciting" stuff happen in space then you're quite likely going to die.

I enjoyed the hell out of Gravity. While it was definitely Hollywood, it was less Hollywood than most movies these days. And the story while linear and mostly predictable pretty much had me on the edge of my seat all the way through. There were certainly a few moments where I found the science to be abominable; hell in the first 5 minutes I could pick out at least 5 major oversights and flaws... and that was even before the debris cloud. But the story was good enough and the acting was good enough that I overlooked it and just enjoyed the hell out of the movie.

And while much of it was hinted to be in "our universe", much of it was really "alternate universe" in that the space shuttle program continued and had new ones built... the Tiangong is more than just two or three Soyuz and Salyut rip-offs strung together in LEO... new advances in the MMU-style program have produced a jetpack that's more capable and has a LOT more fuel than the MMU etc. There was little that was really glaringly bad in my opinion and I could point at them as niggles rather than out and out hanging offences!

Let me put it this way; if you enjoyed The Right Stuff (which I did and still do, immensely) then you'll probably enjoy Gravity. They are both about as scientifically and historically accurate as each other!

about 6 months ago

Gravity: Can Film Ever Get the Science Right?

Thumper_SVX Re:another one (438 comments)

Because they were rotating (look at the stars in the background). While I'm not going to claim it was scientifically accurate at all, once I realized that the scene made an acceptable amount of sense.

I admit it bugged me at first for a few seconds wondering "WTF?" before I noticed the background. It's not explicit... and not spelled out. This movie really does require a bit more analytical a viewpoint than most. And I believe at least two viewings! I plan to take my girlfriend to see it this week after she gets back from her business trip :)

about 6 months ago

Gravity: Can Film Ever Get the Science Right?

Thumper_SVX Re:No, because reality is FUCKING BORING (438 comments)

This is exactly how I felt when watching that abhorrent Will Smith movie "After Earth". So many stupid choices that didn't need to be made....

... like, for example; the movie itself.

about 6 months ago

The MinnowBoard is a Low-Cost, Open Hardware Single-Board Computer (Video)

Thumper_SVX Re:Too much competition (84 comments)

I have a NUC (the i7 version) running on my TV at home. I run Windows 8 on it with the Hulu Plus, NetFlix and XBox Video clients... takes care of all of my entertainment needs. Works like a champ actually. I use a combo mini-keyboard/airmouse that's the same size as an iPhone 3G and also have an IR remote attached to it. A 128GB mSATA disk and the damned thing boots in about 15 seconds from cold to Metro. Pretty damned impressive little box and has worked solidly since I got it.

The Minnowboard just really doesn't interest me at all. And this from someone who spent the better part of a year and a half hacking on the original BeagleBoard (which I just recently lost in a move)

about 7 months ago

Car Dealers Complain To DMV About Tesla's Website

Thumper_SVX Re:Missing Point (364 comments)

I hope that they someday find a solution for batteries in Nordic climes, so it's a viable car here as well. After all, we already use the grid to keep our cars warm and start-able in the winter.

Got to wonder; if they put solar panels on the roof and attached them to battery warmers, would that work for at least daytime parking? I know it's just the sitting time that's a problem. Even on a cloudy day, solar panels can still produce SOME power... maybe not quite as much but it might be just enough to stop the cold battery problem. Once the car's moving, I know the batteries generate enough heat in themselves that keeping them warm while running isn't a problem.

Night-time parking... well I expect that'd be much the same as the engine warmers you use now.

about 7 months ago



iPod Classic Hash Cracked

Thumper_SVX Thumper_SVX writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Thumper_SVX writes "Seems that the screaming about the new hash in the iPod song database was a tempest in a teacup. Despite the fact that we still don't know for sure if the hash was added as a security measure or just a consistency check on the database itself, the hash has been cracked. This opens the door to retrofit all those precious third-party music management apps to the iPod Classic and new Nano."
Link to Original Source


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