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The MOOC Revolution That Wasn't

Zarhan Re:I WAS a regular on Coursera (182 comments)

I have this problem as well with not just online courses but several video "tutorials". It's been numerous times recently that I've googled for for "how do I ...." and the top results have been videos. I typically have some idea on how to do what I'm looking for, and I just need to verify some details. So now, Instead of quickly skimming a text (or even a slideset) to find the exact bits I'm looking for, I have to try to fast-forward a video to a point where it gets interesting.

This is especially problematic when you are just looking at a talking head droning on, or just a video of someone doing stuff with an application. One exception has been when I wanted to cut down a tree in my back yard. There was no danger to surroundings since the house wasn't anywhere close by, so I figured I could just cut it down myself. In this case, the videos on how to use a chainsaw helped a lot, since it showed actually *stuff happening*, not just a talking head.

If these video lectures would even have transcripts, that would increase their usability tremendously. Considering that youtube is now offering closed captions created with voice recognition, such transcripts could perhaps be generated automatically soon...

5 days ago
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John Romero On Reinventing the Shooter

Zarhan Re:Please let it be single-player (266 comments)

In a way, I hope for a video game crash similar to 1983. This may be the only way we might see actual creative gaming again, since the cool games are not going to come from the big names.

Are you nuts? The world of games is better and more interesting than it has been in *years*. All in one: Kickstarter. From about a period of 2003 to 2010, the only interesting games for me besides WoW were things like Civilization series. (Oh, and Half-Life 2).

Now we have a *ton* of "indie"/kickstarter projects. Some are not yet ready, but just off the top of my head (yes, I've put money in all of them): Star Citizen, Shadowrun (and the DLC Dragonfall), Torment/Numenera, Shroud of Avatar, Elite Dangerous. And even the "AAA" stuff is better than in ages - Far Cry 3, Skyrim, Portal, and so on.

Gaming seemed dead to me for almost a decade, the 2000-2010 were really dark ages, and I was thinking that maybe I've just "grown out" of games.Turned out that the problem was the games instead.

about two weeks ago
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Reformatting a Machine 125 Million Miles Away

Zarhan Re:Alternative Title (155 comments)

Not modem reset. The filesystem on Spirit had bunch of temp files and other stuff from the Earth-Mars flight, and apparently it just ran out of inodes. So basically they had to remote into whatever constitutes a bootloader with 20 mins of latency and remove some of the no-longer-needed files.

See http://science.slashdot.org/st...

about three weeks ago
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In the New Age of Game Development, Gamers Have More Power Than Ever

Zarhan Re:"new", yes. More power, no. (101 comments)

Battlecruiser 3000AD being one example. The first studio that released it ran into financial trouble and rushed it out the door before it was ready. Patches were eventually released and development continues still, at least the last time I looked It's had a somewhat cult following, but never attained the status it probably could have.

Are you kidding? Derek Smart's personal little ultimate vaporware project, where we couldn't see anything like that until Duke Nukem Forever? It was not "rushed", considering it was like what, 10 years in the making?

BC3000AD was one of those things were the dev(singular) attempted to bite down more that he could chew.

about 4 months ago
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Who controls the HVAC at work?

Zarhan I work from home (216 comments)

So I checked "everyone with open access". That open access is restricted to me and my wife.

about 4 months ago
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Gunshot Victims To Be Part of "Suspended Animation" Trials

Zarhan Has been seen in scifi (357 comments)

Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds has this tech. The author points out in the afterword that this actually one of the few things that might be reality even today - apparently it's now starting to appear more widely...

Anyway, sounds good, I wonder how far the preservation could continue. The old cryogenics scenarios start to come into mind...

about 6 months ago
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School Tricks Pupils Into Installing a Root CA

Zarhan Pretty standard BYOD setup (417 comments)

I don't see the problem with the tech itself. If you have a "BYOD's allowed" policy, that also usually states that "if you put your own device in, here are the rules". Rules may state installing the network owner's root CA and allowing for traffic to be inspected.

In most cases, this is intended to be benevolent - it's kind of hard to run threat detection algorithms on an encrypted connection. In business environments, DLP and similar can of course be used too.

Now, in here I think the key issue was that the users were not told about the practice, and were not asked to agree to these stipulations. And of course, the old adage about not attributing to malice what can be explained by incompetence also applies here - if the issue got "fixed" then it might have been simply just that, incompetence. Somebondy enabled the same SSL interception on the student network that they are using for faculty, or similar.

about 6 months ago
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How much time do you spend gaming compared to 10 years ago?

Zarhan Re:Not supprised (270 comments)

Sounds a bit like nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

For me, gaming has been significantly less over the last few years. Is it nostalgia that games used to be better? Not actually. In the last few years I've played one "recent" game that I've paid full price for - Skyrim. Couple of years ago I played a lot of World of warcraft, but I couldn't stand Kung Fu Pandas. I do pick up some games off Steam Sales, and these have included e.g. FTL and Bioshock Infinite, but neither had really any staying power.

Recent games I've played:
- Quest for Glory (entire series, I to V)
- Privateer
- Wing Commander I & II
- X-Wing is ongoing right now, hoping to move on to TIE fighter soon
- Legend Adventures (Gateway I & II, Eric the Unready)
- Dungeon Master

Of course, I remember all these, having gone over them a lot of times before. As such, they don't draw me to the screen as much as they did on previous iterations - hence I play less.

Anyway, I'm really hoping that the new "indie" projects will be successful. I've shelled out money for Star Citizen, Shroud of Avatar and Tides of Numenera. Hoping for a good, modern replacement for Wing Commander/Privateer, Ultimas and Baldur's Gate/Torments, respectively. If even one of them pans out, it'll be a good year.

about 7 months ago
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Microsoft Lync Server Gathers Employee Data Just Like NSA

Zarhan Re:Can see how own network, messaging is being use (207 comments)

Also, I shudder to think of the potential mess caused by allowing personal laptops to VPN in the first place.

Depends. With proper endpoint assessment tools, you can obtain some reasonable security. BYOD is kind of a rising trend, so a generally accepted method seems to be "Sure, you can connect your own laptop or tablet or whatever to the network, but you'll use Anyconnect and the HostScan has to report conformance". This mostly stems from the fact that in all the meetings folks are starting to use their fancy iPads instead of bulky laptops...and are expecting same services being available.

I've seen some customer actually think of this as a benefit - savings in IT budget. If workers are willing to maintain their own devices on their own time and all the IT has to do is a compliance check, all the better for the company.

about 7 months ago
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Microsoft Lync Server Gathers Employee Data Just Like NSA

Zarhan It's just CDR records. It's not like it's a secret (207 comments)

Lync stores the info in two databases, LCSCDR and QoEMetrics. The first one has info on all sessions, other one has quality data. It's not like it's some super-secret database, MS has full specs in Technet, for example http://technet.microsoft.com/e... shows what's exactly stored in SessionDetails table.

Yes, such info *could* be used to do data-mining. Same info could be used to optimize least cost routing, gathering statistics on network performance, planning upgrades, and whatever you like. I've personally crafted a few reports from those DBs on how much folks are calling PSTN from Lync on various customer sites, so they can decide what is the priority in upgrading E1/T1 to VoIP-based PSTN connection.

It's not a conspiracy. Server admins can look at what kind of stuff you are doing on such servers.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Life After N900?

Zarhan Neo900.org (303 comments)

It's a niche project, but looks like getting a good techie phone is niche these days. Uses N900 displays and casing, so resolution is not getting any better, but has lots more processing power.

Jolla might be an option once they get the QWERTY "other half" available.

about 8 months ago
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Blowing Up a Pointless Job Interview

Zarhan Re:Answering an old chestnut (692 comments)

Happened to me for my first real job interview. I answered "I'm really uncomfortable with lying. So if I'm working on a project where it's starting look like the product will be crap, you don't want to put me to a meeting with a customer or I'll tell him that too".

And I got the job.

Note that it was early 2000 and dotcom bubble was still going, so maybe they took me in despite of that answer, not because...

about 8 months ago
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Amazon: We Can Ship Items Before Customers Order

Zarhan Instant cassettes! (243 comments)

Out in stores before the movie is finished!

about 8 months ago
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Nagios-Plugins Web Site Taken Over By Nagios

Zarhan Re:Alternatives... (119 comments)

We are currently monitoring six distributed sites using http://mathias-kettner.com/checkmk.html. It still relies on Nagios 3.x core, but they are going to replace that soon ("micro-core"). From what I've heard, Nagios development started really going downhill at Nagios 4.0, and this plugin issue is yet one more such symptom.

about 8 months ago
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Headhunters Can't Tell Anything From Facebook Profiles

Zarhan Re:My own experience. (209 comments)

As the others have said, tailor your resume to emphasize that you are jack-of-all-trades.

I'm a CCIE and have a doctorate in computer networks, have authored an RFC, and now approaching 20 years of experience in the field, which supposedly puts me into the camp of network expert.

Expect, in reality, my work in last six months has consisted of e.g.:
    - Database design, operations and reporting (MSSQL and Mysql)
    - AJAX programming (Javascript), and all the intricasies that bunch of different Internet Explorer versions mean in practice
    - Suddendly familiarizing myself with using hardware load balancers with Microsoft Lync (well, at least somewhat related to networking...)
    - Writing a Python-based software for black-box testing microcontrollers
    - Deployment, integration and other support work for an Asterisk-based Contact Center/PBX system ...yeah, of course there's been the other bits that I'm supposedly better suited for (firewall experties, some dimensioning for network devices, and so on), but the position is pretty officially jack-of-all-trades.

    So if you are one, just proudly wear that badge. Of course, it's hard to tailor a resume for buzzword-searching headhunters, but as far as positions are concerned, one of the good signs I've seen for a true "JoaT" job ad is one where there are very few *specific* requirements (only something like "experienced in the field") is listed, and then in the "this counts as an advantage" column they have every acronym under the sun...means they don't really have a specialist position in mind, and might mean that they don't actually know what the job is. They are going to go over the resumes and actually tailor the position *for* you.

about 8 months ago
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Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Pass 10% Market Share, Windows XP Falls Below 30%

Zarhan I'd like to skip Win8, but I apparently can't (470 comments)

My wife is interested in getting a new laptop, as her old one is running XP and starting to be a bit slow for the indented purpose (video editing). They use Windows 7 at work with corporate desktop, and she'd like to have that at home too. Only problem: If I take a look at any laptop available it pretty much comes bundled with Windows 8.

Technically I have "downgrade" rights if the computer comes bundled with Win 8 pro, but I have heard that there are a ton of problems with getting proper drivers and so on (laptop manufacturer might not even provide drivers for Win 7).

Also, I'd still like to wait a bit, since I'm going to upgrade the house's wireless to 802.11ac and laptops are just now starting to arrive with the gigabit wireless bundled. So if it's troublesome getting Win 7 working with new machines right now, I wonder how next-to-impossible it will be by the end of the year.

about 8 months ago
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US Light Bulb Phase-Out's Next Step Begins Next Month

Zarhan Re:Regulations a bit premature (1146 comments)

Try Viva-lite's full spectrum CFLs. (http://www.viva-lite.us/). We have our whole house fitted with them. They come on immediately with full power (apart from the E14-based 11W models, "candle lamp" need a bit of warm-up time), give really nice light especially for working and have a really long life (and 6 month warranty).

Quality-wise, there have been a few occasional bad batches where I have had to call in that warranty, but of all my bulbs that didn't fail in the first 6 months, they ALL have lasted thus far. I got my first ones just for testing like 6 or 7 years ago, and they are still working just fine. Now have about 20+ of such bulbs in the house. They also have fluorescent light tubes (not compact) and full-spectrum LEDs in the product line and they work just as well.

Only drawback: Price. I have paid 20-30 EUR for a bulb, and when you are outfitting your entire apartment it can be a rather big one-time cost. However, like I said, these can last for 10 years...myself, I switched to these one room at a time when the existing bulbs burned out to spread the cost over a longer period.

about 9 months ago
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Google's Plan To Kill the Corporate Network

Zarhan Re:Genuinely Interested (308 comments)

I don't know about OpenVPN, but for example Cisco Anyconnect is pretty flexible for this kind of stuff. It uses IKEv2+IPSec if possible, then scales down to DTLS, and finally just https (even through proxy if necessary), and as such, can pretty much punch through any firewall. In addition, you get endpoint assessment so you can for example enforce that any updates and such things are installed to the employee's device (whatever that might be).

about 9 months ago
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Elsevier Going After Authors Sharing Their Own Papers

Zarhan I thought this was allowed regardless. (259 comments)

I have published a paper through Elsevier when I was working on my PhD. At least the contract I signed with them states that I retain the right to distribute the papers if I so choose, for example, on my own website.

Of course, if the distrubution happens through a third party...that might be a different matter.

about 9 months ago
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The last time I used a dial-up modem was...

Zarhan All the time (though not for personal use) (410 comments)

One of my customers uses good old PSTN (or circuit-switched GSM data) to contact their automation devices around the world. They dial in once a day and report status (or in emergencies), and software updates and such are pushed by dialing out towards them. And yes, that platform is *still* being actively developed...(The installed base is huge).

1 year,1 day

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