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Why the Public Library Beats Amazon

adturner Complaining about lack of titles misses the point (165 comments)

Yeah, the number and variety of titles is lacking with Amazon KU. But this is typical Amazon (and business 101 actually). You start small and grow over time. Amazon negotiated the deals it could bring KU to market and no doubt plans to grow their titles/publishers over time. Remember when Amazon used to _only_ sell books? Or what about few titles were available Amazon Instant Video a year ago vs now? Sure, it won't happen over night (not so much Amazon's fault, they'd love to include more publishers/titles), but it will improve over time.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Us Older Experts Being Retired Too Early?

adturner Ageism is real, but... (2 comments)

the market is really hot right now. If you:

1. Have relevant/current skills
2. Are marketing yourself well

Then you shouldn't have a huge problem. When things slow down again though, I'd expect it to get harder.

The fact that you want to work remote though is a huge negative for a lot of companies who just don't have the corporate culture for that sort of thing. A lot of companies think people need to be in the same room in order to collaborate in order to be effective. There are of course companies like GitHub and 37Signals which have a lot of remote employees- I suggest you seek those out and make sure you tailor a resume specific to them.

The problem is that a lot of really experienced people haven't kept current with the changing market demands. SQA for example used to be very manual, and now companies are looking for people to do automation. Effectively, looking for QA programmers. Also, some older people sometimes don't come off well in interviews and that taints the whole pool.

The above are just generalizations and aren't intended to be a critique of you, but without more detail (like a copy of your resume) it's hard to really provide any constructive feedback.

On a side note, I'm a big fan of MotoPod :)

-Aaron (@synfinatic)

about 10 months ago
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BART Strike Provides Stark Contrast To Tech's Non-Union World

adturner OMG, no please god no unions in Tech (467 comments)

You want to destroy innovation in the tech sector? I guarantee you the fastest way to do that is unionize the tech field.

about a year ago
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How Red Hat Hires

adturner Nice Ad (113 comments)

Love this ad by Dice/Red Hat in an attempt to attract talent. I mean, I sure hope it's an ad, because if it's a legit bit of "news" then slashdot's standards have really fallen.

about a year and a half ago
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Using Technology To Make Guns Safer

adturner Re:Lousy ideas (1013 comments)

I take it you've never heard of Libya or Syria? Not saying that in some situations a peaceful revolution can't be successful, but at the same time I don't believe it's the only means of doing so. American history shows that both ways can be successful, but it really depends on the leader.

about a year and a half ago
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Using Technology To Make Guns Safer

adturner Re:Lousy ideas (1013 comments)

Not to mention as we've seen in the Arab Spring uprising, it's one thing to use your military against a foreign nation, it's a totally different thing to use it against your own population. Soldiers generally don't like pointing their guns at their bothers, sisters, neighbors and friends.

about a year ago
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Using Technology To Make Guns Safer

adturner Re:We can make complex AND reliable things (1013 comments)

Modern commercial aircraft are "reliable" because they get hundreds of hours of maintenance each year. Car engines are reliable, but require regular maintenance as well (oil changes, timing belt, etc). But generally it's all the electronics which start failing (electric door locks, powered windows, etc) for a wide range of reasons. My BMW for example has had various electronic problems including a recall on the spark plug coils (talk about an old technology and they still can't get it right!) and various other electronic gremlins (one of which killed my battery every 5 days if I didn't drive it because the A/C sucked 800ma/h even when off).

Frankly, I've been in tech now for nearly two decades and if it's taught me one thing it's this: very very few people/organizations know how to make reliable software & electronics. Those electronics which have to be reliable (or people die) are very very expensive vs. your normal commercial/consumer electronics (your iPod for example). Even systems designed with reliability in mind can fail (Amazon AWS outages for example).

Now start thinking about the conditions and elements a firearm is designed to go through with minimal maintenance: moisture, dirt, sand, salt, harsh cleaning chemicals, shock & vibration, etc which can cause corrosion and in general wreak havoc on electronics. Cars and plane electronics can have a lot of weather sealing (which adds bulk and weight) which is isn't so reasonable in a firearm you are supposed to carry and hold with one or two hands.

Simply put, added complexity reduces reliability and significantly increases costs.

That said, the best safety is training and being responsible (storing them in a safe, etc). Teaching people to respect (not fear) and how to properly handle firearms is the best safety. That's why I don't trust "safeties" on my firearms and I treat them as *always* loaded unless *I* personally have just verified it's state because a safety can fail for a variety of reasons (poor design, abuse, poor maintenance, etc). I won't even trust someone else verifying it for me- I have to visually check it myself.

That said, there are some really crappy guns being made which nobody should ever own/buy, but they're cheap. I do wish there were some appropriate safety/reliability testing standards that firearms had to pass and each one was given a rating (sorta like how safety ratings are done for cars). California does this which sorta gets it right, but causes problems for smaller manufacturers (like Les Baer, etc) which make very high quality firearms as well as other problems. A federal standard would help here, but frankly, I don't think I'd trust the Gov't to do it well and so a lot of gun owners like myself are hesitant to support such a measure and instead prefer to do our own research.

about a year ago
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The Lies Disks and Their Drivers Tell

adturner almost clicked the link... (192 comments)

But you lost me the moment you mentioned ATA drives.

about 2 years ago
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SQL Vs. NoSQL: Which Is Better?

adturner Re:Stupid question (306 comments)

In my case, kicking and screaming. Our IT dept uses Oracle extensively for various things and for various reasons that basically forced my team to also use Oracle although we'd all prefer PG or yes even MySQL. Now that my team is moving to JRuby (which is awesome btw), Oracle driver suckage is less of a problem, but we all find Oracle a PITA to use query wise and it's not nearly as well supported in the OSS community for things like ActiveRecord (although recent versions of the oracle_enhanced-adapter seem to have solved many of our problems), etc.

That said, there have been some things that Oracle does really well and actually makes easy compared to PG/MySQL, but it's been a constant learning exercise for us. That said, little things like having to use WHERE ROWNUM = X, rather then LIMIT which basically always requires a subselect to get correct results is just annoying and makes our code less portable.

Not to say other RDBMS don't have their own set of problems, but at least we have a few decades worth of combined experience of PG/MySQL so we know how to avoid/work around them. But hey AC, thanks for the troll!

more than 2 years ago
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SQL Vs. NoSQL: Which Is Better?

adturner Stupid question (306 comments)

Might as well just ask: Which is better a BMW M3 or Ford F350 4x4 with 6.7 diesel?

Both are great, have their place and will get you from point A to B, but neither are a practical replacement for the other.

My current programming project is a mixture of Cassandra and Oracle (although, to be honest, I'd rather be using PostgreSQL or even MySQL).

more than 2 years ago
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Why Kids Should Be Building Rockets Instead of Taking Tests

adturner Re:Blame the Unions (381 comments)

At least here in California (your state may be different) the CTA (California Teachers Association which is the largest teachers union in California) is *very* powerful in state politics. Per wikipedia:

"The CTA is the most influential spender in California politics, spending more money on politicians and to influence California voters than Chevron, AT&T, Philip Morris and Western States Petroleum Association combined"

So yeah, if you don't think teacher unions don't influence politics here you're not paying attention.

more than 2 years ago
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Hybrid Car Owners Not Likely To Buy Another Hybrid

adturner Re:Diesel (998 comments)

Unfortunately, here in the Bay Area, diesel is often more expensive then premium and 30-40 cents more expensive then regular. Annoying since diesel is basically a by-product of refining gasoline, but the global market for diesel is exploding (the US is the worlds largest exporter of diesel) and the newer cleaner ultra-low sulfur formulations are sending the price skyhigh compared to what it used to be.

more than 2 years ago
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NSA Building US's Biggest Spy Center

adturner Re:a thought (279 comments)

That's basically what happens today with most protocols like SSL/TLS. For each new connection, the client and server negotiate a new key via public key crypto like RSA. Actually, based on some comments in the article, like needing more "transactions" to help break the encryption, makes me believe the NSA is actually working to break RSA then AES.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Like To Read?

adturner One of my favorite interview questions actually... (647 comments)

I always make a point to include "books, magazines, websites, blogs, manuals, nutritional food labels, directions for building Ikea furniture, etc"

I've found it better then asking what their hobbies are and if they say they don't read anything then it's an immediate fail. Overall I've found it tends to allow people to open up a bit more about what floats their boat then trying to be all PC about things. Some people give really bland answers (especially if they don't read much), but I've found that the A players tend (but not always) to get really excited about this question and can talk about it at length. YMMV.

more than 2 years ago
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Ron Paul Wants To End the Federal Student Loan Program

adturner Re:Ron Paul should give away his money (1797 comments)

In the absence of a student loan program at the time, I can only imagine that his parents were actually wealthy enough to send him to school.
So, of course he has no idea (or real damn concern) that there are plenty of us who can't afford to send our kids to school to have a doctor's education pasted onto them.

Ron Paul is a perfect example of one of these motherfuckers who was born on 3rd base and thinks he hit a triple.

Again, fuck him and his fans in the face. We do not need this world run by misanthropes and greed-heads.

Actually, Ron Paul had to work his way through college by delivering mail, doing laundry, working in a coffee shop, etc. His first year was paid for money he had saved by delivering newspapers, mowing lawns and running an honest to god lemonade stand as a kid. At one point he was offered a full athletic scholarship, but turned it down because he was still recovering from an injury and didn't think he would be competitive.

But hey, it's always just easier to to assume facts which happen to solidify your world view then do any research isn't it?

more than 2 years ago
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Rob Malda Casts a Jaded Eye at Amazon's Silk

adturner Single point of failure? (143 comments)

Well depending on how Amazon is using EC2, they could be doing the pre-caching in multiple zones so there may not be a single point of failure. But seriously, is this really a concern when:

1. The Kindle Fire screen, battery, PCB, etc are all a single point of failure
2. Your WiFi base station is probably a single point of failure
3. Your home cable/DSL modem is a single point of failure
4. The wires running between your home and the network POP is single point of failure
5. The DSLAM/whatever it's called in cable-speak is a single point of failure
6. etc etc etc

Yes, I know if you're using it at work you prolly have multiple WiFi access points and possibly redundant routers/connections to the internet, but why are you watching movies and playing angry birds at work?

Hell, the whole internet has gone down for large segments of the US due to construction workers/etc indiscriminately using backhoes to create huge fiber cuts, not to mention under sea cables being cut for various reasons.

I mean there's a lot of valid reasons why you may not want a Kindle Fire (I'm personally not interested in tablets at all), but I find this to be one of the weakest arguments out there.

more than 2 years ago
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Doctors To Patients: First, Do No Yelp Harm

adturner Re:It's called "Being Fair"! (581 comments)

While I have no doubt that proper chiropractic technique is safe and effective, there is always the possibility that the chiropractor didn't use proper technique or doesn't use the correct technique for the problem. That and I can say from personal experience that different chiropractors have different techniques and some are better then others. My last chiropractor was actually a husband/wife team and even though they tried to use the same technique, there was clear differences between the two of them. While they were OK (neither harmed me) I honestly have a hard time recommending them because I didn't get the same results as the guy I had used prior who unfortunately moved out of state.

My current chiropractor is much better and is far more open to listening to me and working with me and my life style to improve my health. Frankly he listens to me while my old one wanted to tell me how to live (specifically stop racing motorcycles).

Another reason I would give a negative review of my old chiropractor is that while he correctly had me get a MRI for my lower back, he then dismissed the analysis by the neurologist THAT HE RECOMMENDED and then made no changes in adjusting me. After I changed chiropractors, I had a new analysis done by a different neurologist (recommended by my current chiropractor) and the result is he changed how he adjusts me and the results have been fantastic.

Long story short, it's more then about someone causing your physical harm, but rather adjustment table side manner and technique which works for the patient.

Lastly, I'm really tired of the "us vs. them" mentality that chiropractors tend to have with the medical community. I'm not paying you so I can listen to how poorly you're treated by evil Big Pharma or people with Ph.D.'s. Bad mouthing others is a poor way of building a positive and long term relationship with a client.

more than 3 years ago
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Unemployment Hits New High In Silicon Valley

adturner Article doesn't say anything useful about Tech (338 comments)

1) All of California isn't silicon valley or even high tech. A lot of those lost jobs have been in housing and farming.
2) 1,200 of those jobs were financial sector. Sure some of those are IT, but clearly not all of them and it's unlikely they're a majority.
3) "trade, transportation, utilities" aren't areas where you see a lot of IT.

Frankly, this isn't nearly as bad as the dot com bust and there are good jobs to be had, but companies are watching head count and so people who don't interview well, only got into tech because of the $$$ not because they'd be any good at it, have little to no experience (You're just out of college? Great! What OSS project did you work on? == blank stare) or can't work well with others are going to find their options very limited.

My company has been hiring and I'm constantly amazed with the large quantity of crappy resumes and relatively few well written ones. And I'm not looking for people who double majored CS/EE at MIT, just people who are competent, bright and have a real desire to learn.

more than 5 years ago

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