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Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

bigman2003 Re:Easy Solution (279 comments)

The fact that you wrote that message is an example of why we need Liberal Arts education.

3 days ago
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Study of Massive Preprint Archive Hints At the Geography of Plagiarism

bigman2003 Re:who cares about plagiarism (53 comments)

Oh yeah baby- money makes the (academic) world go round.

I work in academia. You've never seen a researcher drop a project that "is his/her life's passion" as fast as when the money dries up.

I do IT for these people. As soon as that grant is done, you might as well pull the plug. Otherwise it becomes MY project- because they have moved on.

I've shit-canned websites with tons of good info that receive millions of page views per year, because the researcher doesn't care about it anymore. And since it is not my name on the paper, I can't take any responsibility for it.

I can say with about 99% certainty, that the only reason those projects were started was recognition or money. And even the recognition part means nothing once the academic has a few years of work under their belt. Because at that point the only recognition they care about would be academic journals.

about a week ago
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The Cost of the "S" In HTTPS

bigman2003 Caching (238 comments)

I work at a place with many distributed offices. A lot of these offices are large enough to have their own IT staff who make decisions locally.

Some of those bozos felt the need to have very aggressive caching servers. Aggressive enough that on any non-https website, it was impossible to differentiate between users or deliver new content. So any web apps we rolled out had huge problems if multiple users were logged in- or even better, a page would never update because it already existed in the cache. Essentially dynamic sites were completely unusable. Imagine going to a news site, and reading yesterday's news...because it had been cached less than 24 hours ago.

This problem started about 13 years ago- when HTTPS was far less common. So even on ecommerce sites users were having huge problems. Yes, a lot of ecommerce ran unencrypted 13 years ago.

So- every single site I ran (hundreds of sites....) had to run completely HTTPS- to avoid caching. Even the really simple line of business apps that were ridiculously basic and had no reason to be secure, had to run under HTTPS. Even public facing websites had to run under HTTPS, otherwise the local users would not see updates. (No, they did not see updates on sites I did not control...)

Sometimes IT people can be idiotic...but in their mind it cut down on bandwidth usage, which was a greater goal than having the web actually work.

Most of the people responsible for these caching servers have since retired or moved on...but still on a server delivering over 200 million public page views each year, it all runs encrypted because of their legacy.

But seriously...sometimes people have their nose stuck so far up IT minutia, that they can't see the forest through the trees.

about two weeks ago
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Which Programming Language Pays the Best? Probably Python

bigman2003 Re:Your baseline is wrong... (277 comments)

I hate this comment.

I probably hate it because I make about $90k (plus one of the best benefits/retirement packages in the United States...you can suck your 401k, I gots me a pension!)

But really, I hear this all the time. "Oh, you only make $90k? You must suck. Any mid-level programmer can make more than that."

First, it really isn't just about the take-home. The benefits are really important.

Second, there are sooo many other factors, it is incredible. I live about 70 miles from Silicon Valley. My salary *is* something to scoff at by the denizens of the Valley, but for quality of life? I have most of them beat.

I live in a beautiful house that I can easily afford. I average 40 hours per week- with the variance being about 3 hours each way. A 'crazy' time means that I come in at 7:30, and maybe stay as late as 5:30 if I have some process running.

I get to lift my head out of the screen and go do REAL things during my work. I am consulted on many different business processes- my opinion is valued well beyond the technical side of my job.

Someone else mentioned 7 brogrammers huddled together in some Santa Clara shit-shack, all making $150,000. That's a miserable existence that I want no part of- no matter how great they are at programming, or how many Google logoed items they own.

It isn't all about the dollars- don't let some HR firm tell you it is! Don't base your career/life trajectory on your paystubs.

**As an aside, I have visited the Google campus a few time for different projects- meeting with 'fairly high level' employees. We typically compare quality of life notes...I haven't talked to any Google employees over the age of 35 who thought they had made a good life decision to be there. Except for the former CEO's of companies Google has purchased...those guys are happy as shit.

about two weeks ago
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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

bigman2003 Re:BetaMax vs VHS . . . (193 comments)

I think of it more as a Viewmaster.

Okay, maybe LaserDisc. Either way, it's a really bad tool.

Source: IT Director who was there during the launch frenzy of iPads. Employees demanded them...I even had people in my office CRYING because they 'needed' one. Once everyone had their iPad (and it was no longer a status symbol) their actual usage was limited to email and web browsing. Both of which can also be performed on a phone.

iPads were one of the biggest wastes of money during my time of IT purchasing. They were also the most heavily demanded.

Marketing...

about two weeks ago
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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

bigman2003 Re:Uh yeah? (193 comments)

I've got to say (shameless Surface plug coming...at least I am consistent...) that my Surface works perfectly for this reason.

I can sit in my recliner, and use the Surface as a tablet. Albeit the edges are too sharp, and it is heavy...(SP2) but I enjoy using it this way while I sit and drink coffee.

Then I walk over to my desk, snap it onto the keyboard, and I'm typing wonderful comments like this one.

It *does* work, and it works well. Just give it a shot. One device for multiple scenarios is really a good deal. I can use the on-screen keyboard without problems, but a LOT of my usage requires a mouse for finer controls.

about two weeks ago
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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

bigman2003 Re:Uh yeah? (193 comments)

The "chiclet keyboard" can be really nice. I love my Surface keyboard (Type, not Touch) and I don't find myself slowing down at all. I can switch between that and my full-sized keyboard without any problems.

Anecdotal of course....but there is a reason that vendors are switching- a lot of people really like them.

about two weeks ago
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OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review

bigman2003 Re:Windows 8 (305 comments)

It's not a failed experiment.

'Success' does not need to mean, "Everyone universally enjoys this XXXX".

I'm a Windows Phone user as well as a Windows 8 user. I like both of them. I like that they've combined them. It works very well for me.

The interface needs to be refined in order to appeal to more people, but that does not mean it is a failure. It just means that Windows 8 was the first iteration of something that could/should/can be very, very good.

Taking the first steps toward a goal is not failure- it's building a foundation.

about 2 months ago
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Phablet Reviews: Before and After the iPhone 6

bigman2003 Re:I'm pleasantly surprised. (277 comments)

How old is your old? I'm 46...using a Nokia 1520 because it is damn near huge at 6". I can see things pretty well now...I can't go back to a smaller phone, because I just can't read anything on it!

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

bigman2003 Re:football can cause brain damage (405 comments)

Surface Pro. I do like it.

The keyboard is nice. As you said, not ground-breaking. But as opposed to a lot of iPad keyboards, "it just works." Snap it on, snap it off. Is it Bluetooth? Honestly, I don't even know. I just know it works well. I assumed the connection was hardware based due to the 5 pins used for the connection.

Not specifically to you, but to many other commenters on this thread:

YES, there are other devices that can do THIS, or THAT. And YES, you can outfit an iPad with a whole bunch of different things to make it similar...but that is not the point. The point is that this is a very convenient device with the connectivity that I need/want. I can kludge together a super-duper tablet but that's not my aim. I much prefer the simplicity of buying something that's fully functional on day 1 and doesn't need anything else to be useful. (Insert comments about the keyboard not being included...)

I can pick up my Surface, with the keyboard as the cover, and go out into the world knowing that I am fully equipped to deal with whatever comes at me. A laptop would serve the same purpose, but it would probably be bigger (My Dell XPS 15 is great...but too big!). Most tablets are missing out on half of the features I need.

Also- I'm now a small** fan of Miracast, which is fully baked into Windows 8.1. There are still a lot of problems with it, but I've walked into a couple of situations with Miracast enabled monitors that I used and was happy with. It's nice that I don't need to add anything to make it work. And it's odd that my Surface is the 'it just works' machine, while iDevices need add-ons and software to make things happen.

**I wish my wireless displays would automatically re-connect, but I can imagine a lot of security based reasons not to do this.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

bigman2003 Re:football can cause brain damage (405 comments)

I don't think you understand my 'ingesting photos' item. I connect my camera to my Surface via USB. Shots are immediately on my Surface. In fact, I don't even save them to the SD card, they are saved directly on the tablet. I have have 'Live View' on, to see exactly what the camera sees. This is NOT something that can be done over a network right now. Additionally, most of what I do isn't within range of a network...even cell.

I really am a 'mobile worker'. I go out an do stuff...away from networks and people. I carry as little crap with me as possible. Camera, Surface and USB cable are pretty standard.

Possibly when vineyards are networked I'll be able to work differently.

Example of what I do: http://imgur.com/a/xQ040 (I am not a pro photographer- just an IT guy who knows how to use a camera well enough to document things.)

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

bigman2003 Re:football can cause brain damage (405 comments)

Glad you mentioned HVAC.

I can plug into our greenhouse climate control system (like HVAC * 10). USB only...

USB isn't dead.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

bigman2003 Re:football can cause brain damage (405 comments)

USB is important for a few reasons:

#1- ingesting photos. OR even better, tethered shooting. Cameras use USB ports for data transfer and control of the camera. The time to preview pictures is while you are taking them, not when you return to the office. Not saying you can't do this with other platforms, but you can do this with EVERY camera using Surface/USB.

#2- Printers. Sure, wireless printing is great...sometimes. Again, most every printer works with USB. I've been visiting other locations, need to print something and the IT guy rolls his eyes when he sees I need to print a document from a tablet. Once he sees Surface/USB it's like, "Oh..okay, no problem, plug in here." Nobody wants to install some stupid app to let me print.

#3- Wired networking. Again, wireless is great- but sometimes it is not an option. A wired network dongle has saved me a few times.

#4- odd peripherals. Just last Friday I had to provide a butt-ton of files to a lawyer for 'discovery'. They provided an external hard-drive (Aegis Padlock Drive). USB...sure, plug that sucker in and I'll give you all the files you need.

In a professional environment I don't always have control over what I need to connect to. USB has been the most ubiquitous port over the last 10 years. Not having it on your computer locks out out of a LOT of stuff.

My Surface Pro 2 runs Photoshop just fine. Admittedly I don't use it as my primary editing machine (screen size) but when I need it, it is there. Not sure why you say the Surface is underpowered, I would say it is 'run of the mill' in performance. In 2013/2014 that means, "It is an absolute breeze to do photo editing." Also, the fact that the Surface Pro is an awesome digitizer, with a pen, is icing on the cake.

I'm not saying the Surface is the be-all and end-all, but it has features that are fantastic. Most of the detractors obviously haven't used one in a professional environment...where an Android tablet or iPad just don't do what I need them to do. Including having a USB port.

**Someone felt that I was trolling. I'm not a troll, just a person who enjoys using their Surface Pro for work and entertainment. Also, my previous job had me purchasing a LOT of equipment (1,800 users) and I spent soooo much money on iPads it was amazing. Most of those were deemed totally useless once the novelty wore off. I'm just trying to steer people toward what I feel is a very good solution to the mobile computer question.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

bigman2003 Re:football can cause brain damage (405 comments)

Surface user here to respectfully disagree. The Surface is an awesome device that can be used for all sorts of good.

When people see me using my Surface as a tablet, they are then amazed when I show them the USB port (so simple...but why not on iPad?) and keyboard. Yes, the keyboard seems strange at first, but I really do use my Surface about 50/50 keyboard on/off. I've been popping that thing on and off for a few years and I really like it.

When people see me using it as a laptop, they are then surprised when I take off the keyboard, pop out the kickstand, and use it as a movie viewing tablet. OR, when I am out in the field and pop open Photoshop express to do some quick photo editing with my fingers. In about 6 seconds (really) I can have a photo cropped and 'shared'.

You are right, it is a tablet that wants to be a laptop, and a laptop that wants to be a tablet. Not cheap by any means but worth it for me.

I can tell you that from my perspective, this is the best device in either the tablet or laptop class for my use. Previously my Surface was also my desktop- but a new job brought on a ridiculously over-powered desktop that I would be crazy not to use. Now my Surface spends the day as my music player until I need to go out, then it is my usual note-taker.

***All that being said, we have a few other SP2's floating around in my organization that are barely used because people have no idea what they can/should be doing with them. Some were purchased after they saw my 'success' and I really want to say, "hmm...maybe you should have gotten an ipad..."

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

bigman2003 Re:Hahahaha (405 comments)

Going along with the story...

I use a Surface Pro to connect to my Canon camera for macro shots. Super cool, full control of the camera, tethered shooting (straight to Surface) which is then automagically uploaded to SkyDrive. Full screen preview, editing on the Surface, etc.

I can do tons of work directly on the Surface, really works out nice.

Every day I swear that I will "Strangle the next person that calls this an iPad", but that hasn't happened yet. But each time someone does that, I take the time to point out the USB port, the fact that it can run full Photoshop, etc. etc.

iPads were a cruel joke played upon people who thought they were getting a device that could actually DO something. iPads are great for consumption, but once you move beyond NetFlix, they are not good for much.

about 3 months ago
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With Microsoft Office on Android, Has Linus Torvalds Won?

bigman2003 Does it matter? (365 comments)

The whole idea of 'winning' or 'losing' is misguided. The whole idea of marketshare being an indicator of quality is also misguided. I am an admitted Microsoftie. I'm on a Surface tablet right now. My Windows phone is sitting next to me. I've got an Xbox, subscription to Office 365, etc. I'm all in. The phone market has really taught me a lot. I used to carry an iPhone, but I was never really impressed with it. Eventually I switched to Windows and I was much happier (with my phone). A lot of people look at my phone as a lesser product. They'll send me links to articles predicting the demise of Windows Phone, or articles describing the horrible marketshare. But guess what? None of those articles...or the low marketshare...or the possible impending demise make me think less of my phone. Not at all. They have no impact on how I feel about the technology in my pocket. So the point is- I feel that others should do the same. Ignore the marketshare (unless you are an investor or developer) ignore the articles written by the hacks (Motley Fool is determined to bash Microsoft 30 times per day) and just use the technology in the way it was intended. Don't get emotionally invested in someone else's business. Microsoft put (a decidedly strange version of) Office on Android because they want the money. It has nothing to do with either satisfying, or challenging the fanboys. It has to do with money. That is what companies do. Apple had a horrible marketshare in the desktop OS market. It didn't mean they had an inferior product, just a less popular one. Getting emotional about this is silly.

about a year ago
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What Is Holding Back the Paperless Office?

bigman2003 Re:Simple, it can be cloned (511 comments)

My wife signs all kinds of documents for me.

I accept documents that are signed, but I've never met the person, and I probably won't. I don't have any sort of official signature to compare against. For all I know, someone else other than the 'human authorized' signed the document.

Physical signatures are not perfectly secure. The expectation that digital signatures must be perfectly secure is naive.

I think that society is looking for a 99.9% solution- knowing that there will always be a way to cheat the system. The amount of effort to make ANY system perfect is just not worth the trouble.

more than 4 years ago
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How Do You Get Users To Read Error Messages?

bigman2003 Re:Electric Shock (951 comments)

I disagree with your comments about the puppy picture. It is not an apology at all, it is a VERY effective means of communicating with your users.

I *do* use this method. I have pictures of cake, a cartoon alien, a dumpster, etc. throughout my systems with different pictures having very specific meanings (to me).

Every error gets emailed to the developers, and also logged, so there is a lot of 'professional' stuff going on behind the scenes.

But here is a scenario I've been in before...you are sitting in a meeting, and the conversation turns to your newest creation, when one of the people says, "I was using the system this morning, and I got an error." Which could be a show-stopper as far as an positive discussion is concerned.

But then they add, "It was a piece of chocolate cake." To which I respond, "Okay, thanks for letting me know about that- I'll get it fixed ASAP."

The conversation moves forward, because confidence was restored in the system. The user did not have to talk about, "I don't know what it said- some computer gobbley-gook," which I would respond with "I will look into it."

With the cake picture, the user tells me everything I need to know, in a very simple and easy to understand way.

more than 4 years ago
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YouTube To Kill IE6 Support On March 13

bigman2003 Re:I think I'll cut support too. (282 comments)

Well, that makes sense...since IE6, IE7 AND IE8 have more market share than Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome combined.

Not saying it is right, just saying it makes sense.

more than 4 years ago
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Should Gaming Worlds Join the Workplace?

bigman2003 Re:Geek Sociologists Replacing Jock Sociologists (68 comments)

Just a guess (being that this is Slashdot, it is a fairly educated guess) you spent high school playing computer games, NOT being the captain of the football team. (So did I, so I don't have any problem with it.)

But the point is...the recruiters are going to tell you ANYTHING to get you to join the military.

It's a sales job, and flattering you is part of the job. I wouldn't believe anything a recruiter says. In fact, if you had signed up, you'd know that the entire military jokes about it constantly. "What? Did you believe your recruiter?"

I'm not even disputing the information you are putting out, just pointing out that your source is notoriously bad.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Bad Business with Google

bigman2003 bigman2003 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

bigman2003 writes "Google is the 'Do No Evil' company, but many of their business practices are consumer un-friendly. Here is a story about attempting to upgrade a Google Mini search appliance, but being told that Google will not sell the $3,000 upgrade and the only option is to pay $7,000 for a whole new system.

Are Google's days of being a 'good company' over? Is there such thing as a 'good company'? And better yet, does anyone have an idea of a Google Mini replacement without the ridiculous licensing?"

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