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Ask Slashdot: Undoing an Internet Smear Campaign?

br00tus Fight fire with fire (338 comments)

Using Bing, Google etc., there are about eight web pages or so that I would not want out there. Oddly enough, the origin of those web pages were back in 1989 when I gave my name and phone # to some local BBSs. BBSs and IRC channels I stopped talking on about 17 years ago. For whatever reasons, these things float back up. They're not all bad, I'd just rather they not be around.

A solution - on Google a search for my name, first page is my Github, my Twitter, my Stack Overflow, my Facebook (which is fairly employer-scrubbed). Also some other people with my name, ancestral records of people with the same name etc. The following pages are more of the same - me talking on technical mailing lists etc.

Have them get their name out there in a positive way. Nothing negative about me is on the first 100 searches for my name. It is mostly me on various technical web sites, mailing lists etc.

about a year ago
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Legislators Call On Twitter To Ban Hamas

br00tus Hamas (486 comments)

Hamas was elected to govern Gaza. The Israelis have had Gaza under siege for years, preventing food etc. from coming in, and they're now bombing the hell out of it. I guess the US government moving to silence their voices would just be the icing on the cake - after all, the US is directly/indirectly financing the shelling of Gaza as well.

Of course, one thing that caused Hamas to grow was US and Israeli financing. The US and Israel were always more scared of secular, left-leaning pan-Arab movements like the PLO - during the Cold War, and after the Cold War as well. Hamas is very much a creation of Israeli financing. Now Israel and the US deem this organization they helped create terrorist. Just like Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda and the Taliban were seen as heroic, fighting against the secular Afghanis who were Russian-sympathetic in the 1970s and 1980s. Rambo even went to fight along with the heroic mujahideen, fighting against secular Afghanis and their Russian allies. When the US army occupied Saudi Arabia for a decade, they suddenly found Saudi patriots like Osama and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers didn't like their country occupied by a foreign military. So they went from freedom fighters to terrorists in a blink as well. Of course the US withdrew its military from Saudi Arabia within two years of 9/11 - the US is essentially just a bully, and will always run from those who will actually stand and fight against it (Vietnamese, Saudis etc.)

about 2 years ago
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USPS Reports $15.9 Billion Loss, Asks Congress For Help

br00tus Not due to the Internet (473 comments)

The health plan mentioned in the blurb is what did this, not the Internet. The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act forces USPS to put 75 years of healthcare benefits into an account within 10 years, something which was noted as ridiculous when the law passed. Also, this law is filled with provisions that say the USPS is *not* allowed to modernize in this era of the Internet. The law was pushed by lobbyists from companies like UPS and FedEx. It makes no sense to blame this on the Internet, since the direct cause of this massive shortfall was the 2006 law which caused the shortfall, a law which also prevents the USPS from modernizing. A postal service is one of the few "socialist" government nationalized enterprises mandated by the U.S. constitution, the Republicans and private mail carriers are doing all of this to try to do an end run around the constitution they supposedly love so much.

about 2 years ago
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180k-Year-Old Mutation Allowed Humans To Become Vegetarians, Move Out of Africa

br00tus Headline wrong (342 comments)

The Slashdot headline is wrong and the initial website it links to has a wrong headline.

If you read the scientific paper, it says the mutation happened about 85,000 years ago, not 180,000 years ago. This makes it logically consistent with other biological discoveries, archaeological finds etc.

about 2 years ago
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How the Critics of the Apollo Program Were Proven Wrong

br00tus Job creators (421 comments)

The double-think which one has to perform to try to understand talk about job creators is mind-boggling to me. I can barely wrap my head around what mental gymnastics I'd have to do to buy into this nonsense. I look out my window and see birds flying around and eating food. They are free and need no one to "create jobs" for them, yet we humans seem to supposedly need heirs like the Koch brothers and others to create jobs for us. There was a poster in during the strikes and near-uprising in 1968 France (one fifth of France's population was on strike, de Gaulle fled the country) that said "Le patron a besoin de toi, tu n'as pas besoin de lui", but in this day and age of low VC investment, longer hours, boring work, high unemployment etc., people seem more enslaved to the heirs and their broken system then at any time - at least in the USA anyhow. In other countries they're trying to burn down US embassies as I type.

You used to be able to go to the federal government's BLS and see inflation-adjusted historical average hourly wages, but they removed that functionality, perhaps because it looked so bad. Here's a fellow who did it back in 2007, with links to the Federal Reserve and BLS data. As you can see, the hourly wage in the US was higher in the early 1970s then it is now. In fact, it was higher for the whole decade of 1968-1978 then it is now. All of this wonderful economic growth and job creation - what has it done for the majority of Americans over the past decades? Absolutely nothing. It all goes to the 1%, the majority of whom inherited it, if you're to believe the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, Forbes 400 richest list etc.

Political scientists, historians, astronauts etc. are also pretty much in universal agreement that if communist parties had not come to power in Russia, China, eastern Europe etc. in the 1960s, that there is no way Congress would have ever financed the moon shot. Sputnik and the advancements in science and engineering in the Soviet Union are what loosened the purse strings in the US - the Soviets were winning the Space Race from Sputnik up until the end of 1968 where they were still winning the moon race. By that time the USSR was busy with Poland and Czechoslovakia and the like and Apollo 8 did its moon flyby, the first time the US really pulled ahead in the space race, which was followed by the next important US achievement, Apollo 11. It took the US over a decade to catch up and finally surpass the USSR. Then after a moon flyby and landing, that was pretty much the end of any major space spending. I don't see the point of The Atlantic talking about ancient history - it's not like if the US had any leftover money it would spend it on a project like that, not that it has any spare money.

about 2 years ago
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YouTube Refuses To Remove Anti-Islamic Film Clip

br00tus Icing on the cake (622 comments)

Despite Qadaffi's efforts to appease the West in recent years, as soon as he became vulnerable, the US urged NATO to help overthrow the Libyan government. Air strikes, drone strikes, CIA officers on the ground coordinating attacks - the largest military power in the world overthrew the government of this small country - a government which has been making concession after concession to the West in recent years. Apparently not enough. Can anyone imagine the US ambassador in Libya getting blown up if the US hadn't bombed the Libyan government out of existence, working to put its own regime in? You play with fire you get burned.

Imperialism, foreign intervention, torturing Muslims in Abu Ghraib - forcing them to masturbate to the videotaped laughs of sadistic American soldiers, drone attacks, puppet governments, financing the Zionist siege of Gaza - this is what the US is doing to Muslims. Then Korans are burned, put in toilets, mocking videos are made just to rub it in. Then Americans get all indignant that their mockeries of an almost-conquered people are not taken in a light-hearted fashion.

The real question is why is the US over there, why were they bombing Libya and arming the people who overthrew their government. If I was a Libyan patriot, and I knew US insults to Islam would help rally Libyans in an anti-imperial campaign, of course I'd use that. Libyans are responding to everything the US has done to it. The Marines hymn "from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli" refers to US interference in Tripoli going back to the beginning of the 19th century. None of this can be discussed of course, so it all becomes about religion, when really it has little to do with religion. Middle class Muslim Turks are nor burning down embassies. Americans are more gullible and steeped in imperial propaganda then any Muslim is in guile to religious ideas - not that Americans should talk, as the country is crawling with fundamentalist Christianity more than any other industrialized nation.

about 2 years ago
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EVE Online CSM and Diplomat Killed in Libyan Consulate Attacks

br00tus I concur (680 comments)

As you said, their oil and water was kept in local hands, and the Libyans had an independence of mind, which was there true crime. Why are the Qadaffis of the world always portrayed as devils while the Saudi regime are portrayed as angels? If Qadaffi had taken US money and bowed down to the oil companies and Zionists he would have been portrayed angelically. As it was, he knew the winds had changed and worked to appease the West and US. Didn't matter, NATO took it upon itself to bomb the hell out of Libya. Now tears are flowing for these foreign imperialists who just helped arm a bloody insurrection to get Libya under the hands of the West. Not every Libya man is a pussy who is going to lie down and let foreigners walk all over them, as this attack shows. How many Libyans killed in the recent US backed bloody civil war get a full blown Slashdot memorial? Some American gets a piece of that aftermath and it's a big deal. Those who live by the sword die by the sword.

about 2 years ago
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Is a Computer Science Degree Worth Getting Anymore?

br00tus BSCS and resumes (630 comments)

I've stopped relying on computer science degrees

I know few people who ever did. If you have a pile of 1000 resumes and only have time to sort through half of them, throwing the half without CS degrees in the trash is a method many people use.

In my experience, self-motivation, a nearly pathological interest in the field, and great problem-solving skills are vastly better indicators than a college degree that a hire will be successful.

No kidding. How much of this can be discerned when looking at a resume though? Again, when you have hundreds of resumes for a positions, whether someone has a BSCS is a good guide for trimming down your pile, especially for positions which don't require a lot of experience.

When a bad economy comes, like now to some extent, compared to 1999 any how, have fun sending your resume out looking for work while companies inboxes have lots of applicants with a BSCS. Some require it on the job posting, and HR will often ask you even if it is not a requirement. It may be smart or dumb to do, but you're not running the company so it's not your decision.

I don't dispute a self-taught self-motivated, interested problem solver can do a better job then a BSCS who slogged through class in a lot of the standard grunt programming work companies do. And there are outliers - John Carmack is a better programmer than 90+% of BSCS holders ever will be, even though he only attended two semesters of college. But BSCS holders seem to me to be able to do more of the creative, ambitious, higher level stuff. The problem isn't just that self-taught programmers don't know some of the higher level data structures and whatnot, it's that they don't even know they don't know. That's what the real problem is.

about 2 years ago
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Do We Need a Longer School Year?

br00tus Assumes learning is only classroom (729 comments)

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the leading educational theory, which I believe is correct, is that you don't have to force children to learn rote facts and methods as a chore - that children are naturally curious, and the best education would be adults facilitating children who were, to some extent, teaching themselves.

Of course, in the USA this is in the process of public library hours being shortened while school year length is elongated. Tests which determine the pay of teachers and schools, and which have little to do with students. Thus the process becomes teaching students how to pass a state test instead of learning a subject. Rote memorization. A skewed focus on STEM, even though Steve Jobs, head of one of the US's most successful technology companies, said things like calligraphy classes and the like were essential components to his products eventual success.

I've been assigned to read The Scarlet Letter several times from youth to college - I've never read it, I usually give up several dozen pages in, if I get that far, and reach for the Cliff Notes. On the other hand, books which I have chosen myself I have usually read. There's an assumption here that people only learn when they are in a classroom, 25 (or 30, or 35...) minutes into listening to a teacher drone on and write on a blackboard, after which you will eventually be tested. I probably spend more time figuring out the quirky questions and grading methods of certain teachers then I did the actual subjects.

Linus Torvalds was left pretty much alone to do what he wanted in Finland, and his learning seems to have come out OK, didn't it? In the US, the brightest and most motivated students seem to be forced into the least common denominator of doing the same exact things as students who don't want to be in class to begin with.

about 2 years ago
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Iranian Players Blocked From World of Warcraft Due To Trade Sanctions

br00tus Re:Undermining a theocracy (475 comments)

Fist of all, the government was not elected. Mossadegh was appointed to become PM by the Shah of Iran according to the Iranian constitution from 1906.

Mossadegh was elected to parliament in 1944. The parliament voted him prime minister in 1951, and yes, the Shah appointed him such, just as the queen of England appoints the prime minister in the UK.

Since when does CIA count as a reliable source? Do you believe everything CIA says?...There are many books, articles, documents, audio that proves otherwise. Iranian and foreign historians say otherwise.

No I don't believe everything the CIA says. People can read all sides and all accounts and come to their own conclusions.

Richard Helms, long time CIA director, told a BBC television program that '' the agency did not counter rumours of in Iran because the Iranian episode looked like a success. At the time, of course, agency needed some success, especially to counter fiascos as the Bay of Pigs.'''

Donald Wilber, the CIA operative whose ''secret report'' has been given top billing by the New York Times makes it clear that whatever he and his CIA colleagues were up to in Tehran at the time simply failed.

I think they neither had 100% failure nor 100% success. You're right, everything didn't go 100% as they wanted. But they did want Mossadegh out and the Shah in, and were successful in that respect.

Barry Rubin writes âoeIt cannot be said that the United States overthrew Mussadeq and replaced him with the Shah⦠Overthrowing Mussadeq was like pushing an open door.â

In closing, Mossadegh was an asshole. I can not remember exactly now, but he either closed the parliament or threatned to close the parliament if they did not give him dictatorial powers. He broke the economy of Iran. He forced women to wear hijabs again and so on. But that's another discussion.

Take care.

"I can not remember exactly now, but he either closed the parliament or threatned to close the parliament if they did not give him dictatorial powers." I have no idea what this refers to. The biggest internal struggle I recall was over appointment of chief of staff and war minister, should it be by the prime minister or the shah. Mossadegh did not threaten to close parliament, he threatened to resign, and in fact did resign for a few days until a compromise was hammered out. Parliament almost always backed Mossadegh, so I don't know why he would want it closed down.

I am not sure what was reported in the 1950s, but I think the mainstream US reporting, literature, newspaper and magazine articles on what happened in 1953 are pretty good. This was about 60 years ago, and any motivation to cover up for the Shah started disappearing around 1979.

As far as Mossadegh and dealing with radical Islamists and Feda'ian-e Islam, Mossadegh had so much trouble with radical Islamists they tried to kill him and his deputies, quite apart from any foreign schemes. In fact Hossein Fatemi was severely wounded by them. I also know Mossadegh initially resisted their desire for a hijab law. As far as I know, he resisted this until the coup - but I am not 100% familiar with the matter. If you say he eventually conceded to the law, I suppose it is possible, I don't know the details.

about 2 years ago
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Iranian Players Blocked From World of Warcraft Due To Trade Sanctions

br00tus Undermining a theocracy (475 comments)

Iran had a secular democracy in 1953. The CIA helped overthrow it and installed a dictatorship. Then the US puppet's security arm, Savak, worked with the CIA to kill off, imprison and exile the left. By the late 1970s, the only independent bodies in Iran were the mullahs, and the informal relationships bazaar merchants formed. Thus when the economy collapsed, and repression intensified, the mullahs and bazaar merchants were at the forefront of the revolution, they were the only independent bodies the CIA had not wrecked.

Then Americans have the gall to stick up their nose and whine about theocracies. Of course, Iran is a secular paradise compared to somewhere like US puppet regime Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, women are not even allowed to drive cars. So why do we hear this theocracy stuff for Iran but not Saudi Arabia? Would it have something to do with the government (which has popular support, and some democratic forms - much, much more than Saudi Arabia) not asking "how high" whenever the powers that be in the US say "jump"? The gall and hypocrisy and rose-colored glasses of imperial-happy Americans seems unlimited, only planes flying into their war-planning pentagon buildings seem to wake them up from their stupor for a short bit.

about 2 years ago
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Iranian Players Blocked From World of Warcraft Due To Trade Sanctions

br00tus Re:When I was a kid we thought America was free (475 comments)

In the papers context, anyone authorized (police, KGB, GRU, etc.) could stop citizens at any time and ask for their papers, that included identification information, where they worked, etc. and could ask them why they were they were, what they were doing etc. Failure to cooperate was a crime.

And this is different than the USA how? Stop and identify statutues, stop and frisk? There is no difference.

And this was frequently used and moreover was used to intimidate groups they didn't like. For a personal example, I know someone who grew up near Moscow in the 1970s who had become interested in Judaism. She joined a group of people who were reading and studying old texts. After a few months, it reached the attention of the government, and one time they went to their regular meeting, she was stopped by KGB people and asked where she was going, and told that it was an unwise thing to do. At the next meeting, they were raided and all arrested. She served a few months in jail and upon being released couldn't get any jobs. In the US, nor in most of the Western world do things like that happen.

Of course it happens. I know people who have been harrassed from at their jobs, arrested and so forth for being against the Vietnam war. The NAACP was illegal in Alabama in the 1950s. Three people were killed (two white, one black) in 1964 in Mississippi for registering voters, with all signs pointing to the sherriff, who had arrested and harrassed them. I know anti-Vietnam war people who were arrested, harrassed at their jobs and so forth. This went from the 1960s to 1970s to 1980s with people against funding the Contras trying to overthrow the elected Nicaraguan government - which turned out to be the majority of Americans.

As far as someone practicing "Judaism" as you call it being harassed, I have to say I take that with a grain of salt. There were and are hundreds of thousands of Jews in Russia, and harassing people who want to go to temple and whatnot - there is no motive to do so, and it is impractical on all fronts. Now the USSR was certainly concerned with Zionist groups, or groups that some might worry put Israel over Russia, just like the US was concerned with groups that they felt put Russia over the US. In fact, the US made the communist party illegal in the 1950s with that as a reason. There is a mountain of evidence for the USSR monitoring Zionist groups. The evidence of Jews who just wanted to go to temple and observe Rosh Hashanah and such being harassed is much more thin. In fact, I'm sure they're harassed in Russia more nowadays, with neo-nazism on the rise with the fall of communism there.

about 2 years ago
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Iranian Players Blocked From World of Warcraft Due To Trade Sanctions

br00tus Re:When I was a kid we thought America was free (475 comments)

The difference with cars is that you need a license to drive a car. Comparing that to what the USSR did is just not accurate.

As you said, if you're driving a car in the US the police can stop you and ask for ID. You also need ID nowadays to travel on an Amtrak train. The police can and do ask people to show ID and can arrest them if they do not, Google "stop and identify statutes". The police can also stop and search someone and arrest them if they are carrying a nickle bag of marijuana and whatnot, Google "stop and frisk". Why is "comparing that to what the USSR did is just not accurate"? It is the exact same thing.

Remember the Berlin Wall at all? People were shot trying to flee as a regular occurrence. The US may do nasty things sometimes to keep people out, but they aren't threatening their own citizens to keep them in.

The hostile west had its military within half of a city in the DDR (and not saying "west" as assuming the west was entirely anti-communist, which is not true, the majority of continential western Europe's working class were communist into the 1970s, just look at election results). It would be like Iran or North Korea's military controlling half of Chicago. You don't think the US would build a wall around that? As far as the regular occurence of people getting shot, between 1976 and 1989, 18 people were killed at the Berlin wall - and I know of know academic peer reviewed paper which says higher. "People" weren't trying to flee to the west, as many moved to the west without problem. It defies reason that the DDR feared several thousand janitors and garbage men and such leaving, the DDR did not. The people who had a lot of red tape were those who got a free college education, free medical school, and upon graduation, immediately wanted to move to West Germany and make a bigger salary as a doctor over there. In east-west talks, the DDR proposed that the west could import such people if someone paid their debts off first, the west refused and wanted the MD's etc. for free. Now you can make of all of this what you will, but most people certainly were not prevented from leaving before they got their free advanced degrees. And as for these regular shootings at the Berlin wall...1976 none, 1977 two, 1978 none, 1979 none. The advanced degree people wanting to leave certainly was a problem in the east, and you can think of it as you want, but you're making the whole thing a lot more hyperbolic than it is. I know many, many, many people in Warsaw Pact countries. who moved to the west or vacationed in Western Europe during the cold war.

None of this is to say that the US is perfect. There are serious problems with civil liberties. And in many ways they've gotten much worse in the last decade. But that doesn't mean it is at all like how things were in the Soviet Union.

We hear a lot about how the DDR and Stasi monitored phone calls and alike. The US government monitors domestic phone calls WAY more then Stasi does, in a much more sophisticated and enveloping form. There have been articles here on the new NSA supercenter in Utah, or the exposures from the San Francisco Room 641A NSA monitoring and so forth. We also know what Nixon and pre and post Nixon monitoring has watched - the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, the anti-Vietnam war movement - the political police, trying to such down opposition. I know some who was a database administrator at an Ivy League college until he retired recently. He was against the Vietnam war and the boss at his company used to get anonymous letters addressed to him, in an attempt to get him fired. Luckily for him, his boss was cool and said he looked down on anonymous mud-slinging. Lawsuits (by others) and FOIA requests later revealed it was the FBI anonymously trying to get him fired from his job. Now in the USSR, Sakharov was harassed for his peacenik stance, yes, but plenty of Americans were as well.

The bottom line is the Warsaw Pact countries DID have some problems, but in the US they were way hyperbolically exaggerated. Also the US was and is doing much the same thing, but these are underplayed and forgotten. Or just considered quantitatively different. Peaceniks like Sakharov were human rights victims in the USSR, but peaceniks in the US who were harrassed in the same manner deserved it.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Did You Become a Linux Professional?

br00tus Re:Also... (298 comments)

I have been involved with Linux for more than 15 years and have written device drivers as well as having rolled my own distributions on numerous occasions. Your questions are absurd. Nobody cares if the reset is active high or low, and how it gets to the BIOS address at FFFF:0000, nor does it matter that the processor is in real mode at that time, especially since you are assuming an x86 architecture when Linux supports more than 30 processor architectures. Unless you are hiring someone to work on the Linux boot code for an x86 system and/or design a motherboard for same your questions are ridiculous and you are missing out on highly qualified help.

You seem to be missing the point. I did not say this is a good list of questions, or the main things you need to know on an interview. Booting is just an example, I could ask for detail on other things. I said if I tell someone "Tell me how a Linux system boots in as much detail as you possibly can" and they give an answer like this, they're very likely to get hired. If they say "BIOS runs POST, the bootloader starts, and eventually init runs", then great, you've given me the same answer as the past dozen people.

I could ask about RAID 5. "Striped parity across disks" is what the last dozen people said. They may even know when to use RAID 5 and when to use RAID 10 and why. If someone can go into minute detail explaining how RAID 5 works, that distinguishes them.

"Your questions are ridiculous and you are missing out on highly qualified help". Well, "explain a Linux system boot process in detail" is not a ridiculous question. Explaining that during boot the FFFF:0000 address for BIOS is gathered by adding the address from two registers (If I am recalling correctly) may be part of a ridiculously great answer to the question, but I'm more apt to hire someone who can go into that much detail than someone who can't. I'm not missing out on highly qualified help, I've just talked to a dozen people who said "BIOS runs POST, the bootloader starts, and eventually init runs". The more detail you can give the better. You might not have to go into this much detail, but the point is it is always possible to improve the answer.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Did You Become a Linux Professional?

br00tus Also... (298 comments)

"I'm interested in what practical steps I can take to build meaningful skills that an employer can verify, and will find valuable."

I have been on many interviews for Unix sysadmin jobs, and have conducted many, many interviews for Unix sysadmin positions over the years.

People fall under a Gaussian distribution on an interview. A few people know almost nothing (we try to screen them out with phone interviews), a few people knock every question out of the park, and most people are in that big chunk in the middle of the bell curve.

The middle people, where most people are - you're not really sure about. You can tell they kind of know it, but they struggle on a lot of answers. It's hard to distinguish one middle person from another. They can tell you at a basic level what RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 are, but if you ask for more detail they start coming up short. Or maybe they get 0 and 1 mixed up, or don't know what 10 is, or whatever.

Can you explain in detail what a sticky bit is? And how it would work if someone throws different scenarios at you? Or how inode permissions on a directory work given different scenarios? How well can you explain what an inode is? Can you explain in detail a Linux machine booting up? From the reset pin being activated on the processor, to how it gets to BIOS at FFFF:0000h and beyond that? Is the processor running in protected or real mode when that happens? Do you know what kind of electrical signal is sent to that reset pin to boot the system? Can you walk through the bootup in detail up to the init state, and past that?

If you can give good, full answers to questions like these right now, with enough door knocking, you'll definitely get a job. People who know their shit are always in short supply. If you go on an interview, do you miss any questions? Why did you miss them? If you give a full, complete, lucid answer to every technical question on an interview, and do not have an abnormal personality, it would amaze me if you were not hired somewhere over time. A lot of positions are open over time because they can't find people with the knowledge and skills needed to work for a certainly salary in certain conditions.

A little bit of networking helps as well, if you're out there at various tech things, and casually mention you just interviewed for a Linux sysadmin job somewhere, people will know you're looking, and that helps as well.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Did You Become a Linux Professional?

br00tus How I started (298 comments)

You want to know how people started so I'll tell you. In the early 1980s I got a 300 baud modem. I began calling Bulletin Boards Systems. One of them was a board with a private section which I gained access to after chatting with the sysop. It had "codez" that I could make free phone calls with.

I got busy in the mid-1980s, but in 1989 I began calling BBS's again. I started calling boards with h/p sections, or totally h/p boards. One one of them I mentioned the dialup to a local university, and what I saw on the various menus I could get to. Someone responded to my post (this person later became the CTO of a company whose worth was in the billions). He gave me the hostname, and a username and password of a SunOS box at the university. I logged in. It was the first Unix I ever logged into.

Anyhow, fast forward to early 1996. I have hacked the account of someone who runs a local ISP, who I dislike. I am reading through his e-mail and various files. One thing I see is his Usenet spool of the local tech job postings. I start reading it, and see an ad for a company. The company is a new ISP which is about to expand from extremely small to slightly bigger. It sounds so small and poor I think I might have a shot. I log back into my legitimate systems, and send an e-mail to the ad placer and say I'm interested in a job. I say I know Unix well (true) and that I complete my college and have a computer science degree (not true). When I meet him, his wife's friend is there, and I happen to know his wife's friend, so that was luck for me as well. So I get hired. The main box is a Linux pre-1 which got upgraded to Linux 1.X on the first week of work. We also purchase a used Sparcstation IPX at a good price.

And it's gone on from there. The most I ever made as a Unix sysadmin was over $90k a year. Although adjusted for inflation, the highest I got in an adjusted for inflation sense is $110k.

Unix administration was really hot in the ISP and dot-com go-go days. Not so much any more. Of course there's jobs out there. People are trying to do more "in the cloud" nowadays so that lessens work to some extent. There really wasn't as much good turnkey web hosting and managed colo and the like in the mid-1990s as there is now, so a lot more people had to roll their own. Or shared virtual servers. I have been doing different stuff in IT lately, I have never even worked with some of the "newer" stuff like blade servers. Not that blade servers are that new any more.

Also be prepared to be chained to your cell phone 24/7 and getting calls at 3AM if there's an outage, even when you're not on the on-call rotation. And then have office gossips and nosybodies complaining you're not in the office at 10AM after you took that two hour call, which almost no one will know about. Or having to deal with old, out of warranty, broken servers that have trouble backing up and keeping their data, with no good recovery plan, which no one cares about until they go down - then the bosses will all crowd your desk every five minutes frantically asking you for a time estimate of when everything will be back to normal. Of course other IT jobs, like development, have a different kind of pressure. In some ways system administration is more preferable, as you can only keep servers up 24 hours a day - developers usually have a mountain of desired features piled on top of their workload.

about 2 years ago
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Iran Universities To Ban Women From 77 Fields of Study

br00tus Iran had a secular democracy (585 comments)

Iran had a secular democracy back in 1953. The west, especially England and the US, and overthrew it with a dictatorship, much more ruthless than the present government.

As the left was the great fear, the dictatorship jailed, (effectively) exiled and killed the left. When the people overthrew the foreign-backed government, the only power left in the country were the mullahs, and bazaar shop keepers, and that is who is in control now.

Harvard only began admitting women in 1999, although the first openings of that were in the 1960s. It's amusing to see westerners, who were just invading Iraq and torturing and forcing Abu Ghraib detainees to masturbate on camera, are now all sanctimonious about how Iranian universities are preparing classes. Iran is a paradise of academic freedom for women compared to US ally Saudi Arabia, why don't we hear about that? And why all the concern about women's studies in Iran, something Americans can do nothing about because the US doesn't even have diplomatic relations with Iran, at the same time the US is stepping up pressure on Iran on other fronts? The US is who overthrew Iran's secular democracy in 1953, then the CIA worked with the Savak to wipe out the left. Now they complain the mullahs have too much control over the universities. No Slashdot headlines about women's education in Saudi Arabia. Women can't even drive in Saudi Arabia, where's the noise about that? As there is none, it's clear this is just more propaganda as the war drums are being beaten. As smug, hypocritical, imperialist westerners stick their fingers into the Middle East, torture their people in prisons like Abu Ghraib, kill off and take over new land in the West Bank with US funds - you can be sure the inevitable 9/11s will come in response, as some people will always resist imperialism and foreign tyranny.

about 2 years ago
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Ex-Lulzsec-Head Sabu Rewarded Six-Month Sentencing Delay

br00tus Not completely true (131 comments)

Certainly it is true that if you tell someone something, they can always tell someone else, so the safest way for something not to get out is to keep completely quiet about it. On the other hand...

Plenty of small groups of people have done a lot of stuff without any problems, and with everyone keeping quiet about it. This goes from hackers to cells of the Irish Republican Army. There are also many instances of one person getting caught, having extreme pressure, even torture, applied to them and them keeping their mouths shut. The leader of the French resistance, Jean Moulin, died while the Nazis were trying to torture him for information. Certainly there are instances of rats and turncoats, but you generalize it to "your friends will rat you out in a heartbeat if it give them any advantage. Don't think for a second that any friend of your is loyal to you. Anyone can be bought, some can be bought for a lot less than others." This ignores all those who over the centuries have faced life imprisonment, torture, death and have kept silent. Ethel Rosenberg was promised eventual freedom if she testified against her husband - instead she chose to stay silent and went to the electric chair, leaving her children orphans.

From hacking groups, to insurgents fighting a foreign invader, similar mistakes have been made over time. One is trusting too many people. Sabu busted five other people. That means there was a group of minimally six people working together. History shows this is far too large a group to be working together on something like this. In a cell network, four is usually the largest number of people working together. If the network is paranoid about turncoats and infiltration, the cell size is often three people. Having to only worry about two other people is much more comforting about having to worry about five other people. Plus you can be more sure they are reliable type people, you have a closer relationship that would make people second-guess turning etc.

There are other factors as well. These people let Sabu know enough about them to get them arrested, but they (AFAIK) never met him. It's a lot easier to turn against faceless people behind keyboards then friends you have met and spend time with. Then there's the question of what they're doing. It's a lot easier for someone to turn against people for say randomly crashing web sites (not saying they did this) then comrades fighting an invasion of your country by the Germans, or English, or whoever. People are more willing to sacrifice when a higher cause is involved, randomly crash web sites is not a higher cause. Then finally, there is how much the government is interested in finding people to turn, and how much pressure they are going to bear on people. It's easier to keep quiet and do a year in jail than twenty years in jail. Also Sabu's children or foster children are brought up - it is obviously easier to do time for someone without kids, then someone who will be worrying about supporting kids. Of course, this is something Sabu should have thought of before he began committing crimes, but a dumbass criminal turned rat like him obviously doesn't do much thinking.

It is true when you are working with other people, even reliable seeming people, you can never be entirely sure how they will react under pressure. But to say "anyone can be bought", "will rat you out in a heartbeat" etc. is just not true, there are plenty of counter-examples of this, including hackers in the US.

about 2 years ago
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Mark Zuckerberg's Big Facebook Mistake

br00tus "Discipline of the capital markets" (418 comments)

What is the discipline of the capital markets? At the end of 1999, Warren Buffett, who had been investing successfully for four decades, was being lambasted for not buying dot-coms and having as good a year as some other companies. Of course, this all went to nothing a few months later. He is known for being out-of-step with the markets, focusing on the long term, not going with the newest trend, not splitting his stock. As he has been so successful over four decades, he can get away with it.

So what companies have been under market discipline? In 2001 the #5 company on the Fortune 500, Enron, was shown to be a complete fraud, top to bottom. Countrywide Financial and Washington Mutual made subprime loans to people who would never be able to pay them back, in a manner that encouraged this (no money down, monthly loan payment rockets up after a year or two).

Other than the markets wanting to have gotten a piece of Facebook earlier, I don't really see any indication of what would have been differently if it was under "market discipline". If overeager suckers wanted to overpay for Facebook initially, it's a bonus for Facebook, and a loss for the market buyers undisciplined enough to know what a stock is worth.

If you watch the documentary "Born Rich", you realize there these 1%ers who inherit there money, these heirs who control almost all of the capital - they need things to parasite off of. There's always a massive of shortage of viable businesses for them to glom off of. Facebook is private and they whine about how they can't stick their snouts in the trough, and suck off of the people actually working and building businesses. Microsoft, Google, Facebook - most of the successful founders know to put off the IPO, because it's only a way for the 1% parasites to grab a majority stake of the company, and be parasites off of those doing the work. That's why founders postpone it so long.

more than 2 years ago
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Asimov's Psychohistory Becoming a Reality?

br00tus Psychohistory (291 comments)

Most modern Americans are unaware of the worldwide ideological debates of the early 20th century, and thus they miss the boat on what psychohistory obviously is. From a variety of things, including knowing Asimov's involvement with the Futurians in the 1930s, it's obvious that psychohistory is a parody of the Marxist conception of historical materialism. In fact, to anyone familiar with Marxian historical materialism, it is incredibly easy to see that this is what is made reference to by psychohistory in the book - although in the book the technique has been further developed. I've always felt the Mule was a reference to charismatic leaders like Hitler and Mussolini - ugly at close view, but with the ability to persuade large masses of people nonetheless, something which Marx did not foresee. That's just my interpretation though, it's not completely clear. I think that Hari Seldon is a Karl Marx figure is even more of a sure bet than the Mule possibility. To people who don't know the ideas of the Futurians, or the ideological ideas within the milieu of left-wing Jewish intellectual circles in New York City in the 1930s, I think it is easy to miss a lot of the references being made.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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H1-B bill introduced after Bill Gates Testimony

br00tus br00tus writes  |  more than 6 years ago

br00tus writes "A day after Bill Gates's testimony before congress on Wednesday on this subject, a bill was introduced to double the number of H1-B visas for the United States. The Washington Post quotes former IEEE-USA commitee head Ron Hira saying "No matter how one dresses up this bill, it would do nothing to curb the practice of companies bringing in computer programmers for $12 per hour to displace U.S. workers", a sentiment shared by university studies of the H1-B visa."
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br00tus br00tus writes  |  more than 7 years ago

br00tus (528477) writes "Until very recently, you could connect to Google China from the US. Activists used to point out how searches about topics like Tiananmen Square protests on Google China resulted in only results from Chinese state-owned media. Very recently, Google China began redirecting to www.google.com. You can still connect to Google Japan, Google France etc. however. Why is China suddenly the only country we can't see Google's search engine for?"

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