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Astronomers See Another Star Torn Apart By a Black Hole

citking I blame Q (127 comments)

I think the Q continuum is at war again.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Finding an IT Job Without a Computer-Oriented Undergraduate Degree?

citking Worked out for me (504 comments)

I double-majored in criminal justice and psychology - my true intention was to go into law enforcement but I had always been interested in computers and technology. The second semester of my freshman year I worked for the university doing network and IT support for students in the dorms. That work experience opened my eyes and I decided to pursue a career in IT. I started out by working for a local phone company to get some soft skills, then slowly moved up to being a helpdesk support person, then helpdesk manager, then into server and network administration.

It is true that most companies look at work experience and not degrees - at least that has been my perception on both sides of the interview table. Many of the good IT folks I work with have degrees in accounting, business, and marketing. Some companies, though won't hire programmers unless they have demonstrable experience in the languages they need.

Essentially I would just make sure you get hands-on experience or take a few classes at a local community college in whatever area of IT interests you. Even a certificate goes to show that you're serious about educating yourself and that you can do the job.

more than 2 years ago
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How To Thwart the High Priests In IT

citking What about those who insist on providing IT... (417 comments)

...services but refuse to follow-through after the fact?

I am the network admin/server admin/helpdesk manager for a small online-based college (not private but part of a state system). Our department is moving to a new building in February or March so, of course, I wanted to order a single server to provide file, print, antivirus, WSUS, DHCP, and other necessary services for our office. We are well-positioned to grow in the next five years (which is our lease period for the new place) so a single server should be sufficient while allowing for additional capacity later on.

Of course, our central IT department insists that they will provide these services to us. Our new director is onboard with this (anything to save a few bucks I guess) despite my repeated warnings and lamentations of the lack of support and follow-through that central IT has always had. This is the same central IT who gives us 6 hours of notice before a 20 minute non-emergency web outage in the middle fo the week. This may not seem like much but when you are completely online-based AND registration is in full swing the outage is less than ideal. This is the same central IT that takes 4 hours to make a permission change on a share that only a few of us access (negating the need for change management). This is the very same central IT who lost an entire communications server because the backups were corrupt and they had it configured to run RAID 0 on two drives. And yes, this was a production server.

So earlier this week when I put in my request to have access for WSUS, DHCP, etc. with a month and a half of lead time for them to figure things out I was told that they have several high-priority projects that they are working on now and cannot do this until February 1st.

I am compiling a list of issues already but I am not looking forward to the stares and glances I'll get from my coworkers when the server goes down or "maintenance" is conducted without warning at 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon. Our CIO can't manage to extract herself from a paper bag let alone an entire IT shop. The next few months are really going to be quite painful methinks.

I'm just sick and tired of the big IT departments that insist on providing services but no/slow support. All it is for them is a control issue and it drives me nuts. I think the last straw was when the tech ops director told my boss that "anyone in [citking's] position would ask for one just to have as a toy." This is why I sometimes hate my job.

more than 2 years ago
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Wikipedia Adds "WikiLove" For Newbie Editors

citking Re:There are bad apples (225 comments)

If another Wikipedia editor behaved in a blatantly uncivil manner after your attempt to apply BRD, why didn't you take the issue to one of Wikipedia's numerous options for dispute resolution?

Probably because I was 1) unaware of that process and 2) thinking that a simple edit shouldn't necessarily require an appeals process. Even now that I am aware of it the time commitment behind adding any sort of information to an article (add & cite, have it reverted, appeal, talk, discuss more, re-edit, reverted again, repeat ad nauseum) is just too great now. I don't need Wikipedia that much and if that community is going to be resistant to change then so be it.

more than 3 years ago
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Wikipedia Adds "WikiLove" For Newbie Editors

citking Re:Gave up on Wikipedia long ago (225 comments)

My guess was that this was done under my IP address (before I had my account and before one was required to edit). I'm not sure I can find the exact edit.

All the edit was was to list him as the coach of the year after the First Superbowl *I think*. It was some fact like that, a fact with a source, and it was reverted. Whether or not I can find the exact edit/revert the fact of the matter stands that many people, including myself, have had issues with vengeful editors. Hell, I bet I could go into 5 articles with a misspelling, correct the misspelling, and at least 1 will get reverted. I'm at work now or else I would try this as a social experiment.

more than 3 years ago
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Wikipedia Adds "WikiLove" For Newbie Editors

citking Re:Gave up on Wikipedia long ago (225 comments)

It was well over four years ago. Is that history still available?

more than 3 years ago
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Wikipedia Adds "WikiLove" For Newbie Editors

citking Re:Gave up on Wikipedia long ago (225 comments)

I would love to send you a link to a story I edited but it got reverted (and this was a while back...I don't know how far Wikipedia keeps revert histories nor can I look right now). Thanks for trolling though.

more than 3 years ago
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Wikipedia Adds "WikiLove" For Newbie Editors

citking Re:Millions of little fiefdoms (225 comments)

You're not the only one. Wikipedia editors and contributors are a self-appointed elite bunch who don't care about anything other than the changes/creations they've made. It's an elite world and outsiders aren't allowed (but their money is certainly welcome!)

more than 3 years ago
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Wikipedia Adds "WikiLove" For Newbie Editors

citking Gave up on Wikipedia long ago (225 comments)

With the problems I've had in the past I don't know if this is going to be nearly enough. Wikipedia's problems lies in the fact that many, if not most, of their long-time editors consider themselves the end-all be-all of Wikipedia. I've contributed to several pages, cited properly, and still get reverted because someone disagrees with the page for reasons other than factual accuracy. For example, when editing an article about Vince Lombardi and citing sources the changes were reverted for no given reason. When I asked why I was reverted I was not given a reasonable answer (and was trolled in the process). So I stopped contributing. I'm now content to let the self-appointed elites run the site.

That's the other reason I will never give a red cent to Wikipedia. So long as the Wikipedia mafia of editors continue to run things the way that they do I think the site will suffer and eventually wither out as it's last gasp of neutrality and openness disappear behind the power-hungry editors who run the site the way that they want to run it. If Jimmy wants Wikipedia to succeed he'll start with the cadre of idiots who currently run the place.

more than 3 years ago
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New Internal Cavity X-ray Technology for Airports

citking Only a matter of time before the TSA jumps on this (308 comments)

I bet Ms. Janet Napolitano is wet just hearing about this*.

I'm disappointed that this article is not from the Onion. Can no one realize that 9/11 was just a fluke and the likelihood of it happening again that way is astronomical (I know this is in Australia but I can almost guarantee that all heightened security is a direct result of 9/11, the British train bomb, and other random events)? Let's get rid of the security theater we have in place now and just live because life is pretty much bad enough as it is without having to invent reasons to make it even more miserable.

I'd rather die on a hijacked plane than have to undergo full body cavity searches - at least my wife will be richer that way.

*No need to thank me for that visual.

more than 3 years ago
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SEC Blames Computer Algorithm For 'Flash Crash'

citking Re:Ouch (218 comments)

You didn't have to tell us you where a bad programmer, the VB code was a big enough clue~

Yeah, I know, I know. That's why I went into support and eventually network administration. I know when to take the high road!

more than 3 years ago
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SEC Blames Computer Algorithm For 'Flash Crash'

citking Ouch (218 comments)

Hope the person(s) who wrote that algorithm aren't writing nuclear reactor code. I'll admit though that I'm a bad programmer too. Back when I did write code I used such gems as DIM TotalSales AS INTEGER. That didn't work so well.

more than 3 years ago
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Leaving a Comment? That'll Be 99 Cents, and Your Name

citking Re:Personal responsibility (377 comments)

The trolls are the ones who say that we're turning into Cuba, trains are for idiots, and high-speed only exists at 149 MPH+. I'll admit readily that a train between Madison and Milwaukee is a great idea. Yes, the up-front costs will be high and it'll be a few years before it's going due to infrastructure changes but it's a great idea. The trolls are just mad because, well, they have nothing better to argue at the moment IMHO.

more than 4 years ago
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Leaving a Comment? That'll Be 99 Cents, and Your Name

citking Personal responsibility (377 comments)

My local newspaper site, madison.com , is pretty new to comments. They disable them on crime stories I've noticed but anything doing with politics, the proposed high-speed rail service between Madison and Milwaukee, or state workers will attract trolls by the dozen. It makes reading the news stories like taking a walk through Craigslist's Rants and Raves section. When it turns to /b/ I'll just quit reading I suppose.

The concept of paying to comment seems a little too far though. That said, I'm all for having to publish your real name, address, phone number, and a JPEG when leaving a comment on a news site. Anonymity breeds stupidity and the best way to combat trolls is to force them to stand by their comments. Slashdot's system works, and I've seen other half-assed attempts to mimic it, but in the end people just need to be held responsible for their own actions.

In fact, I'll start. My name is Jay and yes, I've trolled before. I try very, very hard not to do it now and I've said things in online forums that'd I'd never say to someone's face. I'd promise not to do it again but the dumb republicans are still out there and need to be told what's what.

more than 4 years ago
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The Ignominious Fall of Dell

citking This is spot on... (604 comments)

I work in higher ed in the state of Wisconsin. We, of course, have a purchasing contract (a mandatory one no less). Because of this, I've been working with Dell (ordering PCs and doing warranty replacements) for a long time now.

In the past, even just 3 years ago, Dell would bend over backwards for us. We got waived on the fees and got waived through the "exams" for warranty parts replacement certification. We could also could get spare parts on hand for PCs. Lastly, we got huge discounts for the UW System and for personal purchasing. Now, however, our sales rep is forcing us to take these stupid, 2 hour exams for replacing parts. We are, of course, overworked and understaffed and I have no time in my week to sit down and "learn" how to replace RAM or swap a power supply. Yet Dell will not budge. When I questioned our sales rep on this he became irate and downright pissy with me.

But, that point is moot really when one looks at the atrocity that is the DOSD (Dell Online Self Dispatch) that replaced the Warranty Parts Direct site. Before my certs expired I needed to get a new DVD R/W drive. I had to scroll through lists and lists of parts, many of which were printer parts, server parts, plastic bezel pieces, etc...things that had nothing to do with the service tag of a standard desktop system.

Dell has hit bottom. Their customer service is shit, their tech support is horrible, and the issues with the bad caps was pretty much the last straw (it's OK to have bad components; the bad part is how they tried to cover it up). I'm done with Dell. I won't recommend them to anyone now.

more than 4 years ago
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Tattoos For the Math and Science Geek?

citking Aptitude test day (1186 comments)

I wonder what the MCAT/SAT/ACT/PSAT proctors would say if you came in with an arm full of math fodder during a placement or aptitude test. I imagine that would be an interesting conversation:

Aptitude Test Proctor: "Say, what are those tattoos you have there?"

Sam Submitter: "Well, we have Fermi's Law here, the Pythagorean Theorem here, Henry's Law, Hook's Law, Pi..."

Aptitude Test Proctor: "Um...well, I...uh...erm, hmm. But you don't have a calculator, right?"

Sam Submitter: "Uh, no. But I do have the TI-80 schematics tatooed on my chest. Is that OK"

Aptitude Test Proctor: "Um, yeah?"

more than 4 years ago
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In the past year, I've filed Z bug reports, where Z=

citking Stopped due to ego issues (244 comments)

I used to help find and fix bugs quite a lot. I'd write up the procedure, send screenshots, and then test the fix. About 5-6 years ago this worked well - I'd document and find bugs at essentially the same time and developers would be able to pinpoint code that needed to be updated or fixed and that was that.

Sometime in the last few years, however, it appears that code, whether correct or incorrect, well-written or hastily hacked together, is tied directly to the author's ego. Finding a bug became the same as criticizing their mother's birthright (and this is NOT just the open source community, where pride rarely goeth before a fall as it is, but most coders I know now fall into this category). Not only that, but most developers are so focused on Feature! Feature! Feature! that they let bug reports languish in some tracking software while, all the while, new Feature! Feature! Feature! is written and buggy as well. Thus the cycle is complete.

I've written poor code before and reacted poorly to criticism. The difference is, I stopped writing code and went into support and any criticism I get I use to try and improve myself (unless the criticism contains words which the filter won't allow me to type :/). But until ego is separated from product it is difficult, nay, impossible to write good bug reports without someone thinking you just have it in for them.

A good follow-up poll should ask "What is the earliest bug filed in your favorite open source project?". I bet we tap back into the mid 90's on some long-running projects (not to mention pages and pages of developer vs. end user back-and-forth drivel in the often-futile world of "My idea is better than yours.")

more than 4 years ago
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Do Your Developers Have Local Admin Rights?

citking I give developers admin rights (605 comments)

I give them admin rights with the agreement that, if they mess something up on their computer, they are on my schedule to be fixed (i.e., when it is convenient for me, not for them). So far I haven't had any issues whatsoever. Then again, we are a pretty small department.

My personal thoughts on the matter are simple: If the IT staff feels they can trust someone with local admin rights then that person should have them if necessary. If that person messes something up, even if it is unintentional (malware, deletes the boot.ini file, etc.) then they lose the privilege.

more than 4 years ago
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Bad Driving May Have Genetic Basis

citking Indications other than driving (449 comments)

Obviously driving a car, truck, golf cart, etc. requires fine and gross motor skills. So if this gene is present does it affect only driving skills or other areas where fine and gross motor skills come into play? I'd like to see, for instance, if the 30% or so of people with this gene can't play video games on modern systems because they forget what the buttons do or just can't get the jumps, dives, runs, etc. down. It might also be interesting to see if neurosurgeons, sculptors, or sports players have this gene or not.

more than 4 years ago
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Film Studios May Block DVD Rentals For One Month

citking I used to buy DVDs (545 comments)

I used to buy lots and lots of DVDs. I still have a pretty decent collection after selling some and trading others. Then one day I was watching a new DVD ("Se7en", or "Seven") when it skipped. I watched it jostle and jiggle for a few minutes, ejected it, wiped it, same effect. Tried the upstairs DVD player. It was even worse.

The store I bought it from looked at the open shrink wrap and said "Sorry". They wouldn't even let me exchange it because, according to the manager, they'd have to eat the cost of it.

So having some free time I wrote to New Line Cinema, finding an address online for consumer feedback. I asked them if I could obtain another disc from them and I would gladly ship back the old one and pay to ship a new one to me. The canned response I received back basically told me I was SOL and to go buy another DVD at full cost. Have a nice day.

Instead, I now spend the equivalent to one DVD a month on Netflix, my fiance and I can each rent our own movies and return them whenever, and if it skips I have a new one in a day or two. I won't buy a DVD anymore unless I have a very compelling reason to, such as a gift for someone or if it is a movie I will enjoy over and over, such as "The Shawshank Redemption".

Like many, I am tired of paying $19.99 or higher for new DVDs and getting rebuked when the time came to get a replacement disc when another disc became unreadable. So I'll Netflix it, stream it if I am unsure about it, and rip it if I want a copy and it costs too much. I feel a little guilt, but then I remember how the store and New Line screwed me and then I feel OK with it. Bottom line: If you make it difficult for a customer to get something legally that he or she paid for, you better believe that customer will find ways to get around that (and keep getting around it). No one likes to be screwed. I just can't afford to be screwed as much as the studios, distributor, producers, etc. can.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Science Channel buys rights to Firefly

citking citking writes  |  more than 3 years ago

citking writes "The Science Channel has purchased the rights to Firefly and plans to air all episodes in order and in high definition. In addition, physicist Dr. Michio Kaku will appear to explain the theoretical science behind the show's sci-fi concepts. There's a brief interview in the article as well with Nathan Fillion, who chimes in with his thoughts on Firefly and playing Mal."
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