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World War II Tech eLoran Deployed As GPS Backup In the UK

clifwlkr Re:re Loran (139 comments)

Funny you say they are not being utilized. Last weekend the bands were jammed end to end for the world wide DX contest. On the major bands the waterfall was full end to end. I made hundreds of contacts. Earlier I did a summits on the air activation and made over 30 contacts in an hour. Never mind the digital modes. The ham bands are alive and well, Jim Olsen K7JEO

about 3 months ago

Microsoft, Facebook Declare European Kids Clueless About Coding, Too

clifwlkr Re:Fundamentals (213 comments)

Another funny story along that line. I bought my cabin from a former school principal and administrator. When I moved into it, I found a note on the sink reading: "Leek in Fawsett". I at first looked for a vegetable in there, but did not find one. It was deplorable to me that someone in the school system long enough to retire could not even spell these very common words correctly. Then I saw all of his 'fixes' around (split a pipe in two since it didn't fit easily, and tried hose clamping it), and felt very sad for the generation he mentored.....

about 4 months ago

Microsoft, Facebook Declare European Kids Clueless About Coding, Too

clifwlkr Fundamentals (213 comments)

Whatever happened to teaching the kids the fundamentals of math and logic, never mind reading comprehension? Guess what? All of that is far more important to learning to code than the actual code itself. I find it ironic to imply that the kids are lost if they don't start to learn actual code that young. When I started programming, computers weren't even really available to anyone. I had good knowledge of math and logic, and was able to figure it out on my own over 35 years ago, and keep up with 'all of the latest trends' and have quite a successful career.
What I learned that help me do this, was how to learn. Start teaching that, and you will find they are prepared for whatever comes down the line in the future. Stop making automatons.....

about 4 months ago

The Grumpy Programmer has Advice for Young Computer Workers (Video)

clifwlkr Re:Age discrimination sucks eh.. (120 comments)

Yes, age discrimination is horrible and very real. I just hit 45 and am seeing it first hand. I work for a 'hot' type company and they actually said in a company wide meeting 'look around you. Notice that you don't see much grey hair. That is on purpose as we want people on their way up, not out'. I was shocked. Meanwhile their people 'on the way up' hack out some of the worst code I have ever seen. We could use a few more people on their way out to actually make some scalable and well architected products so our servers don't fail under the weight of this pile of crap they created. Thing that sucks is I am right now the best I have ever been with all of this experience and I am afraid it is going to get harder and harder to get a decent job.

about 5 months ago

Programming Languages You'll Need Next Year (and Beyond)

clifwlkr Re:Fundamentals of Comp Sci (315 comments)

Agreed to some extent, but how they are actually implemented in languages and what they mean kind of are... You just don't know how tired I am of working with people who can not understand the difference of pass by pointer, value, and reference though. Never mind a slew of other basics that really are important to understanding what you are writing is actually doing. The state of code is rapidly going down hill....

about 6 months ago

Programming Languages You'll Need Next Year (and Beyond)

clifwlkr Fundamentals of Comp Sci (315 comments)

Or how about learn about the fundamentals of computer science. Actually learn what pointers are, pass by reference, multi-threading, type safety, and all of the things that implies. Then express those in whatever language you want. If you truly understand how computers and languages work, and what an enterprise system is composed of, you will likely have future proofed your career. If your language doesn't support many of those ( I am looking at you, JavaScript), then perhaps consider how much those jobs are likely to pay in the long run....

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Manage Your Passwords?

clifwlkr Re:Use an Algorithm (445 comments)

I like to use something that is in my head and I always have with me. That way it works when I scp, ssh, or whatever. Many times, I am not on a browser or necessarily even connected to the net. But I've been around a bit too so I am probably not typical that way..... Never mind embedded devices.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Manage Your Passwords?

clifwlkr Use an Algorithm (445 comments)

I gave up on password managers a long time ago. They are prone to compromise at some point. Instead, I use an algorithm that uses some element of the target as a seed to a simple formula. This gives me one thing to remember only ( or a few ), yet gives me a different password for every single site. A simple to understand, yet bad forumula to use, would be something like this: password = siteurl[2] + mySecret + siteurl[4]; So password for google would be 'omySecretl' Use a better formula for increased protection. Again, easy to remember,no password manager to get to/install, and a different password for every site, Likes it simple, Jim

about a year ago

K-12 CS Education Funding: Taxes, H-1B Fees, Donations?

clifwlkr This is all just an excuse (165 comments)

I don't understand why these top business people keep trying to say that we need to push more CS type stuff into grades k-12. Why would we tailor such early education specifically to one career choice? What happens if we now have too many programmers, and that is all these young people have been trained for? Other countries do not do this. K-12 should be about fundamentals, and broad education. If you are exposed to a variety of topics, and simple things like the scientific method, math, and problem solving, you can do almost anything in STEM. The problem is our education system is about memorization and regurgitation. Switch to an interactive model where kids actually build stuff ( code, chemistry, woodworking, anything ) and tie lessons into that. Then they will be prepared for whatever comes down the road. Myself, there was zero computer education at my school, as it was in its infancy. Yet somehow I managed to teach myself to do it on the one or two apple IIs we had, and made quite a go of it. What I had learned all my life was first how to learn, and second, how to problem solve. Given those tools in your tool belt I believe anything is attainable. I can't help but feel like this is all a smokescreen to keep tech workers wages capped. I topped out quite a few years ago, and only move up slightly. Don't get me wrong, I am paid well in the grand scheme of things, but if the industry is so strapped for great programmers, like they say they are, why aren't wages through the roof? Every interview I have done ( recently switched jobs ) they have immediately offered me a job. All of them want to only pay either slightly less, or slightly more than I am making currently. The wage gap between a kid just out of college, and a top senior engineer is pitifully small now. That's not right.... They want H1Bs since they are trapped. I am all for allowing work visas, but how about we revamp the program and make it a 2 year work visa where they can switch companies at will. Let's see how many of these tech companies will be scrambling to acquire them then, as then they will have to pay them the same as everyone else, or lose them.....

1 year,7 days

Ask Slashdot: Geekiest Way To Cook a Turkey?

clifwlkr Arduino Controlled Smoker w/ Software (447 comments)

How about with an arduino controlled smoker made by myself. Also using an XBee network and home made software running on JBoss/JSF/Primefaces and running on CentOS? So almost a complete open source turkey. I have a version of the software for my phone as well Here's a post I wrote on it last year: http://pelletheads.com/index.php?topic=12125.0 Jim

more than 2 years ago

Adafruit's Open-source Wearable Platform, Flora

clifwlkr Re:Arduino has been left in the dust long time ago (62 comments)

Or, you can ditch the Arduino IDE entirely, and utilize eclipse. There are a few tutorials out there showing how to do this. This gives you everything standard eclipse C/C++ development has, plus the ability to right click and deploy to the arduino with AVRDude. I actually compile the arduino libraries as a seperate project, and only use them if I want something they offer for the project. The arduinos themselves do not require the use of these libraries. I am developing a project where I currently am creating embedded control devices for a large number of things at my house ( thermostat, power meter, pellet smoker, etc. ). The entire server/front end is written in Java on a J2EE stack communicating with an XBee network with JSF/Primefaces as the front end. The embedded devices running the end devices are programmed in C/C++ right alongside the standard eclipse JBoss stuff. All of it is resource controlled with GIT. Doesn't sound like the Arduino is holding back my development environment at all.... The Arduino IDE is to get people started. Nothing about the Arduiono hardware devices require you to use it, or be held back by it. They are a great prototyping environment that is easy to build to.

about 3 years ago

Component MP3/OGG Players?

clifwlkr I wrote a custom webservice (362 comments)

I was running into the same problems you are encountering, and really didn't like any of the solutions out there. I tried them all. I had a few additional requirements, however, that was driving this. I have a couple of different stereos that drive speakers both inside and outside the house. I really wanted to have the SAME music playing everywhere. Custom wiring is just plain too expensive and not practical after your walls are up. So here is what I did.

I started with a linux box running a standard web server. This serves up all of my MP3's. It also runs Samba as an alternative connecting mechanism. This is the basis of my music storage.

Second, I have a windows 2k machine that runs several things on it. First, it runs winamp 2.x. I wrote custom software on this that exports a soap based service, using apache tomcat, to export ALL of the functionalities of winamp control. I also wrote a series of servlets that export this soap service in a web interface. All of this was done in Java, with a small JNI library to interface to winamp.

Finally, I also wrote a java application that gives me a rich interface to the soap service, including browsing all of the music titles in a file/folder format, through the web server. I can fast forward/pause/add or remove songs from the play list. The best feature I added was a random function that queues up a song when the last song in the playlist is reached. It chooses from your entire music collection, but it only happens if you are 'out' of songs.

Finally, I exported the sound to ALL rooms in the house using the leapfrog system that sends audio over the phone lines. It is not ideal quality, but still is quite good. I have one transmitter, and three receivers in the house.

What this gives me:

Complete control of the music from ANY PC in the house using the rich java interface.

Control of the music from my iPaq using the web interface. I can sit in the hot tub outside, and change the music!

A great interface to winamp that is alot more pleasant to use than the playlist style.

So far, I love it. More importantly, it is almost 100 percent pure java. Only one small interface through JNI. I have been in heaven since I got this thing working.

It was a great project to teach me how web services and SOAP can really be used to solve a problem.

Jim Olsen

more than 12 years ago


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