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Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

erp_consultant Re:Outlook (241 comments)

I'm using Thunderbird (for email) with the Lightning extension (for calendar). I also use the Google Calendar extension. The whole thing works quite nicely. Granted, my company uses Gmail for it's corporate email and not Exchange so I can't vouch for how well, or poorly, it works with Exchange.

I should note that I have a licensed copy of Outlook. Thunderbird is utilized by choice because I feel that it is snappier and more stable than Outllook. Your mileage may vary.

yesterday
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Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

erp_consultant Re:H1B - a path to a Tech Job (286 comments)

"You need to get your facts straight." - They are straight. See below.

"A: There is no 5-6 year backlog for TN visas for India and China. India and Chinese nationals are not eligible as primary applicant for a TN visa" - I was referring to H1-B visas. TN visas were introduced in NAFTA and, as such, are only available to Canadian and Mexican citizens.

"B: You could be referring to H1-B visas, but then you would still be mistaken as there is no 5-6 year backlog for those either." - The backlog occurs as a result of the annual limit on the H1-B. Once it runs out they have to wait until next year, or the year after. Basically there are a lot more applicants than there are visas.

C + D both assume employment and sponsorship by a US based company. That is a given - just like it is for a TN visa.

The part I did myself was the application for Citizenship. That occurs AFTER the H1-B has been awarded. All you have to do is fill out one document and take the civics exam. Piece of cake.

3 days ago
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Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

erp_consultant Re:H1B - a path to a Tech Job (286 comments)

Yes but a TN visa is not the same as an H1-B visa. The TN is intended to be used as a temporary work permit and has to be renewed annually. AFAIK, it can be renewed indefinately. If you're Canadian then you're in luck. Unlike many other countries there is no annual limit on the number of TN visas issued. Countries like India and China typically have 5-6 year backlogs (or longer) due to quotas.So as long as you're not looking for permanant residency you can get a TN and just keep renewing it.

If you want to be on the path for "permanent residency" then you need to get an H1-B visa. Which, of course, is more difficult to get. But once you get it, it's good for 6 years. It can only be renewed once. But having an H1-B is a direct path to citizenship. The hard part is getting the H1-B. After that, getting citizenship is easy. You don't even need an attorney. I did mine myself.

It's possible to get an H1-B without a Bachelors degree if you have sufficient experience and you can show that there is a shortage of skills in your particular area.

3 days ago
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Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

erp_consultant Re:I May Not Agree (1109 comments)

Exactly. Some people are trying to frame this debate as "rights being taken away" from gays. Gays already have rights, granted to them via courts. Prop 8 was about extending existing rights. You can argue that gays don't have enough rights. Fine. Let's have that debate. But nothing was being taken away here.

about two weeks ago
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Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

erp_consultant What is it with these OS upgrades? (641 comments)

It just seems that with faster hardware come OS upgrades that essentially use up all the speed gains from the hardware. I have particularly noticed this will OSX. On my older iMac with a Core 2 duo processor it strains to keep up with the OS if I'm running the newest OS. Yet it ran really nicely on Snow Leopard. So now I'm stuck with an older machine with a newer OS that doesn't run well with no easy way to go back to Snow Leopard.

To my surprise, I found that Windows 8 actually runs better on my iMac than Mountain Lion does. I paid a lot of money for that iMac and I'm not about to chip it out just because Apple seems to think I need all these new wiz-bang features (spoiler alert - I don't). So it has become a perfectly good work-from-home PC.

The other thing that bugs me about these OS upgrades is how they just casually drop support for hardware and software. All of a sudden your older printer doesn't work or some old program that you have been using no longer works (or you have to pay for an upgrade). This happened to me with VMWare Fusion. I had to pay for an upgrade to have it continue to work on the newer version of the OS. Thanks Apple. The irony, of course, is that I'm now back to using Windows basically full time for work related stuff anyway so I rarely use VMWare anymore. Lesson learned.

Unless you've got specific Windows based programs I would advise people to start switching to Linux. For most everyday stuff (email, web surfing, Skype, Dropbox, etc.) Linux is perfectly good for that. And it's faster. And it runs really well on older hardware. And you're not likely to even need any Anti-Virus software as long as you're sensible about how you use the Internet. And it's free.

about two weeks ago
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Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

erp_consultant Re:Just a thought, but... (226 comments)

I'm not suggesting that we eliminate physical education. Kids clearly need exercise. I'm suggesting that we stop building multi million dollar stadiums for high school kids to play football in. Scale it back a bit and put some of the money into the classroom. In my view, more kids are benefited from classroom education than sports.

The problem is that sports generate a lot of money for schools, so they figure the bigger the stadium the more money they make. Which begs the question - what is the real purpose of our schools? Is it to make lots of money or is it to educate our children?

about two weeks ago
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Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

erp_consultant Uh, no... (645 comments)

There is a lot of precedent for this in other software products, and hardware too. Oracle regularly phases out support of old versions of their software. So does Apple. C'mon folks...XP has been around since the late 90's. Time to get on a modern OS.

Forcing MS to support their OS "forever" will only lead to higher prices for everyone.

about two weeks ago
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Should Microsoft Give Kids Programmable Versions of Office?

erp_consultant Just a thought, but... (226 comments)

If we want kids better prepared, with the skills that MS claims are lacking, maybe we should spend less money on sports and more money in the classroom?

about two weeks ago
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Brendan Eich Steps Down As Mozilla CEO

erp_consultant Re:Modern day McCarthyism... (1746 comments)

"How different was 2008 from 2014?" - In attitudes towards Gay marriage for one thing. I think it's safe to say that a lot more people are in favor of it today than 6 years ago. As others on this thread have pointed out, President Obama voted against Gay marriage in 2008 and today he favors it. He's come around - as have others. Times change, attitudes evolve, society moves forward.

I should point out that I personally don't agree with Eich's stance on Gay marriage. I'm simply defending his right to voice his opinion on it.

about two weeks ago
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Brendan Eich Steps Down As Mozilla CEO

erp_consultant Re:Modern day McCarthyism... (1746 comments)

I think where we differ is in the use of the word hate. Just because he opposes gay marriage does not mean that he hates gay people. That is an important point. He does not agree with the principle and exercised his right to contribute money (a pretty small amount for a CEO, by the way) in support of it.

When I think of hate I think of skinheads beating people up or KKK members setting fires on people's front lawns. Elch's actions are far from that. Not even close in fact.

Keep in mind that this donation was made back in 2008. The world is a different place now than it was then.

about two weeks ago
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Brendan Eich Steps Down As Mozilla CEO

erp_consultant Re:Modern day McCarthyism... (1746 comments)

Oh brother...where do I begin...

"It still is" - Not if you are forced to "step down" from your job and face public ridicule for voicing your opinion.

"He didn't get fired, he chose to step down" - Bullshit. He didn't choose anything. He was forced out by the board. I'm surprised the press release didn't say he "decided to spend more time with his family" or "decided to pursue other opportunities" or some other crap. Chose to step down...are you really that naive?

"second-class citizens" - California already recognizes civil unions. How is that a second class citizen? The vote was not about "denying" anything, it was about extending rights already awarded by the courts of California. But, as usual, it's never enough.

"But I don't hate them" - You seem to have a very broad view of the word hate. Did he assault anyone? No. Did he deny anyone a job or a promotion because of their sexual orientation? No. Did he harass anyone in any way? No. All he did was take a side in a public debate.

about two weeks ago
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Brendan Eich Steps Down As Mozilla CEO

erp_consultant Modern day McCarthyism... (1746 comments)

The last time I checked America was a country of free speech. Well, it is...as long as you don't say something that offends the Gay/Lesbian/Transgender folks. Then you get fired for expressing your opinion.

What did Eich do that was so bad? He contributed $1000 to a campaign opposing gay marriage. It doesn't mean that the guy hates gays. It doesn't mean that he discriminates against anyone. There is no evidence that he has ever discriminated against anyone working at Mozilla, or their business partners, or their competitors for that matter. All he did was take a side in a constitutional amendment vote in the state of California. That is his right as a citizen. It is also his right to donate money towards the cause, if he chooses to do so. Just like people are free to donate money IN FAVOR of Gay marriage, should they choose to do so.

Personally, I could care less whether Eich supports Gay marriage or not. That's not the point. The point is that the man should be free to voice his opinion.

This smacks of exactly the kinds of McCarthyism communist witch hunts that took place back in the 1950's and 60's. At least Marc Andreessen has come out in support of his friend. I'll give him props for that.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta

erp_consultant Too little too late.... (387 comments)

With the decline in laptop/PC sales and the increase in tablet/cellphone sales I suspect that many have simply left Microsoft behind. For a lot of people a phone and/or tablet does everything they need. So they could care less about MS and Windows 8. They have moved on to Apple or Google or whatever.

Maybe Windows 9 will bring this but here is what MS needs to do:

1) Those stupid tiles don't work well for a desktop or laptop. Leave the Windows 7 interface as is. People like it the way it is. No need to make any changes.
2) Allow users to load different "skins" like you can on Linux or Android. Metro interface for tablets/phones, Win 7 for desktops. Don't like the one you have? Restart, choose new skin, done.
3) Open source the GUI and allow others to create their own GUI's and sell them in the MS App store. Or give them away. Whatever..just give people choices.

about two weeks ago
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Department of Transportation Makes Rear View Cameras Mandatory

erp_consultant Re:Grabs popcorn (518 comments)

"1. The mirrors have blindspots. That's why this proposal exists. Kids being backed over by cars is a common problem." - Sure the mirrors have blind spots. That's why you're supposed to turn around when you back up. So you can see - with your own eyes - where the blind spots are and act accordingly.

"2. The "expensive new cars" are likely to be, like, $10 more expensive. How much do you think an LCD, wire, and cheap 1990s-cameraphone camera costs right now?" - Yeah - assuming you can buy only the camera and not have to buy a "technology package" with a bunch of other things in there that you may or may not need.

Hey, I'm all for additional safety features and I happen to think that backup cameras are a good idea. But the problem is that these features make people lazy and overly reliant on technology. It gives people a false sense of confidence and encourages speeding and tailgating.

At the end of the day we still have the human element to deal with and no matter how many safety features we put in cars it all begins and ends with the idiot behind the wheel.

about two weeks ago
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State Colleges May Offer Best ROI On Comp Sci Degrees

erp_consultant Another take on it... (127 comments)

I didn't go to an Ivy League school so I can't verify this first hand but I would suspect that both Public and Private schools offer much the same in terms of what you learn while you are there. The big advantage, I suspect, in going to a Private school is the people you meet and the contacts you make rather than what you learn in the classroom.

Think about it - who goes to expensive private schools? Sons and daughters of alumni. Kids of successful parents. Kids of wealthy foreign families. Those are tomorrows movers and shakers. Getting to meet them over a beer at the campus pub forms potentially long term relationships that might help you out down the road.

So the real value is more in who you meet than what you learn. It's not what you know it's who you know.

about two weeks ago
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Ex-Head of Troubled Health Insurance Site May Sue, Citing 'Cover-Up'

erp_consultant Working with Governments... (162 comments)

I'm not really taking Oracle's side on this but having worked on a lot of Government (Local, State, Federal) projects over the years I have seen this sort of thing happen time and time again.

The first problem you encounter is that, almost without exception, government projects are fixed bid rather than time and materials. The procurement system requires them to do it that way. Fixed bid projects can be successful - but only if you tightly control scope and expectations. And in my experience, scope creep is a way of life on government projects.

The second problem is that when scope creep occurs the project manager, being a political position in large part, will invariably agree to the scope creep to "keep the customer happy". That puts pressure on the rest of the team to deliver more in the same amount of time. Often, quality suffers in the name of getting it done on time.

Problem number three - the customer sometimes doesn't know what they want. Or worse, they think they know and ignore the advise of their consulting partner. Or worse yet, the customer listens to the consulting partner and the partner is giving bad advice. If any of these things happens your project is in deep, deep trouble.

Problem four - salespeople will make unrealistic promises (i.e. they will lie through their teeth) to win the contract. In most places, salespeople are paid their commission based on a percentage of the revenue in the contact. Not what it actually costs to implement the product or service. So by the time the shit hits the fan the salesperson has collected their commission and moved on to the next deal. The project team is left to clean up the mess. If the project goes over budget, or gets cancelled, it has no real impact on the salesperson. They get paid either way. In short, the problem is that the commission is tied to revenue rather than profitability.

Now I've worked with Oracle before. Some of them are very good, some of them are very bad. I suspect that by the time this whole thing is investigated there will enough blame for all sides. Sure, Oracle has screwed up projects before but I'd be very surprised if all the blame lies at their feet on this one.

about a month ago
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Top U.S. Scientific Misconduct Official Quits In Frustration With Bureaucracy

erp_consultant Re:Kind of echoes my experience as well... (172 comments)

Well, that's a step in the right direction. But having rules in place and enforcing those rules are two different matters entirely. It's a big ship and it takes a long time to change the direction.

about a month ago
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Top U.S. Scientific Misconduct Official Quits In Frustration With Bureaucracy

erp_consultant Kind of echoes my experience as well... (172 comments)

I spent a few years as a public servant before doing what I do now. It was, to say the least, an eye opening experience. If you want to learn exactly how NOT to run a business go work for the government for a while.

The procurement system is completely whacked. Everyone seems to know it but nobody wants to do anything to fix it. Democrats and Republicans alike have both had ample opportunity to fix it and both have shied away from it.

It is nearly impossible to fire an incompetent federal employee. The best management can do is put the person in a crummy job and hope they quit. Likewise, management is forbidden from giving bonuses to top performing employees. It doesn't take long before people realize that they get paid the same whether they put in an honest days work or sit there with their feet up on the desk.

Efficiency in government is punished, not rewarded. If you find a way to save money your reward is a reduced budget for next year. No raise, no promotion, no bonus, no thanks. So you end up with year end spending sprees to ensure that you spend every penny allocated to your department.

It's very difficult to measure success in government. If you are selling a product you can say we sold X last year and this year we sold X+2. Therefore, this year was better than last. In public service how do you measure it? We had fewer complaints this year than last?

It seemed to me that if you worked in government you had one of two choices. You could either suck it up and wait for your pension or leave and do something else. I chose to leave. I did find a lot of good, hard working people in government. I also found a lot of lazy, good for nothing doorstops. Such is life.

about a month ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

erp_consultant Another naive, egghead notion... (712 comments)

First of all, this would end up costing at least twice what they say it would. Let's say the first coal plant sells for $1B. The second one says...hmmm...they got $1B...I can get $1.2B....and so on.

Secondly, the US is far from the largest coal user and polluter. Even if you could shut down every coal plant in the US you would have to repeat the process in every country in the world that uses coal (starting with China). Yeah, good luck with that.

Thirdly, they suggest having it publicly funded or letting the rich guys pay for it. Obamacare is the latest huge publicly funded project in the US. Before that, it was TARP funds for infrastructure projects. Both of them have failed to meet stated goals. Both of them went vastly over budget. Both of them were rife with abuse and cronyism. Am I the only one that sees a pattern here?

So let's get the rich guys to pay for it. Ahh...the battle cry of the Socialist. And how is that going to happen exactly? Are we, the public, going to ask them to voluntarily give up large swaths of their fortunes to fund this project? Uh huh....not gonna happen. So then what? We take the money whether they like it or not through taxation or penalties or some other such method. This has been tried time and time again. They will simply hire accountants and lawyers to find a way around it and the middle class guy - who can't afford to hire the fancy accountants and lawyers - gets stuck with the bill.

So what to do? Why not try investing some of that $50B into finding ways of making coal safer to use and less harmful to the environment?

about a month ago
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Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?

erp_consultant Re:Slight amendment... (491 comments)

Absolutely right. I'm not passing judgement on people that are gaming it. Who am I to tell someone with a family to feed how to make that choice? People do what they have to do. I blame more the system that has evolved that practically forces you to cheat to stay in the game.

about 2 months ago

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