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Ask Slashdot: Becoming a Programmer At 40?

flyboy974 Programming at 36... awesome! (314 comments)

I am 36 and love what I do. I'm a little different though as I got my first job programming when I was 16, so I've been doing Software Development for 20+ years. I've programmed in so many languages that it's almost a blur now. I've had jobs writing x86 ASM, Pascal, C/C++, Java, Python, and more. I've been a CTO, but, I loved the coding too much so I'm happy as a Software Architect for a major internet company. Who says you can't code at 36 or 40?

I don't think it really matters when you start, it's how well you do it. I've hired people of all ages, genders, ethnicities because they can code, not because of who they are. You will likely have some issues with your resume as you start out as people will say "Oh, he was just a NOC guy for the last 10 years..." type of thing and pass. But, prove them wrong and show results. Give example websites and have specific examples of the work that you did.

A lot of companies now days hire people who don't know what TCP/IP or a port is, yet, they claim to be web developers. If you have one thing, it's experience with the software domain and you are going to be able to look at problems differently than somebody out of college. Use this to your advantage.

Best of luck and welcome to the joy and pain that is programming!

about a year and a half ago

Volkswagen Turns Off E-mail After Work-Hours

flyboy974 German labor law (377 comments)

A friend of mine use to work for Sony in Germany. They had a similar thing there. They would be disciplined for checking e-mail after work hours due to German labor laws. If you checked e-mail, it was considered overtime work. She said they went so far as to have security walk thru the building asking people to leave after 5:00pm.

Also it was illegal to work on Sunday or Holidays. Again, checking email would qualify you as working, so they were very strict about remote VPN access on those days unless it was absolutely required.

I'm not sure if Germany has relaxed these rules in recent years. If they haven't then the no-email after work sounds like they are trying to confirm with the law, not that they are trying to be nice.

more than 3 years ago

Predator Drone Helps Nab Cattle Rustlers

flyboy974 FAA and UAS's (UAV is a military term) (214 comments)

The FAA is still trying to figure out how to integrate UAS's. (They are not called UAV's in the FAA NAS system).

Many legal issues remain:
- Enforcing see and avoid rules required in VFR flight
- Defining standards for communication with aircraft
- Who do you enforce rules with a violation when there is an accident if there is no pilot
- How to handle technical issues such as loss of control / software failure, physical issues such as loss of a trim type control, flap system, etc.
- Weather issues such as high winds, icing

As a pilot and somebody active in aviation software, I'm interested to see where things go here. The reason the military has been able to fly UAV's is because they don't have any rules. Do whatever you want. But in the civil area, we have rules because we choose to protect ourselves from our government and others.

more than 3 years ago

China Building Gigantic Structures In the Desert

flyboy974 Re:Fun stuff in the China Desert (412 comments)

BTW, the item where I said it was using A LOT of water. Doesn't look like water after looking more. And it's growing. If you zoom in the north end has expanded.

Right now it's measuring in at 72sq MILES of land use (12 miles long x 6 miles wide). That thing is HUGE whatever it is.

Even has a corporate headquarters type buildings ( 40.468196,90.860839 ), large cooling towers that are 125ft wide (40.462246,90.859235), truck depot (40.478358,90.877597).

more than 3 years ago

China Building Gigantic Structures In the Desert

flyboy974 Fun stuff in the China Desert (412 comments)

Other fun stuff in the area (just paste the Coords into Google Maps)

More "QR Codes": 40.458638,93.390827
Bunkers near the wierd lines: 40.46294,93.372341
fake runways/bases: 40.472416,93.5079
Bomb (cluster?) hits on that base: 40.489307,93.500476
Fake houses/city that have been hit; 40.413766,93.583812
Some form of ULF or other low frequency communication array? 40.413766,93.583812
Some odd town: 40.108521,93.993434
Chemical or other plant that is using A LOT of water in the middle of the desert: 40.108521,93.993434

more than 3 years ago

Why Aren't There More Civilians In Military Video Games?

flyboy974 Why do the cards not crush in racing games? (431 comments)

The same argument can be said about racing games. You can crash into walls going 100MPH and just bounce off.

The people vs. car thing is a little different but comes down to the same thing. In the car world, a manufacturer doesn't want their car to ever be seen as inferior or have damage to the car. In the war model, we want to always be rewarded for shooting the gun. Negative feedback is bad.

The reality is that until we start enforcing negative feedback we are encouraging and training a new generation of people that will lack a sense of duty and responsibility and instead will lack a certain understanding of right and wrong.

more than 3 years ago

Open Source For Lawyers?

flyboy974 E-Discovery Software Roundup (67 comments)

I was a software development manager for a few years in this very industry working for one of the top companies.

Doing things like Bates stamping is pretty straight forward. That's really so that when you exchange documents, and versions of those documents, you can refer to them in your filings. The real issue is conversion of the documents. These days most people are OK with PDF files. Amazingly, most law firms also use TIF files (FAX type encoding, 100dpi) for most of their work. Bates numbering will just stamp a number onto each page/image. Bates comes from the Bates Stamper that was invented in 1891. It was a mechanical hand stamper that incremented by one digit each time you stamped.

Law firms are actually pretty particular about their software. One of the reasons is that if your discovery process is challenged, you have to be able to defend it. This is where having a company represent their product and be able to have it be defensible. How did you convert the word doc to a PDF? How did you index it to identify it as responsive/privileged/etc? Also, most of the time they are under a time crunch to produce documents. When you are under a time crunch, you can't afford to wait for an open source patch. You would be laughed out of court and sanctioned. So you depend on companies to provide support for this.

I can see FOSS being used by companies (we used some), but, it's not a solution that you can take to court.

more than 3 years ago

A Bittersweet Finale For Discovery Space Shuttle

flyboy974 Watched it live on NASA TV's Website (205 comments)

I have to give credit to NASA. Their HD real-time stream was great! I was able to put it full screen on my 23" monitor, sit back, and enjoy the whole thing!

more than 3 years ago

Aussie Brewery Creates Space Beer

flyboy974 Russia over complicating it? Go back to the Vodka (118 comments)

Just like how do you use a Pen in space, Russia came up with a simple answer. A pencil.

Why on earth (and space) are they trying to fix the carbonation problem. Put in some Cranberry juice with Vodka and you have a great drink. No carbonation. No problem.


more than 3 years ago

Robots May Inspire Suits Against Programmers

flyboy974 It all comes down to Tort reform is needed (202 comments)

Industries that have failed or may fail that face the same problem as this post include Aviation (they gained some protection from Congress via the 1984 GARA act), Education (teachers have to make their plans dumbed down for all, cut field trips due to liability issues, etc), Medicine (the cost of medical care is high because of the liability costs for valid care that somebody may have got a different opinion on).

The American Tort Reform Association has a good short writeup on the Impacts on the Economy due to current Tort laws.

It's only a matter of time until it comes to programming/computers.

about 4 years ago

Facebook Knows When You'll Get Dumped

flyboy974 I'm getting married exactly two weeks before Chris (474 comments)

I'm getting married exactly two weeks before Christmas. I don't use Facebook but my fiancée does. Perhaps I need to start monitoring her status. ;-)

more than 4 years ago

A Windows Phone 7 For Every Microsoftie

flyboy974 Re:Gir's Analysis: Doom, Doom, Doom (298 comments)

This is absolutely the correct answer. I run a large development organization and we constantly have to go back and forth with our business team to talk about the cost of a feature.

Features, although great, cost you time and money (It's time and labor or T&L in my world). T&L represents development, QA, documentation, training, support, and long term maintenance from those teams as well.

Once you have a feature, you expect to have it forever. From Waynes World, Garth said it right. "We fear change. Change is Evil!". We can give you a different way to do it, or take away a feature. But who wants that?

BTW, the original comments ability to get some Invader Zim into a topic. Classic. Love JTHM.

more than 4 years ago

Man in Court Over Simpsons Porn

flyboy974 Bart's Unit (673 comments)

So everyone who owns or has seen the Simpson's movie is liable for child porn? Is it me or didn't Bart go skateboarding naked in the movie, including showing his "talent". If I draw two stick figures in a suggestive manner, is that child porn? How old is a stick figure?

more than 4 years ago

Some Early Adopters Stung By Ubuntu's Karmic Koala

flyboy974 Re:In-place upgrade, or fresh install? (1231 comments)

I have a gparted CD in my active collection. It's a little after the fact now unfortunately. (I also have Darik's Boot and Nuke if I get really upset... hehe)

I'll have to see if I get any more crashes. I can add audio crashes (audio noise/crackling, then openGL app lockup).

The one true benefit, I have a Dell XPS 630, and since I haven't finished writing my Nvidia EDA drivers, the fan speed was reset and is no longer on full blast. hehe.

more than 5 years ago

Some Early Adopters Stung By Ubuntu's Karmic Koala

flyboy974 Re:My problems with 9.1 (1231 comments)

I normally custom compile my kernels, but, this article was related to the upgrade to Karmic, which is compiled with 4.4. My older modules were compiled with 4.3, which caused conflicts.

more than 5 years ago

Some Early Adopters Stung By Ubuntu's Karmic Koala

flyboy974 Re:In-place upgrade, or fresh install? (1231 comments)

It was an upgrade unfortunately.

Unfortunately when I installed Ubuntu, I let it go with the recommended single /dev/hda1 partition that was 100%. Back in my old UNIX days, I normally would have had a small ~2GB /, ~4GB /usr, ~20GB /var, and allocated the rest under /home. But, being that everyone seemed to have been running full / partitions for desktops, I did that. WOOOPS!

I've thought about reinstalling everything. As you see above, I've always locked down my partitions for good reason. Reallocating a few OS partitions is no problem.

On a side note, I also had a custom 2.6.28 kernel as I was working on developing a USB driver for the NVIDIA ESA device support (which is really just HID 1.1, but, Linux is not HID 1.08 compliant). Getting closer, but, I'm really having to reimplement HID 1.11 so I'm trying to decide if I should implement it as a USB replacement for the kernel or as a HIDDEV/RAW type module.

Troubles... yes... Switching back to Windows.. Hell no! (I booted into my old Vista drive to upgrade my iPhone to 3.0... that took 30 minutes to boot and open ITunes! Screw that!)

more than 5 years ago

Some Early Adopters Stung By Ubuntu's Karmic Koala

flyboy974 My problems with 9.1 (1231 comments)

Blank and flickering screens: Yes. I was running NVIDIA 180.29. The new kernel, being GCC 4.4 barfed. In fact, it caused screen flickers, which caused strangely Hard Disk read errors, keyboard input failures, and would lock up my computer if I couldnt' SSH in from another machien to do a "sudo service gdm stop"

Failure to recognize hard drives: No

Defaulting to the old 2.6.28 Linux kernel: Yep. Does not set the new 2.6.30-14-generic as default. So I have to keep arrowing up in grub. I'll reset this myself.

I also am having a problem with X-Plane 9.40. I use to get 60FPS no problem. I get 20 now. Notably I upgraded to NVIDIA 190.42 as a result of the 180.29 issues. But, it doesn't matter on the NVIDIA version. Strangely I found a work around. If I go to Preferences/Rendering and exit out, about 1/3 of the time I get back to 60FPS. My guess is the OpenAL or pulseaudio as it's reinitialized.

more than 5 years ago

Social Networking Sites Getting Risky For Recruiting

flyboy974 As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (227 comments)

I think that HR departments try to prove that they need to exist some times. They are there to try to tell you why you should NOT hire somebody. A pure "cover-your-ass" department.
The reality is that I am a high school drop-out, and I am a Chief Technology Officer. I didn't get there by starting a company, I was recruited by the company itself. I have 15+ years of experience (my first "contract" position was when I was 15). Oh, and I'm 32 years old now.

I once was given a job offer and then they rescinded it because I did not have a high school diploma. Were they wrong? You decide. I am where I am because I have the skills, experience and am damn good at my job.

more than 5 years ago

Same Dev Tools/Language/Framework For Everyone?

flyboy974 Re:Standardize the RIGHT tools (519 comments)

It's great that you assume management doesn't know how to develop software.

I am a CTO of a company. I had to come in and standardize our development environment. I am an Win16/Win32/Linux/Solaris/BeOS/Mac Software Architect before I became a CTO.

Why did I force all of our developers to use one standard environment?

1. Licensing Costs -- We are not a Java house. We are a C++/C# house. So Eclipse is out. Mono is not advanced enough.

2. Build Envrionment. We have build engineers, how many different build scripts do they need to maintain?

3. Uhit Testing -- Who writes these, and in how many languages to do we have to enhance these?

So, testing is 40% and coding costs 605. Why would I standardize? It saves money. I can hire C# developer who are experienced, while the Ruby/LAMP developers are all entry level with an attitude. The reality is that C#/Java developer is much more educated and experienced than a Ruby/PHP person.

LAMP/Script Kiddies are horrible when it comes to secure web apps. They don't understand multilayer scaling. Yes, LAMP is good for 1M/pages per day, but, I don't deal in less than 100M/day.

more than 6 years ago



Fox News using Google Backdoors into WSJ?

flyboy974 flyboy974 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

flyboy974 (624054) writes "On FoxNews.com, there is a front page article regarding GM Planning to Lay Off Thousands. To read more, Fox News forwards you to the Wall Street Journal article. If you look closely, the URL contains "mod=googlenews_wsj", suggesting that Fox News is not entitled to link, and instead is using a Google back door. Is Fox News trustworthy for original content?"
Link to Original Source

Sony BMG sues Amergence Group for $12 Million

flyboy974 flyboy974 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

flyboy974 (624054) writes "Sony BMG Music Entertainment is suing a company that developed antipiracy software for CDs, claiming the technology was defective and cost the record company millions of dollars to settle consumer complaints and government investigations. The software in question is the MediaMax CD protection system. Sony BMG is seeking to recover some $12 million in damages from the Phoenix-based technology company, according to court papers filed July 3."
Link to Original Source


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