top Ask Slashdot: Sounds We Don't Hear Any More?
Steam engines are all over the place (e.g. in every nuclear power plant). But since you're probably talking about steam locomotives, you're just not hanging out in the right place (or don't have a young child in the house to insist you go to the right place). There are still steam locomotives running all over the world, though I'll admit they're more of the hobby/tourist variety than actual "working" locomotive hauling freight/passengers. I'm partial to
http://www.mrsr.com/ and can assure you they make a lot more kinds of sounds than just that chuff-chuff-chuff---wishhhh. There's also not much to compare to the sound of a steam whistle from about 10 feet away, either.
top FBI Says It Will Hire No One Who Lies About Illegal Downloading
Seriously, have you ever met anyone technical who hasn't downloaded at least one song/movie/whatever?
top Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police
One would assume that Google has the right to make sure you're complying with their terms of service, and if in that (presumably automated) scan they find illegal activity, is it not their prerogative to report it to the authorities?
On the flip side, is this much different from your leaving a stash of cocaine on the back seat when you take your car in for service? Do you expect that the mechanic wouldn't report it to the cops?
top Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon
A lot of smaller breweries don't produce enough grain to sell it, but still give it away because garbage fees aren't cheap, either (some cities even charge additional fees because of the need to buffer the pH in to protect groundwater and other runoff). Or a thankful small-time pig farmer might share some bacon. That and it's good for the environment and local economies, and most micro-breweries are sensitive about both issues.
Anyway, this isn't just about money -- it's about the FDA proposing legislation/paperwork/hassle to fix a problem that doesn't exist. Thankfully, not in a small part due to the actions of brewers and farmers across the country, the FDA has backpedaled and is now re-evaluating the proposal to hopefully come up with something a bit more sane.
top Kentucky: Programming Language = Foreign Language
As someone who grew up bilingual, I used to list computer languages along with the bits and pieces of a few other languages (spoken and signed) when applying to college. I remain convinced that my experience with human languages has made me a better programmer, and am willing to bet the reverse as well -- grammar and syntax are two sides of the same coin.
I think that it's *culturally* important to learn more human languages, but from a purely academic standpoint I'll take a student with French or C++ over one with neither.
top Ask Slashdot: Why So Hard Landing Interviews In Seattle Versus SoCal?
As someone who has had no trouble getting interviews in the past (outside of the year or so post-dotcom bust), and more recently as a hiring manager who has just as much trouble finding candidates *worth* interviewing as you seem to be getting those interviews, here's the best advice I can give out:
1. Be honest about your address and intentions. If someone applies to my "local applicants only" job with an address in CA I don't even bother to read the resume. However, if you mention in your introduction email (cover letter?) that you want to move to the area and plan to be making a trip up in the next couple of weeks ("to visit some friends", "for a couple of interviews", whatever), I'll give your resume the same consideration as I would to a local candidate. I might even fast-track a phone screen if you look good, so I can schedule an interview to take advantage of that time you'd be here. Do your best to make your trip description emphasize how serious you are about looking for a job in the area -- it will bypass the concern a lot of small companies have paying to fly you into town for an interview (not worth it with so many great local candidates), and should hopefully prevent you from sounding presumptuous about expecting an interview.
2. Find some good recruiters. I don't know a single tech worker who enjoys dealing with recruiters (most put off the same vibe as the stereotypical used car salesman) but there are a lot of VC-funded startups that hire exclusively through recruiting firms. Reach out to big guys like greythorn and volt, and do some searching on linkedin and other sites for smaller firms (which often have much more interesting work). Reaching out directly to them will help you get the message across that you want to move, and in turn they will help convince the hiring manager that you're worth talking to despite currently being out of state.
3. You mentioned Seattle and MS in the same description. Be aware that there is a giant invisible line down the middle of Lake Washington. Though there is some MS stuff (at least on the web side of things, which is what I know best) in Seattle, there is a lot more of it on the East Side (Bellevue, Redmond) closer to Microsoft itself.
4. It may help to get a local phone number, but honestly if you mark your non-206 number as "cell" and direct eyes toward your email address, I can't think how it would hurt your chances. FWIW, unless asked on a job application form at a big company, I'm not sure I've ever given my phone number out to a prospective employer until asked for it in order to schedule a phone screen.
5. Yes, there really are that many good candidates in the area. You're competing with locals who are more readily available for interviews or followup interviews, so you need to stand out more than they do. And it's not just about weighing the costs of bringing a non-local candidate in for an interview -- I personally hate giving video interviews and will do everything I can to avoid them (I get so much more out of the interview if I can actually interact with a candidate; after all, personality-fit is as important as technical competence).
6. On the other hand, there really are a lot of good jobs here, too (Amazon's hiring spree high pay has made it a pretty competitive market, too). Consider broadening your skill set. I know there is often a wide cultural gap between the kinds of devs who focus on MS vs Linux, but if I'm just looking for a good developer/engineer rather than a language expert, I'll be much more interested in you if your resume has more than just the one stack (Ruby+dotNet, dotNet+Java, etc). You could also take this as a "don't complain about picky companies if you're limiting yourself to a single technology subset".
7. Be willing to work contracts. Microsoft itself is well-known for preferring to hire people through staffing agencies (corp-to-corp contract) rather than through direct hiring, and they're not alone among the larger companies. The staffing company becomes your employer while you work the contract (avoid 1099 contracts unless you fully understand the tax implications), and you don't have to feel too bad if you leave for a better gig a few months into the contract.
Anyway, I hope this helps someone.
top Ask Slashdot: Why So Hard Landing Interviews In Seattle Versus SoCal?
Funny. I grew up spending time between the hottest and driest deserts in the world. When my family ended up moving to the Seattle area, I rejoiced at the weather. I'll happily take a little drizzle over 120F summers or "undetectable" levels of total annual rainfall. A year of school in Chicago which went from sweltering humid heat in the summer/fall to near-zero freezing temps in the winter confirmed for me that Seattle has great weather.
top Nathan Myhrvold's $500 Cookbook Now an $80 iPhone App
This app is a digital version of the $115 "at home" version (2 volumes is a stretch -- one is a spiral bound version without the photos so you don't have to feel bad spilling on it while using it to cook), not the full $600 professional set. FWIW, I own the printed "at home" version (it goes on sale occasionally for under $100) and think it's great, but not enough that I'd be willing to shell out another $80 for a digital copy (not even $40, since they offered a discount to the owners of the printed version).
$80 for a digital version of the full set? I'd be all over that. But this isn't that.
top Nearly 1 In 4 Adults Surf the Web While Driving
More importantly, given they include "access the internet", pretty much everyone getting GPS directions via a smartphone would be included.
top Scientist Seeks Investment For "Alcohol Substitute"
Or maybe it's because it's very easy and cheap to get yeast to produce your alcohol for you. Might be ok as a replacement for distilled spirits, but imagine how expensive synth-beer would cost if manufacturers had to pay some chemical company for the added synthehol. Not to mention how it would be nearly impossible to replicate the flavor (think non-alcoholic beer).
top Ask Slashdot: Simple Backups To a Neighbor?
And considering that most NASs these days are actually computers, you can often find Crashplan packages for them. I run CrashPlan on my Synology NAS via a third-party (but basically one-click install) package, and it works great.
top The World Fair of 2014 According To Asimov (From 1964)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_world_expositions there was one in 2012, and there is one planned for 2015, so he was only off by a year. It's not like they were an annual occurrence in his time, either.
about a year and a half ago
top Ask Slashdot: How Do I Request Someone To Send Me a Public Key?
Pick a password/phrase agreed upon via a phone conversation. If you try to get their IT department involved, the people working with your documents will just end up passing your decrypted documents around via email or other insecure file storage mechanisms, anyway. A password is simple enough for most non-technical people to understand, and is build into the PDF spec so no special software is needed to view or create, which makes it much less likely that there will be an insecure version of your paperwork sitting around somewhere, and documents sent *back* to you are more likely to also be encrypted (the last time i refinanced my mortgage, my broker actually requested that we do so for all communication).
FWIW, assuming you trust them and SSL is enough encryption for you, you can usually share things privately through services like Dropbox and then remove the files once you know they've reached their destination.
about a year and a half ago
top The IRS vs. Open Source
I've been involved directly with the 501c3 application of both MythTV and Schedules Direct. MythTV's lawyers (the SFLC) were able to find out that there is sort of an internal struggle at the IRS about what to do with open source. As described in the parent comment, the IRS is concerned about corporations benefiting from open source projects, regardless of whether or not the corporation contributes directly or indirectly to their development (think how many companies use Linux, Apache, etc. but never contribute a single penny or line of code). On the other hand, we've also been told that for the most part they've been intentionally ignoring applications, essentially leaving them in limbo to avoid ruling on any of them because it would then allow the the open source groups to go to court and potentially set a precedent, which the IRS apparently fears more than letting the applications linger and collect dust for years (the process normally takes 9-12 months).
In my opinion this is a BS argument. I'm no accountant but I know that corporations can already deduct money spent on R&D (time, salaries, resources, etc), and even then it's no excuse to lump all open source projects together (or even organizations like Schedules Direct that only support open source groups without producing any software ourselves).
Because of this, the MythTV developers basically gave up on forming "The MythTV Foundation" since all we really wanted was a legal entity to make it simpler to track who owns assets like the domain names, name copyright, etc.
about a year and a half ago
top The Web Is Not the Internet
Not to nitpick but motherboard dot com is just a random ad/parking page. Not sure if
/. editors or some automatic system gave the wrong attribution, but it's definitely misleading.
top My thoughts on getting my own DNA tested:
I answered "been there" because technically, I have. I got a gift a couple years ago of a packet from National Geographic's Genographic project (http://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/) to look into the far-distant genetic past. When I went to check on my info, they offered to pass my report over to
http://www.familytreedna.com/ for some basic info about my recent genetic past (with a bunch of upsell options that I chose not to pay for).
So there are interesting things to do with DNA besides look into possibilities of defects.
top Ask Slashdot: Best Camera For Getting Into Photography?
Other than the quality of the sensor and the photographer, there are two things that contribute to a photo looking "good": lens diameter (collects more light) and number of lens elements (fewer is better). Going from a pinhole-sized smartphone lens to just about anything else is going to be a major improvement.
Personally, I use a Canon DSLR (mostly because I like Canon, and it fit all of the lenses from the 35mm system it replaced), but I also carry a Panasonic Lumix "super zoom" point/shoot. It takes great photos (and video), and still fits in a pocket (it was better than the point/shoot Canons of the time). Their micro-4/3 systems with interchangeable lenses are also good. These systems (I've also heard good things about Sony's) offer a pretty nice quality/price balance between traditional point/shoot cameras and DSLRs, too.
But as others have said, you should probably bulk up on your photo knowledge, too. Understanding stuff like shutter speed, aperture, depth of field, rule of thirds, etc. can go a long way to making better photos, even with a smartphone camera.
top Are There Any Smartphones That Respect Privacy?
I didn't have to create an iCloud account to use my iPhone. I don't sync my location, contacts, mail, etc. with iCloud. I back my phone up to my own computer. I struggle to see how this is more intrusive than Android, which required that I sync everything with Google.
Granted, I *do* sync everything on my iPhone with Google, but that's another question entirely.
top Six Python Web Frameworks Compared
Maybe CPUs are so cheap these days that it doesn't matter, but I really like to see speed/performance as a metric when evaluating the technology that runs my website.
top VMware Releases Open Source Cloud Foundry
Bit of a difference there...
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