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My toy collection is ...

jnelson4765 Guns, guns, guns. (209 comments)

I've been amassing a decent collection of firearms. Some would call them toys, since I don't hunt. Target shooting is more my style, and they're mostly set up for that,

They are not toys, they're dangerous and worthy of respect, but they fall into the same category - something non-necessary that brings me great joy.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Where's the Most Unusual Place You've Written a Program From?

jnelson4765 Burning Man (310 comments)

Caught some wi-fi and fixed a production problem while sitting in the middle of the desert at 3 AM, while wearing a kilt and not much else.

about 7 months ago

How Firefox Will Handle DRM In HTML

jnelson4765 Stupid, stupid, stupid. (361 comments)

You can either have open source or DRM - anything where the end user has control of the software can be broken, period. Trying to keep people from messing with your DRM is a losing battle, anyway - there are always more bored hackers that will break whatever scheme you come up with.

Beyond that, why would you bother with a browser-specific technology? It's yet another thing that looks shiny in the 'features' column but no one will ever use, because the market share is too low to justify it. Oh, and Microsoft and Apple will implement it differently, and Google won't bother. So, pissing off open source folks to implement a 'feature' that nobody will actually use?


about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Joining a Startup As an Older Programmer?

jnelson4765 Burning Man was one of my preconditions actually (274 comments)

I don't work in the Valley, so the assumption that the odd ones disappear for a couple weeks in late August isn't built into companies in the East Coast. It's what I lead with when recruiters call, and it's amazing how quickly I'm not a "good fit for the culture".

My current job, I made it very clear that was my one non negotiable, and they were fine with it. But I passed on a number of offers from other companies where I couldn't get that concession.

So yeah, cultural fit is a really, really important thing. I'm 37, and a place like that sounds like heaven. But I'm also a year-round volunteer for Burning Man...

about 8 months ago

Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

jnelson4765 Re:Hey, join the Exodus team and you get to help! (273 comments)

The thing about the decisions made by the various departments at Burning Man is that they are done collaboratively. People who want to be involved get together, and make those decisions, and they're made by people with years of experience.

Happens in every department. I work in DMV. BMIR is the same way. DPW probably makes decisions by knife fighting, or drinking contests, or something equally rough and tumble...

Those snark-free areas you're looking for are the mailing lists maintained by the BMORG for the various departments, and you can always contact the Volunteer Coordinators or Council for that department.

However, if they don't know you, as someone who cares enough to volunteer their time and see the problems you face out there, you will not get a very good reception. After a year or two working out there, you get understanding.

You want more hand sanitizer? Organize people to do it. Find out who sets the contract up with the port-a-john company and see how much more it'll cost to get the sanitizer increased. Then help raise the funds to make it happen. These things don't happen in a vacuum, and it's up to the participants (I. E. all of us) to either make it happen or accept that it's not perfect and stop worrying so much, and bring our own sanitizer...

about 9 months ago

Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

jnelson4765 Hey, join the Exodus team and you get to help! (273 comments)

Speaking as someone who's gone for a few years, and now volunteer at the event, I can give you the perfect answer.

Join the Exodus team, help run the traffic outflow, and you'll get a better reception than some random dude on a web forum. We are a do-ocracy - do shit, and you'll eventually be in charge of it if you can handle it and not get burned out.

And also, fuck ePlaya - that place is full of trolls and assholes and burnier-than-thou cranks.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Modern Web Development Applied Science Associates Degree?

jnelson4765 Re:Yes (246 comments)

I never touch anything more complicated in math than basic algebra.

So you never program in an OO or functional language or use a database?

We don't bother with functional languages, and what do OO or databases have to do with higher math? We do billing and accounting, which do not involve quadratic equations or calculus.

Boolean algebra is about the only advanced math that makes sense to study...

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Modern Web Development Applied Science Associates Degree?

jnelson4765 Yes (246 comments)

I work in a company writing online billing software. We use Perl and Ruby. We don't need people who know quicksort vs. bubble sort - we need people who understand browsers, and AJAX calls, and JSON, and business logic. I never touch anything more complicated in math than basic algebra.

Javascript, CSS, and something other than PHP are what you need to know, with a leavening of SQL and XML. Screw all that CompSci crap - we don't use it in 99.9% of our code.

about 10 months ago

NSA Recruitment Drive Goes Horribly Wrong

jnelson4765 Re:I can almost imagine it. (530 comments)

Guess we know what at least one HR person in the intelligence community was doing while they were at work...

about a year and a half ago

Google Respins Its Hiring Process For World Class Employees

jnelson4765 Re:The data is masked by the hiring delays (305 comments)

Yeah, I went through the hiring process (last year, didn't get it). The process is extremely long and drawn out - it took 5 months from the initial contact by the recruiter to the final "not at this time, we'll talk in a year" answer. I'll still entertain them if they call back like the recruiter said they would, but it takes months to go through it - and the hurry-up-and-wait can be a real bear to deal with. Plus, given the fact that I would be moving across the country, it's a stress inducer.

Still, all things being equal, I'd love to get a gig there, even though I'm mostly working in Perl these days and they are a Python and C++ shop. Silicon Valley is a hell of a lot nicer than where I live now, and Google takes care of their employees in ways it's hard to take seriously.

about a year ago

Canon DSLR Hack Allows It To Shoot RAW Video

jnelson4765 Re:It'll still be a crappy CMOS sensor (171 comments)

Sure, if you want to lug that big thing around. a 3CCD setup in S35 format would be enormous. And cost an insane amount of money.

Even the Sony F65, RED Epic, and the Arri Alexa use single sensors. The 3CCD thing is really a prosumer thing, and a leftover from the olden days of vidicons and other vacuum tube cameras. I'd make a bet that the companies that have produced cameras that Academy award winning cinematographers used on those features know a little bit more than you do...

about a year and a half ago

Cherry's New Keyboard Switches Emulate IBM Model M Feel

jnelson4765 Re:As opposed to actual Model Ms which are still m (298 comments)

Yup. I have one at work, and have been using it for 3 years with no discernable wear. The quality of the plastic castings isn't as good as a classic Model M, but it's built like a brick shithouse, and it's got USB, unlike the original Modle Ms which can have problems from time to time with some of the crappy PS/2 port implementations out there...

about 2 years ago

Time Warner Cable: No Consumer Demand For Gigabit Internet

jnelson4765 We have a winner! (573 comments)

The higher tiers on Internet service have an appalling cost. You can get lots of bandwidth on FIOS or on Comcast here in Richmond, but you're looking at hundreds of dollars a month. Never mind that the FIOS infrastructure, at least, can handle hundreds of megabits per customer, they're going to continue to charge for bandwidth like it's going out of style.

Plus, even with the decent connection at work, I've run into lots of network congestion issues that keep you from using that bandwidth - literally the only times I've ever been able to saturate our downstream Internet connection is using Bittorrent to pull down Linux ISOs. Everything else is choked off, and we've only got a 20/7 connection.

Now, one of the things about the Google Fiber services is that it's all DHCP right now. There's restrictions on running servers in the service agreement, so there's perilously little you could do to saturate that link (short of Bittorrent to other people on your network), but what it does do is remove a major chokepoint for neighborhood-level networking.

However, there are good things. Offsite backups become retarded-simple, since you are now limited by the streaming capacity of your hard drives. Since you're guaranteed to have a top-notch connection to Youtube, HD videos should play much more reliably. Video conferencing. High speed VPNs to the Amazon VPC infrastructure. The list goes on.

about 2 years ago

Clay Shirky On Hackers and Depression: Where's the Love?

jnelson4765 It's not just this community (319 comments)

Most activist communities have a higher than normal incidence of mental health issues. Personality disorders, paranoia, anger management issues, I've seen a lot of them in various political activist groups.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Are Timed Coding Tests Valuable?

jnelson4765 Yes - tests more than just coding. (776 comments)

I've done one recently - it also tests memory and grace under pressure. Some people just can't perform well under the gun, and in a high-pressure workplace where you may be dealing with outages that are hitting the tech press within minutes, and the global press within an hour, being ale to not fold under pressure is a critical job skill.

Plus, as my old business computing teacher in high school said, "You will be doing tasks that make no sense on obsolete technology for inscrutable reasons. If you have a problem with any of this, you should probably drop out of this class, since you do not have what it takes to be a programmer in the business world." Dealing with arbitrary requirements is part of working for any large company, and seeing if an applicant will go through with it, or if their ego is going to get in the way, is a useful test.

about 2 years ago

Worldwide IPv6 Adoption: Where Do We Stand Today?

jnelson4765 Using it at work, really useful (327 comments)

I just rebuilt our monitoring system on Munin 2.0, which can deal with IPv6. Made life a lot easier, since punching holes in NAT routers and screwball port mappings went away.

Google and Facebook are both running ipv6, and both our office and a chunk of our datacenter are on ipv6 through a he.net tunnel. Wish native ipv6 was available, but Amazon hasn't enabled it for AWS, and the Comcast ipv6 rollout is to consumers, not to business clients.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Was Your Favorite Web Comic of 2012?

jnelson4765 Oglaf FTW (321 comments)

Gloriously NSFW. Hilarious.

about 2 years ago

Slashdot Asks: SATA DVD Drives That Don't Suck for CD Ripping?

jnelson4765 HP DVD Drives (330 comments)

I work in the entertainment industry, and we have to rip about 100 albums a month at work for online promotions of various sorts. The HP DVD drives work pretty well.

about 2 years ago

You Can't Say That On the Internet

jnelson4765 Re:Facebook is not "online culture" (432 comments)

Um, it's not just that. Me and my friends use FB for organizing social events - parties, performances, etc. The fire performance troupe I'm involved with does most of our organizing on Facebook too - we have jobs, and kids, and school, and live all over the area, so having quick discussions there makes life much easier.

Look, I go to Burning Man. I've seen more people naked than anyone short of a doctor or a nudist tour guide, and I have to say the ban on nudity on Facebook is a good thing. There are creepers out there who post pictures of people having a nude stroll. Without the subject's consent.

Being able to complain about it means that they get taken down.

Facebook is for real life, and some people (myself included) like having an area where there isn't soft-core porn all over the place. See, if I had to deal with that, I'd return fire with some of the better pictures from /r/gaybears - not everyone is into the same thing, and you get rather tired of being shown something you're NOT IN TO.

more than 2 years ago

Hounded By Recruiters, Coders Put Themselves Up For Auction

jnelson4765 Re:Reminds me a contact from Google (233 comments)

Interesting - looks like they're doing a major recruiting push, since I'm in the interview process myself. I'd wanted to move to San Francisco, and saying that to the recruiter kind of surprised them. I don't live in a high-tech city, so the recruiters aren't anywhere near as vigorous, but I'm having the feeling that Google has just about tapped out the talent pool that's available in their local areas, and has sent recruiters after the less well traveled paths.

I wasn't even in the market, but when a company like Google calls, you tend to respond...

more than 2 years ago


jnelson4765 hasn't submitted any stories.



jnelson4765 jnelson4765 writes  |  more than 9 years ago Just another *nix geek, joining the halls of the misinformed and relentlessly opinionated.

Intersting format - It'd help if I had anything constructive to say...

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