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Ask Slashdot: Money-Making Home-Based Tech Skills?

kevin_conaway Quality Assurance (332 comments)

Lots of software companies will either hire you on staff or contract with you as a freelancer to do remote quality assurance on their products.

You can pitch your writing & communication skills as an asset here. Instead of saying: this doesn't work, you can write reasonable, reproducible, clear defect and quality reports.

about 3 years ago

How Do I Get Back a Passion For Programming?

kevin_conaway More Advanced Stuff (516 comments)

I stick in more advanced stuff into my code when I can, but that is always on the sly

Please don't do this. Resist the urge to get clever for the sake of being clever. This will almost always come back to bite you (or more likely a coworker) later in time.

With software, less is definitely more so try to write as little code as possible to solve te problem at hand.

more than 3 years ago

The NSA Wants Its Own Smartphone

kevin_conaway Correction (172 comments)

SIPRNet only allows SECRET information and below. You need to be on JWICS to access Top Secret information.

more than 3 years ago

As smart-phones go, my phone is ...

kevin_conaway My smart phone is great at everything except... (519 comments)

making phone calls.

Seriously. I love my HTC Hero (Android 2.1) as a PDA but the phone call capability is not very good on it. If I'm doing something and a phone call comes in, sometimes I might miss it or the phone will freeze for a few seconds before the call comes through. Ever tried calling someone while they're calling you? Good luck with that on this phone. Oh well, thankfully, I don't make too many calls

more than 4 years ago

Rackspace Shuts Down Quran-Burning Church's Sites

kevin_conaway Not Quite the Same Thing (1695 comments)

If they're not quite the same thing, why bother comparing them at all?

more than 4 years ago

NYC Drops $722M On CityTime Attendance System

kevin_conaway SAIC (306 comments)

I believe its worth noting that SAIC was behind the disaster that was the FBI's Virtual Case File project.

more than 4 years ago

Move Over BoxeeBox, Here Comes PopBox

kevin_conaway No thanks (117 comments)

Perhaps this announcement explains why the Popcorn Hour C-200 is such a disaster. I had such high hopes for that device but it seems like Syabas spent little to no time on QA. They advertised wireless capability and shipped the device without a driver, the blu-ray drive they "approved" is EOL and there is a list of issues as long as my arm.

To me, it appears they were busy with the PopBox and didn't spend enough time on the C-200. I'll pass on anything from these guys in the future

about 5 years ago

Three Lawmakers Ask For Enforcement Against Leak Sites

kevin_conaway Sic? (316 comments)

From the summary:

How has [sic] the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration...

Why was the sic added to this statement? I'm not an English major but I don't find that sentence to use any archaic or incorrect spellings nor do I find the grammar to be wrong.

more than 5 years ago

Lockheed Snags $31 Million To Reinvent the Internet, Microsoft To Help

kevin_conaway Misleading (326 comments)

From reading the actual BAA, it sounds like this is not an effort to replace IP networks but to supplement them with additional protocols. In fact, the requirements explicitly state that MNP must carry legacy IPv4 and IPv6 traffic.

more than 5 years ago

What Questions Should a Prospective Employee Ask?

kevin_conaway Try the Joel Test (569 comments)

For a software position, try to see how well the company scores on the Joel Test:

  1. Do you use source control?
  2. Can you make a build in one step?
  3. Do you make daily builds?
  4. Do you have a bug database?
  5. Do you fix bugs before writing new code?
  6. Do you have an up-to-date schedule?
  7. Do you have a spec?
  8. Do programmers have quiet working conditions?
  9. Do you use the best tools money can buy?
  10. Do you have testers?
  11. Do new candidates write code during their interview?
  12. Do you do hallway usability testing?

more than 5 years ago

Hackers Breached US Army Servers

kevin_conaway Re:wood for the trees (209 comments)

Why aren't classified information on a separate network, not connected to the Net

It is, in fact there are multiple, separate networks.

Other than the author repeating the word "sensitive" over and over again, there wasn't anything concrete in the article about whether the information was actually classified. I suspect it wasn't.

more than 5 years ago

Wolfram Alpha Launches Tonight, On Camera

kevin_conaway Re:Such confidence. (218 comments)

Have you ever release a large piece of software to a large group of users before? How about a small piece of software to a small group of users?

Something always goes wrong and there is usually a good reason for it. It should be a neat learning experience for all involved

more than 5 years ago

KGB Material Released By Cold War Project, Available Online

kevin_conaway The Sword and the Shield (94 comments)

If this interests you, check out the book, The Sword and the Shield which is compiled from the notes of a KGB archivist who smuggled documents from KGB archives for about 20 years.

more than 5 years ago

I'd rather measure my days by means of ...

kevin_conaway Trivia Calendars (534 comments)

I've had a Simpsons trivia calendar on my desk for the last 8 years.

about 6 years ago

Wiretap Whistleblower, a Life in Limbo?

kevin_conaway Re:Don't take freedom for granted (521 comments)

I'll share my personal story to show how quickly a thriving democracy can turn into an oppresive regime, here in the US.


I had published a couple of letters to the editors in the San Jose Mercury News, discussing politics. I was reading foreign media which were hinting that US intelligence on Iraq WMD was bogus. Guess what? I stood very quiet, very silent. Who knows who was listening and how far the goverment was willing to go to silence dissent. If it had been just me, I would have stood up and fought for my rights, but with my family in mind, I decided to cave.

How does that story show anything other than your own paranoia?

more than 6 years ago

Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar 2008

kevin_conaway Re:But why wait 25 days? (46 comments)

Showing one image a day for 25 days is a great way to generate repeat traffic for your blog and increase page views, especially if your blog is picked up by Slashdot! Or you could skip the middle man and go directly to the source and get as many beautiful HST images as you want... right now.

Because thats what an advent calendar is!

I understand that being skeptical of blog postings is tradition (and a good way to get mod points) on Slashdot but trust me, the Big Picture does just fine without needing to troll Slashdot for hits

more than 6 years ago

Bush Administration's E-Mail Deluge May Overload Archive System

kevin_conaway Re:Text only, no html (169 comments)

Did you stop paying attention to email in 1995?

No more fancy signatures and html crap will cause a 60-80% drop in volume if not more.

I know you hate it when your mom or the boss' secretary at work sends out a cutesy formatted email but some people can actually use HTML email effectively in lieu of sending a document or a link

Mandate the Usenet way with replies after the original, (it will) teach people to cut irrelevant repeats.

Irrelevant repeats for you may be important context for someone else.

Stop the addition of stupid and ineffective disclaimers.

Often times, those disclaimers are required by law. Most people don't add them for fun or to make themselves feel important.

Teach the use of (ftp) servers for sharing large documents, no more Microsoft sized attachments, send a link.

FTP? Are you serious? Sending documents by carrier pigeon is more secure and reliable than FTP

more than 6 years ago

The Best Fictional Doomsday Devices

kevin_conaway Re:Wired slideshow (340 comments)

If you value your time, don't even bother to RTFA

What an odd thing to post to Slashdot

more than 6 years ago

How Do I Get Open Source Programs Written For Me?

kevin_conaway Raise Money (285 comments)

First off, please realize that custom software development is likely to be a 5-figure investment. Just because you want to open source the end product doesn't mean that it will be cheaper to do. You may find someone to quote you a really cheap price but I guarantee you that you won't be happy with the end product and you'll probably end up spending more over the long run than if you had paid up front to do it correctly.

With that in mind, there are plenty of quality software consulting firms that will do this for you. To your developers, it shouldn't make a difference what you do with the end product. If you want to open source it, thats your business because you've paid for it.

If you don't have the money to pay someone else to do it, I'd start learning to write software and/or reach out to other lab rats in your field who may want to help

more than 6 years ago



Futurama Writer Creates New Math Theorem

kevin_conaway kevin_conaway writes  |  more than 4 years ago

kevin_conaway (585204) writes "In the latest episode of Futurama, writer Ken Keeler wrote and proved a new math theorem based on group theory. From the article:

We all knew the writing staff of Futurama was brainy, but this is something else. In the episode “The Prisoner of Benda,” the Professor and Amy use a new invention to switch bodies. Unfortunately, they discover that the same two brains can’t switch twice and have to come up with some equation to prove that, with enough people switching, eventually everyone will end up in their rightful form. To work out the ridiculous brain switching plot line, writer Ken Keeler (who also just happens to have a PhD in mathematics) ended up writing and proving an entirely new theorem"

Link to Original Source

Raven: An Elegant Build for Java

kevin_conaway kevin_conaway writes  |  more than 7 years ago

kevin_conaway (585204) writes "Matthieu Riou wrote an interesting article on Raven, a build system for Java powered by Ruby. His premise is that Raven allows you access to the full power of a scripting language including things like conditions, loops, exceptions and complex data structures and that this is an improvement over linear, "toy" build systems like Ant and Maven."
Link to Original Source

Futurama Movie Set for November 27th

kevin_conaway kevin_conaway writes  |  more than 7 years ago

kevin_conaway writes "TV Squad informs us that the new Futurama movie will be available on November 27th. The show will return as a full-length high-def film sold on DVD. It will be followed by three additional films, and each film will be divided into four episodes each to be aired on Comedy Central. So, that's 4 DVD movies or 16 new episodes depending on how you look at it."
Link to Original Source


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