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Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

nick_urbanik Good luck with that, Duke. Another case study. (319 comments)

I worked in a computing department in a college that had a lecturer from a particular university co-located, sitting close to my desk. I was interested in plagiarism management, and was using the Moss system from Berkeley together with code I had written to manage plagiarism in an unofficial way in my programming classes.

Official paths were blocked at my college by a rule requiring expulsion and exclusion for a minimum of two years, so plagiarism "did not happen" there due to this "death penalty", so I was on my own.

The lecturer from that university told me about efforts to clamp down on plagiarism exceeding two-thirds of first year computer science students at his university. The head of the school at his university announced the initiative to punish those that were identified as guilty. The students demanded each have a proper hearing, and students from the law faculty offered to help in the representation of these hundreds of students. In the hearings, students were demanding compensation from the university for loss of their intellectual property due to the "obvious lack of security" of the assignment submission system. There were other, more complex and more imaginative defences. There were few lecturers and staff to represent the school, and unending numbers of students, each requiring a minimum of a 45 minute hearing, with appeals and other procedures demanded in addition. The lecturer told me that the head of school backed down, admitting defeat.

Let's hope Duke has a more positive outcome.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Best To Synchronize Projects Between Shared Drive and PCs?

nick_urbanik Re:Unison? (238 comments)

I run unison from cron; it is hard to see how other people do without it.

about a year ago
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What Keeps You On (or Off) Windows in 2013?

nick_urbanik What Keeps You Off Windows in 2013? Freedom! (1215 comments)

Windows comes pre-installed with loads of crapware to make money for the OEM.

I hate that.

Linux comes unencumbered with Digital Restrictions Management, without the need to paff around with anti-virus software.

All the software on my Linux system comes with source code. I can change that. I can fix it when it breaks for me. I can share my changes with any one else. I'm not stuck with hanging on the phone sending the vendor data I know they won't need to solve the problem. I love all that freedom.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Way To Work On Projects While Traveling?

nick_urbanik Ask Randal "cruiser" Schwartz! (273 comments)

I am a keen listener to FLOSS Weekly hosted by Randal Schwartz, and am astounded at how often he is away on a geek cruise ship, evidently having a great time, and learning from other geeks. I cannot imagine a better person to address this question to.

about a year and a half ago
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Adobe Creative Suite Going Subscription-Only

nick_urbanik Re:But who are their competitors? The Gimp! (658 comments)

The Gimp is software that I am now happily familiar with, and want to improve my knowledge of.

I buy books to learn more about how to do things I want to do with the Gimp.

My hope is that money will become available to pay Gimp developers to more rapidly produce such wonderful things as the GEKL support and make the Gimp more useful to professionals as well as people like me.

about a year and a half ago
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Who should have the most input into software redesigns?

nick_urbanik None of the above; it depends... (262 comments)

I can't vote here.

If someone is paying me, then they get to say what will change. I might tweak it to do something that helps others, especially if it helps the work that pays me. And I always aim to do it right. But if no one is paying me, then the most important input is from me. If other people want something implemented, I will always listen.

But that is all obvious, isn't it?

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Often Do You Push To Production?

nick_urbanik Release many times daily: testing and automation (182 comments)

We usually make several production releases every day. We have a complete configuration management system (conform) that totally automates building a server and releasing software. We have a complete dev environment and two test environments. We test code in pre-production first. But the key is our automation. It automates releases and rollbacks. Without complete automation (and competence), we would be submerged in paper work and bleary-eyed midnight releases like other teams in the company.

more than 2 years ago
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Robot Learning To Recognize Itself In Mirror

nick_urbanik Re:Laugh (133 comments)

Your brains are not special

It never ceases to amaze me how many so easily dismiss the difficulty of replicating the ability of even animal brains to control their own motion. To replicate all the abilities of the human brain is something that some young slashdotters too easily dismiss as within the reach of their peers (though not within their own personal reach).

about 2 years ago
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Linux Is a Lemon On the Retina MacBook Pro

nick_urbanik Re:Proof at last! (780 comments)

Speaking of that, what Linux person would buy an Apple product?!

I dunno, some twit called tourvulds or summit.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Run a Small Business With Open Source Software?

nick_urbanik Re:lots of options (195 comments)

QuickBooks has scary limits built in. They suck you in with the entry price, but at some point if your business is successful and actually has multiple customers, you will exceed the built-in limits. Then it's time to upgrade. Not "it's time to think about upgrading" you have to upgrade right away because you have exceeded the limits and the version of QuickBooks you bought won't work any more. Expect to spend several thousand dollars.

LWN documents this happening.

more than 2 years ago
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Congress Asks Patent Office To Consider Secret Patents

nick_urbanik Do patents promote sharing of new technologies? (285 comments)

Through the preservation, classification, and dissemination of patent information, the Office promotes the industrial and technological progress of the nation and strengthens the economy.

The USPTO also disseminates patent and trademark information that promotes an understanding of intellectual property protection and facilitates the development and sharing of new technologies worldwide.

uspto.gov

I've been told patents support innovation. I see that, in relation to software, they are used more like nuclear arsenals. Their true purpose becomes plainer.

more than 2 years ago
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Software Engineering Is a Dead-End Career, Says Bloomberg

nick_urbanik Re:Nothing new? (738 comments)

Going out and learning on your own sounds like diligence (and may be necessary), but you have to balance that expenditure of time and (possibly) money against what you are getting in return. If you are spending more in terms of money or opportunity cost than your pay is increasing, you are effectively lowering your salary. That might be better than losing your salary altogether, but it is not a desirable situation.

It's desirable if you like doing that. I do.

about 2 years ago
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Microsoft Counted As Key Linux Contributor

nick_urbanik Very old news: lwn.net had this in July 13, 2011 (305 comments)

I'm surprised to see this as news; it was discussed about nine months ago in Jon Corbet's article in LWN.net.

K. Y. Srinivasan topped the list of changeset contributors with a massive set of cleanups to the Microsoft HV driver in the staging tree; it's impressive to see how much cleanup less than 15,000 lines of code can require.

It appears that Microsoft's contribution needed a lot of cleaning up to bring it up to scratch.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Re-Entering the Job Market As a Software Engineer?

nick_urbanik Re:Go With Current Tech, and also with enthusiasm (435 comments)

I know many younger than me who are unwilling to learn new skills to augment their knowledge of Cobol and Foxpro. Their own lack of spirit condemns them.

I know people nearly as old as me who are nearly as passionate as I am to learn new skills, who are eminently employable.

The smart employer wants people who care and are able to do the work well.

Some employers are smart.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Re-Entering the Job Market As a Software Engineer?

nick_urbanik Go for it if you have enthusiasm! (435 comments)

I was 53 when I changed from my job as a lecturer in a vocational college in Hong Kong, teaching computing, electrical engineering and systems administration for eleven years, to working as a hands-on engineer doing plenty of interesting software development in a large ISP in Australia. I have thrived since the change, and feel less stressed, not having to mark so many assignments, and not having to deal directly with plagiarism while hiding it from the administration, who pretend that it does not exist.

I love my work still, more than five years later, and enjoy working with free software; this allows me to produce solutions to problems without requiring support from management, except for paying for my labour.

I might add that although I am now close to 60 years old, I still ride my bicycle 160 km each week, and have a lot of energy and enthusiasm.

Also the subjects I taught and wrote the teaching material and practical laboratory exercises for apply very directly to what I do in my work.

I feel very lucky. Please do not listen to all the negative comments you see here, moderated as 'insightful'; if you have the enthusiasm, go for it. You will feel sorry if you don't.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Learn New Programming Languages?

nick_urbanik Re:You are only too old if you think you are (772 comments)

I forgot to mention; I changed careers at the age of 53 from teaching to programming and system administration.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Learn New Programming Languages?

nick_urbanik You are only too old if you think you are (772 comments)

I'm 55, a programmer, and I've been out of work for two years.

I'm a 58-year old Perl programmer and system administrator enjoying my challenging work.

1. I'm old. One 5 hour energy drink revvs up your basic 20 year old code monkey all day. I need a saline drip with caffeine in it all day to keep going.

I ride my bicycle 160 km each week, and have more energy than many younger programmers.

2. I'm expensive. I have 30 years of experience in the 'biz and a masters degree in CS. I'm not cheap. You could hire two 25 year olds for what I'm asking.

I am productive, have good control in deciding what I do, and enjoy a mentoring role.

3. I've been exposed to every nasty little mindgame management has at it's disposal. And sometimes I have the bad manners to call people on it. This is called "having a bad attitude".

I understand what pressures people are under, and get along well with my work mates and managers.

You are too old if you think you are. Otherwise, you can learn a great deal every day up to the day you die.

more than 3 years ago

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