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Ask Slashdot: Moving From Tech Support To Development?

scsirob Find a project for your support job (133 comments)

No-one will start with a blank screen in the morning and start to write code, just because. You need to have an itch, something you want to solve. Writing code is the means, not the goal.

Think about your support job, and ask yourself what tool would really make your life easier. Then set out to write that tool. You have the target people sitting around you right now, solve your problem and solve theirs too. If you're lucky, the tool will be valuable enough for the company to take it to that next country, all while you keep supporting that code.

I did this many years ago, while working as tech support for a tape vendor (Exabyte). I found their customer tools rubbish, so I started writing something easier (Expert 7 for MS-DOS). I asked my wife to test it for me (she is not in IT), just to see what she struggled with and made it better. It took me a while, but in the long run the company made my tool the default for customer support. I have kept on supporting that tool and many others after that until the end of last year. For almost 20 years those tape tools have given me part of my income. Even today, I still have a few customers asking me to code for them. LTO-7 is coming, perhaps I'll be asked to integrate support by then.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Re-Learning How To Interview As a Developer?

scsirob Eight years older (218 comments)

The problem with being eight years older is that you are, indeed, eight years older. Past a certain age it seems that the only jobs you will be able to get is through your network. All else being equal, a complete stranger who has to evaluate you against someone eight years younger (heck, you were a good developer at that age, right?) will definitely chose the younger person. More agile, easier to morph.

Work your network. If you are as good as you say you are, use your reputation instead of your skills.

about three weeks ago
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Time Dilation Drug Could Let Heinous Criminals Serve 1,000 Year Sentences

scsirob Re:Ridiculous. (914 comments)

Imprisonment serves two purposes. It serves to punish (and hopefully correct) the perpetrator, but it also serves as a sign to society that crime does not pay. If some serious killer gets sentenced to 50 virtual years and gets out after a year, that will feel wrong for the victims, the families and society in general.

about a month ago
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Aussie Attorney General's War On Encrypted Web Services

scsirob Gravity (151 comments)

The attorney-general can write a law to defy gravity, but putting a signature on such law will not make people fly.

In other words: madness.

about 1 month ago
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Religion Is Good For Your Brain

scsirob Too bad the skull grows with it. (529 comments)

Even if this were true, it is a shame that those 'better brains' are poisoned with religion. Thicker cortex, perhaps. Thicker skulls without a doubt.

about a month ago
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Engine Data Reveals That Flight 370 Flew On For Hours After It "Disappeared"

scsirob Re:Napkin time (382 comments)

Not true. If they circled around, or flew 2 hours one direction and 2 hours back again, they'd be right where they started. Strait line seems logical, but if they planned it through knowing that telemetry data would still be sent then that would make it harder to find them.

about a month ago
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Mars Rover Opportunity Faces New Threat: Budget Ax

scsirob Re:Remeber this before signing up.. (185 comments)

Non-native speaker here, my apologies.. I am looking forward in further lectures in flawless Dutch, which is my native language.

about a month ago
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Mars Rover Opportunity Faces New Threat: Budget Ax

scsirob Remeber this before signing up.. (185 comments)

Whomever volunteers to go on the first Mars mission should read this article, print it and stable it to the wall.
Guess what can happen when you are out there, the first glorious conquerors of Mars. You make by with what you have, rely on communication with Earth for guidance and support. Then a bean counter on Earth decides that you are too much of an expense...

about a month ago
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How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?

scsirob License? (983 comments)

Just assuming that your friend had a fully legal collection, I would think that all he needs to do is ask the media companies for a new copy. Because the media industry tells us that we do not buy music, we buy licenses, right?? So even if we lose the bits-and-bytes which are easy to replace, then we still hold a license and the media companies should facilitate that your friend can exercise his licensed rights..

[/sarcasm]

about a month ago
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Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents

scsirob Re:If I were Samsung (406 comments)

I'm sure Samsung has the money to buy them and stop production if they wanted to.

about a month ago
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Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents

scsirob Re: How are those kind of things patentable? (406 comments)

.. And you seriously want to discuss that 'tapping the number instead of a button next to it' is an advance in technology worth of a patent and everlasting fee extraction of everyone wanting to use this??!?

about a month ago
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First Outdoor Flocks of Autonomous Flying Robots

scsirob Nails, wires or anything that can swat them (84 comments)

Let me state this once and for all. Any flock of flying robots, autonomous or not, over my head or my property will encounter bags of nails, wires and other terrible obstacles designed to swat them. Just the fact that something is technically possible does not mean we should allow this. Stop the madness!

about a month and a half ago
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Laser Headlights Promise More Intense, Controllable Beams

scsirob ... And get fined $10.000 ?? (376 comments)

What if that nice bright laser hits a reflective object and then points toward a plane? Just a few articles back I read that will be rewarded with a $10.000 fine.
http://news.slashdot.org/story...

And as others have already pointed out, today's headlights are plenty bright, thank you.

about 2 months ago
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Ugly Trends Threaten Aviation Industry

scsirob Re:I abandoned thoughts of getting a pilot's licen (473 comments)

Really fly the airplane, don't just act like it's moms minivan with your eyes glued to the damn GPS

Well, that depends on which country/region you are in. Here in The Netherlands the GPS is almost mandatory to ensure you do not fly into some temporary or permanent patch of restricted airspace, don't get reported for flying over one of several hundred unmarked Natura-2000 wildlife areas (that contain no wildlife) and don't inadvertently bump 200ft into oh-so-precious Class-A which covers half of the country from 1200ft up. And these days the authorities don't tell you how to avoid intrusion, they send you a 'transaction proposal' of several hundred €€€.

This on top of mandatory Mode-S transponders, mandatory 406MHz ELT's, soon mandatory 8.33MHz radio's, annual 120 Euro charge for using radio spectrum, annual liability insurance, annual hangar rent rates, 3+ Euro/liter Avgas ($15 per Gallon..), landing fees of €30 for the lightest, lowest noise category plane, mandatory annual SoA renewal fees, mandatory annual medical check (at 50+), etc, etc, etc..

Flying has become impossible to afford and is no longer fun.

about 2 months ago
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HP Brings Back Windows 7 'By Popular Demand' As Buyers Shun Windows 8

scsirob Now all we need.. (513 comments)

.. is Windows-XP back. Also by popular demand.
How's that migration coming along for you??

about 3 months ago
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No. of vehicle license types I hold:

scsirob Re:"Certificate", not "License" (312 comments)

Not according to the wordings on the ICAO license. It has a note reading "The privileges of the license shall be exercised only if the holder has a valid medical certificate for the required privilege"

So the Flight Crew License is really a license which grants you specific privileges, and the Medical Certificate certifies that you are mentally and physically fit to perform that privilege. You need both to be valid before you are allowed to fly.

Note: I am in Europe, perhaps the rules under FAA are slightly different.

about 3 months ago
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No. of vehicle license types I hold:

scsirob Re:"Certificate", not "License" (312 comments)

If you were correct, I wonder why general aviation pilots study for their PPL, or Private Pilot LICENSE.. Mine says "Flight Crew License" on the front.

about 3 months ago
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Former CIA/NSA Head: NSA Is "Infinitely" Weaker As a Result of Snowden's Leaks

scsirob Return to previous position (572 comments)

I do not know what is more disturbing. The facts revealed by Snowden, or the statement by Hayden that the goal is "to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosures".

about 4 months ago
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Exponential Algorithm In Windows Update Slowing XP Machines

scsirob XP SP4 (413 comments)

Microsoft could fix this by releasing one last roll-up service pack, XP SP4. That would set a new baseline with all known patches applied. Since they are not going to release any new patches after April 14th, they'll never hit this issue anymore.

I'm pretty certain that MS will never do this because XP SP4 would make a huge negative dent on their Win8.x forecast.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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No more Groklaw

scsirob scsirob writes  |  about 8 months ago

scsirob (246572) writes "Word is out that PJ has pulled the plug on Groklaw. A source of education on US law, patents, SCO versus IBM and much more stops. PJ simply cannot justify to herself to stay connected in a world that is under constant surveillance. The Internet as it stands today is a threat to humanity, she explains.
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20130818120421175
Goodby PJ, you will be missed."

Link to Original Source
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Slashdot Poll: Reader age distribution

scsirob scsirob writes  |  about a year and a half ago

scsirob (246572) writes "Today's logo about the demise of Ceefax included the comment that most readers were born after Ceefax was introduced. This, combined with the 15th anniversary of Slashdot, would make a great poll. "How old are you?" with options in 10-year intervals."
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scsirob scsirob writes  |  more than 7 years ago

scsirob (246572) writes "Novell has maintained free developer support for many years on it's news server. Just yesterday, all novell.devsup.* newsgroups received the following message: "This forum is now closed to new traffic but will remain open in a read-only status for reference purposes. Novell has made the decision to phase out forums for API Developer support excep for GroupWise. Novell partners with a valid agreement will continue to be supported via your existing contract. Customers with developer related questions are welcome to post messages in the technical support forums which are not oficially monitored by Novell, but are used for user-to-user conversations regarding Novell products. You can find the link to the technical support forums at http://www.novell.com/forums" Is Novell not interested in helping out developers for their products anymore? Could this be related to the Microsoft agreement?"
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scsirob scsirob writes  |  more than 7 years ago

scsirob writes "When I first started playing with computers (25 years ago), they were relatively easy to understand. Intel 8080 chips, TRS-80 Model 1 and CP/M isn't exactly rocket science. I tought myself how to program in assembly and later in C. I now design little gadgets with embedded processors and program them, and I write diagnostics software on a range of O/Ses. My kids (8 and 10 years old) are starting to get interested too and want me to teach them how to do all this. But I find that their level of expectation is waaay to high. They want to design games without any basic knowlegde. So my question is, how do you 'bootstrap' kids into computer knowledge to a comfortable level without turning them off or disappointing them?"

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