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At 40, a person is ...

tbg58 Forty is at your prime (286 comments)

Already well north of 50 I may be prejudiced a bit, but I would say that at 40 a person is entering their prime decade. At 40 you are mature enough and experienced enough to have some wisdom, but you are still young enough to have your energy intact without having to work too hard at it. You are entering the peak years of power and influence, on average. Some peak earlier, some later, but most people are just entering the time when they have the most potential to affect their own lives and those around them, whether professionally or personally. Most of us have older kids by this time, and we are actively mentoring our teen children (and getting a lot of eye rolls and groans). But I say enjoy your forties - you're at the top of your form. It can continue into your fifties if you work at it, but that's up to you.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

tbg58 There are several areas where it can be possible (720 comments)

There are areas of IT where some companies would consider someone with your history. Not every position in IT will deal with corporate security or information that falls under privacy issues. Depot services where you would be refurbing systems returned for warranty replacement are one place where systems that you deal with would only have factory images. There are also IT-related areas like servicing peripherals (printers and copiers, for instance) where you might be able to get a foot in the door.

Another area you could find work in is small business IT, where relationships count more than blunt instrument corporate policies that legislate common sense out of existence. There are many small businesses that might consider allowing you to do IT support if you are up front about your history. Not all, mind you, but many.

If you are a programmer, and you have the chops for it, you can work a non-IT job to survive and choose an Open Source project to contribute to. Become a significant contributor to the project to demonstrate your programming ability, establish your personal brand and present yourself as a knowledge leader. Or if you're interested in security, for instance, become an expert in your field, present to Small Business Chambers and other business groups, write, and give away lots of free information. Give away some expertise to establish your reputation, and then you can market yourself as a consultant. The more you can specialize in a specific vertical market niche, the more profitable you can become. Once you have built up your business, then you may even be bold enough to publish your story: from convicted felon to sought-after consultant. It will take time, but it can be done, but it will take chops in marketing and brand management as well as programming, security, or whatever your technology skill may be.

about a month and a half ago

NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive

tbg58 Re:Interesting - quantum effects (201 comments)

Neither did Shawyer suggest the EM drive created virtual pairs, but the last sentence from the technical report says that since no known electromagnetic phenomenon can account for the observed thrust, the EM drive may be demonstrating "an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma". The quantum vacuum virtual plasma is the reference to vacuum fluctuation, or virtual particle/anti-particle pairs. If I understand the report correctly I believe he is suggesting that virtual particles may be providing reaction mass, but at this point the key word is "may". The test observes thrust but the mechanism is not yet fully understood.

If the proposed mechanism is what is causing the thrust, then once the momentum has been transferred to the thruster by accelerating them (electromagnetically it seems) then it doesn't matter if they annihilate afterward. Once the reaction mass has left the thruster, it no longer has any connection to it, so what happens to it does not affect the original momentum transfer (or thrust). In the same way, with a water rocket, it doesn't matter what happens to the water once it leaves the nozzle of the rocket. It can fall to the ground or flash into steam by going onto hot metal or coals. It doesn't matter to the rocket what happens to it, as the water (the reaction mass) has already left and has no further connection to the rocket.

about 6 months ago

NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive

tbg58 Interesting - quantum effects (201 comments)

The Wired article speaks of Shawyer's EMDrive, which has been around for some time, and at first appears to confuse the EMDrive with a different technology Dr. Harold "Sonny" White of NASA has been working on for some time.

The tech report clears things up a bit. The test results are showing anomalous thrust, however NASA is reticent to attribute the thrust to Shawyer's theory of how it operates, which would violate conservation of momentum (hence the "impossible" in the title.

What the technical report says is something far more interesting. Dr. White has been working with several different test articles which use electromagnetic forces to increase the rate of virtual particle pair production in the quantum vacuum, then using the virtual particles during their very short time of existence as reaction mass. In other words, it is a reaction drive, but instead of carrying reaction mass in the tank, the investigators are trying to use mass borrowed from quantum vacuum plasma to generate a small, but measurable, amount of thrust.

The final sentence of the technical report contains the salient material:

"Test results indicate that the RF resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma. Future test plans include independent verification and validation at other test facilities."


about 6 months ago

Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

tbg58 Re:Bu the wasn't fired (1116 comments)

He may have resigned, but even if it wasn't a firing de jure it was a firing de facto. There was no going-away celebration and a glowing farewell speech celebrating his considerable accomplishments and contributions to the company. There was a blog post that said Mozilla should have done better and acted sooner.

Those who support progressive causes at Mozilla and other companies would do well to remember the principle of "I disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it", lest they become the very thing they have been protesting against, even a very short time ago.

about 10 months ago

Microsoft's Security Products Will Block Adware By Default Starting On July 1

tbg58 Adware/Malware distinction? (177 comments)

My own definition of malware is "Any piece of software on your computer which is under the control of someone other than the computer owner." Under this definition adware would be considered malware.

Antivirus vendors of course refer to several classes of malware, including rootkits, trojans, viruses, worms (all of which classifications derive from the method the malware uses for propagation and activation). The actions of malware are various as well - botnets, rootkits, keyloggers, phishing redirectors, crypto-extortion, fake AV are a few. Adware including browser hijackers, unwanted toolbars and other unwanted BHOs seem to be the category at which the new Microsoft targeting is aimed. These sorts of programs are called PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) by the AV vendors, though under my definition they would be classed as malware.

Microsoft have made a further distinction in adware as "any program which brings up ads in ANOTHER PROGRAM." These are what would be blocked. and this is not unhelpful, however one should remember that Microsoft's malware protection has been decertified by most antivirus ratings consortia, so how good the MS product will be is anyone's guess.

about 10 months ago

Are Bankers Paid Too Much? Are Technology CEOs?

tbg58 What's the product? (712 comments)

At least Technology companies actually produce things that actually improve human thriving. What do bankers produce?

about a year ago

What Are the Genuinely Useful Ideas In Programming?

tbg58 Regular Expressions (598 comments)

Learn to manipulate text and you can do just about anything.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Learning DB the Right Way; Books, Tutorials, or What?

tbg58 Another starter resource (106 comments)

Before you develop any bad habits it would be excellent to get a good handle on how to organize data. _Database Design for Mere Mortals_ by Michael Hernandez is an excellent source for this and you will be able to breeze through it with your programming knowledge. You already know data types, but this book, which does not contain a single line of code, is a good primer on data organization and techniques for making relational databases function efficiently.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Dealing With an Advanced Wi-Fi Leech?

tbg58 No directional antenna needed...use free tools. (884 comments)

Step 1: Isolate. Use a spare PC, add a NIC and use Untangle Lite (free) http://untangle.com/ which has very good. Turn off DHCP in your router, use it as an access point only. Let Untangle hand out addresses. Get the perp's MAC address and reserve his IP addresses. Use Untangle's report feature to build up a dossier of all his activities over a few weeks. See what he's doing.

Step 2: While compiling the reports, use HeatMapper (free) http://www.ekahau.com/products/heatmapper/overview.html on a notebook or netbook to locate him. It won't be any problem to find his AP in the signal map.

Step 3: After you have the data, mail him a copy of the reports and the heatmap to let him know you know what he's doing, and invite him over for a cup of coffee or other beverage of your choice. Be sure to tell him you don't want to turn him in or blackmail him, but you would like to talk geek to geek. Tell him you're going to disable WPS and change the WPA key, but you'd like him to try to hack in again, and tell you if you've left any open vulnerabilities. You can end the leeching and might just gain a buddy worth having.

Caveat: Of course you want to send a copy of the report to someone else to hand over to Law Enforcement in case he turns out to be a terrorist or freakazoid with implements of destruction to use against you.

about 2 years ago

Microsoft Going Its Own Way On Audio/Video Specification

tbg58 Does it work on HD-DVD? (215 comments)

If not, how about Betamax?

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Current State of Linux Email Clients?

tbg58 Email clients? How quaint! (464 comments)

Since almost all mail lives in the cloud, why even bother with an email client? I'll grant that some people like to use command-line clients simply because they can - more power to them. But there's really no reason to eschew the GUI, and a browser is all the email client you need. Has been for years.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Server Room Toolbox?

tbg58 All of the tech tools plus these practical items (416 comments)

All of the usual tech tools plus:

  • Several cheap LED flashlight
  • Several cheap LED head lights
  • Spare batteries
  • Small shop vac with a blower.
  • Plumb bob with string.
  • Hacksaw
  • P-Touch labeler.
  • Label servers on the front and back, using a naming convention.
  • Also alternate front and back on racks so you have hot rows and cold rows. Perf tiles in cold rows, air handler intakes near hot rows.
  • Two power strips per rack, connected to different PDU boxes, so if you lose a whole PDU your dual-power supply servers stay up.

Hang up placards (the size of a sheet of paper) at the end of each column and row of tiles along two adjacent walls so you have the grids labeled. In your CMDB you should have the server location (Grid H15C would mean the front side of rack H15, third up from the bottom.) I mentioned a CMDB. You do have an ITIL-compliant (or at least ITIL-resembling) CMDB, don't you?

more than 2 years ago

Ask Mark Shuttleworth Anything

tbg58 The world is not enough. (319 comments)

Another South African entrepreneur, Elon Musk, is like yourself, a space enthusiast. Unlike yourself, Elon didn't buy a ticket to experience spaceflight himself. Instead he built a business model which will help lower the cost of spaceflight for everyone who wants to put a payload into orbit or, eventually, to explore other heavenly bodies like the Moon and Mars. Ubuntu has been a tremendous contribution to democratizing computing by putting a free OS in the hands of people everywhere on Earth. Do you see yourself participating in any effort to make humanity establish footholds on other planets, and if so, how?

about 2 years ago

Could Testing Block Psychopaths From Senior Management?

tbg58 The regulations WERE the problem (422 comments)

The Community Reinvestment Act and other regulations pressured lenders to make mortgage loans available even to high risk lenders. The taxpayers would guarantee the loans. Next, opportunistic bankers began to push loans on people who were no creditworthy, and people who wanted to profit off of real estate appreciation used "creative financing" (interest only loans, variable interest loans with balloon payments, etc.) to buy much larger homes than they could afford, betting on continuing rise in values. This over-leveraging at both ends of the market - the bottom end and the top end, fed the crisis.

Next, investment bankers bundled together bunches of these junk loans, slapped a triple A rating on them, divided them into tranches, and sold them to investors who wanted to make a killing on mortgage-backed securities.

The Financial Crisis was a perfect storm: misguided good intentions and unintended consequences got the ball rolling, then greedy mortgage bankers, home buyers, and investment bankers, pretty much greed and malfeasance at every level, not just restricted to a single economic stratum, all set the Financial Crisis in motion. It became the whirlwind we are all reaping today.

Even this grossly over-simplified summary is probably too long-winded for today's attention spans. Sorry, but this sort of stuff can't be expressed in 140 characters or less.

more than 2 years ago

Young Students Hiding Academic Talent To Avoid Bullying

tbg58 Egalitarianism is the problem (684 comments)

Egalitarianism is misguided and naive, and leads to this sort of bullying.

Fact: You can redistribute wealth, you can redistribute false self-esteem, but you can't redistribute smarts. The bell curve forever divides the intellectual haves and have nots. And those who haven't got brains are more likely to use their fists.

We need to rebuild a school system that rewards excellence, that challenges smart kids to be all they can be. The current system not only holds them back, but subjects them to bullying by their intellectual inferiors. But the current system is scared to death of even a hint of elitism. It's not elitism to reward achievement and develop gifted kids. It's just common sense. But this is utterly lost on the radical egalitarians.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Finding Work Over 60?

tbg58 Re:Cut your own trail (306 comments)

I agree. I started my own company after I was 50, only I deliberately left corporate employment to do it. There are lots of small businesses out there that need IT support and custom coding. Build your system admin chops. But you also need to be prepared to build your business (and yes, You have to build it. No matter what President Obama might have said, nobody else is going to make it happen.

Plan on working without pay at first. No, you don't have to provide free services to customers. But you have to let the money that comes in go back to the business to build it. You can't plant a seed, then yank the first green shoot that comes out of the ground and eat it. You have to nurture it and grow it. Your business has to build and grow so you need to invest your time and re-invest the money that comes in. When I started my company, I committed to two years without pay. I had plenty of savings from 15 years of corporate employment as a systems engineer and a spouse who had a job with benefits, so I could afford to do so.

Read _The E-Myth Revisited_ by Michael Gerber. This will help to prepare you for the business side of business - if you already have excellent tech skills, your business will succeed or fail based on how well you run the business side of things.

You must build a marketing plan. No matter how good your tech chops are, no matter how excellent your services or products may be, if you don't have customers you have no business. Identify some vertical markets you can target. Perhaps there is a single vertical product you can sell - Medical office practice management systems, or Sheep herding management systems. I don't know what you do, but if you can find an industry vertical, identify consortia and trade organizations in that vertical, find member businesses, speak at organizational events, become a thought leader for that vertical. If you're a generalist, fine, but if you can identify some vertical markets it will be helpful, and market, market, market your services.

As a programmer you should be able to understand this: A program is a machine (a code machine, but still a machine) that is designed to automate a task or set of tasks. Your company ultimately is a machine designed to automate the earning of money. Design your business with the goal of ultimately running without you. Learn to outgrow the employee mentality you had in the corporate world, and be a business owner. Build your business, create jobs, then once it's up and running, you can keep your hand in the business but it will not require you 24X7. Your employees will run the business.

It will be much tougher than showing up for work in the corporate world. Your only employee review is your balance sheet. If you can make half the money you made in the corporate world (after taxes and expenses) congratulations - you have a running business. If you get it running on all cylinders and get it to replace your corporate income and then some, then BIG congratulations: you are an entrepreneur and job creator. And you have created a business that will provide for you and your family. Design it with an exit strategy in mind: build it to a level of recurring revenue and sell out to a larger competitor when your valuation is enough to provide for your retirement, or build the business enough to create the cashflow you need (personal cashflow after the business is taken care of) and keep an office as a place you can go putter as you keep an eye on things.

It will be the toughest thing you've ever done, even if you're an ex-Marine. But it can be done. Those who can cut it never look back. If you fail, at least you tried.

more than 2 years ago

If I could print 1 replacement organ ...

tbg58 A pancreas for my son. (544 comments)

He has Type 1 diabetes.

more than 2 years ago



Widespread issues with Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook

tbg58 tbg58 writes  |  about a year and a half ago

tbg58 (942837) writes "Users of Google Apps for Business who use Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook (GASMO) are reporting widespread issues since Google deployed an updated version (3.3.x) of the sync utility designed to accommodate Microsoft Office Outlook 2013. Previous versions of GASMO did not support Outlook 2013. The most frequently reported issues are being caught in an access authorization loop, Outlook repeatedly going into offline mode. Although nothing about the issue has been published in the news, issues are widespread, as a visit to the GASMO Google Group (link included) shows."
Link to Original Source

Computer-Designed Enzymes may provide help for Celiac Disease

tbg58 tbg58 writes  |  about 2 years ago

tbg58 (942837) writes "An article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society describes how researchers used computers to modify the structure of a naturally-existing enzyme to target the immunogenic peptide implicated in celiac disease.

"The application of computational protein design tools has been demonstrated to introduce functional properties beyond those obtained by natural evolution, such as producing enzymes that perform functions not found in nature, altered specificity of proteins for their binding partners, and the de novo design of fold topologies"

Researchers report the use of computational protein design to engineer an endopeptidase with the desired traits for an oral enzyme therapy (OET) for celiac disease which not only targets the desired peptide, but is also resistant to digestive proteases and the acidic environment of the digestive system."

Link to Original Source

Sri Lankan Meteroite claimed to contain fossilized extraterrestrial diatoms

tbg58 tbg58 writes  |  about 2 years ago

tbg58 (942837) writes "An article in the January 10 issue of the Journal of Cosmology reports the discovery of diatom frustules in a carbonaceous meteorite which fell in Sri Lanka in December of last year. The article includes micrographs of structures in the meteorite which resemble fossilized diatoms. If verified, the significance of this find is historic."
Link to Original Source

Computer-designed enzymes may help alleviate celiac disease

tbg58 tbg58 writes  |  about 2 years ago

tbg58 (942837) writes "Computational protein design tools have allowed researchers to create enzymes that perform functions unknown in nature. Researchers have applied the technique to develop an enzyme specifically aimed at neutralizing the peptide alpha-gliadin contained in gluten, which triggers the autoimmune attack that causes celiac disease. The design of -Gliadin Endopeptidase began with the search for a naturally occurring endopeptidase with stability in an acidic-pH environment, the reproducing and modifying the naturally occurring enzyme to have the specific structure of the designer enzyme using recombinant-DNA modified strain of e. coli.

This development is only made possible by computational cataloguing and modeling of enzymes. The resulting enzyme, given the name KumaMax, shows eventual promise as an oral enzyme therapy for celiac disease taken prior to the ingestion of gluten-containing foods. It is attractive as a non-invasive oral therapeutic which can break down over 95% of the immunogenic peptide under physiologically relevant conditions."

Link to Original Source

Newsday's Paywall - 35 Subscribers in 90 Days

tbg58 tbg58 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

tbg58 (942837) writes "After three months of deciding its readers should pay for content, the paywalled website of Newsday has garnered a total of 35 subscribers at the rate of $5 per week. The current owners, who bought Newsday for some $650 million have a total of $9,100 annual revenue (at $5 per week per subscriber) to report for the first quarter of paywalling.

This should be of interest to other media companies and conglomerates like the New York Times and Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp. The slightly-less-than-spectacular financial performance of the paywall as a web monetization strategy appears to vindicate the adherents of newer business models in the age of digital media."

Link to Original Source

Google Announces Vast Online Storage for Cheap

tbg58 tbg58 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

tbg58 (942837) writes "Google Software Engineer Elvin Lee reports that Google is offering vast amounts of online storage — 16TB of online storage are available for only $4096 per year from the Googleplex. This is good news. The bad news is the only interfaces to the storage appear to be Gmail, Picasa, and Blogger. So I am wondering whether to expect a stampede of really, really heavy email users, extraordinarily enthusiastic photographers and fantastically prolific bloggers ponying up for 16TB of online storage for less than $5k per year.
Now if Google made the legendary GDrive available as an interface to this storage — THAT would be real news."

Link to Original Source

SpaceX Falcon 1 Launch 3 "Anomaly"

tbg58 tbg58 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

tbg58 (942837) writes "SpaceX launched Falcon 1 vehicle 3 from Omelek Island, their third attempt to put the first privately-developed space vehicle into orbit. At approximately 2 minutes into the flight the video feed stopped, and SpaceX representatives reported "there has been an anomaly in the vehicle." Check with the SpaceX web site for further information."
Link to Original Source


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