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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

wcrowe "Detective" work (533 comments)

For the most part I have no regrets over my career choice. I liked it 30 years ago, and I still like it now. I sometimes imagine what it would have been like to be an archaeologist, or a writer (other career choices that appealed to me), but that's just daydreaming. What school did not prepare me for was all the "detective" work involved. A lot of my career has been studying data flows, and re-engineering old processes with no documentation. When I was in school, the emphasis was on writing new applications, not bolting stuff onto old ones.

2 days ago
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Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board

wcrowe Exhibit 153B (141 comments)

Exhibit 153B. Sociopaths in natural habitat.

3 days ago
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What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

wcrowe Re:Asperger syndrome (228 comments)

Well, I don't think it's time to pass out the pistols yet. There may still be plenty of work available to those with Asperger's. I can sympathize with your situation, but the problem is that you're using the BA as a sort of "seeing eye dog" for your condition, and a lot of companies are finding that they don't want to pay six-digit salaries for "seeing eye dogs".

about two weeks ago
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What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

wcrowe Learn business (228 comments)

I've been in IT for over 30 years and I've seen a lot of changes. My first program was coded onto punch cards and read into the system that way. Nowadays I'm doing some traditional programming and SQL, but also working with some new tools like SAP's Data Services and Dell's Boomi. These newer platforms are very visual in how you hook up your components, yet still offer the flexibility to write special modules in languages like Java or ABAP. This, I think, is the future of programming, where a lot of the repetitive drudgery is taken out of the coding. This will mean changes in how application developers work.

When I first started out, there was less spcialization. The coder was expected to understand the business and to meet with the users to discuss design, and solve problems. In time, so-called "Business Analyst" and "Project Manager" positions were created because not all coders were good at working with users, and many of them have only a vague understanding of how business functions. However, companies are learning that all this specialization overhead is expensive (and perhaps even redundant). Specialized "code-monkeys" will be less in demand. So will "business analysts" who cannot design solutions. The future will belong to those coders who can be good analysts, who understand business, who can deal with users, and still understand how to configure modules and link them together in order to produce applications.

about two weeks ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

wcrowe Re:Yawn (442 comments)

I don't think it's fair to think of the characters as being mentally handicapped. I've known people like the Sheldon character, including my own nephew, and I even wonder if I hadn't been born in the 60's if even I might have been diagnosed as autistic as a child. At any rate, none of the people I've known who are autistic are any where near as full of themselves as Sheldon Cooper. He is continually reminding everyone around him how much smarter he is and how great he is at everything. His ego is boundless, and in most situations he shows no regard for anyone but himself. That's not mentally handicapped, that's just being an ass.

about two weeks ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

wcrowe Yawn (442 comments)

I don't get the controversy. I like the show. It makes me laugh. I don't care what the actors get paid. It's none of my business. I think the comparisons to "black face" are in error. Poking fun at people because of their behavior is not the same as poking fun at people because of their skin color. It's just a sitcom. They come and go. It hasn't jumped the shark yet (not for me, anyway). When it does I'll probably stop watching. And if CBS should cancel it tomorrow, I won't care. My life does not revolve around characters on a tv show, nor does it revolve around the actors and writers. They're getting $1million per show... yawn.

about two weeks ago
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Animal Behaviour Specialists Map Out the Social Networks of Cows

wcrowe Re:As an old farmboy, all I can say is... (66 comments)

I agree. Almost any farmer or rancher can attest to this behavior. My uncle was a farmer who raised cattle, and I spent a great deal of time at the farm with my cousin who was the same age. My uncle would typically have about 60-70 head at any given time and he pretty well know each one as an individual. Their behavior, such as who they "hung out" with, and so on, would give him clues to how they were faring; such as if an individual was sick, pregnant, or in some kind of distress.

Nevertheless, I understand the need for scientists to want to get real numbers on this sort of thing for the sake of understanding behavior better. It's just that articles read like this is new and surprising information.

about three weeks ago
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Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation'

wcrowe Re:One small way I try to help. (342 comments)

I don't get why more people don't do this.

The answer to that question is simple: gardening can be a chore. The benefits have to outweigh the effort, and I think for a lot of people the effort is too much. I used to keep a garden, but I found that I did not get that much enjoyment out of tending one. It was great to have the fresh tomatoes, eggplant and chiles, but not THAT great. Even though it wasn't for me, I think you will see more people starting to do this as the effort/benefits ratio begins to tilt. If I ever do it again, I think I'll try just putting out a few plants in pots, rather than lots of plants in beds.

about a month ago
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Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation'

wcrowe One small way I try to help. (342 comments)

Personally, I take a very darwinian approach to my lawn. That is, so long as it grows, and can put up with the lawn mower, it can stay. I don't water. I don't spread chemicals. The result is that I have all kinds of fauna in my yard, some of which I am not sure are even native to this solar system.

about a month ago
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How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

wcrowe Re:FUD filled.... (212 comments)

You make a good point. However, just playing devil's advocate here, your generators will only run so long as you can keep them supplied with diesel fuel. If the transportation and distribution system that the pipelines and trucks rely on to get the fuel from point a to point b is disrupted, you may have trouble keeping those generators running.

Most disaster preparedness is built on the assumption that help will arrive from the outside. But when EVERYWHERE is affected, help may not be available.

Nevertheless, the article is indeed a bit FUDdy.

about a month ago
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For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs

wcrowe Even higher for other degree fields. (174 comments)

That has always been true. The share is even higher for other degrees. Probably 70 percent with degrees in Liberal Arts lead to other jobs -- waiting on tables, for instance.

about a month ago
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Scientists Have Developed a Material So Dark That You Can't See It

wcrowe Meep! Meep! (238 comments)

Finally! Portable holes, like in the old Warners Brothers cartoons!

about a month ago
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Google's Experimental Newsroom Avoids Negative Headlines

wcrowe Filter bubble (109 comments)

The filter bubble is bringing 1984 to realization in ways that no one ever imagined.

about a month and a half ago
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Today In Year-based Computer Errors: Draft Notices Sent To Men Born In the 1800s

wcrowe Re:What might have happened. (205 comments)

I'm not sure if you're trying to be funny or if you're serious. But if you're serious, obviously the paper records from the 19th century were transcribed to digital form at some point.

about a month and a half ago
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Today In Year-based Computer Errors: Draft Notices Sent To Men Born In the 1800s

wcrowe Re:What might have happened. (205 comments)

Why do I think that? Because I've been programming for over thirty years and I've seen it done. No one today would probably design a table like that, but this is a government system, and some of those government databases are pretty old.

about a month and a half ago
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Today In Year-based Computer Errors: Draft Notices Sent To Men Born In the 1800s

wcrowe What might have happened. (205 comments)

One scenario: some systems have tables that use a separate field for storing the century. Whoever wrote the query, sql statement, or whatever, left out the century, and there you have it. Probably not a Y2K problem, but more like a dumbass programmer problem.

about a month and a half ago
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The World's Best Living Programmers

wcrowe Bill Brasky! (285 comments)

Everyone knows the best programmer alive is Bill Brasky!.

about a month and a half ago
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Employees Staying Away From Internal Corporate Social Networks

wcrowe Utility is the least of the problems. (131 comments)

Why would I want everyone in the entire corporation to know everything about me? It's just like when my company invited everyone to "like" them on FB a few years ago. Yeah, right, so they can keep tabs on everything I do outside of work. Outside of payroll, or my boss, all anyone needs to know about me at work is my name, my title, and perhaps a photograph.

about 1 month ago
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30% of Americans Aren't Ready For the Next Generation of Technology

wcrowe You can lead a horse to water... (191 comments)

I am skeptical of claims that people suffer from "digital readiness". I guarantee you they are perfectly capable of using the internet when it comes to porn. It's not like it requires years of schooling. Once someone has access to the internet there is no excuse for not becoming "digitally literate", other than a lack of motivation.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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What Tech Journalists Were Writing About in 1876

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 2 years ago

wcrowe writes ""On this day in 1876, the U.S. Patent Office awarded Alexander Graham Bell a patent for his "improvement in telegraphy," or, as we now know it, the telephone (above). This anniversary seems like as good a day as any — well, perhaps even a bit better than the other 365 days this year (leap year!) — to dip into the media frenzy that surrounded its arrival, a 19th century tech event evocative of today's Apple circus. Just kidding. It was nothing like that at all — the telephone, and the reaction to it, rolled out over the course of years, not minutes.""
Link to Original Source
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USGS Updates Magnitude of Japan Earthquake to 9.0

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 3 years ago

wcrowe writes "The USGS has updated the magnitude of the March 11, 2011, Tohoku earthquake in northern Honshu, Japan, to 9.0 from the previous estimate of 8.9. Independently, Japanese seismologists have also updated their estimate of the earthquake’s magnitude to 9.0. This magnitude places the earthquake as the fourth largest in the world since 1900 and the largest in Japan since modern instrumental recordings began 130 years ago."
Link to Original Source
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Stanford Solar Breakthrough

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 3 years ago

wcrowe (94389) writes "Quantum dot solar cells are cheaper to produce than traditional silicon cells, but they haven't caught on due to their relative inefficiency. For Stacey Bent, a chemical engineering professor at Stanford, this represented something of a challenge. She knew that solar cells made of a single material have a maximum efficiency of about 31 percent, a limitation of the fixed energy level they can absorb, and that quantum dot solar cells didn't share this limitation. "Quantum dots can be tuned to absorb a certain wavelength of light just by changing their size," the Stanford report on her research says. "And they can be used to build more complex solar cells that have more than one size of quantum dot, allowing them to absorb multiple wavelengths of light.""
Link to Original Source
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Dell to power OKC campus with 100% wind energy

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 5 years ago

wcrowe (94389) writes "Dell announced plans today to power its 240,000 square-foot Oklahoma City campus with 100 percent wind energy. The move is expected to significantly reduce the facility's CO2 emissions. Dell is among the first large businesses in the area to be powered entirely with renewable energy."
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Iran in possession of new weapon: Photoshop

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

wcrowe (94389) writes "Iran now has the ability to wipe out Israel — with Photoshop. The Guardian reports:

'A photograph of four missiles being fired by Iran ratcheted up the tensions between the Islamic state and the US and Israel. But now it appears that Tehran may have enhanced the pictures.'

Here's a link to the story."

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"Uncontacted" Amazon Tribe story a hoax

wcrowe wcrowe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

wcrowe (94389) writes "The story about an "uncontacted" Amazon Tribe discuss last month appears to be a hoax. The Guardian reports, "They are the amazing pictures that were beamed around the globe: a handful of warriors from an 'undiscovered tribe' in the rainforest on the Brazilian-Peruvian border brandishing bows and arrows at the aircraft that photographed them. Or so the story was told and sold. But it has now emerged that, far from being unknown, the tribe's existence has been noted since 1910 and the mission to photograph them was undertaken in order to prove that 'uncontacted' tribes still existed in an area endangered by the menace of the logging industry.""

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