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Comment: Rockstar, meh (Score 3, Informative) 145

by Alioth (#49120611) Attached to: Attention, Rockstar Developers: Get a Talent Agent

I feel that any developer who calls themselves a "rockstar developer" is probably suffering a severe case of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

All the really competent developers I've ever known have had anything but "rockstar" like qualities. They generally don't boast, they are generally frugal, they are generally the exact opposite of a rockstar.

Comment: Re:That's because (Score 1) 201

by Alioth (#49086365) Attached to: After 30 Years of the Free Software Foundation, Where Do We Stand?

And this is why such services actually exist. For example, in the nearest town (pop. ~30,000) there are two shops that will do repairs on things like iPhones/Android phones (the usual stuff - repairing broken screens, replacing dead batteries, removing the SIM lock from any locked phones, replacing home buttons that have stopped working and the usual other wear-and-tear failures that smartphones suffer over time).

Comment: Re:someone explain for the ignorant (Score 1) 449

by Alioth (#49086045) Attached to: Credit Card Fraud Could Peak In 2015 As the US Moves To EMV

I lived in the US for a few years. We all knew it was the richest country in the world (and much richer than the country I'm from) but I was astonished by how common obvious poverty was. I thought our inner cities were bad, but I'd never seen things like trailer parks and some of the small towns in the south that look like they belong in the third world.

Comment: Re:someone explain for the ignorant (Score 1) 449

by Alioth (#49085969) Attached to: Credit Card Fraud Could Peak In 2015 As the US Moves To EMV

We've had chip&pin here now for over a decade, and people still forget their cards.

However: in nearly every system you can put your card in while the cashier is still ringing up your goods, you don't have to wait for the total to come out. When the total does come out the wait for the transaction to complete after entering the pin is normally well under a second on any remotely modern system.

Comment: Re:Another silly decision (Score 2) 480

by Alioth (#49036685) Attached to: The Mathematical Case For Buying a Powerball Ticket

You look at the probability of that happening. Renting just means you're certain to lose.

Probability that I have no equity after 25 years of renting a property: 100%
Probability that some great disaster means I have no equity after owning a property for 25 years: less than 1%

I'll take the second odds.

Of course you should think of the "what ifs" before making financial decisions, but concentrating all on just the risks and not at all on the upside is every bit as silly as thinking of only the upsides and ignoring altogether the risks. A depression is a terrible time to not own property too by the way - you're pretty much just as shafted if your work sector has collapsed whether you rent or own.

Comment: Re:If it ain't broken ... (Score 2) 716

by Alioth (#49029491) Attached to: Is Modern Linux Becoming Too Complex?

It is generally easier, more error resistant and more portable. Java makes my day job of writing boring back end business software much more rapid and productive.

I do C and asm too. One of my current projects is for embedded ARM (in C). I've also done a significant amount of 8 bit asm (very recently) and also asm for an OpenRISC SoC. Those I'd never dream of letting Java or even C++ get near.

Right tool for the job. Sometimes, that's C or even in some niches, asm. But the vast amount of software people are writing isn't system level - some business application with a GUI is much better done in java or C# etc.

Comment: Re:deeper problems than complexity (Score 2) 716

by Alioth (#49029427) Attached to: Is Modern Linux Becoming Too Complex?

Don't know what distro you using, but "just works" test has passed for me both at home and work with Debian.

Not so much with Windows. I have a Windows partition because a couple of games I like don't have Linux equivalents - it took some fscking around to make them run because a default Windows install doesn't actually have all the required DirectX DLLs, and software installers for Windows do not have any dependency resolution built in, so it requires running around finding the DLL on microsoft.com. Not to mention the time it took to actually install Windows *and* have it actually do something useful due to the lack of drivers on the WIn 8.1 install DVD. Didn't even have a driver for my incredibly common onboard ethernet (so required fscking around with removable media to be able to even start the process of finding all the other drivers I needed).

Comment: Re:It's digital! (Score 2) 418

Aluminium house wiring is awful, they used it a lot in former Soviet satellite states and it breaks all the time. The Soviets probably used it because it was cheap.

Our local telco also used aluminium interconnects in the exchange - if they found you using your own SDSL equipment on a "dry copper" leased line they would replace the interconnects at the exchange with aluminium ones which made the line go out of spec and your SDSL to stop working to force you to buy their high speed leased line product at 10x the cost.

Comment: Re:Delusional or a scam. (Score 2) 175

by Alioth (#49018669) Attached to: Hobbyists Selling Tesla Coil Kits To Fund Drone Flight Over North Korea

That wouldn't make it across the Pacific, simply because when the sun goes down your motor stops turning. You'd need solar panels enough to not only power it during the day, but with enough excess to charge batteries for the night, which makes the drone much heavier, which means bigger structures made with fancier materials and more energy use.

Comment: Re:Can't eat what you don't grow (Score 1) 690

by Alioth (#49016381) Attached to: Free-As-In-Beer Electricity In Greece?

The Greek government got you into this state in the first place, with the full, willing complicity of Wall Street who helped hide Greece's massive debts (which should have disqualified it from joining the euro). Unfortunately the EU in its headlong and breathless rush to get the euro under way didn't do their proper due diligence. Greece is now paying for these mistakes.

Comment: Re:Relics (Score 1) 294

by Alioth (#48999183) Attached to: Radioshack Declares Bankruptcy

I disagree with your message 100%. Happily you're mistaken on the demise of the ability to design and experiment with electronics.

In fact we are living in a golden age of electronics tinkering.

Through hole components are still made in humungous quantities. Even the classic Z80 CPU is *still manufactured* and readily available, as are all the chips you need to do something with it. It's easier than ever and cheaper than ever to buy a grab bag of components, ICs and a bread board and experiment. Only recently, just for fun, I made a Z80 based computer on breadboard. The chips were all brand new and sold through mainstream channels (Premier Farnell) and arrived the day after I placed the order. 74-series logic is still made in vast quantities, as are the classic analogue chips like comparators, op-amps, and of course the versatile mainstay of the hobbyist's parts box, the 555.

If you want to do something bigger, there are free and open source schematic capture/PCB layout programs available for Linux, Windows and Mac. There are companies catering towards hobbyists who need a PCB made. You can get four layer PCBs of your own design made for under US $100. Four layers! You have things like the Arduino. You have things like the Raspberry Pi with its GPIO interface. You have cheap FPGA development boards and Xilinx's FPGA design software can be downloaded for free (and will run on Linux) and needs no extra hardware other than an FPGA dev board and a USB programmer (which can be had for $20 off ebay). You can make your own PCBs at home easier than ever with laser printer toner transfer. (I've made my own 2 sided PCBs at home using a laser printer, clothes iron, and some ferric chloride - and I've made a successful working PCB with a 0.4mm pitch SMD IC on it, soldered with a normal soldering iron).

Information is easier to get than ever. There are hundreds of great SMD soldering tutorials on YouTube. Master it - it's easier than you think - and you can make circuits at home that weren't even in my wildest dreams 15 years ago. There are hundreds of good resources for learning how to design circuits. Test kit that used to be the reserve of only the wealthy or labs are now cheap - you can pick up a really good Tektronics oscilloscope of ebay suitable for the hobbyist for a great price.

It has never been better to be an electronics hobbyist. There's TONS of stuff of substance. End of the ability to design and experiment with electronic hardware? I wager this is the most wrong statement you've made in your life! :-)

If at first you don't succeed, you must be a programmer.

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