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Comment: Re:Most geeks seem to think (Score 1) 252

by CrankyFool (#48731189) Attached to: US CTO Tries To Wean the White House Off Floppy Disks

I finally got to the (current, temporary) end of the the comment page on this article, and I find this particular comment somewhat ironic, given that it seems like about 80% of the comments about floppies have been pro-floppy, anti-change-for-change-sake, "maybe there's a very good reason to use floppies in this case."

It may be that most geeks seem to think that tech should be bought every six months, but certainly most Slashdot commenters seem to think otherwise (and, in general, are prone to being luddites, in my experience -- manifested as profound distrust in new technology and a dismissal of any new tech that's not ready to be useful today, right now, in its current state).

Comment: Re:What? (Score 2) 440

by CrankyFool (#48609733) Attached to: Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

Not to start an argument, but are you sure about the 2nd amendment?

I'm a documented permanent legal alien here (Green Card); I own numerous guns. While as a non-citizen I have to show one extra piece of ID when purchasing a firearm, even in California (known for restrictive gun laws) I have the ability to purchase every firearm that a citizen can. I've never seen any indication of permanent residents being treated differently in terms of the ability to own firearms compared to citizens, and it feels like if the 2nd amendment (which refers to "people," not "citizens") could be construed to not include residents, someone would have already passed a law taking that particular capability out of my hands.

Comment: Re:Raining on the parade (Score 5, Insightful) 172

by CrankyFool (#48509331) Attached to: Study: HIV Becoming Less Deadly, Less Infectious

Over the long term, you're going to die anyway.

If HIV becomes the sort of virus that basically will take decades and decades to kill you (with lots of medicine, it pretty much is already that, except that in a lot of countries you don't get "lots of medicine"), then its relevance to your lifespan decreases.

There's a form of prostate cancer that develops so slowly that if you're old enough when you get it, it's considered quite reasonable to not even treat it, but rather monitor it to make sure it continues to develop slowly.

Comment: Re:Is it true... (Score 1) 355

by CrankyFool (#48506881) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

About a year after I came to the US, at the age of 14, I underwent an IQ test and was asked how many pounds are in a ton.

(This was a bit of a problem for me as having grown up in a metric country I could have easily told you how many kilograms were in a ton, of course, but pounds? I ended up torn between the long ton definition (2240 lbs) and the short ton definition (2000 lbs)

Comment: It's more nuanced than that (Score 1) 139

by CrankyFool (#48502231) Attached to: Want To Work For a Cool Tech Company? Hone Your Social Skills

1. government or the holding of power by people selected on the basis of their ability.
2. a ruling or influential class of educated or skilled people.

"skills" or "ability" don't just mean "technical skills," or "technical ability."

Personally, I find that in many tiny companies you actually see the opposite of "social skills" -- they become so deeply, desperately, dependent on the particular technical genius of one or two people that those people can basically do everything and anything they want to do, because the company doesn't think it could survive without them. I've worked in small startups where one of the three principal engineers was allowed to sexually harass an ex-girlfriend; in the same place, another principal engineer was such an asshole people basically routed around him. And the third one? He was a a perfectly pleasant guy I loved working with.

Getting things done, in most environments, includes working with other people. I'm a big fan of the "no brilliant jerks" rule. See "The No Asshole Rule" book for more discussion of this.

Comment: I Don't Know How Universal It Is ... (Score 3, Interesting) 376

by CrankyFool (#48491117) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

But it can happen.

I'm 43, and managing a group of software engineers at a streaming company; my peers range from early 30s to early 50s, but there are other managers and directors here who are (at least somewhat) older than that.

More importantly, though, there are engineers here who are older than me, and who you could argue are as senior as I am, or more senior (in either the "more people listen to them" sense or the "they get paid more than I do" sense). This company also has a strong belief that you shouldn't go into management because you want a promotion or more money, so people who enjoy being engineers are encouraged to continue being engineers. There's no salary cap on being an engineer, and for pretty much as long as I've been a manager here, I've had engineers reporting to me who made more money (sometimes, significantly more money) than I do.

Having demonstrated pretty decent Individual Contributor (IC) skills, my last two bosses have always said that if I ever got tired of management and wanted to do the IC thing again for a while, they'd be delighted to find a slot for me.

But that's us. And we aren't representative of the business, I suspect. We're not QUITE the outlier -- high tech company, Silicon Valley, ~16 years in operation -- but we're definitely not your 20-person SOMA startup running on Red Bull and testosterone.

I'll tell you one life lesson my parents taught me, though, that has served me well: Figure out what you love doing, and do that. You'll occasionally be buffeted off-course. That's OK -- get back on-course.

I've been married for about 7 years now; early in our relationship, when I was an IC in another company, making a lot less money, my wife argued I should be thinking about maximizing my family's income and financial stability and go into management just because of that; she persuaded me, and I went into management at that company, and was profoundly unhappy. Finally, luckily, got laid off in 2009. We both learned our lesson, and these days my wife's only rule is "pick a job that will make you happy; if we need more money I'll go out and make it." Works well.

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.