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Comment: DEFcon (Score 1) 131

by Fallon (#47608411) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Technology Conferences To Attend?

I leave for DEFcon 22 tomorrow...

Yes it's a hacker convention & not an IT convention, but it's the best conference I've ever been to. I get exponentially more out of DEFcon ($220) than I got out of RSA (over $2,000). If money was no object I'd still recommend DEFcon. It makes you think about technology in ways you never have before. It trains you to think about bending technology to your will however you can (the classic definition of hacking), not just security related exploits.

My management usually sees the value in it. They usually tell their management it's just a computer security conference as it has negative connotations to a lot of people though. The DEFcon network is the most hostile one in the world, so you may want to stay off of it (I don't), but really things aren't that bad.

Comment: Band together & offer money (Score 2) 324

A ways back when I was still living with my parents, a neighbor moved in & was getting really excited about trying to get cable (TV) into the neighborhood. A main line passed by our street with a dozen houses on it. Not sure what all he did, but ended up getting the cable company to agree to put it in. The deal was he had to get a certain number of houses (half maybe) to cough up a couple hundred bucks & agree to some relatively normal 1 or 2 year commitment. He did & we ended up getting cable a little while later. A few years after I moved out the cable company ended up getting bought out & offering Internet access (don't remember if it was in that order, it was a good number of years ago). Basically you have to make it worth their while. Find out what their current rates are & see if you can get a significant number of your neighbors to promise to commit to a 1 or 2 year plan if the company will put in the new cable plant. That might get their attention. The cost of cable/wire is pretty cheap to the cost of labor & right of way issues. You might want to try & get fibre rather than coax put in.

Comment: Re:Think About It This Way (Score 1) 656

by Fallon (#43876455) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Important Is Advanced Math In a CS Degree?
GPA may matter for your first job out of college, but that's about it. 10+ years into my IT career I barely even hear "Do you have a degree?" (Finally finished it a few months back) much less "What is you degree in?". A degree is more or less a check-box at this point, they could care less if it was in Underwater Basket-weaving, just that they can tick the "Has bachelors degree" check-box.

Comment: Re:depends on what you're going into (Score 1, Informative) 656

by Fallon (#43876071) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Important Is Advanced Math In a CS Degree?
I had this discussion with some developers at my previous job, and their consensus was they didn't really use all that much advanced math compared to what is required on most college degrees. These developers were writing satellite simulation software & dealing with orbital mechanics... I tend to think that colleges require advanced math to make things hard & because it's advanced, not for practical reasons for 90% of their students. Yet another reason college tuition is skyrocketing & a degree is loosing value compared to more specific certs.

Comment: Re:No thanks (Score 2) 384

by Fallon (#42809943) Attached to: Experience the New Slashdot Mobile Site
I get to Slashdot via my RSS feed, which goes directly to the article. The pop-up then boots me back to the root website rather than staying on the article I was trying to view if I tell it to use mobile. On Android, if you scroll down at all, you can no longer click on the mobile or classic buttons too, extremely annoying. You have to scroll up to the top of the page to be able to click on the buttons & make it go away, despite the pop-up scrolling down the page to cover stuff up.

Comment: I met mine on Everquest (Score 2) 550

by Fallon (#42639953) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do I Get My Spouse To Start Gaming With Me?
I met my wife playing Everquest... We got married a couple years later & are about to celebrate our 10th anniversary this summer. Some people just don't find some things entertaining (think cliche geeks & sports), so sometimes you have to just luck into it at the start. A word of warning though... When getting her to play CounterStrike at a LAN party, be careful. No matter how much you & the other guys are trash talking each other, the same rules don't apply to her. For example when she brings a knife to a gun fight & shanks you with it, responding with "You f*&#ing b*%@h!!!" is bad. She will never play CounterStrike again & you will still be hearing about it many years later.

Comment: Re:US Metric System (Score 1) 1387

How is Fahrenheit related to the human body temp? Because the normal human body temp is close to 100? That's a stretch. Water is the most abundant resource we have on earth, at least in terms of surface coverage. Most drivers deal with freezing water all the time, it's very relevant to know when the road is wet vs. icy.

Comment: Re:When (Score 1) 292

The problem is science & engineering types tend to go for science & engineering jobs. Politicians & those with good social skills or massive egos tend to run for office. The whole political process is biased towards the wrong type of qualifications. You can't fault the voters for picking an idiot when their only options are dumb & dumber.

Comment: Re:CompTIA Certifications (Score 1) 186

by Fallon (#41350253) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Prove IT Knowledge Without Expensive Certificates?
As somebody who has helped define the objectives for & write questions for some CompTIA exams, you are in the right ballpark, but not quite right. CompTIA targets most of their exams as entry level exams, for somebody who has been doing workstation (A+), basic server (Server+), Linux (Linux+), etc. for about a year. They are not meant to prove you are an expert on the subject, just prove you probably know the basics. My personal opinion is a cert will never get you a job, but they might get you the interview. They are good for getting past HR or automated filters who might not know UNIX from Perl, but can tick off requirements based on certs. Also, all things considered, somebody with a cert has a slightly higher chance of knowing their stuff. Of course you have to be able to prove it in the interview when confronted by knowledgeable people.

Comment: Re:Use Satellites (Score 5, Informative) 59

by Fallon (#39702503) Attached to: Iraq Emerges From Isolation As Telecommunications Hub
Because satellites suck. High latency, low bandwidth & high price. Maintenance costs along with laws of physics for a geosynchronous orbit and limited RF spectrum won't ever change those constraints. Their 1 advantage is the mobility within their footprint. Satellite TV still is very viable because the latency is a non-issue & the broadcast nature makes very efficient use of the RF spectrum.

Comment: Re:Simple Solution (Score 2) 243

by Fallon (#39294099) Attached to: FBI Warns Congress of Terrorist Hacking
The U.S. government calls that SIPRnet, it's where all the classified data lives, other even more secure networks are required to process Top Secret data. As far as being unhackable just because it's not connected to the internet? Just ask Pvt. Bradley Manning how impenetrable that made it (SIPR was where he got the data from), or the Iranians how robust that strategy was at protecting their Natanz nuclear facility (Stuxnet).

Non-internet connectivness is a massive hurdle to overcome & keeps out most attackers, except for the inside threat & the massively determined APT, but it is not the end all be all answer.

Comment: Re:3D printers suck (Score 2) 129

by Fallon (#38871233) Attached to: Assembling Your Own 3D Printer
http://www.mini-lathe.com/

All the info you need to get you started. All those 7x10, 7x12, 7x16, etc. lathes come out of the Sieg factory in China then resold as Harbor Freight, Grizzle, Jet, and many other brand names. Slightly different motors & trim levels, but the same basic machine. Great starter machines that are pretty capable. Not as robust as industrial machines, but very capable none the less.

Sieg also makes some mills and lathe mill combo units. Good little starter equipment with a robust community around them.

Personally I'm restoring a Atlas/Craftsman 6x18 lathe that is older than I am... Half the fun is getting the machine restored as actually using it. You can get some pretty nice old lathes & mills for under $1k that work great after a little TLC.

Comment: Re:It needs what??? (Score 1) 328

by Fallon (#38652186) Attached to: Almost 1 In 3 US Warplanes Is a Drone
First? I support the MILSTAR satellites, & they were designed decades ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milstar The military stuff may be cool, but it's more often than not very old rather than cutting edge, especially with satellites.

And most if not all of the Predators in Afghanistan are controlled from stateside air force bases, Las Vegas, Arizona & a few others I think.

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