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Comment Certs are useful, article annoying... (Score 1) 213

As a 20-year veteran SysAdmin/DevOps/BlueCollarITJanitor I find that certs are useful when they are used as a fundamental building block for building basic knowledge in a specific vendor's way of implementing their technical solution.

As an example, I cut my teeth on MCSE NT 4.0 (could have taken NT 3.51 certs at the time but stupidly skilled those to jump ahead) as a late teenager but the structured organization of the learning materials with the courses and books taught me Microsoft's ideologies and reasons for implementing and using their OS and their BackOffice (...BackOrifice at the time, kek) products and how that specific vendor wanted their stuff configured and working together. For example, the Network Essentials (aka. TCP/IP) test was useful in understanding how Microsoft implemented IPv4 in their OS and how the features of DNS, DHCP, WINS, Routing, etc. were done and could be used to build a good foundation for the network infrastructure correctly.

Now I find that after reading or skimming through some vendor's product instructions and finger-fucking the product's GUI/CLI/API to get it to do what I want it to do I'd like to find the time to sit down and read the actual vendor provided training materials to learn the product from the vendor's idealistic perspective, but alas I can't seem to find/make the self-motivation to go through the study and cert process since this day and age I just go and poke my fingers into some other product's innards to see all the gooey insides such as their APIs and database schema. One of these days I tell myself I'll go back and update my MCSE certs to whatever the new one is... any year now and get those Cisco, VMware, F5, whatever certs... For now it's finger-fucking my keyboard in PowerShell to get at the API of the next victim... err, solution.

Comment Never Had - MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.. (Score 3, Insightful) 394

Never had any of these "social" site profiles nor even any firm presence since the dial-up BBS days since none of them would make me any more sociable or charismatic since I'm a boring geeky nerd that only hangs out with other boring anti-social people. Instead I reach out of the people that I still keep in touch over direct communications methods or in-person and when I need to organize or attend a group even I send direct invitations or get them directly without broadcasting them publicly. Seems to work just fine and it's more direct and personal to keep in touch. Other people show up and disappear from my life if we don't communicate directly and that's normal part of life, the ones that keep reaching out to you or you to them mean something more and those relationships last longer.

Judging from what I hear and I've seen about social media it seems like a waste of valuable personal time on mundane and boring things that people end up posting and others end up reading. If something is important enough for you to hear someone will tell you about it the next time you actually communicate with them directly.

Old Codger Signing Off... +++...ATH...

Comment Got one of those cards (Score 1) 449

Chase Visa Freedom sent me one of those chipped credit cards a month after I thought about asking for it for upcoming trip to Europe on vacation.

The instructions that came with it said that there is no pin code for the card and that it still comes with the magmatic strip and can be used normally like that. So it appears that the presence of the chip is only for compatibility and compliance with a new standard not actual security since it falls back to the insecure magmatic strip or even less secure numbers or legacy's embossed raised numbers for carbon copy. The RFID contactless feature is now gone also.

In the popular car analogy meme for this site, using the chip is like pressing the car door open button on your wireless car key fob; but you could also use the physical key to open the door normally, or why bother when the car is unlocked in the first place since the embossed card number is easily stolen and can be used to charge online, still without even the name or CCV2 on some merchant plugins.

I feel that the chip might be used against the consumers and merchants since when it becomes compromised or copied the card company will shift the blame to them claiming that the physical cards must have been present since their infallible security chip is uncopiable.

Comment Dice = Contract Jobs (Score 4, Informative) 174

I've always been disappointed in Dice.com since it's so full of slimy recruiting firms and even slimier head-hungers offering low-paying contracts. It's so full of Indian firms that it resembles a tech call-center from India and I don't bother anymore to list my resume there since I'll be flooded with worthless contracts in cities that I have no interest in working with. These worthless recruiters don't bother reading your profile or requirements (Perm-Only, Local Area Only) and just spam e-mail and call you with keyword matching crap short-term and low-paying contracts from cities across the nation that you have no interest in working in or moving to. Half the time I can't understand their thick Indian accents either and I wouldn't bother working with them if they can't even communicate well enough with them.

Dice.com is the slums of Tech Recruiting.

Comment Boundaries for Information = Yes, Physical = No (Score 1) 129

Information and informational service boundaries are slowly softening and breaking down since the Internet has made access to information ubiquitous and due to that you're able to consume or create content and reach a multinational audience easily. Some goes for providing information services such as web commerce, development services, or systems administration across the Internet. You can do those types of jobs that don't require any physical access or presence in an Internet virtual environment.

Some places such as New York State are riding that Internet telecommuting band-wagon by taxing income from telecommuting done to a New York based business with a state and city tax as high as 12.7%. So those borders do come into play, and not even national ones, state and city ones too want a piece of the Internet action.

Otherwise try to move any physical resources or objects across national boundaries and you'll be smacked down by a slew of import and export regulations, tariffs, and taxes on national, regional, state, county, and city levels when moving physical objects around. Those aren't changing anytime soon for physical resources that are required to get those virtual resources and services working.

Comment Amazon Echo - Living room idea finally realized. (Score 3, Interesting) 112

So a year or two my friends and I were sitting in the living room and us geeks of course see something playing on my XBMC Media Center and we need to a reference to it from some movie we're watching. I go, why can't I just talk to my media center box to read me the synopsis of it from WikiPedia or Google or something so we know what the movie is talking about. My friends go we can do that with the Android phones and ask them but they are stupid so they will do the search for you but you have to read the long article.

Now there Amazon Echo device does exactly what we wanted to do is to have a Star Trek like experience of asking, "Computer, what is a Widget?" and we would get an answer. I just wish that Google made one or some other company so that we could have more generalized and generic access to many online sources of info instead of being locked into the Amazon Cloud of Fog.

Anyway, I requested a pre-order for it and we'll see if I qualify. I'd like to be able to just talk to my computer and get info back that it too cumbersome to search for.

Comment Re:Great Site But Hated the OCZ SSD Recommendation (Score 2) 152

Correction, HardOCP instead of HardOCZ, caught my own error since I was posting about OCZ Vertex product failures.

Also, I am guessing that Anand's "retirement" is more like "cashing-in" on the site. Good time to make money and run!

Commodity hardware reviews are dying out since they are getting less relevant to people. My machine is 5-years old and still going strong after 2-SDD upgrades and 3-video card upgrades. No need to replace the whole thing and upgrade anymore since my computer is running idle the vast majority of time.

SSDs were the last great upgrade for computers ever since the whole CPU and RAM and Video Card wars were decided and settled.

Next upgrade will most likely be when 4K displays become common place with the next Windows 9 OS that scales things correctly for them and video hardware that can support it well without performance issues. That'll be another 2-years or so and then I'll look at replacing my computer's insides since it looks like ATX cases and 750W power supplies are here to stay and quite enough.

Comment Great Site But Hated the OCZ SSD Recommendations (Score 3, Interesting) 152

Read the site since the beginning every time I needed an upgrade for components ever since Tom's Hardware sold out to its sponsors.

Anand and his writers were great and they changed the way that computer reviews were done online versus in magazine print in PC Magazine or Boot / Maximum PC.

His recommendation of OCZ products at every revision of the Vertex line of products deserves a black eye on his legacy though since the reports of failures of every Vertex line 1 through 4 were coming out consistently just a few months after release on sites like Newegg, HardOCZ, ExtremeSystems, Amazon, Overclokers, etc. Anand keep awarding Editors Choices to OCZ regardless of the volumes of failures.

He admonished Intel for their firmware bugs correctly but then white washed OCZ failures but back tracked and started mentioning their failures after it became common knowledge in the hardware circles.

Still he leaves a legacy for legitimate and notable online journalism that changed online reviews and reporting by legitimizing it and receiving sponsorship from manufacturers.

Comment Re:Anker Batteries - Get My Vote (Score 1) 131

FYI, that Amazon link is mine, I put it into the post that way and now I realize that it looks too professional, as if it's some kind of an Advertisement / Slashvertisement injection by Slashdot / Dice Holdings Inc. It's not, I write posts like this with links and price references in USD. Sorry, for any anger it might cause.

Comment Anker Batteries - Get My Vote (Score 2) 131

Same issue as the poster, dying batteries with pretty thick bulges from LiPo expansion on a 4-year old HTC phone. Same dillema searching for reputable products, found Anker batteries and bought 2 of them. Very happy with their performance. Tested them with a LiPo hobby charger using a charge-discharge-charge cycle and the mAh rating on them came within the advertised 95-97% value. Batteries still work great after over 1-year of usage.

Anker Universal Cell Phone Battery Charger - $9.99 USD @ Amazon

I love their universal battery charger with the sliding battery terminals that do polarity auto-detection. I can charge all kind of different batteries in it since many phones now don't have separate battery charger cradles.

Or it comes free if you buy 2 battery packs from Anker, or at least mine did a year ago since I can't find it bundled with anything anymore.

Comment Re:STALKER PC Game Series (Score 1) 20

Yes, the STALKER game series including the mods are worthy of multiple replays because it's like watching a great old movie that you once saw except that playing these games you get the same sense of emotional reminiscence but the experience changes every single time you play them, especially if you apply some of the better mods to them like the ones that you mentioned.

I sometimes like to fire up these old games and go wondering around the game areas again just for the nostalgic effects just to see and feel the old areas in the games. No other games that I have played have had such a long lasting effect on me than these games.

I also grew up in Eastern Europe behind the Iron Curtain so the architecture, environments, personalities, vegetation, and atmosphere all remind me of my childhood. Couple that with my current involvement in real-steel military weapons and Airsoft weapons along with participating in MilSim operations in urban and forested areas and these STALKER games reinforce those old memories even more because they are even more relevant with new experiences.

Great game series. High recommended from an old PC game player.

I'll see about scheduling a trip out there to Chernobyl since it's just next-door to my old home country on my next time in Europe.

Comment STALKER PC Game Series (Score 4, Interesting) 20

The STALKER PC game series is my favorite single-player first person shooter type series of all time. The spooky atmosphere created in the game is just fantastic when you play the game in a darkened room at night. I would highly recommend the games to everyone.

The book A Roadside Picnic is also pretty good giving you a nice emotional ride of what it's like be a Stalker and to go into the zone. The old black and white movie Stalker is somewhat good in giving you some background about the Zone but it's nothing to the atmosphere that you feel in the games when you play.

STALKER Game Website

Stalker Wiki

Also be sure to check out these mods:
STALKER - Shadow of Chernobyl
Oblivion Lost 2.2.1 for 1.0005 - Forum Thread
Supermod Pack v2.4 and Patches

STALKER - Clear Sky
The Faction War v3.7

Comment Excel Spreadsheet and Pivot Tables (Score 1) 386

A while back I living in NYC and doing IT full-time in NJ while also consulting with a home-office business. This required me to file US Federal, New York State, New Jersey State, and New York City taxes, including all the complex forms for self-employment, business income and expenses, depreciation and amortization of property, etc.

I created a complex Excel spreadsheet with a master tab that has 156 lines of calculations representing every line and field in all the forms that I had to file that were calculated dynamically from multiple pivot tables in tabs that were consolidated from other tabs that were the source of income, personal & business expenses, car, house, and tax tables.

I would update the master tab according to this year's tax code changes in the instruction manuals for the forms and update every line with the current year's additions or formula changes. Then I populated the tables with values from my W2, 1099's, and utilities, bills, receipts, expenses, and then entered this year's tax table information. The spreadsheet would automatically calculate my taxes and all the lines of all the forms.

At the end I filled-out the PDF versions of the forms and saved them. Then I used TaxSlayer.com to enter my values and use that web site to cross-check my numbers then file electronically.

One year I found that TaxSlayer.com's web site had an addition/subtraction error in their forms that calculated the hold-over value incorrectly and reported it to them to fix it and to the IRS since it caused a minor error on my taxes.

Another year NYS taxation department sent me a case complaint that I deducted an incorrect amount of NYC city taxes from my state taxes and I fought them and won the case by showing them a canceled check of paid NYC city taxes for my self-employed business and they reversed the case so I won against "The Tax Man".

No accountants needed, no tax software needed, you just need patience and arithmetic with some simple Excel formulas thrown in. Best part of the dynamic calculations is that when I want to forecast my taxes I can change some numbers on some of the tables and see the whole thing change after recalculating.

Still, US taxes needed to be simplified and be more evenly spread out and fair to everyone. eFile should not be necessary as the IRS should use your income info anyway from various sources and send you a letter stating that the correct taxes were withheld every year from your income automatically. Difficult taxes haven't helped anyone in rebelling against the IRS or simplifying the tax code we've seen, only have created a tax software filing lobby spending millions on keeping taxes difficult. After taxes, let's go after the legal and court system complexities.

Comment Machines Showed Up In Office Break Room (Score 1) 769

These Keurig machines showed up in all of our break rooms at work all of a sudden without an announcement and no coffee pods. A few employees went out and bought their own pods of coffee and some bought the little tea filters also.

Keurig must be doing a huge push-out across corporate offices to get these machines in so that they could make money on the retail side by having the employees buy the pods.

Now version 2.0 has chipped pods. Sounds like HP and Epson and inkjet printer cartridges. The same old we'll make money on the consumable business models like razor blades.

Glad that I don't drink coffee, it's an occasional tea for me and mostly just plain water.

Comment I like the Beta clean look! (Score 1) 2219

I like the cleaner beta look because it's cleaner and easier to read. I like the box structure to the stories and the comments.

I wish the story descriptions were not truncated on the main page and instead all the text was visible. I also wish that the comment font size was just slightly larger by default, but the story font size is large and that's fine.

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Nothing in progression can rest on its original plan. We may as well think of rocking a grown man in the cradle of an infant. -- Edmund Burke