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Comment: Re:Get a (New) Job (Score 1) 254

by Jason Levine (#47949661) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

I have the opposite situation. I've been in the same job for 13 years now. In that time, I've taught myself and gotten training for many new technologies. Some of these got integrated with my workload and some didn't. Of course, we have a big library of applications that have been developed over the years (by myself and other developers) that are running on old code. It would be great to rewrite them from scratch using new technologies, but this would take more time than I have available so we maintain them and work new technologies into the mix in other ways - finding the right balance between the old "it still works fine" and the new "isn't this cool."

Comment: Re:Not necessary complacent... (Score 5, Insightful) 254

by Jason Levine (#47949621) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Avoid Becoming a Complacent Software Developer?

I grew up watching my father leave for work at 5am, come home at 6pm with a stack of work, do work at nights, and do more work on the weekends. His excuse was that his bosses saw him producing a certain level of output and he needed to keep it up. He's retired now. Do you know what all that extra work got him? Laid off when someone else with better connections wanted his job.

When I first started my job, I made it clear that I wasn't going to do this. I'm willing to remote in if there's a problem that can't wait until morning, but that's the exception, not the rule. I get into work at 8am, leave at 4:30pm, and stop thinking about work the minute I leave the doors. Granted, I love what I do - web development - so I'll often freelance or work on my own stuff on the side, but that's my choice. I'll also put that stuff on the side to teach my boys how to ride their bikes or to watch Doctor Who with them.

I enjoy my job, but part of what keeps me enjoying it is that I don't let it take over my life.

Comment: Re:half nonsense (Score 1) 167

by Jason Levine (#47947029) Attached to: The Minecraft Parent

Is this just a problem in the PC version or can people do this in the tablet versions also? For example, if I loaded Minecraft - Pocket Edition on my son's Android tablet, could other people enter his "world" and interfere with things he made? Could they initiate chats with him (abusive or otherwise)? Can you choose to wall other people out and operate in your own "Minecraft World" and/or only allow approved people in? (For that last one, perhaps I could load up Minecraft and walk through something my son built, but Random Internet Stranger wouldn't be able to do the same.)

Comment: Re:Beats second life... (Score 1) 167

by Jason Levine (#47946989) Attached to: The Minecraft Parent

Ability to exercise lots of things, like planning.

This might be really good for my son. He's 11 and has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. One of the things he struggles with is executive function. Whereas you or I might see a task and immediately start breaking it down into subtasks, prerequisites, etc and organizing them, he struggles with this. This might help him out by giving him a task "Build a Fort in Minecraft" and making him think through the steps (e.g "build the foundation first, then the walls, etc.").

Comment: Re:I look forward to Minecraft with my son (Score 2) 167

by Jason Levine (#47946929) Attached to: The Minecraft Parent

We've been considering getting our oldest son (11) into Minecraft. He currently loves playing Disney Infinity because he can build worlds and then use his favorite characters to navigate through those worlds. Of course, at $14 per character figure, this can get expensive fast. I can get Minecraft - Pocket Edition for $7 from Amazon's app store, load it on his tablet, and set him to building.

Comment: Re:confused (Score 1) 340

And regardless as to who got rid of DRM first, why would they go back when their competition (Google, Amazon) sells their music in DRM-free MP3 format? You can buy a song from Amazon's MP3 store and play it on any Apple device. Unless Apple plans on turning off MP3 support on their devices in favor of this new DRM format. (In which case, expect to see a mass uprising of Apple users whose legally purchased songs suddenly don't work on their iDevices.)

Comment: Re:I, Robot from a programmers perspective (Score 1) 165

by Jason Levine (#47920179) Attached to: Developing the First Law of Robotics

Part of it was that and part of it was user error. In Asimov's stories, users would give robots orders, but how you phrased the order could affect the robot's performance. A poorly phrased order would result in a "malfunctioning" robot (really, a robot that was doing its best to obey the order given).

Comment: Approved Lists? (Score 5, Insightful) 239

by Jason Levine (#47916439) Attached to: AT&T Proposes Net Neutrality Compromise

So would AT&T's proposal let you "fast lane" any site? Or just a select group of major sites that AT&T has "approved"?

AT&T's idea would still allow for commercial deals between companies. But they would have to be arranged as the result of one or more subscriber requests; the ISPs couldn't offer fee-based prioritization just because they wanted to.

Oh, I see. So it's not really "I want X to be fast-laned" and then it is. It's "I want X to be fast-laned", therefore AT&T might possible approach X and demand fast lane payments. This way AT&T can pass the blame for the fast lane charges to the customers (who will also pay for those charges via increased fees for those sites) and can still pocket the money. Also, they are guaranteed that Netflix and the other Internet video companies would top the lists. Just the sites that they themselves would have targeted for extortion... I mean, fast lane payments.

Comment: Re:Spoilers (Score 1) 131

by Jason Levine (#47916391) Attached to: The FCC Net Neutrality Comment Deadline Has Arrived: What Now?

Except that 99.9999% of businesses can't make a decision. They can say they support Network Neutrality, but they aren't in a position to do anything other than make statements (and, perhaps, talk to politicians about it). ISPs are in a position to either preserve Network Neutrality or trash it in favor of "pay us or your traffic slows down." Government can mandate that this kind of situation isn't acceptable. Therefore, the only acceptable options for consumers (and 99.9999% of businesses) are for ISPs to preserve Network Neutrality on their own or have the government preserve it for them. I'd prefer option #1, but given how the ISPs are drooling over money they'd make using "fast lanes", I fear option #2 will be needed.

Comment: Re:Spoilers (Score 1) 131

by Jason Levine (#47914745) Attached to: The FCC Net Neutrality Comment Deadline Has Arrived: What Now?

You can call it fraud and I'd agree with you. The problem is that most of the ISPs are monopolies or, at best, duopolies. If you want to a wired broadband connection to the Internet, you NEED to go through them. They are also big, powerful companies with plenty of lawyers to tie up fraud cases in court and lots of lobbyists to make sure the rules are written to favor themselves.

The end game of all of this isn't so much to cripple the Internet as it is to profit off of it. They see companies making a lot of money off "the Internet" and they feel that they are owed some of that money because those companies are making money off of their (the ISPs') customers. Of course, a pizza place doesn't owe money to Verizon because some of Verizon's customers use their Verizon phones to call the pizza place and order a pie. Still, the big ISPs see others making this money and want a chunk,

Moreover, they feel threatened. Internet video isn't killing off the ISPs' own video offerings, but the potential is there. They aren't stupid and so want to kill off Internet video before it becomes a threat.

When you combine a series of giant organizations with greed and seeing their existing profit centers threatened, you get a dangerous (for consumers) combination.

Comment: Re:Welp. (Score 1) 267

by Jason Levine (#47912529) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

I took the "movies" reference to be "home movies." For example, a movie of your son walking for the first time. If my house burned down and I lost all of my possessions (we're assuming all family members got out just fine), what I would mourn the loss of most would be all of the photos and videos of my kids that were on our external hard drive.

I had a camera stolen from me at the end of a trip. Insurance got me a new digital camera (much nicer than the stolen one, even). However, the 100+ photos that were on the camera when it was stolen were lost forever. If given the chance, I would have happily handed the thief our camera if he had let me remove the memory card from it. (Now, when I travel, I backup photos as I go and will swap out the cards during flights just in case.)

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.