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Comment: Re:I wonder how much damage... (Score 1) 243

by Maxo-Texas (#46781681) Attached to: Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

I think this is less true than it used to be. I bounced off of OO 1.04, 2, 3, but finally at 3.05 (3.04?) I found OO to be a godsend when the latest Office started hanging while printing my documents with no error message.

Once i loaded them into Openoffice, I saw the problem was likely overlapping graphics boxes (OO has the grey lines showing the actual location while Office hides them). It took me about 2 hours per 100 pages to convert the documents and I've never gone back.

There *IS* a problem with OO after 3.2. They broken transparent layer printing and the bug has remained open FOR... EVER. I can work around by changing it to a PDF and then printing but it's simpler to keep those documents in OO 3.2 (and a copy of 3.2 to edit them). It may have been fixed in v4.. haven't checked for six months.

For excel, the only feature I was lacking ( of about 6-9 months ago) was the automatic color coding of ranges of numbers.

But I have a couple extremely complicated macros-- one simulates the damage allocation rules for Star Fleet Battles with *appropriate* sound effects. Each sheet handles one starship. You just enter the damage and it loops and applies it until it's all done with phaser shots, photon shots, explosions of various sizes and simple color coding of the cells.

I also have another for my retirement that calculates 30 (now 28) years of spending, inflation, social security, etc. It handles partial years correctly.

Switching from MS Office 2007 to OO / Libre Office was MUCH easier than switching to MS Office 2010. 2010 was a huge paradigm shift and it took me literally months to rediscover some of the features (they took away HOT KEYS that had been standard for years and moved / buried the commands in weird places- sometimes more than one layer deep.

I still own office 2010 but I haven't used it in 18 months. However, I was able to buy it for $10 bucks as part of the corporate home ownership plan so it seemed like a no brainer.

Oh... and not to mention that when office documents became corrupted and could not be recovered by Office 2007 and 2010, I was able to FIX them by loading them into OO and resaving them. Sure- I might lose a feature or three- but at least I didn't completely lose the document. I think this was something about confused sections. But it wasn't a crash- they opened and saved normally and then they didn't next time. Talk about frequent backups! But backups didn't help with the printing problem.

Comment: Re:I wonder how much damage... (Score 1) 243

by Maxo-Texas (#46781573) Attached to: Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

How does the economy benefit from taking your money and giving it to someone else for a service when you could get the same thing for free.

If they are going to take your money, they could spend it to repair failing bridges or at least on some service that isn't free.

Of course they could not take your mon ha he ho hoe howhhooo. oh.. I cracked myself up there for a second.

Comment: Re:ask yourself *why* and do the right thing (Score 1) 275

by Maxo-Texas (#46777547) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

Oh and the worst case scenario was that the cab meeting was a fixed length and the number of changes took to long so all changes not approved were pushed back to the next cab meeting unless you got a senior director to hold a special meeting for the projects. In one really bad time- a lot of critical projects slid over 90 days due to this.

But they were very serious about it. The CEO or president's ass was on the line if a change went in which wasn't approved or recorded. So it was a firing offense. You *did* follow procedures.

And those procedures changed... constantly. From cab meeting to cab meeting the procedures changed. The only notice was a series of emails. They did not maintain a central change procedure process document.

So the point here is that the people on your CAB may be very powerful and not follow the rules themselves and may change the rules with little notice to suit their own needs.

Comment: Re:ask yourself *why* and do the right thing (Score 1) 275

by Maxo-Texas (#46777491) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

This lowered productivity at my last place from 2 days to 47 days for a similar change level for changes from 1 to 400 lines and from 3 months to 6 to 9 months to never for larger changes. Once the cost was recognized, it also resulted in a lot of small changes not being done because their benefit no longer justified the cost.

However, it lowered our critical errors which effected production from about 6 unscheduled downtimes per year to about 6 unscheduled downtimes per year so it was worth it.

All kidding aside- a few time a year, it prevented different departments from really stepping on each other's toes hard. As in, "But we have a major upgrade that's going to take 20 hours to install this weekend and you are going to have the system down for O/S patches the entire weekend!?!?!" and "But we have a major upgrade that requires Jane from your team. She's in Europe for the next two weeks!?!?!?!"

But other than those... seriously.. reduced unscheduled downtime from 6 a year to 6 a year. I.e. no benefit. All the successful testing in the world IS NOT PRODUCTION. Most companies can't afford to maintain a test system identical to production. It's always a subset in some way.

Comment: Lindberg (Score 1) 100

by Maxo-Texas (#46765421) Attached to: Your <em>StarCraft II</em> Potential Peaked At Age 24

Lindberg flew 50 combat missions at age 42 in the pacific-- in both the corsair and the lightning.

The preferred age for pilots then was also very young (19-22) due to reaction speed.

But he not only held his own, but his experience allowed him to change the entire war by recognizing how to improve the mileage of the planes by 300 miles. He also shot down a japanese pilot who had managed to run several younger pilots completely out of ammunition because they were able to fire quickly but lacked the judgement when NOT to fire.

Speed matters. But experience and good judgement also matter and they take time to accumulate.

Comment: Re:We don''t do tax returns in the UK,you insensit (Score 1) 383

by Maxo-Texas (#46759561) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

I don't buy lottery tickets* but I view them as an opportunity to dream of what it would like to be wealthy.

* I have three times in my life as party favors for others and about 20 times as part of an office lottery pool which was really about not being the odd duck refusing to be part of the group. The "winnings" from all of these amounted to under 10% of the cost of the tickets.

Comment: Re:Had to do paper for a few years (Score 1) 383

by Maxo-Texas (#46759499) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?


I would efile but they wanted 10 bucks. For sending a frickin email attachment???

So I spent 49 cents and mailed it.

I think I would have paid 5 bucks and definitely would have paid 3 bucks if they supported paypal.

I did my taxes manually until two years ago. Too many stock transactions now. Which is a bit of a problem because taxact won't import the txf format output by my broker so I have to run an awk script to reformat the txf file into taxact format.

Comment: Re:It is a Hobby (Score 1) 214

by Maxo-Texas (#46752555) Attached to: FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

True for individual churches and smaller independent churches.

Not so true for the larger denominations which can have budgets running in the hundreds of millions to billions.

For example, the mormon's recently purchased and will operate several tens of thousands of farmland as a tax advantaged church business. And they have a really plush HQ. It's similar for the catholics and other large orders.

Comment: Re:Fill your head with crap (Score 1) 163

by Maxo-Texas (#46751601) Attached to: The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

Seriously? I think a million is conservative. The number of people who will read the header article is more likely to be closer to 4 million.

From the wiki:

In 2012, Slashdot had around 3.7 million unique visitors per month and received over 5300 comments per day.[2] The site has won more than 20 awards, including People's Voice Awards in 2000 for Best Community Site and Best News Site. Occasionally, a story will link to a server causing a large surge of traffic, which can overwhelm some smaller or independent sites. This phenomenon is known as the "Slashdot effect".

(to the other commenter-- this didn't feel like an advertisement to me. But- you could be right. Even if you are wrong- as I said- doing this regularly would result in it being corrupted by business interests- so even if this ISN'T an advertisement- if we do this enough, they would start to be dominated by advertisements).

Comment: Re:Modded down? (Score 1) 286

by Maxo-Texas (#46751563) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

It's leveling out faster than that. India and China have been experiencing 20% inflation for high skill jobs and 100% inflation for low skill jobs (still making under $5000 a year but... at 100% a year...).

The quality of workers available thru offshoring has been dropping since 2005 BUT-- offshoring companies have a unique advantage in that they can turn on and off large numbers of workers at a given client rapidly. I.e. you have a project that needs 20 developers, 3 analysts, 1 architect-- and on two months notice- you've got it at an agreed upon rate. Turns out you only need 15 developers or you need 25 developers-- and you've got it.

Meanwhile- the private company has interviewed 17 candidates- offered to 5, and gotten 2 to accept. And 1 of those may not work out. And the private company has a shitty reputation for being a sweat shop PLUS no training PLUS layoffs while the offshoring company values programmer candidates (because they are revenue sources unlike at the private company where they were a cost).

But.. don't trust that the offshore people *really* have the skill sets-- probably 15 of the 20 they send you will have no skill set to a 2 month training course and they'll be training them on your dime. And the offshore people tend to say YES to everything-- which management loves-- but which results in expensive failures. I.e. Can you do the impossible and delivery it in 90 days, "YES! We'll do our best!"

Five million dollars later.. a piece of crap is delivered in 90 days. It finally works (maybe) well enough to use after 180 days and isn't really fully functional for a year... or more.

A fundamental problem is the technology in IT is still changing TOO DAMN FAST. When I started- you could learn a skillset (Cobol, JCL, RPG, Vax Assembly) and use it for 10 to 15 years. Now- outside of maybe SQL- there is a new technology every... single... year... If you miss the boat- you quickly become unhireable.

But you can't really master it and you are always working tons of hours on your own time mastering the new languages and tools compared to the management and sales team who is doing maybe 12 hours of fluffly training combined with drinks in vegas and who are making more money and who don't have to work nights, weekends, and holidays (especially holidays since the systems can be quiesced then).

And then- even if you manage to keep up- massive age discrimination at age 50 (some as early as 45. my god- i pity the poor kids) without legal recourse. Infosys for example requires your high school graduation date on the job application. Not that you graduated. I.E. The EXACT date when you were 18. It should be illegal.. but it's not.

I'm glad I was able to make it, retire, and now I only program for fun again like I did back when I was young. But I did that by living on half of what I made (which was a lot thankfully).

The last year has been one of the best of my life. I'm playing ultimate frisbee again, time to frolic with the girlfriend and time to spend with the grandkids. Life is Good.

Oh.. and way too much minecraft.

Comment: Re:Fill your head with crap (Score 1) 163

by Maxo-Texas (#46749105) Attached to: The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

He's actually providing an editorial service for millions of other people. Conservatively, he freed up a million people to spend 5 minutes thinking about important issues.

That's just under 10 years of total time they can think about important issues.

And that's ignoring the time/money savings resulting from those who select the app.

He's justified a significant portion of his existence with just the one post.

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.