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Comment Keep It Simple (Score 3, Insightful) 191 191

For children age 6 and up, and also for adults, the most important thing is to Keep It Simple.

Writing down passwords is actually a good thing for adults, as long as the passwords are written down in a secure place. A note in your wallet qualifies, as you know how to keep your wallet secure (right?). This is even more secure than a password safe on your smartphone: inputting a strong password is a pain (and easily observed), and witht it your sm artphone becomes a prime target for theft (if it isn't already).

For children of 6 years old and older (I'm assuming a US centric view here, triggered by the word 'elementary'), the situation is not that much different. The only problem is that children at this age usually do not have a wallet.

This is then the only problem to solve: creating a secure place to write down passwords.

Comment Re:Ask your boss (Score 2) 201 201

[W]hen you ask your boss if online engineering coursework is good for getting a new job, they would tell you "you're fired".

Maybe in Corporate America, where you have to slave 60 hours a week just to keep your job, and where you're expected to feel guilty for wanting to have a social life. In Europe (at least developing software in the Netherlands), this is simply not true. The reason: employers realise that a high turnover costs a huge amount of money and worse, delays projects. The latter costs time to market, which can be even more expensive and in extreme cases can kill the company.

To be fair, some employers do cover furthering education, but again, usually it cannot come at a cost to your already full workload.

This is true. It is also the reason why your education, even if paid by your employer, is done in your personal time (usually partially for mandated courses). This way both you and your employer invest, which is only fair.

Comment Predictability (Score 5, Insightful) 446 446

Being a software engineer instead of a hacker is all about predictability:

  • Predictable planning: have it done when you say it will be.
  • Software quality: use Test Driven Design to ensure your code behaves as it should.
  • Predictable deployments: practice and simplify deploying your code for systems.
  • Document the structure of your code, so the next guy knows what he's looking at.

There's more to each of these items, of course, but it's all about making it simple (KISS) and predictable. This sets a software engineer apart from a mere hacker.

Comment Re:Data portability (Score 1) 292 292

If not, then why would you want it to be open source?

If I was going to be spending a reasonable amount of time inputting data that I want to access for an extended period of time I would want it to be an open source program. That way you can always get the data out of the program again (possibly with some effort) and you are not stuck with regular upgrade fees for the latest version with the bug fix need to make it work with the latest OS version.

Of these two items, the data portability is (luckily) moot: the more knowledgeable users (about genealogy, not software) of this kind of software are actually familiar with its problems, even in the paper world.

The second item, paying for upgrades, still exists though. And sometimes even more than average.

Comment GEDCOM (Score 4, Informative) 292 292

For basic usage, any program that supports GEDCOM (the de facto file format all good genealogy software support) will do, and your choice should be on your personal preference. So try them out first, of find your local genealogy association and ask around. Personally, I have good experience with Gramps (you already found that one) and ProGen (a dutch commercial program). The latter not being open source, it'll probably not be interesting to you.

For more advanced usage, you should know that some programs assigns a different meaning to some standard fields, and most programs have their own way of filling in custom fields. If you find yourself using such features, please consider who you'd be sharing your GEDCOM files with, and use the same. Note though, that it'll likely not be open source.

Comment Re:Legitimate problem with grey market (Score 1) 775 775

The solution is to require that any imports not authorized by the manufacturer must be clearly advertised as not supported by the manufacturer, with all service provided by the importer.

Which is the law here in the Netherlands.

Say I buy an object from a seller. Then anything that's wrong with the object (and under warranty, whether by choice or by law) is a matter between me and the seller. The manufacturer has nothing to do with it directly. If they're going to be involved (which is likely), that's a matter between the seller and the manufacturer -- I have nothing to do with that.

Comment Disposable workforce? (Score 1) 484 484

"Younger workers' lives are all integrated, not segregated," says Larry Rivard. "They have learned to work anywhere — at a kitchen table or wherever."

Maybe I'm an ergonomics nut (I always insist on a proper chair and desk, plus a good monitor height), but do these younger workers expect to make it until their retirement?
Working just anywhere is very destructive to your body, unless you pay sufficient attention to ergonomics.

Comment Re:do x but not too much! (Score 1) 394 394

Personally, I believe we'd be better off it professional programming transformed from an art into an engineering discipline. IMHO, building robust and efficient applications should be a boring and repetitive exercise in design and implementation of prescribed design patterns... maybe then we'd turn our industry's abysmal success rates around.

A good point. Sadly, I've yet to come across an easy to understand development process that doesn't pin down way too much. We're doing Agile for a reason.

Comment Re:do x but not too much! (Score 1) 394 394

Programming mistake No. 1: Playing it fast and loose.

Fair enough. So debug while you code. Seems like good advice.

Programming mistake No. 2: Overcommitting to details.

Doesn't mistake number 2 contradict number 1?

Yes it does. The difficult part is knowing the balance, as indicated by the summary: "programming may in fact be transforming into an art, one that requires a skilled hand and a creative mind [...]"

Comment Re:Not suprising (Score 1) 382 382

Exactly. They're testing only part of the features. The IE9 team 'just happened' to have implemented these features before other features, and the other major browsers 'just happened' to have prioritized other features before these.

This is an unfair, rigged test result by any standard.

Comment It could have ended up very different (Score 4, Insightful) 106 106

Unlike many presenters at Black Hat, Michael responsibly disclosed the flaw to organizers, who quickly fixed the issue.

Bugs cost money to fix. In this case, fixing the bug could also cause more paying customers (the freeloaders also willing to pay, no matter how small their number). So it was in their best interest to fix the bug.

But let's be realistic here: Micheal Coates was lucky.

There are many instances (some of them documented extensively here), where reporting the bug causes the reporter financial and legal harm. Especially with security related bugs, companies see no potential gain in fixing the bug and cleaning up -- only costs, which piss off their investors. That is, unless the story gets out and people get angry. But by starting a fight with the honest, reponsible reporter, people are much more likely to think: 'must be a disgruntled customer/ex-employee/...'. Result: not enough bad publicity to raise a stink.

Comment Re:Basically (Score 1) 180 180

"Show me a car that can win the Indy 500 and is the most fuel efficient of all cars."

To be good at something does not mean you'll be rated among the best. And that is what is takes to even have a chance at winning the Indy 500. Or to be the most fuel efficient of all cars -- by definition of the word "most" an extreme case.

BUT: by practicing you can actually be good at both multi-tasking and focusing. Obviously you'll not be the best at either, because there's always someone with more talent and time spent on either multi-tasking or focussing (at the exclusion of the other).

Comment Re:Stop stressing (Score 1) 521 521

"This is no different, really, than living in a small town."

This is the heart of the matter.

Anything you do with others isn't private. These others may agree not to "gossip" (thus enlarging your privacy), but that is entirely up to them. So just as in any small town, or in any group of friends, anything is as private as the biggest gossip will let it be. That is why you watch your step when near that notorious gossip.

Also note, that anything done in public is, ... public. That includes your dealings with companies, your steps on the internet, and anything else that transmits data about you outside your house. Yes, even that noisy sex or spousal argument that the neighbors heard (ok, bad examples...).

As the parent said: This is no different, really, than living in a small town.

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