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Comment: Don't own a car. Never have. Been riding bike sinc (Score 1) 260

by Qbertino (#49153135) Attached to: I ride a bike ...

I live in Germany and bike + public transport is my main means of transport. I've been riding bike since the age of 9 and have my bike optimized for everyday use. It's as expensive as it can be without getting stolen, has flat-proof tires (very important for hassle-free biking), a 100 Euro folding look, hydraulic brakes, mudgards and a special ..."luggage carrier" (wording?? ... GepÃcktrÃger in German) from the US with an expansible pouch that clips on. Use that and my Freitag backpack for grocery shopping.

Correlated: I'm one of rare in my peergroup that isn't overweight. And I regularly get judged around 35 although I'm 10 years older.

Comment: No problem, I have a solution to that. (Score 1) 144

by Qbertino (#49148423) Attached to: Invented-Here Syndrome

I'd say part of the cause of "invented-here syndrome" can be "not-good-enough syndrome." I'm often comparing my programming skills to people I see online - people whose skills far outpace my own. So when it comes time to access my programming skills, I'll understate how good I am because I'm simply not as good as those "coding superstars."

I have a solution to that exact problem. Just download any of the most popular web CMSes built in PHP. Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, or, if you think you're a tough one, Typo3 or Typo3 Neos. Install it (good luck with Neos, you'll need it) and load up the ERD with MySQL Workbench and stand amazed at the sight of the shittiest class of software architecture ever concieved by lifeforms able to type on a keyboard.

Seriously, if anything showed me that I must be in the upper single digit percentile of software devs, it's looking at systems that have an install base of 0.5 million or more. In the case of Typo3 Neos and TypoScript it might cause your head to explode. You have been warned.

Some of these systems are 10 years in making and emphasise that there are many people around that have no business programming what-so-ever. Right now I'm trying to do something useful with Wordpress taxonomies and categories - it's beyond insane what these people have built, I guarantee you. I actually just now had to take a coffee break of 1.5 hours just to let my frustration ease off. ... I spent that time designing a CMS architecture, if only not to forget how it's actually done right.

Looking at those systems will restore your self-confidence, that's guaranteed. Although it will also seriously make you doubt humanity in general. It's a tough tradeoff, I admit. But a change in perspective.

Comment: Wrong approach. Estimates aren't a problem. (Score 1) 332

by Qbertino (#49146317) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

Getting rid of estimates is the wrong approach - of course. What companies need is a clear product, pipeline and system strategy. Have that, and estimates are trivial.

If I know I have a set of servers and they all run system X and toolkit Y and management process Z and I'm hired to handle XYZ and we/I have optimised my skills and toolset for said chain because we've chose it as our strategy, I can give estimates that are precise to a margin of half an hour per week of project time on the drop of a hat.

However, give me deciders and/or co-workers who don't have a clue and make decisions way out of their league that I have to follow on, shitty testing and deployment, 10$/hour students making core system decisions, local servers I have to salvate from a junkpile and decisions on what system we're going to use in the next project based on what software the custmers drinking buddy had heard of and was rambling about after 7 beers half a year ago on their last pub tour and my estimates will be just as shitty as your decisions.

Leave me out of the loop until the very last moment and then barge into the door with some system I've only looked into for 15 minutes in the last 10 years and my estimates will be based on how true the vendors describe their product in the flyer. And we all know how true that is.

Comment: I'll believe it when I see it. (Score 1) 162

by Qbertino (#49145815) Attached to: Microsoft's Goals For Their New Web Rendering Engine

We have seen some suprises leaning towards the positive side from MS lately, no doubt. I'll admit that. However, MS has screwed up so much, so often, for so long that I'm weary of taking their word for it when it comes to enabling a more hassle free web.

If MS offers a relyably usable web frontend I at least will stop recommending *against* MS with my customers. In my opinion it would be smart for them to focus on openess and professional services with native software as a fallback for the heavy lifting. Their Azure thing seems to play in that direction. I'm wondering if MS can pull it all together with their new management. We'll see.

Until then, they can talk all they want. It will take some time before I see MS as a relyable player in my field again.

Comment: I've got less work to do. But I'm more important. (Score 1) 251

by Qbertino (#49136501) Attached to: 5 White Collar Jobs Robots Already Have Taken

What I'm observing right now is that I, as a computer expert, have less work to do because most of the programming for what I did the last 15 years is done already and available for free. Example from a related field: Good fonts would cost a few hundred bucks 10 years ago. Now they are available for free with MS, Google and Co. constantly shelling out new ones. We all know what usefull server setups or IDEs used to cost and how easyly they are available for free, in abundance.

Curiously enough, I do get the impression that, although there is less work to do at times, I'm actually more important as an expert, because people don't know where to look when that one little thing needs fixing.

I expect that to be even more so in the future for jobs that will remain in our field. Guess you call that true expert jobs.

Comment: He actually could be right. No joke. (Score 4, Interesting) 318

by Qbertino (#49127347) Attached to: Use Astrology To Save Britain's Health System, Says MP


I did consult a homeopath in the 90ies and early 2000nds, mostly because my mother was all super-pushy about it and I wanted her to quit pestering me. He would question me on the phone for 40 to 60 minutes. His anamnesis was the best I ever had. I don't recall if I even opened the package that came a week or so later containing the "LM Potence" of some obscure Homeopathic substance, i.e. a water and alcohol mixture in a small important looking flask. But I do remember being way calmer and way more educated on my condition. I thought I had heart problems and he pin-pointed reflux after the extensive questionaire and talk on the phone.
I've never spoken to an doctor for that long and I'd be suprised if any doctor had time or could afford such a thing. I would like to have such a medical expert to talk to that does not push obscure 'treatment' on me, that would be optimal.

I treated my reflux with healing-earth, baking soda, meditation/relaxation excercise and a change in diet and told my MD who wanted to sell me a "heart and lung condition" diagnosed in the record time of 2.5 minutes to fuck off. Never had problems since.

The point is: Good Homeopaths are actually quite well medically educated and can be terrific "anameticists" (wording?), because their main job actually is to talk to the patient, find out what's bugging him and - ideally - do a solid diagnose. That they only prescribe sugar-pills is a minor nuiscance from that perspective.

If astrology would lead to a new occupation in which the main purpose is talking to the patient and find out what exactly the condition is, it could be a good thing. Wether the professional in question would be a homeopath, an astrologer, magician or whatnot wouldn't really matter. Only treatment then, of course, would need to be decided upon by a different party.

Modern medicine need a profession specifically for anamnesis. Until that happens, homeopaths and perhaps even astrologers will fill that gap. Poorly at time perhaps, but they'll fill it.

Comment: Said this 14 years ago. We need to replace E-Mail. (Score 4, Insightful) 299

by Qbertino (#49125903) Attached to: Moxie Marlinspike: GPG Has Run Its Course

I was saying all this 14 years ago.
FOSS Encryption is a mess. It is basically impossible for a regular user to set up encrypted mail.
I'm an expert, and I never even managed too. (The K-Mail crew basically lying about their GPG-features didn't help back then)

Furthermore, the actual, underlying problem is E-Mail.

That this piece of crap protocol/service could survive for so long totally amazes me. I remember using Fidonet and Crosspoint, back in the 90ies (which actually is a superiour solution to E-Mail) and then learning about E-Mail and thinking "Why is everybody using this and thinking it's great?".

The fact that E-Mail is so shitty is the sole reason Facebook has north of a billion users - for the simple reason that Facebook actually is a *better* user experience than E-Mail. Think about that for a moment.

Bottom line:
E-Mail needs a complete redo/replacement with hard asymetric encryption and zero-fuss key handling and exchange built in as a core specification. Top-notch FOSS clients for all major platforms included. That this whole field is in such a sad and sorry state is to the largest part the fault of us, the FOSS community.

Comment: Anecdotes from Germany ... (Score 2) 289

by Qbertino (#49110849) Attached to: How Walking With Smartphones May Have Changed Pedestrian Etiquette

Germans are sort of polite, but they have some anoyingly stupid habits that I've only seen here:

1.) When a train stops, those wanting to get on will group around the doors and give those wanting to get of a hard time in doing so. It's a site like from a Monty Python sketch. Like sheep you often have to shove them aside. I've resolved to boldly stepping straight out and onto the feet of anybody standing smack in the middle of the way and making loud suggestions on how to organise things so the people getting off can do so quickly for the benefit of all.

2.) Blocking the left side of escalators. Really annoying! I recently was to belgium and was astonished how orderly people standing on an escalator would move to the right side, so that people could walk on the left side. I was so astonished I pulled out my camera and took a series of pictures of this "phenomenon". ... Not so in Germany. Regularly people will stop and stand wherever they like to, no matter if they're blocking the way or not. I've resolved to the habit of just about stepping on peoples heels and breathing into their ear if they're unneccessarily blocking the way. Stupid remarks are riposted with witty "... or you could just stand on the right side just like everybody else in every other country on the planet." ... Usually shuts them up. I've actually seen people embarassed because of this. Good.

3.) As for people mindlessly tumbling about with their smartphones and earplugs: That annoys me greatly, especially in public spaces that are crowded and where you have to expect frequent social interaction, like on a crowded trainstation during rush-hour. ... Take out your f*cking earplugs and put them in when you've found your place on the train, for goodness sake! Nowadays, whenever I try to address someone and he doesn't listen because of earplugs and/or audio cranked up to max, I usually just push or pull them aside gently. Some are so zoned out they're actually OK with that. ... Guess electronic escapisim is shaping our social interaction in that way too.

Comment: If they're old enough to surf on their own ... (Score 2) 256

by Qbertino (#49104959) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Parental Content Control For Free OSs?

If they're old enough to surf on their own, they're old enough to handle it on their own.

It is - to a degree - your call if they are old enough to do so, but countermeasures to keep the "bad internet" away from your children, if you are geek enough to allow them access, is a bit of an oxymoron.

Hint: If they want to see porn and/or Isis set someone on fire, they will do so. If not at home then at/with their friends. Trying to prevent this is being silly. Once I trusted my daughter to handle her own Ubuntu Netbook I also trusted her to handle the web. ... I did curb her webtime though, it can get out of hand. ... But she uses the web and her smartphone as an extension for her social life, not as a substitute. She's actually more on the go than I am, and unwinds not surfing but streaming american teenie serials to improve her english (currenty the 100 is hip). Not the worst thing to do, imho. Her homework gets done and she's due for her a-levels, so who am I to complain?

I had a discussion a few years back with a mom of one of her very close friends. She too was worried that the new laptop would enable them to watch porn and get a false impression about sexuality. I basically said the same thing that I wrote above and bit my lip about her habit of changing boyfriends every odd month - something way more likely of determining her daughters POV on relationships and sexuality.

Ask them to learn something productive with them - my daughter eventually decided to do a little image editing and I got her a neat colorful book on Gimp of which she duefully did some excersises and learned a little about files, photography and image manipulation. Good thing for a teenage girl exposed to a cosmetics/fashion industry in constant overdrive. She didn't want to learn programming though. ... I'll survive that I guess.

Tell them about Facebook, Whatsapp, data mining, automated 24/7 surveilance, scams, rapists, shady friends, online mobbing (both sides of it!), etc.. Give them fake accounts and tell them to never use their real name and adress and to be suspicious of the web in general - including mainstream news.

Bottom line:
Be a good father, take care of your kids and make a reasonable judgement as to when they're ready to have their own computer.
Do the basics to keep them out of harms way (hint: porn is way, way down on that list) and make sure they've understood what you're talking about and have no fear of coming to you whenever they're insecure about something internet related. Let the rest take its course. ... That's parenting 101 for you.

My 2 cents.

Comment: Been there, done that. Here's how: (Score 4, Interesting) 343

by Qbertino (#49075939) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Version Control For Non-Developers?

My Gig currently is with a classic marketing agency. Very nice folks - a breath of fresh air when it comes to my history with agencies - but breathtakingly clueless with IT - as usual in this industry. I'm basically the only IT/dev guy in a shop of 30. Has its ups and downs. ... Whatever.

They asked me on board as a webdev, to establish a pipeline and introduce versioning. I'm using Git on a VMed central linux system and SourceTree as client. Our outside SSH port is mapped to that VM, so the the people on a project can commit docs or code on the go.

Sidenote: I wouldn't use anything other than Git, it's just not worth it. Git has won the versioning thing. End of story. ... Bazaar might be an alternative, if you need the same click-ui on windows, mac *and* linux, but that is probably a very rare case.

As a client we use SourceTree on both Mac and Windows, so all UIs look more or less the same. No Tortoise, for that exact reason! I show them where to click to see the entire file-tree as in finder or explorer, so nobody is confused and explain the difference between a commit and a push. In a pinch, the windows and mac folks can help each other out if I'm not around, since they’re all using SourceTree. And it keeps this "Versioning" thing nice and secluded. That's also a reason.

I want to get them to use versioning, so I tell them #1 is always fear of using it. I tell them not to worry, it's pratically impossible to break anything (one of the advantages of Git). I tell them to version often and comment their commits, even if it's just smalltalk. The point is getting used to commenting. We don't uses branches, just master. I also tell them to try and logically group commits, but not kill themselves if it goes wrong. It happens - with me aswell. No harm done.

Once everyone is pro in versioning, we might change the branching policy.

As for all the other buttons in SourceTree, I just tell them to ignore them and that they are for later. I do tell them the meaning of "Stash" and how nifty that is when you've forgotten to pull before starting your work, but only those who need and want to know. ... As soon as they get a pull conflict, they ususall do want to know, so no problem here.

I've established a naming-standard with ProjectFolderName/git-repo for local clones, so everyone has a space where they can fiddle for the project without needing to inmediately version if they just want to try out a new tool or salvage an older Photoshop template or something. Project docs go into /docs, developer stuff goes into /code (mostly complete wordpress installs or some other thing), DB dumps into /db, graphics, layout, DTP files and videos and other raw material usually goes into /assets, etc. ... You get the picture.
We're/I'm not to strict with dir-policy and let it grow a little too. No project is like another.

I put my agency behind versioning, because right now its Filename-02122014-final-extra-specialEdit-Peter.doc on a central drive and shit. Especially with the editorial team. Not good. I did a neat presentation and help everyone who comes into versioning to get familiar with the concept. Installing SourceTree, doing a few demo commits, have them do it, show them the red numbers, looking at the history log and file-changes and stuff.

A few months in and the online team is starting to get used to versioning on some projects. Once everyone there is on board we’ll move into other departments. My PM for one large online project is using versioning regularly now, as are the students helping out. That the bosses are behind all this helps.

Sidenote: More than half of the team is ladies, as is my PM, btw.

I tell everyone that they can ask me everything a million times and call me at 2 o’clock in the morning if it’s a versioning problem and they need my advice or some handholding. Very important. Does wonders to the mood and slowly everyone using it is getting it. No more, or at least fewer of those bizar manual versioned files as mentioned above.

One thing is very important: Since we’re not using a central drive anymore, encryption for those laptops that sometimes leave the office will become important down the line. Also rights-management with different groups and such will become important in the future, especially when externals come on board for specific projects. When this problem starts building up, I'll build a little web-ui to set up project usergroups and repos with a single click.

Bottom line:
Be nice, be patient, be helpful, be a team-player and the most n00by user will version like a pro a few months in. They won’t want to go back. That’s what you want for the entire team.

Good luck.

Comment: With that website? No, definitely not. (Score 1) 393

by Qbertino (#49073395) Attached to: PC-BSD: Set For Serious Growth?

These guys don't know the first thing about marketing. Their logo doesn't look quite as shitty as other FOSS project logos, but that's about it. I couldn't even find screenshots.

Want to have some obscure half-assed unfinished FOSS project to become the most hyped and famous?
Here, this is how you do it. (Note: That site is outdated, but it was the best for a FOSS project back then)

Comment: Getting the job done quick is all that counts. (Score 5, Interesting) 323

Being in Webdev for 15 years I can say that getting the job done quick is all that counts. Most of the web is run by the bizarest of contraptions in software you can imagine - but they get the job done. Take for instance Wordpress: It's a prime example for bad software architecture and the inner platform antipattern.

        But it works. It delivers, Any idiot can download and install WP, pop in a theme and start fiddling. The webev gets called in when the system is all gummed up and feature x,y or z has to be added with magic programming trick (i.e. dirty hacks) quickly.

Same goes for PHP as a PL. Strange, bizar and hilarious, but it get's the job done.

        That's what counts.

        All that been said, it's precisely because of this that your skills as a webdev determine wether you'll have some freedom to pick your job and a fair salary or if you'll be treaded badly. I've been through so many projects that I can tell you even the crappy devs don't mean it. If there's a crew of 5 coding without versioning, that's because their to dumb to know any better and they won't listen to you if you're not ready to walk out of a job that only pays you a McDs salary.

        If however, you've got the skills and the tools, most people will think you're a demi-god. Use whatever technology you want, but be able to deliver. I've started building my own toolkit a while ago - it involves bash-cli snippets and PHP code - and dive into any mess my client/boss requires me to work with, be it Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla or whatever. I've since become good enough that I can make some demands, but I have no illusions about my outlook in the webdev world. It is a volatile occupation and unless you move into Java/Oralce, SAP or MS territory, it will stay that way.

        The upside is the freedom we have. We get to use FOSS most of the time as primary tools of trade and get to try out new things 5 times a week - neat. You can't have it both ways.

In a nutshell: If you want to stand your ground, you have to be good at both: Overall problem solving experience and proficient expert knowledge in the current tools of your trade. If you stick to building those mostly from tried-and-true FOSS technologies, you'll keep pointless learning to a minimum. For instance, I make a point of using grep to search for snippets of code in a project. My IDE may be dead 3 years from now, as may be the system I'm using. grep will be around until I die.

My 2 cents.

Comment: This looks like snake-oil. ... But what if? (Score 1) 69

by Qbertino (#49045825) Attached to: Mood-Altering Wearable Thync Releases First Brain Test Data

This looks like snake-oil all around to me.

However, it has me wondering: What if there were BTL chips like in the Shadowrun RPG (Pen & Paper) or those simulations like in the novel "Altered Carbon" were real?

In the Shadowrun RPG BTL ("Better than life" (sic!)) chips are *highly* adictive. Which raises the question: Would you give it a shot? ... I'd probably take a very close look at BTL junkies first. ... And then say no.

As for those simulations in Altered Carbon - I wouldn't mind trying one of those. :-)

Vax Vobiscum