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Comment: I actually agree, but not to what he meant (Score 1) 2

I couldn't agree more - we've traded off a great deal of liberty and gotten jack shit in return.

Are there bad guys who want to cause death and destruction in the US? Yup. That's neither new nor interesting. Just because the bad guys got one high impact win, we've uprooted every damn principle this country was founded on. Apparently we don't believe in those principles enough to trust they can get us through the trials and tribulations. It's truly sad.

Comment: Re:Easter liability (Score 1) 290

by QuasiEvil (#49407181) Attached to: Is This the Death of the Easter Egg?

Actually a friend of mine used to have just such a car. This was back in the 1990s, so I don't remember the exact make and model. We never realized that until we had to remove one of the interior door panels one day, and on the inside of the door panel was written "Last XYZ built 1988" (I may be off on the year) and then there were a whole bunch of signatures, presumably the guys who built it. Very cool.

If you're designing security critical stuff, then yes, by all means either avoid the eggs or make sure they're really as absolutely hardened and harmless as possible. However, lots of software exists outside this environment. Easter eggs are fun. They're officially against policy where I work, but more than once we've added one in. Usually with tacit management approval. Basically don't do anything stupid. The day stuff like that goes away, we're just more plug compatible programming drones rather than creative professionals with a quirky side. And that's the day I leave the industry, because the fun of it is gone.

Comment: Re:And why not? (Score 1) 227

by QuasiEvil (#49367727) Attached to: Nation's Biggest Nuclear Firm Makes a Play For Carbon Credit Cash

Nuclear power but government owned and controlled and publicly audited

Yeah, because government institutions are always so much more competent and trustworthy than large corporations. Lemme see - post office, DMV, CIA/NSA... Shining examples of what can be done by government, but in wholly different ways. I'll also say corporations are no better. The US federal government is little more than an extremely large corporation with a guaranteed revenue stream and all the evils that go with that.

The correct answer - no matter who is in charge - is first and foremost proper, safety conscious engineering, and then followed up with a culture of accountability and transparency *to everyone*. That means that there aren't reports that are "secret" because of some security theater. Everybody sees it, everybody knows what's going on.

Comment: Re:Don't Waste Time Making films (Score 1) 698

As someone who will lose his father in the next couple years, there aren't enough mod points in the world for the parent comment. Go do things together. The memories of doing stuff together are more valuable than any amount of messages he could leave me. I've watched his health decline steadily for the last five years, knowing that eventually it would kill him (and since it's genetic and I'm also a carrier, it'll kill me in about thirty years as well), and I've realized that I wouldn't trade the memories - vacations, fishing, hell, even building fences - for anything. I live about a thousand miles from my parents at this point, but I still make an effort to talk to them at least once a week and spend a few days with them every month or two. His breathing has now gotten bad enough that he can't travel, so I'm glad we did so much while he was able to get out and do things.

I'd spend time with her now while you're still in good condition and able to do so. The months of watching you get worse are going to be very hard for her, and the memories will be worth their weight in gold. Don't delay until you're too sick to make it happen.

If you want to leave her with a few thoughts, I'd write a letter or two. Those will be far more durable than any digital form, and will be a tangible object to tie the memories back to.

Comment: Re:Insteon Experience (Score 1) 248

by QuasiEvil (#49052141) Attached to: Smart Homes Often Dumb, Never Simple

I'm like you - started with X10 stuff and went to Insteon about five years ago.

My big thing is that my house was wired by idiots, and the switches aren't ever where you'd want them. Hell, the ceiling lights and fans in the bedrooms aren't even on the same circuit as the wall switch. (The wall switch used to feed a switched outlet, as the house was built without ceiling lights in the bedrooms.) Much of the split-level house is such that you're stumbling up or down stairs in the dark before you get to the switch you need. The ability to control a bunch of stuff from a single keypad at each room entrance was the one overriding feature. It's awesome, and I couldn't be happier with it.

My ex-wife never had any issue with the system (and in fact, actually installed a good chunk of it, being a fellow engineer). My current girlfriend, who is significantly less technically inclined, figured it out in about ten seconds with no explanation. But that's because it doesn't require web browsers or smart phones or other crap - everything you need is right there, right beside the door where you need to interact with it. Oh, and it's got labels, and lights up in the dark, so...

A few thoughts:
- One downside is that I had an entire generation of Keypadlincs go bad after about 3-4 years. All v5.x units, all killed in the course of a few weeks (power quality issues). Had six of them, so there's a chunk of change. Ouch. I found it interesting it only affected the 5.x units, however. Everything from earlier and later generations survived just fine.
- Insteon is unmanagable without an ISY-99 or 994. It just is. Best money I ever spent - now I just fire up a java app and can reconfigure anything I need in a few minutes.
- It's proprietary. If Smarthome ever goes under, I get to start over.

The rest of my automation is mostly telemetry. Temperature, leak monitoring, furnace monitoring, security cameras, etc. It's almost entirely based on embedded Linux boxes (RPis and older hacked Seagate Dockstars) scattered around, feeding data back to a central house server that then monitors things.

Comment: Re:why? (Score 1) 677

by QuasiEvil (#49043011) Attached to: Empirical Study On How C Devs Use Goto In Practice Says "Not Harmful"

Don't worry, after the parent poster fires you, come work for me. I'm of the same opinion you are - it's often the easiest and cleanest way to run a block of cleanup code. Plus, it doesn't create a crapton of nested functions and conditional tests, which can be a real issue in space-constrained platforms (8 bit micros, anyone?) I like people who aren't afraid of things they've been told are "bad" without at least considering if they have a possible use, and what the real dangers are. Sure, I'd expect there to be more than "return rv" in there, otherwise you should just be throwing returns in your main code, but still...

Comment: Re:Insteon (Score 2) 189

by QuasiEvil (#48777633) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Options For Cheap Home Automation?

My lighting system is all Insteon based. Even if it is proprietary (ugh), it does actually work as advertised. Everything except the Keypadlincs has been bulletproof, but some of the earlier KPLs have been less than reliable. Due to recent power spikes, I've lost the last of them, and the new 7.x models seem to be lasting without issue. Do not try to manage any Insteon network of decent size without an ISY994, however. You'll go mad. Plus, the ISY provides an easy way to script behaviours.

The rest of the house is controlled and monitored through small embedded computers tied to cameras, temp/humidity sensors, or other hardware via USB/Arduino/etc. I say "small embedded computers" because the old ones are hacked Dockstars, but as those die (and they do), they've been replaced with Raspberry Pis. The children all call back to a main control computer every 10-15 seconds, uploading an image and telemetry data via scp/ssh. That main computer then makes it accessible to the world via a mass of PHP.

Comment: Employees who can "just figure it out" (Score 3, Insightful) 553

by QuasiEvil (#48224797) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills

I'm not a manager-manager, but I am a technical manager and - at the end of the day - basically the guy who gets the hiring decision whenever I need more people.

I don't care about what you know beyond the basics, and I also don't care where (or if) you went to college or that your degree is even slightly related to what we're doing. The things I look for are that you have some talent with system design, architecture and programming, a passion for technology (aka, it's not just a 9-5 job thing, but you eat, live, and breathe it), and the capability to go learn and figure things out on your own. Along with the third thing, a general, broad set of knowledge is good, but as long as you can use Google or books or experiments to figure things out, I'm okay. I'd much rather you be able to learn and adapt.

You'd be amazed how many people fail at least #3. I don't want to hand-hold you or have to spoon feed you answers. Don't know? Go look it up. Go try something. Just don't come over and ask for help right away. If you've gotten stuck somewhere, I'll help, but you damn well better have beaten your head against the wall for a few hours/days/weeks (depending on problem complexity) before asking.

Comment: Re:Small setup (Score 1) 287

by QuasiEvil (#47942587) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: What's In Your Home Datacenter?

For me, I just like wired ethernet better. Overall, simpler to configure, use, secure, and manage, and you can't beat gigabit links for bandwidth/$. I have 802.11n, but pretty much all it does is allow the laptops, tablets, and phones onto the network. The MythTV frontends, desktop machines, and home automation/telemetry bits are all hard-wired. I also keep all my data on a central fileserver in the basement, so having gigabit links from the desktop machines (and laptops when I plug them in) really makes working with large datasets significantly faster.

As for my setup, it's really rather unimpressive from any datacenter standpoint.

Upstairs closet:
  - Wireless AP (802.11n) and NAT box (TP Link WDR4300 running OpenWRT)
  - Cable modem
  - Managed 24-port gigabit switch (serves 3rd and 2nd floor ports, dual fiber links to downstairs switch)
  - UPS

Basement closet:
  - Managed 24-port gigabit switch (serves basement, and 1st floor ports, dual fiber links to upstairs switch, dual fiber to backup fileserver in detached garage)
  - House fileserver
  - MythTV/home automation/voip/webserver box
  - Tuners (HDHomeRun and DirecTV gear + HD-PVRs),
  - ISY-99 Insteon gateway
  - UPS

Comment: Re:We can thank corporate America (Score 3, Interesting) 282

by QuasiEvil (#47389111) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Often Should You Change Jobs?

15 years and counting for me - not just same company, but same position. The title changes and I get promoted every couple years, but it's the same PCN doing basically the same thing.

I'm basically the technical management of a development group at a large transportation company. The technical part of my department isn't really all that bad. The challenge is knowing the business and all the weird, intricate little nuances of both our clients and how the actual business operates. I figure it takes 18 months to make a newbie a net positive in the group. I rarely hire because typically we focus on getting people who are going to stick around. It's just too costly to productivity to have short timers around. It's also how I've successfully fended off "well, can't you just outsource some of this extra work?" If I'm looking through resumes and see you only stay at similar jobs for 2-3 years, I'm not even going to read the rest of it. I assume that candidate is going to suck up all the resources to get him/her trained and then move along before they've contributed as much back. I'd much rather have someone that shows they're on the track to becoming a greybeard. You know - the guy who has been there forever to become an uberguru, and sits in the corner and says little, but when he does you should probably take it as if it were handed down on stone tablets.

"Be *excellent* to each other." -- Bill, or Ted, in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

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