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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.

Comment: Die, die, die, flat UI elements (Score 5, Insightful) 387

Now, could they get rid of the flat, huge, ugly UI elements (window borders, buttons, etc.) and go back to the reasonable look of Vista or 7? Sheesh, honestly the hideous ugliness of it was the most irritating thing about 8 for me, as the tile interface and start menu problems could be fixed with a few add-ons.

Comment: Re:Lower the river, obviously (Score 2) 168

by QuasiEvil (#46379725) Attached to: Damming News From Washington State

Hanford, for the most part, sits high above the Columbia. A few feet of rise in the Columbia would almost certainly change nothing in relation to stored radioactive sludge tanks. Any ground seepage that was going on yesterday will still go on tomorrow, but as a bonus, the additional flow will provide greater dilution... It's a total red herring in this discussion.

Comment: Re:Mechanical solution (Score 1) 478

by QuasiEvil (#46279819) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Anti-Camera Device For Use In a Small Bus?

Or an alternate suggestion - some guys with vaguely Italian-sounding names with shady backgrounds and baseball bats to ride along. Tell them they get $100 for every camera they whack, and $1000 for every camera user they whack, no questions asked. Since there won't be any functional cameras, the usual excuse of "I didn't see nothin', boss" actually holds up quite well. The problem will solve itself very quickly.

Comment: Re:They aren't being excluded (Score 1) 545

by QuasiEvil (#46157041) Attached to: Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

I tend to agree. I don't see the exclusion here. There are lots of programs trying to encourage women to go into science & engineering type fields, and the track record over the last decade isn't good. Honestly I think engineering and software development are probably two of the most meritocratic fields out there. Likewise, don't expect me to instantly respect you no matter who you are. In my world, new people start at "you suck" until they prove otherwise. Professional respect is earned based on achievement. It's not an entitlement based on your education or upbringing or genetic features.

I say - for all people - encourage the ones that show interest and let the rest go off and find their place in life. We can't all be software architects, or there's going to be hell trying to keep the lights and water on (or for that matter, hard to actually get any code written... ;) The world needs farmers, plumbers, marketers, artists, electricians, truckers, soldiers, machinists, etc. as much as needs engineers and programmers.

As for the parent, I have to agree. I've been to some sales conferences and thought repeatedly, "Holy shit, you people get away with this?"

Comment: Re:Girls misuse tech talks to get into relationshi (Score 2) 545

by QuasiEvil (#46156839) Attached to: Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

If only young women would use my technical presentations for such purposes. Unfortunately the few I've met are generally interested in the subject matter and not the old guy talking about it.

I was married to a fellow engineer for ten years. Hands down best relationship of my life, even if we had divergent goals at the end. I've spent the last eight looking for someone understands what I'm thinking about most of the time and haven't even come close, but no engineers in the last eight years either. Unfortunately, embedded software and electrical engineering have a very low percentage of women overall, and a minute (almost undetectable) number of single ones.

Comment: Re:Success = happiness? (Score 1) 397

Actually, successful and miserable.

I had an interesting conversation with my ex-wife last night. We both do (and always have) suffered from some crippling bouts with depression for months on end, up to a year or two. She's finally getting back out of the latest round, whereas I'm deep at the bottom. But the thing I've noticed is that I'm many times more productive and creative when I'm depressed and fucked up than when I'm happy. My output when I'm at the bottom is amazing both to me and those around me, because I literally work myself into the ground in an effort to avoid

When I'm happy I don't get shit done. It backs up, it gets put off, it gets ignored, because I'm off relaxing or doing things that keep me happy. I'm out with friends or relaxing, not sitting in my house working on project X, Y, or Z for the whole weekend.

When I'm worm-food, I want to have made a difference. That's the one and only thing I want out of life. I want to have contributed to the things I care about in a meaningful way that will make the future better. It's that one overriding goal in my life that makes me accept miserable as the price to be paid.

Weekends were made for programming. - Karl Lehenbauer