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Comment: Otherwise, it's perfect (Score 1) 134

by ReadParse (#46561499) Attached to: Functional 3D-Printed Tape Measure

I'm a big fan of 3D printing, I am. And at the beginning of this video, I just thought this was the coolest thing. Well, except for a couple of things.

Tape measures are widely available and inexpensive.

This one is REALLY short (just over 4 feet), and it was comparable in size to a standard 25-foot tape measure.

Worst of all, it's not accurate. It's off by a 16th of an inch at the maximum length, and it would only get more and more inaccurate, as the length increases.

Other than that, it's perfect :) Oh, it's definitely impressive, and I still find it hard to believe that these sophisticated contraptions are printed already assembled. It's amazing.

Comment: The skills you really need (Score 1) 246

Computer Science has its place, certainly, but it's not in every IT shop in America. I've been giving this a lot of thought lately: How do you take those unemployed and underemployed people, whose jobs have basically disappeared, and are never coming back... and intersect SOME of those people (not all of them will be able to do it) with the enormous shortage of talented and capable IT people.

I've come to almost accept, over the last couple of years, that there's such an insatiable demand for IT, and such a shortage of competent IT people, that it's just a reality that we're going to have lots of lots of crappy people in IT, and there's nothing that can be done about it.

But I'm having difficulty completely accepting that. Because I know that the skills that you need to be good at solving technology problems are not extraordinary. I just barely started college, and then quit to join the Air Force. Five years later, I got into the web business (in 1996) and I've had a great career for 18 years. I recently decided to finish my degree, but that's a different story.

The point is: I'm not a computer scientist. There have been a few times in my career when I would have benefited from a CS degree, but not many. Mostly, what I have needed is intelligence, verbal and written communication skills, the ability to quickly learn new things, a passionate interest in technology, the three Larry Wall traits (laziness, impatience and hubris), and an understanding of how users think and act. Editorial skill has not hurt me, and neither has graphic design skill.

While I would be really interested in helping to build an educational program, one problem I have is that I'm self-taught, and therefore don't really know how you're supposed to teach this stuff. But I would love to be part of a workshop where industry folks come together for a week and brainstorm on this topic, or something.

My big sticking point is this: I honestly believe that the one non-negotiable requirement for being a good technologist is intelligence. And this seems to be controversial, because it makes it sound like I'm calling other people stupid. And, well, I am. I really wrestle with this. I wonder how good a web developer you can be if you're not quite smart.

Comment: Oh great. Blame the VA/DOD project on Open Source (Score 1) 394

by ReadParse (#45137269) Attached to: Oracle Attacks Open Source; Says Community-Developed Code Is Inferior

I've heard about that awful EHR (Electronic Health Record) integration effort between the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) for years. It's a failure of a lot of things, but if open source is even on the list of those things, it's low on the list. At the top of the list is dotted lines and bureaucracy, of course. Heck, IT projects often go off the rails, particularly big expensive ones. Let alone one done for the Department of Defense (DoD). And of course, it's not just the DoD, it's also an inter-department collaboration. Doomed for failure, unless it's managed excellently.

It appears that one big reason that this integration project is so hard is because the VA can't compete when it comes to process and bureaucracy. They don't have nearly as large a budget. This quote is telling:

"The iEHR demise was expected by all, accordingly," one VA source said. DOD officials "outspend, outtalk and outlast us at every engagement. We try to emulate much of their process-based decision-making as if we could afford to. We can't. The overhead is crippling, and we are not funded equivalently."


It pains me to see any IT project that gets out of control and ultimately fails. I hate it even worse when it's the government. As a veteran, I especially hate to see this one. And as an open source user, contributor and advocate, Oracle blaming that massive failure on open source adds insult to injury.

Comment: This seems appropriate (Score 1) 156

Not only is this reduction in redundant staff probably appropriate, but this is one of the rare situations in which "synergy" is used in a non-lame, non-stupid way.

When two companies merge, the hope is that the two joined as one company will be more effective than they were when they were working together, but separate companies. Synergy is a reasonable word to describe that.

But unsurprisingly, that synergy does not always happen. You're combining two companies, with two different cultures, perhaps incompatible systems, perhaps conflicting ideals. And you're certainly going to have some redundancy. For example, in each company, you probably have one person ultimately in charge of technology. Now you have two, and have to work that out. You also have one person ultimately in charge of smaller things: The phone system, for example. Now you have two. These things have to be worked out.

A successful merger in which some people don't get laid off would be very surprising.

Comment: Now on Windows for 2 years (Score 1) 1215

by ReadParse (#43950871) Attached to: What Keeps You On (or Off) Windows in 2013?

Well, as far as Linux on the Desktop -- although I continue to be impressed with what Ubuntu and others have done in this area, Linux on the Desktop for the masses seemed to be pretty much killed by Apple's brilliant move to go to an operating system that would eventually draw an absolutely massive number of people who would have otherwise been a part of that migration to desktop Linux. As much as Apple contributed to open source from that time on, I can't escape the fact that Linux on the Desktop adoption definitely suffered. I know I never seriously considered Linux on the Desktop again.

However... a couple of years ago, after having been a Mac desktop user for about a decade, I found myself working at a Microsoft shop, and they handed me an HP with Windows 7 on it. I was really quite worried about how well I would do, even though I had, of course, run Windows as a desktop prior to Mac's move to OS X (Windows 95, Windows 2000, etc).

With the exception of certain things that Windows 7 does very poorly (WebDAV client? Hello?!?), I've been overall fairly happy with both the OS and -- even more so, I think -- Office 2010.

But the best improvement that has come on the Windows platform in recent years is the continuous improvement of Cygwin, most notably a decent terminal in which to run it, mintty. If not for mintty, I would probably have struggled much more with Cygwin, and therefore with Windows. The Windows/Cygwin power punch may be the most productive setup available (aside from those environments where no MS interoperability is necessary at all, in which case I would still want a Mac).

Comment: Give me CTO any day (Score 1) 161

by ReadParse (#43748219) Attached to: How To Talk Like a CIO

As a fairly experienced technologist with increasing responsibility over the last several years, and who has had a certain amount of success and gathered some decent ideas along the way, I do actually think of myself as either a future CTO or future business owner.

But I almost NEVER think of myself as a future CIO. CTO definitely. But you can *have* CIO.

Comment: I can only think of one (Score 1) 684

by ReadParse (#43569713) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are There <em>Any</em> Good Reasons For DRM?

My credentials:
- I've been on slashdot since almost the beginning
- I'm a recreational musician who fantasizes about recording and distributing music
- I'm a web developer who has implemented DRM to protect the intellectual property of my employer

I decided to post here, so that I could say that I don't think there is any good use of DRM. I have heard lots of stories of people who distributed their own non-DRM'd music online and who do very well, for example. I think the good stuff will always pay off. People will recognize the value and the artist will be compensated.

I also hate the properties of DRM that inconvenience the consumer. Having to repurchase your content, for example But before I started typing this comment, I thought of one use of DRM that could be considered legitimate. A streaming subscription such as Netflix, or computer training videos and stuff like that, is something that works very well, is transparent to the user, and does not need to stand the test of time. As long as your subscription is active, you can access your content. You have no need to access the content after the subscription is over.

I've also taken advantage of software subscriptions lately. For example, I need Photoshop sometimes, but not all the time. Instead of paying a ridiculous amount of money to buy Photoshop, I can may for a month of Photoshop, which gets me through whatever project I'm working on. This is a form of DRM, and without it, Adobe would not offer the product the way I want to consume it. The same with Netflix. I love it, and without that protection, they could not offer it.

Yes. Gimp. I know. Sorry, I like Photoshop.

Comment: I am not ashamed to say... (Score 1) 66

by ReadParse (#40745973) Attached to: Discovery Channel Telescope Snaps Inaugural Pictures

That the word "Inaugural" caused me to think the telescope took pictures of the Presidential Inauguration.

I eventually read enough to realize this is a newer telescope, which would have made photos of any presidential inauguration unlikely. But since we're talking about powerful telescopes, I guess even the time travel element wouldn't be out of the question.

Comment: Conflicted Dependencies (Score 1) 209

by ReadParse (#36888788) Attached to: Microsoft Suggests Heating Homes With "Data Furnaces"

It is not wise to create, for something that is desirable, a dependency which is undesirable.

One example is using tobacco taxes to pay for children's healthcare. It sounds good politically, but then you're dependent on smoking and it's a conflict of interest to get people to stop smoking.

Another example is when law enforcement agencies find they are dependent on fines from speeding, or assets confiscated from drug dealers. If people stop speeding, or drugs stop coming through the area, which is what they say they want, they'll have a budget crisis. So there's a conflict of interest.

The example at hand -- heating living space with excess heat from data centers -- is not as controversial. You could argue that there's no particular need to make computers run cooler. But there certainly has been, and continues to be, a lot of research in that area. The potential conflict is enough to fall back on what we have learned -- or in some cases, not yet learned -- from other conflicted dependencies.

Comment: Surfing During Installation (Score 1) 231

by ReadParse (#36437460) Attached to: Mac OS X Lion Has a Browser-Only Mode

This reminds me of an idea that I had the last time I was installing OS X, though it would have appeal for all operating systems. Wouldn't it be cool if the OS installer also fired up the network and gave you a web browser, so you could surf while waiting for all the files to copy and so forth? Maybe Lion will also provide this feature.

Comment: Re:Methodology Problems (Score 1) 426

by ReadParse (#30511792) Attached to: When Developers Work Late, Should the Manager Stay?

I agree that all-nighters are almost never productive, but this question was about staying late, not about working all-nighters.

I'd like to believe that all work could get done within business hours and on my team it usually does. But there will always be times that the team needs to stay late, because things always come up.

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