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Comment: Re:High school level programming. (Score 1) 1086

by Shoeler (#40936281) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Many of You Actually Use Math?
I'm a programmer. Took three semesters of calculus, differential equations. I work at a government civilian engineer agency and I use math all day long and twice on Sunday. When I'm debugging the mass of data I have to use (mostly from computer models), I have to be able to do quick math in my head as well as translate that to something I can check my work with. It's not good enough to just write an algorithm that runs - it has to do exactly what it's supposed to.

I use statistics every day. My knowledge of statistics is hugely valuable when I'm in a discussion with a scientist or engineer and can suggest a different way to get at the data they want with a stats function, or understand why they want the R^2 value in a function.

If you can't do at least some of the math you have to program, you're not as useful as you can be. It's not insurmountable, but the guy that knows it will program circles around you, assuming the same level of programming efficacy.

Comment: People can get jail time, corporations can't... (Score 2) 334

by Shoeler (#37690850) Attached to: iPhone 4 Prototype Finder Gets Probation
Look - first off, the idiot screwed up. He never owned the device. Finders are NOT keepers, you deucebag. Be a man and try to find its owner instead of trying to profit.

However.

Realize that had another company done something like this, NO ONE GOES TO JAIL. Thomas Jefferson (who was kind of a big deal) showed quite a bit of distrust and disliking of them: "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

Abraham Lincoln too (specific to banks):

"As a result of the war,
corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places
will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong
its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth
is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

So as you're lobbing your scathing remarks at this stupid man, also realize that the company whose interests are being protected by this legal act would itself not be held to these same standards.

Comment: Virtualization != marginalization of skills... (Score 4, Interesting) 500

by Shoeler (#35356276) Attached to: The Decline and Fall of System Administration
This seems to me to be a philosophical question. Indeed, if the uptime and more importantly availability is higher by the purported crash and burn (taking liberties with the slash and burn deforestation technique) method, who is to say it is less useful or less valid? Indeed, to espouse skills over delivering for the client seems to be missing the point. It seems to be standing on some pedagogical imperative that knowledge is somehow of more value in the workplace than delivery.

Now - having said that - don't get me wrong. I have seen entirely too many *nix sysadmins (full disclosure: I got an RHCE in 2003) who don't know where the network config files are because they only know the GUI, and are hired by a team of people who have never logged into a *nix box. However, I think the ill that is most egregious is not that it sets some moral and ethical imperative fo fixing rather than reloading (or in this case, recovering from a VM image) a server, but the fact that it misses the point that there has been a dearth of qualified IT candidates since the dawn of our industry and that the fixes to this don't have to do with how we fix a server, but how we hire and more importantly who we hire. As is everything in IT, garbage in == garbage out.

Finally - I absolutely agree with the Infoworld argument. It assumes an unexpected failure within the server, not some external thing that needs to be diagnosed and fixed. If your app crashes because the SQL table isn't there on the SQL server you don't control, rebooting ain't going to do a hill of beans worth of good.

Comment: Re:wrong OS? (Score 4, Interesting) 1348

by Shoeler (#33931850) Attached to: Desktop Linux Is Dead
BSD's not dead of course - look only to the Mach kernel in OS X for verification.

If you want to see how a desktop UNIX-based os should do it right, look at OS X. Say what you will about Apple - I don't care, only own a mac and an iPod (I have a Droid X for my phone) - but they did the desktop RIGHT. It's easy to use, fairly intuitive (passes the grandma test, for the most part), and is oh so easy to support.

I remember when I got my first macbook a few years back and I had a sprint wireless broadband card for it. I was thinking "you know, I should be able to make my mac a wifi base station and share my wireless". Preferences, sharing, .... oh, that was easy. And it worked.

Comment: Re:Old Success Stories (Score 5, Insightful) 480

by Shoeler (#33892396) Attached to: Microsoft Admits OpenOffice.org Is a Contender
My problem with the Microsoft Office product line has always been a simple one. I don't want to pay for what they want me to pay for. Let's be honest - office is a VERY mature product line. I.E. there are a very very very tiny set of places that it can be innovated or changed. The recent MS office revisions strike me as revisions to justify the price, rather than revisions people want. The fact of the matter is that MS Office from 8 years ago does exactly what I as a scientific and engineering worker want, and now OO.o does it too - with MS's throwback interface of years ago that I prefer. I still stumble through the stupid ribbons.

TL;DR synopsis: MS changes to justify price. OO.o doesn't have to. Win.

+ - Rocket Thrusters Used to Treat Sewage->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Rocket engines are generally not thought of as being environmentally-friendly, but thanks to a newly-developed process, we may someday see them neutralizing the emissions from wastewater treatment plants. The same process would also see those plants generating their own power, thus meaning they would be both energy-neutral and emissions-free. Developed by two engineers at Stanford University, the system starts with the formation of nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane gas — something that treatment plants traditionally try to avoid."
Link to Original Source
Medicine

+ - Lou Gehrig may not have had Lou Gehrig's Disease->

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that Lou Gehrig's demise — and that of some other athletes and soldiers given a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease — might have been catalyzed by injuries only now becoming understood: concussions and other brain trauma and although the paper does not discuss Gehrig specifically, its authors in interviews acknowledged the clear implication: Lou Gehrig might not have had Lou Gehrig's disease. The finding could prompt a redirection in the study of motor degeneration in athletes and military veterans being given diagnoses of ALS at rates considerably higher than normal, say several experts in ALS who had seen early versions of the paper. Patients with significant histories of brain trauma could be considered for different types of treatment, perhaps leading toward new pathways for a cure. "Most ALS patients don't to autopsy — there's no need to look at your brain and spinal cord," says Dr. Brian Crum. "But a disease can look like ALS, it can look like Alzheimer's, and it's not when you look at the actual tissue. This is something that needs to be paid attention to."

 "

Link to Original Source

+ - Servers That Generate Their Own Electricity->

Submitted by 1sockchuck
1sockchuck (826398) writes "What if your web server could generate its own power? A small New York company has developed prototypes of servers and switches that use waste heat from the devices to generate electricity using thermoelectric effects. A growing number of data center operators are finding ways to harness the heat generated by racks of servers, but most choose to use waste heat to warm nearby offices or other parts of the data center. Applied Methodologies Inc. has taken a different approach, seeking to convert the waste heat back into small amounts of electricity that can be aggregated to power equipment within the data center."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:More problems than just that (Score 1) 383

by Shoeler (#33161230) Attached to: Steve Furber On Why Kids Are Turned Off To Computing Classes
Haha - I love Eureka. Wanted badly to be at comic con where they had re-themed a restaurant (Hard Rock I think?) to be Cafe Diem.

But - I guess it's not state secrets or anything - the organization just doesn't like attention - we get plenty of it - mostly negative.

US Army Corps of Engineers.

I'm going to regret that, probably - to paraphrase Ghost Crawler of WoW fame.

Suggest you just sit there and wait till life gets easier.

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