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Comment: Do a Proper Disaster Recovery Plan Together (Score 3, Informative) 125

by W. Justice Black (#46870825) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Intelligently Moving From IT Into Management?

OK, so if you're asking this, there's no way you've done a proper disaster recovery plan--folks that have done those have sufficient documentation in-hand that someone else should be able to pop in and do the job.

So this is a great opportunity to do that. Together. You gain confidence in your IT minion while s/he gains confidence that they're flying right. And any keys to the kingdom are nicely stored where they should be, so any authorized IT person can get at what they need.

The first step is to get the lay of the land and prioritize services. Gather the keys/passwords/whatever together (make sure your AAA story is good, etc). Come up with what your backup/restore stories are. What do you do if you need to restore one file (the "oopsie" moment)? What about a dead drive/server? What if a plane hits your data center? etc, etc.

Make no mistake--you're in the middle of a disaster RIGHT NOW. You're losing your lead IT staffer to promotion :-)

Comment: (Formerly) Interracial Porn (Score 2) 213

by W. Justice Black (#44315211) Attached to: If I search online for my full name...

I decided to go by "BJ Black" when I was 7 years old--years before I realized that Googling that would result in interracial porn.

Nowadays, Google is smart enough to SEO me as the top hit and (relatively) safe sites behind that. For interracial porn, you have to do an image search with safesearch off.

Comment: Not All Math Created Equal... (Score 1) 656

I tend to agree with the OP regarding the (ir)relevance of calc/diffeq. I rarely (if ever) use any concepts from farting around with f(x) in that sense...

BUT stats and discrete math is HUGELY important. I've gotten way more use out of my one semester of discrete than the entirety of calc.

I for one would love to see CS students get 2-3 semesters of discrete (and preferably 2 of stats) and one semester of calc (rather than the other way 'round).

Comment: Re:Virtualize the environment (Score 4, Informative) 953

by W. Justice Black (#43519345) Attached to: Some Windows XP Users Can't Afford To Upgrade

If you can do a fresh install, this would be a good opportunity to do so:

1. Install XP from scratch, with all the latest fixes and whatnot. Get it nice and pristine with no crap milling about beyond the barebones stuff. Get the licensing happy.
2. SNAPSHOT
3. Get your custom software installed.
4. SNAPSHOT
5. BACK IT ALL UP.
6. Use gingerly :-)

Comment: Re:Ummm Yes (Score 1) 953

by W. Justice Black (#43519253) Attached to: Some Windows XP Users Can't Afford To Upgrade

Seconded. Either:

1. Run it on a hypervisor host and RDP into it or
2. Run it in a local VM using VirtualBox (which does surprisingly well running XP-on-7 as long as you have the VM tools instaled). Set the desktop to change size when its window does, auto-hide the toolbar, and it looks/behaves fairly similarly to a local app on W7.

I had a friend's business (which relied on an old map application whose DRM WOULD NOT run on W7) implement such a thing and it's worked great. Plus you get snapshots, which is enough of a reason for me to recommend just about all embedded/oddball apps run on a VM.

Comment: Get a Firm/Contractor and Train Yourself Up (Score 1) 212

by W. Justice Black (#42923281) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: I Just Need... Marketing?

If marketing isn't one of your firm's core competencies, outsource. Either hire an outside agency or get a hired gun in as a contractor.

If someone is really motivated to become a partner, let him/her go through a trial period where they're essentially in that contractor role and you can evaluate results. But you're right--if you're worried about possibly underperforming partners (and don't have enough mojo to figure it out without hard numbers), then get some hard numbers first.

As you correctly surmised, you can't completely ignore marketing if you're a business owner. Get some training on the subject (even if just an online class or something, though no need to go completely nuts). This is, unfortunately, one blind spot you can't have forever--marketing can be expensive and you must know and maintain what works.

Comment: Re:just use virtual machines (Score 5, Interesting) 464

Yes and no.

I did a bit of IT consulting a while back for a small company owned by a friend of mine that upgraded one of their (dead) machines to Win7 from XP. One of their pieces of software (that isn't supported by the vendor anymore, natch) had some copy protection on it that ABSOLUTELY REFUSED to run on Win7. As in "every single post I could find about it on Google said 'don't bother'" and no amount of backwards-compatibility junk would get Win7 to make it work, period (though admittedly this was Win7 Home Prem, so no built-in VM stuff).

The solution: VirtualBox, running a spare XP license, and just this one application. With the VBox tools installed, I set it to resize the desktop automatically when the window's resized, put the taskbar on autohide, and it works great (nice and snappy for an office-type app). When you click the close box on the window, VBox suspends the VM. When you open it back up again, it un-suspends. Plus you get snapshotting and portability of the environment.

They were not sophisticated enough to pull this off, but their local IT guy (me) was, and this is a little 5-person extermination company...

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