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Comment Re:Sounds like an ad (Score 1) 316

Yes, sure, let's compare those two ideas:

(1) I write up a RFP, we contract the appropriate programmers, license a development API for the helpdesk system, develop formal requirements, and spend around $100,000 for a feature that we will use maybe three times in the next year.

(2) I write a SQL query in 5 minutes that pulls the appropriate data, then spend another 15 minutes making the Excel spreadsheet work with it. I give it to my boss and leave for the day at 5pm.

Without knowing anything about our business environment, take a wild guess which method my COO prefers. I'll even give you a clue - he doesn't like spending huge sums of money.

Comment Re:Sounds like an ad (Score 3, Informative) 316

"Free" is how they sell the change to the public. In reality, the open suites simply cannot compete with MS Office on the basis of features. I've used Linux since 1992, and have used Open Office and Libre Office at home for years. But some tasks which would be considered simple in Excel are impossible in Libre. For example, I can create a dashboard in Excel fairly easily, that pulls tickets from the helpdesk SQL database, and gives me a histogram of ages. I have found no way to do that in Libre.

For home use, I would definitely recommend Libre for anyone who doesn't have a particular reason to choose MS Office. But businesses can easily paint themselves into a corner by getting rid of Access.

Comment Re:Sure... (Score 1) 262

No. It's certainly not "good enough". That's laughably optimistic - the Heartbleed bug is still fresh in our memory, and SSL is one of the most used libraries in the world.

The only that that's good enough is a mechanical switch that disables all changes to the firmware and operating software. If you want to get updates, you go to the car, flip the toggle switch by the ODBC port, and run the updates. As soon as you're done, you flip the switch off. With that switch in the off position, the car is capable of receiving GPS, and sending telemetry, but that's it.

I've been in IT for about 30 years now, and I drive a car that doesn't even have power windows or power locks. That's exactly how much I trust software engineers.

Comment Re:Paywall (Score 2) 154

I think you are arguing against yourself. For bricklaying, it seems like experience was much more important than years of formal education. And you are saying the same is true for programming - that experience writing programs is what is important. You don't need multivariate calculus or OS design to write programs, it takes 6 months to a year to learn the basics. But definitely not 4 years of university.

Comment Is this a joke? (Score -1, Troll) 143

Elon Musk is going through expensive hardware like Kleenex, trying to land a booster on a barge. SpaceX fails over and over, each time learning something, and relentlessly working towards success. The headlines use terms like "ground breaking" and "visionary", and 6 days ago they managed to get the booster to land, even though it tipped over.

Meanwhile, our taxpayer funded astronauts are doing cosplay in space, and inventing "space espresso" machines. Maybe it's time to completely defund NASA after all.

Comment Re:Arduino + C (Score 1) 68

Arduinos are yesterday's news. Get a Raspberry Pi instead. If you get an Arduino you'll be programming in the stone age, when they say "C", they mean a barebones version suitable for teaching a 4th grader how to code. With a Pi, you can use Python, C++, Java, whatever. And that's in IDLE, not a barebones text editor. Plus you're running on Linux, so you can actually write daemons, use sockets, and so on.

Arduinos are good for showing complete newbs how to interact with hardware, but you'll be out of options pretty soon. I have both an Arduino and a Pi, but the only advantage the Arduino has is analog inputs. You get an MCP3008 DAC for your Pi for about $3.50, and tada - you're in business.

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 2) 293

Absolutely. The actual FCC regulation (Title 47 Section 333) states:

No person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communications of any station licensed or authorized by or under this chapter or operated by the United States Government.
(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title III, § 333, as added Pub. L. 101–396, § 9, Sept. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 850.)

So you can block wireless signals all you want, as long as no one is attempting to communicate. Just keep other people out of your house and make sure the jammer doesn't affect anyone outside, and you're not breaking any rules. One of my friends had a Faraday cage built in his basement to test Bluetooth jammers.

Comment Re:Sure... (Score 4, Insightful) 343

No. Security is NOT a profit center. If you think it is, then you are not understanding what the term "profit center" means. A profit center for a decentralized business generates revenues as well as incurs expenses. Most IT departments are not profit centers BY DEFINITION.

Comment Re:Dumb idea (Score 1) 186

They're trying to bypass your decision making process and get to a deeper level - to get you to buy something that you don't logically want, but have a neurochemical need for. Making your food addictive is the best way to make money (David Kessler - "The End of Overeating"). And measuring how long you look at something to gauge interest is nothing new - look up the Abel Assessment for Sexual Interest that is used on pedophiles.

Comment Learn both (Score 4, Interesting) 211

You don't need a professor to teach you how to program. Most of us who started using computers in the 70's and 80's were hobbyists, and we were self taught before going to college for CS. I don't use either one, so I'm not an expert, but in the immortal words of Yogi Berra - "when you come to a fork in the road, take it".

It will only take you 20-30 hours each to learn the basics of the language, so try both, and at some point you'll gravitate towards one.

Comment Re:This just proves... (Score 1) 173

What you don't get, on the other hand, is that all these integrated frameworks haven't worked. The reason that every time you turn around there's a new framework, is that the one that came out two months ago doesn't do the job.

What's the Linux kernel written in? How about the HTTP Apache server? How about World of Warcraft, the most successful multiplayer game of all time?

It's better to be able to write simple C code than spend 3 years learning a framework on top of a framework balanced on yet another framework with a framework on the side to support the IDE.

Comment Re:This just proves... (Score 2, Insightful) 173

What "quality" software? I'm not a programmer, but all the software from the big companies is riddled with bugs. What we need it to simplify programming, there are too many people out there who use the latest Ruby-on-Rails-with-XHTML-and-JQuery-NoSQL-Hadoop technology, but then can't explain why their page crashes when you type in bad data.

Programming is a trade, like plumbing or electrical work. Yes, experience will lead to better finished product, but programmers who think they need an IQ of 135 and an undergrad in mathematics are fooling themselves.

Comment Re:Great one more fail (Score 1) 600

You carefully avoided answering my question of how many police officers keep their guns in a safe every night. Obviously you're not one.

It's nice living in your world of unicorns and rainbows, but in my world, there are battered wives who know from experience how useless a restraining order is, corrections officers who have had their home addresses publicized, and people living 30 minutes from police response. Having a gun in a safe is useless for home defense.

Try again, "dude"...

Comment Re:Great one more fail (Score 1) 600

> How many people are "responsible",p> Many gun affectionados I know think your idea of storing guns in a safe is the start of the
> guvernment taking them away. Same for a trigger lock. All of those things slow them down if some thug comes into their house.

Why don't you ask your local police department how many of the officers keep their weapons in a safe at night? Or use trigger locks? Include the ones with kids. When you figure out why THEY don't want to do it, you'll figure out why the rest of us don't.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981