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Comment: The Problem With Certs (Score 2) 317

by afabbro (#48552515) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?

The main problem with certs can be demonstrating by googling the cert title or number + "dumps". You will find the exact questions and answers for most tests. (More on "most" in a moment.) I don't mean a detailed outline - I mean the full text of the question, the possible answers, and which one is correct. Memorize the answers and you pass the cert.

As someone who periodically participates in hiring, I don't see much value in certs. I've had the experience of people who had certs who didn't know their stuff. I've never known any employer who given a choice between someone with many years of experience and someone with a cert, would choose the latter.

There are other problems with certs. I've always found the format is quite ridiculous. Why should I memorize things? If they test concepts, that'd be one thing, but often certs are "which of these commands is correct" kind of questions. What, am I trapped on a desert island with a datacenter to administer and no manuals?

That said, certs can't hurt. I find them valuable to study for though less to actually take. Vendors outline everything to get a basic knowledge, and that's useful to go over. The only time I see real value in certs is

  • Your employer is a government agency or some kind of big bureaucracy and they require the cert for a position.
  • Some vendors will only extend certain partnerships ("Gold VAR" or whatever) to companies that have X number of certified technicians
  • Your company is providing services and wants to be able to say "all our techs are certified in X" for marketing purposes

All that said...the exception to the above is the certs that do have some value. These are the certs that you have to pass a lab for: RHCE, Oracle Certified Master, Cisco's CCIE, etc. A CCIE is highly valuable - those guys bill very well.

Comment: Diaspora is still very much alive (Score 1) 88

by afabbro (#48464263) Attached to: Revisiting Open Source Social Networking Alternatives

Remember Diaspora? In 2010, it raised $200,641 on Kickstarter to take on Facebook with "an open source personal web server to share all your stuff online." Two years later, they essentially gave up, leaving their code to the open source community to carry forward.

Diaspora is still very much alive.

Comment: Re:Shyeah, right. (Score 1) 284

by afabbro (#48464195) Attached to: Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

in at least 1 different state

Are you expecting an entire state to disappear? I mean, I've heard jokes about California falling into the ocean, but a requirement of having backups in two different states seems kind of extreme.

Particularly because "two different states" could mean "Rhode Island and Delaware" which is very different than "Alaska and Florida."

Comment: So encrypt your email (Score 1) 986

by afabbro (#44619311) Attached to: Joining Lavabit Et Al, Groklaw Shuts Down Because of NSA Dragnet
In the early 90s, I used to read the cypherpunks email list. During the PGP, Clipper chip, etc. drama, the cypherpunks were discussing practical ways of encryption. They wrote code and collected practical how-to guides on encryption. Lots of good stuff - how to automate encryption on your email, how to make an encrypted "cryptobook" laptop, etc. And no one used it. Today encryption is used only for shopping. When's the last time you got an encrypted email? It isn't for lack of technology.

Comment: Re:We already have these... (Score 1) 400

by afabbro (#39929371) Attached to: America's Next Bomber: Unmanned, Unlimited Range, Aimed At China

ICBMs have a habit of not being recallable. Once it is in the air, the only abort possible is destruction of the missile. Unfortunately, that still leaves a lot of shrapnel on a ballistic trajectory to the target.

They get to the target in 30-60 minutes. If you are so confused that you're going to change your mind in 30 minutes, don't launch.

Comment: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Geek Inconvenienced (Score 1) 292

by afabbro (#39400569) Attached to: Time to Review FAA Gadget Policies

In most cases, you're talking about a few minutes before and during takeoff and a few minutes during landing. During that time, read a book.

I've certainly used tablets, phones (for apps), and laptops all other times during flight.

There is no one on this planet who can't live without the Internet for the duration of a flight. If you are so insanely important, buy the plane's service.

What is worth doing is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do.