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Comment: Re:Automotive (Score 1) 158

Not only that, but custom engine control computers are making performance tweaking a great place for an experienced computer professional. A friend of mine built a truck with such a controller and asked me to help him install and use the software for configuring the system. It is amazing how tweak-able everything is. It feels like somehow building an RPG character using a network monitoring suite, which is a little bizarre, but could be interesting.

Comment: Are we getting THAT old??? (Score 1) 1191

by bearded_yak (#45010647) Attached to: Come Try Out Slashdot's New Design (In Beta)

I normally try to be constructive, but WTF is up with the giant font for the headlines? I may be old enough to remember when Slashdot was a newborn, but I'm not so old I can't see a more reasonably-sized font. The old style with a smaller contrasting font on a colored bar would make scanning the page for items of interest much more enjoyable.


+ - I've been asked for a review of the boss, by the boss's boss.

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I'm a software engineer for a small company. The development team is composed of only a handful of people, I'm the newest of them. We have a very low turn over rate, the last hire in our dept. has been there for 9 years, and the one before that 22. A 'new' version of our software has been in development for over 8 years, without having an official release version. Ok, that's the meat and potatoes of the story. The conundrum comes in when the boss's boss comes into my office toward the end of the day (after everyone else had left) and asks me if i would have a beer with him sometime after work and discuss my impressions of the company. (I've been there just long enough to get a real feel for the culture and people there). Specifically, he wants to know what i think of the development environment/people and how the culture of it the work place may be affecting the development process (8 years for a 1st official release is ridiculous, so the question is entirely appropriate).

I'm not a very diplomatic person, and I'm aware of that quality in myself. That said, I realize that situations like this usually need to be handled with the utmost diplomacy. I want to be very careful not to burn any bridges, as this is my first job after college, and references are important. At the same time, I see many places where changes in policy/habits/culture could have a positive impact on what we produce and how we get there.

Of course i told the boss's boss i would be happy to sit down and talk with him, but a time/date wasn't set, and I specified that I first wanted to collect my thoughts on the matter.

So my question to all of you, is really about past experiences with similar situations, and any advice you might have to a newbie in the industry.

thanks for reading my post."

Comment: Re:Good (Score 2) 451

by bearded_yak (#42780667) Attached to: Apple Angers Mac Users With Silent Shutdown of Java 7

...Oracle [...] unchecks the default boxes to opt out. That's greedy. To an even greater extent that's sleazy and just...trashy.

Thank you! It's amazing how many customers bring in their computers for a tuneup who have no idea how they got the Ask toolbar. Granted it is just as much the user's fault for not reading, but at the same time, the user puts a lot of trust in such a major-name product and shouldn't have to worry about having something slipped by them.

Comment: Net10 (Score 1) 246

by bearded_yak (#42707991) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Pay-as-You-Go Plan For Text and Voice Only?

I've had good luck with Net10 and quite like their pricing plan. I know folks buy the Net10 SIM for unlocked GSM iPhones, but I don't know how well they would work in the scenario you describe. I think their SIM is something like $15-$20. I pay a little over $45/month for an auto-renewing 'unlimited' prepaid plan.

And, if you use their forum for support and don't mind waiting a day or two for a response, the support isn't bad. Calling their support line can sometimes be a frustrating experience (like any other cell provider nowadays), so I just use the forum.

Comment: Re:Not all user agents support the File API (Score 1) 314

by bearded_yak (#42644121) Attached to: Kim Dotcom's 'Mega' Storage Site Arrives

Actually, spoken as someone who uses and supports a number of industrial and consumer operating systems and is tired of fanboyism on all sides. The Mac zealots and the Windows drones are just the most public of the stick-the-fingers-in-the-ears crowd.

Anybody who totally discounts the usefulness of any major OS seems, to me, intensely closed-minded. I couldn't live without any one of the six different operating systems I use, and I would never substitute one of them for the other, because they all have their strengths and purposes. And to use a completely non-OS topic as a platform to spew OS bigotry just happened to hit my buttons yesterday.

Then again, I myself am off-topic, so I guess I'm just as bad.

+ - Options for FOSS remote support software? 1

Submitted by Albanach
Albanach (527650) writes "I'm sure I'm not alone in being asked to help friends and family with computer issues. These folk typically run Windows (everything from XP onward) or OS X (typically 10.4 onward). Naturally, desktop sharing is often much easier than trying to talk the other end through various steps. I've found free sites like but they don't work with OS X 10.4, neither does the Chrome plugin. I'd also prefer not to compromise security by using a third party in the middle of the connection. Is there a good, free solution I can run on my linux box that supports old and new clients that run Windows, OS X and possibly linux? I'd love it if the users could simply bring their systems up to date, but that doesn't solve the third party issue and it's not easy when it requires a non-trivial RAM upgrade on a Mac Mini."

Comment: Is it any wonder? (Score 5, Interesting) 197

by bearded_yak (#40691911) Attached to: The Decline of Fiction In Video Games

I'm not surprised by the state of the industry. The decline began a few years ago when a new generation of players chose war/battle/FPS games over First Person Action games (What's FPA? Think Myst, kids. If you don't know what that is, you know where to look).

In my opinion, war-like gaming appeals to a base survival and agression instinct and can indeed be involving, but eventually becomes numbing and the player is unsatisfied until another game provides a stronger instinctual reaction, which becomes more and more difficult to achieve. As this happens, interest falls off. I've seen it happen to people time and time again.

Storyline-based gaming based primarily on a world and interactions within that world activates more of the creative portion of the mind, digging out the player's imagination from under the clutter that schooling and obsessive parenting buried it under. The abilities of the imagination are endless and a properly planned First Person Action game uses as much of the player's imagination as it does game mechanics, ensuring that the user is partially responsible for creating their own experience.

For the most part, I think the folks at Frictional Games might understand how to use the best of both better than anybody. While their games may not appeal to today's most vehement FPS gamers, once those same people reach an insurmountable numbness with their own genre, those who try the kind of product Frictional puts out could find some comfort, as Frictional builds on a mix of both survival instinct and imagination.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)