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Comment: ROI depends on investment as well as return (Score 1) 139

by billstewart (#49384253) Attached to: IT Jobs With the Best (and Worst) ROI

The original material talked about salaries and job titles; it didn't say how much investment it took to develop the skills to get those titles. Some of those skills are things you can add quickly; others take a long time or access to appropriate work environments. (For instance, learning PHP is quick, and Ruby on Rails isn't that hard either. But while you can learn SQL and MySQL pretty quickly, becoming a DBA really needs access to real-world databases and workloads that you're involved in administering.)

Comment: Radio Shack Closing Around Them (Score 1) 92

by billstewart (#49368043) Attached to: Arduino Dispute Reaches Out To Distributors

I started playing with Arduinos a couple of years ago. You ordered them by mail order at the time. Eventually Radio Shack started carrying them, which made it easier for anybody to pick one up (and while I live in Silicon Valley, if I needed a few resistors or LEDs or simple components to go with them, it was often easier to stop at Radio Shack than Fry's or mailorder.) Now they're fighting over the name, and Radio Shack is going out of business.

Comment: Booth Babes never made sense at RSA (Score 3, Informative) 326

by billstewart (#49351139) Attached to: RSA Conference Bans "Booth Babes"

They were a really clear indicator that the occasional companies that hired them seriously didn't understand their audience, and hadn't brought anybody who knew anything technical to their booth, probably not even any marketing people who understood the product, so you could pretty much skip them, because they were pretty much always useless as well as unprofessional.

On the other hand, you can totally bribe us with chocolate or especially coffee, and we might sit through your silly magician act for a raffle ticket for an iThing as long as there was technical content at your booth, and we'll pick up blinky tchotchkes with your logo on them. The woman I'd rather talk to at your booth is the one who developed the cool product, or can explain it well.

When my company's been at trade shows in the area, about half their staff are booth-running professionals, rather than product-related, from the people who set the thing up and make sure all the marketing content is there to the people who herd customers in, figure out what they're interested in (even if it's just at the buzzword level), bring them over to the right part of the booth or find the right person if they need to, scan your contact info, get the speakers on and off the stage, etc., and about half are either main-office or local people who know something about whatever we're trying to sell. They seem to do a good job on the mechanics of it (I've occasionally ended up as local booth staff), and they're seriously good at respecting the audience.

Comment: Never happened. (Score 1) 54

Never did - here's the Wikipedia about the Indiana Pi Bill. The crackpot proposed a bill that would acknowledge his collection of R33lY k3wl mathematical discoveries and let Indiana schools teach them free (in return for royalties from other user, if I'm reading it right), it snuck past the Indiana House, and a Professor Waldo told the Indiana Senate how bogus it was. It was close to passing there anyway, but one senator pointed out that it's not the Senate's job to establish mathematical truth. And now you know Where Waldo Was.

Comment: Whistleblowing about the local mayor (Score 1) 54

Back in the 60s, my father-in-law ran a weekly paper in his small town. It eventually got shut down by the police on some bogus excuse; the actual reason was that he wasn't just writing that the mayor was taking bribes, but had the bad taste to say who they were from and what for. Corruption does also exist in the US, and so does censorship. (I didn't see much censorship when I lived in New Jersey, though - just corruption.)

Comment: Re:Countries without nuclear weapons get invaded (Score 4, Informative) 228

by billstewart (#49338009) Attached to: How Nuclear Weapon Modernization Undercuts Disarmament

The Iraqis got their chemical weapons from the US for use against Iran. The US still hasn't destroyed their own CBW program products (though they do occasionally retire old unstable chemical weapons, as they've done recently.)

And both the US and Russians still have their hoards of smallpox, pretending they need to keep them to develop vaccines in case the other side uses theirs to attack, even though cowpox ("vaccinia") is good enough for a vaccine and not good enough for a weapon.

Comment: Pakistan, Israel (Score 1) 228

by billstewart (#49337975) Attached to: How Nuclear Weapon Modernization Undercuts Disarmament

Pakistan has nuclear weapons (and India has the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Nuclear Bombs as well), but aside from their border conflicts around Kashmir (for which the nukes make war less likely but more risky), their big invasion problem is non-governmental forces like Taliban, for whom nukes are really no use at all.

And Israel, of course, has the bomb (probably also the hydrogen bomb), but you're not allowed to say that in discussions about whether Iran can make one also. Wouldn't be a total surprise if the Saudis had it too.

Comment: Android Unlocking Sucks (Score 1) 127

When I'm talking on the phone, the timer for the screen-lock should NOT be running. I frequently have calls that last more than 15 minutes, often set the phone down and use headphones during the call, and it's really annoying that after I hang up, the phone's locked. (If somebody else calls me when me phone's locked, locking when the call's done is fine, but not when I'm the one who made the call or the phone was unlocked when the call came in.)

I'm running 4.4.2 on a Samsung. The phone is provided by $DAYJOB, so they specify which locking options are available (face-unlock isn't), but otherwise it's pretty vanilla. The code used to require 8 digits, now it seems to be text-input instead; both require me to put on my reading glasses to unlock the phone, especially because the numerical unlocker was really bad at touch-screen control, so I had to look at every digit I pressed and count how many actually got detected. Keypress beeps help, unless you're trying to unlock the phone after silencing it, which I often do, but those have a non-zero time lag after the keypress before it notices it should beep, and you can't always tell 1 beep from N beeps. I can now use Swype, which I couldn't when the requirement was all-digits, but it's not much of an improvement since my password isn't a dictionary word, though I suppose I could set it to "qwertyuiop" or "asdfghjkl".

Comment: Julian Simon's Long Boom (Score 1) 191

by billstewart (#49317715) Attached to: Your favorite Julian?

Wired had an article back in the late 90s about Julian Simon's predictions of "The Long Boom", where our high-tech economy with the Internet connecting everybody and delivering education and liberal economics was going to keep growing and making the world a better place indefinitely. Wasn't the Late 90s a great time!

Yeah, unfortunately, several sets of thugs decided war was a much better way to run a world, but even before that hit us, we'd started to question the value of buying dogfood online, and the parts of the tech boom that depended on Y2K-driven replacement of everything were thanked for their fine job and let go, and people started manipulating the US interest rates to affect the upcoming elections (2% rate change in a couple of months), which really didn't help a capital-intensive tech sector that was already getting threatened with anti-trust. And lots of other bad things happened, and good things stop happening, and good things happened in ways that make stuff enough cheaper it's hard to make a profit (Moore's Law etc.), and yeah, too bad.

Comment: Laptops owned by $DAYJOB (Score 1) 307

I picked storage, and that's what I've had the most problems with at home, but it's especially what I've had the most problems with at work, because if the storage goes bad, I can lose data, whereas if most other parts of the machine go bad, it's the IT department's problem. Back in the 1980s, when I used VAXen instead of laptops, lots of things had problems, but it was still usually either disk head crashes or tape drives doing something odd.

Reality? It's the SOFTWARE that's been the problem.


OS X Users: 13 Characters of Assyrian Can Crash Your Chrome Tab 119

Posted by timothy
from the cat-like-typing-detected dept.
abhishekmdb writes No browsers are safe, as proved yesterday at Pwn2Own, but crashing one of them with just one line of special code is slightly different. A developer has discovered a hack in Google Chrome which can crash the Chrome tab on a Mac PC. The code is a 13-character special string which appears to be written in Assyrian script. Matt C has reported the bug to Google, who have marked the report as duplicate. This means that Google are aware of the problem and are reportedly working on it.

+ - Twitter Adds Tool To Report Tweets To the Police->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Twitter is ramping up its efforts to combat harassment with a tool to help users report abusive content to law enforcement. The reports would include the flagged tweet and its URL, the time at which it was sent, the user name and account URL of the person who posted it, as well as a link to Twitter’s guidelines on how authorities can request non-public user account information from Twitter. It is left up to the user to forward the report to law enforcement and left up to law enforcement to request the user information from Twitter."
Link to Original Source

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354