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Comment Re:Good advice .. but check your contract (Score 2) 516

He wants to rekindle his love of coding, not make a bunch of money. If I were him, I'd go ahead and code up whatever I want, and damn the contract. If his job wants it, they can take it. Then, they can spend money QA testing it, redoing the UI, marketing and advertising it. It's all good, if he's having fun.

Comment Re:In socialist America (Score 1) 158

"Never mind the fact that that single program alone accounts for about 1/3 of the US deficit."
Not true. in 2010, SS will add $10B to the deficit. The deficit is projected to be above $1T, resulting in SS being 1%, not 33% as you claim, of the US deficit.

"Think about that for a minute - you have to be 65 to collect, and the average life span is in the upper 70's"
Average life span is a tricky measure. Many people die as the very young or as teenagers. A much smaller percentage of people die between 18 and 80. If you've started work, there's a better than even chance of you collecting your social security.

Comment get a desktop, don't expect miracles at first (Score 1) 556

2 is young for having a computer. Even if your child is exceptionally bright, there's a lack of motor coordination that makes using the mouse impossible. So, don't be worried if your child doesn't take to the computer immediately. My kids didn't get interested in the computer until they were 3, and not really proficient until 4.

That being said, my advice is to buy a desktop with a cheap keyboard. Laptops break too easily, regardless of the brand. The biggest threat to the computer is from spilled food. Laptops are portable, thus easier to drag over to the dinner table. Even with pretty strict rules about eating and playing games, we've still lost a dozen or so keyboards to spilled milk, mac&cheese, etc.

Check online for games. Sometimes it's nice to buy an installable game, but there are really excellent games for pretty much every kids show. Look for the production company that makes your kids favorite shows (Noggin, Playhouse Disney, etc). They usually have links to a bunch of clever flash games. If that doesn't work, search for the show itself. Pretty much every show has good games. Eventually, the kids will learn to look for games under other shows, so their supply of games can be even larger than the number of shows they watch. A bonus is that these same games will work on Linux and Macintosh.

Check out webkinz. You buy a doll which gives you access to an online game site. It's a very clever site, much more involved than the games for the TV shows. 2 is waaayyy too young for it, though. You don't need to be able to read, but you need to be able to puzzle out the menus and remember which one gets you where. But, it's worth remembering for when your child is old enough.

Finally, be prepared for your kids to *hate* your games. They're just not interesting for kids. Or too violent. It'll be years before you both want to play the same games.

Comment Reliable Response Notification (Score 1) 584

My company's product (plug alert!), Reliable Response Notification, is an IT emergency notification product. Essentially, it's a paging server. It handles this by giving you multiple notification options, including voice notification which calls you over the POTS. It also can be configured to retry you after 5, 10, or 15 minutes if you don't respond in time, or escalate up a chain if you happen to sleep through or miss your page. With Blackberries, we've had good luck using GTalk, which for some reason beeps louder than email or SMS.

Of course, we also support pagers. Since pagers tend to be a little more expensive and a little more rare, it's common for our customers to have one "on-call" pager which they hand off to the on-call person. After the on-call pager, we put a rotating list of backup on-call staff, in case the primary misses the page.

Software 3.0 Is Officially Here 284

SNate writes "After a grinding three-year development cycle, the team has finally squeezed out a new release. New features include support for the controversial Microsoft OOXML file format, multi-page views in Writer, and PDF import via an extension. Linux Format has an overview of the new release, asking the question: is it really worth the 3.0 label?"
User Journal

Journal Journal: Interesting statistics site

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has a great site for getting useful stats.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Need to Reform Social Security

This fight for Social Security has been raging for a few months. Bush proposed a plan, finally, that outlines privitization and a reduction in benefits for the middle class and rich. He claims that it's better than if no one acts, which, at this point, is probably true. The thing that no one is saying is that *George Bush created this crisis*!

User Journal

Journal Journal: What to do about Iraq?

Okay, so Iraq is a mess. Everyone argues that we can't simply leave, and I agree. But, I don't agree that means we stay the (obviously broken) course. And, I don't believe that means we have to back the person who put us in this mess, the President. So, what is my solution? Well, here's something I don't think I've heard anyone suggest.

How about we rebuild Iraq?

Yes, yes, wacky solution. The next question is always "Okay, but how?" Here's how.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Deprecate the Home button!

I use Mozilla when I'm at work and using Windows, Galeon at home. Both have "Personal Toolbars", which basically means a toolbar below the menu which can contain links or hierarchical menus of links. In this toolbar, I also have a hard-coded button labeled "Home" with a nice picture of a poorly built house. I understand why we had the home button way back when, but I think it's time to get rid of it now.

Your good nature will bring you unbounded happiness.