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Comment: Re:Overstating their case (Score 5, Insightful) 168

by esme (#45567751) Attached to: Why Competing For Tenure Is Like Trying To Become a Drug Lord

Though this is because the only people who get tenure-track jobs in the first place are those who've already gotten a PhD., and so by definition have the self-control to resist the urge to kill the back-stabbing bastards who deserve it.

Reminds me of the shooting at SDSU in 1996 -- I knew several grad students who were stunned that a master's student had gunned down his committee. Not that he's shot them (which they could sympathize with), but that he'd done it over a master's degree.

-Esme

Comment: Re:Start small (Score 1) 504

I think all skilled jobs are hard to get unless you have connections or experience. From the other side, I can say that hiring someone is always a crapshoot, so unless someone has one of those things, it's hard to trust that they'll be any good, no matter what they tell you.

Though one thing I will say about being a programmer with an English degree is that I used the skills I learned in undergrad (critical thinking, close analysis, communication) all the time. I just laughed every time I heard a CS grad say all the stuff they learned had nothing to do with the actual programming we were doing.

Comment: Start small (Score 1) 504

I graduated with an even less practical degree (English/Creative Writing), and also didn't get into grad school. I also wasn't able to find a job in publishing or anything else related to my degree. I had a lot of computer skills (mostly sysadmin) and wanted to find a job using them, and also had no luck with that.

This was more than a decade ago, but I think I'd still recommend the same strategy I went down to a temp agency, and filled out all the skills inventories. I took the typing test, etc. And I got a job answering phones, typing letters, working weekends, etc. This was at a small company (15 employees), and I eventually got promoted when the "computer guy" quit. This gave me some decent computer-related experience to put on my resume, and got me taken seriously when I applied for jobs.

My temp job wasn't fun. There was a lot of crap work and overtime. But it got me started, and my next job was much better.

Comment: Re:Tech news? (Score 2) 150

by esme (#37754042) Attached to: Investors Campaign To Oust Murdochs From News Corp

And this matters? No it is News for Nerds this is News for bankers and stock brokers.
Heck it is even tagged Business!

yes, a possible change in the leadership of a company that is very influential in politics, news and entertainment matters -- at least to me, and probably most nerds who care about government or entertainment, which is probably ~100%.

Slashdot is dead.

/me checks poster's id

cry me a river, kid. people have been complaining about /. going downhill since forever. if you don't like it, quit bitching and read something else.

-esme

Comment: this is great news (Score 2) 33

by esme (#37624556) Attached to: OpenStack Spun Out From Rackspace Control

i've just started working with openstack recently, and my university is adopting it in a big way. so it's great to see it get a little independence from rackspace. not they had ever done or said anything that had me worried, but any time a project is controlled by a single vendor (whose interests might diverge from mine at any time), it makes me a little worried. so having that resolved make me even happier about working with open stack.

Comment: This is the FIRST step (Score 1) 74

by esme (#37350226) Attached to: Mozilla Issues Do-Not-Track Guide For Advertisers

What I think a lot of people are missing is that these are the necessary first steps in the process of stopping tracking:

1. Provide technical infrastructure for users to express their prefs.
2. Provide advertisers the tools to see those prefs, how to handle them, etc.
3. A few ethical advertisers implement those tools and demonstrate that it's feasible.
4. Make it illegal to ignore the prefs.
5. FTC comes down like a ton of bricks on anybody who tracks people who opted out.

Comment: In Defense of the Liberal Arts (Score 2, Insightful) 913

by esme (#36568188) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: CS Degree Without Gen-Ed Requirements?

While these fields are useful and perhaps enriching, they will not contribute to making me better at my job.

That's where you're wrong. Speaking as a developer with a BA in English, I can tell you that your English, History, and Art classes will make you better at your job. They will make you better able to relate to people outside IT fields, better able to reason and argue logically, and give you a broader perspective of your (and your code's) context.

I can't tell you how many CS graduates I've seen at my workplace, lamenting how worthless their CS classes were because the tools we work with, and the problems we're trying to solve, bear no resemblance to their coursework. I've never heard the same from a liberal arts graduate, because everybody knows the point of a liberal education is to make you able to think critically, and give you the foundation you need to learn anything you need to learn later in life.

Comment: Dead End (Score 1) 1162

by esme (#35869364) Attached to: Why Has Blu-ray Failed To Catch Hold?

Why would you buy into a format like Blu-Ray when it's such an obvious technological dead-end? When DVDs came out, they were so much better than VHS, that people pretty much switched over when the price got low enough for them. But with the Blu-Ray, the advantages are much subtler, you really need HDTV (which already excludes a big chunk of the market), and DVD quality is good enough. And with the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray format war, I think many people who might have adopted Blu-Ray sat on the sidelines waiting for that to be settled. By the time Blu-Ray finally emerged victorious, it seemed pretty clear that it was already obsolete.

Sure, there are a lot of problems with online video services right now, and the quality is not as good as Blu-Ray. But physical media is obviously going to be replaced by online video in the near future, and the quality and selection problems will work themselves out with scale. So unless you're not bothered buying into something only to throw it out in a year or two, I can't imagine adopting Blu-Ray now (and if that applies to you, you've probably already done so).

Comment: Not what I think of... (Score 2) 168

by esme (#35761948) Attached to: Dropbox Authentication: Insecure By Design

This isn't what I think of when I think of "insecure by design". This term is usually applied to things like DRM, where it would be impossible, or very very difficult, to fix, and would require completely redesigning how the access control system works.

In this case, dropbox writes a sqlite db after authenticating, and then doesn't check to make sure that it's valid later on. So you can alter the db file to access other people's accounts without having to re-authenticate.

It would be trivial for dropbox to update their app to at least check that the sqlite db is internally-consistent, and require re-auth if not. So there is no giant design issue preventing them from fixing this.

Comment: Re:do-not-meddle-in-the-affairs-of-greedy-offsprin (Score 2) 337

by esme (#35278670) Attached to: Tolkien Estate Says No Historical Fiction For JRR

Why? Because copyright is a bargain. We temporarily give up our right to copy an artist's work in exchange for that work eventually going into the public domain (and not just being squirreled away unread in an attic somewhere).

In the last generation, copyright holders have systematically broken this bargain, extending copyright terms to insane lengths, expanding copyright scope, stifling fair use, etc. Using the threat of legal harassment to deter new writers from writing about long-dead public figures is just another in a long chain of abuse of wealth, power and a broken copyright regime.

-Esme

Comment: Re:Ok, someone who understands this stuff... (Score 3, Insightful) 360

by esme (#34365340) Attached to: USCG Sues Copyright Defense Lawyer

I doubt very much they are trying to argue that he's doing too good a job of defending people. My guess is that they are going after him for providing legal advice to people where he's lot licensed, providing legal advice to people he's never talked to, or some similar rule that's setup to prevent lawyers from ripping off clients. The amount of money they are asking for is probably justified as recouping their expenses that came from his "malpractice".

I don't know the details of the case, or have any idea if he's technically in violation of some rule or not. I do know that retail-packaged legal advice (like make-your-own-will computer software) sometimes runs into problems in some jurisdictions, so it's not that big of a stretch to think this might stick.

Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig

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