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Comment: Re:What do you want from life? (Score 2) 263

by happyslayer (#46338141) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When Is a Better Career Opportunity Worth a Pay Cut?

Agree with both CheezburgerBrown and MoonlessNights.

I was at a good paying job (for the area), but the work was ossifying into maintenance mode for internal-only apps; in 3-5 years, they wouldn't need anyone who could do put together new or better systems. Being a government contract project (federal level), I figured that 3-5 was about how long before I was on the chopping block or eyeing water towers as a sniper.

(Add to this the fact that the old IT team from 30 years ago was still around working on another part of the facility--it was like getting drug along by the Ghost of IT Departments Future, and I didn't want to become a caricature of myself or them...)

So I started looking around, willing to take a small short-term cut for long term growth and happiness. What I ended up with was more pay, working from home, and an entire industry that was ripe for upgrade and improvement.

You've got a job, so take your time. If the one you're thinking about will make you happy, and has the upward mobility you want, then you'll just have to make the call. If it doesn't pan out (like about 1/2 dozen of my potential jobs did), just keep looking.

Comment: Re:You Tell Me If You're Too Old; What Is Your Goa (Score 3, Informative) 418

by happyslayer (#41563333) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Retrain?

You know, 40 wasn't where it it me. It was about 46 or so. And then it HIT me. I love learning, so don't get me wrong, but a couple years ago, I really noticed that stuff was just not sticking like it used to. Abstraction helps, but specifics come and go. I no longer try to remember them, Google search everything.

I'm 42 now, and have had a full-time .NET dev job for the last year. Before that, I was going back to grad school for a degree in Computer Science. I loved the education environment, but left because a) I needed the money (loans were stacking up), and b) this was just about the ideal position.

On top of that, I have never worked with .NET before, but the business was willing to take a risk because they needed the experience and were setting up a shop to take over a lot of legacy tech.

Turns out it was the best move I could make. There's only one other developer in the group my age; the rest are in their late 20s to early 30s--several with .NET only experience. But the other "old" guy and myself are pretty much running the place from an expertise point of view*, because depth of experience can matter more than single-language expertise. An array is an array, string functions work pretty much the same across the board, and it's more a matter of Googling "How do I do X in .NET?" than trying to figure out what the hell you need to do in the first place.

If you love learning, you never get stale; if you're tired of or worried about learning, find something that will excite you enough to want to learn how to make it happen.

* This is not to say that I am all that and a bag of chips--I struggle with the way .NET handles certain things, but I enjoy learning how to do it. And, if something isn't working, I can usually figure out what is going wrong on a fundamental level instead of just throwing in a cookbook answer and saying, "Magic happens..."

Also, I am sure that in a heavy .NET shop that's been around for a while, the story would have ended with me as "that old guy who didn't know what LINQ was," but my point is that it's not all doom and gloom.

Comment: Re:Yup, Probably true (Score 3, Insightful) 278

by happyslayer (#33266016) Attached to: 75% Use Same Password For Social Media & Email

Same basic process, though different criteria for me:

  • Junk sites (one-time login for news, quick downloads, register-to-see, tech mailing lists) get the same low-end password. If I can't foresee any information that I care about going to that site, then it gets a basic throwaway. (I also misspell registration details so i have an idea if advertisers are getting that info).
  • Slashdot, forums, etc: Also low-grade. Sorry, but if someone gets their rocks off posting crap as me, I can live with it. I've got enough First Life points to keep me busy.
  • Personal email: Since I don't trust the email systems that are in the hands of others, I don't put anything on there I care about. (If someone wants to know that I'm asking my prof how to fix some code, more power to them--it'll bore them to tears.) Hence, it gets a medium-grade password.
  • Online stores: Medium grade for one-time purchases, high-grade for repeat business.
  • Own email system, bank, etc: High grade password, randomized (at least to the rest of the world) that it passes the basic dictionary-attack. For example, I somehow remember old phone numbers and bank accounts from 20 years ago (none of which are in use); add a couple of 1337-speak letters and you're in business.

Like the parent, it's really a matter of compartmentalization and damage control. If you don't own the system, it's not completely trustworthy. If it's your system, it's only modestly trustworthy. If you're doing something criminal/embarassing/stupid, it's better to leave all notes at the bottom of the Marianas trench.

Comment: Re:Won't someone please think of the children (Score 2, Interesting) 256

by happyslayer (#31041888) Attached to: FBI Pushing For 2-Year Retention of Web Traffic Logs

Good "think of the children" dilemma for Haiti:

Human trafficking, sex slavery, and other forms of abuse happen. When you start transporting large numbers of people over borders, it's pretty much inevitable that some are going to end up in a living hell.

OTOH, kids in Haiti have lost parents, government has pretty much collapsed, and there will probably be plenty of horror stories of infection, disease, and abuse for the kids stuck in other words, children denied the opportunity to get out of the country will end up in a living hell.

So here's the question for all those 'think of the children' moralizers out there:

  • How many children are you going to condemn to die in Haiti to protect those who would end up abused by human traffickers and their customers?
  • How many children are you going to condemn to suffering and abuse at the hands of the worst of humanity in order to save those who would die or suffer horribly otherwise?

There is no good answer--"think of the children" is usually an excuse to get what you want anyways--without considering the consequences.

Comment: Re:Wait hold on mugger... (Score 1) 457

by happyslayer (#30963490) Attached to: Gun With Wireless Arming Signal Goes On Sale Soon

As an aside, this would make locating weapons extremely easy--all you have to do is walk around with an RF scanner, searching for watch and/or weapons signals.

It's early, maybe I'm just slow, but what would be the advantage of that for the person who would be doing the scanning?

For an individual...not much at all.

For a group, though, it would make life much easier.

  • Building security (court houses, concerts, football games....)
  • Bodyguards (Secret Service, rich folk, etc)
  • Law enforcement serving warrants
  • Lynch mobs serving complaints
  • Jack-booted storm troopers "protecting" the citizenry
  • Anyone who wants to make sure anyone else doesn't have a weapon

Because of this, I believe there will be a brief, frenzied effort to make these things mandatory...and it will fail miserably in the long run.

Comment: Re:Wait hold on mugger... (Score 5, Interesting) 457

by happyslayer (#30961726) Attached to: Gun With Wireless Arming Signal Goes On Sale Soon

And on the opposite side--send out a signal that authorizes any weapon!

If the authentication takes place only within the watch, then the weapon's mechanism is just looking for an arming signal--probably something simple--and you could mass jam or arm weapons with a strong enough transmitter (I'm thinking of those shopping-cart brake systems that people have been pranking...). Heck, you can even get your own watch, put in your own pin, and steal any weapon and it will work!

OTOH, if the weapons' system is tied to a specific watch, then the failure rate will be through the roof! And, of course, you can disarm everyone easily because the systems are so strict.

As an aside, this would make locating weapons extremely easy--all you have to do is walk around with an RF scanner, searching for watch and/or weapons signals.

I see a big market for jammers, spoofers, RF scanners, and a multitude of other mini-electronic RF products. I better go take some spectrum-analysis classes soon.

Comment: LinuxMCE (Score 3, Interesting) 131

by happyslayer (#29987744) Attached to: On-Demand Video + CMS + Interactive Input For Museum?

I've been looking at LinuxMCE for my own home system. It looks like a really good fit for what you want: Media, touchscreen controls, multiple outputs. Plus, it's a thin-client system, so once you decide on a terminal setup, you can repeat ad nauseum.

I would also point out that this may be a good setup for the expansion you're alluding to. For example, you could set up different accounts for either different works or different artists. Log all the terminals in one room to the account under that artist, and you could have the media for all the different pieces queued up on the menu.

Hmmm..if you ever had a Salvador Dali exhibit, you could have some Dark Side of the Moon playing on the sound system...

Comment: Re:DMCA? (Score 1) 234

by happyslayer (#29919327) Attached to: Fixing Bugs, But Bypassing the Source Code

Ouch! The dreaded "Offtopic" moderation...perhaps I should elaborate:

Others have already pointed out the "blackhats just got a new weapon" scenario, so I thought another possible (mis)use would be to patch software to which we do not have the source code.

  • Commonly used software w/o source code? Windows and DRM systems. Check.
  • Commonly used systems that inhibit user's systems? WGA and DRM. Check.
  • Software that rewrites/patches binaries without source? Clearwater. Check.
  • Obvious non-software response by corporations whose systems are getting hacked? DMCA letters...either to the Clearwater developers or anyone who distributes such a patch.

Just my inflation-adjusted 2 cents...

Comment: DMCA? (Score 0, Offtopic) 234

by happyslayer (#29918373) Attached to: Fixing Bugs, But Bypassing the Source Code

So how long before someone uses this to "patch" DRM and/or Windows Genuine Advantage? They interfere with my computer's functions, cause software/systems to fail out of nowhere, and are an unwanted inclusion in many programs. Yep--sounds like bugs to me!

Which means it won't be long before patches are available. Cue the angry horde of DMCA attorneys....

Comment: Re:Making disaster recovery part of your capacity? (Score 1) 51

by happyslayer (#29853001) Attached to: How To Stretch Your Security Dollar

I agree that an ideal backup solution would be something along the lines of Cheyenne Mountain's basement--with armies of mole-men transcribing the data onto titanium slabs. (Mole men are secure, because all you need to keep them in check is a couple of big sun lamps!)

But, I would say that the old Meatloaf song would make a good compromise to your 3 criteria: "Two out of Three Ain't Bad." In my particular case, I had a medical customer who needed reasonably up-to-date backups of everything...worst case scenario being the building burned down. So, with that in mind, I ended up using rdiff-backup over ssh to our own servers. Reasoning as follows:

  • Periodic checks were done by me and my staff at varying hours...check.
  • Off-site backup...check. Customer could reasonably get up and running with a big check, a trip to Walmart, and about 12-24 hours of coffee for me and my folks.
  • Users were complete "Users", as in, did not know, care, or desire to learn how things worked--they just "should."

Because of that last item, relying on them to perform an off-line backup, take the data to an off-site facility, and remember to bring them back in in the morning for another cycle was out of the question. Also, I was being paid well, but not well enough to make the trip every single day to personally conduct the work myself...or pay a minion to do it.

(Funny how a doctor will by a brand new Escalade for show, then scrimp on paying for extra work and extra security...probably not the only industry that way...)

Overall, it worked great. Problems were identified quickly, never lost any data over 3-1/2 years of servicing the contract, and went through 3 various upgrades and major replacements without any data lost.

This isn't to promote online-offsite backups, just to say that there are times where we all compromise....and as for my backups, they were periodic, off-site, and offline...and included the customer's data...just less frequent snapshots.

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"