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Comment: People that go to conferences aren't real (Score 1) 182

by jcadam (#47965483) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?
I've been programming a long time, am in my mid-30s, and have never attended one of these conferences. In fact, I've never attended any sort of employer-sponsored training whatsoever. Companies just don't pay for this sort of thing any more (I've had several employers over the course of my career, ranging from small businesses to mega corps -- all have been identical in their lack of training budget). In fact, I wonder how in the world conferences manage to fill their seats -- your average middle-class software engineer is not going to be willing/able to cough up several thousand $$ of his own money to attend a three day conference.

Now, I have certainly asked to attend conferences in the past, and even for local conferences I was always told "Nope, not in the budget. Feel free to pay the $2000 registration fee yourself and take vacation time to attend." Gee, thanks.

Comment: Re:Come on home to Linux (Score 1) 965

by jcadam (#43170547) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Mac To Linux Return Flow?

I avoided iMacs altogether until the PPC -> x86 switch because Apple used to provide an entry-level PowerMac tower. That went away with the Mac Pro. Since I'd never had a problem with any of my previous Macs (excepting the iBook I spilled Jack Daniels' all over), it honestly didn't occur to me that I'd need to be cracking the thing open. Since I am no longer a gamer, I don't have much of a need to constantly tweak/upgrade my system.

Of course I always knew an all-in-one wouldn't be serviceable. Until my recent troubles that was always only a theoretical concern (in theory, if something breaks, fixing it will suck)... The iMac was the first (and last) all-in-one desktop I've ever owned. All the disadvantages of a laptop, combined with all of the disadvantages of a desktop. Had Apple sold a reasonably priced desktop machine, I might still be on OS X. .

Comment: Re:Come on home to Linux (Score 1) 965

by jcadam (#43168995) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Mac To Linux Return Flow?

Oh come on. Are you suggesting I can walk into a local computer parts shop, pick up a replacement part for my iMac, then follow some painstaking procedure to disassemble the thing and be back up in running in a matter of a few hours? I've replaced a hard drive on an iMac before, it is not the quick swap out you seem to be suggesting.

I used to love to tinker with this sort of thing when I was younger, but these days I'm busy doing actual, real work on my machines and just don't have the time. Using a machine made up of standard parts helps me minimize down time. Not to mention the parts are significantly cheaper (Apple is really proud of their replacement parts, have you ever seen a price list? Oh I know, go to eBay, because that's fast, esp, when you're in the middle of a project, approaching a deadline, and need to get back up and running right now) and readily available from a local source.

Comment: Come on home to Linux (Score 1) 965

by jcadam (#43166087) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Mac To Linux Return Flow?

I moved from Linux to Mac OS X back in the days of OS X 10.1. I bought myself a PowerMacintosh G3 (Beige desktop) when I was in college on ebay and thus begun my Apple fanboydom (as an aside, spell check wants me to change 'fanboydom' to 'bondwoman').

Over the years, as my income increased, I began buying myself brand new Macs from Apple - A PowerMac G4, A PowerMac G5, various PowerBook/Macbooks and finally iMacs. My experience with my 27" iMac finally did it for me. I had, against my better judgement, bought an all-in-one because the Mac Pro was just too dang expensive.

I quickly learned the hard way that all-in-ones are NOT user-serviceable. Power supply go bad? No, you can't slap another one in your tower, you get to lug your big iMac into an Apple Store, walk past all of the hipsters fondling their iDevices, and up to the "genius" bar and leave it there for a week. A week during which, btw, you're not getting any work done. I was so mad, I blogged:

So, the hardware situation, combined with the whole iOSification thing you mentioned, has driven me back into the clammy arms of the penguin. I tried a handful of distributions, and finally settled on Xubuntu, because I hate Gnome 3.

Comment: If you love testing, work in aerospace (Score 1) 228

by jcadam (#40945027) Attached to: Upgrading Software From 350 Million Miles Away
I once worked on simulation software for a new satellite that could be patched on-orbit (an orbiting satellite might as well be on Mars -- if you break it, it's going to stay broken). One of the main purposes of the software simulator, which ran the actual flight code that was on the bird, was to test new patches before they were pushed to the vehicle (and the vehicle itself did some validation of the patch after the upload was complete before applying it). Of course, hardware-in-the-loop testing using a duplicate test satellite on the ground was also done as a final step. In addition to a software simulator, I'm sure NASA has a duplicate rover or two in their labs for testing. The amount of testing done on these programs would drive you insane.

Comment: Productivity == SLOC (Score 1) 349

by jcadam (#40921811) Attached to: Bad Software Runs the World
As a software developer, I have yet to hold a job where I felt as though I was being paid to produce quality software.

Me: "In order to implement the new functionality I've had to rewrite the entire module"
PM: "Ooooh, what's the SLOC?"
Me: "It's decreased by about 2000."
PM: "WTF?! How am I supposed to report that on my weekly metrics spreadsheet?"

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 4, Interesting) 187

by jcadam (#40871309) Attached to: US Missile Defense Staff Told To Stop Watching Porn
Many years ago, when I was working on a large govt contract, one of the GS civilian managers got caught messing around with his secretary in one of the stairwells (security cameras? where?) and was not fired. He was instead 'promoted' into some position that, best I could tell, involved organizing social events and morale/team building activities. Since he couldn't be fired, he was placed in a slacker, low-stress position where he wouldn't be entrusted with anything that was actually important.

Comment: Re:I wouldn't. (Score 1) 429

by jcadam (#40764219) Attached to: Would You Trust an 80-Year-Old Nuclear Reactor?
I've always wondered why we don't have a massive geothermal power-generating complex sitting on top of Yellowstone. I remember visiting the park several years ago and as I watched Old Faithful erupt, I couldn't shake the thought that we really ought to be exploiting the awesome potential of this place.

Comment: Re:And also want to pay more rent (Score 2) 282

by jcadam (#40752263) Attached to: San Francisco Poaching Tech Talent From Silicon Valley
No, when the young talent gets married and has kids they find a job in another part of the country with a sane COL. I interviewed with a few of these 'hip' companies in SV, and they tend to balk when they hear my current salary (and I currently live in a rather low cost of living area). Not to mention that, at the ripe old of age of 32, I feel like a geezer as soon as I walk in the door at your typical startup. Now when I get a call from a recruiter who thinks I'm perfect for some position in the SF Bay area, I just say "No, Thanks."

Comment: Re:"Reliably better" (Score 1) 287

I don't know. I rather don't like the theme to "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air", but years of watching that show when I was a kid has permanently burned the lyrics into my brain. Many an 80s sitcom theme song is still rattling around in my brain as well. Also, I only had to hear the nails-on-a-chalkboard-awful "Just A Friend" by Biz Markie once and I will now be able to instantly recall the lyrics to the chorus until the day I die.

Comment: Respect for Privacy: The new ISP differentiator (Score 3, Informative) 157

by jcadam (#40641025) Attached to: ISP 'Six Strikes' Plan Delayed
Oh cool, I was beginning to view internet access as a commodity, with no real difference between ISPs... Now I have something to use as a discriminator when selecting a new provider.

So.... AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon just managed to remove themselves from ever being considered by me again (and no, I don't ever knowingly download copyrighted material without paying for it).

Something tells me the mom&pop ISP down the road doesn't have the time/staff/inclination to bother with this kind of crap.

P.S.: Internet business idea #3,633,235: Privacy-focused ISP.

Computers will not be perfected until they can compute how much more than the estimate the job will cost.