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Comment: Your company's education budget (Score 1) 182

by jddj (#47964853) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

If you don't need other training or certification classes, and actually are learning from your conferences, have your manager use her education budget to send you.

If she doesn't have an education budget, why the hell not? Their investment in you is probably large enough to warrant it, and they'd BETTER be budgeting for it, vs. throwing the occasional wad of cash out there. You're cheaper to train up to a new internal position than to find someone new and start from scratch.

Provided you're not going to the Shriner's convention for the water balloons and the little cars (unless you're in the water balloon or little car industry) education and conferences are normal, expected business expenses.

If you're in the US and the company won't send you, you can deduct your own purchase of the conference and associated costs from your taxes as "unreimbursed business expense" - BUT NOTE that there's a threshold that has to be met: I forget the number, but I think you can only deduct unreimbursed bix expense greater than 7% of your salary. So if you are $5 higher than that 7% mark, you deduct $5.00.

The begging thing might make your taxes complicated...

Comment: Re:Lie. (Score 3, Insightful) 191

by jddj (#47918787) Attached to: Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

Look, where would ./ be if posters read TFA?

Looks to me like the ./ summary is claiming something that the ZDNet article does not. So yeah, not a lie on Cook's part, or not one the ZDNet article demonstrates anyway.

I still wouldn't trust any company not to hand over my information to the government. Lavabit was one hell of an exception, and one geeks the world over should be proud of.

Neither would I trust that email content I didn't personally encrypt with my own keys couldn't be seen by others.

Apple doesn't have to be relaying email for others in order for Apple to be able to see the contents of all SMTP traffic that transits or terminates at their mail servers. SSL for SMTP means nothing if the mail server is pwned or intentionally logging stuff due to a business mandate or government subpoena or pressure.

So Tim Cook didn't tell that particular lie. Good. But "We don't read your email" is an assertion, and one generally impossible to prove true (though more easily possible to prove false, given a certain amount of evidence).

Comment: Re: Look at this one... (Score 1) 154

by jddj (#47681209) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Recliner For a Software Developer?

God, I love my BarcaLounger Craftsman II. It's beautiful and comfy. Probably awful for my back, but as a chair to flop with a laptop, wonderful.

The tall-ish wooden arms make it crap for noodling on a guitar, and the arms slope, so no good for a place to put a soda. You'll want a side table. You`ll have to improvise a place for an outlet strip, but hell, if it's a laptop, you need to exercise the battery for maximum working life anyway, right? Or attach the outlet to the side table and leave your georgeous chair unscathed.

There are knockoffs of this chair, that look just like it, but aren't nearly as comfy. I know: I wanted to buy a knockoff 'cuz it was convenient, would ship with the rest of our furniture, but no, had to go back for the real thing, haven't regretted it for a minute.

If the family ever comes apart, we'll negotiate for most everything in the house, but not this chair. it's coming with me.

It's part of the "Woodland Reserve" collection in "Vintage Reserve" on BarcaLounger's very 1990s-looking web site,

Comment: I have to record calls for a living... (Score 5, Informative) 368

by jddj (#47654629) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

I do stakeholder and user interviews, and may not be able to predict what telephony equipment I'll find at a site.

I realize you're asking for a smartphone or VOIP app, but what I've come to rely on is the JK Audio QuickTap: - it can record both sides from virtually ANY corded-handset phone. Sounds great, it's a passive device, so no batteries, no AC, it's little and comes with the adapters you need for a pocket recorder (like the Olympus recorder I use, but works with a PC/Mac input as well...).

This works nearly anyplace, and sounds great. Whatever you do, DO NOT try the Radio Shack device for cheap cheap that claims to do the same thing. The Radio Shack device has a little switch on it. Position 1 is "Suck", and Position 2 is "Suck Differently". You buy this thing and you've hosed yourself.

Full disc: I don't sell these, have no ownership, employment or other stake with JK Audio: they just make tools that work when I desperately need 'em to, and I love 'em.

Comment: Cisco? (Score 1) 194

by jddj (#47593685) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Bulletproof Video Conferencing For Alzheimers Home?

Cisco has been working hard to productize video conferencing, and has hardware and software solutions for it, from telepresence suites down to desk phones with screens, as well as applications.

Don't know all about the fit and price, but probably worth a look: might beat a duct-taped solution where no onsite maintenance is required.

Comment: Just gotta say: Hong Kong's MTR is ROCKTACULAR! (Score 1) 162

by jddj (#47401245) Attached to: The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

Nicest subway system I've been on anyplace, bar none. A continuous amazement, built at scale. Many thoughtful design tips (f.e. your subway card can be used to pay at the nearby 7-11 (yes, a real 7-11), and you don't get held up at the turnstile when your balance is too low to get out ('cause you have an on-card deposit)).

If they're using this Expert System to help make it rock so hard, good on 'em. The USA could take a NUMBER of pointers from this thing.

Comment: Re:Look at and Boardthing (Score 1) 143

by jddj (#47371181) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Replacing Paper With Tablets For Design Meetings?

(Replying to myself, yeah, I know...).

Should also point out that my research was around remote collaboration.

If you're all in the same room BY ALL MEANS USE PAPER!!!! Check out Leah Buley's work on Sketchboarding, and check out Design Studio Methodology.

There's absolutely NO reason to use remote/online collab tools over paper if you're all in the same place. You're closing off the cheapest and most flexible channel for a starter.

Comment: Re:Look at and Boardthing (Score 2) 143

by jddj (#47371117) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Replacing Paper With Tablets For Design Meetings?

In my 60 products, looked at these, and they're very nice, but they're expensive fixed-point solutions. Not the right thing for a home office, f.e. unless you're loaded.

Boardthing, and a few other applications will remember what you've done while nobody's logged in. Think of them as a little like Pintrest for business, but with design tools built in.

Comment: Re:Look at and Boardthing (Score 1) 143

by jddj (#47370985) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Replacing Paper With Tablets For Design Meetings?

Full Disc: I've taken a workshop with Dave Gray, who's driving Boardthing. I'd love it to be dominant. But it's not quite there yet.

I don't have any financial part in Not even a paying customer yet - trying to get it moving in my business.

I'm enthusiastic because I looked at 60+ tools and was disappointed often. Spent $300 of company money on some hardware that didn't work out. isn't perfect, doesn't do all I'd like (would like interactive whiteboarding, f.e.), but it's the best compromise I've found.

Don't have a dog in the hunt financially.

Comment: Look at and Boardthing (Score 2) 143

by jddj (#47370315) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Replacing Paper With Tablets For Design Meetings?

Boardthing is very exciting, but just coming along now. will let you collaboratively sketchboard, and has good mobile coverage on iOS and Android.

Have spent a lot of time researching collaborative sketching for design, and it's a real mess. There are some great collaborative whiteboards, but they're not evenly good on tablet and desktop, iOS and Android. Some need special ports. Some have presence and video/chat capability, but again, not evenly implemented everywhere. would be my first stop, after a lot of research.

Comment: Lincoln at '64 World's Fair (Score 1) 97

by jddj (#47295969) Attached to: How Disney Built and Programmed an Animatronic President

I saw Lincoln at the Fair, and my 5-year-old self was amazed. I knew it was a machine, as I had been told, on earth could it move and stand just like a person? It was breathtaking!

Over the years, I've wondered at roboticists having trouble mimicking human motion, or Asimo falling over. My first thought was always "Really? How hard can it be if they could do it in '64?"

Of course, with the passage of time, I've learned about the difference between a recorded demonstration and the ability to do arbitrary kinds of work, begun to realize the power management needs and controlled environment constraints that let them pull it off, but 50 years later, it remains a high-water mark for me in the simulation of human motion onstage.

I recently visited Kennedy Space Center, and enjoyed the (sorta) animatronic presentation on the moon landings, but the astronaut is a stationary stuffed suit. They spent their budget on putting a model LM down onstage, not the figure's motion. The seams show.

BTW, my 5-year-old self also straightened out a docent at the Fair. Seems this clown was telling people the X-15 launched like a rocket and landed like a plane. I'd just built the Revell B-52 with the X-15 under the wing, and knew better. Indignantly straightened his ass out. Hmmph!

"For the man who has everything... Penicillin." -- F. Borquin