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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 14 declined, 2 accepted (16 total, 12.50% accepted)

+ - Best Accounting Guide for IT people?

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes "I work on a donor management system for a non-profit and have had to have more interaction with the accounting side of the house. While I had exposure to accounting courses in college, that was years back and I need to brush up on the basic principles so I can better understand their needs and anticipate what will be coming up. I'm looking for a book that's short and to the point so I'll understand the way accountants think. General ledger, tax receiptability, reconciliations, balancing entries, etc. Everything from the debits and credits I know about to the concepts I don't even know to mention as examples. I don't need to be an accountant, I just need to be able to converse with them."
Data Storage

+ - How are you backing up your data? 3

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes "Technology moves quickly and what was conventional wisdom last year can be folly this year. But the one thing that's remained constant is hard drives are far too large to backup via conventional means. Tape is expensive and can be unreliable, though it certainly has its proponents. DVD's are just too small. There are prosumer devices like the Drobo but it's still just a giant box of hard drives, basically RAID. And as we've all had drilled into our heads "RAID is not backup." When last this topic came up on Slashdot, the consensus was that hard drives were the best way to backup hard drives. Backup your internal HDD to an external one, and if your data is really important, have two externals and swap one offsite once a week. Is there any better advice these days?"
The Almighty Buck

+ - Issue Tracking for IT Departments, Good Software?

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes "I work at a non-profit and our IT department. We're currently using Track-It 8.5 and it's a mixed bag, some parts really good and some parts really bad. I took a look at the list of what's out there for issue tracking systems and there are certainly a lot of options! What's everyone here using these days? Are there better options or should we stick with what we've got?"
Microsoft

+ - Microsoft ditching the Fish, Razorfish that is

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes "I'd thought Razorfish had disappeared in a puff of hubris and ignominy but it turns out the brand is alive and well at Microsoft, part of a bundle of properties purchased from aQuantive. Having come to their senses, Microsoft is putting the fish back on the market. Might I suggest we all place bids but insist on only paying in Flooz?"
Businesses

+ - IT Department Issue Tracking Software Suggestion

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes """I work at a non-profit and our IT department. We're currently using Track-It 8.5 and it's a mixed bag, some parts really good and some parts really bad. I took a look at the list of what's out there for issue tracking systems and there are certainly a lot of options! What's everyone here using these days? Is there anything else we should really take a look at or stick with what we have?"""
Businesses

+ - IT Department Issue Tracking Software Suggestion

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes ""I work at a non-profit and our IT department. We're currently using Track-It 8.5 and it's a mixed bag, some parts really good and some parts really bad. I took a look at the list of what's out there for issue tracking systems and there are certainly a lot of options! What's everyone here using these days? Is there anything else we should really take a look at or stick with what we have?""
Businesses

+ - IT Department Issue Tracking Software Suggestion 2

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes "I work at a non-profit and our IT department. We're currently using Track-It 8.5 and it's a mixed bag, some parts really good and some parts really bad. I took a look at the list of what's out there for issue tracking systems and there are certainly a lot of options! What's everyone here using these days? Is there anything else we should really take a look at or stick with what we have?"
Security

+ - Take a penny, steal a penny, financial fraud

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes "A California man has been indicted for an inventive scheme that allegedly siphoned $50,000 from online brokerage houses E-trade and Schwab.com in six months — a few pennies at a time. Michael Largent, of Plumas Lake, California, allegedly exploited a loophole in a common procedure both companies follow when a customer links his brokerage account to a bank account for the first time. To verify that the account number and routing information is correct, the brokerages automatically send small "micro-deposits" of between two cents to one dollar to the account, and ask the customer to verify that they've received it. The suspect is alleged to have tried to patent this business practice. However, he was not the first to try this, having seen depiction on the silver screen in movies such as Office Space. The US Patent Office rejected the patent, specifically citing Superman III and Gus Gorman's scheme as an example of Pryor art."
Role Playing (Games)

+ - Pledge Drive for RPG Publisher Funding?

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes "Metafilter has this scroop: Delta Greenbe part of the conspiracy. The latest sourcebook for Delta Green, the cult modern day Call of Cthulhu setting, is being financed via fundable. If the target for funding is not met it's release will be delayed... if it is released at all. A niche setting within a niche system in a hobby in decline, Delta Green is still intensely well loved by those who know about it, making them a good target for the ransom model. Will thinking outside the usual publishing business models save pen and paper RPGs?"
Businesses

+ - Document Retention Policy, Best Practices?

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes "I've been researching this topic since I've heard rumblings that management wants to put one in place. As far as I can tell from googling about, all of the high mucky-mucks feel the topic is important but few people are sure about what's required or how to do it. It reminds me of the first Internet boom where companies knew there was something to this "interweb thing" but did not understand what the Internet was, how it could help them, set goals and formulate a strategy to reach them so instead they just threw money at it and had nothing to show for it. There is a ton of money flying around and a ton of DR companies quite happy to sell very expensive solutions. As best I can see, Documentation Policy needs to be formulated by management and legal counsel with requirements handed down to IT, this is not something that should be dropped in IT's lap with a hand-wave. So, my fellow dotters, I ask the following: 1) What would normally be asked for in a sane DR policy? 2) What are the warning signs of a bad DR policy? 3) What should IT expect to see when a case hits the discovery period? (for example, someone being the 30(b)(6) designated witness, the assistance provided to 3rd party data retrieval companies brought in for the case, etc.) 4) Are there any good, vetted guidelines for this sort of thing on the web?"
Businesses

+ - Business Documentation Best Practices 1

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes ""I have a nice new IT job with a non-profit. They are a growing organization and management has realized that they need to bring their way of doing business up to a professional level. Several years back, their IT department was still operated like it was in a home office, fine when you're dealing with three people, not so good when there's over a hundred users. IT got it's act together and is running professionally and efficiently. The rest of the organization is a bit more chaotic and management wants to change that. One of the worst problems is a lack of process documentation. All knowledge is passed down via an oral tradition. Someone gets hit by a bus and that knowledge is lost forever more. Now I know what I've seen in the past. There's the big-binder-of-crap-no-one-reads method, usually used in conjunction with nobody-updates-this-crap-so-it's-useless-anyway approach. I've been hearing good things about company wiki's, mixed reviews about Sharepoint and its intranet capabilities. And yes, I know that this is all a waste of time if there's no follow-through from management. But assuming that the required support is there, how do you guys do it?""
Businesses

+ - Business Process Documentation, Best Practices?

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes "I have a nice new IT job with a non-profit. They are a growing organization and management has realized that they need to bring their way of doing business up to a professional level. Several years back, their IT department was still operated like it was in a home office, fine when you're dealing with three people, not so good when there's over a hundred users. IT got it's act together and is running professionally and efficiently. The rest of the organization is a bit more chaotic and management wants to change that. One of the worst problems is a lack of process documentation. All knowledge is passed down via an oral tradition. Someone gets hit by a bus and that knowledge is lost forever more. Now I know what I've seen in the past. There's the big-binder-of-crap-no-one-reads method, usually used in conjunction with nobody-updates-this-crap-so-it's-useless-anyway approach. I've been hearing good things about company wiki's, mixed reviews about Sharepoint and its intranet capabilities. And yes, I know that this is all a waste of time if there's no follow-through from management. But assuming that the required support is there, how do you guys do it?"
XBox (Games)

+ - Play non-MS format media on Xbox 360

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes "This is for all of the Xbox 360 owners out there who want to use the device as a true media center. Microsoft, being the douches they are, give you a perfectly fine piece of hardware but lock it down so you can't view anything but approved videos on it. They put in the really cool feature of streaming off of your PC but again, the PC needs XP, has to be running Media Player 11, and using proprietary MS formats. Sucks, right? But no longer. Using this neat little program, you can host videos on your PC and use it for the share connection rather than mediaplayer. Videos are transcoded to an acceptable MS format on the fly. The only drawback is that transcoded files have to be completed before search features will work — no fast-forward or rewind. You can work around that by force-starting the encode cycle and then renaming the resulting cache file and playing it directly. An installation guide can be found here, complete with pretty pictures. Informative and only spreads the article across 8 pages instead of the usual 40. The TVersity software that makes it all happen can be found here. The site also has FAQ's and forums if you don't want to use the first guide listed."
Input Devices

+ - Pentagon sought to build gay bomb

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes "
(CBS 5) BERKELEY A Berkeley watchdog organization that tracks military spending said it uncovered a strange U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting. Pentagon officials on Friday confirmed to CBS 5 that military leaders had considered, and then subsquently rejected, building the so-called "Gay Bomb."
The Onion just called, they want their joke back. Oh, wait a second, this is true."
Space

+ - Is there any future left for us in space?

Submitted by jollyreaper
jollyreaper (513215) writes "I was born in the late 70's and cut my science geek teeth on the promise of a better tomorrow. NASA had all these bold ideas of where we'd be going and what we'd be doing. What happened to the future we were promised? For a microcosm of what's happened to our national ambition, look at Epcot. Epcot, "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow." According to Wikipedia, "It was dedicated to international culture and technological innovation." And you know something? I remember it being that way as a kid. It was Disney for geeks. I remember seeing hydroponics, technology demos from our leading corporations, showcasing the bleeding edge of human innovation. And even that was a downscaling of Disney's original vision. But what's it about now? Minimized expectations. It's just another theme park, another way to surgically extract money from the wallets of indifferent tourists. Instead of doing and being something visionary, Disney executives settled for mediocrity and the fast buck.

NASA seems to share more in common with Disney these days than just proximity. The shuttle program has been described as a 30 year detour for the American space program. The shuttle was designed by a committee to satisfy multiple contradicting goals, none of which remained by the time the vehicle was completed. It cost more than the disposable vehicles it replaced, could not go high enough to do anything interesting, possessed capabilities that proved unnecessary, and contained so many design compromises that many engineers thought it to be a widowmaker before Challenger was even lost. Right now NASA doesn't make headlines for shuttles blowing up, they make headlines for shuttles NOT blowing up. After the cancellation of several shuttle successors, NASA has decided to go back to capsules with Project Constellation. There are vague talks of moonbases and a showboat Mars mission that will undoubtedly be canceled after squandering millions, possibly billions of dollars. NASA at this point is divided between the manned space flight camp (a political creature which suffers for it) and the "everything else" camp which includes the wildly successful pure science missions. Nobody can agree on the agency's goals and, even they they could, political appointees will change with every administration and sabotage whatever progress has been made.

NASA at this point seems to be like an 800lb man, trapped in his own house, suffocating under his own weight, too far gone to do anything to change his condition, just waiting to die. I think NASA is a lost cause.

Who represents the future in space? The private concerns like Virgin Galactic? Perhaps SpaceX? Government-sponsored programs such as China and India's? And even at that, these efforts represent small thinking. Tourists in space? More communication satellites? Whatever happened to proper space colonies like O'Neill Habitats? What about solar power satellites? How about space mining and manufacturing? How about a cost-effective heavy lift vehicle like Sea Dragon? I suppose an Orion Drive vehicle might be too much to ask for, though I have heard that there might be ways to generate the nuclear-style explosions without fallout and environmental damage.

What I find the most frustrating here is that none of what I've mentioned is technologically infeasible, it is all within the realm of possibility. What is lacking is the political will to make it so. Of course, the same thing can be said about world hunger: we have the resources and technology to feed the world, what prevents that from happening is politics. Most wish-fulfillment sci-fi involves individual men and women of genius who are capable of developing and applying revolutionary technology while cleverly circumventing the stifling hand of government oversight and bureaucracy. That isn't how it works in the real world.

My question boils down to this: I'm not asking what is theoretically possible, I'm asking what we can realistically expect. What can we expect our future in space to be?"

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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