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Comment: Learn on your own, build something you can show (Score 1) 149

by jpc1957 (#46249527) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Options For Ongoing Education?
Showing actual, relevant work products are the best way to get a job now. Pick the technology you want to learn, build an application that motivates you to put in the time. The technology should be marketable, the application doesn't have to be. Just has to be professional quality in the end. Based on your existing skills with embedded development and lower level languages there are a couple directions you could take. 'Internet of Things' is getting hot if you want to stay with embedded development. Objective-C for iOS is a good fit with your C background. ASP, .NET, C# all require commitment to the Microsoft world. It's not just the languages and frameworks, but you have to buy products, and learn many server side components. Certifications are also usually expected. A big commitment. PHP is OK (one of my primary languages), free to use and don't have to learn large frameworks to do productive work. Can't go wrong at this point with JavaScript, that should be a secondary skill for pretty much any developer now, and it's become a very viable primary language also. It's on the way up, while PHP is probably declining.

Comment: innocents will suffer the most (Score 4, Insightful) 323

Innocent individuals identified as suspects are the biggest issue to me. For all those people that say there isn't any issue with any level of snooping if you don't have anything to hide, you are exactly who should be worried. The more data available to analyze, the more false positives will be identified. And the attitude now is we can't risk any potential terrorist falling through the cracks. Combine that with gag orders, security letters instead of warrants, sting operations, indefinite determent.. It's guaranteed that some very unlucky and completely innocent people will be going through hell for a long time.

Comment: Re:Write android apps. (Score 1) 306

by jpc1957 (#41923379) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding Work Over 60?
Definitely second this, either Android or iOS. Market is hot, tools and devices are cheap, code for fun and learning, make apps you can show to employers, and there is a marketplace for individual developers you can try. The stores are a roll of the dice, but the opportunity is there. Key goal is to create demonstrable product and build skills. Your java/C# skills help with either Android or iOS. I code in Objective-C, the language skills are all pretty much interchangeable, the investment is in learning the frameworks and toolchains. I had to fight for an IT job at 50 after getting laid off. The age discrimination is real but you minimize it by not wasting your time applying online. Go where you can be seen and can talk. Workshops, meetups, hackathons, anything in person. Bring apps to show, even if they are fun or silly. If you have deep skills in your business domain, try to utilize those in the apps. Build apps that use webservices, lots of financial data out there to use for free. I did 25 years in IT and app development, got up to senior management. But had to start at the bottom again and am enjoying just programming now.

Comment: focus on demonstrable products (Score 1) 360

by jpc1957 (#41636583) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Approach To Reenergize an Old Programmer?
I can relate as a fellow old programmer that had to fight to get back into the industry. Age immediately takes you out of consideration in a large majority of positions. After 6 years out of the industry (to work as a musician) I chose PHP because it is free and popular. Played on my own for 6 months before landing a contract, and then another year of searching to find a full time position. I actually got hired in QA, but was able to move back into programming pretty quickly because coworkers were able to see my potential. Experience more than a few years old means nothing today. Employers want to fill an immediate, specific need, whatever it is. Pick a language you can build and demo applications with. If you can show an employer a polished application in a relevant technology you have a good chance of being noticed. Cudos to you for working on iOS/Objective-C. I work in that environment now and highly recommend it as a starting point. Not only is it very marketable, but you also have the option of independent development. Although it's a crap shoot, Apple/iOS is really the only environment where independent developers can really make money. You don't need a company to back you up, the marketing and payment infrastructure and customer base are there for you to use, only costs $99 a year to buy in. Keep at it, build apps for yourself, your kids, put something in the store, and show the best work to potential employers. If you want, focus on apps that use webservices (social services, mapping, data..), as that lets you build lots of value fast, and webservices are a key technology most developers need to be proficient in.

Comment: allowing video integrated development is needed (Score 1) 222

by jpc1957 (#39318239) Attached to: Third-Generation Apple TV Lands With a Thud
I love my apple tv/air display and integration with ipad/iphone, but had to jailbreak it for XBMC to open up the content sources. Since the iOS is shared with iphone/ipad, seems like apple could pretty easily enable app development on the platform. And ideally the development would enable integration with the content streams. Imagine apps that grab and modify the video/audio streams, just like current iOS apps do with the camera now. Of course much of the media industry would scream foul, but just think of the potential apps. That would be a revolution past all other products in the domain simply fighting it out over content.

Comment: parents allowed 12 year old to use facebook? (Score 1) 466

by jpc1957 (#39289371) Attached to: School District Sued By ACLU Over Student's Free Speech Rights
Why does a 12 year old need Facebook, and how was that authorized? I question any adult letting children use Facebook as a substitute for normal personal communication with their friends. Should banter between 12 year olds be recorded for all time and unknown audiences? When a 12 year old says 'i hate someone' to a friend in a casual conversation, the meaning and context is very obvious. Even an adult overhearing the conversation would probably be able to know if there was a threat involved. Put that same statement into Facebook, and context and meaning is up to wild interpretation. No-one should use Facebook to communicate unless they are mature enough to understand that. Not implying the ridiculous level of escalation in this case is the fault of the parents. The original parent that reported the statement and the school administration both escalated the situation dramatically. Either could have stopped the escalation by applying some reasonable judgement.

Comment: few ipads become disposable devices (Score 1) 989

by jpc1957 (#39281379) Attached to: Apple Unveils New iPad
I would bet few iPads and large percentage of iphones aren't disposed of. Giving my iPad 1 to my girlfriend when I get my iPad 3. Have given away 2 old iPhones still in use in my family. Because of the strong OS upgrade commitment and the quality, these devices last through multiple users. Much unlike my small but useless collection of old windows laptops, windows mobile phones and a couple of androids. Got 2 great years out of my $499 ipad, don't see any reason it won't be used for 2 more at least.

Comment: it's not about $60k vs $120k, it's $60k vs no-job (Score 1) 494

by jpc1957 (#38935497) Attached to: President By Day, High-Tech Headhunter By Night
"So if you're an employer who can hire a worker fresh out of college who is making $60,000 versus an older worker who is making $150,000, and the younger worker has skills that are fresher, who would you hire?'" This isn't really the case, the older, more experienced person doesn't have a job, he's making $0 now. I'm 54, made $120k 10 years ago, and had a hell of a time getting re-employed. I had no demands or expectations for $120K, was happy getting $60k after a year of looking. For those of you that can move quickly from one $120K job to another $120K, congratulations! Yes, workers get more expensive as they get older and gain experience, duh. Don't we all expect growth in our careers? But there is a real problem in the tech industry with older, unemployed workers. I had to move back to the bottom again to get a job, but fully expect to move up quicker then the first time around because of my experience.

Comment: Re:Find a Good Car Analogy (Score 1) 254

by jpc1957 (#38879215) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Inform a Non-Techie About Proposed Copyright Laws
The analogies are ok, although just as plausible is the storage complex has only a few law-abiding units, and the large majority are illegal or maybe dangerous. Should action be taken, or laws revised? Not saying which case megaupload was more similar to, but it's useful to think through both extreme cases of the analogy.

Comment: I agree - form factor matters (Score 1) 402

by jpc1957 (#38602684) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Mirrorless, Interchangeable Lens Camera Advice?
Decide first on the form factor. For me that is 2 decisions. Does it fit in a pocket or not. Does it have a view finder or not. I've used a Canon S90 for years, that's my pocket size camera I always have, either in a pocket or backpack. A really great camera and if you are a geek, it has the huge benefit of CHDK for hacking the software. Not many other cameras offer that. I often wish I had another camera with me for a longer lens, but at least I always have something. When I'm planning on taking photos I'll take either a Sony Nex 5 or Sony A33. Either camera requires that I carry a bag just for the camera and minimal lens set. I had the Nex first, and loved the ability to put any old lens on it (I use old Minolta lenses from eBay), but the lack of a view finder is a killer for me. Can't see at all in sunlight. Got the A33 just because of that, but ended up carrying it less because of the extra bulk. If it wasn't for the floods in Thailand, I'd have a Nex 7 now. That camera will replace both the Nex 5 and A33 for me since it has a viewfinder. But I'll still have the S90 around for a long time. And i also rely on my iPhone a lot. It actually takes the best photos in many cases because of the HDR, and the photos/videos can be uploaded instantly to the internet.

Comment: Tough but possible (Score 1) 435

by jpc1957 (#38562806) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Re-Entering the Job Market As a Software Engineer?
I had a similar problem 4 years ago. After 22 years in Big 5 consulting, I got laid off and then worked as a musician for 6 years. Then at 50 years old decided to get back into software development (needed health insurance was a key reason). I spent 6 months learning PHP and related technology because tools were free and jobs seemed to be widely available. It was very difficult getting into interviews. Age was clearly an issue, and the 22 years of experience didn't help any. Ended up getting a temp agency job after a year and half. That gave me a few current assignments and I eventually got an entry level programming job in a 10 person software company. A few suggestions: Focus on small companies, where you can talk directly to an owner the first time you call. Don't rely just on online applications to the big job sites. I finally got my job through Craigslist. Got called the day I responded and was hired the next day. Have current work to show. Build something impressive with your new skills. Anything you did more than a few years ago in this industry is perceived as moot/outdated (even though you and I know that IT concepts are continually getting recycled in different forms, and even 20 year old knowledge can be immensely useful). PHP is a great choice, although you can easily get into Ruby from there if you want to branch out a bit. Anything you do in mobile computing is valuable now. Do something in Android or iPhone. Good luck with the search! I have enjoyed coding again, and especially working in a small company.

Comment: Google/Motorola could own the industrial market (Score 1) 311

by jpc1957 (#37129490) Attached to: Analysis of Google's Motorola Acquisition
As a developer of .NET mobile windows apps for transportation/medical industries, Microsoft has provided a huge opportunity for Google/Motorola. We are stuck with Windows Mobile 6.5 forever on all the industrial focused mobile hardware. Microsoft is only focused on the consumers now, and Apple hardware is too closed. Look at a device like a Motorola MC65 for example. No smart phone can replace that, and most customers actually don't want consumer devices in the inventory, too attractive for theft. Doesn't matter if they are cheaper and just as capable. I'd love to see Android on those platforms, and a new generation of tablet hardware. The issues with fragmentation and app security on Android won't apply to this market. Software will be highly controlled, and maintenance agreements will take care of upgrades. And whatever Google does in this market, it won't conflict with their Smartphone licensees.

Comment: it's all about the users work environment (Score 1) 523

by jpc1957 (#37129190) Attached to: Why PCs Trump iPads For User Innovation
The 6 factors listed in the article all miss the main advantage of the iPad (any good tablet), you can use it on the move. Not everyone sits at a desk for work. The iPad is definitely for content creation if you don't limit the definition of 'content' to documents. Real estate assessors, any type of inspection, interviewers, nurses, doctors, teachers, and many other professionals need a computer that moves with them. The differences are quite significant to these professionals, data entry is real-time vs delayed, information on the tablet can be viewed on-location with others, and the hardware is much less obtrusive to the personal interactions.

Comment: Growth will be limited by compatibility issues (Score 1) 410

by jpc1957 (#34026252) Attached to: The Android Invasion Cometh; Is Resistance Futile?
Already Android is having app/device compatibility and upgrade issues. As a longtime Windows Mobile developer (and currently iOS), I see the same issues Microsoft had; dead end devices, immature marketplace, app fragmentation, development difficulties and low return on investment.. These were all manageable for industrial use, but not for a consumer market. I'm all for the choice (iOS, Android, WM 7), but seems a bit early to say one will dominate.

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