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Comment: Details or User info - not both (Score 1) 171

by jvolk (#34036596) Attached to: Amazon Prevails In State Sales Tax Dispute, Thus Far

The big issue here is that Amazon had previously sent transaction details (such as book titles, etc.) but without the user info. The state has these records on file - this judgement basically says that while the state has the transaction details, they cannot have the user information. If the state were to dump those details, Amazon might still be obligated to provide such information such as Joe Blow - $100 - Books.

This means for people like me, I still may be obligated to pay those back taxes (well, of course I paid them all already...)

Comment: Re:Easy for users, hell for admins (Score 2, Informative) 225

by jvolk (#29803207) Attached to: Microsoft May Be Inflating SharePoint Stats

I have worked fairly extensively with Sharepoint and used it as a platform for developing several different kinds of applications. That being said...

You hit the mark on most of your points
* Yes, the database is impenetrable (and it supposed to be - you aren't supposed to muck with it) - keep in mind this isn't an open source product

* Lots of the features are too dumb for programmers/power users but easy for regular users to muck up - this is a governance issue and all "portals" can suffer from this

* Canned web parts are moderately powerful but do have limits. Same thing applies to other portal products, such as Websphere Portal, Tibco, etc. As a developer, you can always extend these parts just as you would in any other platform...but of course, it isn't something Sally from accounting can do.

* Mysterious errors usually come back to poor administration or poor governance - you would have the same thing if you didn't know how to properly administer Apache, Tomcat, or any other number of complex applications or platforms.

* Yep, vendor lockin sucks and it sucks about MS. But if you are an MS shop, it works pretty damn well. If you aren't, you probably weren't considering Sharepoint anyway, were you?

So basically, yes, if you don't take the time to learn and adequately use, administer, and deploy, it isn't going to be easy to work with. Don't get me wrong, it has its problems and I'm not saying it is easy but I can't say it is any more difficult than any other application in its class.

Programming

+ - What should a prospective employee ask? 1

Submitted by Mortimer.CA
Mortimer.CA (666) writes "Even though things aren't great in the economy, it's prudent to plan ahead to when things (hopefully) pick up. In light of that, I'd like to update a previously asked question in case things have changed over the last four years: What do you ask every new (prospective) employer? When you're sitting in the interview room, and they've finished grilling you, there's usually an opportunity to reciprocate. There will be some niche questions for specializations (sys admin, programming, PM, QA, etc.), but there are some generic ones that come to mind: what is the (official) dress code? What are the best places to eat around here? What about my resume caught your eye? Are there team lunches or get-togethers? What are your goals for the next six months, one year, three years? What ticket/issue tracking system do you use? Do you have separate build/stage/QA/etc. environments? How do you keep track of documentation? What hardware/software am I expected to use at my desktop (e-mail, OS, editor, source control, etc.) ? What are your full names (so I can Google them)? What are the typical hours of the team members? Those are some of the ones I've thought of after some digging around. Are there the generic ones that you ask? What are some question for various niches (e.g., for sysadmins: what config mgmt software do you use?)?"

Comment: Re:Our decision (Score 5, Insightful) 409

by jvolk (#26637075) Attached to: Umbilical Cord Blood Banking?

Yes, we chose to do the same thing. There are several advantages to this, namely:

1) It is free vs. very expensive

2) The blood is banked for anyone to use - this means that YOU can use it too if you need it - assuming nobody else has used it already. In general, the likelihood of someone else using your cord blood is pretty slim.

3) There are a great many genetic diseases for which your cord blood will be of no use - because these cells contain the same defect your child already has.

4) You get the benefit of knowing you could be saving a child who otherwise may not be saved.

Of course, another big drawback is that (at least in my area), the cord blood needs to be harvested immediately. If your child is born in the middle of the night, the collection folks obviously aren't working (public/non-profit funding I suppose)...so then your cord blood is gone. Luckily for me, mine was born 11am on a Thursday, so that wasn't a problem.

Comment: Politicians and technology regulation (Score 1) 916

by jvolk (#22055216) Attached to: Ask the Presidential Candidates
Do you think that most career politicians, many of whom are over 50 and are not familiar with the complex issues surrounding technology, can pass legislation to effectively regulate technology issues? How do you prevent special interests from taking advantage of the difficulty of understanding these issues to serve their own needs?

Of course, I'm specifically thinking of Senator Ted Stevens' poor choice of words (and understanding) of the issue surrounding Network Neutrality, however, I'm sure there are many more examples of this sort of thing.

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