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Comment: This is new to many but not news... (Score 1) 62

by maurert (#48091423) Attached to: Vax, PDP/11, HP3000 and Others Live On In the Cloud

Charon VAX and Charon Alpha have been around for years. Those DECies that are hard core will know that TOPS-10 lives on on emulated DECsystem10 software. A emulated VAX on a modern low end desktop PC runs faster than fastest physical VAX. Want your VAX/VMS application to have the advantages of SAN attached SSD storage? Easy. Allowed to use Gigabit? Done. VMS doesn't think it has any of that, but the host has it and the emulator presents it as older gear to the OS. For those that don't want to be 32bit limited Charon Alpha works too.

For those that think this is not the way to run a serious IT shop, consider that I wouldn't recommend running your business or shop floor app on a low end desktop. I'd buy a 1st tier data center class box, running Windows Server. I'd buy full hardware and software support for the host. Frequently those costs are recouped quickly from the fact that hardware support for 15 year gear is no longer needed. The users don't need to be retrained. Business isn't disrupted with data migrations to new databases and software that doesn't have the same features.

With VAX and Alpha emulation, you don't even source code because a VAX is a VAX and an Alpha is an Alpha. Unfortunately not needing the source code is an advantage more often than you'd think.

Comment: What programmers are "above" sys admins? (Score 1) 848

by maurert (#38514100) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handing Over Personal Work Without Compensation?

BTW as a 27 year veteran of the sys admin camp, since when have programmers been "above" sys admins? Respect disappeared when we stopped being system managers and became sys admins. Instead of managing things we administered them sounding more like an admin assist. That's I'm glad my title is engineer or consultant depending on the day.

IMHO, your best chance at compensation is to be creative. Comp time? Time to monitor campus classes (or take them for credit.) Agreement to change your title without a raise. Title's look good on resumes. Job flexibility in general tends to come to employees who go above and beyond.

How about a signed agreement that the software and copyright are yours and that you'll continue support and development outside of work hours for free allows you to own the software and a chance to make it marketable.

If you're looking for cold hard cash I think you are out of luck. Let's say the college finds the budget. Why would they necessarily select your solution? Oh and BTW you can't be on the selection committee as you have an inherent conflict of interests. In fact even selection of your solution would create substaintial conflicts.

If you're a government run/owned college the rules will be even tougher on conflicts of interest. Be VERY careful in that case trying to extract cash from this situation. Otherwise a felony conviction and prison time are not outside the realm of possibilities.

Comment: Business computers are supposidly more reliable. (Score 1) 606

by maurert (#33930896) Attached to: Generic PCs For Corporate Use?

(Disclaimer: I'm an HP Employee)

But let me use an example wholely within the HP environment. I can buy new, refurb consumer or used refurb'ed business PC. I never go the business PC route for personal use as because I get less horsepower for the buck. Theoretically what I'm paying for in a business machine is higher reliability and lower support costs. However when the support cost is personal time that costs $0 to me, I pay the lower cost.

So I posit is that if cost of support labor and downtime is low, then the self build self support model makes sense. If the cost of labor is higher, then paying for a higher qualtiy, more reliable, extrenally supported solution makes more sense. Those labor costs need to include cost of down time of idled employees as well as support costs.

Input Devices

Equatorial Mounts For Budget Astrophotography? 85

Posted by timothy
from the rubber-band-and-hope dept.
Timoris writes "With the Perseids approaching rapidly, I am looking for a good beginner's motorized equatorial mount for astrophotography. I have seen a few for $150 to $200, but apparently the motor vibrations make for poor photographs. Orion makes good mounts, but are out of my price range ($350) and the motor is sold separately, adding to the price half over again. Does anyone have any good experience with any low- or mid-priced mounts?"
Science

Empathy Is For the Birds 201

Posted by samzenpus
from the polly-want-to-make-an-emotional-connection? dept.
grrlscientist writes "Common Ravens have been shown to express empathy towards a 'friend' or relative when they are distressed after an aggressive conflict — just like humans and chimpanzees do. But birds are very distant evolutionary relatives of Great Apes, so what does this similarity imply about the evolution of behavior?"

Comment: Re:But unfortunately... (Score 2, Interesting) 189

by maurert (#30832916) Attached to: Looking Back At <em>Dungeons &amp; Dragons</em>

I disagree that noone born after 1990 wants to play pen and paper D&D. My two boys ages 9 and 13 are hooked. My 4 year-old daughter wants to play SO BAD. There is a whole gaggle of boys at scouts that have been roped in. Of course maybe that's because ipods, cell phones and computers are banned at overnighters! But that's not really the reason.

Why did I show D&D to my boys? The answer will surprise you. My older son was then 8. He was an advanced reader, but he much preferred books on tape, CD or later iPod. However none of the D&D books, my AD&D versions in particular, had audio versions. He had to wade through them himself. Seriously, how many 8 year olds are reading and trying to undrestand what a theocracy is. Then he wanted to take over and refurbish the moat house in one of the modules. He then needed to figure out the costs in GPs to plan. Enter the need for Excel!

D&D has been a tool to teach Microsoft Office skills, governments, reading, folklore, map making, budgets, medival culture, etc. I highly recommend it as a cirriculum for home schooling! Okay maybe that's taking it a bit too far.

Security

Blizzard Authenticators May Become Mandatory 248

Posted by Soulskill
from the gotta-take-off-your-shoes-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes "WoW.com is reporting that a trusted source has informed them that Blizzard is giving serious consideration to making authenticators mandatory on all World of Warcraft accounts. The authenticators function the same as ones provided by most banks — in order to log in, you must generate a number on the external device. Blizzard already provides a free iPhone app that functions as an authenticator. The source stated, 'it is a virtually forgone conclusion that it will happen.' This comes after large spates of compromised accounts left Bizzard game masters severely backlogged by restoration requests."
Games

Revisiting the "Holy Trinity" of MMORPG Classes 362

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-druid-as-the-case-may-be dept.
A feature at Gamasutra examines one of the foundations of many MMORPGs — the idea that class roles within such a game fall into three basic categories: tank, healer, and damage dealer. The article evaluates the pros and cons of such an arrangement and takes a look at some alternatives. "Eliminating specialized roles means that we do away with boxing a class into a single role. Without Tanks, each class would have features that would help them participate in and survive many different encounters like heavy armor, strong avoidance, or some class or magical abilities that allow them to disengage from direct combat. Without specialized DPS, all classes should be able to do damage in order to defeat enemies. Some classes might specialize in damage type, like area of effect (AoE) damage; others might be able to exploit enemy weaknesses, and some might just be good at swinging a sharpened bit of metal in the right direction at a rapid rate. This design isn't just about having each class able to fill any trinity role. MMO combat would feel more dynamic in this system. Every player would have to react to combat events and defend against attacks."

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