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Comment: Re:You know... (Score 3, Insightful) 698

That's....a very sad story. How old is your niece? If she's only 15-20 then this makes sense. I bet when she's 30-40 it might suddenly matter to her to see the audio tapes of her father.

Or maybe not. Some people grow into things like this. Others don't.

Comment: Re:Here are the FACTS (Score 1) 129

by microTodd (#49089497) Attached to: Delivery Drones: More Feasible If They Come By Truck

I'm of two minds on this.

One the one hand, being a pragmatic engineer and business strategist, I agree with you. Amazon's drone project would never really work.

On the other hand, I really WANT it to work. And, historically speaking, whenever radical disruptive change happened there were people who always said "that will never work", backed up by plenty of sound reasoning and scientific fact.

Yeah, sure, say what you will about how smart you are. I'm just saying.....disruptive technologies tend to either a) catch everyone by surprise or b) had lots of naysayers or c) both.

Comment: Re:Missing option: undetermined (Score 1) 164

by microTodd (#49079055) Attached to: How is your book reading divided between fiction and non-fiction?

Interestingly, it could be both.

Parts of it are almost certainly historical, especially the New Testament. Historians are fairly confident that they really are letters written around 100AD from one person to another.

Now, is everything that is said in those letters "truth"? That's the tricky part.

But its just like reading, say, one of Thomas Jefferson's letters. Its certainly non-fiction. Thomas Jefferson definitely wrote it. Was he wrong with what he said? Maybe, maybe not. But its not fiction.

The Old Testament is more interesting. Various oral histories, stories, myths, etc, that were passed down from generations and finally codified. Sprinkle in some poetry, some songwriting, some genealogy...whether or not its "truth" its still of interesting cultural significance.

Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 0) 688

by microTodd (#48616349) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

The richest company in the world (Apple) makes products that are only intended for a very small percentage of even a wealthy nation's population

I'm not sure that's accurate. You're thinking MacBook and iPad, but let's think iPhone and iPod.

I only have a few minutes, but I found this: http://www.mactech.com/content/study-looks-demographics-iphone-ipod-touch-users

Most iPhone users only have an income of >25k, Since the US median is 60k, that means that the iPhone is sold to basically everyone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States

I'm not trying to be a pedantic jerk, but I think this article and comment thread touches on a VERY important issue and I want to make sure we have all the facts right so we can analyze it.

Comment: Re:Divisions (Score 2) 48

by microTodd (#48517509) Attached to: Interviews: Malcolm Gladwell Answers Your Questions

Who are these people that lay awake at night worrying about whether someone will have an abortion?

The same people who lay awake at night worried about people dying of starvation and/or violence. Whether or not you agree with whether an unborn child is alive or not, in their worldview the unborn child is alive, thus it is murder.

Whether or not you are pro-life or pro-choice, I think understanding the pro-life worldview is not difficult. Its the same as whether or not you believe the earth is flat, or only 6,000 years old. Even if you don't believe it, you can at least intellectually comprehend that there are people that do.

Comment: Don't listen to naysayers...here's my experience (Score 1) 176

by microTodd (#48471559) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?
  • Set up a VM server...Oracle Virtualbox is free. Run integration/platform testing and maybe even development on shared VMs. Don't be scared to spin up new VMs a lot for any reason
  • Have a bug/task/defect tracking system. Either run bugzilla or JIRA or buy a cloud service like Atlassian's.
  • Decide on source code control and use it. Either Mercurial or Git is probably your best choice nowadays. Host your own or pay the relatively cheap rate for a cloud service
  • If your team is small, run your sprints in short spurts. When I have 2-4 person teams we do 1-week sprints. Daily standups are in a shared chatroom.
  • Continuous integration. Automated nightly builds/unit/system tests with emailed reports to the team. Always be ready to ship.
  • Don't skimp on your QC/test cycle...you'll hate yourself later when you have to pay down the technical debt. But in my experience new features/bulletpoints on the marketing slides sells more than the occasional bug takes away.

Play to your strengths. Be agile. React quickly to marketing changes. Some customer wants to buy but you don't do something? Promise it withing 6 weeks and then frickin' do it.

Good luck, dude. Its a fun and fulfilling endeavor.

Comment: Re:Not creative rock stars? (Score 1) 166

Well...

When I was Civil Service IT, I had frickin' awesome benefits (sick leave AND annual leave?? And sick leave doesn't have max carryover?!? And I can use sick leave as paternity leave?!?!?!?!?), I got 3 hours a week PAID to go to the gym (link), and I got to work a 9/80 schedule.

In the private sector job I'm at now, where you have to, you know, actually produce results on time and under budget, I'm frequently working nights and long hours because if I don't get our release done by a certain date, our customer won't pay us and I won't have a job.

But yeah, despite the awesomeness of the benefits and work life of civil service, it can be pretty soul-crushing to not actually do anything relevant and important. I spent most of my time making powerpoint slides of our enterprise architecture. And I probably got between 80-120 emails a day. And usually had at least 3-5 meetings.

Contrast that with my current commercial corporate job, I am directly responsible for delivery and revenue so I'm usually left alone so I can actually deliver.

Comment: Best Quote(paraphrase): "My leg is now badass" (Score 3, Interesting) 28

A guy quoted in the article said something like, "I've never had someone tell me my leg was badass before." This (seemed to me like) was said in a positive way. Dude is an athlete.

I have to say, I think these guys hit it right on the nose. Why did all prosthetics before look like metal poles or wooden sticks? Why can't they be leg-shaped, like a mannequin? Why can't they be all colorful or sleek, make you look like Iron Man or have your favorite sports team or whatever on it?

I can't even imagine what being an amputee is like, but this seems like a positive, morale-boosting step in the right direction.

Super kudos to them, and super awesome way to show how 3D printing is awesome.

Comment: Cheating on the old text adventure games (Score 1) 153

by microTodd (#47145755) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking?

My dad bought a TI-99/4A when I was about 7 or 8. I did the BASIC tutorial, learned how to load the old scott adams games like 'pirate adventure' from cassette. Then I learned how to modify the source, started doing things like changing my inventory and teleporting from room to room. Then I started writing my own games. All by the time I was about 10.

It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.

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