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


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.

Comment: Re:By choice, not by necessity... (Score 1) 341

by microTodd (#46786497) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

Why are you not doing "fun" work now, instead of sitting at a cube? Become a consultant now. Telecommute and work at the beach.

I made the change about 2 years ago. Left corporate cubelandia and created my own company. Its a shit-ton of work but a LOT more fun. And I've got two school age kids and a stay at home wife so I'm the sole breadwinner. Everyone thought I was nuts. But so far its turned out ok. Yeah its risky but so is life.

Comment: By choice, not by necessity... (Score 2) 341

by microTodd (#46777903) Attached to: I expect to retire ...

I'm sure a lot of people who said "Never" are because they can never afford it. Cue gripes about economy, job market, politics, etc.

But for me its because I enjoy working. The dean at my last college was a retired CPA. At my last job several of the retired engineers still booked consulting hours. Barring any medical issues I hope to stay busy and active my entire life doing something I enjoy.

Comment: Right before I have to leave (Score 3, Interesting) 91

by microTodd (#46538865) Attached to: What day of the week is your most productive?

Seriously. Its frustrating. I try to not work too late cause I want to see my kids before bedtime but right around 4PM is when I get this big rush of energy. It was great in college and when I was single but now it just creates conflict in my life. So I'm stuck between wanting to stay and work or head out the door.

Comment: Warner used Kickstarter? Bad precedent... (Score 1) 243

wait a minute...I'm late to the game here but let me make sure I understand the story.

  1. Warner...frickin' Warner Bros, which made $12B in revenue last year, parent company is Time frickin' Warner...used Kickstarter to fund a movie?
  2. After raising $5M on kickstarter they used that to fund the movie
  3. The movie, after it was released and they started making money, then basically paid back part of the kickstarter because they are reneging on the kickstarter deal?
  4. PROFIT!!!

so basically they played the system to get an interest-free loan.

I thought kickstarter was really for people who couldn't conventionally raise funds?

Well, ok. I just read the Kickstarter FAQ. They don't really say anything like that. Its for any creative project.

So yeah, I guess even if you are a $12Billion company you can use kickstarter instead of fronting your own money.

Comment: Re:Barrier to entry (Score 1) 225

by microTodd (#46472551) Attached to: Silicon Valley's Youth Problem

So I've seen several anecdotal refutations to my assertions in the parent comment. I think these are interesting and I appreciate hearing these stories. The Slashdot collective hivemind seems to push the "HR sux" comments to the top and since I read at "3" I probably don't see the opposite stories.

What I think is interesting is that the anecdotes are all about Cisco, and even in this article the author talks about how Cisco is doing some things "out of the box" to address this issue. So at least they recognize the situation are are trying things to address it. So maybe Cisco is one of the better companies to work for?

Comment: Re:Barrier to entry (Score 5, Insightful) 225

by microTodd (#46468209) Attached to: Silicon Valley's Youth Problem

I think this comment might be closer to the truth. We always see Slashdot stories and anecdotes about how big companies' HR procedures are dumb and you can't barely get hired there because of that (i.e. 10 years experience in a 5-year-old tech. Not willing to train because you have to "hit the ground running"). Meanwhile a startup founder will meet with you at Your Coffee Place Of Choice and hire you on the spot.

So...younger, no experience, not trained in resume writing? Probably can't even get an interview at Cisco.

As I see it, its the big companies' problem. They're the ones with screwed up HR procedures.

Comment: Much more than I realized....(yes I'm American) (Score 2) 146

by microTodd (#46417991) Attached to: Time sucked into Netflix or similar, weekly:

So at first I thought, nah, not that much. But then I really thought about it. It adds up quick.

If every night during the week I watch 1 1-hour show with my wife before we go to sleep. Then a movie on each day Sat and Sun, that's already like 10 hours! I didn't realize I was spending so much time watching TV (or at least the modern equivalent of TV). I could easily see someone who is NOT a TV-a-holic put in 20 hours. All you have to do is watch a movie a day, maybe two on weekends, and you're already up there.

That being said, its not like I sit and stare at the screen blankly. Usually my wife and I will converse about whatever it is we're watching, and frequently the weekend shows get interrupted with kids, games, phone calls, reading a magazine, or heck sometimes even sex.

But yeah, I was a little shocked and disappointed in myself when I realized the hour count was so high, because I'll bet its even higher for my kids. I'll have to look into that.

Comment: Self employed so no separation (Score 5, Interesting) 308

by microTodd (#45748493) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do You Run a Copy-Cat Installation At Home?

This was an interesting question and I feel like I can give an interesting answer. I'm self-employed, in that I'm the owner of the company. So for me there is no separation. My "work" laptop is also my beefiest and hence my primary laptop. I can dictate how our lab environment is built out.

To address what you talk about with my employees, generally speaking I'm pretty lenient with what they want to use and do (no porn no pirated software, that's pretty much it). I give pretty much free reign in the lab. I do this by having a development VM server and allowing a dev to spin up pretty much any VM he wants. I got an MSDN subscription to cover all the various MS OS flavors, but I see lots of ubuntu and OpenSolaris VMs too.

The bigger issue for me is not computing resources, its time. You have to show me that your research efforts are worth our time. If we're building a J2EE project on top of Ubuntu with mysql, I will question why you are doing a python tutorial on the company time, for example.

For me personally, since we're a small company and cashflow is tight I personally follow a "10% IPA rule". No more than 10% of my time can be spent on non-Income-Producing-Activity. I try to make sure 90% of my time is directly billable to revenue and not spend more than 10% of my time beyond that. Maybe larger companies with bigger profit margins can handle more, but we just can't right now.

I certainly encourage people to learn new things and I can see the value of doing this out of left field. (For example, last year I decided to finally really learn functional programming, and it gave me a huge positive impact on my vanilla Java/Perl/JS/etc coding). And since most engineering talent is the geeky sort who love to learn for learning's sake then its a positive morale influence to let people dabble. But when I can see the cash flow report every month then I can see where the PHB/clueless MBAs get nervous when you spend too much time doing research and learning.

Now, when you mention security being an issue.....well, can't help you there. Most large companies have fairly brain-dead security policies so there's not much you can do about it.

Comment: Re:Atheism is a religion (Score 1) 674

by microTodd (#45659455) Attached to: New Documentary Chronicles Road Tripping Scientists Promoting Reason

This really intrigued me. I've never thought of atheism as a "religion" per se. It seemed silly to me, like calling someone who chooses to not watch sports a fan (see? silly!). But let's see what the dictionary thinks.

reÂliÂgion noun \ri-Ëli-jÉ(TM)n\
: the belief in a god or in a group of gods

: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods

: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

The third definition is certainly interesting. If Dawkins and these other scientists feel strongly enough about their atheism to write books and make movies and go on lecture tours then I would posit that this interest/activity is very important to them.

So yeah, maybe hardcore atheism IS a religion.

You scratch my tape, and I'll scratch yours.