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Comment: Re:Don't (Score 3, Informative) 98

by pla (#48185451) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: LTE Hotspot As Sole Cellular Connection?
It is expensive and unreliable.

The combined 4G/802.11 hotspots you get from the cell carriers pretty much suck across the board.

Get a Cradlepoint router and a compatible USB 4G modem (under $100 total). It takes the USB in from the modem, and gives you 4 ethernet ports plus WiFi, and knows enough to reset the stupid 4G modem when it has its hourly crash. Net result, near perfect uptime, weather aside. Oh, and and use a 6ft USB cable to move the modem a bit away from the router if you plan to use the WiFi feature of it - People have reported the two interfere with each other and greatly reduce the performance of each unless you separate them by a few feet.

That said, yes, still expensive. But like you, I have no alternatives, so if I need to pay for it, it may as well work.

Comment: Re:Already gone (Score 5, Insightful) 304

by pla (#48152223) Attached to: Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race
Do you also think it's not possible to rape your spouse?

So, when did you stop beating your wife?


The law doesn't distinguish between the two "owners" of shared marital assets. How, therefore, can it count as "stalking" to install a GPS tracker - Which have a plethora of entirely legitimate uses - in my own cars? By the same reasoning, does it also count as "stalking" to take advantage of all the insurance companies' offers to track your kids' driving habits with similar devices?

As for email, I maintain our home network. By the same weasel-logic corporations use to spy on their employees' emails, if I "just happen" to come across a damning email in the course of a routine security audit of my home IT infrastructure, how exactly does that count as unkosher?

Now, I wouldn't do any of that, because I trust my SO. I still, though, have an awfully hard time understanding how a court can draw arbitrary lines between "allowed" and "illegal" based on something they can't physically know - My intent.

Comment: Re:Give me $5.000 (Score 2) 108

by pla (#48148541) Attached to: Oracle Database Certifications Are No Longer Permanent
If you're a seasoned systems software engineer whose background is entirely in software engineering, my first question will be: what that is new can you bring to us?

How about, Able to do the fucking job without a "long probationary period ... while training is provided"? That do it for ya, hmm? No, no, you'd rather have your interest "piqued" than get a qualified boring individual to do the job your employer wants done.

I realize what we do can often look like magic to those with no math or computer skills, but really, don't insult me by explaining how your AP reconciliation process differs from every other special unique snowflake of an accounting department.

I especially value good ethics - this one's underrated by many companies

No, you don't. You value someone who looks ethical, but when the CFO tells him to "interpret" the numbers more favorable, he shuts up and does as directed. You value someone who, when your DB breaks, he puts you at the head of the queue instead of following standard prioritization rules for the company. In short, just like all the other HR folks who tout "diversity" and "ethics" - You want a shiny facade, but couldn't care less about the reality.

if you're here to make a quick buck and leave, or to use your colleagues as stepping stones, I'll try damn hard to make sure you're never hired, or quickly removed.

Although they exist, I find it somewhat funny you would mention that in the context of engineers. Unlike in the HR and corporate food chains, engineers have a problem in exactly the opposite direction - When management (almost without exception) proves itself as incompetent asshats, we get the job done despite (sometimes in direct contradiction to) what management thinks it wants. On the whole, engineers have a massively overdeveloped sense of meritocracy, unfortunately an ideal largely incompatible with "obey the most expensive suit".

Yeah, we probably wouldn't get along well.

Comment: Re:Simple != worse (Score 1) 240

by pla (#48140973) Attached to: Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'
If you want to fix their broken spreadsheet problem, maybe they should use SUMIFS

Heh, SUMIFS. Not IFSUMS. Duh, thanks. And no, I didn't charge her anything - I did say "friend", not "client". Just doing her a favor, took a whopping five minutes of my time.

Although my solution and insight was worth much more than yours.

You can approach any given problem in two different ways:
You can work with the conditions of the problem as given and find a solution under those conditions, or,
you can whine about uncontrollable factors and make excuses for why you can't help.

More to the point, my solution did work, as implemented; I gave that as an example where TFA's "worse" solution would have beaten a "better" one - I used a function unavailable in an (unexpected) 11 year old version of Office, and as a result, it broke.

Comment: Simple != worse (Score 4, Insightful) 240

by pla (#48139631) Attached to: Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'
Once upon a time, I wrote "clever" code. Truly beautiful, almost poetic in its elegance. Note I said "elegance", not "simplicity".

I don't know who to credit for this (probably read it on Slashdot), but a single perspective completely changed the way I view coding:
It takes substantially more effort to debug than it does to write code in the first place. If, therefore, I write code as clever as I possibly can - I can't effectively debug it (without investing far more time than I should) if something changes or goes wrong.

Now, that doesn't mean "worse is better"... I can still produce good code; I can even still write the occasional clever function when performance demands it. But for the 99.9% of code that has almost no impact whatsoever on performance, I can just say "if X then Y else Z" rather than using cool-but-cryptic bitmasking tricks to avoid executing a conditional instruction. And hey, whaddya know, I can actually read it at a glance six month later, rather than praying I didn't forget to update my comments.

On the flip side of this, a few weeks ago I helped a friend put together a spreadsheet with a few complex formulas in it. I love me some IFSUMS, arguably the best new feature of Excel in the past decade. Note that clause, "in the past decade". This weekend, she called me because her nice helpful spreadsheet wouldn't work - On Excel 2003. It seems that while 2003 has IFSUM, MS didn't add IFSUMS until 2007. The choice of one seemingly harmless backward-compatibility-breaking function made the whole thing useless in a given context. Now, in fairness, I can hear you all screaming "just upgrade already!"... But in the real world, well, we still have people using Windows 95.

Comment: Re:yes, let's "zoom out" (Score 3, Insightful) 213

by pla (#48112853) Attached to: NASA Finds a Delaware-Sized Methane "Hot Spot" In the Southwest
but requires huge amounts of water.

"Huge amounts of water" doesn't mean huge amounts of potable water. Our planet has no shortage of water (you could more accurately say we have a shortage of land). We just can't directly consume most of it without energy-intensive processing first.

Fracking doesn't require clean water. It can use salt water, grey water, swamp water, runoff water, pretty much anything. Now, that said, in the places currently enjoying a fracking boom (no pun intended), the easiest water to get comes from nice clean freshwater aquifers. But it doesn't need to.

I find it simply mind-boggling that so many environmentally conscious people (and I say that as someone who considers himself one) hate the most environmentally friendly sources of energy we have: Nuclear, wind, solar, water, and to a lesser degree, natural gas. Yes, each has its own problems, some of which we can solve through regulation, some through further tech advancement, some through telling millionaire weenies on Cape Cod to go fuck themselves. But as long as the cheapest (by a good margin) alternative consists of the dirtiest fuel ever discovered by mankind (coal)... Maybe we should take just a teensy step back and pick our battles a bit better, hmm?

Comment: Re:boo hoo hoo (Score 4, Insightful) 337

Boo fricking hoo. Learn to develop a game with what you have and quit yer bitching.

More to the point - When you have the luxury of coding for a very specific platform (ie, a gaming console with a known hardware configuration and known performance profile), you have no excuse for failing to adjust your resource demands accordingly. And if you just can't physically dial down the load enough to run well on platform X - You don't release the goddamned game for platform X.

Re-read that last point, because it nicely translates Pontbriand's whining into plain English: "We promise not to turn down any chance to grab your cash, no matter how shitty the experience for our loyal customers".

Comment: Re:metric you insensitive clod! (Score 2) 402

by pla (#48092729) Attached to: Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines
That's what a trip odometer can be used for.

I agree with you in spirit - and in fact, do the same thing - but let's admit what a piss-poor solution that sounds like.

Instead of having a moderately accurate measurement of how much fuel our cars have remaining, we find it more reliable to make all sorts of assumptions about driving conditions and weather and long-term averages and whether or not we "topped off" that last 25 cents on our last fill... And then use our subsequent driving distance to guess how much further we can go before we run out. Pretty frickin' sad, really. :)

Worse, my car can somehow magically tell me my instantaneous and average MPG (and at least for the average, gets it pretty dead-on), meaning it knows the exact amount of fuel it has sucked out of the tank since my last refill (which fact it reliably uses to automatically reset some of the running stats it tracks)... Yet it still can't give me a more useful readout than eight illuminated dots??? Free hint, auto engineers of the world - 13 +/- x gallons minus 8.74125 gallons means I have 4.25875 +/- x gallons left; measure the real-world range of x to make sure no one runs out before hitting zero, and give me a damned linear gas gauge!

Comment: Re:change is baaaaaaaad (Score 1) 267

by pla (#48090475) Attached to: GNOME 3 Winning Back Users
You know, AC has a point there. It seems that every slightly larger framework coming to Linux gets opposed.

I couldn't tell you quite when it happened, but at some point in my life, I slowly came to realize that the tools I use on a daily basis exist to perform a specific set of tasks. The tool has value for what it does for me, not for its own inherent newness or shininess.

Whether I use systemd or init really makes no difference; whether I use Gnome or KDE, completely irrelevant to whether or not I can open a browser, a music player, and my IDE of choice. BUT! for the same reason, I have a strong motivation not to make huge changes just for the sake of "new", until those changes will allow me to perform my set of tasks better or faster or easier.

Yes, I can appreciate the need to have a functional level of knowledge about the alternatives to what I use on a day-to-day basis - How else can I evaluate when "new" will make me faster/better/etc? I also, however, believe in mastering the tools I use most often. And that takes time. If I'll eventually save five minutes a day by using Gnome instead of KDE, but it takes me a year of fifteen wasted minutes a day mastering the environment, then unless I stick with Gnome for four years, I don't even break even. Obviously, an overly-simplified example, but I see this problem all too often in fresh-out-of-college coworkers: They'll switch to something "better" every month or two, without any consideration of the payback period on their time invested, giving a net negative ROI.

Is a person who blows up banks an econoclast?