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Comment In the junk pile (Score 1) 284

I have an old, old box with Windows 95 on it. If I could ever find a replacement for the motherboard battery, I could probably even boot it. If I wanted to. The question would be "why?"

(The answer is that box still has a copy of Syntrilliam's CoolEdit on it, so I can convert MP3 to OggVorbis. Worth it? Flipping a coin...)

Comment Re:My Microsoft ergonomic keyboard has it on the l (Score 4, Insightful) 240

Because people who type all the time don't like to have their wrists twisted like they are wear handcuffs. I remember the first time I used a Hodgekiss keyboard (split and tilted up) my wrists were much, much happier in just a few minutes.

Comment Re:You still go through HR for jobs? (Score 1) 242

Let me disabuse you of your incorrect notion. My last four jobs did not involve an HR department. (1) One was a "promotion" from freelance to full-time. (2) One was a contract gig "promotion" to full time. (3) One was from a newspaper ad sent to me by a friend, who knew the owner of the business. (4) One was an equipment co-location customer who got so dependent on me that he hired me to continue what I had been doing as "customer service".

Indeed, looking back on my career I have very little contact with any HR department. My very first job came through the efforts of a gradute-student-run research project at Southern Illinois University. Several jobs were as a college student worker. Several more jobs came via recruiters. My best jobs was one of those error cascades involving computer magazines, the American National Standards Institute, and being a take-over-Charlie in a standards-setting committee.

Comment Re:Stupid question. (Score 5, Informative) 242

The problem is that the HR departments want X years in specific technology. I still remember years ago an ad wanting a programmer with 10 years of Java programming experience...and Java was just turning five.

The last time I was looking for work, I found ads that were so specific that I surmise the hiring person had a specific person in mind, but was required to put job openings out to the world. I do know one instance where the job was intended for a H1-B visa applicant; no way they were going to hire a citizen for the position.

Yes, I agree that people should continue to learn new stuff. I'm picking up Python as part of my current job.

Comment Old programmers for old systems (Score 4, Interesting) 242

There has been quite a discussion (including in CIO magazine) about old programmers being exactly the right people to deal with "ancient" legacy systems. There is still a lot of systems in current use written in COBOL out there, even COBOL that predates the ANSI version. FORTRAN is still surprisingly strong in the scientific community.

The article mentions programmers continuing in niches. Me, for example. I've discovered a very nice corner where I work with RS-232 serial ports and the mistakes engineers/programmers 20-30 years my junior inflict on the community. Schools don't teach the National Semiconductor 16550 UART anymore; not to mention all the errors made trying to utilize the FIFO capabilities. (It's not engineers using the chips themselves, it's the ASIC people using the 16550 from the cell libraries!)

I'm on the wrong side of 60, yet I've not decided when I'm going to retire...if I retire. I may just decide that, as long as I can find people who need my skills, I'll keep going until they carry me out feet-first.

Comment I don't use an ad blocker (Score 1) 519

Like so many other people have commented, I have earned the right to turn off advertising on ./ and decided not to check that checkbox. Instead, I use another method to block ads: /etc/hosts. Here is a small sample:

127.0.0.1 media.sonypictures.com.
127.0.0.1 images.adsyndication.msn.com.
127.0.0.1 2mdn.net.
127.0.0.1 atdmt.com.
127.0.0.1 fastclick.net.
127.0.0.1 hire.tv.
127.0.0.1 hiro.tv.
127.0.0.1 pointroll.com.

In firefix, I have also set to "ask first" for every single media player. I just wish there was a way I could do this with HTML5 video content as well.

Comment Re:Oh boy, here we go... (Score 0) 413

Then there will be the sliver of comments about developing additional sources of zero-carbon sources of energy. Traditional fission reactors have their own pollution problems. Fusion is still too experimental; no one has yet to demonstrate a scalable method of doing that. But there is another power metal: thorium. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

I'm not saying that solar and wind are pie-in-the-sky. Those sources of renewable power have their place. We should not shut the door, though, to additional options. Just as we need diversity in our population, we need diversity in our power solutions.

Plus, don't count out Bell Lab's favorite project goal: "And then something wonderful happens."

Comment Re:Spreadsheets (Score 2) 144

Any place where you have to take a number of observations and perform statistical analysys on the data. A lot of yield analysis in agriculture is done this way; remember, agriculture was the mother of statistics. Then you branch out to the other hard sciences and a spreadsheet is the right tool for the job. Once you learn the limitations of the tool (precision, range, accuracy) it can slash effort to a fraction of other methods.

Comment Re:"Secure in their ... papers" (Score 1) 157

Are we talking about a single piece of paper, or are there three independent pieces of paper? If the former, then the warrant would have to be served on Bob, because he has possession of the letter. If you made a copy or otherwise made a separate recording of the letter, then LEO could come after YOU for the contents. And you have no standing to contest the warrant on fourth amendment grounds. You could be questioned about the contents in either case.

Comment Re:Nonsense law still can't be ignored (Score 1) 157

Where the third party *does* have standing to challenge the warrant is when there is an undue financial burden on said third party to provide the requested information. Telephone companies have routinely charged the issuer of the warrent a fee for, say, the local-calling record of a party. The key is that word "undue" -- that can be interpreted many ways. The Founding Fathers of our country could not have predicted this, given the record-keeping practices of the time, versus now, and the fluidity of the concept of "ownership" of information. I'm afraid it would take a constitutional amendment to bring personally identifying information to be owned by the *person* and not by the party who collected it as a "normal part of business."

Comment Re:Nonsense law still can't be ignored (Score 2) 157

But what is being demanded is information being held by a third party, and not under the control of the party being investigated. Once you disclose anything to a third party, that information is now "out there", where the government can pick it off when they want to. The same is true if you use a third party to handle your e-mail, web site, or any other service. Look at the second phrase: the warrants fall within the four corners of the restrictions. Plus, the gag order that usually accompanies such requests prevents the data-holding party from tipping off the person being investigated.

Comment First, the attacker has to get through to SSH (Score 1) 157

On my edge router, I use TCPWRAPPERS to block access to a number of quasi-public services, like SSH. If the attacker isn't coming from the limited number of IP addresses allowed, the attempts get stopped and logged. Too many rejects, and they land in my edge ACL for all services, not just SSH. (Going on the theory that a bad apple hitting SSH probably has other bad habits.)

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.

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