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Comment: Find a project for your support job (Score 4, Interesting) 133

by scsirob (#46559285) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Moving From Tech Support To Development?

No-one will start with a blank screen in the morning and start to write code, just because. You need to have an itch, something you want to solve. Writing code is the means, not the goal.

Think about your support job, and ask yourself what tool would really make your life easier. Then set out to write that tool. You have the target people sitting around you right now, solve your problem and solve theirs too. If you're lucky, the tool will be valuable enough for the company to take it to that next country, all while you keep supporting that code.

I did this many years ago, while working as tech support for a tape vendor (Exabyte). I found their customer tools rubbish, so I started writing something easier (Expert 7 for MS-DOS). I asked my wife to test it for me (she is not in IT), just to see what she struggled with and made it better. It took me a while, but in the long run the company made my tool the default for customer support. I have kept on supporting that tool and many others after that until the end of last year. For almost 20 years those tape tools have given me part of my income. Even today, I still have a few customers asking me to code for them. LTO-7 is coming, perhaps I'll be asked to integrate support by then.

Comment: Eight years older (Score 4, Insightful) 218

by scsirob (#46552193) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Re-Learning How To Interview As a Developer?

The problem with being eight years older is that you are, indeed, eight years older. Past a certain age it seems that the only jobs you will be able to get is through your network. All else being equal, a complete stranger who has to evaluate you against someone eight years younger (heck, you were a good developer at that age, right?) will definitely chose the younger person. More agile, easier to morph.

Work your network. If you are as good as you say you are, use your reputation instead of your skills.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous. (Score 1) 914

Imprisonment serves two purposes. It serves to punish (and hopefully correct) the perpetrator, but it also serves as a sign to society that crime does not pay. If some serious killer gets sentenced to 50 virtual years and gets out after a year, that will feel wrong for the victims, the families and society in general.

Comment: Remeber this before signing up.. (Score 2) 185

by scsirob (#46471297) Attached to: Mars Rover Opportunity Faces New Threat: Budget Ax

Whomever volunteers to go on the first Mars mission should read this article, print it and stable it to the wall.
Guess what can happen when you are out there, the first glorious conquerors of Mars. You make by with what you have, rely on communication with Earth for guidance and support. Then a bean counter on Earth decides that you are too much of an expense...

Comment: License? (Score 4, Funny) 983

by scsirob (#46463477) Attached to: How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?

Just assuming that your friend had a fully legal collection, I would think that all he needs to do is ask the media companies for a new copy. Because the media industry tells us that we do not buy music, we buy licenses, right?? So even if we lose the bits-and-bytes which are easy to replace, then we still hold a license and the media companies should facilitate that your friend can exercise his licensed rights..


Comment: Nails, wires or anything that can swat them (Score 0) 84

by scsirob (#46368423) Attached to: First Outdoor Flocks of Autonomous Flying Robots

Let me state this once and for all. Any flock of flying robots, autonomous or not, over my head or my property will encounter bags of nails, wires and other terrible obstacles designed to swat them. Just the fact that something is technically possible does not mean we should allow this. Stop the madness!

Comment: ... And get fined $10.000 ?? (Score 1) 376

by scsirob (#46226545) Attached to: Laser Headlights Promise More Intense, Controllable Beams

What if that nice bright laser hits a reflective object and then points toward a plane? Just a few articles back I read that will be rewarded with a $10.000 fine.

And as others have already pointed out, today's headlights are plenty bright, thank you.

Comment: Re:I abandoned thoughts of getting a pilot's licen (Score 1) 473

by scsirob (#46215799) Attached to: Ugly Trends Threaten Aviation Industry

Really fly the airplane, don't just act like it's moms minivan with your eyes glued to the damn GPS

Well, that depends on which country/region you are in. Here in The Netherlands the GPS is almost mandatory to ensure you do not fly into some temporary or permanent patch of restricted airspace, don't get reported for flying over one of several hundred unmarked Natura-2000 wildlife areas (that contain no wildlife) and don't inadvertently bump 200ft into oh-so-precious Class-A which covers half of the country from 1200ft up. And these days the authorities don't tell you how to avoid intrusion, they send you a 'transaction proposal' of several hundred €€€.

This on top of mandatory Mode-S transponders, mandatory 406MHz ELT's, soon mandatory 8.33MHz radio's, annual 120 Euro charge for using radio spectrum, annual liability insurance, annual hangar rent rates, 3+ Euro/liter Avgas ($15 per Gallon..), landing fees of €30 for the lightest, lowest noise category plane, mandatory annual SoA renewal fees, mandatory annual medical check (at 50+), etc, etc, etc..

Flying has become impossible to afford and is no longer fun.

"The Amiga is the only personal computer where you can run a multitasking operating system and get realtime performance, out of the box." -- Peter da Silva