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Comment: Re:What is Yahoo doing? (Score 1) 149

by nine-times (#46789343) Attached to: Investors Value Yahoo's Core Business At Less Than $0

I think Hotmail is now Outlook.com, which is... I hesitate to say it's good, but it's not really bad. It integrates with Skype, Onedrive, and Office Online. It looks nice. It works fine. It has social media integration, and it performs the task of routing and storing email. If you have an account, you can use it to sync your settings in Windows 8 to other Win8 computers.

I'd use it sooner than Yahoo Mail, but I don't use it. I think I mostly don't use it because I don't trust Microsoft.

Comment: Re:It could happen (Score 1) 326

by nine-times (#46789119) Attached to: Detroit: America's Next Tech Boomtown

All the state economic development agencies engage in this kind of poaching. The only problem is that the South is better at it because they don't fund schools and local governments to the same extent.

Of course, it's worth noting that low tax rates aren't the only consideration. If you have crappy schools and a low standard of living, then you might have a harder time drawing good employees. If you have crappy infrastructure, then you might have a harder time conducting your business. If your business requires an affluent population and other businesses to deal with, then a sparse population with little economic development doesn't make for a good location. Cuts to the local government are often not a good thing for businesses, even if it means lower taxes for the businesses. There are reasons why lots of businesses still locate themselves in big cities with high taxes and lots of regulation.

Comment: What is Yahoo doing? (Score 2) 149

by nine-times (#46787443) Attached to: Investors Value Yahoo's Core Business At Less Than $0
I don't know about the companies in China and Japan, and I don't know about stocks, but the general idea that Yahoo isn't actually worth much is unsurprising. Do people still use Yahoo.com or Yahoo mail? Yahoo IM? I understand that, like AOL, Yahoo owns other sites that are doing well, but what's Yahoo's strategy? How are they making money in the face of Google and Gmail?

Comment: Re:In plain English, what's a FreedomBox? (Score 1) 53

by nine-times (#46768169) Attached to: All Packages Needed For FreedomBox Now In Debian

I think the problem is that, in all those links, there isn't an obvious link to a clear explanation of what Freedombox actually does. There's a vague "vision statement" about ideological goals. There's a set of directions that tells you how to plug it in (hint: you plug it in). There are video presentations which I can't watch conveniently, but I assume will explain something-or-other. There isn't really a clear plain-english write-up of what's supposed to be accomplished by using one of these, nor the details on how it works.

Is it some kind of pass-through Tor client? A VPN-like encryption scheme? Does it actually host web/email/chat? I get that it has something to do with privacy and communications, but... what?

Comment: Re:Gentrification? (Score 1) 358

by nine-times (#46766779) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

If you're paying more than $1,500/month rent to live in a one bedroom apartment anywhere in the US, you're very rich. If you're paying $2,500/month to live in a one bedroom apartment anywhere in the US, you're super rich.

I don't think that's quite fair. In some places, rent is just very high. Some people pay a half of their net income (or more) on rent. So you might meet someone paying $1,500 in rent per month and only making $50k. Or you might have a couple sharing a $2,500k/month one-bedroom, each only making $40k each. Now I'll admit that those people are better off than the truly "poor" who can't make ends meet, but it's hardly "super-rich".

Comment: Re:So it's the "tech industry", so what? (Score 1) 286

by nine-times (#46762339) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

I'm not sure that sysadmins, network engineers, and the other better IT jobs have to start out at the bottom rung.

I'm sure it's not always the case. There are various reasons why people get hired to jobs-- some better than others. However, I'll tell you that I wouldn't hire someone as a sysadmin who hasn't had experience as a sysadmin unless I knew that they had prior troubleshooting and support experience in a real-world setting. There are lots of reasons for that, some of them more obvious than others. I'll also comment that my position seems to fit along with other people that I've known who would hire a sysadmin or network engineer, though that's still all anecdotal.

It's ok. Like you said, to each his own.

Yup. Honestly, I've found I just don't like programming. I don't even like scripting and web development. I like logically solving problems, product design, and I'm even interested in some of the math involved, but I don't enjoy the process of actually coding or the project planning involved. I actually prefer the support side, though it's not tons of money, and it's been a long time since I was tier-1. Also, even when I was tier-1, I wasn't doing the sort of work where people read a script sitting in a huge support farm.

Yes. That is true. And if you DO have an education, you typically start at a higher point in said path, end at a higher point, and have vastly greater chances of reaching the upper echelons than if you do not have an education. Depends on the career.

Starting at a higher point... I think it probably depends on the industry. In my experience in IT support, it's definitely not the huge determining factor. We're always looking for young people who can be trained. I think you have a better point in saying, "have vastly greater chances of reaching the upper echelons", but I suspect it's for a weird mix of reasons. I do expect that there are bosses who won't promote you to a certain level without having the "college degree" box checked on your records. I also think that, to some degree, there are qualities that help you be successful in business and also make you more likely to go to college, e.g. a tendency toward conformity and willingness to jump through required hoops, or the idea that people with a certain kind of intelligence are more likely to be able to finish school and do well in business.

Actually though, it's true that there are businesses who will hire IT purely based on college education and certificates. Those people tend not to know what they're doing.

Comment: Re:u wot m8 (Score 1) 574

by nine-times (#46760351) Attached to: Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

Well you don't have to. Lots of Linux distros will provide a nice little GUI pop-up that tells you that updates are available, and if you click "Ok" or "Update now" or whatever, it'll do the rest on its own. That's how most Microsoft updates work too, though you can also script them too. The differences really aren't so earth-shattering.

Comment: Re:So it's the "tech industry", so what? (Score 1) 286

by nine-times (#46760273) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

Except those jobs aren't the sort that are simply better. They're conflating the good tech jobs for which a degree is helpful, with the shit tech jobs which do not need a degree. That false presumption turns the thrust of their argument from "you don't need a degree to get a tech job" to "you don't need a degree to get a shitty tech job". Which doesn't quite have the same inspiring message.

Well... that kinda makes it seem like you're just on an ego trip to justify your own career choices. I would say more to the point: there are lots of career paths where, regardless of education, you tend to start at the bottom and work your way up. Often, a formal education is not necessary for those jobs. Sometimes, the people hiring choose to require an education (for various reasons, some valid, some not). This is true whether or not the job is a "tech job".

The starting jobs for doctors and lawyers often suck too, and those are highly educated positions. Lots of times, you just have to start with a shitty job.

Well maybe for you, but I graduated with a computer engineering degree and my first job out of school was developing software for embedded systems.

Yeah, well that doesn't sound fun to me. It may have been lucrative, but to each his own. Again, I'm not sure what your point here is, other than a misguided desire to brag.

Everyone I've known with the job has been desperate to get out, move up into managing others, or more commonly move "sideways" into development or sysadmin work.

Yet again, I'm not sure what your point is there. Many of the shitty jobs you start out with, people are looking to somehow "get out" or "move up". Doctors don't usually want to stay in their internships. Lawyers don't like doing the grunt work that young lawyers do. People starting in IT support don't like to stay at tier 1 helpdesk. That's all pretty normal. So what you're saying is IT support is an inferior career to programming embedded systems because people like to get promoted? Moving into management, systems administration, project management, network architecture, etc. are all routes upward. They're not really "sideways" or anything else. The path into those jobs are generally through tier 1 helpdesk. There isn't a level of formal education sufficient to have me hire someone directly into a sysadmin position, let alone something higher, without experience.

Let's look at all the directors and CIO and techy business owners. Obviously since they're "at the top" there's going to be less of them then the workers. That's how heirarchies work. So the odds of getting there are slim already...Now take your typical help-desk worker. Are you going to tell them that if they stay in this job they'll eventually get to be the director?

Yet again, I'm not sure what point you're trying to illustrate here. Yes, businesses run as hierarchies. The odds of reaching the top in any field are not great, and not everyone will accomplish that. Not every lawyer makes partner in a prestigious firm. Not every programmer gets to be CEO of a successful software company. Not every musician gets to become world-famous millionaire rockstars who sell out huge stadiums. What is the conclusion that you think we should draw from that? Because it's sounding more and more like you're just on a deranged ego trip to prove that you're better than helpdesk techs.

A comSci PhD can be overqualified AND not have the skills for the job. "Qualifications" it's a word that means something.

You do know that "overqualified" actually has a meaning, right? When someone is "overqualified", it means that they can easily do the job but have qualifications beyond that which make them unsuited for such a low-level position. For example, hiring someone to do tier-1 helpdesk who has been doing IT support for 6 years, and has since moved through tier-2, tier-3, and project management roles-- that would be an example of hiring someone who is "overqualified". Hiring a compsci PhD to do tier-1 support is something other than that. Absent other qualifications, he probably isn't qualified for a higher job. He probably can't easily do the tier-1 job without learning a lot.

For example, you're a programmer. If you were hiring a programmer, and a guy comes in and he has a PhD in Comparative Literature but has never programmed anything--- would you say that he's "overqualified" to be a programmer? Not unless you misunderstand the meaning of the word "overqualified".

Now I've hired 21-year old kids who have CompSci degrees from a reputable university (and had certs to boot!), and they may be fine programmers and have some understanding of theoretical computer concepts, but starting off they couldn't fix computers worth a damn. Meanwhile I've hired kids who didn't finish college but have been fixing computers for years as a side-job, and they were pretty solid right away. I also once helped train a kid, for example, who was a compsci major who had been running his own support business on the side for a few years. That guy was smart. Still, there's a lot of work that I wouldn't have him do until he had more experience, just because people without much experience tend to make a lot of mistakes.

I guess it's just some kind of a weird blow to your ego to think that IT support people aren't all losers, and I don't really see why. I'm guessing you're very self-conscious about something weird, and IT support is a touchy subject for you.

Comment: Re:So it's the "tech industry", so what? (Score 1) 286

by nine-times (#46756777) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

I'm not sure what your point is. Yes, doing low-level tier 1 desktop support is a kind of shitty job. It's worth pointing out that a lot of jobs, when you're starting out right after college, aren't very fun or lucrative. But yes, people choose to do it, including people with options. There are people who like fixing computers and want to learn more about it. At the point, it's still something that you can make a decent career out of. You could end up being the Director of Technology or CIO of a business, or running your own consulting or MSP business.

I've hired people with STEM degrees and Masters Degrees. No one with a PhD or a Masters in a STEM field. And no, I wouldn't say that a STEM major is "overqualified". I think I would sooner say that when you're fresh out of school, you're not qualified for much of anything at all. I wouldn't say that a PhD is exactly overqualified, either, but there's a qualification mismatch. They're no more overqualified for helpdesk stuff than a great helpdesk tech is overqualified for being a research assistant.

But probably roughly half of the people I've hired have been some kind of STEM (CompSci or engineering) major, and they're not overqualified. They're often about on par with the people who have a BA (or no degree) but have been messing around with computers on their own for a while. If anything, I'd say the amateurs are usually better. In fact, there's a whole class of applicants who are the sort of weren't interested in computers but who have some kind of degree related to IT/MIS because they thought it would get them a good job. Those guys are usually the worst.

Comment: Re:So it's the "tech industry", so what? (Score 1) 286

by nine-times (#46748715) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

There's some truth to that, though a lot of things don't actually require a reboot-- even when they say they do. One of the secrets is that sometimes, asking someone to reboot is just a customer support tactic. For example, if I have 5 things to do in the next hour, and only time to do four of them, I might ask one of them to wait until they have time to save all of their work, reboot the computer, and check to see if they're still having problems. I might not expect that rebooting will fix the problem, but if the client is the sort who will refuse to reboot their computer for 3 hours because they're "too busy" to save their work and close their programs, then I've just bought myself 3 hours to sort out the other 4 cases and research what might be the cause of the 5th case. Besides, even if the reboot itself doesn't fix the problem, maybe getting the user to save/close all of their documents will help, if you know it's someone who generally has a billion windows open at one time.

But that's kind of the thing: Formal education doesn't usually train you to think about things like that. Experience does.

Comment: Re:So it's the "tech industry", so what? (Score 1) 286

by nine-times (#46748341) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

As someone who hires and manages tech support workers (and has done so for a few different companies), I can say that the point being made isn't as trite as all of that. When I look at a resume or interview someone, I don't ultimately pay very much attention to the education. The reason why is that most degrees are virtually useless for the work.

I've known and hired people who have degrees related to computers/engineering, and others who have no degree or have a degree in something completely irrelevant to the job. Regardless of the degree (or lack thereof), I'm more interested in experience. If they have no experience, then they're going to start of doing the simplest grunt work while I train them. I don't care if you're a computer science major. If anything, CompSci majors are worse, because they have a lot of bad habits and misconceptions. You could have a PhD in CompSci, and if you have no experience working help-desk, you're still doing the lowest-level grunt-work until you can prove yourself. Once you prove yourself, I don't care whether you have a career.

On a basic level, fixing computers isn't very tough, but experience of how computers actually work in the real world is often worth more than abstract knowledge of how computers are supposed to work, when they work as theoretically expected. When you get beyond the basic level, the job is more about being organized, communicating, prioritizing, and providing customer service than it is about computers.

Comment: Re:So basically... (Score 4, Insightful) 286

by nine-times (#46748173) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

Well I think the elephant in the room is that we need a lesser focus on "higher education" and a greater focus on "trade schools". In fact, that's what's happening already, in a half-assed way, when people have the mentality "I just want to get a job/make money!" They're thinking of our colleges and universities as trade schools, and those schools are, to some extent, setting themselves up to be trade schools.

The only real problem that I see with all of this is that we can't make up our minds what we want. Lots of people want to go to schools that will teach them a trade that will make money, but call it a "trade school" and those same people think that it's beneath them, that it's low-class. They don't like learning a broad spectrum of generalized and abstract concepts, but they've been taught that either you go to college, or you should work the cash register at a fast-food restaurant-- there's no middle ground. There are professions like plumbing, which make decent money but people think are for stupid low-class people, and then professions like IT support which are considered more "professional" though it often amounts to similar work-- you're a mr. fix-it working with computers rather than pipes.

It's in coherent.

Meanwhile, colleges are actually more focused on research dollars, sports teams, and frat parties than providing either a "higher education" or a "trade education", all of which confuses these issues even more. I'm of the opinion that these things impede each other, and we need to begin to separate them back out. Young people who have no interest in studying anything and only want to party should go to cities and communities where they can get drunk and messy, instead of coupling that experience with "education". We should have minor league sports teams which have no college association, and let promising young athletes get jobs in those leagues instead of taking sham courses in big universities. We should look at how we fund and handle research and see if so much of it should be taking place in universities. We develop respectable trade schools for young people to learn a trade (or for older people to retrain in a different trade) for instances where people are looking for practical employable skills rather than abstract knowledge.

All of these things are achievable if only we could get our collective heads out of our asses. Unfortunately, I have very little faith in humanity being able to do that sort of thing.

Comment: Re:First step: Audit (Score 1) 451

by nine-times (#46724285) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Start With Linux In the Workplace?

In many many cases you can subsitute "Windows 7" or "Windows 8" for "Linux".

Yeah, well here's a hint: the process I laid out isn't just for planning to change operating systems either.

However, the fact is that Microsoft has generally maintained compatibility pretty well between OS versions. If you have software running on XP, there's a good chance it will run on the latest version of Windows. Most of the apps that won't run are apps that were already old when Windows XP came out, or else applications that are very poorly written.

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis

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