Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Expect more of this. (Score 1) 608 608

The problem is Desktop Linux is a bigger change for many of them.

That is it in a nutshell. However, it has nothing to do with the usability of Linux. I use linux exclusively. The last time I used windows was pre-vista.

On the consumer side, windows sells because it comes pre-installed on practically every computer sold. The average consumer barely knows how to boot a computer let alone replace the OS, (or dual boot.)

Mac has increased in popularity over the past 5 years, in part due to windows changing for the worse. However because only Apple sells Mac, and there is no hardware competition, Macs are a lot more expensive than PC's.and this is the biggest reason why more people have not bought them. How do you justify the cost to the average consumer when the same processor speed and memory amount costs $2500 for a Mac while it only costs $1000 on a PC.

Note the Mac comes with the OS pre-installed. The only way to get Linux pre-installed is to actively seek some tiny specialty shop. No mainstream computers come with linux pre-installed. Now people my point to Dell, but you always need to find some special page on Dell's website or jump through hoops to get it. In the past Walmart sold some linux machines, but these were mostly regulated to their website only, you could not go to any Walmart store and get one. In short, the average consumer does not have access to buy linux pre-installed.

How important is it that people get Windows? Not much at all...For proof, look at the smartphone and tablet market. The market is Dominated by Android, which is something the average consumer never heard of until after it started selling by the millions. Apple has a very strong foothold in the market as well. Microsoft? an also ran... selling so poorly, it has a share of smartphone roughly the size of linux's desktop share. If anything this is proof that people do not have brand loyalty to Microsoft... The get it on the desktop because it is the only choice they think they have unless they have money to waste on Macs.

Comment Re:Forgetting the 'where' clause (Score 1) 641 641

Running an SQL update statement without a where clause and seeing '47,982 rows updated'.......bonechilling

Almost did that... Fortunately, it was only 50 rows. It was on the first day of a brand new system so no backup was available. However it still took me a few hours to determine the real value from paper output and I needed to manually correct each row.

Comment Re:How is this legal? (Score 1) 1103 1103

Here are a few things you can "blame" on Unions:

40-hr work weeks
Sick days
Being able to live wherever you want, not just a company house
No more child labor
Fair hiring practices
Fair promotion practices

How true, and look at what has been happening recently...

40-hr work weeks... Not anymore... Everyone is doing more work so that management doesn't need to hire anyone else. And they do it because of their fear for having any job at all. And if you are in IT like the majority of slashdot... good luck getting paid for your overtime.

Sick Days... Mostly gone. Now many places are going to a combined Vacation/Sick/Personal day system. Every day you are sick is one less vacation day.

Benefits... People never used to pay for Healthcare. Now if you want it, you are responsible for a greater share of it, as both a actual cost, and as a percent of the total. How many people are now on "Flex Benefits" which every benefit you want has a cost. (And the idiots who think they are actually benefiting by getting $50/month by dropping any/all benefits.)

Fair Hiring Practices... H1B. Need I say more? Outsourcing, Off-shoring... All while MBAs get raises for brown nosing. Than of course then there is age discrimination to boot.

Fair Promotion Practices... In IT, there used to be every year or two, most people would get a token promotion with a raise. Now it seems that the only way to get either (except in rare circumstances) is to quit and get a job somewhere else. Promotions into management? Good luck with that.

Comment Re:Yet another great argument... (Score 1) 402 402

Protectionism is why sugar prices are so high in America that we use high fructose corn syrup whereas the rest of the world uses ordinary sugar

Incorrect. Sugar prices may be artificially inflated some due to import/export taxes; but the real reason HFC is used is that corn is so cheap because (i) it is highly subsidized, and (ii) we (the federal gov't) pay a lot of farmers to plan corn just to give them work. Both of these are due to Agricultural Lobbying done on behalf the farmers and their unions.

Of course, now HFC is getting to be more expansive than regular sugar thanks to corn-based ethanol production.

Exactly. This is why a lot of companies are now coming back with products that have "real sugar."

They are returning not because of demand, or because of any health controversy of HFCS, it is only due to the price of corn going up due to a regulation that a certain percentage of fuel sold in the US needs to contain ethanol. This demand for ethanol has increased the price of HFCS to the point that sugar is once again competitive.

Comment Re:Abandoning the cloud ? (Score 2) 332 332

Sure. Holiday pics fit nicely into a cloud.

Actually even pictures can be a security risk depending on who sees them. If they are recent holiday pics in the snow, while your house is in a location with no snow, it may tell people you are not home and they may decide to rob you.

If there are no tell tale signs of your location in the picture, are you sure you cleaned the metadata? Even a mythbuster can be caught leaving gps information in their pictures.

Even discounting the "Please Rob Me" mentality for a minute... What if you play hooky from work? Is the timestamp on the picture of you at the bar the same day you claimed you were sick? Or was it the night before and you are constantly sick with hangovers? Did you change the timestamp? Are you sure there isn't a daily calendar, clock, or watch in the picture showing the time and date? Even if you do not have any drinking problems and even if you are away on your vacation, some companies cross the boundary into your personal life and may fire you for almost any reason, just ask this teacher from GA. Don't believe this is just aimed at drinking, it may be any illegal activity or even some legal activities that others don't care for. (It could be religious affliations, political rallies, or many other lifestyle choices.)

I can go to an extreme and say you need to watch out for even the most innocent things... How many people are stupid enough to use pet names as passwords than post that pet's picture everywhere. Pictures of cars with your license plate number, calendars with birthdays... A picture of your mom (and captioned as me & mom), who is your facebook friend... And she took back her maiden name after the divorce... oops, there goes my financial identity.

The short answer is nothing in the cloud is safe. Even something innocent can hurt you. Honestly even your posts (and mine) on slashdot can come back to haunt you in the future. You may think I'm a bit paranoid, but how many people still think that after the Snowden NSA leaks?

Now, here we are on slashdot, many of us are tech geeks, and some of us even know better. Even some of us that know better can do stupid things. If we do these stupid things, how bad is the average facebook user?

Comment Re:Bogus argument (Score 1) 311 311

Its pretty easy to hide obfuscated functionality in a mountain of code (in fact it seems far too many programmers pride
themselves their obfuscation skills). I would worry more about the mountain he missed while staring at the
mole-hill his compile environment induced.

Many "programmers" do it so well now, that they even fool themselves. And it comes so naturally to them, they do not even realize it is happening.

Comment Companies don't want to pay for security (Score 1) 101 101

Almost every company does not care about anything that no one notices. Their MBA's weigh the cost of building something secure against their perceived chance of a security breach (or the chance they won't be at a different company when a breach occurs) and rarely are willing to pay.

Outsourcing hurts security, and every big company does it. Why? because its cheap. You may argue about the knowledge level of the employees overseas, but that isn't the point. If you want it secure, you want your own employees working on it. You want your code local, not sent to people unknown overseas.

Almost every company is cheap in this respect, big and small... At one Fortune 100 company I used to work for (that I can say with near certainty that almost every single adult in the US knows), I had access to SSN's for every employee in my division (over 200 employees) even though I did not need or request them, and to make it worse, they were in plain text.

That same Fortune 100 company failed a PCI audit due to having entire credit card numbers in plain text (among other problems). We did not get any funding to start the encryption project until after the credit card organization started handing us daily fines. We asked for funding to encrypt the SSN's at the same time and were denied. We were only allowed to fix the issues to stop the fines.

At a different much smaller company (of roughly 1000 employees), their users' passwords were not even encrypted. They were stored by reversing the sequence and a process similar to ROT-13. It was so bad, if I was looking at the database, I would be able to "decrypt" over 90% of them in my head. The scary thing... I was working for a credit card issuer (one you probably have NOT heard of) and the system was used for managing corporate credit cards including setting limits and issuing new cards (and the system was designed for public internet access used by many fortune 500 clients).

While I was there, there was a large redesign to the entire process. It was upgraded to allow automated password resets, forced password aging, and a new UI. We (the developers) requested to change the back end storage and were flatly denied.

To make matters worse, they wanted us to remove the ability to allow special characters. The reason? Corporate politics. A newer system (with more funding and better liked by the corp execs) did not allow special characters and we couldn't let our (un-liked, but more used) system be better. We were able to get a corporate security person to not have us forced to drop special characters, but we were not allowed to tell the users that we allow them. (I was already looking for a new job when this happened, and this made me redouble my efforts.)

The examples just prove corporations want to nickle and dime everything and only pay for the bare minimum. In addition management rarely understand tech (even in some so-called tech companies,) and you see why they would rather hire cheap programmers instead of quality programmers.

Until they are willing to pay for security they will not be secure. And now it seems that the worse thing that happens after a breach they pay for a year of "id theft monitoring." A year of monitoring if they get caught compared to paying for quality software development -- Which do you think most companies choose?

Comment Re:This... (Score 2) 335 335

I do believe that mistakes in the past should be looked at more as learning issues, and I am tolerant to people's different choices.

However, Let me play devil's advocate, because while some things online will blow over, at a certain point they will make a difference. Also, I definitely see younger people need to learn about TMI when it comes to their online selves...

Drinking, drugs, questionable fashion choices in the form of tattoos and piercings...

Personally, I do not have a problem with any of these. While I have done these in my past, (except the tattoos and piercing) and I still drink (but no longer to excess) They can now and in the future cost you a job; even at a future "young person" company. It is one thing to hire some of these people in the IT industry that most /.'ers are familiar with, but there are only so many jobs there and not everyone can do that work. How many businesses will be willing to hire someone with multiple tattoos that can not be covered up or facial piercings (e.g. nose rings, lip and brow piercing, etc.) Many will need to be in sales, and trust me, even young companies (especially young growing companies) are not willing to alienate their customers especially if they need to sell to the conservative "will somebody think of the children" crowd.

Sometimes they will just be needed to meet with clients. Even as a developer, I have needed to do this... One ex-employer specifically told me (after I was hired) that after technical interviews I was essentially hired, and the face to face interview was only to prove that I "clean cut." If I had tats, noticeable piercing, or even body odor, it would have killed the deal. The fact is if you meet with clients you represent the company, and they want a professional image.

Remember, the professional image is more than skin deep. If a client or customer loses your business card and/or contact information, they may google your name to try to find it. (or may do this just because they can...) If they do not like what they see, they will contact the business owner, and you will be forced to work on a different account, or if there is not enough work, you will be let go. You are only employed to bring value to a company. If you can do this or if others do it much better, do not expect to be employed very long.

some small crimes like shoplifting. On the other hand, serious crimes probably won't be so easily forgiven.

There is a fine line here... Just how many businesses do you think will forgive shoplifting? It is a form of theft, and even though it is one of the most minor form of theft, many businesses will think that if you stole in the past, you may steal again, and they don't want it to happen to them. Recently, there was a local news report about police departments not being able to find qualified candidates. Part of the story specifically mentioned that candidates had to have a clean credit history and that disqualified a large percentage of applicants. While I personally think this is going too far with the recent economic collapse, what other small crimes do you think will stop people from a job?

what happens to the cases where one's old beliefs, ideas and words are brought back years later.

This is very true... Especially if unemployment remains higher than normal, this can always come back to haunt you. Many companies will not give you a reason why they will not hire you. If it is a market favorable to the businesses with many more applicants than positions you will never know why. It could be something you post including religious views, sexism, racism, ageism, a single photo of alcohol, who knows... It may even be a medical condition.(and they don't want to pay the premiums or deal with you missing work.) Many of this is illegal depending on which state you live in, but you will never know what it is and your guess is hardly the proof you need in order to sue a company. (And most smaller companies with under 50 employees are even harder to sue in these cases.) While I think that most younger people (and by extension the companies they found) are more tolerant to others and have fewer prejudices, I doubt it will ever go away completely.

In response to the suggestion that some people are saying young business are more tolerant and will be willing to forgive more in the way of a bad online personality... I say good luck with that. Tumblr, Facebook, and even Microsoft of the 80's, are rare beasts that start small and become instant giants. Most small companies started by young people are small, and stay small for a long time. They scrape by and have a difficult time getting clients and funding. While they may be open-minded, in order to stay in business, they need to listen to the few clients they have... If their clients are not as open-minded, expect those attitudes to trickle down.

Comment Re:At this rate (Score 1) 92 92

Google Fiber will engulf the US in a mere 4,378 years!

Which when compared to cable providers will be 100x quicker than their scheduled upgrade to Gigabit. (and 250x quicker than telcos.)

And don't forget, even when cable companies get to the Gigabit threshold, they will still have a 250Mb/month usage cap. (which will only be waived if you are in an area where they do not have a monopoly and fear you may leave for the competition.)

Comment Re:My theory (Score 1) 1010 1010

Both Microsoft and Apple have gone down the path of attempting to make their desktop UI look like a smartphone's, and all they succeed in is making it look dumb.

You are forgetting Canonical, which has done the same with Unity. (Which is why I am writing this on my computer that runs Linux Mint with the Mate desktop environment.)

Comment Re:And a turbo button! (Score 1) 1010 1010

Actually, they used to run at 12 MHz, but you could clock them down to 6 or 8 MHz

It all depends on your perspective... My first IBM compatible was an XT, not AT... My turbo swapped between a whopping 8MHz and 4.77MHz.

Also, I always thought that the turbo button was there in order to allow you to slow down to the original 4.77MHz for programs that couldn't determine your clock speed and ran too fast at 8MHz. (I remember back then a few games that were impossible to play at the faster speeds.)

Comment Fix the problem (Score 5, Insightful) 303 303

To fix the shortage, you can start by paying people what they are worth. IT work requires education (either college, on the job, and/or continuing education classes) This is not cheap, it is not easy to keep up with, and employers should pony up the funds to keep talent that can handle it, and help with paying for it (with both money and time off for classes.) If you look at the market, the places willing to pay for the top talent will get it.

Stop burn out... No one should ever be forced to work 50+ hour weeks on a regular basis. It may occasionally happen due to deadlines or support issues, but if it is a regular occurrence, there is a problem and it needs to be fixed. Many people leave the IT field due to stress, and this is a big reason.

End age discrimination... While fixing the above items can help this, and it does not happen everywhere, this is out there. A person doesn't go instantly dumb at 40... While there are exceptions, most IT people are willing to learn, if you are moving everything to the cloud and your entire department only knows COBOL, whose fault is that? A little training can go a long way. Re-training your IT department for your needs is a smart investment, if you are loyal to your employees, most will actually become loyal to you...

While I'm sure MBA's will disagree, if you change these policies, you will no longer have an IT shortage.

And here is one more, this one is more the fault of education instead of corporations... (also, mostly about developers, but it might apply to other fields)
We need to teach people how to program, not programming languages. There are too many people that learn a language without learning any programming concepts. They end up googling even simple programming solutions and slap crap together that needs to be rewritten with every minor spec change. The people that learned how to program will write something that is flexible and can be modified as the system evolves. Over time this will allow for time savings which will translate into needing fewer developers.

Comment Re:Don't want to be on the grid (Score 2) 333 333

Yes, stores have CCTV cameras in them, but they rarely check them except in case of a crime being committed. Sure, they could use fancy face-tracking software cross-referenced with databases to find out who everyone who pays cash is, but really, they won't bother because the vast majority of people will pay with a loyalty card anyway, incentivised with frequent flyer miles or somesuch. Companies go for what's going to turn a profit - they don't do long-tail very well unless it costs them nothing.

I agree this is the case today...

However, what happens when some company finds value in tracking people offline with these cameras and facial recognition? They start offering every little mom & pop store "free video cameras with offsite backup."

Every gas station, convenience store, and lunch shop starts to sign on for what is essentially free security cameras. It reaches critical mass and large chain store start signing up as well. At that point, it will be impossible to avoid, and all your information is collected by a small handful of invasive companies. (Just like Google Analytics... Offer free information about your website's visitors, and benefit by being able to track everyone across the web, or globe as the case may be.)

What would really be horrible is if(actually, when) this does happen, and one of the companies involved is a web-tracking company that matches online and offline activity.

Yes, this sounds paranoid, but companies would salivate at the chance. Its the same reason why people who prefer privacy hate the license plate scanners that are starting to be installed across the US.

If you think that our government would save us, think again. The companies will pay them off with campaign contributions to look the other way. (or as the article mentioned, they would look the other way for access to the tracking data.)

Get hold of portable property. -- Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"