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Comment: Safety Deposit Box (Score 1) 445

Unless you have the world's most amazing fire safe or root cellar, you have three options that I see. First, easy: pick a drive that survives to zero degrees fahrenheit, and when you're not using it, put it in the freezer in your kitchen or garage. Most fires will kill it, but you'll get a bit more protection. Second, harder: pick a small drive, like a USB Key. Write it once a month or so. Store it in a safety deposit box at the bank, where only you have access. Storing something *in* your house that needs to be fireproof is nigh impossible. Storing it somewhere externally that's easily accessed and still secure is a problem you can solve with cash. Third, actually pretty trivial. Store it to *two* cloud providers, so if one goes out of business, you still have your data. Google Drive and Dropbox, for example. One trick; encrypt it locally before ever uploading it. Winzip (or Linux's zip) should both be able to produce and use strong AES-256 keys. Currently, the expected amount of time to get 50% odds of breaking AES-256 is exponentially more computers than currently exist running for the entire life of the universe, using suns as fuel. (With brute force, no one can do it, ever.) So the "someone will hack me" is up to you. The "two cloud providers" is probably what you want.

Comment: Re:Assuming they escaped, the penal system worked! (Score 5, Informative) 89

by chemicaldave (#48626563) Attached to: Did Alcatraz Escapees Survive? Computer Program Says They Might Have
You say that as if the US penal system's primary goal is to rehabilitate rather than punish. Our system is designed not to rehabilitate, rather it enacts harsh punishment as a theoretical deterrent to crime, and more recently has become a for-profit private enterprise.

Comment: Re:Stick to your field (Score 2, Informative) 138

by chemicaldave (#48372313) Attached to: Google's Lease of NASA Airfield Criticized By Consumer Group
From's "Who We Are" section of the website:

Consumer Watchdog is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing an effective voice for taxpayers and consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics.

Criticizing a company for getting steep discounts worth millions of dollars on jet fuel from the government and then getting a large lease from that same government seems in line with their mission.

Comment: Re:football can cause brain damage (Score 1) 405

I doubt it. In all your examples, the trademark becomes part of the lexicon of the general public but the owners still retain the sole rights to sell the product under that trademark. People call all bandages Band-Aids, yet there is only one Band-Aid brand. Same goes for Hoover, and Cellophane. Now when grandpa types into Bing "where to buy an iPad" he's going to be directed towards Apple, even though he might have been thinking of the Surface tablet he saw during the Steeler's game.

Comment: Re:Sue the bastards (Score 4, Funny) 441

by chemicaldave (#47807123) Attached to: In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment For a Novelist

"Think of the children"

The book is 900 years in the future. I think you mean "Think of the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren."

Comment: Re:That's not how the world works, thankfully. (Score 1) 466

by talldean (#46996651) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?
If you're looking to get a software job, but can't get the interview, one thing that enormously helps is writing code for open source projects, or having sufficiently complex project work that you built yourself available to see online. If someone can read a short link on your resume, and then go see your actual code, you become *much* less of a wildcard and much more of a known quality; they then know you can do the job, if the code matches up well enough.

Alternatively, if you've done automated test scripts, look for QA Analyst positions as a bridge into most tech organizations.

What's your academic background? And are you located near a large city, and/or a tech hub?

Comment: That's not how the world works, thankfully. (Score 1) 466

Your scale implies one set of skills, and there's certainly more than that! As two important ones; the ability and desire to learn, and the tools you already know. I've worked with a lot of junior engineers who didn't know much, but were good at picking things up and moving with them. I've worked with a lot of senior engineers who knew lots of tools and theory, but weren't very good at picking up new things. (I've also worked with junior engineers who were terrible, and senior engineers who could pick up new things faster than me; it's a mix.) To get hired, you need to convince the hiring manager you can do the job, can do it better than the next guy, and can do it at a price they're willing to pay. Right now, there's simply not enough developers who can do the job, so even if you're not great but still get the job done and don't seem awful to work with, the determining factor is "did someone else better apply?"

Comment: Lunch. (Score 1) 361

by talldean (#45442449) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Communication Skills For Programmers?
Always go to lunch with coworkers, and chat with them about... anything, or just hang out while they chat if you can join a group doing so. If they want to talk work, ask them what they're working on; if something in what they say is actually interesting to you, ask 'em about it. If they don't want to talk work, where do they live? Where did they go to school? What do they think of both? What did they do this week? Ideally, they want to talk work at least part of the time, as that's likely more useful. :-) At lunch, if you find yourself talking more than a fair share, work on talking less. If you find yourself talking not at all, work on talking slightly more.

Comment: Show that it's your code, and get the new job. (Score 4, Insightful) 480

Much more useful than seeing code with someone's name on it is hearing that person describe the code. If someone calls you on it, offer to explain the design of the code, the decisions and tradeoffs made along the way, and what you'd improve next, or how you left the code in a state to be more easily maintained (by you or others) in the future. That would feel *much* more useful than seeing your name on it, and would take you a fraction of the time invested to get it done.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin