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User Journal

Journal: One (of many) things I hate about police

Journal by tankdilla
I work 3rd shift, so when I go to work, there is little to no traffic. This makes it easy to get from point A to point B relatively quickly, except when the police decide they want to exercise their authority/ability to make traffic move along at a crawling pace. They will intentionally drive very slow, at or below the speed limit, and pull over anyone that attempts to drive faster than them. So on a clear straight road, you there is this big group of cars accumulating because the police want to be an ass. Then there are times when everyone is driving along, not speeding, but moving along at a moderate pace. The police swoop in from nowhere and all cars in the left hand lane move to the right hand lane (on a 2 lane street) to get out of the police's way. The police car goes and starts driving right alongside one of the cars. He continues driving alongside, until there is enough space between cars that he can signal that he wants to pull into the right lane. He gets in the right lane and turns on his lights and pulls the car over. Now it could happen that the police knew something about that car, but the way he swooped in, it seems like he just wanted to pull someone over, so he decided to pull over the car at the front of the group.

I guess they do things like that because the suburb doesn't have many real crimes going on, so they do stupid stuff to keep them from getting bored. But they're not making anything safer. In my opinion, they're making things more dangerous. No one drives the speed limit all the time. At most, it's accepted to go 10 miles over the limit, but sometimes traffic is moving along faster than that. You can't do that when there are asshole police officers on the prowl at night. You have to drive and act like a scared animal, looking all around for upcoming police so that you can slow down in time. For me, it leads to driving while looking in my rearview mirror way too much, and not paying attention to the road. Fearing that a police car may be behind me waiting for me to go just fast enough that he feels i'm endangering humanity and deciding I need a ticket to help me slow down only makes me pay attention to the road less. There are cases when people need to be pulled over, when they're really speeding. 20 - 30 miles over the limit is speeding, but not 1 - 20 in my opinion. Frivolous speeding tickets only make people weary of police all the time and spend more time looking for police than looking at the road.

User Journal

Journal: How to Waste 8 Hours

Journal by tankdilla
After being in tech support for a year, I've learned a few useful things that I didn't know a year ago. Most of what I've learned is how to waste/spend time, 8 hours actually. An issue may arise once in a blue moon, which is good, cuz nobody likes to have problems. Most of the time I'm faced with the dilemna of what to do with all this time I have when there are no problems. Here what I do to waste 8 hours.

Check Slashdot.
If i'm lucky, there will be something interesting articles or interesting user posts to respond to. Though lately I just read articles and don't post too many responses, usually there are a few interesting pieces to read.
I can usually waste from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

www.infosyssec.org
This site is a great portal for information security sites all over the web. I usually just check the security news on the left side of the page or the scrolling news ticker. They don't always update daily, but there are links to other sites like Security Focus, and I sometimes end up checking some random site to see what it's about
I waste 30 minutes to 1 hour here.

www.shortnews.com and/or www.astalavista.com
Short News has interesting news stories from around the world. Astalavista uses ShortNews's news ticker, and sometimes Astalavista has some interesting stuff goin on there. Astalavista's Box Network as a lot of links to interesting sites, but I haven't really been motivated to check them out that much yet. Maybe some other time.
Time wasted, 10 minutes.

Fark
I spend the majority of the rest of the day with the browser on Fark. Of course I keep multiple browsers open, one for Slashdot, Fark, and whatever random content that might be interesting at the time. Fark not only has a variety of interesting news stories, photoshop contests, and other diversions, they link to other websites that I can end up spending a good amount of time at as well, such as BBSpot, Ebaum's World, and HumorFeed. Fark is a good general purpose web portal, and a good place to waste time.
Time wasted: 2 hours - the end of the shift.

Those three sites are great web portals that lead to other interesting stuff around the Internet. It'd take too long and be too boring to list all the interesting sites they link to. But sometimes, I feel the need to use all this useful information and knowledge I've acquired for something semi-useful, if not as a mental exercise. After 4 years of college, with the last 2 years as almost nothing but programming and complex computer science-type stuff, I have a job that I could've gotten after high school. So I don't use hardly any of my programming for my job, so I come up with little projects to keep the sword sharpened. It's easy to forget stuff if you don't use it regularly. So I'll sometimes make up something, and come up with a program that will do it. For instance, after reading a Perl book for the past week, I decided to make a Hangman game. A good website for random programming practice is www.topcoder.com. In the TopCoder Arena, the practice rooms have all the previous topcoder challenge problems that you can do, just for practice. This is a good time-waster itself. Unfortunately I work 3rd shift and i'm sleep all afternoon, so I have yet to actually try a TopCoder competition. One of these days when I'm awake at that time, I'll have to see how I fare against everyone else. Back to wasting time though, projects are probably the best way to actually spend it doing something useful for yourself. I've written 2 games (a yugioh clone and a tetris clone), completed a Java certification, and expanded my knowledge base from reading books (mostly new programming languages or something else computer-related). In the end I end up wasting a little over half of the time on web stuff and the other half on project stuff, and at times i'll spend more time on one or the other. Of course I make my rounds on the job websites trying to find a better job, those websites being Kelly Services, Manpower, Monster, and CareerBuilder (occasionally Flipdog). Although it seems kinda useless, gotta keep tryin anyhow. Comic books and magazines also take up a few hours every now and then, when new issues come out.

User Journal

Journal: Rush Limbaugh

Journal by tankdilla
In other news, Rush Limbaugh made more comments regarding beleagured athletes today. His claim that Donovan McNabb was overrated and that people want to see a black quarterback succeed got him into hot water before and caused him to lose his job at ESPN. He was also heard saying Jim Steinerstein was an overrated hockey player, and that people just want to see a Muslim hockey player succeed, and that Jeb Huckleberry was an overrated NBA point guard, and that people want to see a Jewish point guard succeed.

It's bad that people like Rush are paid to be in the position to reach so many people. Undoubtedly there are still millions of racist people who base their thoughts or decisions about a person on the race of the person. Those people have a right to their thoughts and beliefs. But having people like that on national TV is just bad and wrong. I would hear about different racist comments that were made back in the 80s and early 90s. And I kinda hoped that people were past that kinda thing by now. Limbaugh just lets you know that things haven't really changed that much. It is good to see people condemning what he said though. If a good majority of the people are on the right page, I guess that's good enough, since it's almost impossible to have everybody on the right page.

When people look at sports (or I guess anything for that matter), you're watching skilled athletes competing. If a player is playing good, you say they're a good player. And if they're doin bad, then that player is not doing so well. So if Donovan McNabb and let's say Kurt Warner are playing pretty well, then that's good. If McNabb is throwing incomplete passes and the team isn't winning, it's just because he's not playing so well now, and has nothing to do with his race. Likewise, with Kurt Warner, he hasn't been playing well because of his hand or whatever other factors there may be. It doesn't have anything to do with his race. Basically what I'm trying to say is that people should be able to see someone as a good athlete, not a good black athlete or a good white athlete. Here on the Internet, we see each other as screen names and know each other by the things we put on the Web here. You don't say, yeah that's a good white hacker there, or he's an overrated hispanic hacker. This sounds all We-Are-The-Worldish I know, but it's just how I wish things were.

User Journal

Journal: Wooohoooo!!!!!

Journal by tankdilla
Got my first certification this past weekend, the SCJP(Sun Certified Java Programmer) and i'm glad to be done with it. The sole purpose of the test is supposed to be to test how well you understand Java. For the most part it does, but it's really out to try and trick you. They throw devious questions at you getting you thinking along one path, following the flow of execution, and then the correct answer turns out to be a missing semicolon or a overly-restrictive access modifier or something like that. It tries to see how well you can act like a compiler and crash the same way it would, either at compile time, during runtime, or letting dubioius code actually execute even though it looks like a retard coded it. I guess it will pay off when i'm coding. It seems like it'll help become a more meticulous debugger, but it may help in actual coding too. After reading the book twice and taking numerous mock exams over the web, i'm just glad to be done.
User Journal

Journal: I currently don't know anyone that can feel me 1

Journal by tankdilla
I'm sure there are many out there in the world right now that are similar to me, but I don't know them. Or rather i'm not in close proximity to them now. The closest proximity right now is this computer and internet connection, which lets me know there are others the same as me, others as ignorant as me, and others way more brilliant than me. But still let me describe my angst. It's been in my mind for awhile now, ever since graduation, but it hasn't materialized so much until now. I'm describing my computer configuration to my sister, while my music is playing. So I bring her attention to the music, playlist open on Winamp. And I say, "Isn't this cool?" demonstrating the different configurations of my sound card that i've had for about 6 months now, but only now i'm checking out all of the different settings. And so I'm describing how much I like the music I just downloaded. And she looks at my playlist to see what the song is called, and says, "Oh, Tupac 'Staring Through My Rearview' ." And I laugh and point out that the current song playing is actually Beethoven's 7th Symphony 2nd Movement. I like to listen to a variety of music, as i'm sure most everyone does. But unfortunately, I'm out of college now, where I could come across many different people with similar music interests. But aside from that, for some reason, my frustrations could be spelled out so much more clearly by her observation of Tupac and Beethoven being on the same playlist. And that's the point of this journal. Right now, I don't know many (any) people that might be on the same wavelength as me. I know there more people out there but I haven't come across them. People who've grown up in a "ghetto" surrounding, but still somehow got introduced to more "smarty" types of elements. And more specifically, not just smarty elements, but computer/hacking related elements. I came across a lot of street-savvy people in college, and i still keep in touch with them. And a lot were really smart. But simply put, there are not a lot of people that i'm around right now (after college) that might have something like tupac and beethoven on the same playlist. Both were geniuses in their field, and I know there are a lot of others out there that recognize this. But I guess the frustration is that it's hard to come in contact with these people, because not many would go around bragging this. For one, it's not really a compelling conversation topic. But basically, it'd be nice to come across someone that wasn't a) a total nerd and b) an ignorant street kind of person. I've found a cool medium between the two, but I find it hard to lean too hard in either direction, because I'm neither. So I feel stuck in the middle, tethering to either side when i'm too close to a side.
User Journal

Journal: first posts 1

Journal by tankdilla
Haven't written anything in here in awhile, and i'm bored now, so here's a little brainfart.

First post, frost pist, frosty piss, etc... I can see how it can be exhilirating as a regular slashdot user to see your post as the first one that thousands of people will see when they browse the article. Even though, in most cases, you don't really have enough time to read the article and make a valid comment, or you can't think of an quick witty remark of the top of your head, something about it makes you want to be the first to mark that territory somehow. Even though you'll almost immediately be modded as Offtopic, Troll, etc. and people browsing above 0 won't even see actual first post, people still do it. I'm a people too and do try to post first when the opportunity arises. Of course, the first real ontopic comment becomes the first post most people will see, since people come to Slashdot for the news and the discussion, not to see who can post the quickest once a story is submitted. So knowing that, what makes the "frost pist" such a worthwhile quest for the AC (and sometimes the logged in user). And especially with this GNAA thing that's polluting Slashdot, what's the appeal of the fp? These people somehow manage to get a first post in, and at times they get the first couple of posts in, but usually don't post once a story has been validly commented on. I guess one of the perks of subscribing to Slashdot is that if you wanted to, and had the time and lack of a real life, you could first post on every story, whether it be a valid comment, or a "frost pist" (which is probably how these gnaa kids are gettting in so fast).

One thing is certain, the first post craze is definitely an indication of the popularity of Slashdot. Of course people try to post first on all types of forums, but it's become a regular practice here, somewhere caught between a nuisance and an art, and all you need to do it be lucky (lest someone beat you to it).

User Journal

Journal: under/unemployment

Journal by tankdilla
I'm calling this under/unemployment because I do have a job, but it's not what I should be doing. The job I have came mainly from skills I picked up outside of school, tinkering with computers and learning on my own, but it doesn't involve hardly anything I've learned from busting my ass the past 4 years as an aspiring programmer. Still it's a job, and hopefully it'll lead to something else. The pay is crap, my mind is going to mush from the boredom the job brings, and i'm nowhere near satisfied with it, so I consider myself under/unemployed, as a mixture of being underemployed and umemployed from what I should be doing.

I'm of the fresh out of college bunch, and it is really hard to get even a callback now. Books such as "What Color is your Parachute?" give a lot of helpful advice, as well as the Career Center on campus. But no one really has a definite answer on dealing with this bleek job market. So I decided to expand my skill set by learning some new languages, which ended up in a callback or 2, but that's as far as it went (yrs. of experience was the factor). Then I decide to come up with some programs to write, to keep my programming skills fresh and to pad my resume. Same deal as before, a callback or 2, but that's as far as it went. Oh yeah, I tried using the network too (asking people to lookout for jobs), but even that has failed to produce, although there were a few close ones. So I'm wondering, what else is there left to do? As of now, i'm just going through a repeat of everything, and hopefully I can start to use this degree for more than wall decoration. Although it is fun and nice to be able to write programs that actually do stuff, it's time to use this skill for making a profit.

User Journal

Journal: Hackers 1

Journal by tankdilla
Ya know, the media and world has warped the word "hacker" into a bad word referring to a person that breaks into computers for nefarious activities. The IT community knows a hacker as someone skilled in computers that comes up with a "hack" as a clever way to accomplish a desired task (not illegal). But really, why can't we just let the world have the word "hacker" and just come up with another title. Because when it comes down to titles, who is really going to go around calling themselves a hacker, knowing the negative connotation associated with the title. And who is going to really take the time to care if someone calling him/herself a hacker is a computer professional with ethics or a person looking to break into their computer and steal info.

Some would ask why should we change, why can't the rest of the world change and realize the difference between a hacker and a cracker. That's just not going to happen, at least not in this lifetime. Maybe if someone saves the world and proclaims him/herself a hacker, then the world will start to change their concept of hacker = bad. But for now, that's just how it is. There should be some other title for a truly skilled computer professional and get rid of the duality of good hacker/bad hacker.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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