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Comment: nicer options, even with jeans: (Score 1) 432

by uniquegeek (#40850727) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is There a Professional Geek Dress Code?

By the username, I'm assuming you're female. If you decide to stick with jeans, invest in some that are a dark shade, are well-fitted (get them tailored if you can't find a pair that fits perfectly), and are in good shape. Make sure you buy better quality tops; it shows. Some unique detailing will help, too. Invest in a few unique, shorter blazers that you can take on and off when needed (us ladies are always cold in those damn offices and server rooms anyways).

I've invested a little in a couple of decently-made pants (i.e. wool pants with good drape). If you hunt around a designer outlet store, scan the sale racks at some of the nicer department stores, or visit someplace like Winners, you can pay a reasonable amount for a mid-range item. I have a pair of Anne Klein wool pants that have taken a lot of abuse, still look pretty good, and have a couple more years use in them. Good wool is actually pretty hardy.

Stash a pair of dress pants and shoes at work, in case of big wig clients or meetings.

Some of that general advice would apply to the guys, too. Buy nicer stuff, and keep it in good condition. If you typically don't wear business, store one 100% business outfit (including shoes and dark socks) at work. I've noticed a lot of the men's suit stores now sell semi-casual shoes, shirts, and higher-end jeans that are meant to be worn together, sometimes with a sport coat. That will make a much better impression than your worn-out shoes from Wal-mart, and the $15 - 50% polyester shirt you picked up from the mall. Impressions really do matter.

Comment: north central (Score 1) 421

by uniquegeek (#40544139) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Beating the Summer Heat?

I live in central Canada, so I use two A/Cs in my condo, at will. I love being Canadian.

I try to open the windows if I can, but my condo has no cross-breeze that I can generate, and I'm on the third/top floor. I am sure the insulation in this place is crap or non-existent. Our heating bill in winter is almost what a small house's would cost.

I have light-blocking curtain liners on all my windows, so I keep those closed in the morning (our side faces east), and crack them half-open in the afternoon. When I'm at work (September - June), I leave the drapes half-open all the time on a hot day. The plants need some light and I don't want my fish to get depressed :)

I drive with the windows down in my car if I am taking a shorter drive (>10 minutes).

Temperatures here recently have been hovering around 32C/90F.

Comment: A similar argument (Score 1) 470

by uniquegeek (#38658556) Attached to: Are Programmers Ruining the Design of eBooks?

Linux Journal's graphic designers haven't figured out that the multiple columns, etc. of print doesn't work in ebook. I wonder how long it will take them to figure it out.

Considering how pdf can be used on many different devices with different size screens and different ratios, that's got to be a relatively new area of study. On the other hand, pretty much anything would be better than four columns of skinny text.

Comment: Re:Absurd (Score 1) 349

by uniquegeek (#38495804) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is E-Learning a Viable Option?

The teachers buy into the shiny packaging of the iPad becuase of its marketing. Teachers don't make content, the school has no budget for developers to make content, so they use the iPad to play cutesy little games on the Internet. Some of these are educational, some are not. Most of them are infested with adware of spyware (which even the teachers don't understand). Some of the external content is decent, but you have to do some research. It, too, is not without its flaws (wants a certain browser, certain versions of flash...) I work in IT at a school.

My sister-in-law is a teacher, they don't have iPads yet. She gets essays with "LOL" in them. Thankfully, she's a teacher who will go toe-to-toe with a principal to fight to fail a kid in school (they still won't let her, but that's another issue).

I spend more time than I'd like dealing with panicked teachers for gathering "evidence" from Google chat sessions or Facebook.

That being said, we do have the Adobe Creative Suite, and some of the kids do some really neat stuff. I do wonder about "the three r's", though.

Comment: Re:Control the devices (Score 1) 349

by uniquegeek (#38495570) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is E-Learning a Viable Option?

For the same reason we're pessimists - professional experience.

Let a group of kids (especially once they've discovered hormones) get their hands on an iPad, and see how often you're re-imaging those machines. Let them get their hands on a laptop, and see how often you're looking for pieces of keys, or epoxying the case back together.

Comment: slightly different problem (Score 1) 249

by uniquegeek (#38094052) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Tools To Aid When "On Call"?

I'm only on for two weeks of every six, thank God. After work until 10pm only.

I'm still trying to figure out a way to notice my phone if I want to use the pool at the gym. I usually do weights or aerobic exercise, but I have occasional foot problems which make me get my exercise from the pool. The caveat is that I actually have to pick up the phone and answer calls - it's not a matter of noticing an outage via text message. Waterproof 2.4Ghz headphone?

Comment: don't NEED to be a programmer, allow choice! (Score 1) 247

by uniquegeek (#37428376) Attached to: British Schoolkids To Be Taught Computer Coding

I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere in the 80's and 90's. Dial-up was only really available to the town the last year I was there. We had computers, no Internet. Our computer guy for the school was shared between four other (and larger) schools.

Computer classes were pretty much non-existent.

What did help, though, was my parents. We had a Vic20 at home, a Commodore 64 later, and then a 486. Between there and the school, I figured out how to get to the command line and do things.

I was "into computers", and my parents were both teachers, so everyone told me I was going to university and taking computer science. Some of it interested me, but I didn't know what I was getting into. I knew what programming was, but it wasn't my favourite.

(That's a lot of I's in there... I'm getting to my point...)

I would have killed to have the Internet and Wikipedia in my teen years. Even more so, I would have loved the ability to take a course to experiment with parts of the "computer" field before I decided (or rather, my parents decided) how I should spend my time after high school.

Not everyone is the same. Everyone doesn't need to be a programmer. But I think it's valuable to make kids take some computer usage courses, and in their later years, make them take some more specialised courses and ALLOW THEM THE CHOICE of what they'd like to experiment with.

Online courses are probably more beneficial for this, as you can offer more specialised courses, and kids who are in smaller towns or in more inaccessible or poor parts of a city have the opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise.

I also suspect a lot of them don't know about other alternatives for extra or other credits. A lot of schools will let you take intro university courses for credit, or arrange for you to job shadow someone for credit, but I'll bet a lot of students don't know about this.

Comment: Re:Not just for jobs (Score 1) 247

by uniquegeek (#37428282) Attached to: British Schoolkids To Be Taught Computer Coding

That is a good point - I am constantly surprised by some of my friends and acquaintances who aren't in the computer field, but are learning some programming and scripting to support them at their jobs.

Some exposure is useful to anyone who will use a computer. At the very least, it will give you some insight into why the program you're using is acting a certain way. I've also seen it be a "gateway drug" - i.e. someone using InDesign needs to do something and find out they need to make an "action". As they get into it, they realize they can solve other problems with scripts. Then they're doing stuff on web sites, and learn flash. Then to solve another problem, it requires programming...

Comment: Re:Technology... (Score 1) 614

by uniquegeek (#37199436) Attached to: More Schools Go To 4-Day Week To Cut Costs

It's really fun trying to keep your teachers ahead of the technology game in schools, and be proficient enough at it to teach the kids... as opposed to the kids knowing more than the teachers, and telling them how to do it. It's especially fun if your teachers are older than 35.

Content networks like Discovery Education help. There are a few sites which are online software apps designed to let teachers choose content, extra media and questionnaires that will be available to their students. However, they are sometimes buggy, or suffer from performance issues. Add that into trying to make a class of kids with the attention span of fruit flies follow the same thing at the same time, or even follow general directions (and remember passwords, etc.)...

Mom and Dad can support it at home, but they don't know everything either.

The solution of the Internet also brings expense, even more-so for users that are kids.

Comment: Re:I don't like digital-only periodical subs (Score 4, Informative) 184

by uniquegeek (#37150186) Attached to: Linux Journal Goes — Surprise! — Digital

Keep them indefinitely? You mean continually backing them up to different mediums and hoping the medium doesn't die, converting the pdf to something else if pdf comes to a point of dying, hoping for backwards compatibility of readers (and ideally testing many of the pdfs each time the version or software package changes)...

The effort involved with keeping magazines, in most instances, is carting the box around if you move. That, and keeping a pet bird away from it, if you happen to have one.

In every non-trivial program there is at least one bug.