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Comment Re: uh? (Score 1) 120

Among the "useless" liberal arts classes that frame the well-rounded IT-professional's skill set, often found wanting in "professional developers":

Relational Databases

Technical Writing

Network Engineering (routers, firewall configuration, vpn devices)

Cryptography, Certificate management

User Credential Management, Directory services


web services

Front-end and UX design

device drivers

Systems design

enterprise OS configuration management

Security and regulatory compliance

Data acquisition, analysis, analytics

  - - - okay, barely scratching the surface here. Developer toolchains? Source control management? Virtualization? Containers?

So, let me get this straight? You want me to take "History of world music appreciation" class? AND graduate in less than 5 years?

Comment Re:Austin vs. Texas (Score 1) 464

Back when the crazy right-wingers were petitioning to let Texas secede from the Union again, ex-Texan friends of mine and I agreed we should let them go, but they have to let us keep Austin, like West Berlin as an island surrounded by reds. The Congress St. Bridge will be the new Checkpoint Charlie.

I've only visited Austin once (for my uncle's funeral), but I've got cousins there, and friends who've lived there, and if you've got to be in Texas, and are politically or culturally anywhere left of Rick Perry, it's the place to be. San Antonio's not too bad either, though I'd probably get tired of it pretty fast. Parts of the culture are fun, there's a great arts scene, but I suspect it's small enough you'd see everything in the first year and then be bored.

Houston's weather and traffic are horrible enough that it's off my list even aside from the culture. Dallas? Meh, if I had to live in a big dirty ugly city, it'd be New York, or maybe LA, plus it's a lot more like Texas. I know some really wonderful Texans, but I don't talk politics with them except the family in Austin or the ones who've escaped to California because they had to get out of Texas.

Comment Pastafarianism protects other religions' rights (Score 4, Interesting) 518

I'm a Christian, and Pastafarianism is mocking aspects of people who share my general corner of the religious world, and I'm just fine with that. Not only do some of my fellow believers sometimes act in ways that deserve mocking, we often do it ourselves (at least friendly mocking.) And more importantly, by doing things like this, Pastafarians are protecting other minority religious beliefs and practices. The US Army still hasn't quite figured out how to cope with Sikhs wearing turbans (and sometimes they even have trouble with Orthodox Jews, even army chaplains, because they violate critical military doctrines about gentlemen not wearing hats indoors), the TSA harassed them because they're different even before they decided to start harassing other hat-wearers, schools don't let students wear head-scarves (or mini-skirts) because that's Not How Proper American Girls Dress, Muslim-hating idiots beat up Sikhs, the list goes on.

I attended Quaker meetings for a few years, and we'd occasionally get the question about those hats the oatmeal-box guy wears. Quakerism came from England, where it's beastly cold and rainy and Anglos are prone to male pattern baldness, and moved to Pennsylvania and New England where it's also beastly cold and rainy much of the year, and many of them believed in wearing plain durable clothing instead of wearing flashy stuff to draw attention to themselves. But English social custom and legal practice was big on forcing lower-class people to acknowledge the importance of higher-class people, and taking off hats to your betters (especially government officials and nobility) was a big part of that, and Quakerism believes very radically in equality, so Quakers would often get thrown in jail for not taking off their hats around their betters. I wear hats to keep my head warm (as an Anglo who went bald early), and when my beard was longer I could pass for Orthodox if I was wearing a dark suit and a hat.

Back when the TSA were new, they didn't make people take off hats or coats in security lines, but out here at San Jose airport, the main people who wore them were Mexicans wearing cowboy hats heading down to Mexico, and the TSA were the white guys who'd replaced the previous mostly-immigrant screeners, and they decided to make a local rule telling the Mexicans to take their hats off. My first reaction was "if they tried this at LaGuardia the Hasidim would been in the mayor's office in an hour telling him to fire the bigot who thought up that nonsense", but as a Quaker I felt I ought to argue with them because they're clearly just doing it to bully people, and I was successful at making it difficult for them to avoid the bigotry issue for a while.

Comment All driver's license photos look bad. (Score 3, Funny) 518

My first one looked like I had a beard - I didn't back then, it's was just really bad lighting at the DMV. (And one of my recent DLs said I needed to be wearing glasses - I don't need them for distance, and didn't use them for the eye test, but I put them back on to read the forms.)

What you really need as a driver's license photo is one that shows you looking like you're extremely tired and someone's shining a flashlight in your face, because that's how a cop will really see you. If that includes wearing a colander on your head, then go for it.

Comment NeWS PostScript-based Window System :-) (Score 1) 197

Back in the late 80s / early 90s, we were using Sun computers, with either NeWS or OpenLook. My manager had a 21" monitor, but even so was getting tired of switching between one set of glasses to read it and another set to talk to people, and printing out email to read it. So we just told his machine to use 24-point bold font as his default, and he could read it just fine. (Your operating system probably isn't as flexible, though maybe if you've got a Mac it'll do :-)

Comment Book-Reading glasses vs. Computer-Reading glasses (Score 1) 197

Computers are typically at 22-24" focal distance, compared to book-reading glasses, which have a focal distance shorter than that (I forget it it's 18" or what.) This means telling the eye doctor when I get an exam that I want to know the pupillary distance for the computer reading glasses. (Sometimes this requires a "yes, really" discussion, in addition to the "oh, you're ordering glasses online" one, but that lets me get multiple $20 computer glasses of the current prescription so there's one set at the office and one at the home computer.)

Comment Re:1970s Solar Flare Telco Cable Crash (Score 1) 188

Chainlink fence isn't even remotely a Faraday cage. (We were actually wondering if the chainlink security fence and metal modular walls at the lab's original location would be good enough, until the security director's pager went off when we were having a meeting about the new regs we'd have to meet :-) It might be good enough for really low frequencies, but that's about it.

You can deal with EMP transients and medium-high frequency signals on the power lines by using good enough filters, similar to what you'd use for lightning, and these days you're going to use fiber for any long-haul data (for my lab, that meant modems, outside the cage, connected by RS232-over-fiber :-) And yes, stopping all the leaks takes a lot of attention.

Anything cut to length will be too short.