Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:"Steep" learning curve (Score 1) 246

Given that the x axis represents time and the y axis represents knowledge and/or skill ... The curve is steep when one must get knowledge/skill to a high level in a short amount of time. Your point is well taken, though; I've used this description many times in the past without realizing that some really do spend more time mastering a tool. My vi learning curve looked more like a staircase. I'd dig in and figure out how to do whatever I needed next (the rise), then rely on that for as long as I could (the run).

What To Expect From HTML5 272

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Neil McAllister takes a deeper look at HTML5, outlining what developers should expect from this overhaul of HTML — one that some believe could put an end to proprietary Web technologies such as Flash and Silverlight. Among the most eagerly anticipated additions to HTML5 are new elements and APIs that allow content authors to create rich media using nothing more than standards-based HTML. The standard also introduces browser-based application caches, which enable Web apps to store information on the client device. 'But for all of HTML5's new features, users shouldn't expect plug-ins to disappear overnight. The Web has a long history of many competing technologies and media formats, and the inertia of that legacy will be difficult to overcome. It may yet be many years before a pure-HTML5 browser will be able to match the capabilities of today's patchwork clients,' McAllister writes. 'In the end, browser market share may be the most significant hurdle for developers interested in making the most of HTML5. Until these legacy browsers are replaced with modern updates, Web developers may be stuck maintaining two versions of their sites: a rich version for HTML5-enabled users, and a version for legacy browsers that falls back on outdated rendering tricks.'"

Submission + - How to deal with and improve poor handwriting?

TrueKonrads writes: Many of slashdotters, yours truly included type on keyboard significantly more than write with pen on paper. However, when interviewing clients or generally taking notes, notebook is still the easiest way to do it. Unfortunately, my handwriting is barely legible and I am happy I can read what I wrote; giving notes to somebody else is simply out of question. How do you deal with it? Abandon notebooks at all or have you found a way to improve legibility?

Submission + - Pre-erase SD Cards for Better Performance 1

Nom du Keyboard writes: I'm wondering if it is possible to pre-erase my SDHC card for my camera for better performance? At the moment in continuous shooting mode I can shoot 3 fps for the first 3 seconds in raw mode (9 images total) after which the rate drops to 1/fps until the SanDisk Extreme III goes full, or my battery goes empty. Can I improve my write speed by pre-erasing the card so that the flash memory doesn't need to perform a block erase before writing, and if so, then how? I don't believe that the Format command in the camera does this because it competes very quickly each time I use it. I'm surprised that more isn't said about erasing flash memory on file deletions for better write performance later.

Comment Re:Can someone who understands the IRS explain? (Score 1) 691

Naked short selling is most certainly not illegal -- when such trades are executed by a market maker, and/or when the broker/trader believes that shares will be available. A temporary SEC order remains in place, originally designed to restrict trade on certain "systemically important" firms, and has since been expanded to cover all firms.

BTW, speeding is also illegal, and practiced as a normal method of driving by most licensed drivers. Given the difficulty in proving naked short selling, I doubt that the practice has decreased significantly, any more than criminalizing bookmaking has impacted the illegal gambling industry.

I'll grant that shares in a company are legally tangible.

Comment Re:Can someone who understands the IRS explain? (Score 1) 691

... my complaint was that the capital in capital gains are usually on something tangible).

It may have been at one time. Have a look at the current way the stocks/bonds/commodities markets have been working since the mid-90s. Look into "naked short selling" for the most extreme example.

Much of the global financial system is based on agreements/promises/obligations, not tangibles. That's how it all fell apart last year: One firm announced that it was not going to be able to deliver on its agreements, and it happened to be the most popular firm for that sort of agreement.

Comment Re:Was it a cause of his legal trouble? (Score 1) 691

The problem wasn't that he couldn't/wouldn't pay his taxes. He paid his taxes with the money he had saved for retirement. The way I've read the source documents, he did this more than once.

This is an interesting discussion, but it keeps reducing to the same conclusion: Property owners run the show, and the more property you own (or can prove that you own, or sue for ownership, &c), the better things go for you, given that you invest in political power. Or just drop a member of congress a few thousand when s/he is desperate to get re-elected. That is, good fortune has absolutely nothing to do with merit, unless you define merit as bribing everyone in charge.

Stack's problem: He thought that doing what he saw as quality work for customers and saving some portion of what he was paid. Essentially, US (and other) firms realize that they must have computing, but they remain unwilling to pay human beings to design/architect/implement/develop/maintain/operate the systems.

Better said, the firms are unwilling to let the market regulate itself in this matter.

Comment Re:Was it a cause of his legal trouble? (Score 2, Interesting) 691

The evidence may be anecdotal, but it's rampant. The vast majority of phone calls I get are from recruiting boiler rooms (seriously, I can hear other conversations from the same room), asking me to do essentially the same: abandon whatever I've got going on, move to another state for hourly contract money at or below what I'm currently making, no relocation, no expenses covered.

... and the "temp to perm," "temp to hire," "contract to hire" is repeated like the reading of Miranda rights.

I'm saying that the "permanent employment" cookie is dangled like it's a treat, a prize, something worth selling myself out for. But that is precisely how and why this opportunity has arisen. Someone else had "permanent employment," but then management decided--through some undisclosed analysis--that that person/those people had to go. Then they found out that they needed this work function, therefore I'm getting a phone call from someone who clearly doesn't understand the job requirements, let alone the fact that they, too, are the victims of a "contract-to-hire" scam.

I realize that I could pay for the travel, the lodging, the food, etc., up front, and then claim the expenses against my income tax, but ...

Like everybody else, I've got no capital to invest -- at zero interest with the IRS -- and the banks still aren't loaning money for this sort of venture. Even then, even with crazy low interest rates, I lose money because I pay interest on the loan, but recoup only the capital from the IRS. Further, I've also made myself an attractive target for audit, or the outright levy of penalties, to be proven later--or never.

It took someone who's been around long enough to see the semi-cyclical nature of this situation. Everyone seems to be referencing the current crisis, but this happens whenever the economic outlook is bleak. IT is [ still !! ] considered to be overhead and is the first area for cutbacks.

Apparently the Congress is [ still !! ] listening to the Old World. Gee, when has the government been so profoundly disconnected to the people?

Oh, yeah ... like 240, 250 years ago. Bloody revolution. Pirates pressed into service as contractors, except that when the US didn't need their services, they kept ... blowing $#!+ up.


Oh look, my favourite TV show is on. Let's see, comfortably numb, or rage against the machine?

Each seems equally effective from this vista.

Comment Re:Safety Critical (Score 1) 913

Depends on what the brake is connected to. The parking brake with the handle under the dash activates only one of the front brakes, so pulling it at 70MPH, you'd be going in circles.

Careful application and release of this type of brake is how one executes the Hillbilly U-Turn .

Toyota has probably connected the lever to both rear brakes ... via copper wire to the Cabin Center Console Ethernet Switch, then fiber to each of the Current Candidates For Braking Interface Modules.

Comment Re:People aren't robots (Score 1) 709

Yes, of course! The new guy, straight from school, irked about having to work late and on weekends, is the very model of a modern major code reviewer. How could I have missed this?

Your use of the derisive "coders" suggests that you, too, might have an axe to grind. Pray fete us with more of your nuggets of wisdom.

Could it be that the anonymous poster's colleagues aren't simply coding? What is coding, anyway? Is it simply translating some superior's proven-correct pseudocode into some pedestrian HLL just to the point of correct compilation, then handing it off to someone else for linking? Or could this neophyte have used a term which means many things to many people?

Congratulations on your juggling and the high standards (and taxation on your physical and mental selves, hat trick!) to which you are held. Would that all of us could wear your mantle, but, clearly, you are the only one who can do so. Forge on, and please, file more quality reports for our continued edification!

There simply aren't enough details to analyse the whelp's complaint. Is the software being written for a customer, or for internal use? Is it new development, enhancement of an existing suite, or is it maintenance? On which platforms does the software run? What's the environment like? Compensation?

Maybe--and I'm just spitballing, here--maybe the "grunt work" to which the novice refers is part of the training required to fully understand what's going on. Or--and I can't warrant this, as it's just now come to me--maybe the kid isn't even a developer and doesn't understand all of the intricacies (or unique work arrangements, i.e., working on projects while not in office) involved.

Mayhap you can spare a few of your own cycles to address the pup's concerns. How is s/he to deal with such an environment, populated with layabouts and ne'er-do-wells, ignorant to the economic (and other serious global) crises and ethical pressures which are clearly vexing the eager abecedarian?

Kid, if you're reading this, dig in a little deeper, and talk to your boss (not Slashdot) about your concerns. And read yourself some Fred Brooks (spoiler: There is no Man Month). Man up, buckle down and pay attention instead of looking for things to criticise because--as aurispector so ably points out--you don't work in a vacuum.

Comment Re:Sounds right (Score 1) 660

It's a mixed bag, i.e., a blessing and a curse.

I once inherited 10,000 lines of C source running under SCO Xenix (circa 1990) with exactly two comments, viz "Watch out, this part's tricky," and "Just in case." The code featured one- and two-letter variables, heavy variable reuse, and, yes, GOTOs. The only two parts that were difficult were the custom curses and termio "modules".

Then there was the stuff written for DOS that had uneven numerical/ASCII conversions.

Fortunately, my boss understood the problem and gave me time to figure out, fix, and document the source. It was maddening at times, but at the end of that tunnel, I'd learned a lot about several topics that I don't think I could have figured out without having to implement it myself.

After fixing the bugs, the next task was to implement a new feature. I was very glad I'd taken the time to document everything before adding to the monolith.

Then my boss gave me 30 days off to make up for the extra hours I'd worked without compensation. He asked that I check voicemail daily and remain available. Meanwhile, they fired my old boss and neglected to tell me. On the day I returned, my new boss stopped me before I'd even reached my desk to tell me that he was my new boss, and that they'd be taking the unauthorized vacation out of my paychecks. I stood there, wondering what it was that held me there, and found nothing. I said, "You know what? I quit." I turned to leave, and the new guy grabbed me and said, "But you're the only one who knows how this thing works, now!"

I replied, "Exactly," and left. I did not look back. Armed with my recently acquired expertise, I found a job paying exactly twice the salary I had. A month later I heard that they had re-enlisted the contractor who'd written the crappy code. He charged them $1000/day to rewrite my revisions back into his cryptic style in 100 days, then another $100K to re-implement the new features I'd put in.

The supreme irony is that I'd been hired because they didn't want to shell out for his $50K bid to add the features they wanted. My original boss also wanted FTEs to provide continuity.

(shrug) A year later the CIO was convicted for an elaborate price fixing scheme, but received a lenient sentence because the scam relied on that same contractor's code--which was deemed unreadable, making the criminal intent difficult to prove.

Slashdot Top Deals

"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman