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Comment 1961 Evening Course in Fortran (Score 1) 623

In 1961 I took an evening course in Fortran for physics students taught by a volunteer from MIT. We were promised a chance to actually run our programs at the end of the course, but that never happened. I last used Fortran in 1971, when I maintained a subscription fulfillment system for a student-run academic journal. The print routines were in 1401 assembly language, but we'd lost the source and only had a binary deck of cards to work with.

Comment Re:TeX and LaTeX (Score 1) 300

I used LaTex in the mid to late eighties to set type for several professional journals and newsletters. It was the only product I could find that was capable of dealing with footnotes that had to be split across pages. We marked up the articles with tags in Xywrite and then used its macro-programming language to translate into LaTex. Worked like a charm and saved a fortune over commersial typesetting.

Comment Re:Correct (Score 1) 209

Thanks for a thoughtful reply. I'm not against government, or government regulation. We NEED a government. Read Hobbes if you think we can do without. He lived through the English Civil War and knew at first hand what he was talking about. I am upset at having to deal with large, impersonal organizations who don't seem to have any sense of what their customers need or want. I put the telephone companies, large banks, utilities, and cable companies high on my list of organizations that I'd rather avoid dealing with, if at all possible.

Comment Re:Correct (Score 1) 209

Good questions. The IP data is on XFinity. I pay for that whether or not I use it for phone service. From my house it runs on a cable. A tracreroute reveals a string of Comcast servers followed by other routers that don't look much like a traditional Telco, so I'm assuming it doesn't really run over much of the traditional phone companies' networks any more. No, I'm not protected against a DDos attack but then I'm not protected against a truck pulling down my phone line and part of my house, either. The latter happened; I've never had to deal with the former.

Comment Re:Not again... (Score 1) 1110

He's right, you know. I've been using computers since 1961. Back then you could read the manual in an evening and then you know all the commands you needed to know. Now the systems are so complicated that only the Internet is big enough to hold the documentation. That's what makes discoverability so important in a user interface these days. Windows 8 is sorely lacking in that department. I have spent the last two weeks building a virtualized server on top of Windows 2012 Server. As a server it's just dandy. Hyper-V works beautifully; networking, backup, management tools are all great. BUT the new interface is still awful and the screens are just plain ugly. I've been working with a Remote Desktop connection to Windows 2012 Server from a Win 7 machine. The Win 7 side is beautiful and functional. The Win 2012 Server side is ugly and functional. It looks a lot like IBM stuff from the 60's. At least there's no confusion about which machine your working on.

Comment Re:Some Anecdotal Data (Score 1) 269

Just bought a Dell desktop for my GF. We went to some trouble to find a Windows 7 machine since I find Windows 8 to be unuseable on a desktop. (I've spent some time with it since I'm setting up a new server using Win 8 and two virtual Linux machines.) There is no way I want a touch screen on my desktop. Can you really imagine spending a lot of time reaching over your keyboard and coffee to swipe the screen?

Comment Re:Air Force Musem (Score 1) 363

Mod parent up. The Air Force Museum is outstanding. They have an actual hydrogen bomb (disarmed, I hope) that's the most ominous looking thing I've ever seen. They also have Bockscar, the B29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Once you get past the nuclear horrors there's an amazing collection of planes going back to the Wright Brothers.

Comment I'm 68 and have some experience with this... (Score 1) 772

I've been learning computer languages since 1961. I definitely gets harder. The first time I noticed it I was in my late 50's and was learning Web develeopment (SQL Server, ADO, html, Javascript). When I was younger I could read a manual, remember it, and get to work. With the Web stuff I was working with a circle of books on the floor around my chair. Now I don't use books any more, just Google. Part of the problem is getting older and not remembering details so well. Part of the problem is that there is SO much more to remember. Fortran had a dozen or so constructs to learn. Modern Web systems have thousands. My opinion is that modern programming systems would be unworkable without Google. Even the young people couldn't remember it all. Would I hesitate to learn a new language now? Probably not. I just did some work with Camel for the first time; it was slow but I got through it. So, all the advice about career paths is probably good, but if you like to code, I'd say you can still do it.

Comment It isn't free and it isn't open source but... (Score 1) 554

I've been using MDaemon happily for many, many years. The administration is simple, I've not had any problems with my address being blocked, the spam problem is taken care of by MDaemon's options and all together I'm a happy camper. I used to use their calendar app too but it doesn't play well with Android, so I switched to Google. There's a free version that you can try. I no longer remember what the restriction was that led me to use the paid version.

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