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Comment Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 1) 734

As you say, the big advantage to having US citizenship is if they go into technology and want to work in Silicon Valley. No worries about green cards, H1B, etc., just move there and go to work.

The big disadvantage is taxes. But boy, what a disadvantage. It's like the US is trying to build a Berlin Wall around the USA to keep people in. Makes you wonder what our leaders know that we don't know about where our country is going.

Regarding renouncing citizenship, that isn't as difficult or expensive as described above, but if not done right you can be arrested for tax evasion if you ever set foot on US soil again -- even if just transiting to another country, such as flying from Paris to Toronto (which has a stopover in New York City). Ask Maher Arar about that one...

Comment Re:NetworkManager (Score 5, Informative) 164

Yes, NetworkManager should be fine on most servers. Unless you want to use network bonding. And VLANs. And bridges. Nevermind bridged VLAN's (yes, those are a thing) on top of 802.3Ad bonds. And ... and... well, 90% of the other functionality that is offered by the Linux networking stack. NetworkManager works fine for managing the 10% of the network stack that is used 90% of the time. For the other 10% of the time, it is an abortion that should be taken out back of the barn and shot like a rabid dog. And this other 10% that NetworkManager won't do is 99% of why people pay me big bucks to make Linux do what they need it to do, since you will not get high performance networking out of a server using the limited functionality provided by NetworkManager. As in, the servers I work with generally have at least half a dozen gigabit NICs and two 10Gbit NIC's. NetworkManager won't get me 1/10th of what I need to put these servers into the midst of a large network for use in server consolidation, and is utterly useless once we start talking about Open vSwitch and other such SDN components.

So sure, if you're a sandwich shop putting a $500 server under the cash register, or you are a teenage college student setting up a video sharing network for your bro's in the flop house you board in, NetworkManager will work fine for you. For those of us doing anything more complex, it is a useless abomination and the first thing done when bringing up a new server image is "chkconfig NetworkManager off ; service NetworkManager stop". (Or the AbominationD equivalents thereof).

Comment They are not axing the Silicon Valley campus (Score 2) 109

In fact, they are expanding it -- they are putting in a brand new data center on the site that was the former Counterpane Security, on LaAvenida across from their SV HQ, and they also have leased a huge building a couple of blocks away on Pear Street. There's also rumors that they're behind the demolishing of an entire block of tilt-ups between LaAvenida and Pear to be replaced by six-story office buildings. In any event Microsoft isn't leaving the Silicon Valley, just Microsoft Research is leaving -- all fifty employees. Every single one of them who can have a job tomorrow by walking down the street to the Googleplex. Not a single one of whom have ever created a product for Microsoft, because Microsoft doesn't create products anymore, they just re-invent other people's products (or their own previously-good products), badly.

Comment Re:Why not just use hard drives and then store... (Score 5, Interesting) 193

You're actually talking about MAID (Massive Array of Idle Disks), a technology that I first encountered in 2002. Now-bankrupt Copan Systems was the company I first encountered that was doing MAID, and New SGI (i.e. former Rackable Systems) bought their assets out of bankruptcy in 2010. Most storage companies now offer MAID add-ons for their storage arrays, though not all of them allow completely powering down the drive like Copan's solution did.

The upsides of MAID: Disks are cheap. Turning on and spinning up a hard drive to pull up some bits is faster than a robot fetching a Blu-Ray disk, placing it into a drive in the jukebox, and waiting for the disk to spin up and come online. You could store many more bytes in a cabinet with MAID than you could in an optical disk cabinet.

Downsides: The disk drives in a MAID array simply don't last that long, comparatively speaking. Spinning them up and down all the time is hard on a drive. So you end up having to replicate data and from time to time migrate data to new drives as old drives reach their service life. The service life of rarely used Blu-Ray media that has always been handled robotically (i.e., nothing touching its surfaces ever) is such that Blu-Ray media from ten years ago is probably still usable, the technology itself will become obsolete like DVD-RAM long before the media wears out. Not so much with hard drives, though disk arrays basically have unlimited life given typical failure patterns (i.e., if you're using RAID6, a drive develops errors, you remove the failing drive from the array, rebuild the array on a new drive, and chances of having two more drives fail during rebuild and thus losing the array are slim for a 12-drive array). So MAID has not really taken off the way we expected ten years ago.

At the time I first encountered MAID I was working for a company called DISC Storage, which had a NAS head which would automatically migrate little-used data to an optical jukebox in a way similar to what Facebook appears to be attempting. I designed and implemented the clustering function that would replicate the data between two NAS heads / optical jukeboxes, since the DVD-RAM platters were not themselves RAID'ed, as well as implemented a lot of the back end functionality for jukebox control and so forth. In any event, it looked like a NAS head but most of the files had been migrated to the DVD-RAM platters, and if you accessed one of those files, you would (at some point maybe 15 seconds later) get your data back as the file got read back onto the hard drive. It worked. But it was somewhat slow and cumbersome, because you're relying on a robot to go out and fetch the disk and put it in a drive, and disk robots then, and now, simply aren't that fast compared to media that's already in a drive ready to be spun up and read.

So anyhow, it was fairly obvious to me by mid 2003 that optical jukeboxes simply weren't going to be the future. In the ten years since DISC went under (there is a German company by that name now but it isn't the same company, it bought the name and some of the IP), I have not had any inclination to work for a company doing optical storage, because it's clear that for most problems it isn't the solution. It's too slow, too bulky, and magnetic disk drives and magnetic tape drives just continue getting bigger and cheaper every day. And now, with SSD coming on strong, optical jukeboxes look even less compelling.

So color me amazed. Optical jukebox and optical media technology essentially has barely moved on in the past ten years and what wasn't particularly compelling then, is even less compelling now. If you have need to keep data for a *long* time, this is how you do it... but frankly, I will be surprised if Facebook even exists ten years from now given the pace of innovation in the industry (though I'm just as surprised that Slashdot still exists!), so I question why they would do this rather than invest in LTO tape libraries, which have the advantage of being significantly denser.

Comment Re:It's not an attempt to "game the system"... (Score 1) 180

Orson Scott Card is proof that ideology doesn't stop you from winning Hugos. All that is necessary is to write something interesting and mind-blowing. Writing formulatic space operas that are basically 1950's Don Pendleton manly war-fighting men set in space rather than in the wilds of darkest Africa or Southeast Asia is not the sort of thing that gathers awards, those have been done so many times that they're mind candy, something entertaining if in a certain mood but hardly mind blowing. Neither are fifteen page dissertations on why Libertarianism is the only proper ideology for running a space station. Nobody wants an ideological tract when they read science fiction, they want to have their mind blown. Orson Scott Card's later books haven't won Hugos not because of his right wing ideology, but, rather, because they've been boring, having nothing new to offer over his earlier fiction that did win awards. Which is a shame, because his 80's output was ridiculously good, then he got full of himself and his output got boring.

I liked Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress as a work of fiction, and probably would have nominated it for an award that year if I hadn't been 2 years old at the time. L. Neil Smith's work, on the other hand, read like Libertarian tracts with cardboard characters and stereotypical plots, I read a couple of them and was, like, "meh", even though at the time I considered myself somewhat Libertarian and liked a number of other Prometheus Award winners. But ideology is *boring*. In the end, what I want when I read science fiction is something that's going to make me say "wow!", with a story that isn't predictable and characters that seem like real (if perhaps quirky) people and ideas that make me go "Hmm." Heinlein managed that for me, as do writers like Vernor Vinge, Ken MacLeod, and Neal Stephenson. Too many other "Libertarian" or "right-wing" authors don't. If you're going to turn it into an ideological tract with cardboard characters spouting ideological talking points, or just another by-the-numbers space opera where manly men of the finest cardboard kill lots of mooks while spouting pretentious jargon... YAWN.

Comment Re:Presbyopia (Score 1) 550

This is pretty much my calculation. I don't swap glasses, I use progressive bifocals (the newer ones which have multiple focus zones rather than being totally continuous so that you can pretty much always have your workpiece in focus). Even if my vision without glasses was 20-20, I'd still need progressive bifocals, since I need multiple focal points to deal with my daily work (focus point for viewing computer monitor, focus point for viewing iDevice in my hand, focus point for viewing the speedometer in my car, focus point for dealing with tiny screws in computer cases, etc.). Given that, what's the point? I still end up needing glasses, I just add a bit of needless risk to the equation too.

Comment Re:The only thing that will stop SV... (Score 1) 107

Uhm, it does in fact cost money to post job ads on Craigslist. See . It's one of their major sources of money, along with hooker ads (oops, "therapeutic services", my bad).

Why you would do so, however, eludes me. As with the poster above, at multiple employers that have tested the Craigslist waters we've never had anybody remotely qualified respond to one of our Craigslist ads. They're just pocket change compared to or compared to paying a recruiter's fee, so it was a "why not?". But every one of our hires seems to have been either a personal referral from a current employee, or a recruiter lured them away from another company.

Comment Re:Only "discovered" someone's discover, nothing m (Score 1) 357

Manual? What is that? Paper service manuals have gone the way of buggy whips in the auto service industry. Nobody publishes them anymore except maybe General Motors. It's all regularly-updated computer-based manuals for everybody else. Independents use Alldata, which gets updates on a regular basis from manufacturers, and dealerships use their manufacturer's computer system that does the same thing (such as Chrysler TechAuthority). For most newer cars if you are an end user who wants factory service info you go to because paper service manuals are no longer published. For parts lists it's even simpler, you don't have to pay Alldata, the modern mechanic goes to the manufacturer's web site like or to some third party vendors which similarly give access to the manufacturer parts database and look up the part number there. If you pull an old part and put the part number off of it into the parts site search box, the computer will say "Superseded by" and give you the new part number. If there's no part number on the part, you drill down the assemblies list on the parts site until you see the labeled picture with your part on it, and the current part number will be in the list beneath that illustration.

And of course if you go to the dealership parts window, they put in the old part number into their computer, it says "superseded by part XYYZ", and they give you part XYYZ instead.

This is the 21st century. We have these COMPUTER thingies now. Just sayin'. There's no longer an excuse to *not* change the part number when the part has, in fact, changed. And I know for a fact that several part numbers on my Jeep have changed multiple times since it was manufactured in 2011. Which is why any modern automotive engineer has to be suspicious when GM did not change the part number on that ignition switch when, in fact, it's an entirely redesigned ignition switch...

Comment Re:start telling the truth aws (Score 1) 109

I'm not quite sure what you're talking about. Auto-scaling groups are the only thing that can restart a terminated instance (actually, they start a *new* instance). If you somehow managed to create an auto-scaling group and don't know how to set its parameters (min/max/desired) down to zero, when it's right there on the GUI, I don't know what to tell you.

Comment Java is the new COBOL (Score 2) 133

Nobody really writes new applications in it, but there's a bajillion Java applications running most major corporations now the way COBOL used to in the old days.

That said, when looking for an engineer I'm not looking for someone who knows Java (even though that's what a lot of our product is written in). I'm looking for someone who understands computational complexity, is familiar with common algorithms and data structures, and has some notion of object oriented programming and software engineering. Anybody who's written a lot of code can pick up Java fairly swiftly at least to the "getting s**t done" stage, it took me roughly a week to do so ("oh, so it's like Python with C++ syntax, except with only single inheritance and with templates!"), but if you don't understand the why of what you're doing, you're not going to do well in our shop.

So: Get a computer science degree. Or at least significant computer science coursework. And not from Joe's Plumbing and Programming School, get one from some place that teaches actual computer science, not programming. Either that, or write some Open Source applications and contribute to the Linux kernel. Nobody cares what school you went to if you can write Linux drivers, all they care about is that you know the difference between a BIO and an SK_BUF. But they want to see your name in the Linux changelogs first.

Comment Re:heartburn in the industry? (Score 1) 367

A company which sells a solution at a higher price than other companies because of a higher cost of developing the software is soon to be an ex-company.

You're talking technology. But technology does not determine whether a company stays in business. Delivering in a timely manner a solution that works well enough for a cost equal to or less than the competition is what determines whether a company stays in business. There's a large number of application areas where Windows is what allows that. Luckily that's not *every* industry, or else I would have problems. (Disclaimer: I have been writing commercial software for Linux since 1996, yep, 18 years now).

Comment Re:heartburn in the industry? (Score 1) 367

My brother works in the SCADA industry. All of their stuff is Windows, mostly Windows XP Embedded. Why? Simple. It's the tools. There are various toolkits out there that make building a SCADA application almost drag-and-drop. It'd take four times as many people twice as long to hack all that up in C or C++ under Linux. And they simply don't sell enough SCADA systems to justify that kind of effort -- it's a crowded market where no single vendor manages to sell more than a few hundred instances of any particular model, so per-unit development cost difference between Windows and Linux far outweighs the OS cost difference.

As for why SCADA toolchain vendors don't port their tools to Linux, usually their tools are a large array of components from various vendors strung together with DCOM. Distributed SCADA systems in particular are heavily invested in Microsoft's DCOM OPC for communications between SCADA components such as pipeline pressure monitors, valve position sensors, billing stations, and operational monitoring stations. Linux doesn't support DCOM OPC as such, or any equivalent to it, with any standard libraries though there are emulators that may or may not work. The industry standardized on DCOM OPC for practical reasons -- it existed at the time they started doing all this (back in Windows NT days) while nothing like it existed on Linux back then, and they can write binary components that work pretty much on any Windows system, as versus with Linux where the distributions are not binary compatible and where five year old binaries will rarely run on a modern Linux system. Linux is great when you're selling a whole solution from top to bottom, but if you're trying to sell commercial software to SCADA system developers, Linux presents significant practical difficulties compared to WIndows. So there simply is no incentive to move off of Windows even though they're likely going to now be targeting later embedded Windows versions rather than embedded XP.

I'm not up on ATM's. But it would surprise me if ATM developers did not in fact use similar tools to create their product -- tools that are Windows-centric not because of Linux hatred, but because of history and the practical problems of trying to sell binary-blob commercial software on Linux (which is a task akin to nailing jelly to a tree).

Comment Re:They'll get over it (Score 1) 323

H1B visas *can* be transferred, but it's a major annoyance. One of our H1B's was "officially" still on the payroll of the parent company after our division was split off as a separate company. This annoyed our former parent company greatly, since they had to pay him then bill us for his pay and benefits, but part of the divestment agreement called for them to do that for him until we could get the visa transferred. It took roughly six months to get the visa transferred :(.

BTW, the United States is not the world. For example, the UK likes to poach the best and brightest H1B's from the US, I know three Indians formerly in the US on H1B's who've ended up in London. Canada also loves Indian immigrants who have a computer science degree and five years of work experience in computer fields, they put such immigrants on a fast track to a work permit and citizenship since they're perceived as having valuable skills and as being easy to assimilate. The notion that the H1B's only have a choice of India and the US as places to work is a false one. The US is still a major draw but if the US mistreats immigrants, they'll go elsewhere and the US will basically have spent a small fortune training them up for the UK, Canada, and other nations to get the advantage of such training.

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