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Comment Why does everybody ignore all the warnings? (Score 3) 119

After Sony, we quickly heard their security was worthless - every VP who wanted to watch some video somewhere could get another hole punched in the firewall.
Then the Democrats were "hacked" by.... asking for the top guy's password, which was promptly given!
Warning after warning that we aren't taking this seriously. I'd love to make some stupid partisan remark about this ("these are the people who mocked Clinton for a potential data exposure that never happened?!!?") but the fact is that everybody has done incredibly stupid crap like this, are still doing it, and will continue.

Until we get some kind of worse event, I guess. What will it take!?!

Comment Re:Multi Million$$ (Score 2) 119

Well, the democratic effort has been famous and bragged-about for several years, during which time it's never been described as anything but huge. It's like you're complaining about some story talking about the "Multi-Hundred-Billion-Dollar Russian Submarine program, seen as an effort to catch up with American submarines"...for not stressing for the thousandth time that America spends more on military (including submarines) than anybody. That's real famous, too.

(PS: The Russians do not have hundreds of billions to spare for submarines; that part was very fictional.)

Comment Re:Highways were giveaways, then? (Score 1) 230


Without heavy government investment in roads that started as soon as the car was invented, the industry would never have taken off.

And speaking of taking off, they also expended vast taxpayer dollars making airports available everywhere so that rich people who owned aircraft (and, they hoped, middle-class people that could rent a seat on one) would have someplace to go.

To this day, federal taxpayer dollars are expended on small rural airports that could never support themselves through user fees. This support is unstinting even at airports that never see a "commercial" flight, that serve only those wealthy enough to own pleasure craft.

Comment Arguing over nickels (Score 5, Interesting) 230

>The group says $5.4 million is a misuse of taxpayer funds

Louisville is apparently 3/4 of a million people, so this comes to seven dollars per person. Surely less than 1% of anybody's property taxes. Louisville undoubtedly spends that on road maintenance every couple of weeks.
But that's just operating, this is capital. If they're spending less than $54M replacing pavement and wires and pipes every year, the city would be a shambles. This is probably about a 2% hit on one year of capital spending.

Comment Hybrid professional career was great (Score 4, Interesting) 124

I got an engineering degree and certification, then was tossed out of work by a major recession. I went back for a CompSci degree and managed a low-level job in the then-new field of PC support, won a promotion to IT "coordinator" (manager w/o staff, because they were all rented on a project basis from the IT department) with the Waterworks for several years.
Then Waterworks remembered my engineering degree after 100 reminders and took me in as a construction-planning engineer, but I found my IT skills were key to the engineering job. I handled the drafting and GIS systems, was a lead on the project to bring in the new work-order system, was developing small solutions (tiny web apps, fancy VBA spreadsheets, etc) practically ever day. Heck, just knowing real SQL rather than trying to coax complex reports out of Business Objects was a vital skill for construction and maintenance management. It wound up being the last 20 years of my 30-year career.
I can't recommend this career strategy enough; it's more interesting than either IT or the base profession alone, and more secure than either, too. The hardest thing in IT is getting across the real user needs to the developers - and an IT-savvy member of the customers is always going to be the guy that's either handling the IT specifications, and usually the IT project management from the user side; or just throws their hands up at the IT bureaucracy and develops the solution themselves. (Some of my "small solutions" would up taking weeks of time and growing over years into >1000 lines-of-code; hated to do it, but IT bureaucracy would have taken even longer.)
So I tell people interested in IT careers to first become a nurse, accountant, engineer, technician, even lawyer - any profession that USES a lot of IT. Then add in IT, and you are practically guaranteed an interesting and lucrative career.

Comment But what about "hybrid IT" jobs? (Score 1) 581

Clicking on my /.ID will lead to a tiresome repetition of posts like the following going back years, and experience only keeps telling me I'm right: your great career is mixing IT with another profession.

I just retired as a municipal engineer; I had the Eng degree but also CompSci and was the Waterworks IT guy for several years before they remembered by Eng degree and put me back into construction and maintenance work. I only oversaw the development of our Major Systems like the map-drafting and work-order-tracking that were millions each. But I *programmed* last Friday, and nearly every day of my career, and past (last Friday was near the end of a 6-month post-retirement please-come-back contract). No, it was not major, or even minor, applications. It was smart, VBA-enabled spreadsheets with custom SQL queries embedded that did things Business Objects just could not do. It was little Perl programs on the web server, cgi-bin stuff from the 90's, that provided a hundred people with a custom web-page for their project-of-the-month, and a data-entry form for their updates on it.

I got all these jobs because IT wouldn't touch them. They were too risk-averse to write up a program in hours and deploy it the next day...even if they could have written it without weeks of explanations of our business, processes, and needs. We used to have IT people who worked next to us and needed no briefings, and could be talked into such mini-solutions, but IT hauled them all back downtown in 1995 and after that, you got a new, clueless, programmer every time you called them, and whose boss needed 3 preliminary meetings before authorizing a project with all possible tracking and staging, and checks and, oh, just endless "process". So filling that gap was key to how valuable an engineer I was.

Every time career stuff comes up on /., I write this note again, urging people to not be a "programmer". Be an engineer/programmer or a doctor/programmer or an accountant/programmer. The poster above who noted that a metric shitload of modern programming is embedded in some ways, most of it written by the engineers of the car or appliance or other product of embedding, was one special class of this, but some kind of (other-profession)/programmer is, overall, the better career choice by far.

And for that, the language of choice is whatever language works in that very specific situation. The notion that such stuff can be done by "low level AI" is comical. If my colleagues couldn't explain their mini-app needs to a human being in less than a week, how could they explain it to a pattern on a stone?

Comment Add it to their curriculum (Score 1) 197

Engineers already have to learn math, physics, chemistry, organic chemistry, operations research, statics, dynamics, and on and on. They learn whatever they have to in order to manipulate the world to a new shape. It could be anything. You think metallurgy is easier than Java? Hah.

Comment Become a licensed profession (Score 1) 318

The real cure for this is to make IT a licensed profession like teaching, accounting, medicine, law and engineering. Look back over that list of 5 professions - is there any serious doubt that quality, ethical IT that meets some kind of minimum standards is as needed for modern society as in those five?

But licensing has a second effect that has similarities to unionization. (In some ways, it's the opposite of unions - a state licensing body has to explain to new professionals every year that THEY do not get a THING for their dues, because the organization does not serve THEM...it serves the public trust, protecting the public from bad work) . But by doing that, it also keeps out crappy competition CALLING itself professional, while mainly getting the job by cutting the price in half.

Comment Re:Sold out (Score 1) 197

This very news should be telling you that personally supporting local or state governments building the fibre infrastructure, and supporting the GOP in the voting booth, are contradictory positions.
You may, on the balance, prefer the GOP despite their Internet Infrastructure positions, because of their other policies; but please be assured with certainty that the federal GOP will never, ever, EVER support public Internet infrastructure. They will always, always support it being built for a profit by private companies, quite without regard to the optimal solution for public costs and outcomes.

Comment Re:not why (Score 2) 277

Sorry? Calling from Canada, here, 35 million people scattered across a larger country than the USA, and we have had the highest immigration rate in the world (nearly 1% of the population, per year) for over 20 years; a quarter of Canada was not born here. Recently, our major donor nations are not European, but all over Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean.

And we rank pretty high on the index - just above Germany, which is over twice our size and now famous for taking in more refugees than anybody; they've had some cultural strains because of it.

But all that has had nothing to do with their transparency and democracy, or ours.

Comment Meanwhile in Canada... (Score 1) 734

We're sad for you as friends, gleeful as competitors.

This business of States (not people) electing the President has always struck us as dodgy. On top of your system basically a replacing the concept of "King" with "President", where the ENTIRE executive branch of government hinges on a single person, then that decision has rested, over and over again, on the vagaries of a half-dozen of your States representing 1/6th of your population.

What this election has absolutely done is clarify to everybody is that the American constitution that you so revere, is something no democratizing country writing one would touch with a 3-metre pole. (Only you use "feet", like only you think your Constitution is a good idea.)

The American constitution is like the Cathedral model: whomever gets into the papacy designs the cathedral. Parliamentary systems are more open-source, like Raymond's Bazaar model: you need a continuous sense of consensus to keep going forward. If Mr. Trudeau started ranting about Area 51 conspiracies tomorrow, his best friends would push him into resignation by the end of the week, after presenting him with the list of MPs who wanted him to know he's lost their support. It's just stabler system, as things have turned out.

Your Presidential "King" thing is a single-point-of-failure; affect that outcome, and you've hacked the country. And Palin showed nine years ago that utter incompetents with a string of applause lines can get past the outer filters. So it was a natural and obvious line of attack.

The US ship of state is very large, the bureaucracy gargantuan, the economy has enormous momentum; it'll "survive", obviously - but thriving is a whole other question. All Putin could hope for was to limit American advancement and growth to some extent. He's likely to get it, as good government rarely comes from radical voices, even popular ones.

Best of luck with it. Like all radical mutations, there's a chance it'll turn out really well; bold experiments sometimes do. But of course, most mutations turn out badly.

Comment This was not a hard question (Score 1) 588

I'm astonished at many of these comments. This was not some "random question" like "do you support puppy-kicking". It concerned a repeated-stated policy direction of a now-elected high official. The Intercept is not some unknown blogger; it's a billion-dollar news organization that's won major awards.

Calling it "hypothetical" is not just wrong, because of the stated-policy angle making it not remotely hypothetical, but pointless - if somebody calls and asks if you support puppy-kicking, the "hypothetical" aspect doesn't mean that puppy-kicking is not illegal, making the answer obvious. The "Muslim Registry" is unquestionably unconstitutional, the way collecting data on all phone calls was obviously unconstitutional when Clapper lied to Congress about it - the court decision later was routine, as NSA lawyers certainly could have told them when they were developing it - the whole thing depended on secrecy from court examination, which is why even the congressional committee members were surprised to hear about it.

Before the Snowden revelations (by The Intercept, partly) the NSA metadata programs would have been called "hypothetical", so there really is a need to ask about these proposed programs before they are just enacted in secret.

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