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Comment Re:Not just chatting. Forum discussions suffer, to (Score 1) 242

True, and Usenet could be handy. But basically it became a spam forest, and you'd have to wade thru 200 spam emails for one on the topic. Maybe if they would have developed filters for it, it could have gone on further.

No, it didn't. Spam was a big issue for a while but server side spam filters like cleanfeed and distributed systems like nocem became very sophisticated and effective. Unlike email filters, Usenet filters have the advantage in being able to see *all* the destinations. If an article that appeared in more than a handful of groups was quickly squashed. Spam never entirely went away but it well under control long before the decline of Usenet.

There were also efforts like Usenet2 that created a network of trusted servers who would keep spam out. It worked fairly well but interest waned initially because the spam problem was effectively controlled in regular Usenet but even more so as total volume declined and the Usenet2 corner became too thinly populated to be of much use.

Now there is still the problem of idiots posting things in inappropriate places but that's a problem of moderation, something Usenet never did well. (Usenet *did* have moderated groups but it drastically slowed conversation and did not scale well)

I still run a small news server. Spam is only a "problem" is groups where the posting volume has dropped near zero and spam is all that is left. A bigger problem is that I keep losing peers as people give up and shutdown thier servers.

Comment Re:Not to mention not nice (Score 4, Insightful) 267

Ah come on, what sort of a relationship do you have with your family if you can't play a little prank on them from time to time.

Probably the kind where the parents can not entirely dismiss the notion that their child may be doing something quite serious that they don't know about. In other words: virtually every parent of a teenager who is honest with themselves.

Comment Re:Most frequent? (Score 1) 413

Is it just me or does asking for the "most frequent" option make no sense?

I guess it's for fickle people. My path is essentially: DOS -> AmigaOS -> Solaris -> Linux, with the qualification that the old systems never entirely went away, it is just a change of focus for my desktop usage. I've never gone backwards or done the same migration twice.

Now if it was about data migration between OS's that would make a lot more sense. I move data between Solaris, Windows, and Linux all the time.

Comment Re:Unpleasant Trend (Score 3, Insightful) 110

I've had a couple of cases where I needed a feature, that there had been lots of requests for, in existing software whose development had slowed or stopped. I offered to hire the developer, bounty style, but they weren't interested.

I hired professional programmers to add the feature or make necessary changes to the existing code. I then submitted the code as patches to the original developer, hoping that he would accept the patches and make it so I didn't have to patch and compile everytime there was an update or distro change. My patches were always GPL and there were no restrictions on them, so if the developer didn't like the style or specific implementation, they could use my patch as a starting point or model and change whatever they chose.

In all cases, the developers have not incorporated the patch. In most cases, they have done nothing at all. I'd likely have been better off just buying Windows COTS.

Have their been any updates at all since you submitted your patch? If not and the time period is long enough to believe there never will be, then your best course of action is to fork. As one with enough vested in the project to pay for further development, you are probably in a better position to steward the project than the original developers, who likely have no more use for the program.

If there have been updates, then you have a more sticky position. Most likely, the maintainers considered your patches to be too narrowly applicable at least relative the difficulty required to integrate and maintain them. At that point, you are pretty much stuck re-integrating your patches with each release.

Windows COTS wouldn't necessarily solve your problem either. It just takes away the option to patch your own. If the company is not interested in making the changes you request, there isn't much you can do about it. The exception would be of the commercial software is more popular and better maintained but that's true in the open source world too. If you have a choice between two projects, both of which an do the job with adjustments, you are most likely better off contributing the one that is actively maintained than the one that isn't, even if the required changes are more extensive.

Comment Re:Level of Detail (Score 1) 297

His point was to go into a deep level of detail. Instead of handwavy "code the GUI" the only way to really get anything remotely close to a real time is to estimate everything down to at least half day, if not lower granularity. It's not the "oh you feel the time better" as much as to think of EVERYthing you need. If you go to a lower level, you may remember that dialog box that you didn't think of at the 25,000 foot level.

Unfortunately, making an estimate to half-day granularity takes a great deal of time. So much, in fact, that you will likely need to give an estimate for the time to complete the estimate because it will be significant part of the total project time.

And you will still likely be wrong because what you are really doing is a sketch implementation without the feedback that prevents small errors from exploding into total nonsense. A course estimate may actually be better since it forces you to factor in unknowns rather than assuming unknowns don't exist because "look at all the detail!"

Comment Re:Maybe good advice, but... (Score 1) 400

Having had a company for 4 years might not be enough to qualify for giving advice people should listen to.

I've worked for several startups. Four years is long enough to expect some turnover if the headcount is non-trivial. The pointed questions to ask are:

1) How many employees?
2) What kind of roles to they serve?
3) Is the company obscuring turnover by keeping traditionally high-turnover roles like sales as contractor?

Comment Sewer pipe to water pipe to well (Score 1) 93

That seems the most plausible path. All it takes is a hole in the sewer pipe and a hole in the water pipe and there's your path. Once in the water pipes it doesn't sound impossible for pathogens to move backwards into the aquifer. I admit the pressure gradient should work against this but it sounds more plausible than quickly transiting a "a thick layer of clay or shale" separating the sewer pipes from the aquifer.

Comment Re:Anti sexist policies are almost always sexist (Score 5, Insightful) 546

You just redefine what 'best' means.

Not necessarily. If you improve benefits in such a way that the job becomes more appealing to women, more qualified women will apply. Child care, for instance. It would be a benefit for any employee that has children but, statistically, women are more likely to be single parents and take greater responsibility for children in a two parent family.

Comment Re:Open Source License (Score 1) 630

If you write the code, the GPL doesn't prevent you from including it in commercial products. You're the copyright holder, so you can relicense it to suit yourself.

Absolutely... as long as you are the copyright holder for all of the code. Otherwise you need to track down everyone else who contributed and get them to agree to the new terms. Or rewrite the bits that you don't own.

Comment Re:Ignorance (Score 4, Insightful) 461

The real problem with GMO labeling, like many issues facing not only the American populace, but the rest of the world, isn't really whether GMOs are labeled or not. The real problem is mass ignorance about the subject matter entirely.

Indeed, there is a whole movement pushing for GMO food labeling consisting almost entirely of people ignorant that "GMO" doesn't tell anything about the health effects of a food item.

Perversely, there is no movement to label the chemicals applied to food even though many of the chemicals (like pesticides and herbicides) are toxins.

Comment Re:Functional market (Score 2) 426

I try to keep a quiver full of excruciatingly difficult questions which most people could not possibly know the correct answers to. I bust a couple of them out on each interview. I suppose this would disqualify me on your first criteria, heh heh heh. But I'm not looking for a correct answer when I do, I'm trying to make sure the candidate won't try to bullshit me when he doesn't know something. It also shows me if they're willing to think about a problem for a bit before giving up. I don't want bullshitters on my team, and I do want people who will at least try to solve a problem before giving up.

I'm not even really looking for an answer with the function I'm asking them about. I'm looking for how they handle it. If you get a question like this and try to just crap code onto a whiteboard, you're going to fail. If you actually design it the way they ostensibly taught you to in school, you'll do all right. Except most people never really learned that in school. They just procrastinated until the last minute, crapped a bunch of half-assed code into an editor and limped through on the basis that all their classmates did about the same thing. Truly master this one part of the interview and you'll be able to land any programming position you interview for. Even if you are an asshole.

Unfortunately, like many interviewing methods, this doesn't test what you think it tests. It actually tests a candidate's ability to quickly produce low to moderate effort results under stress and to think out loud. It is a good skill to learn but mostly because it comes up a lot in interviews. Actual development is seldom done this way. Quiet contemplation and low stress collaborative banter is how problems usually get solved. Unfortunately, though effective, neither method prepares a candidate for being given a problem they have never seen before and then having every movement watched as time ticks down.

Comment Re:The current bubble is a software bubble (Score 1) 419

Okay, lets say there is an actual bubble, and places are hiring, how do I get a position? I've tried online job boards, and I'll find 300 technical recruiters who say they're thoroughly impressed with what I have on my resume, but I've only ever had three interviews in the past 10 years from these people. There has to be a better way. On paper, I should be in demand, I've programmed my entire life and can make Android and ios aps.

Come out to the Newtech Meetup and similar regular events. Specifically watch for the "Shout Outs" but also just talk to people. Backend database is actually in more demand than front end app development but both come up.

Comment Re:Be carful what you read in this article. (Score 3, Informative) 419

The high employment rate in Electrical Engineers is mainly following the low employment rate for all the construction industries. Grads with a degree in the Electronic Engineering fields ... even with no work experience will have no problem finding work, at least here in CA.

By "CA" you must mean Canada because in California, specifically the San Francisco Bay Area (including Silicon Valley) this is not remotely true. Engineerig jobs that don't require experience are nearly myth. Listings are few and require quite specific experience.

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