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Comment Who Owns What (Score 1) 848

Others have addressed many reasons on which road should take. I'd like to chime in on some important factors on which road you can take. Specifically:

        If you have written anything already, your boss may already own it.

This shocks people sometimes, but it's entirely true. If you wrote it on work time, with work equipment, or even over work bandwidth; (in the USA) it legally belongs to them under federal copyright law. As soon as you're being paid to do it, they have a claim. Interestingly, this is why you always here about companies refusing to pay for something to negotiate a lower price, then being all shocked that the author sold it to someone else (or just gave it away). This sword cuts both ways. As soon as someone can squint sideways and see some way you were compensated to produce this software, then that benefactor has a claim.

That said, even if you've done it clean-room, on your own time, and entirely with your own resources; can you afford to defend it? Owning it doesn't mean much if they can just ignore you. Have a lawyer friend that will help you keep your ownership clear and is willing to send scary lawyer letters. This also means you must be willing to lose your job. It further means that your boss must have enough assets that, should they fire you, it's worth suing them.

Most importantly, try to do a better job selling it. Very few bosses will turn down a good opportunity. Even bad ones, when convinced of the savings, will go for it. Don't assume it's their job to know this stuff. It's their job to hire and manage people who know this stuff--that's a two-way street. If you want an opportunity to write some serious software, understand that you need to give them an opportunity to identify talent that can do so. Until you've both helped each other take that step (and both benefited from it), there's no way anyone can benefit. They're taking a risk--so sell them on it.

You'll find that you can do amazing things when your boss trusts in your judgement and will give you freedom. A lot of times the difference between a job and a career is finding management that you can interface with. Being a successful programmer or architect is entirely a people skill--establish trust, find a good boss, and you can make good money writing code without the BS. Alas, that might mean leaving your current job.

Finally (in case I haven't made this obvious yet), don't get so attached to your job. Really. If you're this concerned about how "your" job is going to take advantage of (or fail to take advantage of) your skills, I humbly suggest that you should mistrust your attachment to it. Working is like dating in a disturbing number of ways. It doesn't matter how "great" the place is, and it doesn't matter how much they "deserve" your "help". Find a partner that will appreciate you, or you're just going to be in a dead-end relationship and you won't realize it until you're way out of your prime. There are other fish in the sea (even in this market), and you should keep getting what you need from this one until you can trade up. If you feel dirty doing it, that's great--just don't settle for less than you should.

Comment Re:very bad presentation (Score 1) 1017

Every one? Even the abbreviated list is pretty long.

Are you making a Hasty Generalization? Then have you committed the Fallacist's Fallacy. For added fun, explain how your use of a fallacy doesn't mean you're wrong--which kind of defeats your point.

Proofs must be constructive. Without a counter-example, this is just doubt. Proof (and consequently counter-proof) generates certainty. This is the mechanic of science.

Comment Re:What if... (Score 1) 191

Why couldn't the particle stay the same, but the whole universe oscillates around it?

I actually don't mean to be ironic here. Perhaps they're mathematically the same. IANAPP (I am not a particle physicist). Still, just because something appears to change doesn't mean that it wasn't the observer that changed, right?

Dad Delivers Baby Using Wiki 249

sonamchauhan writes "A Londoner helped his wife deliver their baby by Googling 'how to deliver a baby' on his mobile phone. From the article: 'Today proud Mr Smith said: "The midwife had checked Emma earlier in the day but contractions started up again at about 8pm so we called the midwife to come back. But then everything happened so quickly I realized Emma was going to give birth. I wasn't sure what I was going to do so I just looked up the instructions on the internet using my BlackBerry."'"
Emulation (Games)

Nintendo Upset Over Nokia Game Emulation Video 189

An anonymous reader writes "Nintendo is investigating potential copyright infringement by Nokia during some video demos of their N900 phone, which can be seen emulating Nintendo games. Nintendo spokesman Robert Saunders says: 'We take rigorous steps to protect our IP and our legal team will examine this to determine if any infringement has taken place.' In the video, Nokia says, 'Most publishers allow individual title usage, provided that the user is in possession of the original title.'"

Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"

Comment Re:Depressing, but not uncommon (Score 1) 1251

Interestingly, this plays into the previous argument that sucking up the otherwise unemployed into menial, subsidized jobs is moderately preferable to just having them on welfare or committing crimes.

In reality, it's all very complex these days because implementing a balanced economic-social-contract requires inordinately enlightened voters.

Comment Re:And Now, The Vocational Gudance Counselor Sketc (Score 1) 1251

Have you considered that "having a well-rounded liberal arts education" is critical to employability? It is. If you can cogently discuss the Byzantine Empire, perhaps do Calculus, deliberate the nature of political systems, and can craft a decent metaphor, it says something about your adaptability. That's what employers want, and it's why they considered a real education to be a marker for career-material. While the "customer" sees university as a gateway to employment, they apparently fail to realize why it ever was a gateway.

This fact is lost on people like Ms. Thompson. It is apparently lost on you as well. I'm sorry that you feel that employers are demanding that you have evidenced an ability to adapt functionally to a wide array of subjects. I'm sorry that you don't like that they are more concerned with their studying their subjects than justifying why you want to pay to take a class. Bottom line, you want to pay because your employer wants you to learn something there. If you don't like that, don't get a job. If you want to understand why, ask the employers.

This reminds me of the demotivational poster for Consultants. It states "If you're not part of the solution, there's good money to be made prolonging the problem." The watering down of education is precisely a matter of extracting value from the reputation of the institution. It's literally about capitalizing on the fact that you don't understand why universities are valuable, and it similarly capitalizes on the fact that you don't want to. Yeah consumer! Go ahead, shoot yourself in the foot. It's what Ms. Thompson did.

When universities become trade schools, it's no wonder that you have less chance of getting a job with that degree. Laud the productizing of education as being "what the customer wants". This article clearly shows that this particular segment is only good for taking their money and hopefully redirecting it into something useful. Something that actually generates some educated citizens. Something reinforces the benefits that they provide to our economy. Something that preserves and advances the knowledge of mankind. You know, a *university*.

I just hope that the people in charge of universities don't forget that's what they're doing.

Comment Re: (Score 1) 280

Note that certs can and are used for things other than SSL on DNS names. In fact, the field used for the domain name is "Common Name". The CN field is used for a dozen things depending on what the cert is used for.

We should probably blame Netscape and everyone else who pushed using X.509 unchanged instead of trivially adding a field that required a valid DNS name.

This is a mismatch between the X.509 standard and how browsers use it. Most interesting is that the browsers have the information to correctly parse it, whereas the CAs don't have the information to do so, unless they are only issuing certs for SSL. As someone who would like to see widely usable PKI outside of the web-browser, I'd really rather fix the browsers than break the certs.

Comment Have you stopped beating your wife? (Score 2, Insightful) 461

Microsoft is a marketing company more than a software company. This is a deft stroke of shaping opinion. Why?

Because the tacit assumption is that Open Sourcers focus on price, not value. They want to provoke the predictable "Microsoft software is too expensive" response. It lets them cast Open Sourcers as not being able to bridge the gap between technology and product.

Technology does something specific. A product solves a problem. All that this line of commentary does is to underscore Microsoft's message that Open Source isn't ready for business. Railing about expense without attacking the core problem of value only plays into Microsoft's hand.

What's more tragic is that they may be right. There are precious few Open Source technologies that are developed and focused to the point of being a product.

Comment Industrial Development (Score 1) 1127

I did a control system for a covered skid that contained three natural gas compressors. They had to pump it up to 3600 psi (245 atmospheres). It was for fueling vehicles. The pressure had to be that high so that the tank would equalize to a reasonable pressure / gas content in under 10 minutes.

It was 40 degrees F in the winter and 95 degrees F in the summer. Took about 6 months so I got to feel both. It also reeked of natural gas, was greasy, oily, etc. There were metal shavings and fumes from all of the machining and welding.

I also worked a similar gig off and on for about two years involving a circuit-board drilling operation. Imagine walking through a factory floor with acid baths and various machinery to work on scoring machines and massive computer-controlled drills. The drills were pretty serious (60krpm) and they each had a 1.5 ton block of granite just to dampen vibration. To this day, it's the only computerized machine I've worked on that required a pneumatic hook-up.

Here's a photo of the drills from the internet: http://www.cerambus.com/equip/images/4-MK%205%20DR.JPG

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