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Comment Great study, faulty conclusion (Score 1) 56

From the study: In the super flight condition, participants controlled their flight through the VR environment. In the two helicopter conditions, participants were merely told that they were to be a passenger in a helicopter and their task would be explained once immersed in virtual reality. Their field of view varied only as a function of their head movements (i.e., they did not control translation of the helicopter but could look around the vehicle and out the window). Both flights were through an empty, generic city.

When the researcher dropped his pens, one participant had been actively flying through a VR environment, choosing where to go and going there, for several minutes. The other had been passively seated, with no control over the avatar except to look around.

So, the folks who had just been active moments before continued to be active, assisting with the dropped pens while the folks who had just been passive moments before continued to be passive, observing the researcher as he retrieved the dropped pens.

Had the study been fliers versus walkers with both in control of the avatars, I bet the study results would have shown identical helping behavior.

Comment Re:Well, kinda... (Score 1) 433

As you say, you all know the certifications are junk. Do you *want* to work for an employer who thinks they're the bee's knees?

Target your resume to the kind of employer to *want* to work for. Tell him the things about you that *he* is likely to consider important.

If you *want* to work for an employer who places high stock in certifications, you won't be happy working for me.

Comment Re:Well, kinda... (Score 1) 433

Yes, I should probably have mentioned that I'm hiring for creative roles. I have no work for an admin who can't script and little work for a coder who can't find his way around Linux.

The only hiring recommendation I regret is the very first one I made. I don't regret it much because we hired the guy anyway. I thought he was way overqualified for the job. I was wrong: the job adapted. As it always will if your employer doesn't suck. Hire the best people you can get and let the division of responsibilities sort themselves out later.

Comment What do you want out of Linux? (Score 2) 2

Deploy to a U.S. Government customer? Red Hat. Makes the certification process so much easier. And they'll pay you for it.

Rock solid stable servers? Debian. The completely free stable version's software is consistently 6-12 months behind the other distros but it's, well, stable. And they have more open source software under package management than most any other distro so you'll spend much less time compiling sources and watching those sources' bug reports.

Desktop? Ubuntu.

CentOS? Unless you're trying to make your home computers look like your work computers and don't want to cough up the $400 per year each, don't waste your time. If you *are* trying to make your home computers look like your work computers, well, CentOS does a respectable job of that. Know what else does a respectable job of that? Red Hat. Seriously: your work didn't license Red Hat, they bought support and updates. You don't break any license by installing it at home, you just can't attach it to their update server. But you can keep copies of the RPMs that your work computers download from the update servers and carry them home.

Oracle Linux? Hah. Seriously? You must be joking.

Comment Re:Strange that the company should comp for educat (Score 1) 433

I've seen some places put a payback requirement on the reimbursement if you leave within 6 to 12 months.

Generally, though, if you treat the employees well and have interesting work for them, you won't lose them. And if you're likely to lose them after, it'll be obvious in their attitude before you make the investment.

Think of it like buying off ebay: sure, some small percentage of the transactions will be fraudulent. You come out so far ahead on the ones that aren't that it doesn't matter.

Comment Re:I'd love some input to this, too (Score 1) 433

I never finished my degree as my original university seemed to delight in messing with my finances and withholding books

And you didn't persevere.

All universities "mess with you" in arbitrary ways. Funny thing is, even if you're lucky enough to have a good direct boss, customers and senior management do that too.

Comment Re:Strange that the company should comp for educat (Score 1) 433

As the employee becomes better at the job you give him raises and change his responsibilities to match. A lot of employers screw that up but if you genuinely want to keep the employee that's what you have to do -- regardless of *how* he got better at the work.

And you do want him better at the job. The guy who is twice as productive still only consumes one set of healthcare, one office, etc. If he wants to spend his unpaid time on coursework which will make him better at the job, paying for the tuition and books is a bargain.

Comment Re:Well, kinda... (Score 2, Insightful) 433

Speaking as an employer...

1. I do look for a technical degree though not necessarily a CS degree. There's a certain maturity of the thinking process that rarely happens outside of college. Blind spots that you don't know are there. You won't get it chasing the problem du jour.

I will generally consider someone who is *finishing* a degree but I'll insist that the job be contingent on actually finishing. I'll generally offer enough scheduling flexibility to continue school. You're a programmer after all - I care about your results, not which hours you sit in the chair.

If you do have a CS or CE degree, try to have some basic knowledge about the field. I recently interviewed a guy with a CE degree who couldn't tell me that accessing a CPU register was faster than accessing main DRAM. Yet his senior project was in assembly language. The hell dude? Also, if you present yourself as God's gift to computer networking, you'd better be able to recognize a path MTU discovery problem when I describe the symptoms to you.

2. University of Phoenix, DeVry, Strayer and similar "degree mills" do carry a negative stigma. If your resume speaks of clue I'll ask for a phone interview anyway but presenting a degree from there speaks of poor judgement on the applicant's part. I'll be looking to refute my initial impression rather than confirm it. This is bad for you.

Same goes for presenting an associates degree from a community college. When you write your resume, you don't have a AS. You have a BS "in progress." Be ready to tell me where its in progress.

3. Certifications can be very bad. If you have one or two very strong certifications, like CCIE, they'll help you. Not much, far less than a degree, but they're a positive factor. I'm not every employer, but I'll never turn someone away for lack of a technical certification.

On the other hand, if you have 10 weak certifications (CCNA, MCSE, A+, Security+, etc.) and you list them all, that's a big negative. Huge. And the more you list the worse it is. I want self-starters. Doers do. They rarely bother with certifications and even if they do they have far more important things to tell me to sacrifice the space on their resume to such trivia.

I once had a network engineer applicant list his Kentrox CSU/DSU certification. A Kentrox CSU/DSU is usually configured with a few dip switches on the bottom. Roundfiled the resume.

4. Field-related stuff you do *for fun* outside of work is a huge plus. Contribute to an open source project? Run a sophisticated network in your basement? Hang out on any IETF mailing lists? Tell me all about it!

Comment programming (Score 2) 224

The current learning language for Computer Science is Java. It used to be Pascal. Switched to Java because of the importance of object oriented programming.

The language of choice for Linux/Unix system administration is Perl. Windows admins don't generally code though one of the dot-net's would likely be the choice if they did.

Pick one. Then buy a book and work through writing and running the example code. Then come up with an idea for a simple program you want to write. Then write it, referencing your books and Google search.

Comment programming (Score 1) 1

The current learning language for Computer Science is Java. It used to be Pascal.

The language of choice for Linux/Unix system administration is Perl. Windows admins don't generally code though one of the dot-net's would likely be the choice if they did.

Pick one. Then buy a book and work through writing and running the example code. Then come up with an idea for a simple program you want to write. Then write it, referencing your books and Google search.

Comment Not the radar we know (Score 1) 1

Bear in mind that the radar of the time is not the aircraft radar we know. It didn't nicely plot points on a screen showing positions of aircraft. It didn't plot positions at all: you got a signal form on an oscilloscope corresponding to the exact direction you were pointing it and that's about it. Less actual information from it than a cop gets from his speed gun.

If the equipment was operating correctly (and radar was very new so that was a big if) you could tell the difference normal (nothing there) and abnormal (something in the direction you were pointing the antenna). If you got really good you could estimate the distance from the shape of the waveform.

If Lt. Tyler had given the report -all- of the attention it deserved, nothing would have turned out differently. The quality of the information didn't merit putting to island on full alert. It merited sending a couple planes up to visually verify the radar's information but by the time he could have gotten pilots on base, in their planes and on off the ground it would have been too late anyway. They didn't have a standby pilot sitting in a cockpit with his pre-flight checklist complete, waiting for the order to go.

We had the same problem on 9/11: after the first one, we knew the planes were hijacked and we knew where they were. We couldn't get military assets in place to do anything about it before they hit their targets.

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