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Comment Re:What did we do, the Lambada? (Score 4, Interesting) 256

Whatever flashy headline was used to attract readers to the fact that there are potentially *a lot* of undetected large objects that could wipe us out was worth it. I mean, this is serious shit, and we are NOT taking it seriously enough. Believing we have it covered or it won't happen for 600 years is not good enough. Even Stephen Hawkins has brought this up before. We are seating ducks unless we "diversify our investments", meaning going out there and colonize other planets. It took millions of years and many extinction cycles to get us where we are as an intelligent species, and now we have to think big to survive. Honestly, I'd expect this crowd in Slashdot to really understand the implications. This issue needs to be at least high-er in the priority list of what we spend money in.

Comment Re:Mailing lists (Score 4, Informative) 248

The majority of mailing lists can now be replaced by internal company-only social engines. My company (14K people approximately) switched to Socialcast and the amount of email lists related traffic and reply-all problems virtually disappeared. I generally HATE social networking, but this particular system when properly implemented can really be a game changer in the dynamics of internal communications.

Comment Re:Ian Malcom from Jurassic Park (Score 1) 398

If you really think what you wear doesn't have any impact on you, there is a really good experiment you can try yourself and be amazed. Go to a hat store and try some different hats on in front of the mirror. I've never met anybody who after a few minutes of trying them doesn't have some sort of change in their demeanor just based on the hat they are wearing and their perception of what they believe it represents.

At the core, that's fashion. A way to express who do you want to be, and projecting an image that conveys something you want to say about yourself. It's completely valid for folks like Zuckerberg to do what they do because in the end, they are communicating something about themselves by making those choices, but keep in mind that the human mind is fairly complex, and even if we may not be totally aware of it, our subconscious does end up paying attention to things we say don't matter.

Comment 15 years (Score 4, Interesting) 229

In the last 15 years I've had 4 different jobs, I've moved 4 times in 3 different countries, I divorced and got remarried and I've had a lot of personal changes. In all these years Slashdot has been a refuge for me, even an obsession when I had nothing else going on, or when I was stuck over the weekend in some foreign country. I always felt part of this community even if sometimes I've been modded down into oblivion.

Being a nerd and a geek is cooler now, but we are still fringe elements of society at large, so I never want to underestimate the need and value of the few good virtual places where we can be accepted and talk to others like us. So today, I just want to say thank you Slashdot for being there. We've all grown together.

Comment Re:It shouldn't be mandatory (Score 2) 273

I disagree. By making programming mandatory you help these kids create new ways of thinking. It's not about the programming itself, it's about learning how to understand interactions among abstract entities, and how to take a problem and separate it into many smaller problems. Those skills are valid for all disciplines and are useful all your life regardless of what you end up doing in life.

As an added bonus, 20 years from now, none of those kids will see computers as magic, and they would have learned at least the basics on how things work internally, a skill that some lawmakers would really benefit from.

I haven't solved a single Calculus equation in 25 years, and although I was good at it, I couldn't probably do it any more without going back to the books, but one thing I can say, is that I can clearly remember the way my way of thinking changed after I learned those skills. I was never the same, and I applied the logic created by those new neural pathways in all areas of my life.

I see programming being an extension of math from that perspective, where logical, structured and rational thinking helps develop areas in your brain at a critical age that you could not get if this would be optional.

Comment Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (Score 4, Insightful) 219

The problem is that many of these things are potentially possible, but they are presented from the pure technology perspective without considering the social and political aspects that at the end are the ones with the real influence.

Think about TCP/IP in general. With the power of todays computers, even cell phones, the world should have evolved into an Internet architecture that was purely P2P based. Everything could have been a real cloud of distributed processing and information sharing. But that would have been disruptive, and any technology that would sufficiently threaten the establishment, and in particular the ones with serious money, will be fought back in the form of regulation or in more subtle ways, such as a slight bending of their direction. ADSL was one of those cases, where by empowering a download speed substantially higher than uploads, it literally steered the way technology developed, from all nodes being equal, to nodes becoming consumers, while other becoming servers.

Comment Get in front of customers (Score 1) 473

I'm 44 and I started programming at age 15, but in my early 30s I completely decided to leave programming behind and moved to customer-facing roles, from Training to Professional Services to Pre-sales Engineering, etc. I've found that a) I make more money, b) I'm safer in my job since I can't be easily outsourced to [insert country here], c) I gain a lot of contacts in any number of companies due to being in the field, and d) I get calls from recruiters once or twice a week, even in this economy.

The drawbacks is that in general you need to travel more, you need to have or develop a compatible personality and you have to grow a thick skin, since you are in the front lines for good or for bad. You also have to invest in yourself. Look better by loosing some pounds, doing some workout, invest in a nicer haircut and wardrobe. Image is very important.

Yes, you have to be good in what you do and keep up to date (standard advice in any field), but in my experience, it's all about people. Companies and technologies come and go, but in the end, it's the people you know and the relationships you create along the way that make your life richer, and that can also help in case you ever need it.

Comment Re:Credit is not everything (Score 1) 275

No, getting paid is what matters. If Credit == Money, one way or another, then you have to take proactive measures to get noticed. Getting the job done is a pre-requisite, but by no means guarantee that you get the credit you deserve and even less a promotion.

Unfortunately, perception is everything.

Comment Schumann Resonance (Score 2) 412

With all the resurgence of hysteria due to 2012 as well as recent major earthquakes, pseudo-scientific explanations to otherwise natural phenomena are becoming the norm of the day.

One of the ones I've seen more lately are two:

1) The Schumman Resonance, commonly distorted to explain the upcoming "elevation of frequency" or the Earth entering into an "electromagnetic null zone" whatever that means.

2) The HAARP as a weapon to produce and trigger earthquakes.

If you could give us a set of precise and concise good shot answers that could help debunk those myths for the layman, it would greatly help to try to make people think more critically for a change... Thanks!

Comment Physical or virtual? (Score 1) 374

It's interesting how do you define devices in this conversation. I have about the same that other people here have listed, but I also have another 20-30 virtual machines running on my two ESX servers I keep at home.

Some of them provide real services, such as file and print servers, asterisk, home email server (Zimbra) and even my main router and firewall is virtual. Others are used for all kind of testing so they are off or suspended some of the time.

The more people start using VMs for all kinds of purposes, the more the line will be blurred and they'll just look like a bunch of MAC addresses in your network.

Comment Re:You think the housing collapse was bad (Score 1) 917

The magic word here is "equivalent". I'm a College drop-out myself (from South America), but I have built a career in the computer industry by my own hand for the last 24 years. I get calls from recruiters twice a week, and even if I'm happy in my current job, once or twice I've gone to interviews to see if the offer is worth it, and a degree has never come up as an issue. At least here in Silicon Valley, most companies don't give a damn about the piece of paper. They care what are YOU capable of doing, and what real experience you have doing it.

Comment I was going to be a Chemist... (Score 1) 1613

...until I touch the Apple IIe, at age 16, back in my home country of Chile. I never looked back. I became a Software Engineer and I now live in Silicon Valley doing what I love to do.

What Steve did thorough all these years have so many touch points in my life. Virtually every device that Steve envisioned and Apple created have changed the way I interact with technology, and more importantly, with people.And I'm talking about NeXT, the Apple Newton and all the rest. Few human beings can have such an influence on so many other people's lives all over the world.

I see Steve as the role model for all of us Gen X and Y. Focus, passion, determination, cutting red tape, taking risks, create, hire the best, innovate. Above all, give it all to the game, acknowledge your life is not forever, lay out your plan and vision for the future, and leave when you are confident you did your part, at the very end.

That's how life is to be lived for people like us. Thank you.

Comment From the Enterprise perspective... (Score 1) 444

It's not that difficult to see where will everything be 5 to 10 years from now. Just look at the trends, the winners and the loosers from the last 5 years and extrapolate further.

From the perspective of large corporations, the next decade will be dominated by a gradual reduction of internal IT, and the exodus towards a Hybrid Enterprise Cloud, hosted by increasingly large service providers (Verizon and AT&T for example). Internal IT will still control the most private and confidential data sources and workloads, but the majority of the business will run elsewhere. Networks will flatten with L2 becoming more prevalent (VDL2) and new virtualization technologies for routers, firewalls, load balancers will appear. Datacenters will become unmanned (lights-out). Management software will evolve to become corrective and will add layers of IA to many routine functions. The server-to-admin ratio will be in the thousands. Most enterprise software in use today will still be in use tomorrow, so Infrastructure as a Service will still be relevant for quite some time.

The next evolutionary phase will be in the Platform as a Service, and all the new applications that will be created under that model. Corporate programmers will finally be able to focus on the business logic while the underlying "Platform" takes care of the rest. Programming languages will evolve accordingly to leverage this new layer of the stack. If IaaS is "the new hardware", the PaaS layer is "the new OS". Programmers will have the capability to run their code anywhere with one click, from a personal VM on their laptop, to their Internal Cloud, to Google AppEngine, to Amazon, to VMware CloudFoundry,or whatever else may come up tomorrow. Databases will move to a NoSQL model and will mostly run in memory. All applications will enforce a well defined set of APIs that will empower the next layer of the stack, End-User Computing, to leverage whatever new hardware format comes up in the future, tablets, mobile phones, etc, to have native interfaces while all the heavy processing and business logic happens in the PaaS layer. Enterprises will move to a BYOD model for good or for bad, but they will have to enable choice to attract and retain the talent of the next generation. Virtualization will happen in every mobile device, with personal and corporate "personalities" where everybody gets what they need and want.

It's uncertain how will all this affect IT people. Proper architecture of each layer will ensure good jobs for highly-skilled individuals, while more operational roles will be replaced by software automation. That said, no matter what direction technology takes, the one job that will always be present is in Security. New environments mean new threats and counter-measures. May you live in interesting times. We can't complain, can we?

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