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Comment Re:Discrimination Happens, But Not Always (Score 1) 375

Nice -- the last place I worked didn't really like guys a little older like me (50+), regardless of how good a job I did. I'm now happily working full-time on contract, and from what I hear, my last employer is working harder and harder trying to hire people.

Really, the key barrier to entry is, a) can you do the job, b) are you keen? Who cares about age, race, sex -- can you do the job?

Comment Discworld (Score 1) 211

It's a graphic novel by Terry Pratchett .. not normally something I'd read, but it was recommended to me on one of the IRC channels. I'm also knitting a tin foil hat .. do you think I'm too suggestible?

Comment Way better! (Score 5, Interesting) 524

Four years ago I was working at a place I thought was fantastic, and was happily married. My older step-son was working his way through second-year university, still needing some assistance from me. But Fate had some bad s*** in store for me.

Today, I am very happily separated, sole owner of my house (yeah, with the bank), and have an awesome girlfriend (and two more sorta-step-kids). And I'm working on contract at place that has its challenges, but is a much more comfortable situation then living in a Watership Down type of company. And older step-son graduated from engineering (with a B+ average!!!), got his iron ring, and just celebrated his first anniversary at a permanent job.

Thanks for asking. Life is good. :)

Comment My helmet saved me from head injury three times (Score 1) 1651

Twice I've got my front wheel got caught in a streetcar track and gone down (happens frequently in Toronto). The other time a limo raced away from a red light and knocked me over. (Yes, he was charged, and there was a trial in Old City Hall -- GUILTY.) I've also been in a motorcycle accident (speed wobble on the 401) where a helmet saved my coconut. And my uncle Tim died from a head injury when riding a bicycle (granted, this was in the 1940's).

So you could say that my position on requiring helmets when riding a bicycle is .. inflexible.

And yeah, probably time for a new bike helmet.

Data Storage

Submission + - Gas Shortage Could Pop WD's Helium-Drive Plans (

Lucas123 writes: U.S. federal reserves of helium gas are at an all-time low after a 15-year wholesale sell off, which could effect WD's plans to begin manufacturing hard drives filled with the second lightest element. The U.S. reserves, created after WWI, are stored in natural underground rock formations in the Texas Panhandle. Those reserves feed the majority of the world's annual demand of 6.2 billion cubic feet. As supply dwindled, the government had hoped private industry would explore and bring its own sources of helium on line, but that has yet to happen. As a result, the price of helium, which is used in manufacturing semiconductors and cooling super magnets in MRIs and even CERN's Large Hadron Collider, has doubled in the past 10 years.

Submission + - White House Hack Attack (

randini writes: Reported by: Bill Gertz
Hackers linked to China’s government broke into one of the U.S. government’s most sensitive computer networks, breaching a system used by the White House Military Office for nuclear commands, according to defense and intelligence officials familiar with the incident.

One official said the cyber breach was one of Beijing’s most brazen cyber attacks against the United States and highlights a failure of the Obama administration to press China on its persistent cyber attacks.
The official said there was no impact or attempted breach of a classified system within the office.

“This is the most sensitive office in the U.S. government,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the work of the office. “A compromise there would cause grave strategic damage to the United States.”

The Military

Submission + - The US Navy's awesome electromagnetic railgun programme (

RougeFive writes: Imagine a warship weapon that can launch projectiles at Mach 10 without explosives (more than three times the muzzle speed of an M16 rifle), that has a range 220 miles and that uses the enormous speed to destroy the target by causing as much damage as a Tomahawk missile. Meet the US Navy's electromagnetic railgun programme.

Comment Zone-out time is important (Score 1) 351

Think about the last time you had a revelation -- walking somewhere by yourself, washing yourself in the shower, driving somewhere without the radio on. That's valuable thinking time.

I used to be on Twitter dozens of times a day -- no pictures of the meal I was about to eat, but lots of surfing. I took a two week trip to China, and limited my wireless access to a few times a day for E-Mail only -- the rest of the time I was off the grid. Now I'm back in Canada, I'm continuing that trend -- I've visted Twitter a few times, but my participation is way down. Even riding the subway with my eyes closed is a nice respite from a busy day.

It's important to get your brain some time off.

Comment I saw him speak in California in May, 1982 (Score 2) 315

I happened to be touring a university campus (UCLA? Berkeley?) and saw a poster for a talk he was giving, and bought a ticket on a whim. He was a fascinating speaker, and it was intriguing to hear him re-engineer and expand on Fahrenheit 451. What a treat. Afterwards, he gladly stayed behind and autographed books for quite a while.

I also remember something about him being arrested in Paris, France for being 'drunk and in charge of a bicycle'. What's not to like?


Comment Best before age 35? Pffffft. (Score 1) 1

> Many programmers find that their employability starts to decline at about age 35.

Well, it sure does decline if you don't continue to learn.

I made that mistake about 15 years into my career, deciding that C would do me fine; I wouldn't have to learn any new languages, ever. Then the Internet boom happened, and I picked up Perl, which then helped me find well-paying jobs for the next 14 years. I'm going to start using C again now, and .. 35 was almost twenty years ago. And I'm still finding gigs.

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