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Comment Jet Pilots Are Always in Demand (Score 1) 207

As someone who makes hiring and firing decisions, I have never seen a better qualification than someone having been a fighter pilot. Several of my friends are former pilots for the Navy who have done well in various entrepreneurial pursuits involving technology. I would hire them immediately if they ever needed a job.

The basic qualities I pick up on, and that seem to be the most appealing as an employer, are the level of preparation that goes into being a pilot and the practical math behind operating an aircraft. In my business, we need to have a lot of planned out from the beginning for things to go well. It's clear to me that structure and process, and the ability to compensate effectively when something does go off track, are in a pilot's DNA.

Not sure what jobs you have been applying for, or why this is not coming across with other employers, but feel free to reach out to me via PM if you want to discuss directly.

Comment Re:Of course. (Score 5, Insightful) 749

At this point, this is not an issue of a lawbreaker. Until he's charged with something in a free and open court, Snowden is not a criminal.

An Australian general, addressing issues with sexual harassment in the military, had this to say about the values of an organization in a recent video:

"The standard you walk past is the standard you accept."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QaqpoeVgr8U

This is a little more apropos for the situation. Someone saw something he felt was unconscionable and acted to try and correct it. This is in keeping with the highest values of ethical conduct, and most ethical scholars would agree people have an obligation to act in this way.

We will see what Snowden is ultimately charged with. But casting him as a criminal before he is charged with anything, and rushing to judgement about his guilt or innocence, shows a lot less respect for the legal process and rule of law than anything he has done.

Comment Re:Who to believe? (Score 4, Insightful) 749

It's not so much a question of who to believe, but a statement about how much blind faith you are willing to put in government.

We know who Snowden is, he would not merit this level of attention if he did not have something to say. It could be argued we know more about him than what we know about the CIA and NSA.

We do not know much about the programs he described in the documents he had released. For someone to be saying they contain lies, when there are so few details contained, it makes me wonder why they need to deny it at all.

There's nothing random or stranger about this all though. The reactions of public officials are what are so revealing.

Comment Re:Someone start a defense fund (Score 0) 955

Or outlaw guns. They are much more lethal annually than all the terrorists who have attacked America to date.

For that matter. amazing we can keep a tab on everyone in the *world* with a smartphone or email address, but we can't keep track of all the guns out there.

There's a reason people don't want their guns to be tracked, and it's the same reason we don't want all our phones tapped. Does not matter if someone is actively or passively eavesdropping, we don't like the government to know too much about our business.

Comment Re:Bugs will get fixed, the easy way or the hard w (Score 1) 31

National Disclosure Centers are only as good as the organizations that take their disclosures.

I worked pretty closely with the DOC CIRT when it was first formed. It did not matter how many CIOs were involved in the process of forming it, or what they agreed to do, or what channels of communications were established. There were always groups that would not / could not work to address issues when they happened.

I don't think passing more laws has much affect on the issue either. Laws are regulatory and fall very much into the camp of attorneys, who rarely understand their implications in terms of infrastructure. Have spent many days on the phone with people for OIG seeking clarification on regulatory guidelines for handling systems, without getting the impression they understood much more than how to work the on / off switch.

This is a supply and demand problem, but a very special one. There is not enough demand for patches and security solutions prior to an incident, and there is not enough supply of secure code available to combat the threat. If anything, a solution lies with manufacturers, but there has to be a serious market for secure solutions for it to happen (and a willingness of buyers to invest in products that go down this route).

In other words, organizations needs to stop buying windows and start buying hardened Linux platforms. I honestly don't believe there is another way.

Comment Re:The Zen Garden Should Go Away (Score 1) 37

I just mean it was a nice site that served it's purpose, and maybe that purpose is now fulfilled. I don't know how important it is for the site to be re-opened for submissions or if there is a lot to accomplish.

Think of it this way: could the Zen Garden ever become better than it once was? Could it be more influential? I don't think it could, and believe it would be hard to trump it's earlier successes.

Comment Re:Good for you! (Score 1) 314

I do most of the hiring in my company, and can share some thoughts about what hiring managers are thinking when confronted with an older applicant for a developer position.

My entire company is virtual, we have about 20 people who work together remotely. I usually have no clue about how old someone is before I speak with them.

I have a list of 3 things I look for from any applicant for a developer role. It's the 3 C's - character, courage and collaboration. I want people who have a personality and aren't afraid to show it, I want people who will speak up when there's a problem, and I want people who are good at collaborating with others.

I don't always care as much about someone's development background, we can always train people up to a certain standard and then it's just getting experience doing the thing you were ask. What I do care about is whether or not someone is a cultural fit, which gets into the 3 Cs.

Just be confident in what you say, express genuine interest, and make it clear you are going to add to the efforts of their team. Take the time to learn what an employer actually does before you speak with them, and ask a lot of questions. When confronted with a technology question, be honest if you don't know how to deal with it. People don't want to hear you waffling and will usually know if you are out of your area of expertise.

Comment Re:it's at a dead end (Score 3, Interesting) 314

They have been saying this since the 60s, yet people still seem to be writing code. What seems to happen is, byt the time a computer catches up with a major development pattern, developers are already off to the next pattern of development.

I mean, an operating system basically does what we would have called programming 40 years ago, writing instructions to the processor, calculations, etc. The nature of programming has changed since then, as it will over the next 40 years. I could see there being an application that models relevant data, builds interfaces, and maybe even makes them look nice. But I doubt that will be the way we interact with computers by the time they can do it.

http://www.amazon.com/What-Computers-Still-Cant-Artificial/dp/0262540673

This book is one of the first, best discussions about the major challenges that AIs face. The articles about ambiguity tolerance really tell you all you need to know to understand this point. While AIs are pretty awesome at this point, they really do rely on clustering algorithms and normative pattern analysis to construct the facts they operate on. It's useful as a means of understanding the world, but it's not really the same as what most people would call 'judgement' and it's certainly not the way people work in the world.

I have a theory about why AI will never replace coders. Once a machine gets to the point where it can handle the tasks of a coder, it becomes commonplace. People strive for more, technology is necessarily an innovation market. Eventually something new comes along, it takes decades to come to grips with it. During that time, people are the ones working out what's useful and interesting.

In other words, it's all a cycle, and machines are constantly catching up by automating what we did before. They never lead, which is why we have coders.

Comment The Zen Garden Should Go Away (Score 0) 37

While I am all about digital preservation, this is what archive.org is for, no?

This was useful around a decade ago, now it's not. It might be useful to have CSS3, HTML 5 and responsive design examples up there, but, honestly, there are plenty of examples of that elsewhere. I don't think they translate directly to making a single document beautiful.

It's not that the Zen Garden did not speak to me, it did, but I always thought this made CSS sound too special. Like something you have to be aesthetically tuned into to work with. This actually isn't true, I just think CSS is one of those things everyone needs to know something about.

Comment Ze Frank Did It (Score 1) 123

The most effective way to promote someone in a 'geeky' way is to do what Ze Frank does. His followers are rabid and participatory. I get the sense your entertainer relies on audience feedback as part of his act, and would do better if he was going back and forth with people who are interested.

So, create a blog, do videos. Speak directly on topics that showcase his brand of humor. Invite the audience to do contests, send in their favorite picture of an Earl or something. Have posts that are just about those.

Build email lists with notifications about new content. Track your audience and come up with conversion goals, which could be as simple as creating an account on the site and commenting.

Develop your social media channels. Get timely posts up on Facebook with some frequency. Announce upcoming shows and ask people who is coming. Create some interesting way for people to subscribe to his channels at shows - Yorik's skull with a bar code on the top would do it.

But think about traditional ways of marketing something online. That's what a geek would do.

Comment What about the idea (Score 0) 133

What about the idea that Spamhaus, by being a blacklist, is denying service to all sorts of websites itself? Why is a DDOS attack that much different from what they do every day?

I mean, sure, they block a lot of spam, but what about all the times someone's domain gets blacklisted and it's not spam? And yeah, I realize domain admins opt in to use their blacklists.

It still does not change the fact it's a denial of service, coming from a self-appointed body that is in no better position to judge what is and is not spam than anyone else.

A real common tactic with political campaigns is to sign up for the opponents mailing list on an AOL account, wait for them to send you an email, then complain you are receiving spam. AOL turns around and gets that domain blacklisted. Then it takes time and resources to resolve the issue.

I just don't see much of a difference.

Comment Let it go... (Score 3, Insightful) 281

Yeah, the server may be impressive by some people's standards, but it's going to be outclassed by newer / faster machines. Just don't get too attached.

The school my daughter attended got rid of a bunch of old 486s in 2001, which I brought home to build a beowulf cluster. Networked 32 of the things into a single, massive computer with all this computing power... it was the most exciting thing I had done in a while.

It was fascinating thinking I could do such a thing, but there were all these issues: fuses started blowing / the air was so dry my lips were chapping / the power bill went up by 400 dollars that month / hardware would mysteriously die and screw up the whole cluster / there was no software support / it took up an entire room in the house / my dog kept peeing on the machines at the bottom / etc.

Still, I was able to turn it into the world's most computationally expensive, clunky web server. It was outstanding for local development, but it was impossible to get it to work with the router for external network access.

It was hard to get rid of it, the machines were in my house for 2 years until I decided to move and had to leave them behind. It's so easy to get attached to obsolete machinery because of that personal connection to it.

Seriously, give your wife a safe word for when it's time to break ties with the thing. Ultimately, it is cool, but it's either going to become an unhealthy obsession or a thing on your shelf.

Comment Wierd Feeling (Score 1) 211

I have a weird feeling this is going to lead to an invalidation of GW's trademark on the phrase Space Marine in the first place. There are so many examples of prior art it's not even funny, not to mention the fact there are actually real-life space marines these days. I don't think you can trademark a class of things.

Their trademark is limited to protection for tabletop games, it does not enjoy a universal application. For them to assert they own trademark rights outside of that context is not actually valid. I mean, if someone else was making tabletop miniatures and calling them Space Marines, I could see that as something they would want to take action against.

But an ebook? This will have the Internet up in arms!

Comment Re:Seriously - what is slashdot's agenda? (Score 1) 90

Slashdot does not sling FUD, users do. Every time a new iPhone comes out, Android users make fun of it, and vice versa.

The thing to remember about Slashdot is this is where the tribes collide. Most of the self-reinforcing opinions people share does not make sense. The valuable points get modded to the top, and the trolls mark themselves anonymous. It's not a bad thing to get bent out of shape about, some remarkable conversations emerge from the variety of opinions.

That said, I own an iPad, a Nexus 7, a Galaxy Note II, and a Blackberry Playbook (along with some other tablets I have accumulated). I can tell you about the relative strengths and weaknesses of each one without needing to say something bad about the others.

There's a great irony to the debates that happen on Slashdot, which is that it's all just technology. These devices are mostly obsolete within a few months after they are released, and OS updates do little to make them future proof. Deciding on a personal mobile device / platform is really just a way of saying who you plan to spend money with on future upgrades.

Comment This isn't the first time I have heard of this (Score 1) 103

Trying to remember where I heard this, but there was something similar with the old HP laserjet printers.

I think there was a time when it was considered good practice to put backdoors like this into internet connected devices. I think the reasoning was that every device needed to have a universal password.

But yeah, this is a pretty crazy issue to have.

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