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Comment Re:More mature IT is just... less exciting (Score 4, Insightful) 453

IT is a commodity. Sharp IT managers see that virtualization will bring extremely powerful APIs and with a little bit of workflow and orchestration magic, their needs for the most skilled IT talent will stay the same or reduce as quantity of work increases over time. As much as people in the IT trenches may wish things to not change, change will continue. Fewer people with less skills will be able to manager larger numbers of systems and services.

Google for just about anything IT related, and you'll find THOUSANDS of hits on how to do it. Step-by-step instructions. Video walkthroughs. Preconfigured VM images. Despite what us IT folks may think -- that's UNUSUAL and somewhat unique for computers and IT. How many people can google "ubuntu ldap kerberos" or "linux drbd mysql" and follow the steps?

The "master mechanics" become architects and software developers who design "cars" that require fewer visits to the mechanics. They design process that is simple. They implement service menus that look more like a fast food menu. They automate their jobs and move on to more interesting work.

Comment More mature IT is just... less exciting (Score 5, Insightful) 453

... and that's in the best interest of the business. The business likes predictable systems and services.

Most of us slashdotters with low userid numbers can vouch for the fact that a whole lot has changed in the last 12 or so years.

IT used to be the wild west. UNIX was not widely well understood -- even by software developers. UNIX servers were inaccessible. UNIX servers were big bucks. Linux was obscure. Hardly any computer hardware or software did much of anything out of the box. Sysadmins, consultants, and IT workers were worth their weight in gold -- because that wasn't any other option.

Now... IT is mature. Hardware is cheap and reliable. Linux is ubiquitous. Linux admin experience is not rare. apt-get or yum can deploy massive amounts of useful, nearly preconfigured software in minutes that would have taken sysadmins WEEKS or MONTHS to build, deploy, patch, etc in the past.

When I first started in IT, building a server was an *ART*. Each one was unique -- from the hardware to the disk layout to the partitioning, to the OS, to the locally installed software. Building a server was like building a Stradivarius.

Now, building a server is like stamping a kazoo out of tin. I can make 500 kazoos a day. They're all the same. I don't even need to log into them once.

In the past, general IT folks were quite often the white hat security experts who learned by doing/experimenting. Now... most companies have security teams an intrusion detection systems that sound alarms if anyone runs nmap on nessus.

Your average IT guy USED to have endless opportunities to be a hero by introducing opensource software options that almost nobody else in the company knew about. Linux in the mainstream has changed all that.

A *GOOD* IT worker used to have almost magical abilities to do orders of magnitude more work. Now, large scale admin processes are much more widely understood, there are many more tools, and those magical processes are well documented and demystified so that even the junior IT folks can do them.

How many IT jobs today involve compliance? How rewarding is compliance-related work? I bet that some of the lack of willingness to suggest process improvements is somehow tied to the process baggage of IT compliance.

I still like my job, but it's changed a lot. I don't *just* do IT. I add value to my company. Today, IT needs to be much more closely integrated with the business. IT needs to be a business partner. I doubt any businesses today would hire a BOFH.

Comment Ubuntu Netbook Remix - Great on desktops too (Score 1) 180

I downloaded the alpha 6 netbook remix, put it on a USB stick, booted it on a Dell Optiplex 755, installed it, patched it, and am running it right now.

I think the "netboox remix" interface actually suits a lot of what people use computers for today... a glorified web browser... while not distracting the user with all the other windows, window decorations, virtual desktops, etc.

I'm a power user who loves those things, but I'm surprised how I feel somewhat freed up by not having to worry about them.


Submission + - Magnetic Brain Stimulator

ardent99 writes: Transcranial magnetic stimulation, a technique for treating clinical depression, uses a device placed on a patient's head that delivers a pulse to the gray matter. Psychiatrists at the American Psychiatric Association meeting here are unabashedly optimistic about its potential for treating tough cases. It's in the final stages of FDA review, and could come to market as soon as the end of the year.

TMS works by creating an electromagnetic pulse that doesn't disturb the skull or scalp, but can reach two to three centimeters into the brain to stimulate the prefrontal cortex and paralimbic blood flow, increasing the serotonin output and the dopamine and norepinephrine functions.

Submission + - Computer science PhD is turnoff

nbauman writes: The prospects for PhDs in computer science look even more dismal. According to research done by Professor Richard Wiseman at the Edinburgh International Science Festival http://www.generationscience.co.uk/html/news_relea se.html, one of the worst pick-up lines is, 'I have a PhD in computing.' 100 members of the public took part in 500 speed dates. During the event, participants rated the attractiveness of their dates and indicated whether they would like to meet that person again. To uncover the best type of chat-up lines, researchers compared the conversations of participants rated as very desirable by their dates with those seen as especially undesirable. Those highly skilled in seduction encouraged their dates to talk about themselves in an unusual, quirky, way. The most memorable lines from the top-rated man and woman in the study illustrate the point. The top-rated male's best line was: 'If you were on Stars In Their Eyes, who would you be?', whilst the top-rated female asked: 'What's your favourite pizza topping?'. In contrast, failed Casanovas tended to be far less creative, employing old chestnuts like 'Do you come here often?' or struggling to impress with comments such as 'I have a PhD in computing'. "Whenever our couples spoke about films they really increased their chance of disagreement", commented Wiseman. "In contrast, conversations about travel tend to revolve around great holidays and dream destinations, and that makes people feel good and so appear more attractive to one another".
Wireless Networking

Municipal Wi-Fi Networks In Trouble 294

imamac writes "According to an AP story, municipal Wi-Fi is going nowhere fast. A think tank research director quipped, 'They are the monorails of this decade: the wrong technology, totally overpromised and completely undelivered.' Subscriptions to the services are much lower than expected and lawmakers are concerned that millions of dollars will have gone to waste that could have been better spent on roads or crime-fighting. Satisfaction with the quality of service has also been low, which give some insight into the low adoption rate. Is municipal Wi-Fi just a bad idea, has it been poorly implemented, or is the technology just not there to support such an endeavor?"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Hit & Run driver caught with internet help

Kumba writes: The collective power of the internets was demonstrated in this thread as one member of an auto enthusiast forum helped another member identify the driver of a hit and run incident against the latter's friend. Since then, it's spread like wildfire. The one photo depicting the driver's face may yet become the most photoshopped image on the planet.

Submission + - Use PHP Profiler to Find and Hasten Plodding Code

IdaAshley writes: If your PHP application is plodding, use a profiler to target and measure where time is being spent or memory is being used. You can target the statement, loop, function, class, or library that's most sluggish. Part 1 of this "Make PHP apps fast, faster, fastest" series demonstrates how you can accelerate your entire site by eliminating redundant work using XCache, a PHP opcode cache.

Submission + - Nanotechnology leading to molecular machines

dr_nomad_x writes: a number of enticing research papers on the use of catalysis and molecular motors to produce movement. One paper mentioned sounds particularly useful: an overview of progress on Synthetic Molecular Motors href="http://dottrans.blogspot.com/">Read More...

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