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Comment Re:Do Not Want (Score 1) 376

Have you taken a good look at how FIOS arranges its channels blocks? Fiber has so much bandwidth, they're broadcasting the same channel in SD, HD, and 1080i, simultaneously. (FIOS may charge extra to access the high end.) I seriously doubt the production company is compressing their signal; there's no advantage for them to do so. I suspect you're using a low-bandwidth channel to tape via TiVo. (In fact, I think that AMC only recently got a 1080i channel, here in the Northeast.)

Comment Re:You Tell Me If You're Too Old; What Is Your Goa (Score 1) 418

Your question is vague and dependent on many circumstantial details. Generally, I don't see it possible to gain contract work without experience.

But the OP says he has years of VB/.NET coding experience. Then it boils down to what region of the country, what industries the programming work came from, what is his competence in what he is being asked to do, and how good are his professional networking skills.

You generally do not land "entry level" contract work from job websites from headhunters and HR departments. They will often ask for 5 years of experience in X, when the language didn't exist 5 years ago. (That's because they don't know how to properly do their job.)

But when trying to shove a foot in the door, you will get wind of a possible short-term work from old bosses, former coworkers, and headhunters (not through classifieds). The people who hire will be the (senior) project managers who only give a rats ass about getting a task completed. If you can sell *them*, and placate their HR, that's how you get contract work. But its not enough to make a living on without a previous programming jobs, and you can't be demanding the "going rate" until you develop a reputation as someone who delivers.

Comment Re:You Tell Me If You're Too Old; What Is Your Goa (Score 1) 418

The OP said he was disinclined to go into project management. And MBAs now are a dime a dozen. Its certainly not worth spending a crap load of money to get a piece of paper that no one will hire.

As much as I hate to be dogmatically negative, I'd say he's too old to be retrained for coding jobs.
1) Look very carefully at what he said: he specialized in VB.NET. He never bothered to learn C#, which is a centerpiece language for .NET. If he had bothered to learn something outside his vocational concentration, he'd never be posting his question.
2) The only expense to him at this point should be a few books and his time. One shouldn't need to go back to college in to learn how to use C#; particularly if you were adept with computing concepts, algorithms, and development methodologies. If he thinks he needs to obtain paid certification to be "hireable" as a programmer, then he's not really cut out to be a programmer. If he feels the need to ask opinions over whether to make an effort to stay in the industry, then he's as good as done. A professional in his position would be learning C#, latest .NET techniques/additions, and scrounging around for C# contract work to put on his resume. The career life of a 40+ year old coder is not bright at this point, but he shouldn't have a problem finding low paying work, even when competing with 22 year olds and overseas coding shops.
3) Frankly, if he was competent at math, he wouldn't even need to retrain on C#. Retrain on F#, and get a job coding for quants, labs, and large organizations.
4) The only thing I can see him doing that is still computer related, and not programming, would be to recertify as a network administrator. That environment is unlikely to change radically, and there will always be networks needing to upgrade. But you'd have to ask network techs if that is worth bothering at this point.
5) He'd be better off (if living in an non-union state) to retrain as a plumber or electrician. I would imagine after a decade, he'd make more money doing that, than as a programmer.

Comment Re:You Tell Me If You're Too Old; What Is Your Goa (Score 1) 418

Everything in Windoze 7 OS is built to the .NET API, and probably most of Vista. OS components were never meant to run exclusively off the CLR VM of .NET. All the huge legacy applications MS makes money on were never going to refactored to operate off of CLR. You don't have to run off of CLR to be .NET compatible, or run exclusively with .NET APIs. .NET isn't great for OS code; .NET is great for ENTERPRISE APPLICATION development. A large corporation doesn't have to be limited to one language while running off the same APIs, and the previous codebase is still binary compatible.

Comment Re:But ... (Score 1) 846

Its not a matter that its "inhumane" to use ar-15 bullets on a deer. In many states, its *illegal* to use an ar-15 to hunt deer. The rationale for the law is that .223 bullets shot out of an ar-15 will not "drop" a deer dead. The bullet will fly through the deer, and the deer will run away and eventually bleed to death.

A FMJ .223 bullet shot out of an ar-15 is *not* "low power". It has enough energy to fly through a (sheet rock) wall, and through a car door. (Police and soldiers are taught to "take cover" behind the engine block of a car, not merely behind a car door.)

A military issue firearm is *not* (significantly) *deadlier* than a civilian version. The military issue "assault" rifles are capable of firing more than one bullet per trigger pull. Theoretically, it makes it more deadly than a civilian issue rifle, but NO (new) automatic rifles are allowed to be sold to civilians. The Aurora nutjob did not shoot up the theatre with a "military issue" assault rifle.

The only thing that currently makes a civilian copy of an "assault rifle" deadlier than a hunting rifle is that they can carry a 30-100 bullet magazine. I personally would not object to a law that banned selling firearm magazines with more than 10 bullets. Only police and gang bangers "need" to avoid reloading after shooting more than 10 bullets. I have no doubt that the body count would have been lower if Holmes didn't have a 100 bullet drum, and had to reload after every 10 shots.

Comment Re:Time to dump PowerPC support? (Score 1) 158

1) The PPC code never gets inserted into other machine's architectures. So in that sense, it can't possibly "bloat" the kernel. Now there could be design issues with PPC that end up being carried into future Linux kernels, but those are much harder to root out without breaking something.
2) How else can Linux keep its reputation for being able to operate obsolete stuff, long after the commercial vendor has abandoned it?
3) Anything that's in the kernel (like PPC support), has an "active" maintainer for it. As long as there's an active maintainer, there is no reason to remove anything which was built into the kernel. When there's no more active maintainer, then the feature is deprecated. Eventually, a Cardinal in the LKML group gets motivated to eradicate obsolete stuff. Then it gets cut out of the kernel.

Comment Re:Negative coding (Score 1) 158

In which "era" do you base your impression?

The real reason HURD has moved so slowly (besides managerial incompetence) is that HURD has ceased to be a product with a deadline. HURD is now an operating system research project, with the goal of tinkering with it long enough to publish a paper on their findings or dilettante OS topic.

HURD was originally designed with the presumption that microkernel architecture would be more desirable (operate more efficiently) than a monolithic kernel (that has been the basis for almost every commercial OS since UNIX). You can't really make a breathtaking, next generation OS if the basis that it operates upon either works like crap, or requires different paradigms to communicate from kernel to OS tasks. The lost decade of the 2000's has been spent finding a "suitable" microkernel replacement to MACH. (Which is decidedly unsuitable, since it was designed in the 1980's, and is better off replaced, than kludged.) You can compound the failure with the fact that it has to conform to GNU's operating charter (translation: there might have been a suitable commercially developed microkernel, but if it didn't license it GNU v2.0 (now v3.0), it was unacceptable. That's okay; I'm only speaking hypothetically about the existence of a suitable microkernel for HURD.)

The most striking irony is that HURD may be the empirical demonstration that microkernel architecture is a research dead end, and there aren't any that can even match monolithic kernel designs. The other irony is that hypervisors, which to me seem to be a form of microkernel, have long outdistanced traditional microkernel efforts, although I couldn't tell you why they would still be unsuitable for HURD (besides the license).

Nevertheless, I was pretty shocked that the "core" developers are still actually documenting their progress. They're actually pasting in snippets of their IRC conversations into the wiki documentation (from days ago!).

So, yeah, there's a reason why the "core" people involved are telling volunteers to fuck off. If you can't speak Microkernel Chinese, they don't even want you generating background noise. I'd say the definition of clueless newbies would be someone from 15+ years ago trying to participate in HURD today.

Comment Re:$20 dumbphone (Score 1) 400

The industry term is "features" phone. It was a gross disservice to omit them as a choice; much more so than omitting windows phones.

I can still play my mp3s, watch (some) videos, read pdfs (on a tiny 2" screen), store & transfer large data files, write notes, set alarms, take pictures, and use (stereo) bluetooth devices, just like a "smart" phone.

And as much as I would like having an android phone, I prefer spending a mere $7/month for phone service.

Comment Stupid me, why do I bother... (Score 1) 1244

"Where Late, the Sweet Birds Sang", by Kate Wilhelm
      Post apocalyptic future, where remnants of humanity survive by cloning. You'll probably appreciate the novel less if you don't like "hard(ish)" science fiction. Should have a basic understanding of genetics and cloning. (Only one post here mentioned her name, but no specific recommendations.)

I dunno if this one counts. At one time, this work was put on the same famous scale as Dune, but since it hasn't been mentioned...

The llluminatus Trilogy, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.

You should have a collegiate level literary reading background, or you won't get ANY of the jokes. Its starts out with a mindboggling stream of consciousness, which introduces a hundred characters in the books, but they abandon the technique midway into the first chapter. (Call it a test to weed out the weak.)

Comment Re:sci fi masterworks (Score 1) 1244

Damn you. I've read both of them, but its been so long ago, I've forgotten the names and titles as well. For some reason, I think the first one was written by Gordon Dickson. (Another guess would be Walter M. Miller, Jr., but I don't think it was him.) It was a short story, possibly a novella. And it was done a long time ago; 1950's-1960's era. The second one, I think it might have been "Protector" by Larry Niven. It ended up getting melded into the Ringworld mythos. But as I recall, the aliens got that way by becoming addicted to an alien root, so I'm thinking it could have been an earlier, derivative work by Niven.

Comment Re:I have problems with this (Score 1) 1319

1) There is nothing in Quantum Physics theory which directly invalidates anything postulated by Einstein in his significant scientific work. Einstein, the scientist, did nothing to disprove quantum physics. Einstein merely did not consider quantum scientists' findings as "scientific proof".

2) Only a scientist who is not human would not have human biases. I guess that means no human qualifies as a scientist. OR perhaps that all scientists are presumed to have biases, and is the process (scientific method) that is supposed to weed out incorrect conclusions tainted by bias. Einstein did not produce flawed research claiming to invalidate quantum theory.

3) The idea that Einstein could have contributed more to humanities' scientific knowledge by ACCEPTING most aspects of quantum theory AND THEN applying it to his later work is pure conjecture. Conjecture made by politicians who coincidentally are physicists who utilize quantum theory to further their own work. (hint, hint)

4) Einstein, with his beliefs, has done more to advance scientific knowledge than you, with your condescending viewpoint.

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