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Programming

Submission + - My Wife Wants to Learn Programming 3

CrankyFool writes: Me: Been around computers for most of my adult life; most of it in IT, but spent some time doing QA and software development

My wife: Not so much. She's an attorney, for heavens' sake. But she's got an interest in technical/geek things (and most of her friends are tech/geeks).

So my wife wants to learn programming, for some amorphous reasons. In her words, "I just want to see if I can learn it and do cool things with it." How's that for vague?

She's got an Android phone and a Windows PC, in case it matters. I can, obviously, easily give her access to a UNIX system if it makes a difference.

Anyone have any suggestions? She thought she'd start with C++, which struck me as ENTIRELY INSANE. I'm thinking maybe Scala (which I don't know) or Python (which I do), but ... it's been a long time since I've thought about how to get started in programming.

Comment Re:Oh good (Score 2) 232

I've got an AppleTV.

It connects to my (tomato firmware-running) wifi router via industry-standard 802.11n

It connects to my (Panasonic) TV via industry-standard HDMI

I use it to watch movies from the iTunes store and Netflix. I also use it to stream music from non-Apple sources and watch videos on YouTube.

I'm guessing no proprietary connectors for their TV set.

Comment Re:Oh just great (Score 1) 145

The right english word you're looking for, by the way, is "dressing." As in, "killing and dressing an animal."

(I know, I know, "dressing" to mean "take the fur off and throw the stomach out" makes absolutely no sense. As a fellow "I didn't learn English as my first language" person, I sympathize)

Comment Re:No rage, just a lost customer. (Score 2) 722

(I work at Netflix)

When I was underemployed a few years ago, I made a game of trying to get as many DVDs from Netflix as possible. I figured out at some point that the maximum possible number of DVDs you can get in an average 30-day month is 10*X, where X is the number of DVDs you can have out at a time. So the best-case scenario for a 3-at-a-time plan is 30 DVDs a month.

(I mentioned this when I had my second interview here. The person I was talking with confirmed, and noted we had 8-at-a-time subscribers who were going through close to 80 DVDs a month).

Comment Re:Not just adding, also removing (Score 2) 488

Been working at Netflix for the last two years. In that time, I've seen costs for "hardware" (in quotes because all that stuff is now at Amazon and CDNs) go through the roof. That's the easiest money to spend, and the only beancounters involved are the ones we work with to try to predict how much we'll spend, not constrain spending.

(Seriously, one of the things I love working at Netflix is the ability of an engineer to launch 1000 instances in the cloud, or, when we were in the DC, buy $100K worth of hardware, without any approval process)

Comment Re:Limited number of simultaneous connections? (Score 2) 495

Boy howdy, you and I are so entirely on the same page in this regard. There are really two issues there:

1. Having multiple people's tastes poisons Netflix's ability to come up with very good matches for both of them. I know this intimately well -- my wife and I share a profile (it's not a money thing, it's just that we're sharing devices). That means I get to deal with her love for depressing documentaries and she gets to deal with my love for Pixar movies (which she finds to be emotionally manipulative. Don't look at me, look at the lawyer I married);

2. It'd sure be nice if you could sit your kids in front of a Netflix device and not worry about them being recommended Dead Snow because they liked Snow Day;

The first problem is relatively harder to solve; once Netflix solves this in the protocol, the people who build Netflix boxes will need to incorporate these changes into their client. You'll likely first see this in PC and PS3 streaming (because we can update the client whenever we want to), followed by other devices.

The second problem should be easier (though, personally, I fear the inevitable point at which we'll screw up and a non-kids thing leaks into a kid profile accidentally).

And Netflix has said that it's actively working on both of these issues.

As for jobs ... I'm really not hot on publishing my work email address on slashdot -- that way lies madness -- but http://jobs.netflix.com/ is your friend.

Best,
-CF

Comment Re:Limited number of simultaneous connections? (Score 5, Informative) 495

I work for Netflix (but, obviously, this should not be taken to speak for my employer).

This is something that Netflix thinks about, and it's got about as many safeguards in place to prevent it (starting with the fact you can only have six active devices on your account, followed by the fact that your recommendations get less effective the more you share your account with someone with disparate tastes -- as anyone who shares their account with a spouse will tell you).

As noted in the article, this was pushed by the RIAA types, not Netflix. Netflix had nothing to do with it; it's just that it's being used as the most pervasive example of violation of this law because it's the easiest example.

Comment Yes, Start at the Cloud (Score 4, Interesting) 442

(My background: I've been doing IT for the last 18 years or so; for the last two years, I've been working at Netflix, one of the highest-visibility cloud consumers out there. Until two weeks ago, I was on the IT side, focusing on the datacenter; about two weeks ago I moved over to Cloud Operations, focusing on the cloud (duh) and monitoring, specifically. The following is my opinion only, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of my employer).

In my opinion, the cloud is the easiest way to launch a new service with reasonable redundancy and growth potential. It's how I would start off any new business. Have there been failures? Sure. But largely, cloud failures have only impacted cloud consumers who engineered their environments in a non-fault-tolerant way, in the mistaken belief that "the cloud never fails." The cloud fails. It fails all the time. But following good design principles (ideally, be in multiple regions; at minimum, be in multiple availability zones; test what happens when an AZ dies an ugly death) will give you better uptime, with better cost, than you would achieve for a reasonable amount of money running your own datacenter systems.

And then, once you've got a significant enough size with a big enough ongoing consumption of cloud resources, you can look at creating your own DC environment.

Comment Re:And ... There You Go (Score 1) 443

Two sorts of answers:
1. Anything going through our systems (email or home directories) obviously gets logged with a legal-strength discovery system on top of it;
2. See, the interesting thing is that -- and this is an opinion, mind you, not fact -- if you make it so people get anything they want through the company, they're less inclined to want to use their own equipment for work. It's not a "you can't use your own equipment" rule (we don't really have many rules), but rather (as my first boss here told me) "you shouldn't have to use your own equipment to do work. If you want something for work, we'll just get it." So if you can get exactly the platform you want through the company ... it turns out that personal equipment is far less of an issue.

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