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Comment We had this problem. We solved it. (Score 4, Informative) 167

I work for a 5-person tech cooperative. We were writing code, documentation, etc. that we wanted to contribute back to the community. So out of our "profit", we made sure that we set aside some funds for our members to spend some of their time abstracting code, packaging it up for release, etc.

The basic principle is the same for a freelancer - you have to raise your rates. Are you charging $100/hr? Charge $110/hr. Use the extra money to pay yourself to package up the code.

In terms of "useful tricks" - well, as a freelancer, you don't have the privilege of someone keeping you honest to your goals. You can change your personal rules whenever you want. But frankly, I would say my co-op has made a net PROFIT on open sourcing our material. When we open source it, we post about it on our blog, Twitter, etc. This increases our referrals from other developers, it means more folks are finding us on the search engines, we gain credibility with other developers when we need them to fix a bug in their module. Maybe the "trick" is to remind yourself of those advantages.

Comment I was in your shoes. (Score 2) 523

I'm also a self-taught geek, and now I am part of a Drupal/CiviCRM shop with three other folks, all self-taught. We do very well, and just made a job offer to a fifth person, also a self-taught Drupal dev. Here's some thoughts from the other side of the interview table.

A few thoughts:
* Getting hired in the Drupal world as a self-taught geek is way easier than in most corners of the IT world. There's lots of small employers, and there are ways to demonstrate your skill that don't involve certs.
* Drupal is a fast-moving product - we want to know that you know the latest tools. Have you developed in Drupal 7? If you're doing theming/front-end, what's your experience with Sass/Closure/etc.? Basically, if you're not plugged into the Drupal community, it's difficult to be up-to-date. So YES, go to DrupalCon, Drupal meetups, etc. - and make sure your prospective employer knows it (if you're looking to get hired by a Drupal shop)
* The most important part of being hired is networking. Not what but who you know, etc. Another reason to hit the Drupal community gatherings.
* I'll echo what other folks said about needing a portfolio. If you don't have one, make one. Seriously.

When hiring, we asked for folks' usernames, and we looked at their history. Seeing that you've made a non-trivial patch to a major module counts for a lot. Seeing that you know how to make a comprehensive and useful bug report means you'll get better responses when you're working on our projects. We asked about community involvement, as a measure of a) seeing how up-to-date folks were, and b) determining if their contacts in the community will help in a pinch - our good relationships with key Drupal devs has certainly helped us in emergencies. It also means we've been referred work (particularly because we specialize in Drupal/CiviCRM). We looked at portfolio - especially important if you want to be a themer.

Finally - one problem we had with hiring folks in your position was a lack of experience with tools used for working in groups. Familiarize yourself with at least one of the popular project management tools used in the Drupal community (I'd suggest Redmine, Open Atrium, or Basecamp). Learn git. Brush up on CLI tools like drush and ssh if you don't know them already. I think it's telling that the person we offered the job to was self-taught, but was already working in a small shop. A self-taught person with experience with the tools I listed above would have closed the gap that advantage brought to her.

One more thing, I guess - there've been a lot of good arguments for self-employment on both sides of the debate in this thread. Consider the middle option of being semi-self-employed. Moonlight doing Drupal dev. I moonlighted as a freelancer, and brought my day job from full time to part time to gone.

Comment Re:Bimonthly release cycle == overhead? (Score 1) 555

It sounds like you have a domain but not Active Directory. I suggest you check outwpkg, and install it on a server you have hanging around. Use winexe (if you have a Linux server) or psexec (if Windows) to push the command to run the wpkg script - and wpkg will handle your updates for you. I manage almost as many machines as you describe, spread out at about 10 different businesses. Upgrading Firefox etc. takes about 3 minutes, including downloading the package, updating my XML, pushing it out to a test group, and pushing it out more widely a few days later.

Note that wpkg also works even if you don't have a domain - you just can't deploy it remotely. Send those undergrads around one last time to install it. Trust me, it's worth it - far more flexible than Active Directory (though the two complement each other nicely).

Comment Re:I'm bombarded.... (Score 1) 408

> Raw data has no agenda

In principle I agree with you, and I have no patience for those who use no raw data at all. I also think two people could reasonably disagree about the comparative importance of data sets. The U.S.A. has a high standard of living compared to other countries, but also has a large wealth gap compared to most industrialized nations. Which of those facts is more important? Reasonable people can disagree about this - even get angry that you privilege the "wrong" raw data.

I'm also not convinced that the "nutters" are any further out there than reasonable folks on both left and right. There are very smart thoughtful folks on both the left and right who read raw data. Many of them hold views every bit as radical - and opposite from one another - as the "nutters" of their political wing.

As disagreeable to me as some of the extremists on both sides are, I don't conflate the "shouting match" politics with radical politics generally. For instance, Slashdot's tilt on the MPAA/RIAA (or COICA) is far out of the mainstream, but despite being a fringe opinion, it's well thought out, backed with raw data, and I find more reasonable than the approach from both mainstream left and mainstream right.

Comment Re:Lack of options! (Score 1) 503

I have a 21" CRT secondary and a 46" LCD-TV primary. Used to be a pair of 21's, but I lucked into an upgrade. Now I just have to sit reeeealllllyyy far back.

However, my highest monitor count (not counting kvm's, xwindows, virtual desktops, vnc sessions, etc etc blah) was 4. 21/21/17/14. Two for browsing, one for coding, one for MUDding. Ah, those were the days.

Of course, I had to buy a second desk to have room to do anything, but that's a different story...

Comment Re:Bah (Score 1) 883

The surface of the earth could very well feed everyone, if it wasn't for profit hungry empires trying to prop up their inefficient business models along with their inefficient farming methods.

And I hope your troll mod wasn't for pointing out that the ethanol regulations drove up food prices, because you're right, it did. The problem with ethanol is it's based on corn, which is just about the most inefficient source of it. But a profit hungry empire is trying to prop up their inefficient business model, so here we are, suddenly having rising food prices because all the corn is going into ethanol. Base it on something better (hemp/algae/prairie grass), all of which can be grown on less desirable land, and watch prices fall while still maintaining the biofuel component.

Oh, wait, can't have that, those products don't have an empire yet...

Comment Bah (Score 2, Insightful) 883

Bah, humbug.
Does this mean we can PLEASE break up/ditch/ignore the Corn Cartel... sorry, lobbying group... which is probably the single biggest reason that biofuel is expensive and inefficient and such a bad idea?
Although I'm unhappy to see Shells move, I can't blame them... they aren't really a R&D outfit, and other startups are taking over the role of expanding wind/hydro/solar and making it profitable. Now, if they would just dump all that money into deciding that algae (or, gasp, hemp!) is a much more efficient biofuel, and help get rid of Big Corn, then everyone could win...

Comment Pft. (Score 1) 605

48 hours plus? Pft. I'm running that right now.
Chronic insomnia, and pills just screw with my head too much. So I frequently skip a night or two of sleep. I'm used to it. I can go up to 3 days before I start to feel any effects or need caffeine. Back in my university days, I figured out the admin code to the coffee machine, since I was told "if you can hack it, you can have it". 2 litre bottles of cafe mocha = no sleep for a week.
In other news, my fiance can fall asleep in less than 5 minutes, and I hate her for it with a fiery, burning passion.

Comment A new low for slashdot... (Score 1) 165

I thought I'd seen it all. OMGPonies... a front page filled with nothing but XP bashing... etc etc etc...

But, seriously. A front page story complaining that you could /download/ something? Sweet zombie jesus on a stick, WTF is wrong with you guys??? "I could download this thing... I think I'll write to /. about it!".

Articles like this make me firmly believe that we should start allowing natural selection again.

Comment On a similar note... (Score 1) 103

On a similar and yet much cooler note, I encourage everyone to visit , a most awesome site about a brits attempt to circumnavigate the globe only via unsuplemented human power. Read through the entire diary and you'll feel like you've read a great and fufilling book. Highly, highly recommended.

Comment Re:What a load! (Score 1) 650

I know the point you're trying to make, I just think it's a load of shit. For many reasons, the foremost of which being that software is a different beast than other normal products for which one could validly consider bundling to be an antitrust action. The bottom line of an OS is that you NEED a browser in order to get online to get your choice of browser. Simply not bundling a browser is not the answer, because 50% of the populace is too dumb, or somehow not easily able, to get a browser loaded onto their system on their own. And it creates a ridiculous overhead too. You think the Mozilla Foundation can afford to print and send CDs all over the globe? Or are you just going to trust the guy at the Quik-E-Mart who burned you a copy of Firefox when he says he didn't put a trojan in there?

Yes, IE may suck, but a new computer needs a starting point, and IE is it. And as long as MS doesn't do something to stop you from loading any browser of your choice, there's really no reason to bitch.

And if you want Firefox/Safari/every other browser in existance loaded on to Windows, does that mean you're in favour of the same thing being done to *nix? I wonder how big those distro downloads will be with 50 browsers preloaded. And I wonder how confused all the noobs and old folks will be when they go to open the internet and there's 50 different icons there staring at them, and every one behaves differently.

Forced browser bundling is a retarded idea. Everyone has choice now, and that's what counts.

Comment Re:What a load! (Score 1) 650

I'd like to live in your fictional universe. That would be great.

MS in NO WAY stops Mozilla, or Apple, or anyone else, from loading their browser onto Windows. Anyone can go and load up any browser they damn well feel like. Ergo, MS is not using their position to harm anyones ability to sell (or give away) browsers.

Comment What a load! (Score 1) 650

Seriously... should we next force Coke to include a can of Pepsi in every 6-pack?

I know, let's just remove IE from Windows entirely... oh, wait, how would people go download Firefox or Safari or Chrome then?

This crap just drives me nuts... an OS needs to have a browser included. The fact that so many people stay with IE isn't a result of evil dominance, it's a result of people being to lazy to install something new. MS is in no way stopping people from using FF or GC or AS or anything else, and until they are, I really wish people would STFU and stop this pointless whining.

I really hope MS does start shipping a EU version of Windows, sans browser, and with a little note coming up to say "thank you for trying to access the internet. The EU has prohibited us from helping you with this. Please go find a CD of Firefox and then install it. Hope you don't live in a rural area!"

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