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Comment A decade ago I would have agreed with you... (Score 2) 299

but at least when it comes to Army IT guys, anyone that went to school after 2005 is a coin-toss.

The dumbing down of specialist fields has been ongoing as the military has switched from custom hardware to COTS (Common/Commercial Off The Shelf) systems. This really accelerated in 2003 and the transformation was almost complete by 2005. Troubleshooting down to the component level and resoldering circuit boards was standard procedure in the old days. Soldiers had to really understand how their systems worked and how they interacted with other things. As the equipment has gotten smarter, the requirements for the soldier have decreased.

I watched the knowledge base drain away while I was in the military. I spent my final three years as an instructor/subject-matter-expert (Brigade level) for all things IT and satellite communications. Every year, the students were less and less prepared for the training. This applied especially to my students from a communications career field. This was expected when it came to my students from non-IT careers, but in the end, the students that should have been the most well prepared for my classes did no better that those that had never seen a satellite dish before.

I spent an additional two years as a contractor in Afghanistan. I did everything from convoys out to remote FOBs to troubleshoot and repair systems, to training, to theater wide Tier-3/Engineering Level satellite support. I worked with hundreds of contractors at all levels and over 95% of them were veterans. The quality of work/knowledge level was a complete crapshoot. There were many that I dealt with that should have been fired or at least not had their contract renewed. One of them was my boss(gross negligence/mismanagement), the other was a CCNP that couldn't even create a basic NAT configuration for a 2800 series router(fired for reasons unrelated to his lack of technical competence). There were the occasional superstars (my replacement boss). There was everything in between.

In the end, I honestly see very few advantages to hiring veterans other than that they have a higher chance of being on time/early than a non-veteran. I see a distinct disadvantage in hiring anyone that was a First Sergeant or Sergeant Major(Don't worry, the ones you need to worry about will let you know they were one). Those are the ones most likely to have internalized the military and demand that those around them do the same.

Comment Re: Only for the big cases. (Score 1) 173

Marriage, in the legal sense, is a contract. You are presenting a slippery slope argument where there is none. Man and dog, woman and car, are not valid arguments because the dog cannot consent to a legally binding contract.

If two men and three woman want to enter into a polyamorous contract, that is the legal equivalency of marriage, why should they be prohibited from doing so? Realize that all five persons must sign the same contract accepting all of the other four, so a single holdout screws the entire thing up. Divorce would become interesting as well (you can still only sign a single contract at a time, just like today).

Comment Re:Tethering (Score 1) 275

I had this issue back in 2002 on Sprint. My solution was to run a background ping process with 1-byte packets. This kept my connection from stalling out. The disadvantage is that your 3G modem and WiFi will never enter low-power states. So your battery life will suffer as a result.

On the same note, my web browsing greatly benefits from running all my web traffic through a SSH tunnel with compression enabled. When you are dealing with a sub-48kbit GPRS connection that ramps ping times into the 100+ second range (not a typo) and 50% packet loss with high traffic usage, it becomes necessary. (For those wondering, Afghanistan)

Comment Re:Finally (Score 1) 165

Here in some places (but not enough) of the U.S. we have two, sometimes three different internet companies to choose from.


Thanks. I happen to live one of those places. The ONLY option here is AT&T 3.5mbps ADSL. Other possibilities are an AT&T EDGE(No VZW coverage here) connection that averages somewhere around 20kbps or satellite. No thanks (this coming from someone that makes a living repairing and fielding enterprise SATCOM systems).

I am fortunate enough that I was able to switch over to AT&T Business Class DSL(No bandwidth caps) for LESS than I was paying for the same AT&T Residential DSL. I get excellent SNRs and am often on FastPath because of that, but AT&T refuses to bump me up to 6mbps. That is even after explaining that I don't care if I actually get 6mbps. I will settle for whatever my modem trains at above 3.5mbps considering my primary motivator is a 768k upload versus a 384k upload and the price difference is less than $3/month.

The Internet

Submission + - Facebook Maxes Out Its Data Center Space (

1sockchuck writes: "Facebook is adding 2 million new users a week, and recently maxed out the data center space at its California facilities. The load on the company's servers "continues to increase at a pretty astounding rate," says Facebook engineer Jason Sobel, who said the fast-growing social networking service has added a data center in Virginia, which is now serving 30 percent of its traffic. Sobel also discusses how Facebook sorts out which data gets stored on the East Coast and West Coast, which has meant some fine-tuning of its MySQL code to properly update Memcached."

Submission + - Firefox Lite: Together, old PCs can crush IE (

Eatfrank writes: A recent CNet article has raged on sites like Digg, suggesting Mozilla should pipe a lite version of Firefox into older PCs to further attack IE's dominance: "Firefox supporters, take note. A bare-bones Firefox will get the browser into more houses, increasing the Fox's market share and keeps it in novice users' eyes for when they get a new PC. From the article: "Give the Celerons and the K6s some of the power back and let light users rediscover what it's really like to rediscover the Web with Firefox."

Submission + - Embedded car video surveillance?

Smashed Ride writes: I'm sick and tired of people doing hit-and-run damage or vandalism to my car. I'd like to use a stable, low-power, embedded system running GNU/Linux or BSD to document activity around the car. Two key requirements are that 1) the system must not obstruct the view of the driver much, and 2) the video must be sharp enough to identify a culprit. I don't need a large video archive — just enough to check a log after I notice damage — but I ideally want it to be sturdy. Any good ideas? There are many ways to record video, but the key here is that I want to set it up and keep it running without fiddling with it.

Submission + - HIV vaccine ready for clinical trials (

amigoro writes: "A vaccine that is capable of delivering a double whammy against AIDS-causing human immunodeficiency virus by both providing immunity against the infection while at the same time destroying cells infected by the virus is ready for clinical trials, a group of Russian researchers announced today."

Submission + - Microsoft working on free city-wide Wi-Fi access

thefickler writes: Microsoft and JiWire are planning to offer free Wi-Fi access on a city wide scale; the only catch is that you'll need to sit through advertising. The companies are currently testing the service in two cities, Portland, Oregon and Oakland County, Michigan.

Submission + - Windows Home Server released (

Thomas Nybergh writes: "Windows Home Server, based on Windows Server 2003 Small Business Edition "minus the Exchange mail server", has been released. Will the new category of Home Server hardware, combined with presumably easy to understand support for multi-disk redundancy be the ultimate backup solution Normal People and Very Small Business have needed for a very long time? And/Or will this end up being yet another, even worse supply of always available Windows machines for botnet owners to zombify? Should the industry focus more on the already existing kind of scaled down, energy saving NAS boxes rather than more or less full scale PCs running Windows Server with a silly limit on the amount of users?

On a sidenote, I've used normal pc hardware running Debian's rolling testing release as a multi purpose home server for everything from GNU Screen powered IRC, downloading ahem.. Linux install disc ISOs, NFS and Samba sharing and web serving for some time, and it simplifies a lot of things. But what amazing new uses for this new kind of for server use dedicated consumer products (perhaps running a more suitable OS), can Slashdot users think of? Especially a few product generations from now, when commodity home server hardware might support hotswappable devices and perhaps even different interfaces for interacting with your physical home, there must be something cool one could do with a server, right?"


Submission + - Nearly 900K US Troops health care records exposed

blueser writes: Military Times reports that "personal health care records of nearly 900,000 troops, family members and other government employees stored on a private defense contractor's nonsecure computer server were exposed to compromise". Exposed information includes social security numbers, names, addresses and coded health data. The contractor has been aware of the data breach since May 29, when USAFE notified them about an insecure data transmission. The Petangon and FBI have already been involved, and the contractor is already notifying those that have been affected.

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