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Comment Random thoughts on what to tell kids (Score 1) 315

  • Other people in other lands that are more passionate and hungrier than you are going to eat your lunch. If you're not passionate, you're going to be out of a job or paid to be a fungible code monkey.
  • If you're not passionate already at this point, you probably won't be, or it'll be an uphill battle.
  • It's not glamorous. Unless you work with Windows exclusively, it's slogging through a lot of text. No flashing lights, no hauwght hacker chix in spandex.
  • Long hours, especially when something goes wrong, your business head overpromises, or you get bullied by your project manager to cut your estimate.
  • Maths. Gotta have the maths, especially if you're going to do algorithms.
  • If you're going to strike out on your own, you're going to have to have an entrepreneur streak and/or business acumen. If you don't strike out on your own, your path to riches are going to be confined to being at the right place at the right time at the right startup with the right people that aren't going to screw you out of your fortune.
  • Along with the business acumen, network always so that the pump is primed for when the well goes dry (or whatever your favorite metaphor is).
  • If you work for a big company or the government, be ready to work on antiquated hardware and old versions of software because they don't want to upgrade. It's cheaper in their eyes to have you work longer, since you're exempt, than to pay for a new machine or new software.
  • Beware working for a small company that will never go public or doesn't give you equity. They'll overwork you, underpay you, and dangle big promotions for when they get bigger. Which they won't; or they'll give the good stuff to the outsider buddy of the C*O they just hired.

No, I'm not bitter.


Comment Still have mine (Score 1) 81

I still have mine sitting in an extra bedroom. Turn it on once every 5 years or so just to make sure that it's still running.

Ran WordStar and SuperCalc, and managed to get DBase II for it. Program disk in the left, data disk in the right. When it hit 10 years old it started munching diskette directories on writes infrequently, rendering them unusable. Have the 300 baud modem, too, which I used to connect to the university mainframe during undergrad. Uploading programs sometimes took a half-hour or more (and couldn't do anything else on it in the meantime). Was envious of my Kaypro-lugging buddies with their bigger screens until I got the 80-column mod which would output to a separate monochrome monitor.

Was totally adequate at the time, but started pining for that newfangled Apple Macintosh thingy when that came out.

Why I keep it, I have no idea.


Comment Upgrade for Linux users (Score 1) 307

Not horribly obvious is how to update for Linux users. You have to go to the blog to see that instead of downloading the .dropbox-dist update, you just need to:

  1. Open a terminal.
  2. $ dropbox stop
  3. $ dropbox status # Should report "not running"
  4. $ rm -r ~/.dropbox-dist/
  5. $ dropbox start -i

Easy as pie. Don't have to be root either. Assumes you've already installed a previous version (with nautilus integration for Gnome, etc., etc.).


Comment Re:Umm (Score 1) 503

I own a Sony PRS-505...

Yah, but this is from the company that installed the rootkit on your computer.

BTW, what's the statute of limitations on bonehead behavior? So far I'm boycotting these companies:

  • Sony: for the rootkit it installed when you put their CDs in your computer [2005]
  • Belkin: for their router redirecting you to ads for their parental control system [2003]
  • Burger King: for their obnoxious ads [ongoing since the 70s]


Comment It's just business, m'boy! (Score 2, Interesting) 476

Excepting that this is Microsoft, there's really nothing new to see here. A contract is a contract, no matter whether if it's with a 500 pound gorilla or with Guido from downtown (though the similarity is striking).

I had a relative that owned a wholesale food delivery service. Business was good, though the profit margin was small. During a small downturn in the economy back in the early 70s he had a couple restaurants declare bankruptcy on him. Unfortunately they were a couple of his biggest customers, and left him with pretty big bills. Well, guess what? He still had to pay his supplier, and that small fact finally drove him under (which would have happened anyway with the advent of Sysco, but that's a story for another day).

I guess the reasons we're complaining are that:

  • It's Microsoft
  • It's software

Granted, I like to get in on a little Microsoft-bashing myself, but I think that here they have them by rights. A little compassion would be nice, but perhaps they can appeal to the Gates Foundation for some of that.



Why TV Lost 576

theodp writes "Over the past 20 years, there's been much speculation about what the convergence of computers and TV would ultimately look like. Paul Graham says that we now know the answer: computers. 'Convergence' is turning out to essentially be 'replacement.' Why did TV lose? Graham identifies four forces: 1. The Internet's open platform fosters innovation at hacker speeds instead of big company speeds. 2. Moore's Law worked its magic on Internet bandwidth. 3. Piracy taught a new generation of users it's more convenient to watch shows on a computer screen. 4. Social applications made everybody from grandmas to 14-year-old girls want computers — in a three-word-nutshell, Facebook killed TV."

US Cybersecurity Chief Beckstrom Resigns 117

nodialtone writes with a Reuters report that Rod Beckstrom, director of the National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC), has tendered his resignation, citing clashes between the NCSC and the NSA with regard to who handles the nation's online security efforts. In his resignation letter (PDF), he made the point that "The intelligence culture is very different than a network operations or security culture," and said he wasn't willing to "subjugate the NCSC underneath the NSA." He also complained of budget roadblocks which kept the NCSC from receiving more than five weeks of funding in the past year. Wired has a related story from late February which discusses comments from Admiral Dennis Blair, director of National Intelligence, who thinks cyber security should be the NSA's job to begin with.

Obama To Reverse Bush Limits On Stem Cell Work 508

An anonymous reader sends this quote from the Associated Press: "Reversing an eight-year-old limit on potentially life-saving science, President Barack Obama plans to lift restrictions Monday on taxpayer-funded research using embryonic stem cells. ... Under President George W. Bush, taxpayer money for that research was limited to a small number of stem cell lines that were created before Aug. 9, 2001, lines that in many cases had some drawbacks that limited their potential usability. But hundreds more of such lines — groups of cells that can continue to propagate in lab dishes — have been created since then, ones that scientists say are healthier, better suited to creating treatments for people rather than doing basic laboratory science. Work didn't stop. Indeed, it advanced enough that this summer, the private Geron Corp. will begin the world's first study of a treatment using human embryonic stem cells, in people who recently suffered a spinal cord injury. Nor does Obama's change fund creation of new lines. But it means that scientists who until now have had to rely on private donations to work with these newer stem cell lines can apply for government money for the research, just like they do for studies of gene therapy or other treatment approaches."

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