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Comment Re:As a 40 something programmer recently interview (Score 1) 379

I can say the difference between now and the last time I had to do this (~12 years) is stark.

Seriously...if I have to take another test checking my ability to O(N) a problem, I'm gonna scream. I've been living in ginormous game engines for 6 years, and the amount of times I've had to, in the span of a timed half an hour, optimize a routine to make sure it was running in the optimal time has

I'm sure it comes up, and I'm sure it's useful, but this all reminds me of the older assembly guys who used to put in all kinds of wonky tricks that eventually got optimized out by the compiler. Bubblesort has been solved. If your company has to implement it again, you're doing it wrong. There's a routine lying around somewhere in the company. Really.

I don't know what the solution is for evaluating tech talent, but this doesn't seem like it.

Also, web guys...if you're really concerned about speed, maybe you should consider writing some of this code in a lower level language. Plus, if your ad server takes 5-10 seconds to respond, then all of your optimization is for nothing anyway. But hey, you got the O(log N) solution. Bully for you.

Too many people looking for too few jobs. As a 50 something programmer I am now, shall we say, "semiretired". My last interview was a humiliating kick in the crotch. O(N)? Yeah, that and more. The kids need to wake up an (*gasp*, dare I say it?) unionize before they get "rightsized" out of the biz.

Comment Re:Marketing (Score 1) 308

The PS3 controller takes a lot of getting used to. I think I come from the same generation you do (Doom. Oh yeah. Played that sucker on a projection TV. The Imps were life size!), and I'm part of that Keyboard/Mouse/Joystick demographic that finds modern console "controllers" to be less than satisfactory.

So don't shout at 'em to get off your lawn. Just challenge them to an Unreal Tournament deathmatch on the PS3. You get to use your keyboard and mouse...

Comment Re:Stay Put (Score 3, Funny) 772

Heh. Don't worry about me. I'm actually in O.K. shape, thanks to contributing to an (>>>ROTH) IRA when I could. The point here is, follow your bliss when you're young, then screw your ass down and prostitute yourself when your old because teh Conservatiods want to give all your tax dollar to Haliburton and all your social security to Wall Street (did you forget that little maneuver during the Bush Years) and you can go live under an expressway ramp when you're 70. Unless that virus that only kills liberals and people over 60 finally gets approved (KIDDING! KIDDING!).

Bitter? Me? Nah. I'm just a cranky old man...

Comment Stay Put (Score 5, Insightful) 772

I'm 55, a programmer, and I've been out of work for two years. I've had plenty of interviews, but no job offers. Here's my take on all of this: I'm too old to be a programmer. I'll put my "management hat" on and tell you why:

1. I'm old. One 5 hour energy drink revvs up your basic 20 year old code monkey all day. I need a saline drip with caffeine in it all day to keep going.
2. I'm expensive. I have 30 years of experience in the 'biz and a masters degree in CS. I'm not cheap. You could hire two 25 year olds for what I'm asking.
3. (and what I consider to be my greatest failing in the corporate world) I've seen all the tricks. I've been exposed to every nasty little mindgame management has at it's disposal. And sometimes I have the bad manners to call people on it. This is called "having a bad attitude".

So when I compete against 20-somethings in the worst economy since 1929 (I hesitate to say the worst economy ever), I lose. I should have made the leap to management when I had the chance, not because I would have loved management (I would have had to manage assholes like me, after all ;), but because at 40 you have TWENTY YEARS LEFT. The years go by really, really fast. You should really start thinking about a soft place to land when you're 60 now, because if you aren't in line to be a VP or a Director you ain't gonna make it at this point.

The suggestion to "Follow Your Bliss" only works in an economy that's not run by sociopaths. Hell, it only works in a country that's not run by sociopaths. Strike one strike two. Tighten your belt, put as much money away as you can, and make sure you keep your health up. Because the era of "company loyalty" is over, COBRA for a family costs as much as your mortgage, and finding a new job is going to be a real challenge.

Other than that, have a nice day! :D


Tech's Dark Secret, It's All About Age 602

theodp writes "Universities really should tell engineering students what to expect in the long term and how to manage their technical careers. Citing ex-Microsoft CTO David Vaskevitch's belief that younger workers have more energy and are sometimes more creative, Wadwha warns that reports of ageism's death have been greatly exaggerated. While encouraging managers to consider the value of the experience older techies bring, Wadwha also offers some get-real advice to those whose hair is beginning to grey: 1) Move up the ladder into management, architecture, or design; switch to sales or product management; jump ship and become an entrepreneur. 2) If you're going to stay in programming, realize that the deck is stacked against you, so be prepared to earn less as you gain experience. 3) Keep your skills current — to be coding for a living when you're 50, you'll need to be able to out-code the new kids on the block. Wadwha's piece strikes a chord with 50-something Dave Winer, who calls the rampant ageism 'really f***ed up,' adding that, 'It's probably the reason why we keep going around in the same loops over and over, because we chuck our experience, wholesale, every ten years or so.'"

Giant Guatemalan 'Sinkhole' Is Worse Than We Thought 357

reillymj writes "Despite hundreds of media reports to the contrary, Sam Bonis, a geologist whose life work has been studying Guatemalan geology, has plainly said that the dramatic 'sinkhole' in Guatemala City that opened over the weekend isn't a sinkhole at all. Instead, he called it a 'piping feature' and warned that because the country's capital city sits on a pile of loose volcanic ash, the over one million people living on top of the pile are in danger. 'I'd hate to have to be in the government right now,' Bonis, who worked for the Guatemalan government's Instituto Geografico Nacional for 16 years, said. 'There is an excellent potential for this to happen again. It could happen almost anywhere in the city.'"

Conservative Textbook Curriculum Passes Final Vote In Texas 895

suraj.sun sends in a followup to a story we've been following about the Texas Board of Education's efforts to put a more political spin on some of their state's textbooks. From the Dallas Morning News: "In a landmark move that will shape the future education of millions of Texas schoolchildren, the State Board of Education on Friday approved new curriculum standards for US history and other social studies courses that reflect a more conservative tone than in the past. Split along party lines, the board delivered a pair of 9-5 votes to adopt the new standards, which will dictate what is taught in all Texas schools and provide the basis for future textbooks and student achievement tests over the next decade. Texas standards often wind up being taught in other states because national publishers typically tailor their materials to Texas, one of the biggest textbook purchasers in the country. Approval came after the GOP-dominated board approved a new curriculum standard that would encourage high school students to question the legal doctrine of church-state separation — a sore point for social conservative groups who disagree with court decisions that have affirmed the doctrine, including the ban on school-sponsored prayer."

15-Year-Old Student Discovers New Pulsar 103

For the second time in as many years, a student has made a discovery while participating in the Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC), a joint program between the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and West Virginia University designed to get students and teachers involved in analyzing data from the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT). This time it was high school sophomore Shay Bloxton, who discovered a brand new pulsar. "For Bloxton, the pulsar discovery may be only her first in a scientific career. 'Participating in the PSC has definitely encouraged me to pursue my dream of being an astrophysicist,' she said, adding that she hopes to attend West Virginia University to study astrophysics. Late last year, another West Virginia student, from South Harrison High School, Lucas Bolyard, discovered a pulsar-like object called a rotating radio transient. His discovery also came through participation in the PSC."

Judge Lowers Jammie Thomas' Damages to $54,000 390

An anonymous reader writes "Judge Michael Davis has slashed the amount Jammie Thomas-Rassett is said to owe Big Music from almost $2,000,000 to $54,000. 'The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music. Moreover, although Plaintiffs were not required to prove their actual damages, statutory damages must still bear some relation to actual damages.' The full decision (PDF) is also available."

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