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Comment Re:There is no such thing as working at home witho (Score 3, Insightful) 230


I've got no kids home, here. I can tune out the pets. The TV is too hard for the other to figure out, so it's off. I skip personal calls, if I don't have the time.

I will peek at my weather radar from time to time. (I can still peek when I'm in the office on lessor applications.)

Food? Don't have time to eat during the day.

Exercise? Guilty there. I'll keep the cordless on mute and jog around the yard on conference calls that last 10 times longer than they should. (At least I get the exercise.)

In the Office:

My iPod is broken, and the chatter boggles my mind when trying to code (when I'm awake). While I do have a parrot for a pet, he's less of an issue on conference calls.

Since they killed off telecommuting 3 days a week, the 180 mile commute leaves me "dead but dreaming" for the better part of the morning into the afternoon. (Not enough hours in the day, and going through heavy city traffic).

Tiny laptop monitor, vs. self purchased dual screen. Painful chair, vs. ergonomic (purchased). No mouse / trackball / keyboard, but for said company laptop. Bootup time is 1-2 hours, where I can leave it on, working from home.

Yes, working from home is better for some.


Comment Wish I Could Have It Back (Score 1) 230

Where I work, we've got a reactionary CIO who still believes that gas is $0.92 a gallon. (He also throws "cloud computing" under the bus, among other things.)

Really though, I had been graded top of my class for two years running. June 3rd, 2011 came as quite a surprise when many others, including myself, were told they had to either commute or leave the company. At first, they offered severance. Then this option was taken away. (More complicated, but I'll keep this short.)

Now we've got folks upside down on mortgages driving 180+ miles a day with gas fast moving towards $5 / gallon. (On cars that will be more than upside down.) Can't sell the house to move closer, and nor is there work available locally. I understand a manager in Iowa--at his own expense--takes a plane to Colorado, and rents a hotel room for the two days he's required to be present, then flies back. (Our executive was the hard-line, he requires three days in office.)

The touted benefits of "social interaction" are altogether missing, as most of the folks in a globalized company are remotely connected anyways. The forced relocations should have been to Chennai, India and not the office 90 miles away. Even our department is scattered throughout 7 states.

So: Any hints on where to find telecommuting friendly employers? Most of what I see online are either scams or auctions where the "employer" takes the lowest bidder. You spend more time looking for work--on very short term "contracts"--then making a steady income. I'm on Dice, but nothing is telecommute and minimum travel is 180 miles a day, if I'm lucky.

Thanks and take care...


Comment 360 Degree Radar View (or Equiv) (Score 1) 652

In today's driving extremism, it would be nice to have a 360 view around your car for lane changes and awareness.

Some vehicles already have "blind spot monitors", which check 90-170 deg, relative bearing, and 190-270 deg, likewise. Others have "adaptive cruise control" and "collision moderation", using radar to check relative velocity of the vehicle ahead. These don't always exist in combination. Some are range sensing devices, and some doppler. Here's my wish list:

I'd like a good resolution 360 scan, with dopper capacity, like todays weather radars...

1) See a 360 view: I know limitations exist: "first reach targets" would conceal targets behind. Example: You're left lane, passing a truck in the middle lane, and have a hot-head passing the truck in the right lane. 360 radar won't see this, if the truck echo masks the passing car in the right lane. But it would assist in quick lane changes, in tight quarters, if used intelligently.

2) See the "burner" behind you: This would be the stray motorbike or car driving 150 mi/hr, where you thought the lane was clear. Doppler would highlight that and flag a warning. This should extend a km or so to alert, independent of range setting.

3) See what you are about to hit: Some car nav systems do this already. In a more general sense it should be heading/steering aware with a narrow beam spotting stopped or slow traffic directly ahead. It needs to be smart enough to avoid reflectivity from signs, trees, etc. on the side, based on vehicle velocity and rate of turn.

4) If "2" or "3" exist, hang up the cellphone and yell at you with a prerecorded message from Chef Gordan Ramsay: "Drive, and don't talk, you donkey!"

That would work for me. The nearest developing tech, for marine use, is Simard BR-24 4G, with 2.5 deg scan width in X-Band (9.41 GHz) at just 167mW. (Most marine radars are 4KW, and will burn your glasses off if sitting too close.) FCC requirements has vehicle radar running at a higher band and even lower power. Have to wait and see if someone get's the niche. (Wish I had the resources).


Comment Randomization Between Accounts (Score 1) 339

I use a separate random user/password for each online account. If I post comments to "" (example), and the uid/password gets compromised, there's little to worry about. It cannot be used to access my bank account or other resources. Invalidate the compromised account, and damage will be very limited.

Comment ...And Exactly What It Gets Us (Score 2) 1167

At my company, even the existing "non-overtime / exempt" allows the employer to put forth such abuse to IT employees that there were 4 recorded suicides out of the same building in a year. Oh... and that was when they treated their employees "better".

When you have a situation where an employer can ask for any number of hours as a condition of employment, it is ripe for abuse. It prolongs the buffer zone in which they can lay off IT workers, and pile the work on so 12-16 hour days are not uncommon. Meanwhile the folks left deal with the stress of the workload, no personal time for non work related responsibilities, and the constant nag in the back of their mind: "I'm I next to get the pink slip?" At a minimum, I know of several folks--including myself--developing stress related illness. Some of this is non-recoverable and will take years off your life.

My recommendation is to send the legislation straight to /dev/null, throw these buggers out at the next election, and push for actual improvements in working conditions. (Obviously things will have to be sequenced carefully to avoid an even stronger corporate rush to off-shore more IT work.)


Change (n) - The actualization of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

Comment In IT and Why I Hate It. (Score 1) 960

Quite a few reasons I'm not a fan of IT, though I work there:

1. The jobs where you get to be creative no longer exist*. I started as an application developer / coder and thoroughly enjoyed it. (Though the boredom did set in as 2k of the 3k source code modules were strictly profit reports.)

*Unless you have a Ph.D. in computer science AND 35+ years experience in technologies that were only out for 2 years.

2. Where I am currently, IT is cannon fodder for every reduction. (This has been going on 2-4 times a year for the last 12 years.) Given the constant increase in additional responsibilities, hours are often unpleasant. They can get away with it, thanks to a loophole that allows abuse of "exempt" employees on overtime pay: If you are in IT they can ask you to work 24 hours a day as a condition of your employment, no overtime.

3. While I'm a "knowledge worker" in a "specialized field", I spend 90% of my time fighting the "cookie cutter" workstation image which breaks my development and security related tools. (Never mind the hour and a half reboots, corrupted file systems, occasional A/V scans in the middle of the day, failed automated installs and other periodic checks that make the machine unusable for at least 2 additional hours of the day.)

Had I seen all this coming, I would have left programming as a hobby and found some other way to make a living.


Change (n) - The actualization of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

Comment Re:I'll use the equinox for official stuff, but... (Score 1) 454

I LOVE that! I should have registered that domain name when climate change started killing Florida weather. I always handled the mid-range forecasts better, IMO. I would have published my numbers and verification.

My big gripe is I like the ultimate hot in beach weather. We kind of have two seasons here if you're a warm water person: in (3-5 months) and out (7-9 months).

Take care...

Comment Re:Mandatory IBM Model M zealous fanatism in 3, 2, (Score 1) 362

That is very much me. The IBM Model-M is the only keyboard that lasts me more than a couple weeks. Back in the mid 90's, my IT dept was a little frustrated as I'd finish off the stock Dell and newer IBM keyboards in as little as 2 weeks. They finally found an old "M" and told me if I broke that one, there is no hope. When they talk about pounding code? Yes. Literally.

Take care...

Comment Re:Typing and Morse code (Score 1) 362

I agree: If you have to switch between keyboard and mouse frequently, it really does slow things down. For the sake of usability, I've always coded applications to fully support keyboard navigation and shortcuts. Poor application design often does have me turning a bit purple when I'm trying to get work done.

Having picked up on UNIX several years back, I also think that it's best practice to create command-line interface in addition to a GUI where practical. In my line of work, automation through shell scripts means getting the job done.

My learning started on the old Commodore computers, where I managed 80WPM on a modified hunt & peck. Later, I did take touch typing and was glad for it. (It makes it easy to spot mistakes as you type.) School had a range of equipment from the old mechanicals to IBM Selectrics and even newer models.

I know that the tablets and smartphones do require alternate methods. In my experience, the best one I've had was the palm Treo. With the touch screens it's a last resort to actually send information out on a smart phone. I still need my full sized keyboard.

Take care...

Comment And We--as a Public--Have a Right to Evidense (Score 1) 1123

I've heard of cases where people were charged for taping their arrests or interactions with police. I'd say if an officer compels an individual to not record the proceedings, the officer should be charged with obstruction of justice. The recording may have information pertinent should the case end up in court.

Comment Re:Environmentalism (Score 1) 593

Agreed: It is the estuaries and salt marshes. It's the coastlines that have the greatest biodiversity, and therefore the most activity. Most of the open ocean is quiet, when it comes to sea life. The shallow areas got the vegetation, the sunlight, etc. Sea grass cannot grow below a certain depth. It's these shallow muddy areas that fish thrive in, leave eggs, and birds feed. The water is warmer, and the sea grass beds are food for Manatees, as well as providing shallow warm areas to swim in.

What I saw in LA state made me and a buddy sick. I'd say 10 days, and it's here where I live.

I'll help with cleanup, but no more swimming, and time to sell everything off and immigrate to Australia.

Comment Re:This is horse shit (Score 1) 593

My taking is--if the emergency response equipment is not available--drilling should never have started. And, wow, I thought the Exxon Veldez was scary. Exxon was a one shot event. This gross misconduct is still going on, this very minute.

Some theorize the flow rate is even up to 4M gal/day. Recalling the Exxon Veldez, it was a one time shot of 10.8M petrol. This fiasco has been going on for > 30 days.

I really like the second paragraph, though I don't think it would adequately plug it. Maybe a layer of concrete--then toss them in--and more concrete.

Comment Mitigation? (Score 1) 593

Thirty-thousand horsepower pumps with high pressure drilling "mud", injected into the system, backwards. That is a lot of pressure feeding into ruptured pipes, which they think may be holding back the maximum flow. Could it make it worse? I'd say the possibility exists. It's an unknown.

As I understand it, the system failed on the well sealing process, when a cost savings measure was introduced: Replacement of the drilling "mud"--in the upper third of the column--with water to speed production. (It seems to me that "savings" were the whole idea behind the projects, at the expense of something you cannot put a price tag on.)

I'd say their "mud shot" will be met with failure, as well: Now you are resisting a high pressure flow on a source thousands of feet below the sea floor that has momentum.

Yet, BP has resisted scientific involvement, and even threatened reporters attempting to document the spill with arrest.

BP says there is no way to measure the flow, and that is a lie. We've had doppler radar since 1988, and I know doppler sonar would work; you can hear the difference in engine noise as they drive past. Doctors use the same tech to monitor cardiac conditions non-invasively. Yet they are not allowed in.

I'd say that the failure to release information should fall under Obstruction of Justice. Though I am certainly hoping that the courts are working hard to make an example out of these donkeys.

Comment Re:Nuke it. (Score 1) 334

I've thought of it, myself. Though we do have some non-nuclear options, especially if they are designed in such a shaped charge as to not make a crater, but create an intense shear in the horizontal plane. It would need to be thick enough to bury the pipe and stop the leak. A spherical shock-wave would probably only make things worse.

Our GBU-43/B has quite a punch at > 22k lbs material.

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