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Comment Re:So how did it save them? (Score 4, Funny) 51

There was a man flying in a balloon. It was a beautiful day, but the wind came up and blew the balloon off course, and soon the man was hopelessly lost. Eventually, he let some of the air out of the balloon, and drifted down until he was floating low over a field, where he saw another man walking his dog.

The man in the balloon called to the man in the field and said, "Hello! Can you tell me where I am?"

The man in the field said, "You're in a balloon, floating about 40 feet above a field."

"You must be a developer," said the man in the balloon.

"Yes, I am. How did you know?" said the man in the field.

"Because what you've told me is technically accurate, but it's of no use whatsoever," said the man in the balloon.

"You must be a manager," said the main in the field.

"Yes, I am. How did you know?" said the man in the balloon.

"Because you don't know where you are, you don't know how you got here, and you don't know how to get out of the situation you're in, but somehow it's my fault," said the man in the field.

Comment 2 things: CYA and Profit (Score 1) 583

Two things never to forget:
1. CYA: Cover Your A$$ - always make sure that you have documentation to back up what you say happened in the course of a given project. If it isn't documented, it didn't happen. Always get written acknowledgement from all parties involved in any kind of agreement (email is fine).
2. Companies are in business to make a profit. Everything a company does is for this purpose. Even when companies treat employees well, it's only to increase profits. The executives who run the show would lay you off tomorrow if they thought they could do so and improve their bottom line, and they'd lose not a wink of sleep.

Comment the latest in a fine tradition of programming game (Score 2) 164

I will definitely get this for my kids, especially since we are Dr. Who fans. I have great memories of playing Robot Odyssey, which had logic gates that you could "solder" together. Later on, I played RoboSport by Maxis, which wasn't as sophisticated but was still fun. Any others that people out there remember?

Comment Re:Yes, studying humanities can be helpful (Score 1) 264

No, a degree in English literature will not help you find a job

I got my English major in 1988. I've been employed continuously since then, with the exception of a few months during the bursting of the tech bubble. I did not obtain a second degree (however, I have accumulated a fair amount of work experience over the last 26 years).

Comment How to Win Friends and Influence People (Score 1) 218

The title of this post could be interpreted as sarcastic, but it is totally possible to improve your people skills, especially if you think that's where your problem is. Early on, I considered myself a total socially awkward introvert, but turned that around by reading books like this and working on my social skills. Sounds corny, but it works. Classic advice, good book:

The Awful Anti-Pirate System That Will Probably Work 1027

spidweb writes "Much virtual ink has been spilled over Ubisoft's new, harsh DRM system for Assassin's Creed 2. You must have a constant internet connection, and, if your connection breaks, the game exits. While this has angered many (and justifiably so), most writers on the topic have made an error. They think that this system, like all DRM systems in the past, will be easily broken. This article explains why, as dreadful as the system is, it does have a chance of holding hackers off long enough for the game to make its money. As such it is, if nothing else, a fascinating experiment. From the article: 'Assassin's Creed 2 is different in a key way. Remember, all of its code for saving and loading games (a significant feature, I'm sure you would agree) is tied into logging into a distant server and sending data back and forth. This vital and complex bit of code has been written from the ground up to require having the saved games live on a machine far away, with said machine being programmed to accept, save, and return the game data. This is a far more difficult problem for a hacker to circumvent.'"

Submission + - Aging telecommunications network

Jake Platt writes: I am a network consultant working on Long Island, NY and help support about a dozen small to mid-size companies mainly located in a huge industrial park originally built in the 1950's. In the past 60 days, the Verizon data and voice networks have experienced huge spikes in failures, as many as, 2 — 3 local loop/central office equipment and line failures per week for each of my clients!!! Verizon has been taking 2-3 days to respond, effectively leaving these companies in the dark (no internet, no email, no voice). I've never seen anything like this. Privately, the Verizon tech support guys have told me that the copper lines in the ground are so old that they are letting the system go into decline and do not want to spend any $$$ to improve it until they have no choice. Are parts of the US telecommunications network reaching its age limit? Jake Platt Long Island, NY

Submission + - Best "Plan B" career - IT, programming, or

An anonymous reader writes: What would be the best field (and sub field) for a 38 year old to start studying (both self-study and a few classes) in his spare time as a back-up plan in case of a forced or voluntary career change? Which of these types of employment opportunities would have the least problems with hiring a 40-year-old "entry level" candidate. Which has the best starting salaries, and which have the higher salary caps?

Now that I have children, I'm more concerned about long-term job security as well as the size of my salary. I just recently made a push and finished up a bachelor's degree in physics. I went with physics because that was what I started with 20 years ago and would be the quickest to complete, and a science degree is good to have in my current career in the environmental testing lab industry. I kind of got stuck in the testing lab industry when I dropped out of college for financial reasons, but I never intended to make it into a career. I just kept getting pulled back in.

In my current career my salary is probably pretty well capped at $60K, even as a supervisor and technical expert, and the number of positions available dwindle every year. I hear about people in IT and software development getting starting salaries of $50K right out of college, and there always seems to be jobs available. I do have an aptitude for computers and programming, but most of my knowledge and experience is pretty basic and out of date (I haven't done much object oriented programming, for example).

Submission + - Protecting your eyesight in tech

trainsnpep writes: "I'm a sophomore undergrad CS major. I'm also lucky enough to have better-than-average eyesight. Now how do I keep the two? I've heard from various anecdotal sources that staring at a monitor too long is bad for your eyes, but I don't recall ever seeing an actual scientific study on it. How long is it safe to work before I should take an eye break, and how long should the break be? Do you know of any way to ease the supposed strain on my sight? Is it even an issue?"

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