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Comment Re:I don't do business with lowlife scum (Score -1, Flamebait) 687

Think about WHO is posting the post before modding down on an opinion you don't share. How many posts have I made? Look at my low user ID, I've been here for longer than some of you have been alive. I don't troll /. nor do I post deliberately inflammatory comments.

So if you are the moron that clicked Flamebait moderation on my post, I expect you to be a lonely virgin living in the basement with your mum. Now, that's flamebait. I wouldn't normally post that, but I am literally white hot angry with whomever did it because you, sir, are a misogynist and should be ashamed of yourself.

If you have a daughter, I expect you'll want her to be a geekgrrl. If you want that outcome, you will join me in boycotting booth babes. There's few enough women in IT today without ugly impediments such booth babes.

I am deadly earnest in how I've acted for the last decade or more. I have directed at least a million dollars in direct recommendations away from vendors that have used booth babes. I will continue to do this.

It is our industry's shame that it thinks that this is in any way acceptable.

Comment I don't do business with lowlife scum (Score 2, Insightful) 687

I usually avoid the booths in question, but if I have a specific need to find something out, I ignore the booth babe as they know nothing about the products or services.

I feel terrible for the women as they could easily be in our industry if they wanted, but instead all they do day in day out is be leered at by men who should know better. Why would they enter our industry if their only experience of it is to be objectified?

I don't do business with any firm that thinks so lowly of women in our industry. I make it absolutely clear to vendors that I do not buy from them if they have booth babes at conferences I attend. I will also strongly recommend against them to my clients. I am not the only one who does this.

It's 2012, not 1962. It's time to grow up.

Comment Working from home is best (Score 1) 484

I have several co-workers, some who work in an semi-open plan office (essentially a bench against a wall with a few tiny airless offices that no one uses), and three remote home workers, including myself.

Without a doubt, the amount of usefulhigh quality work that the remote workers pull off is amazing. The boss noticed, and got two of the guys to do a time and motion study using a 5 minute interval to record what they were working on. The office guys struggle to do 90 minutes a day in billable work, and their work suffers for it. I can easily put in an eight hour day, and produce higher quality work than my on-site co-workers can in a week. Sometimes I trade this for a /. session, but most of the time I do high quality work.

For collaboration, we use Skype.

There are downsides. I get cabin fever regularly. I am somewhat distant to many of my friends, and not seeing them is a hassle. My boss doesn't see my efforts, and thus I tend to get more work than many of co-workers, primarily because I can deliver. Family time often disturb me, even though I've made it perfectly clear that if I was working in an office, I couldn't run down the shops or look after baby girl for an hour or so. This leads to working after hours to catch up occasionally. I'm still to work out this issue despite coming up on two years of working from home.

If you decide to abandon the cubicle rat race, here's my tips:

* Your home office has to be away from distractions. You're not going to win if you're in front of folks watching Dr Phil. I have a separate office with about 200 square feet of space.
* Your own music all the time at whatever volume you want is the birth right of the home worker. Get a good amp and speakers and crank it up baby!
* Communicate at least a few times every day with your boss. No surprises is the best policy. They buy in to your work and deliverable rather than demanding results and wondering where they are.
* Set up your home office properly. Sitting at a kitchen table or coffee shop sounds nice until you've been hunched over your laptop for three hours on a crappy chair.
* Get a big ass monitor even if you have a 17" laptop screen. Your eyes will thank you. Ditto high quality external keyboard and mouse.
* I bought a fax / printer. Waste of money. Do not want.
* Reliable communications is all. Have a backup plan such as a 3G dongle in case your primary net access goes down.

I think I'm broken of the cubicle habit now. It's going to be tricky to stay home for the next 25 years of my working life, but I want to do so. Cubicle life - good riddance.

Comment Prior Art - Acorn Archimedes (Score 2, Interesting) 293

The Acorn Archimedes, circa 1984, had a image animation demo in the default software package which had a rendered page turning effect similar to the one described.

The ARM chip was the only processor in a desktop machine at the time powerful enough to do this by CPU alone. It would be years before an Intel chip would be powerful enough to do the same thing.

Comment OWASP Application Security Verification Standard (Score 1) 105

Use the OWASP Application Verification Standard - this gives you an insight to the controls you need to work on first. A game should be at Level 2B.

Don't worry about the language snobs - ANY language and ANY framework can be secured as long as you do the right thing in terms of design. Where you can go wrong is trusting untrustable data - such as that obtained from the browser without first canonicalizing, validating and ensuring that it meets business logic requirements (such as not being able to pass through walls, or avoiding object collision algorithms, asset or stat manipulation, or score manipulation. The client is completely untrustworthy, and you should be writing your code with that in mind 100% of the time.

I lean towards publishing the code. The only secrets you really need to protect are master authentication tokens in (say) config.php and authorization tokens in flight. So don't publish the master config.php secrets in SVN or similar, but everything else should be completely open.

Comment Re:Financials (Score 1) 1003

Google does not use Microsoft Money to manage a multi-national. It would have to be a major ERP package.

There's two major ERP players out there - and SAP or Oracle Financials are the most likely candidates.

These run on pretty much every server OS out there, including Linux and Windows. Most of the ERPs have web based front ends as well as traditional thick clients. In some cases, the click clients would be Java based, so in theory run on Linux or MacOS X.

However, given that it's Google, wouldn't be surprised if they wrote their own.

Comment Re:A couple of things (Score 1) 117

Every state has its own Electoral Commission. ECs are a retirement grounds for out to pasture politicians who want / still need a salary - but not much work - and very hard working and independent minded public servants. I was fascinated by the process that creates new electoral boundaries and trust it a lot more now.

The AEC and the state ECs compete to run the local council elections. Local councils run elections not for democracy (for which most don't care about), but instead as a method of making quite a lot money, as most folks don't bother to vote and thus get a fine. There is precisely one correct answer to getting out of the fine, but don't use it too often as you won't be believed on your second or third attempt.

The computers are in the back room. Trust me, there's lots of machinery counting your votes. They count about 90-95% of the votes electronically by OCR as a first pass. Some of these batches are also counted manually to make sure that the machines are working properly, but the majority of votes are electronically read. If you scrawl or otherwise waste your vote, it'll be scrunintized by hand and entered manually by temp staff working for a DRO. This is about 2% of all votes.

Don't write offensive crap on your ballot as the community-minded volunteers counting the votes don't work for the parties (in fact, they're not even allowed to be party members) and they are doing it for not much money or no money at all. They've seen it all before.

If a ward / seat vote is close enough to warrant a recount, party goons will watch temp staff re-count the votes by hand. If there's a discrepancy from the machine count, it might be counted again, but this is really rare. Most electorates and wards vote strongly for one party, so they rarely get counted by hand on the night.

If you vote below the line in senate elections (and it sounds like you do), good - you've wasted your vote. Such votes are not germaine to figuring out who the last seat goes to in a Federal election, and thus your vote is simply wasted. If you really want to make your vote count, vote above the line in a party grouping. But be aware that most of the single issue parties, like the Gun Nut party are fronts for (and paid for) by the majors. Your vote will end up in their hands based upon the two party preferred system.

The good news is that our voting system is voter verifiable, has a strong paper trail, and difficult to tamper with. That's why I like it - it's a mix of old and new.

Comment Get off my lawn! (Score 4, Interesting) 117

Converting to Linux for voting machines is a big shift from the VEC of old. Color me impressed.

I remember many years ago (1998-1999) working at the VEC. I was a system admin in my first security consultant job.

DEC/Microsoft was helping the VEC create a Microsoft-only COM+ based voting system called EMS 2000. Previously, it had taken 3+ months to organize an election, despite laws allowing the Premier to call an election within a month at any time. So they had to be prepared a long way out, which was costly. EMS 2000 was essentially a way to roll out an election within three weeks. I believe it was used in at least a few elections. I wouldn't be surprised if EMS 2000 has been maintained and is still in use - it was a lot of $$$$$$ to spend on a project.

EMS 2000 used every single part of the Microsoft stack. One thing I remember was how slowly Outlook 98 opened when it had 4000 tasks. EMS 2000 created Outlook tasks using COM+ custom queuing components over very slow modem and ISDN lines to all parts of the state. Surprisingly, this was still better than the previous system, which was primarily a manual system.

It was a full MS stack with basically every single possible MS product at the time (NT, COM+, Exchange, SQL, queuing components using pre-release NT 5.0 / Win2K, and lots of custom VB code), it hung together well and ran fairly reliably considering the shaky comms at the time.

Comment Remember - it's the Government, not Australians (Score 3, Interesting) 200

This is an EPIC FAIL.

Australia has led technology trends and adoption for so long, and the Government is prepared to kill it and our children's future for a single lousy vote of a Senator who has the support of exactly no one.

The Government is terribly misguided on this one. Conroy might be pushing this as a wedge policy, he might be doing it for Fielding's support, but this issue alone will lose the ALP the next election, as well as many for years to come.

All of Gen i, Y and X will remember this and vote accordingly for years to come. The ALP will be in the wilderness for many elections, and struggle to form a strong government in their own right without doing the independent / Greens coalition tango that is working soooo well for them right now.

Seriously, I could see the Greens take this to the election and coupled with effective climate change policies and no internet censoring, they could become the balance of power for years.

Conroy is Public Enemy #1. He has committed electoral suicide for himself and his Government. I really do think they have no idea exactly how unpopular this policy will be.

In short - how to fight this thing:

* Ring your politicians tomorrow. All of them. Make the phones run hot.
* Write them letters.
* Ask to see them. Talk to them about this issue, and only this issue.
* Write letters to the news sites
* Blog and Twitter and Facebook away.
* Attend rallies. Publish photos and write ups about same.
* Join the EFA.
* Sign up to Get Up if you feel inclined
* Use #nocleanfeed religiously.
* Do not do work for Conroy's department. Resign or transfer if you work there.
* Support ISPs that are against this idea. Leave ISPs that support it or who have no position.

If it becomes law, mass civil disobedience is required. I will be blogging about how to get around the filtering.


Super-Earths Discovered Orbiting Nearby, Sun-Like Star 242

likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."

Students Take Pictures From Space On $150 Budget 215

An anonymous reader writes "Two MIT students have successfully photographed the earth from space on a strikingly low budget of $148. Perhaps more significantly, they managed to accomplish this feat using components available off-the-shelf to the average layperson, opening the door for a new generation of amateur space enthusiasts. The pair plan to launch again soon and hope that their achievements will inspire teachers and students to pursue similar endeavors."
United States

Barack Obama Is One Step Closer To Being President 601

At 3:00 Eastern time on Monday Dec. 15, 538 electors in state capitols across the US cast the votes that actually elected Barack Obama the 44th President. Obama received, unofficially, 365 electoral votes (with 270 needed to win). The exact total will not be official — or Obama officially elected — until Congress certifies the count of electoral votes in a joint session on Jan. 6, 2009. The Electoral College was established in its present form in 1804 by the Twelfth Amendment to the US Constitution. Electors are not required to vote for the candidate who won their state — in fact, 24 states make it a criminal offense to vote otherwise, but no "faithless elector" has ever been charged with a crime. "On 158 occasions, electors have cast their votes for President or Vice President in a manner different from that prescribed by the legislature of the state they represented. Of those, 71 votes were changed because the original candidate died before the elector was able to cast a vote. Two votes were not cast at all when electors chose to abstain from casting their electoral vote for any candidate. The remaining 85 were changed by the elector's personal interest, or perhaps by accident. Usually, the faithless electors act alone. An exception was in 1836 when 23 Virginia electors changed their vote together. ... To date, faithless electors have never changed the otherwise expected outcome of the election."

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