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Submission + - On the job certification training

beerdini writes: There is a debate going on within my IT department about how our continued training offerings compare to others in the industry that I'm hoping other Slashdotters can help to provide comparisons. Currently, if we are implementing a new technology or updated software we will send someone from IT for training to become a specialist, where they go to a formal training as a part of their job where they learn their new skills. Alternatively, for someone pursuing an industry certification they usually take the training on their own time and dime and on passing the certification exam they can submit the exam fee for reimbursement. This is the most common practice that I've seen in the various places that I've worked, but I have one co-worker that insists that it is our company's responsibility to pay for the materials, allow them to study and practice while on the job, and that all attempts to take the test should be paid by the company because it should be a company investment in the employee. So my question to the Slashdot community, what are continued training practices if your organization has them and are there any places that will pay for someone to get an industry certificate and any rules that may be associated with it.

Comment Internet TV (Score 1) 447

I've been a DirecTV customer for over a decade and this past year I finally purchased an HDTV that has apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime, and most recently Hulu Plus. Since I upgraded my receivers to DVR in the last year I have a little over a year now to my contract to try to figure out if I can get an antenna working for my locals, and seriously consider dropping satellite in favor of the 3 services.

I haven't had a problem with Netflix's policies lately, I was a streaming only customer anyway. I'll just be mindful of any price increases. I originally got Prime for the 2 day shipping, so the content plan there is just a bonus, and it is convenient as a substitute for rentals if I really want to see something new. I haven't tried Hulu yet, but have looked at their lineup. With the apparent lack of CBS shows, and for only having the last couple of episodes of things like Burn Notice, I could probably get by with it once I got used to how it works, but I do like saving shows on my DVR to rewatch episodes or the previous season before the new season starts.

Currently, I figure that I'd save about $50/mo after dropping satellite and picking up Hulu in addition to Netflix and Prime that I'm already paying for. To me, that makes it worth experimenting with the change when I get the time.

Comment Slow Death Since VI (Score 1) 234

The Final Fantasy series started its slow death from what made it unique since VI, which I still think is the greatest of the series. The thing that VI started the beginning of the end was the Espers. Up to that point each character was a unique class and only had special abilities. Once everyone could start using Espers Square slowly widdled away the uniqueness of the characters and the other things that made the series fun. For example...

VII- started the single type of weapon system. Character A has a big sword, character B has a gun for a hand, etc... The materia system made characters less unique, everyone could use magic, anyone could become a thief, anyone could summon monsters, etc... The only thing that set characters apart was the weapon that they used.
VIII- Again the only thing that set each character apart was the weapon that they used. Everyone again could use magic, but each character did have a unique attack that was somehow based on the uniqueness of their weapon.
IX- Went a little more traditional with character classes, unique roles and skills, etc... Since I'm an item hoarder when I play the games I even liked how in one area weapons and armors inverted, where if you had a strong weapon and armor the were actively weak, but weak weapons and armors were strong.
X, X-2- I did like the story of X, X2 not so well. Here we took a much larger turn away from what I've liked about the series. The skills system allowed for truly unmemorable characters as far as abilities. Each character was a blank slate aside from their special weapon that each was strong against a certain enemy characteristic. I have a game where my Black and White mage characters hit harder than who is supposed to be my ultimate warrior, and my thief can cast Ultima spells as strong as the black mage. Here we also lost the fun of wold exploration by losing the airship. Sure, there is still an airship or two in the game, but you don't actually fly them, you just point and click to go to your destination. No more leveling or skill building "Islands Closest to Heaven/Hell" like in VIII.
XI- Never played, didn't think the series would carry over into a MMO world
XII- Again, no more character uniqueness, taken even farther in that you can let your spell casters use heavy armor or heavy melee weapons. As gameplay went on I got tired of the live action battles because instead of being able to sit back and enjoy the action I was too busy trying to keep track of my characters health, trying to figure out why the archer wasn't engaging the enemy, or why the healer wasn't curing anyone. Kind of had the same problem with Arkham Asylum, I'm too busy watching the goons trying to attack to pay attention to the moves that Batman was actually doing, I ended up missing more than I got to see.
XIII/XIV- Haven't played either but they never appealed to me. XIII did away with exploring, period. Whatever they did with that linear gameplay had way too many reviewers up in arms that I didn't even want to play it because of the fond memories of the series. They also did something with the shops if I remember correctly that was a break from the past titles too

With today's gaming, I'd like to see a FFVI-X style game come back but also bring back a few features that have gone by the wayside.
Bring back truly unique character classes. Don't let the ninja become a spellcaster in the way that a mage is, but ninjas can have their deceptive type of "magic" if you still want to include it.
Bring back explorable worlds, enough said.
Take the airship to a whole new level. While flying have visible flying enemies or other monsters for "random encounters" or challenges. Remember Doom Gaze? Create a battle platform for while on the airship. How is it that a fleet of airships with canons on them can't turn the canon around and shoot a freaking bird that has landed on the deck? Add a crash system. We can create these great 3D worlds now that would be great to explore or even have planned crashes as a part of the game. Give the airship hit points and after so many bumps into trees, mountains, land, or water make the ship go down. Be stuck in the area for a certain amount of time until either the ship magically gets repaired or you beat a side quest where you find the parts needed to repair the ship.

I think that I've gone on long enough, it really burns me to see what they're doing to this series that I've liked for almost 20 years.

Comment Re:that's why i'm going back to iOS (Score 2) 240

Any company with a sense of customer service, even a poor one, wouldn't drop support to existing products like that. You'd be more likely to see whatever was already in the production channels come to market depending on how much was invested in them before you'd see the company change gears to make devices with their own long as they weren't purchasing it just for the IP. They won't just sign a deal and say the next day that they absolutely won't support their existing products.

I'd love to see HTC pick up WebOS, but I'm not going to hold my breath on it.

Comment All Depends on Policy (Score 1) 615

It all depends on the workplace policy for telecommuting. Where I'm currently at, we offer telecommuting and flextime. I don't participate in either since being the sysadmin if something blows up, you have to come in anyway no matter what your schedule is.

That being said, I wouldn't mind working from home a couple of days a week since the majority of my day is monitoring systems or researching, I can do that easily from my couch. But that is where the catch is in our organization. To remote work or telecommute, the person needs to have a dedicated workspace to just their work related activities, a secured location to save work materials, and "isolation" from the rest of the house. So as a number of other people have mentioned things like saving on daycare and such, if it is discovered that your kids are playing on your work system or you are supplementing daycare by working at home those are grounds for revoking the teleworking if not a full firing.

Sure there are holes in the system, like managers that want to stay the employee's friend and not enforce the policies. I have several employees that we know for a fact are supplementing daycare or out golfing when they are "telecommuting." Unfortunately there isn't anything that can be done about a manager that refuses to enforce their own policies.

Comment Old Cartoon (Score 1) 222

Thanks to Stumble Upon, once upon a time I ran across a cartoon talking about cell phone falls. Sure it can fall 1000 ft. It be thrown off of a skyscraper, it can survive reentry from space without a scratch. But if it falls off a 3 foot counter top, it shatters into millions of pieces. Moral of the story, drop it from a plane, don't drop it trying to put it back in your pocket.

Comment FB Event Invite Security? (Score 2) 191

I quit Facebook a few months ago so don't really know if it is still the case, but back then I noticed that if someone you were friends with responded to an invite, even if that invite wasn't originally to "me" I could everyone who was invited and their comments to the event. It happened to be one of those "I forgot my phone number" events and I couldn't believe how many people just posted their phone numbers for anyone in the world to see. Let the friends that I actually knew know that their info was publicly viewable and they immediately removed it. Yet another case of people not knowing how little FB cares about your personal information.

Comment Overbloated (Score 1) 609

I've never had a problem with the bloatware on any new computers that I've purchased for myself or helped friends/family purchase. Thanks to my job I have copies of the OEM discs for Dell and HP so the first thing that gets done after taking the computer out of the packaging is a full wipe of the OS and a reinstall of just Windows only, no bloat.

Sure this takes a little additional time to set up the computer, but not having to deal with all of that bloatware BS is well worth it.

Comment Stupid has a price (Score 1) 191

This has been happening for a while. I've had some lawyer friends of mine ask me about some Facebook stuff as they are dealing with a custody issue where a mother wants more alimony from the father. The father's lawyers are mining the FB updates because every weekend that the mother has custody she is updating that the kid at wherever it was dropped off so she can go out with the girls, go out with they new guy, get drunk, whatever...

And I don't really have a problem with FB being used like that. If you're stupid enough to be using FB and post stuff like that out there you deserve what is coming.

Comment Social Login--this will not go well (Score 1) 273

I dropped my FB account a few months ago because I finally decided that it wasn't worth it, and it ticked me off that I had an almost obsessive urge to check my phone for updates every 3 minutes. For someone like me the social login wouldn't be too bad, I made it a point to only friend people that I know in the real world. Depending on how the login works I don't know or remember their full names so if it is looking for the person's full name or just first name that makes a difference. My last name is 12 characters, so good luck trying to remember that or typing that in correctly.

Now lets talk about some of the other folks that I knew on FB, mostly women/girls that would friend anyone and everyone that they had a class with, met at a party, etc... in other words, a bunch of people that they don't know. This is going to to over great for them because they won't have a clue who some of the pictures are, not to mention most pictures are group shots with several people in them anyway...which one is the person they are supposed to ID. Maybe its FB's way of getting people to only post pics of themselves as their profile pic. I personally hated it when someone would use pics of their kids because when you think you know who the person was but the pic is absolutely no help I just moved along. Maybe FB is trying to curb users from friending anyone that sends a request. I think this is going to cause more outrage than acceptance on the site, and is yet another reason that I'm glad I'm no longer a member.

Comment Political Robot (Score 1) 465

It really depends on the robot on political office. If it was like Data from a TNG episode where he played the role of a judge between Picard and a romulan pretending to be a demon he stated that he must follow the rules and laws of the people of the planet to the letter. Picard also points out that he also couldn't be swayed or intimidated. Yes, you could still run into troubles with a robot politician like that, but I could live with that as opposed to the politicians that change what they say based on who is donating to them.

Sure it might create a ton of bureaucracy, but because of it there should be simpler laws, and less ambiguous laws that are too open to interpretation.

Comment Apple's responsiblity to fix their own problem (Score 1) 479

I have an Apple fanboy friend that I recently talked to about his thoughts on the iPhone 4 problems, and he is a true to the kool-aid follower and replied that it wasn't a real problem just a bunch of isolated incidents. He has not yet upgraded though since he waits for the initial bugs to get worked out before jumping in on a new technology. So anyway he was trying to argue that the iPhones didn't have a real problem and that getting the protector was an adequate fix, that Apple shouldn't have to pay for it.

I'm not a mechanic but tried to make a car comparison. What if some company sold a car and shortly after they sold millions of that car they found that a wheel would fall off whenever you made a left turn. Instead of fixing the problem, the car company said everyone needed to buy a giant bumper that fit around the car that would hold the tire in place when they turn left, but the trade off is that the car is not a little bigger, might not fit in the garage or parking places quite right, etc...

People would demand that the car company fix the car itself and not offer a workaround which covers the real problem. Its like treating the symptoms of an illness instead of the illness itself. You can drink all the chicken soup or take all the cough syrup you want but that isn't going to cure Pneumonia. Apple currently has a defective product, it is their responsibility to fix their product's defect, not the consumer's to buy a protective shield, not Apple's to give all users a shield either. They need to FIX their problem at the source. If it takes a redesign to protect the antenna and recall/replace all of them in circulation, so be it. For some reason people are giving Apple a free ride over a critical flaw in one of their major products when they've gone after other companies in other industries for much less serious flaws in their related products.

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