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Comment Re:RAID (Score 2) 552

Accidental deletion is a whole different beast. If you accidentally delete something created between rsync copies it's gone for good, too, and rsync can't save you.

Unless your tool does some incremental storage for you. For example, Eclipse saves each save in a local history, including deletions, so you can go back in time even if all you did is change the file (which would also have "not there" impact between rsync copies)..

if you need that kind of assurance, you'll need more than rsync or RAID.

Comment Re:Nature's solar panel (Score 2) 242

Sadly the AC is right. Sad because of the AC, not the right.

The issue with the US (and any other nation with cars and therefore a fuel problem) is that the solution being sought is to keep the vehicles we have running, or make vehicles of the future run the same way. There's some benefit to this, to be sure, considering the infrastructure, expertise, and experience around vehicles as we know them today. It seems like a shoo-in to find an alternative fuel that would let everyone use the cars just like they have today.

A better solution is to find a better vehicle. As the AC suggests, solar could provide that answer. The vehicles themselves (surfaced with panels) and roadways (surfaced, covered, or lined) and rooftops (nearby or...well, all of them) could be leveraged to provide the electricity to power electric vehicles (and homes and stores and lights and whatnot). Other "clean" and "safe" sources like hydro or wind or (far away) nuclear could be used to supplement as needed. A properly re-invisioned vehicle would be light enough to use electric motors and batteries for long-enough travel to essentially replace the fuel-powered vehicles we use now.

The trouble with that transition is that not enough people want to drive an electric Smart car in a world of Chevy Suburbans and Hummers. We've got a mindset of what "car" means that needs to change first. if SUV was the rare exception, the smaller, compact-to-mid-size electric vehicle could get a foothold. This mindset needs to be transitioned in large groups to be successful; places like Belize and Bermuda and really any tropical island could do this more easily than the US; well, if it weren't for the money to get the vehicles and infrastructure started...

If we're looking to replace petroleum, and no one can come up with Mr Fusion (which I'll concede didn't power the car, just the flux capacitor), other solutions need to be found that are lateral impacts. Line freeways with saw grass, which is a better bio-fuel than corn, and harvest the grass when the freeway borders are trimmed. Otherwise, maybe stop making chips and soda out of corn, and turn all of that into fuel...that might help reduce the weight the vehicle needs to move, too...

Comment Not MOney Laundering (Score 1) 109

I'm no lawyer, and never played one on TV, but that doesn't sound like money laundering, but rather payola.

If I RTFA correctly, he received money from companies in exchange for steering business to them. Kind of like a beer company giving a bar a neon light or posters or other discount in exchange for trying to get their customers to buy that brand of beer...

Money laundering would be taking illegally gained funds and turning them into legal appearing funds by funneling them through (seemingly) legitimate business. There's probably that, too, as I'm sure at some time some drug dealer or pickpocket or other hooligan bought a crappy MP3 player from at some time...

Comment Re:Cloud computing platform (Score 1) 118

You're talking PAAS (or IAAS) there, which while a big part of it isn't the only part of it. SAAS is another big part of it, and that can be run from within any infrastructure, so there may be physical access (which is the only point I'm contending).

I agree that it's really what anyone working on Internet (usually software) contributes. Your blog or your wicked REST service, your server, your workstation, your router...all the cloud. And yeah, that remote machine you think you have all to yourself that runs what seems to be a server you think you own that is running some software (FTP, HTTP, SMTP, SSH, whatever...) contributing to the greatness that makes the Internet the big lumpy blob on so many diagrams...the cloud.

Comment Flawed Business Model (Score 1) 524

If you can afford to hire consultants, and you're keeping a little for profit, you're probably able to hire full-time employees. That's making some assumptions about lags between jobs, what the employees expect in terms of "bench time" and corresponding pay.

You may not be able to hire the same consultants as employees at the same rates, as you may have to reduce your pay rate to cover some of the employee overhead. Reasonable contractors willing to work full-time should be able to accept this as they would then not have the same responsibility for accounting for their own taxes, and may appreciate whatever benefits you may be able to offer.

Consider not only the obvious things like health insurance, but also the PTO and sick days where you have to pay even when they aren't earning; built into the overhead correctly, it still comes out of the billable hours. It may be that you have to offer a package that includes a "base" rate that covers what they'll get paid on the bench, and a "job" rate that pays more while they're working; it might be that you have to do some math and figure out that less pay means more bench buffer; perhaps even build in a "profit sharing" mechanism that returns that buffer to the employee if the bench fund isn't used. None of this is new; check around the Interwebs for what other small houses do.

As for the bugs, I would stake a cross-country ride on the back of my motorcycle that at least some of the time something changes, and that's why there are bugs.

You hear the customer requests and from these you make outstanding designs and documents. After whatever negotiation and complete requirements gathering and design review they accept the designs and documents and your bid. Your programmers see and understand these documents, and their code reflects them beautifully. Then the customer sees the work at the delivery points, and perhaps finds things that aren't right. Maybe they see what has been delivered is right, but want a little more; or they see that it works in the cases everyone thought of, but not in the cases no one thought of; or they see that you've built what they said, but not what they wanted.

This could be the result of an iterative development cycle, communications, or straight-up missed things. This could be because something was done right, then a change was made (a new idea, incremental development, or previously undiscovered use case) the code and plan and customer are out of sync.

The hard reality is that bugs occur.

I understand the sentiment of avoiding developers who make bugs to extend contracts, but you have to realize that none of us is perfect, as hard as we may try, and any time another party is involved, there's an increase in opportunity for things to not go right. Work hard to compromise on fixing the things that have gone wrong (charge the customer, pay the developer) and things that are "malicious" or otherwise on purpose with an intent of dragging on contracts.

Be critical and strict with your developers, and keep them in line in terms of design compliance and coding standards, and make sure they aren't trying to stretch contracts; mitigate it with TDD or TDD-like practices like using unit tests to conform code to contracted specs. Also be aware of customer changes that sneak in...even little things like "that should be over more or bluer or say this instead of that" can introduce both distraction and unintended changes that can lead to the deviations from existing code or on code for which future work may depend.

It's a chore, but you can either build some "bug time" into your estimates and project plans, be hyper-vigilant about change control, or be super-strict about deviating from the plan. Somewhere between the first two is where reality lies, if you were thinking about the last two.

Comment Re:Orbital pickup truck (Score 2) 204

Robots? I'm sure the limiting factor is that no one considered sending unmanned missions with supplies. Surely something akin to refueling USAF planes in flight could have been considered and a giant "put it here" port could have been exposed for injecting more Helium as needed.

To be fair, unmanned drones weren't as good as they are now when the telescope was launched, so it probably seemed much more impossible than I think it might seem today.

Comment Re:Reminds me of this story (Score 3, Interesting) 286

Didn't read the article, and don't get data intelligence. Wow, that's a tough spot to be in.

If you RTFA you can see from the (outside of Target) analysis that it was due to increasing other purchases and not the stoppage of birth control. At the very least, I'm sure that even the most diabolical data analyzer realizes you can't dive into the protected vault of (not over-the-counter) health purchases. It was because of the purchase of certain vitamin combinations and cotton balls that set Target off.

In hindsight it's always easy to tear apart someone's logic. It's really easy if you make up your own as you go.

I gotta say "duh" to anyone who acts surprised that businesses that gather data use that data to improve their business. It'd be nice to be able to trust that the business is acting responsibly and in a way that they believe is in the interest of both parties; I mean, if you're pregnant, why wouldn't you want coupons for purchases you're likely to be making anyway? When you grocery shop, the receipt contains coupons for things you just bought, or things just like it, or things that complement those things. When you buy anything from Amazon, you're likely to get "you'll also like" e-mail and banner ads, even if you're not visiting an Amazon page.

I'm sure Microsoft, for all of their "scroogle" name calling isn't avoiding reading your e-mail or Bing searches to come up with a marketing plan or to direct advertising or to refine search results.

Of course, it's naive to think that all businesses will act in the best interest of anyone other than themselves, surely some or many will accept marketing funds from less scrupulous marketers. And it's also unfair to think that every recipient of such targeted marketing will take the offer with any care (otherwise SPAM would have stopped long ago).

There are only a few was to avoid being scroogled by anyone. Most involve not being on the Internet, or not being truthful on the Internet, or hosting your own and forcing everyone else to participate in your service...but be careful you don't become the scroogler if you do. The key is to be mindful that scroogling is going on. it has been going on for a lot longer than most of us think; even if we limit it to just the Internet. Pretty much since the first "free" e-mail or search service was provided...and that's before most Internet users were born.

Comment Re:Salesforce? (Score 3, Informative) 257

There are other freelancer resources out there (like the aptly named that list a variety of projects from a variety of people in a variety of languages, so you don't have to try to tie yourself to a particular platform or discipline.

This is by no means an endorsement, just an acknowledgement that there are sites out there.

Comment Grass Is Greener (Score 1) 215

It sure looks easy to be some kind of developer or programmer. We sit on our butts all day, staring at monitors, clicking with our hard can it be?

I mean, I can drag some wire round the frame of a room and put some caps on to fasten up a switch or outlet, but that doesn't make me an electrician by any means. Even if the lights turn off and on without sparking and burning down the building, there's a lot more to the job than knowing to turn off the power before touching the wires.

Likewise, there's a lot that happens between the chair and keyboard that often gets overlooked. I know many out there will disagree with me (and I get paid well to clean up after some of them), but writing software can be hard work. Sure, slapping a few loops and conditions together is pretty easy, but there's a lot of finesse in making sure it actually does the right things in a reliable and robust fashion. There's also the downside to the job including digesting incomplete requirements, meeting unrealistic expectations, and suffering through unexpected panic from your customers, whether internal or cash-paying.

Taking a little hobby development and desire doesn't do justice to you, your potential future employers, or those of us who've schooled, trained, and worked our craft for years to make it look easy. I like that you've noted that you're looking for an entry level position, but make sure that you're looking at it for the right reasons and not just because you like the appeal of sitting in a cubicle all day drinking Jolt soda.

I also noticed you mentioned a "lower paying" job; I'm sure after years doing your craft you've worked up some ranks, but points out that software pays better. With this comes the competition. As others have said, be prepared to compete with young, energetic people who haven't got experience, but who also don't have mortgages...

Of course, I'm not saying don't do it. I say the more the merrier; there's lots of software yet to be written. Just respect the craft and the effort it takes to do a good job.

Comment Re:Eheh and his mother was sane? (Score 4, Insightful) 1719

The responsibility lies with the nutbag who shot up the school and then committed suicide. It might be nice to try to find some reason or trigger for it, but really it was the actions of one individual performing a heinous act. He took advantage of the situation and executed his twisted plan, or reacted completely insanely, or something in between. While in a situation where he may not have had such easy access to such weapons (for whatever reason) it may not have happened the way it did, but there's no way of knowing for sure that he wouldn't have done something similar another way.

Whatever you think of her gun selection, in firepower or quantity, it seems she gained them legally and behaved with them responsibly. It can surely be argued that no matter how stringent any gun control law, short of completely banning gun ownership, she could have followed all of those more strict laws and still had weapons that her son would then acquire illegally and use incorrectly.

There's no evidence she didn't properly secure her firearms and that he simply defeated said security. Locking something in a gun safe isn't something that would stop a motivated and capable 20-year old. He could surely have known where she kept any locker or trigger-lock keys, and reached them. Short of that any number of tools could have been used to overcome many home gun lockers, especially those meant to keep children safe and not truly secure the weapons.

Some blurb I saw somewhere said that Connecticut only requires locking up firearms when there are minors living in the home, and since he was 20 he was not a minor. Yes, a responsible gun owner should have locked up the weapons regardless, but again, a 20-year old familiar enough with the weapons to do what he did would have surely been able to open said locks.

Additionally, while the actions show in hindsight that he was plenty unstable (tore up first-graders...'nuff said), there's not been convincing evidence presented (that I've seen or read) that indicates he was unstable to the point that one might think he would do what he did. Too many interviews point out "what a quiet person" or "nice fella" or whatever. I'm sure his mother thought she understood whatever was going through his head, as most parents will believe with their kids, even when they're wrong. We'd all like to believe that we'd be able to see the breakdown coming, and even if there was any indication he was about to snap, perhaps she didn't envision he'd snap like this, or on that day.

These are the basic facts. She had legally obtained weapons. He obtained them from her (and killed her with them). He is responsible for the actions that took the lives of those children and their protectors.

Comment Re:But that's not the real problem. (Score 1) 1651

Agreed. No one should be able to tell me whether or not I have to wear a helmet.

Besides, helmets aren't really holding back wide-spread bicycle use.

Helmets are not mandated where I live, for bicycles or motorcycles (when the rider has a motorcycle-endorsed license). It is up to the individual whether to wear a helmet, as it should be. At least for adults; I'm not sure if children are required to wear helmets on bicycles, but really most pre-teen kids will do whatever you tell them in order to ride a bike anyway...and most well-behaved teen kids will suffer the indignity of wearing a helmet if it affords them the freedom to move about without parental involvement.

The obstacles to bike-riding instead of car-driving (or bus-taking) is that there needs to be convenient and secure storage at both ends, something needs to be done to allow clean-up at both ends, and consideration needs to be made for wardrobe at both ends. Bikes are too easy to steal, and penalties for stealing a bike are pretty weak, especially when compared to the penalties for stealing a car. No matter how fit one is, there's a bit of clean-up needed after a ride of any length or speed. Few people can get away with wearing the same clothes while biking and working, even if the clean-up is not needed or gets neglected.

Even if you get over those obstacles, the biggest obstacle, at least in most American urban areas, is that people don't live close enough to where they work. A (probably...I didn't research, so let's go with the conversational 80%...) large percentage of workers live a longer distance than a comfortable bike ride offers. Both in terms of effort and time. As one example, I currently work a mere eight miles from my home; it's a 10-minute commute by motor vehicle (I typically motorcycle) in great traffic, more typically a 15-minute commute in moderate traffic, if I take the freeways.

Curiously, even in a motor vehicle, where I can maintain speeds of 30MPH easily, on the quickest road route not using the freeway, it's a 30-minute commute in good traffic. There are just that many traffic signals and other vehicles to cause delays. The route is probably only ten miles, versus the eight on the freeway, but the roads aren't flowing as smoothly. I'm sure most cyclists aren't capable of maintaining 30MPH speeds, even if traffic isn't a consideration, and probably not for that distance. Even maintaining a pace of half that on a bicycle means an hour on the road.

While I could probably use the 60 minutes of exercise a such a pedal commute would give me, and even though there are nifty bike lockers available at this location to secure bikes, I can't consistently work with those time lines, especially including any traffic-related delays that may occur on the slower roads, nor can I shower and change when I reach the office, nor would I be able to keep that speed carrying my laptop, other accessories and a change of clothes each day.

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