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Comment Re:rpi (Score 1) 4

Another excellent step by step. Minimal skills needed,
The only real issue is that most of the WiFi dongles for RPi can be fickle. I recommend that you just plug in a network cable. Also, you should set the Pi to a static IP address on your LAN. As for posting to FTP / SFTP, a simple script run as a CRON job will suffice.

Comment YMMV (Score 1) 480

I've been working from home for the last 13 years and I currently work for a company where everyone works from home. I'm not so sure that you need a door to keep your family out as to help separate your work life from your home life. The hardest thing I deal with is leaving work at the end of the work day. It's far too easy to slip back into the office to take care of that one little thing. This leads to burn out and should be avoided at all cost.

Set a schedule and a routine then keep to them. This should include a dedicated work space that you use for nothing other than work. That seems silly but it really helps maintain discipline. For example, I take my laptop to the couch at the end of the day for personal work and net surfing. I also found that I had to turn my desk away from the beautiful view outside my office to get any work done. I have a fixed schedule and though I need have to, I get approval from both my supervisor and my wife to work outside that schedule.

There is no reason to be in-accessible to your family but at the same time, they need to understand that you're at work. I've been in many meetings where a small voice is heard asking permission to go to a friends house. While this is never a problem, hearing a boisterous family clamoring in the background during a conference call is extremely disruptive. Likewise, slipping up stairs to change the laundry is probably not a problem though slipping out to mow the lawn is. Ask yourself before doing something personal, "Would this pass muster if you were in an office with other co-workers?"

Finally, the most important part of working from home is communication. Get yourself a high quality wireless headset and no-cost/low-cost calling plan. If you're not on the phone for as much as half you day then your out of touch with what's happening in the rest of the company. That voice line can be either POTS or VOIP but it should be dedicated to your work. Trust me on this, you don't want your teen daughter throwing a tantrum on the extension because she can't call her friend while you're in a conference call with a client. I find that a Plantronics Calisto Pro over a Vonage line gives me good quality so long as I'm not presenting. If I am presenting then I'll use my cell phone so VOIP does not compete with the presentation for bandwidth. Speaking of bandwidth, don't skimp here. My only choice is Time Warner which has an unpublished habit of dropping my bandwidth to 128K just when I need it most. When I complain they refer me to their Terms of Service regarding peer to peer file sharing. It's frustrating because none of my network traffic is peer to peer file sharing. I suspect the limit is triggered by upstream bandwidth use exceeding some parameter but can't prove it. Their best idea is to refer me to their "Business Class" service which gets me over priced hosting I don't need.

Instant messaging apps are also a must for the quick questions and should get you immediate access to anyone in your company. Think if it as the equivalent to shouting over the cubicle wall or walking down the hall to poke your head into someone's office. We found that no one IM service worked reliably, not even our own dedicated LINQ or XMPP server proved to be reliable enough. We currently distribute a list of employees and their IM accounts on several well known services. I am accessible on MSN, Skype, and Google Chat while at work. The redundancy means I can still contact someone if one service starts acting up. Unfortunately, it also means I'll have two or three messages waiting when I come back from changing the laundry.

Comment Re:Protest doesn't require breaking the law??? (Score 1) 221

One more thought.

Congress just passed a law making protest in the vicinity of the secret service a criminal act. I expect the law will not pass Constitutional muster. Unfortunately, someone must break that law, get arrested, and sacrifice their career, home, and life savings to bring that obviously unconstitutional law before the Supreme Court.

Apparently our Congressional "Leaders" thinks that OK so long as they don't have to listen to protesters outside their convention. And, they have no complicity in passing this abomination to the Constitution they swore to uphold.

Just something to remember...
in November.

Comment Protest doesn't require breaking the law??? (Score 1) 221

Protest may not require breaking the law but it's more effective when protesters do. It's called Civil Disobedience!

How many "Occupy" protesters are in the SF or NY judicial system because they were protesting? Would we know about their cause if they just stood down the street holding up signs? I would argue, NO!. That level of civil disobedience was required to get media attention. There was no media coverage of the Occupy events for weeks.

How many were jailed while protesting nuclear power plants in their home towns? Many of those arrests resulted in the plant NOT being constructed. All of those arrests resulted in a dramatic reduction in new nuclear power plants in the US. Can you say those arrested protesters were not effective? Only now are we seeing new projects breaking ground and those are being vehemently protested resulting in arrests.

This level of civil disobedience may be required to bring your cause before the courts. Do you disagree? then go back to school and take Civics 101. It's how our system works so stop vilifying protesters.

LulzSec had a specific mission, separate and distinct from Anonymous. It's mission was to point out the incompetency of people we trust to secure our digital society. They did so in an embarrassingly effective way. I believe they all knew the risks involved in what they were doing. I support that belief by pointing out the steps they took to cloak their identity and avoid prosecution for the laws they knew they were breaking. In my mind that makes them patriots willing to suffer persecution for standing up against corruption and incompetence in the very agencies we charge with security. Were I the sentencing judge I would have to give them the recommended minimum sentence but I would also charge the people they exposed with negligence and complicity. If someone breaks in and steals from you, jail them. If someone breaks in then leaves a note behind and tells you how they did it, hire them!

I hope and expect that these people cited as being "senior leadership" were in fact just inexperienced noobs that got caught. I'm ashamed to say my government has a long history of holding up some patsy as the "Ring Leader" because it makes good press rather than because the assertion has any validity. I see this as another reason to repeal "Qualified Immunity". It made sense 100 year ago but no longer. Today "Qualified Immunity" only creates a group of people "above the law" and empowers them with laziness and incompetence. A public detective can get malpractice insurance the same as a private detective or a doctor or any of a thousand other professions. When will we stop coddling incompetence? When will we stop letting them run amok when someone embarrasses them?

Comment Black Market GPS? (Score 1) 189

With all the press these little beauties got it's unlikely they're still attached to the original vehicle. Hence the trouble retrieving them.
More likely, the "People of Interest" looked under their car and found it long ago. I'd love to hear some of the FBI accounts of where they found their trackers when not still attached to the original vehicle. A neighbor or wife's car is the most obvious but I'd like to think some were more creative. Interstate Bus, Police Car, Live Stock Hauler, Shipping Container,... As fun as those sound, it's most likely they were destroyed or hawked. Go check out your local seedy pawn shop, you might be able to get one cheap.

Comment Saw this coming.... (Score 1) 380

Not to say I told you so cuz I didn't.
Back in 85 I passed on an opportunity to transfer to the Shuttle Program at Rockwell. A decision I stressed over for a month. It was why I got into aerospace to begin with. My childhood dream was to be an astronaut, or at least part of that community. The problem was that I'd learned that office politics, national politics, and budget are the driving forces that make decisions, not engineering. At the time, and probably still today, management is filled with people promoted by a variation of the Peter Principle; "people are promoted to their highest level of incompetence". Since you can't fire anyone the only way to get rid of dead wood is to promote them out of your department. As a result critical decisions are made by people without the competence to make them. This was the reason I left my child hood dreams of being an astronaut to join the private sector. I could no longer turn a blind eye to the mindlessness about me. Sure, the engineering challenges and creative people that make up the rank and file were great. But, the office politics were deadly!

Comment Don't Want (Score 1) 1162

Beta was superior to VCRs but it didn't catch on either. And Beta wasn't encumbered with frustrating and illconceived DRM "features". I'm in no hurry to run out and spend hard earned money on something that will not work with the rest of my stuff just so some fat cat can get richer.

Comment Did It! (Score 1) 615

And I would not go back if you paid me more!
Ok, it was kind of forced upon me. I got laid off and the best job I could get as the job market started to tank was a telecommuting job for a company that had no offices. It had to take a $20K salary cut but I was employed when my peers were not and was able to make ends meet. I'm still not back to my former salary but frankly, I'm turning down better offers just because I'd have to commute ~2 hours a day.

What's two hours of your life worth?
Aside from day care costs (which I have none), or the cost of commuting, or your pay rate... What is your time worth?

What is your blood pressure worth?
Getting in urban traffic and fighting with idiots with licenses to endanger lives is not my idea of a healthy endeavor. Forget about the financial cost of fuel, insurance, payments... driving is stressful!

I could go on and on but then I'd just be a bore. There is certainly a down side that should not be ignored. Telecommuting is not for everyone. It takes more self discipline than most of my former co-workers have (you are the only one keeping you off facebook all day). The hardest discipline is actually ending your work day. When the computer is just around the corner it's all to easy to "Just do that one task that's bothering you". I think the hardest part is a lack of social interaction. Try not talking to anyone at work about non work stuff for the next month (I give most of you a week at best). It's easy and healthy to chat over the cube walls while still tuning an ugly bit of SQL code. you don't get that opportunity when telecommuting. Chatting with your co-workers over IM about last night's game takes your attention away from your task resulting in longer less productive days so you eventually stop doing it (or go looking for a new job). Lately, I've taken to absconding the company conference line when not in use just so we can chat over the virtual cubicle walls. My boss would surely shit if he knew but I see it as a mental health hour.

Comment Re:hmmm... but it stupid not to! (Score 1) 122

I've been at the ass end of several transfers where I was told by my client (selling their web site) not to change the contact information since that would hold up the transfer. In all but one of these situations the new owners simple left me as the contact (in violation of ICAN policy). When the domains come up for renewal they will change only the billing contact and leave me as everything else.

Comment Lack of Accountability? (Score 1) 628

I'm not really concerned that LEA is mining social web sites for intelligence.

What's really concerns me here is the lack of accountability for incompetence demonstrated here. Yes, I expect there to be disciplinary action taken but I fear it's no more than a statement in their next performance review. Here on the far side of the pond, if search and rescue is called out for me (even if I'm not lost) I get billed for the event. These bills can be tens of thousands of dollars. Perhaps we should start billing incompetent officers for the cost of their mistakes. Yes there needs to be due process and perhaps officers that get a warrant from the courts before making these raids can be indemnified.

Frankly, I sick of hearing about the increasing cost of incompetence being dismissed as cost of doing law enforcement. I'm sick of off duty cops writing some kid a ticket for spitting on the sidewalk so he can put in for 4 hours of overtime he didn't work ( yes this really happens, ask a retired cop ). I'm sick of the men in blue being more concerned about the image of being right than they are about being correct. Perhaps counting convictions is the wrong performance metric?

Comment Keep it Simple (Score 1) 364

You should be able to pick up basic components on the cheep or free if you scrounge, I'm talking old can transistors, LEDs and resistors. You may also be able to lay hands on some project boards by asking around for donations.

With this box and some batteries each student should be able to make basic logic circuits. That is, Have them actually make a flip-flop. Have them get together and hook up their individual flip-flop circuits into gates. This gives them an appreciation for what digital logic does and how to combine it to make more complex circuits. You also get an opportunity to discuss state logic and have them make simple state machines other than flip flops. (adder, counter, timer...)

What they're learning for this physics module:
    Ohms law (biasing the transistors)
    Semi-Conductor materials science
        Why different kinds of transistors need to be
        hooked up in different ways to do the same thing.
    Interface Design (how to make it so their circuits work together)
    Digital vs Analog logic (review of pre-digital systems)

It's cool, re-usable, relevant to their world, and you can complete the module in less than a week.

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