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Comment No (Score 1) 561

Oh, you wanted details. I'm 66, have been a computer programmer since 1972 and have worked at fortune 500 firms (ATT Bell Labs, Intel) and startups (5 people firms you've never heard of through VA Linux - the dot com bubble, good memories). Sorry but whether I've been the youngest or the oldest person in the department I've always been treated as an engineer, age has had no impact.

Admittedly, I work in a relatively small niche (Unix/Linux kernel programmer) that might have some small part in why this hadn't been an issue.

Comment Re:yet another reason to never set foot in Oklahom (Score 2) 339

a conviction resulting in a prison term can prohibit you from ever getting a job...

Close, but not exactly. This is where the distinction between misdemeanor vs. felony comes into play. Misdemeanors (jail time up to 1 year) typically do not result in forfeiture of civil rights (you still get to vote) but may result in loss of privileges (as in losing your taxi license from a misdemeanor recless driving conviction). Felonies (any jail time over 1 year), on the other hand, you are absolutely right, these result in significant penalties (loss of job opportunities, can't vote, ...) long after the sentence has been served.

This explains old TV shows where I didn't understand why the judged sentenced someone to `a year plus a day'. That extra day turned the punishment into a felony.

Comment Assumption is I trust all my contacts equally (Score 2) 487

Do I understand this `feature` correctly? If I enable it then all of my contacts now have access to my wifi credentials. I can imagine that I might want this feature for my wife and kids but there is no way in hell I would want to do this for every contact in my list. My wife I trust but the friend of a friend that I just added to my contact list - not so much (although thinking about it maybe that should be reversed).

If that is truly the way this thing works then this is one of the more brain dead ideas some clueless program manager came up with (ranks right up there with the idiot that decided that email messages should be HTML formatted and should contain active content).

Comment What does the NSA really want? (Score 1) 212

Much as we dislike the NSA I don't think anyone would argue that they are stupid. Morally bankrupt, ethically challenged, constitutionally wrong - yes, but stupid - no. Therefore the NSA clearly knows that this is a stupid idea and will never work and will never be implemented. I have to believe this is a negotiating ploy (ask for something totally outrageous so that you can be bargained down to something merely obnoxious - which is what you wanted all along).

That being the case then this must be their totally outrageous start. What do they really want that they will `settle` for?

Comment Schizophrenic company (Score 4, Insightful) 556

Guys, calm down. This is the Wall Street Journal, the most schizophrenic company in the world. Read a couple of issues of the newspaper and you'll see what I mean.

Articles - 99% of the paper, well written, fact based pieces on current issues of the day. Not balanced since it's understandably tilted toward the business aspects of those issues but an extremely reliable source of information.

Editorials - 2 pages, far right diatribes with the basic premise that big business & capitalism == good, everything else bad.

I don't know how the feature reporters survive in that environment but I applaud them for living in a harsh environment and doing an excellent job.

Comment Re:My two cents... (Score 1) 516

Personally, if I could afford solar panels, I'd be interested in what uses it could provide during power outages

Where I live, Colorado, solar provides nothing during a power outage (thank you very much Excel, the local supplier). My system is explicitly installed such that it does not provide power if the grid is off. I think the stated reason is safety, this way linemen don't have to worry about unexpected power when they are working on things. (I'm sure the cynical answer that this is just yet another impediment to solar is completely wrong :-)

Comment Definition of idiot (Score 1) 215

Let me check my dictionary for the defintion of idiot:

1. n: A user, especially super user, who uses * as an agument without first checking to see what * expands into.
2. n: A user who leaves his directories world writeable so others can put random garbage in them.

The one line summary for this story is bad things happen to people who use a command without knowing what the command does.

Comment You young whippersnappers get off my lawn! (Score 3, Interesting) 230

I started in 1968 at Michigan State with punch cards on a CDC 6000 mainframe, a big one, all of 65K words of memory (60 bits per word but still, that was considered big back then). As a student I was guaranteed 1 run per day and yes, even after eyeballing my programs carefully I lost many days of work due to missplaced punctuation. It's amazing what you can get used to when you have no choice.

I remember my excitement when I was able to move to a research account from a student one. Research accounts could get as many runs as the system could turn around, typically around 4-5 per day - nirvanna! Of course, the research runs weren't guranteed so when the system got backed up (some physics professor tying up the machine for hours or down time due to HW failures) the student jobs got priority and your research job came back whenever they could get to it. I waited 2-3 days for a job more than once.

Back to punch cards, my favorite technique was something I saw one of the FORTRAN programmers do. The technique used the fact that you could put a line number on any card and it was possible to put multiple statements on the same card. This guy ended every single card with a goto statement to the next card in the deck. As he said, the operators could drop his deck, shuffle the cards and his program would still work properly. (We really didn't like or trust the operators back then.)

Comment Not that bad (Score 4, Informative) 85

When did this story get written, the worst is pretty much past. At 11:30AM local time I'm looking at blue sky, the streams around Boulder crested last night, we're now in restoration mode (I'm lucky, my basement flooded out such that the hallway carpeting is soaked but there's no standing water, unlike my neighbors who share a wall with me and had about 2 inches of standing water throughout their basement).

Things are bad but, at least in Boulder, they're not catastrophic. Some of the surrounding communities, especially up toward the mountains, got it worse, there are some serious evacuations going on up there, but Boulder is fine.

Comment What happened to probable cause? (Score 4, Interesting) 432

What I find most troubling from the article is this:

"You'd be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.' And so we'd alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it," the agent said.

(Bold emphasis mine.) The casual way that a law enforcement agent advocated violating laws relating to probable cause is astonishing. Subconciously I know that they do this but to actually come out in print and admit it is really sad.

Comment Broken terminology (Score 1) 235

Obligatory Princess Bride quote - "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." - I. Montoya.

The problem is we keep using the term health `insurance' when we are not buying insurance, we are buying health care coverage.

As you say, `insurance' is supposed to provide compensation when something unexpected happens - a rock breaking your windscreen is unexpected and auto insurance correctly pays for that event. Let's face it, if your `insurance' covers yearly health checkups and monthly prescriptions (e.g. insulin) then you are getting a benefit, not insurance.

Unfortunately, words have power and the terms we use to describe a thing winds up having a large impact on how we view that thing (abortion vs. choice anyone, why isn't that pro-abortion vs. anti-abortion)

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