Bad name, but awesome job. To think that you could rig a Windows look-alike on a Commodore 64 is just amazing.
November 14, 2012
October 25, 2012
Patent trolls filed 40% of patent infringement lawsuits last year. I’m surprised the number is that low, honestly, but that is still a significant cost.
There are also moves by some companies to get rid of software patenting altogether, especially in the open source world. This is why I’ve released software under GPL v3 whenever possible. Version 3 is an improvement over version 2, including enhanced patent protection for consumers.
October 23, 2012
Last week, our resident Penguatroll asked me about certifications in the IT industry. As far as certifications go, I’m pretty much in the middle of the road. Over the past several years, I have made no effort to get any, but I was also not in a position in which it was necessary. I see a few times in which it is definitely advisable to get certifications:
- You are not in the IT industry but want to break in, or have been out of IT for a while (Tony’s case). Certifications are not a 1:1 match for experience, but even something as simple as an A+ or Network+ certification can show some level of skill. It’s not the same as having an extra 3 years of experience, but compared to an equivalent candidate without those certifications, it’s an advantage.
- Your employer pays for training and tests (and, even better, gives you time to study and learn). This is a no-brainer. If your employer pushes you to get certifications, that’s a good thing to take advantage of.
- You’re consulting or prefer to do short-term contract work. This is similar to the first point, although the certs I’d be looking for would be more advanced: you’re a CCNA or MCSE (the new type). Again, these don’t prove that you really know what you’re doing, but they are pretty good signals: I would ceteris paribus trust a CISSP to answer network security problems over a non-CISSP. As the saying goes, the ceteri aren’t always paribi (in other words, there are plenty of well-qualified, excellent non-CISSPs in the world of security, and a lot of empty suits who are), but this still works as a good first step filter.
- You’re going for elite certifications. If you are a MCSM, that means something.
In almost all of these cases, the real benefit goes to the hiring manager, not the recipient of the certification. They’re the ones who need to look at 200 resumes for a single position and narrow it down to five, so having that signal there makes their job faster.
With all of that said, I’m looking to get a few certifications over the next several months as I try to start up a consulting firm. My primary goal is to become an MCSA by July. That involves taking three exams. Fortunately, one training guide has already been released and two more are coming out in the next month.
In addition to that, I won at Columbus Code Camp a few months of free training with Paul Paulito, leading up to getting my LIPC-1/Linux+/CLA. It’s not really anything that directly relates to what I do (I work on Microsoft SQL Server and its associated tools, after all), but this falls into the category of “the training is free, so take advantage of it.”
Finally, I’m going to eventually stop putting off my CEH certification. That’s another one of those introductory certs that is only tangentially related to me, but if I do ever move seriously into security, it’s a decent starting point.
October 5, 2012
Joel Runyon runs into Russell Kirsch in a coffeehouse in Portland. Reading the follow-up post is also something I recommend.
July 19, 2012
A day in the life of Windows 8. Windows 8 is still in release preview, so perhaps they’ll improve things by the time they hit RTM, but I’m definitely not a fan of the “every computer should have the same interface” thing. For example, I don’t want a touch-screen style interface for things that don’t have touch screens…like pretty much all of my Windows-running hardware…
July 14, 2012
Eric S. Raymond has an interesting post going into detail regarding how nVidia lost a huge bid to AMD/ATI due to not providing an open-source driver. But check out the comments: it’s likely that the Chinese government will reverse engineer the cards and re-create them, making an expected stream into a single payment.
July 13, 2012
“J.F. Rice” points out that Sarbanes-Oxley compliance—which is already expensive from a time perspective—is about to get more so.
July 12, 2012
Admittedly, this isn’t new and is just a reflection of a realistic understanding of current trends. It’s still sad to see AMD basically throw in the towel on high-end processors. For quite a while, they were running neck and neck, and I will always remember the Athlon days with fondness.
On the other hand, I do kind of agree with his point: we have reached a point where processor speed isn’t the bottleneck that it once was. With multi-core processors around, processor speed itself stopped making sense as a metric, and there’s a big market in low-power tablets, so it could be a good business decision for AMD even if it does mean that high-end folks will really only have one option.
June 26, 2012
I have a Powershell script which performs some data collection, dumps it into Excel, formats the Excel data, and e-mails that spreadsheet. This script worked just fine when I ran it live, but it just wouldn’t work as a scheduled task. It wasn’t that the scheduled task failed as such; it just never finished.
While looking this up, I found an interesting article which notes that you need to make sure that you de-allocate variables before trying to quit Excel. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the answer—I was already closing everything down.
It took a while, but I found several answers…none of which really seemed satisfying.
The real fix is that you need to add a missing folder. Add a blank folder named Desktop in C:\Windows\system32\config\systemprofile\. For x64 systems, also add a Desktop folder to C:\Windows\sysWOW64\config\systemprofile\. After you add that folder, your scheduled tasks will work correctly—Excel (and other Office products) will close as expected and all is well.
June 20, 2012
Eric S Raymond has a nice blog post on determining when closed-source software is harmful in comparison to open-source equivalents.
For additional reading, I’d go back to this economics article on the economics of open-source.