Archive for the 'Computers' Category

Obama CTO allows you to vote

Even though I didn’t vote for Obama, I think he is making the right move by appointing a CTO cabinet position.  A website has popped up (I can’t find anything on the site whether it is official or not) that is asking for your input.  You can submit your own ideas or just vote on other peoples ideas on what issues the CTO should try to tackle in the next four years.

 

obamacto.org

Programers, Learn your industry

Wow it’s been a long time since I have posted.  Been keeping busy at school and work.

So, being a CIS student while working outside of the computer industry, I came across something that I will take to hart later in my programing life: Programmers, learn the industry you are developing for!  I currently work as a Site Manager for a security company for a client that is in the shipping industry.  My site is a test site for this client for a security round system that my be rolled out to many of their sites nation wide.

Some back ground:  Most security officers have to make rounds or tours during their shift.  There have been many systems over the years to record this process to verify that the officer was where he said he was.  The system we are using is using new technology to bring this process into the 21st century.

The system we are testing uses RFID technology to record where the officer is, then transmits this data via cell phone network to the companies server, where it is then able to be viewed real time on the web by myself or my client.  With this system, you can use other RFID tags for different incidents that may happen while you are working (medical emergency, suspicious person, etc.).  This information can then be emailed by the host companies server to any number of recipients I choose.  This is where the problem comes in and the programmers didn’t know the security industry well.

1) The email is not sent out until the officer completes his round

2) If the officer isn’t currently on a round (sitting at a desk), these incidents are not recorded.

Now, the reason these are problems are that many of the incidents should be forwarded by email ASAP.  My client and myself both carry Blackberry’s and will receive the email within a minute, but because the system holds it until the officer completes the round, it could take a long time for the email to be sent.  If the officer takes 30 minutes to handle the email, and then 5 minuets to complete his round, the email won’t be sent out for 35 minutes.  If the situation is a true emergency, my officer could call me, then I could call every one that needs to know, like what happens now, but the technology is supposed to make my life easier.  Second, my officers spend 3/4 of their time at a desk, not on a round.  If they are not assigned to a round on this system, they can’t input incidents.  Because of this, I know have to program in a “dummy” round, so they can log into the dummy round, log the incident, and the log off the dummy round.  This is two extra steps that should not have to happen.  If the programmers who developed this system would have done some research on the security industry, they would have seen these needs ahead of time.  Now, I could only guess at how they have codded this program, but I think both solutions could have been avoided with less then 100 lines of code.  100 lines of code for two added features that MANY of your customers would use makes a lot of sense.  On the up side, I spoke to one of the VP’s of the company, and both features are being added to their feature want list for the next update.

The moral of the story, if you are working with another industry, do some research on the other industry so you can help them before they ask you to.

ARRRR…. Windows is a pain!!!

OK, to anyone that says a windows install is easier than a Linux install, explain to me why I need a second computer to go download drivers, then .Net framework so I can get the NIC to work on the computer. Still don’t have it…

UPDATE:  OK, NIC drivers and most of the other missing drivers are installed, but I still can’t find the PCI driver, which is preventing me from installing the Sound Card drivers, which I have, but refuse to load.  The only problem I had with a simmialr model Dell when I loaded Linux was no driver for the installed NIC, so I just went out and bought one for $12.

Note to self, if asked by anyone in my family or group of friends to help with a computer problem, it will only happen if I can install whatever operating system I find fit…

Fox On Demand

I only have a few shows that I get to watch when they actually air. For that reason, I have found many other places to watch (check out LifeHacker for a great list). One way that I keep up with my shows is with Fox On Demand online. The quality of the content is excellent. There are adds within the programs, but I know Fox needs to make money on their shows. There are a few things that could be much better. For example, all of the commercials within a show are the same. I have no problem with embedded commercials, but don’t make me watch the same one 5 times in 45 minutes. Also, let me fill my whole screen with your show. If YouTube can do it, why can’t Fox. Finaly, why do I have to wait 8 days for the show to come up online? If I am a regular watcher of a show and miss one episode, it would be nice to be able to get caught up durring the week, so the next time the show is on, I can watch it on TV like normal. Is it really too much to ask for??

Tribal Wars

Over the last four months or so, I have become addicted to an online game called Tribal Wars. It is very basic in it’s game play. You start off with a village and you try to build it up. But as you build, other players around you are also getting bigger. Once you village gets to a decent size, that’s when the fun starts. As yo are building the buildings in your village, you are also (or should be) building your army. You can then use your army to plunder other villages and take their resources. As your village and army grow, you will eventually get a nobleman. Your noblemen are important, as they are the key to taking control of other villages. So, the basic play out of the game is to build an army and attack other players to take their villages away.

“But it’s called tribal wars, not village wars!” Yes, I know, I haven’t got there yet.

Once your village starts to grow to decent size, someone will eventually ask you to join a tribe, or maybe you feel ambitious and what to create your own tribe. Your tribe will end up becoming your good friends with in the game. You will share resources with them, help defend villages, and avenge there attackers, and they will do the same for you. Tribes will ally, others will become enemies, and a select few may become so close an ally that your tribe merges with theirs or your tribes decide to “Family.”

Although the game sounds a little slow, it becomes addicting because it continues to play out, even when you are not actively on and playing. I know there are other games out there that are similar, and I was wondering if anyone plays them. I am currently the Head Diplomat for my tribe, and enjoy it. If you are interested in playing with me, I’m on world 9 and in RFF. When you are asked where you would like to start, click on the north west and if you end up close enough to my tribe, I may be able to get you an invite.

http://www.tribalwars.net/1174593.html

Milk vs. Laptop

The milk won.  I will need to send out my laptop for repair as my 2 year old daughter spilled milk on it.  I’m hopping it’s just the power supply, but I don’t know my way around laptops that well.  The big downside, my homework that is due tonight was on there, so I will have to redo it this after noon before class.

Ditching Windows: Why I think Linux May Become More Popular

So, here is the scenario:

You are in charge of an businesses IT decisions and budget. It is time to start upgrading computers. Here are your options: Stay on XP forever, move everything to Vista, switch to Mac, or go with Linux.

1. Stay on XP forever: Every thing in the world of Windows XP is stable. Your employees know how to run it, all of your hardware works, and all of your software works. But XP won’t be supported forever, so eventually, you won’t have drivers for new hardware and the software you buy won’t support XP. This isn’t a next year thing, but within the next 5-7.

2. Move to Vista: I say move, because in my experience, it is not an upgrade. If you move to Vista, you will now have to train all of your employees on how to do many basic functions, as most of them are different then they are in XP. You will also probably have to hire developers, as any software that was created for your company will more than likely not run well, if at all, in Vista with out changes. All employees will also have to be trained on any changes here, as well. Much of your computer equipment will also have to be upgraded/updated. Printers that work fine in XP may not work at all in Vista, and even if it’s “Vista Certified,” that doesn’t mean that it will work flawlessly. Many computers that are not ready to be replaced may not be VISTA ready, so they will need upgrades or need to be replaced even though they work fine with XP.

3. Switch to Mac: Lets face it, Macs are expensive and most companies can not justify spending that much money on computers. You will also have to, again, redevelop most of your programs and train all of your employees.

4. Go with Linux: Training will be a big cost here. Lets face it, it’s not Windows and many users are scared when they get out of their Windows comfort zone. Your IT department should be able to put together a group of apps and a desktop style that is fairly close to the look and feel of windows. You will also have to redevelop many programs for you company. But much, if not all, of the code could be found else where, thanks to open source software. And a lot of hardware is fully compatible with Linux (yes, not all, but, like I said, a lot). Here is the big point, though. COST. Your company will no longer have to pay licensing all all of those computers running Microsoft Software.

I have not been using Linux for all that long, but I keep hearing that companies are scared to make the switch because of the training required and the need to re-develop their software. Most companies will no have to face this with Vista, as well, but Vista and the Office Suite are a heck of a lot more expensive than Linux and an Open Source word processor like OpenOffice.org.

What are your thoughts. I haven’t researched the numbers, but in my logically based mind, it makes sense. I would really love to hear from some people in the field to see if my ideas are that far fetched.