First time accepted submitter nastav writes "Now that I'm eagerly awaiting the delivery of my new shiny iPhone 5, I'm faced with a dilemma — SquareTrade, Applecare Plus, or some other insurance option? I have used SquareTrade in the past for my iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 (I skipped iPhone 4S). It provided Accidental Damage Handling (ADH) for the iPhone before Apple introduced its own version of ADH. I've had the opportunity to file claims with SquareTrade multiple times, and they handled it quickly and professionally each time. Now that there is a product from Apple itself, I'm not sure which one to get. They are priced similarly (~$100 for a two-year plan, $50 deductible for each ADH incident) Apple limits the number of ADH claims to two, whereas SquareTrade (AFAIK) limits the number of claims to the 'value of the product,' which translates to approx. 600 USD in coverage (or about 4 ADH claims). I've tried reading many comparison articles on the internet without definitive answers. I'm hoping that the tech-savvy folks on Slashdot would help out with a discussion on pros and cons of each, and perhaps add other options into the mix."
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An anonymous reader writes "I'm starting my Ph.D in psychology this year and plan to finance this period with IT freelance work, mostly building websites with Drupal and setting up Linux networks, servers, etc.. Now I have a little problem: Since I never studied ICT nor followed a course that resulted in a certificate, I can only prove my knowledge by actually doing stuff or showing what I've done so far. Unfortunately that isn't always sufficient to convince potential customers. So I was wondering what other slashdotters do. Are there any free or cheap alternatives to get certificates or other more convincing ways to prove your IT knowledge?"
Razgorov Prikazka writes "There is a lot of technology involved in sailing these days. EPIRB, FHV-DSC, GPS, NAVTEX, Inmarsat, fishfinders/depth sounders, different kinds of radar (with MARPA or ATA) — you name it and there are dozens of manufacturers out there willing to provide, all of them with a range of different products. Right now I am planning a 'round-the-world-trip,'' and my ship (an 18-meter Skerry Cruiser sailing yacht) is in its early construction phase, so I need to shop for some hi-tech gear and, basically, I got lost in all the possibilities. What kind of hardware would you recommend as necessary for a trip of this kind? What would you have installed in your ship in order to have a safe trip?"
First time accepted submitter stairmaster writes "A couple of months ago I came across an opportunity to supplement my income by doing some consulting work (read mobile app development) on the side. It appears that I will be doing this work for some time and my question for you is this: is it worth it to incorporate as a business? I know that the answer to this question is extremely dependent on circumstance but I'm interested in your experiences. Have you been in a similar situation, and if you have how did it work out for you?"
Nicros writes "I have the good fortune to be a lead software engineer in a really fun company. The culture and people are great, and while the position has some down sides (distance from home, future opportunities), in general I'm quite happy there, and I wasn't looking for a new job. Now, I've had an offer to go be a software director for a new company. The pay is more than 10% better, the location is closer to home, and the people seem nice. I would get to grow a new group as I saw fit, following some regulatory guidelines. Problem is, I just can't decide what to do, and I'm not even sure why I can't decide. Maybe it has to do with leaving a job that I like (something I've never done) that just doesn't sit well with me. Maybe it's fear. I'm 40, so maybe it's just getting older and appreciating stability more. But then again, I have my current position dialed in, and could use a change. I have ambition, and my current company has made every effort to work with me to develop my career — probably more in the business development side, but that could be fun too. That career path is just more vague and longer-term than jumping right into a director position, with no guarantee that it would even work out. In the new company, software is not what this company does primarily; not many people would use the software, so the appreciation level would be much lower than my current position. Has anyone made a transition like this in software? How did it work out? Did you stay or did you go? Why? What's more important, the people and culture at a job, or the opportunities that job presents for future growth?"
New submitter Covalent writes "I'm a science teacher and have, over the years, accumulated a number of lost graphing calculators (mostly TI-83s). After trying to locate the owners, I have given up and have been loaning them out to students as needed. I want to something more nerd-worthy with them, though. I would feel wrong for selling them. What is the best use for bunch of old calculators?"
First time accepted submitter Boldizar writes "My son turns seven next month and I'd like to buy him a cheap computer. I'm looking for the Slashdot hivemind opinion on what would be the best computer for a child. I'm looking for a computer that will teach him basic computer literacy, and hopefully one wherein the guts are a bit exposed so that he can learn how a computer works rather than just treating it like a magic object (i.e., iPad) – but that would still keep him interested and without leaving him behind in school. For the same reason, I prefer a real keyboard so he can learn to type. I don't know enough about computers to frame the question intelligently. Perhaps something in the $300 range that would be the computer equivalent of an old mechanical car engine? Another way to think about it: I'm looking for the computer equivalent of teaching my son how to survive in the forest should the zombie apocalypse ever come."
king.purpuriu writes "I'm a computer science high school student, and I'm looking for some work in IT freelancing. I have had a interest in computers and programming for a while, and I began learning on my own before high school. I would like to gain some experience (e.g. what the bulk of the jobs in various markets require, various technologies/frameworks and their usage) and possibly make some money on the side (not expecting too much; at this point, any non-negative amount will do). Key areas are web development, app programming and scripting. What solutions do you recommend? Any tips or tricks of which I should be aware? How should I deal with payment (in terms of fees and commissions; I'm from European country), and what type of work should I seek out? I would also be willing to do some small stuff for free in order to gain experience (small, static sites, small scripts, etc.)."
First time accepted submitter mrhelio writes "I work for a medium-sized helicopter company; we mainly fly tourists around on sightseeing flights. My company needs help finding a hacker-friendly portable music player for our helicopters. We have a problem with our onboard music players — mostly because it is an obsolete terrible design. The manufacturer has made an updated model, but it's basically the same obsolete design with the same terrible software and user interface. We are worried about spending $1000 per unit on these because the manufacturer will eventually stop making replacement units and then we will be force to buy upgrades for our entire fleet again and get everything recertified. (Any piece of equipment hard mounted in a commercial aircraft has to be certified by the FAA and it takes a lot of paper work, time and money for that to happen.) So we have a new plan: get portable music players like iPods, and plug those into the aux input in the intercom system. We need something that has nine hours of battery life, can hold at least three hours of music, and has remote control options for start, stop, volume, and selecting tracks and playlists, and a display that is visible in bright and sunny as well as dark conditions. The remote control option is the toughest part to find. The pilots need to be able to control the music without taking their hands off the flight controls for safety reasons. There are buttons and toggle switches already designed into the flight controls for these kind of purposes and we have mechanics/ engineers that can wire it all together, but the music player has to support the remote interface in the first place. Our first choice would be to give each pilot an iPod, but Apple is notoriously anti-hacking and anti-open source, plus you have to pay them ridiculous licensing fees to get access to their USB interface. So we are looking for a manufacturer that is open source / hacker friendly and makes something that meets our needs. Do you know of anything that would work for us? Maybe something that runs Rockbox? Should we just break down and design something from scratch like the Butterfly MP3 player?"
itwbennett writes "Slashdot readers are familiar with the Torvalds/de Icaza slugfest over 'the lack of development in Linux desktop initiatives.' The problem with the Linux desktop boils down to this: We need more applications, and that means making it easier for developers to build them, says Brian Proffitt. 'It's easy to point at solutions like the Linux Standard Base, but that dog won't hunt, possibly because it's not in the commercial vendors' interests to create true cross-distro compatibility. United Linux or a similar consortium probably won't work, for the same reasons,' says Proffitt. So, we put it to the Slashdot community: How would you fix the Linux desktop?"
An anonymous reader writes "I work at a non-profit that doesn't have the resources to automatically bend to each and every whim. However, I've been told that I can't use a cardboard box to put my computer on, for OSHA and fire prevention reasons. So the choice is, sit down for nine hours each day or else get a standup desk to the tune of 500 bucks or more. Is this worth it? Can I make one myself? Anything to know before I get in deep?" There are lots of home-grown stand-up desks out there (search IKEA Hackers for "stand-up desk" if that's your aesthetic leaning), and some ready-made ones from plainish to very expensive. If you've used a stand-up desk, what are your thoughts?
mpol writes "The job market can be hard right now, depending on your background and location. Having a disability makes things even more interesting. Seven years ago I suffered from a psychosis, and I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I have been recovering quite well, and last year I started searching for a paying job. I found one, but it didn't turn out to be the right place, so I'm back at my volunteer job as web developer. My current workplace is quite unique, as there are several people who have had a psychosis in the past, or have been diagnosed with autism. When I look at myself I know that I have some things that will always play a role: I'm very sensitive to the atmosphere in the workplace for example. I also need clear communication, more so than other people. Furthermore, a workweek of maybe 20-25 hours is the max for me. I tried self-employment, but motivation and discipline are a bit hard to come by, and it's not something that will work for me long-term. In theory it's perfect, in practice not so much. I'm not sure what my short-term future will look like, and for this year I'm quite happy where I am, but next year I might go searching for a salaried job again. I'm wondering if there are more people on Slashdot who have a job in ICT, or are seeking one, and also have disabilities. How did you land at your job, and what issues do you run into in daily practice?"
First time accepted submitter Texaskilt writes "I am looking to put together a mobile mesh network for my volunteer fire department and would like some recommendations from the Slashdot crowd. Ideally, the network would consist of cheap wireless routers (Linksys WRT-type) mounted on each vehicle. From there, tablets or other wireless devices could connect to the router. When the vehicles are in the station, the routers would auto-connect to the WiFi network to receive calls for service and other updates. When out on a call, the router would form an ad-hoc network with other vehicles on the scene. If a vehicle came into range of an Internet 'hotspot,' it would notify other vehicles and become a gateway for the rest of the 'ad-hoc' networked vehicles. I've looked at Freifunk for this, but would like some other options. Recommendations please?"
An anonymous reader writes "I live in the Middle East. Summer temperatures occasionally reach 60C/140F, well over the operating specs for most consumer tech. Quite a number of work and residential compounds are secured, prohibiting everything from computers to cameras to phones to USB sticks to car remote controls. When I know that I'm visiting one of those compounds, I end up leaving all the tech I can at home or in the office, and only bringing a cell phone, and leaving it in my car. However, "only a cell phone" has quickly morphed into "only two cell phones, a car MP3 player and remote, and .... ooh, shiny... a new tablet... and an electric razor just in case I have to touch up before a party in a compound." I'm wondering what kind of technologies we have for keeping all this tech cool for four hours in the car. Overnight events might last longer, but won't be as hot."