First time accepted submitter ternarybit writes "By 'Linux professional,' I mean anyone in a paid IT position who uses or administers Linux systems on a daily basis. Over the past five years, I've developed an affection for Linux, and use it every day as a freelance IT consultant. I've built a breadth of somewhat intermediate skills, using several distros for everything from everyday desktop use, to building servers from scratch, to performing data recovery. I'm interested in taking my skills to the next level — and making a career out of it — but I'm not sure how best to appeal to prospective employers, or even what to specialize in (I refuse to believe the only option is 'sysadmin,' though I'm certainly not opposed to that). Specifically, I'm interested in what practical steps I can take to build meaningful skills that an employer can verify, and will find valuable. So, what do you do, and how did you get there? How did you conquer the catch-22 of needing experience to get the position that gives you the experience to get the position? Did you get certified, devour books and manpages, apprentice under an expert, some combination of the above, or something else entirely?"
An anonymous reader (citing "silly workplace security policies") writes "I'm in charge of developing for my workplace a particular sort of 'dynamic' file server for handling scientific data. We have all the hardware in place, but can't figure out what *nix distro would work best. Can the great minds at Slashdot pool their resources and divine an answer? Some background: We have sensor units scattered across a couple square miles of undeveloped land, which each collect ~500 gigs of data per 24h. When these drives come back from the field each day, they'll be plugged into a server featuring a dozen removable drive sleds. We need to present the contents of these drives as one unified tree (shared out via Samba), and the best way to go about that appears to be a unioning file system. There's also requirement that the server has to boot in 30 seconds or less off a mechanical hard drive. We've been looking around, but are having trouble finding info for this seemingly simple situation. Can we get FreeNAS to do this? Do we try Greyhole? Is there a distro that can run unionfs/aufs/mhddfs out-of-the-box without messing with manual recompiling? Why is documentation for *nix always so bad?""
An anonymous reader writes "As a kid in the late 1970s and the 1980s, Dungeons and Dragons, as well as many other fine tabletop roleplaying games, figured heavily in my life. From learning about various forms of governments (theocracies, oligarchies, etc.) and Greek, Norse, and Egyptian mythology, to what N.B. and et al. mean, to the social glue that enabled people like me to get together, write cool adventures, problem-solve, and have a blast doing it all, role playing games were a powerful force in my life. The thing is, I still enjoy playing them. A lot. I get together once a month with friends and we play for sometimes up to eight straight hours of epic battles, puzzles, legends, lore, and camaraderie. All of this, unfortunately, seems totally alien to someone who did not grow up with RPGs and who has never experienced the sheer joy of a dungeon crawl. Have you ever had to explain to your spouse or significant other why you value gaming so much, or why it is ok to spend a hunk of time with other gamers? How do you begin to relate it all to them?"
An anonymous reader writes "In the tech industry, as the economy continues its downturn, IT folks in my circles who were either laid off or let go are turning to contract work to pay their bills. Layoffs and a decline in tech jobs has affected older IT workers the most. Many of us find it more lucrative and enjoyable in the long run and leave the world of cubicles forever. However, there is much to be said for working for a large company or corporation, and health insurance is one of the benefits we value most. But what happens to those who find themselves in this position at mid-career or later in life? Hopefully they have accumulated enough savings or have enough money in an HSA to survive a major medical emergency. Unfortunately, many do not and some find themselves in dire straits with their lives depending on others for help. I have been working IT contracts mostly now for the past 11 years and I've done very well. I belong to a group insurance plan and the coverage is decent, but as I get older, premiums and copays go up and coverage goes down. If you work contracts exclusively, what do you think is the best plan for insurance? Any preferences?"
First time accepted submitter dubbreak writes "I was recently injured in a car accident which will limit the use of hand for six weeks or so. I'll be taking a little time off, but deadlines march on, and I'll need to be (semi) productive after my initial recuperation. What is you experience with single handed keyboards or other input option that require one hand at most? The current project is mainly C#, so I've need to be able to type brackets, semicolons and parentheses quick and painlessly."
New submitter frrrp asks, now that "Australia has proceeded on its merry way towards being an absolute nanny/surveillance state," what the best way is for Australians to avoid government snooping. "The Australian public, and media, have been largely asleep on this issue and, by Parliament standards, the speed with which this legislation has been rushed through must be a new record — with both major political parties colluding to force it through and quash any thoughts of amendment to its draconian scope. So the time has come — VPN is no longer a luxury but a necessity. The question is, which VPN service providers are best for us poor folks on the arse end of the planet? I have more or less settled on probably going with Private Internet Access. Can any of the BigBrains on Slashdot enlighten me further on the subject of personal VPN — the kind that provides the full spectrum of service as a naked direct link does?"
New submitter diacritica writes "This Ask Slashdot is inspired by manhunts à-la-Bourne movies, but taking a more realistic approach to the world we live in. You are native to and live in a big city (> 1M pop) in a G8 country of your choosing. At T = 0h, you accidentally witness a strange event. At T = 1h, you realize you're being followed and you get the feeling that the police/government might be involved. Contextual data: you are able to speak one language apart from good English. You are 25 to 45 years old. You are computer savvy. You are engaged/married, you have family living in the same city. 99% of your money is in a bank account. You prefer to go 'rationally' paranoid. What would you do in order to feel safe after those first 24 hours? Remember, you didn't commit a crime, but there are plenty of real-world resources invested in catching you."
conner_bw writes "Is there an acceptable compromise to behavioral targeting? On the one hand, I don't want to be profiled by unscrupulous advertisers. On the other hand, I feel that the advertiser is the middleman between the things I care about (content) and the dollars that support those things. My compromise is to take a page out of BF Skinner's book, Walden Two, and view the situation as a sort of absurd behaviorist experiment. Basically, I Adblock everything, but whitelist the sites I support. Is this too much? Not enough? What should individuals do protect themselves, if anything at all?"
dousette writes "I have been tasked with modernizing our company's board room. Replacing the overhead projector with a more modern LCD projector is a no-brainer, speakers are easy enough to wire off of the HDMI projector, but one of the requirements that has me stumped is the recording of minutes. The existing system uses wired microphones connected to a cassette player, and what I would love to replace this with are some sort of Ethernet microphone that could stream directly to a Windows file share. Does such an animal exist? Do you have any other suggestions for the room that I might be missing?" So if you wanted to bypass a stand-alone system, how would you go about dumping audio straight to your network?
Albanach writes "I'm sure I'm not alone in being asked to help friends and family with computer issues. These folk typically run Windows (everything from XP onward) or OS X (typically 10.4 onward). Naturally, desktop sharing is often much easier than trying to talk the other end through various steps. I've found free sites like join.me but they don't work with OS X 10.4, neither does the Chrome plugin. I'd also prefer not to compromise security by using a third party in the middle of the connection. Is there a good, free solution I can run on my linux box that supports old and new clients that run Windows, OS X and possibly linux? I'd love it if the users could simply bring their systems up to date, but that doesn't solve the third party issue and it's not easy when it requires a non-trivial RAM upgrade on a Mac Mini."
gspec writes "I read less and less nowadays, but I realize I need to get back into my old reading habit. Would getting an ebook reader or a tablet help me to enjoy reading more? Would you recommend one over the other? A little relevant background about me: I probably can spare two hours a day to read. I do not travel a lot. I am not a fast reader; if I force myself, I could probably finish a standard length novel in a week. English is my second language, so a built-in dictionary would be nice. I enjoy Netflix, and I have bought many computer/technical eBooks from O'Reilly for reference. I have many technical reference PDFs. I have 300-400 bucks to spare for this. I'd like to hear opinions based on your knowledge and experience on reading using ebook readers/tablets."
kactusotp writes "I run a small indie game company, and since source code is kind of our lifeblood, I'm pretty paranoid about backups. Every system has a local copy, servers run from a RAID 5 NAS, we have complete offsite backups, backup to keyrings/mobile phones, and cloud backups in other countries as well. With all the talk about solar flares and other such near-extinction events lately, I've been wondering: is it actually possible to store or protect data in such a way that if such an event occurred, data survives and is recoverable in a useful form? Optical and magnetic media would probably be rendered useless by a large enough solar flare, and storing source code/graphics in paper format would be impractical to recover, so Slashdot, short of building a Faraday cage 100 km below the surface of the Moon, how could you protect data to survive a modern day Carrington event?"
metrix007 writes "I am a recent immigrant to the U.S. I am used to going to countries and paying a small amount, say, $30, for a simcard and using it with my unlocked phone. I can't seem to do that in the U.S., where the only options seem to be to buy a phone and buy minutes as I need them such as with Tracfone, or a contract where I pay an amount per month to pay off a phone and a certain amount of minutes. I have a Google Nexus One, which is better than any phone offered on the basic plans from all the cell providers. Is there any way I can use it as a cell phone in the U.S. for about $30-$50/month? It seems a shame to waste it and have to pay for a lesser phone."
spiffmastercow writes "After nearly a decade of professional software development, my desire to work on something more interesting than business applications has pushed me toward looking into going back to school. I'd like to go into a graduate program for Computer Science, but I need to weigh my options very carefully. Is a Ph.D. a near-guarantee of a spot in a skunkworks type of job (Microsoft Research and the like)? Is a M.S. just as good for this? How does the 'letter of recommendation' requirement work if you haven't kept in touch with your professors?"
New submitter tsakas writes: "I am an IT researcher from southern Europe looking for a good place to relocate. Markets are pulling the teeth out of the strong European countries by destroying the south. The U.S. is in debt and there is no way of telling how long this can go on. China and India are on the rise. Brazil and Australia are looking good. The question: Which city would you choose to go and start a family if you were to stay there for a) 5, b) 10 and c) 20 years?"