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Competition Aims To Make Cybergeeks Cool 134

Posted by samzenpus
from the good-luck-with-that dept.
itwbennett writes "The organizers of the Cyber Foundations program have some lofty goals. In addition to identifying a new generation of security experts, they want to make cybergeeks as cool as sports stars, said Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, a sponsor of the competition. The competition includes tests in computer networking, operating systems and systems administration. Registration is open until Feb. 18. and prizes include four full-ride college scholarships sponsored by the U.S. Navy, gift certificates, and letters of recognition from governors and members of the U.S. Congress."
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Competition Aims To Make Cybergeeks Cool

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  • by jack2000 (1178961) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @06:34PM (#35084970)
    Stop plastering "cyber" everywhere.
    • by Surt (22457)

      It's a necessary clarificative. Without it, how would you know if you were talking about just plain geeks, vs geeks who like to cyber all the time. This is a competition for cybergeeks.

      • >> computer networking, operating systems and systems administration

        They should call them what they are, skiddies. ;)

        • by Yvanhoe (564877)
          I hope anonymous will derail their competition.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Why bother? Anyone deluded enough to think geeks will ever be in any way cool is destined to fail. I love their 'solution' - 'I know how to change the general publics opinion of us geeks as ivory towered computer obsessed losers with no life that live in their parents basement, we'll hold a contest involving computer networking, operating systems and systems administration where they can win scholarships (totally not a nerdy prize!!) and letters from politicians (everyone loves them!!)' Even the geekiest ub

    • This story reminds me of the Sliders episode (season 1?) where being a geek/nerd makes you a superstar. They even have sports where bonus points are scored for answering questions while shooting a ball into a hoop.

      • by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @08:56PM (#35086160) Homepage

        Back to reality of course, the want to scam a bunch of really smart students who are most likely to be marketing resistant into believing they can be as 'cool' as their jock strap counter parts, even though career prospects means they'll be getting paid 1/10th as much, be shunned by mass media and women that pursue cash or fame will still have no interest in them.

        Reality is, if they want to convince suitable types, they will have to convince them there is a solid well paying career. That they won't get dumped or their salary package screwed with by politicians, whenever it's politically convenient. That they will have a pleasant work environment and will not be stood over by administrative political appointees seeking to claim credit for the work and blame them for the idiot political appointees mistakes.

        For the cybergeeks (argh, just die already) there are already very popular places to work for, be it google type private corporations, high tech corporations like boeing and when it comes to security, well, take your pick of multinational banks. If security is your thing not only will pay and conditions be far better at the banks but there are also many opportunities for overseas postings. Basically as you work your way through the list, only the anal left overs end up at government, except of course the main professionally paranoid government institutions which can still manage to snag a few top flight types.

        Want to promote the security industry, then sponsor a TV series targeted at mid-teen sci fi types, that isn't dumbed down and creates a false 'er' exaggerated impression of career desirability. Sponsor computer games that also give a false 'er' exaggerated impression of rewards for security success.

    • by treeves (963993)

      Yeah, but you're telling the CYBER Foundation to stop putting "cyber" on everything. Do you really think they're gonna listen?

    • Oh great, this thread again. Seems like every time a cyber word is used, a cyber-bully rears their head, and cyber-comments about how cyber shouldn't be used all the time. This always just turns into cyber-rage.

      Stop cyber-hatin', and start cyber-lovin'!

    • by antdude (79039)

      Don't you want to be radical/rad. like CYBERjack2000? [grin]

      • by spazdor (902907)

        Dude, don't you know what happens when you type CYBERjack?
        Cuz I don't but from the rumours it ai^X
        NO CARRIER

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If geeks were cool they wouldn't be geeks. Part of being a geek is the whole uncoolness thing.

    • Re:Yeah, right. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @07:57PM (#35085708)

      If geeks were cool they wouldn't be geeks. Part of being a geek is the whole uncoolness thing.

      Besides which, "performing useful/important work" will disqualify you from being cool and popular. We'd rather pay people millions of dollars to chase a football around and thousands of dollars to secure vital infrastructure.

      Our priorities are so fucked up like that. If we had severe natural selection competition from a competing species, we'd deserve to die out. We idolize and worship our most useless elements while oppressing and ridiculing our most useful.

      • Unless the other species had skin that was just perfect for sewing into oblong shaped bladders and whose loin meat, finely chopped and robustly seasoned, made a damned fine chili for game day...
  • Already cool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @06:38PM (#35085032) Journal

    Linus Torvalds is already cooler than any football player.

    • You need to update your sig, we're now on Slashdot 3.0.
    • Nobody pays millions of dollars for 30 seconds of ad time during a Torvalds speech.

      • by Ranguvar (1924024)

        Nobody pays millions of dollars for 30 seconds of ad time during a Torvalds speech.

        Nobody pays millions of dollars for 30 seconds of ad time during a Roger Goodell speech either.

        The answer is clear -- Linuxians vs. GNUheads in Hacker Bowl 2011!

    • by Comhack (978088)
      +1 No doubt!!
  • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @06:39PM (#35085036)

    Sports stars, sadly, are often rich, objectifying substance abusers. While some few compete legitimately and are gentlemen, most do not embody fair competition or the kind of behavior that I, at least, think we should be encouraging in our communities, our nation, or our species. Shouldn't our real objective be to teach that accomplishments and respect for others are what make people cool, rather than to make one group cool by heightening their profile?

    • I'm pretty sure that most folk's standard for cool is how much drama something solicits. That said, trying to make respect and accomplishment cool is probably an exercise in futility.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      You have your most and often backwards.

      Dont forget you will almost never here of someone being kind a friendly. AS soon as one gets drun in public it's palstered all of the media.

      • by treeves (963993)

        He has "netfo dna tsom"?

      • by mug funky (910186)

        i, for one, would take my millions and go party where nobody knows me, or they don't have cameras.

        but then, these people would be ordinary people and thus not have the same pulling power. if they were competing for a girl with julian assange, he'd probably get her.

    • Jesus Christ, how many pro athletes have you known?!? They're very typically hardworking people and nice folks who are well aware that they're being paid to play a game. Like anything else, you're just talking out your ass about the 1% of the top who get money with no wisdom and succumb to humdrum everyday human character failings. Stop accepting distorted media stories as real!
      • And those nice hardworking athletes are being paid orders of magnitude more than they deserve, like most entertainers.
        • Balls to that. They're paid based on how vital they are to an organization for whom they demonstrably make much, much more money than they're paid. Professional athletes are, in most cases, rather underpaid in comparison to the amount of money that they make for their bosses.

  • Like any true athlete, the joy should be in the sport, not the glory.

  • That's nice, but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @06:50PM (#35085140) Homepage Journal
    Really if we want to improve the image of a group of people, I would like to see a conscious effort to get people to look up to scientists. We try to say that we encourage great scientific research but we can't even bother putting great scientists on stamps? Mickey Mouse has been on how many stamps, yet I don't recall ever seeing an Einstein stamp.

    But postage aside, we really end up - consciously or not - marginalizing scientists in our country. We don't give them the prestige they deserve, and we make them fight like American Idol contestants (to say nothing of the fact that many people can name more living Idol contestants than living scientists) for the kind of money that professional athletes would laugh at. Other countries hold their top researchers in great prestige; this may end up being just another sign of the decay of our empire here.
    • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

      Now you've seen lots [google.com]. There were at least two in the US.

      • That search almost makes it worse, really. Vietnam has Einstein on a stamp, we haven't had him on a stamp since stamps were 15 cents?
        • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

          True, but I didn't see any Michael Vick, Brett Farve (though there is a 33 cent Green Bay stamp), or LeBron James stamps for that matter.

          However, there is a Feynman stamp, a von Neumann stamp, a Josiah Willard Gibbs stamp, a Barbara McClintock stamp, John James Audubon, Dr. Crawford W. Long, Luther Burbank, Dr. Walter Reed, Jane Addams, and educators such as Horace Mann, Mark Hopkins, Charles Elliot, Frances E. Willard, Booker T. Washington, inventors such as Eli Whitney, Samuel F. B. Morse, Cyrus Hall McCo

      • by hitmark (640295)

        or how about tesla on currency? http://www.teslasociety.com/various_tesla.htm [teslasociety.com]

    • I thought about doing a kickstarter project to collect $50-100K to do billboard adds in Chicago, LA, and NY with various high-profile scientists, their name, and a small snip next to their name regarding what they do (think Intel's "Our rockstars aren't your rockstars" commerical). Haven't gotten around to it though.

      I don't have a problem with athletes. I have a problem with (and find it disgusting) how much they're paid and praised to entertain compared to those who are working for peanuts saving lives/the

      • I thought about doing a kickstarter project to collect $50-100K to do billboard adds in Chicago, LA, and NY with various high-profile scientists, their name, and a small snip next to their name regarding what they do (think Intel's "Our rockstars aren't your rockstars" commerical). Haven't gotten around to it though.

        My only concern with that approach is that it would be like giving people who are vehemently opposed to specific research disciplines their own hit lists. I once worked near a lab where some nutjob scaled the (18 story!) building to hang a tent off of so he could camp out in protest of (his misinformation on) animal research that was (not) being done in that building. Eventually we had to get the fire department (who later proclaimed that they would have never considered his equipment safe) to lower him

        • Maybe stick to generic definitions? "Curing Cancer", "Solving energy problems", and so forth. I am, indeed, very open to ideas before pursuing this.

        • That's like saying you shouldn't advertise athletes because readers/seers may be from a rival team...the number of people so opposed to care to do physical damage are much less than those who wouldn't.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ljw1004 (764174)

      Just from last year's stamps alone in the UK --

      Boyle, Newton, Franklin, Babbage, Rutherford: http://www.royalmail.com/portal/stamps/content1?catId=115800796&mediaId=116600770 [royalmail.com]

      Flemming, Ross, Hounsfield: http://www.royalmail.com/portal/stamps/content1?catId=127200772&mediaId=128800767 [royalmail.com]

      Darwin: http://www.royalmail.com/portal/stamps/content1?catId=91400755&mediaId=91500749 [royalmail.com]

      Watt, Stephenson, McAdam: http://www.royalmail.com/portal/stamps/content1?catId=93000750&mediaId=93000754 [royalmail.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Nazlfrag (1035012)

        Hell yeah! Now science will be the latest fad with the stamp collecting crowd, bringing us cybergeeks into the spotlight! Finally we get recognition from those cool, trendy, hip & streetwise philatelists!

    • by Bigbutt (65939)

      Who uses stamps nowadays?

      I'm for it, but I can't tell you the last time I used or even saw a stamp.

      [John]

      • by xaxa (988988)

        A week ago I posted a concert ticket to my brother. 1 stamp.

        Yesterday I stuck 4 on a parcel (sold something on eBay). It's more convenient than paying for postage online, and much more convenient than going to the post office.

    • we really end up - consciously or not - marginalizing scientists in our country.

      Indeed, I have even heard it said, possibly here on Slashdot but I'm not sure, that pursuing a career in science is similar in some respects to entering the priesthood. In order to do either, one must make a serious long term commitment, and one not easily broken, to a job which requires nearly complete devotion to the work and lifestyle at relatively low rates of remuneration. It takes a certain kind of person, whether priest or scientist, to make that sort of long term commitment to advance in their chose

    • Yeah, except footballers get private money, scientists have to rely on taxpayer's money. Of course you're cheap if it's you paying up, rather than people paying on your behalf (the money still comes from your pocket, but you gave it of your own accord).
      • by lxs (131946)

        You mean all those scientists working in the research departments of Shell and Pfizer and Nichia and almost every tech company out there? It's not all engineers you know. And many of the engineers are doing work comparable to that of the scientists.

        xkcd 664 [xkcd.com] springs to mind.

    • Actually a lot of countries did put out Einstein stamps, even the US did at least twice according to my quick Cyber Googling, 8 and 15 cents. Mickey Mouse probably has more lobbying clout in Washington nowadays, it's either this or somebody has a cyber string theory agenda.

    • I completely agree, but you still have to remember that there are maybe I don't know, 6000 pro athletes in the entire country and they have to fight even harder for jobs while also sacrificing any kind of plan B. Compare that to maybe 600,000 scientists who will get a decent paying job no matter what.

      Yeah athletes get paid a ton, but they entertain millions and there are not very many. It's like winning the lottery.

      Anyway, go scientists!
    • Screw the stamps, I want to see a, "Women of Science," swimsuit calendar. My two nominees are Felicia Wolfe-Simon and Hanny van Arkel.
  • The only "cyber-skilled" (that word if from tfa, not my creation) high schoolers I can think of that would be interested in this competition, and in being cool for their leet security skills are the same people frequenting 4chan... They have plenty of experience with LOIC ddos tools, but I somehow doubt they are going to be viable candidates long term.

    If the gov wants more "world class" security professionals how about offer some free training to those already established in the field. Oh and offer pay that

    • Well, it's all noobish, csa stuff, the thing you can learn from reading the manual after 5 seconds.

  • I don't give a fuck what the jock-worshippers I already despise think so long as they stay out of my way.

    I don't WANT every dumbshit out there to be a wannabe geek. We don't need to flood the market, we don't need any more noobs.

    Exclusivity benefits people who provide services, be they a pipe weldor or a geek. Barriers to entry are fine.

    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      You seem bitter. Wedgie riding up today?
      • by couchslug (175151)

        Regarding attempts to flood self-selected groups with noobs, fuck yes I'm bitter. It just pollutes (groups) with non-serious people and adds noise.

        Remember when Slashdot wasn't just 4chan with a green color scheme?

        No wedgie though. Underwear is just a way to turn perfectly good white fabric brown and yellow.

        • by Bieeanda (961632)
          Was that time supposed to be before or after the reign of naked and petrified Natalie Portmans, pants filled with hot grits, Beowulf clusters of unlikely objects, and the GNAA? Because I've been here like ten years between this account and its predecessor, and I don't recall this golden age at all.

          Seriously dude, listen to yourself. You come off as a parody of the vicious nerd that everyone knew in high school, ranting about noobs and jocks-- and that's just embarrassing. Tragic, at worst.

          Your example is ri

    • This is exactly why I dislike the slow mainstreaming of geek and to a lesser extent gamer culture. The Big Bang Theory, Numb3rs, and the other terrible shows milking geek culture have really proven to be absolute garbage.
  • ...a security expert!
  • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @07:17PM (#35085378)
    When I hacked my first Gibson using an Osborne 1 and its Modem Peripheral all I got when I bragged about it to the captain of the high school football team was an atomic wedgie.
  • making a high school aged competition won't make security "cool" any more than spelling bee's make good spelling cool, or academic quiz teams made academics cool.

    Just because you got some high schoolers involved in a competition doesn't mean something is now "cool", and no, letters from congressmen or navy scholarships don't make things cool either.

    This just shows a lack of understanding as to why people idolize sports/entertainment stars.

    • Just because you got some high schoolers involved in a competition doesn't mean something is now "cool", and no, letters from congressmen or navy scholarships don't make things cool either.

      This just shows a lack of understanding as to why people idolize sports/entertainment stars.

      Well the letters aren't really that cool per-se but a full ride scholarship is. That is actually a lot of money and if you don't need to spend any money on school, it means while in school any money you earn you can spend on whatever you like. And when you graduate you will be part of the minority that don't have student loans to pay off.

      People idolize sports and entertainment stars because they are famous and rich. This competition probably won't give you much fame but it will make you rich in the sense th

      • by Unkyjar (1148699)

        I got several full ride scholarships while I was in high school. And I'm pretty sure winning them didn't make me any cooler with any clique in high school but my own.

        I also don't think the wealth is why people idolize sports and entertainment stars today, not that it isn't a factor, but there is money in plenty of professions where people aren't idolized. I think it's more the attention and in many cases respect, but they get attention and respect because people idolize them, which is leading me around k

  • "It's like the Geek Olympics - even if you win. you're still a loser."

    Hint - if you do win, don't tell any women - The Big Bang Theory is not a reality TV show.

    • by tomhudson (43916)
      Obama never said that it was like winning the Geek Olympics, that even if you win, you're still a loser.

      But if he HAD, he would have been correct.

      Q: What's worse than entering the geek olympics?
      A: Winning the geek olympics.

      Q. What's worse than winning the geek olympics?
      A: Bragging about winning the geek olympics.

      Q. What;s worse than bragging about winning the geek olympics?
      A. Passing the drug test afterward so you can't claim you were bombed out of your gourd and entered it as a joke.

      Q. What

  • Starting with science [rockstarsofscience.org] and then this.

    For once, should we not stick with just plain simple friendly neighborhood rocket-scientist?

  • F* that. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by digitalhermit (113459) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @08:22PM (#35085888) Homepage

    I'm sick of this self-perpetuating bullshit that says geeks can't be athletic or interesting or cool (where "cool" means relatively unconcerned about what other people think about them) . Geeks are fascinating. They travel. They build things. They do interesting things with electricity and power motors. They make films, design cars, hike volcanoes, enter sporting events.

    Being socially inept does not make one a geek. Certainly some geeks could give a rat's ass about how they appear to others, so they come off as anti-social, but that's often by choice. Boring chatter about the weather and the local sports team is fine, but boring is boring, and geeks often have better things to do.

    Being non-athletic does not make one a geek. Yes, many geeks associate working out with some desperate attempt to impress others or the opposite sex (or the same sex if you swing that way) and just say no, but who can blame them?

      I may or may not be a geek, who the hell knows or cares. But I do know that labels are a sad attempt to compartmentalize *people*.

    • (where "cool" means relatively unconcerned about what other people think about them)

      Certainly some geeks could give a rat's ass about how they appear to others, so they come off as anti-social, but that's often by choice

      I like how in the same post you say cool people don't care about what other people think about them. And you also say that not caring about what other people think is anti-social

    • by russotto (537200)

      I'm sick of this self-perpetuating bullshit that says geeks can't be athletic or interesting or cool (where "cool" means relatively unconcerned about what other people think about them) . Geeks are fascinating. They travel. They build things. They do interesting things with electricity and power motors. They make films, design cars, hike volcanoes, enter sporting events.

      "Cool" doesn't mean "relatively unconcerned about what people think about them". Lots of geeks have that. For a person to be "cool" means

    • Certainly some geeks could give a rat's ass about how they appear to others, so they come off as anti-social, but that's often by choice.

      Funny thing is, if they choose to be social, then a geek would probably hit the mark. I've seen some friends of mine turn 30 and say, "I'm sick of this life as a single, I'm going out". Took a bunch of books on socializing, being yourself around women, etc, and they broke the code. They either have strained backs/hips or have found a woman for a stable relationship.

      I'm convinced that geeks, who often have enough intelligence, can learn social skills very easily just by checking the available documentation.

      • book recommendations, or other reading materials would be appreciated.
        • All the latest material by David DeAngelo is very good. It's available on torrent sites, if you're tight on money. He had a name as a "pick up artist", i.e. stupid, manipulative tricks instead of honest character building, but that's not the case anymore. The stuff by Love Systems is very good too, with a systematical approach that suits me (as a geek) perfectly. Their guide is called Magic Bullets [lovesystems.com] and basically it's a step-by-step guide. If you need a hand, check out the forums at The Attraction Forums [theattractionforums.com].

          If

          • by Evtim (1022085)

            Guys,

            I really cannot understand this. How come that anybody on this planet needs courses in interpersonal skills (ok, anybody who is more or less healthy and sane)? I mean, if there is anything that separates us from the other animals, it our ability to socialize. Mammals are the champions of cooperation and socializing (social insects, I know, but there the cooperation is largely due to them being closely linked genetically) and among them Homo Sapiens is by far the most advance. Those things come absolute

            • It would be interesting to dive into research, to see what factors in upbringing influence social skills. Must be there somewhere.

              Your anecdotal evidence sounds logical, and I could agree but in the meantime, I think that your character as given by nature (not nurture) plays a big role here, too. I'm not too heavy on the more 'manly' qualities, after having done a few psychological tests.

              I felt it was hard to make bold moves, to get the women that I wanted. The available documentation shows that's only natu

            • It's just like any other skill. You have to learn it. Yes, childhood experiences can make it a lot easier, but you usually don't have a lot of control over that, and not everyone was brought up in a traditional family. Just like a jock could pick up a book and work hard to become a programmer, so can a geek pick up a book and work hard to become popular. It's never too late to learn something new.

    • Agreed!

      I'm a pentester and the lead maintainer of a pentest Linux distro based on gnome: gnacktrack.co.uk [slashdot.org]........

      Yet i also train in MMA daily and although what the Americans would term as a Rookie, i am yet to loose at the standard i'm fighting. I would say i'm both a geek and cool.
    • I'm considered a geek by many and I play D1 sports (XC and track). I've run a mile faster than .01% of the world's population... ...But "cybergeeks" as cool as sport stars? phaw! I was laughing aloud at that. I like the niche spot.
  • I'm a geek (non-uber). I seek to be uncool. I don't care to be what the world wants. Read a different way: Who cares what others think. IMO
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is a competition based upon skills in using consumer electronics, not science or engineering.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @11:09PM (#35087102)
    I'm tired of being the only cool cybergeek ;P
  • by Anonymous Coward

    There's CYBERgeeks now? Damn I'm off the pace.

    Honestly, apart from the obvious misconceptions, did the eds read the post at all?

  • Want geeks to be cool?

    Step one: bathe on a regular basis, as in daily, this includes brushing one's teeth.

    Step two: include activities that might occassional result in eposure to UV and body perspiration (see step one).

    Step three: partake in tribal ritual known as social drinking with people outside one's immediate peer group.

    Step three.one: wear a shirt to said social gathering, that has buttons, is not black, and does not have a saying on it that only anime/manga fans would get.

    Step four: sa

    • by janestarz (822635)
      If you need to be gorgeous and adhere to ridiculous social standards in order to be cool, most geeks are doomed any way. We don't have the cool hobbies, because practicing sports take time away from our interesting research. We don't watch the cool shows, because most popular TV shows have gaping plot holes or are just not interesting at all. It's hard to "fit in" when you're smarter than the masses. I like it that way.

      We are more suited to distinguishing ourselves from the masses with silly jokes and do

  • ... if you want to to shine up geeks image you want to help those who are mocked, who don't care about their appearance or social skills and rather focus on making them better people all around.

    The real issue is the nerds/geeks people hate give those nerds/geeks who are not like the ones people hate a bad name.

    You're never going to get rid o the stigma of geek/nerd = socially inept loser obsessed with difficult stuff, people always want a punching bag and someone to look down on, the only way to counter tha

  • by dugeen (1224138) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:05AM (#35088542) Journal
    Anyone who thinks an official endorsement of coolness has any desirability has misunderstood the concept of 'cool'.
  • Tired-ass people trying to warm-over some tired-ass bullshit from the 90's tech glory days.
    That's what the hell this is.

    You know what makes you "cool"?
    Providing a lot of value to one group of people, and being idolized by a second, lower status group of people who wish they could do the same.
    That's all.

    Make some soul-less executive motherfuckers (who don't even remotely understand what the fuck you're doing) very rich, inspire n00bs just coming into the workforce to do the same ... presto, you're fuckin' co

    • I've had it with this whole "geek" thing really. I kinda bought into it when I was 23, just starting out, and the thought of working 14 hour days every damn day, including the weekends because I was *so dedicated to this awesome thing I was building* seemed romantic; glamorous in a way. All that 90's / early 2000's media sure re-enforced the notion.

      Here's the thing. I wasn't "cool" I was just another cog in the system. All that effort and dedication? It didn't mean a damn thing to anyone but me, and in the end, I made other people a lot of money and didn't get too much out of it myself, other than the satisfaction of building some really neat shit that belonged to other people who didn't give a damn after a year or two.

      This. For these reasons I've been thinking of getting out of IT entirely, xkcd 664 [xkcd.com] says it all. Seems like a better hobby than career. The problem is there aren't many other things I'm good at :-(

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