"For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived and dishonest--but the myth--persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

- JFK Yale University graduating class speech (June 11, 1962

"It is the duty of everyman, so far as his ability allows, to detect and expose delusion and error"

- Thomas Paine

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

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Softpanorama
(slightly skeptical) Open Source Software Educational Society

26 years of Softpanorama which was started in September of 1989 as a monthly floppy based bulletin for PC programmers

Switchboard Bulletin Scriptorama Networking Classic Unix Utilities Skepticism Toxic Managers Skeptic Quotations Bookshelf Humor
GUI vs. Command line interface String Operations in Shell Arithmetic Expressions in BASH Linux route command Using -exec option with find Perl Wiki as a System Administrator Tool Female Sociopaths Can't open display Error in X11 Frontpage Tips iDRAC7 goes unresponsive - can't connect to iDRAC7

Recent updates

Age quod agis ("Do well in whatever you do").

Latin proverbs - Wikiquote

This is a "slightly skeptical"  self-education oriented site that contains resources for the independently minded IT folks, critical of mainstream fads. Most material is related to programming, especially scripting (shell, Perl, pipes, Unix tools) and Unix system administration. It also might be useful as a self-education tool for those IT folk who recently found  themselves excluded and marginalized: "without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape." (Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism). See Over 50 and unemployed.

While attending university has its value in itself, as a good university cultural environment can't be replicated elsewhere, for talented people independent study might save some money and can help to avoid excessive feeding of education sharks. In any case, lifelong self-education is important and should be a goal in itself. What get's people to the top is relentless self-education and practice of a particular skill. The minimum estimate for reaching "master" level of a given skill is estimated to be around 10,000 hours, the earlier you start the better. And taking into account complexity of Unix and Byzantium tendencies of mainstream programming languages, for programming and system administration 30,000 hours is a more reasonable estimate (one year is approximately 3000 working hours).

The main purpose of the "slightly skeptical" approach (which is a signature of the site) is to stimulate critical thinking about system administration and software development as professions. Skepticism is generally any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.

We try to eschew the conventionally favored obfuscations about IT workplace and related propaganda (for example about "cloud computing" or IT outsourcing) and expose the theater of absurd which often both academic and, especially, corporate IT represents (sometimes in the form of humor; it's often the best medicine against conformism, stress, and overload.). It is important to be aware about dangers of the IT workplace such as psychopathic bosses (aka toxic managers) and health problems due to daily multi-hour sitting behind display. .As for psychopathic bosses, they have several varieties with micromanagers, bullies, narcissists and authoritarians as the most common. You need to be aware of key trait and differences between those types. It is just a survival skill, along with the ability to survive  a Bad Performance Review -- a standard under neoliberalism corporate waterboarding procedure ;-). After all you are just a consumable resource.

In a way this is a site of the "resistance movement" against neoliberal trend toward  "disposable IT workers". Which means that along with mastering the technology, maintaining your personal health and financial health are of crucial importance, especially for older folk. Still this is an educational site, not a propaganda site, and unlike propaganda that manipulates people emotions and prejudges to impose propagandist's views, education primary goal is to help to understand the current technological and social situation and to develop the ability of critical thinking. Understand what neoliberalism is about now should be a art of every programmer and system administrator education. And not only for college graduates. This is also very important for those who are over 50 and became "disposed" by the system.

Internet is a tool that gave us vast new opportunities of information exchange while at the same time tremendous possibilities of degrading of quality of this exchange in all major areas -- social, cultural, political and technical as well as possibilities of 24 x 7 surveillance about all our actions, which we ourselves make easier by using cloud email providers and social sites such as Facebook. Internet now serves as a the main advertizing channel, producing waterfalls of textual and visual spam fueled by advertising fees. Also too much information if often as bad as too little. Information overload is a real problem and in this sense filtration of information became much more important. You can use this site as one of such filters as links it provides for each topic are carefully evaluated.

At the same time Internet is a giant snooping mechanism and such sites as Facebook are not so much social sites as intelligence collection sites. Recent Snowden revelations prove that like in East Germany with its famous STASI everybody now has a dossier on him/her with a lot of meta-data and probably not only meta-data. No longer you need informants to get private information about citizens. That greatly increases the value of understanding of computer security.

For more information see About.


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