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Comment: Re: Sooo .. (Score 5, Informative) 127

This is one of the most common forms of phone theft these days - not the traditional "violent mugging" but the most basic form of physical robbery - grab it quickly out of someone's unsuspecting hand as they walk down the street focussed on their phone and not the world around them. Then run or bike away. I haven't known someone have their phone stolen in a "mugging-style" robbery in many years, but I personally know of four people (in London) who have had their phone stolen by this method recently.

Comment: Re:HTTP isn't why the web is slow (Score 1) 161

by Afty0r (#48774733) Attached to: HTTP/2 - the IETF Is Phoning It In

loads untold numbers of scripts and other files from dozens of domains, mostly for tracking, A/B testing and other things that the user doesn't want or need

I know this is a popular meme around here, and on the tracking side I am kinda with you (though it is nice to have ads which are more contextually relevant to me and this can help) but on A/B users DEFINITELY want and need this... it's a fantastic tool in making web sites better over time - meaning all users benefit from continued usage.

Arguing against A/B testing because "you don't want it" is like arguing against some of your taxes being used in medical research to cure disease - just because you are not getting a benefit today (you're actually LOSING money) does not mean it is a bad thing, or that you should attempt to not participate.

(as an aside, we still live in a world where many senior people with zero knowledge of website usage and user experience architecture still think they should be dictating layout/flow/features/content - and you cannot hit these people round the head with a clue by four... A/B testing is useful to show up their shitty ideas for what they are and keep the sites good).

Comment: Millionaire who can't do math? (Score 1) 329

by Afty0r (#48491749) Attached to: Taxi Medallion Prices Plummet Under Pressure From Uber

"I'm already at peace with the idea that I'm going to go bankrupt," said Larry Ionescu, who owns 98 Chicago taxi medallions. As recently as April, Boston taxi medallions were selling for $700,000. The last sale, in October, was for $561,000.

Larry believes he will go bankrupt, Larry who owns assets which he could liquidate for around $55 million - so unless he has debts of over $55 million or one CRAZY hectic lifestyle, he cannot bankrupt unless he's 2 marbles short of a jar and chooses not to liquidate now. If this is the case, then he's an idiot and I have no sympathy. And if either of the former are true, I still have no sympathy.

Comment: Re:Flawed, 'cos... (Score 1) 454

by Afty0r (#48448421) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

2. Consumers want reliability and 100% availability. Consider Uber and Lyft that promise this, except during surge pricing periods. People hate this. It's economically correct in the case of Uber and Lyft, and an obvious idea, but surge pricing during rush hour isn't going to work. People will still own their own cars.

It depends on the alternatives (public transportation, flexibility of demand to go one hour earlier or later, and telecommuting etc.) but surge pricing makes a whole lot of sense. Especially when working on a scale where the surges will be known in advance, can be pre-booked etc.
It will be fine to charge 2x the "base price" for an 8.30am commute if that is what people are expecting to pay. Current hostility to surge pricing seems to be based mostly around the lack of clarity as to the actual price.

3. Personalization and customization. Hey, I like my cars stock, but I still have my stuff in the center console, my presets on the stereo (yes, 760 am in the morning, I'm a dying breed), and my iPhone paired to Sync.

This is already partially solved, Spotify will sync with your uber to play your desired party playlist on the way to the party. In the future, this kind of interoperability will become more ubiqitous.

4. Toy haulers. You're not going to call Uber or Lyft to tow your trailer to a state park or tow your boat to a launch. And this isn't 99%'er speaking, this is blue collar worker in my part of the country.

While some very specialist tasks might not be suited to a "time share" model, as the world moves to such a model it will become MUCH more economically costly to run your own vehicle - so the price point at which a specialist time-share service for minority use-cases will move down significantly.

Comment: Re:Testing (Score 1) 212

by Afty0r (#48358021) Attached to: New Book Argues Automation Is Making Software Developers Less Capable

projects are FLOODED with automated testing tools to ensure their code works. And sure enough, every bug that I submit has an "automated test" that didn't test that particular condition


As a software engineer (now half-suity) of twenty years, I am constantly frustrated by those newer to the profession who got caught up in the whole "Unit Tests are Sacrosanct" philosophy. I have worked with multiple engineers who value "testability" over "working".

Unit tests are convenient, a handy tool for programmers, but in my experience they have close to zero inverse correlation with the number of bugs in the programmers output. Any programmer who can think of the right cases for his unit tests is also capable of considering those same cases when writing his code - the correlation between [Experience and Ability] and number of bugs is the biggest one out there.

Know what I favour? Readability and simplicity over pointless abstractions. Functioning, working applications over "90% code coverage". Things that fail at compile-time over things that fail at run-time. And when I press these principles onto more junior devs I always get push back about how "that's old fashioned" or "that needs extra lines of code" - they seems to complete disbelieve, and then they wonder how the hell I write and manage multiple web sites in my spare time that are generally more complex and reliable than any of the commercial sites I've worked on (with one or two notable exceptions).

KISS applies to everything, and unit tests do not adhere to this principle. They have a time and a place when they start to show their value - and that time and place is when SOME of the following are true:
-] Codebase is expected to be maintained by a large team, or eventually by persons who were not involved in building it
-] Codebase will be architected by senior staff, and then maintained by more junior staff
-] Codebase may be sold to, or extended by, third parties (open source is big on this)
-] Codebase is difficult to read/pick-up and has high levels of abstraction
-] Codebase is expected to change significantly in the short or medium term
-] Team involved is junior or inexperienced in one or more significant factors (in general, language, app domain)

Outside of some of these scenarios (I may have missed some, please do comment) you should be seriously considering how much of your investment you place into Unit Tests. I have seen some companies/teams/individuals spend more time writing unit tests than they did functioning code - that's negligent in some cases. If your team had double the velocity on new features by simply writing features instead of upping levels of code coverage, your company/owners/shareholders would have twice their return on investment...

Comment: You are looking for the wrong product/service (Score 1) 147

by Afty0r (#48339543) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Data Warehouse Server System?

We are trying to find a good data warehouse system to host and run analytics on

You're asking the wrong questions.You should start higher up the chain in business-value land - WHYdo you need a data warehouse system (to run analytics)... great WHY do you need to run analytics (to discover XXXXX from the data we generate/own/handle). OK now you're getting closer... now, armed with the knowledge about what data you will be storing, and what kind of insights you would like to generate, you need to approach a specialist data analysis & insights company who can help you to select the correct products and platforms for your data storage, processing and analysis needs.

The way you have phrased the questions in your post makes it obvious you don't really have a lot of experience in this arena, and this is not a decision you can afford to get wrong. This company may also be able to offer consultancy about generating your queries, reports, and carrying out some of the data analysis, but it sounds like you want to do this yourself - now that's actually quite reasonable to attempt in-house.

Comment: Re:I feel like we are living in an 'outbreak' movi (Score 1) 258

H1N1 was the flu - flu makes a lot of money through flu shots, "treatments", symptom alleviation meds. By alerting the population, the sales of related product go through the roof. How many big pharma lobbyists do you think pushed the government to scare the population as much as possible in order to drive up sales?

Ebola, on the other hand, does not have a wide array of products from big pharma that the population would be *likely* to go out and panic buy/stock up on. So no-one is telling the head honchos in government to get the bullhorn out. Consequently, no big noise...

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.