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Comment: Re:Tilting at Windmills (Score 1) 239

by Tom (#49144837) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

From a human psychology standpoint he would rather know that it will be done in 3 days, barring delays, than not know when it will be done and have it in two hours. I personally think that is a dumb way of doing things, but I am the outlier, not the director.

The psychological issue is that you don't know, but you have a hunch, you have some insight. You know it's probably going to be a few hours.

But for non-techies, all this stuff is a total blackbox. When you say "I don't know" they panic, because for them that means anything from a day to a month or maybe infinity. Uncertainty is a horrible psychological state and people try to avoid it. It's an instinct. When you don't know if that shadow is a monkey or a lion, it's better to panic just in case.

By saying "three days", you give him certainty. Now he knows the shadow isn't a lion.

Comment: Re:Amateurish (Score 1) 447

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49143063) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

I tend to agree about the icons, but I do think flat design is particularly bad in this respect. By its nature, it removes tools that could otherwise be used for distinguishing different types of content, establishing hierarchy, and directing the user to important details.

The Microsoft style of flat as seen here isn't as bad as the more extreme "monochrome line art" version that is plaguing web sites at the moment. Even so, all those subtle lighting-based effects we used to see, and even the not-so-subtle styling of say Apple's older metallic or aqua looks, could serve practical purposes as well as creating a signature style for a platform.

Comment: Wasn't this the main point of "Agile"? (Score 1) 239

by hey! (#49142597) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

Find a compromise between predicting too much of the future and just managing a project by the seat of your pants; get into a rhythm where you check how good your estimations and learn to get better at them.

Of course you can't develop every project this way; I've used Agile and it's worked for me. I've used waterfall and it's worked for me too. You have to try to be sensible; you can't completely wall of other people's need to know when you'll accomplish certain things, nor can you build a solid plan based on pure speculation. You have to have an intelligent responsible way of dealing with future uncertainty, a plan to cut it down to size.

I've even had the good fortune at one point of winning a $750,000 grant to build a system for which no firm requirements had been established. It was kind of an uphill-flowing waterfall: we knew how long it would take us and how much it would cost but we had no firm idea of what we were supposed to build. If that sounds like a recipe for disaster, it was; but my team was *successful* and built a product which was still be used and supported over a decade after the grant finished.

What's missing from many programming estimates is honesty. It's a matter of ethics; you can't take people's money and say maybe someday you'll deliver something useful to them. People don't have unlimited time and money to accomplish all the things that need to be done in the world. It's an honor being entrusted with people's aspirations, and a serious responsibility. It's hard, even nerve-wracking, but you've got to care enough about the impact of your planning on other people to make the effort to do the very best job you can.

And what I've found is that if you do make the effort you can do a surprisingly good job of estimating a project if it's in an area and with technologies you're reasonably familiar with. If you look closely your specific predictions will often be way off, but if you care enough to be brutally honest the pleasant surprises tend to balance out the unpleasant ones.

Comment: Every project will be behind schedule (Score 1) 239

by Opportunist (#49142149) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

By definition. When you look at our current corporate culture, you know it has to be. For a simple reason: Companies bidding for jobs. And more often than not, the cheapest offer gets the deal.

Who is the cheapest? Usually the one that cut the most corners and underestimated his cost (i.e. time) to deliver the most.

Comment: Erh... Bruce, I usually like your insightful posts (Score 1) 99

by Opportunist (#49141769) Attached to: Schneier: Everyone Wants You To Have Security, But Not From Them

But this one is one of the "gee, really, you don't say?" kind.

OF COURSE everyone wants to be the only one who has access to something. Monopolies are something really awesome, and only cool if they are, well, monopolies.

Data is worthless if everyone has it, only if you have the exclusive ability to use it it becomes valuable. In our world, the value of something is determined by its scarcity. Data is now something that can, by its very nature, be reproduced with near zero cost in infinite amounts. It only becomes a commodity if you control when, how and most of all if that data may be reproduced.

Comment: Re:Amateurish (Score 1) 447

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49137147) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

The thing that really hit me about the screenshot was how crowded it looks. The example is presenting information with a clear underlying structure (a file system) and a small number of actions I can take, and probably half the area of that window is empty space. And yet, my immediate reaction is that there's no clear structure to tell me where to look, and the design desperately needs more visual hierarchy and better use of whitespace.

Of course, this is a recurring problem with the current trend for flat designs, bright colour schemes with limited contrast, and very rectilinear graphics and layout. It's still disappointing that Microsoft seems to be chasing Apple and Google down that blind alley, though, instead of coming up with something more interesting, distinctive, and most importantly, usable.

Comment: Re:Like some baby bees with that? (Score 2) 128

by Rei (#49135489) Attached to: Inventors Revolutionize Beekeeping

It's an American thing

And anyway, given how the device works, the concept that baby bees if present are going to flow out doesn't sound realistic. The device robs honey by opening up a small rift in the plastic comb that honey can slowly trickle through. Unless we're talking microscopic baby bees here, I can't see them passing through with the honey.

Comment: Re:Not surprised (Score 2) 293

by Tom (#49134931) Attached to: Reddit Imposes Ban On Sexual Content Posted Without Permission

Some people will applaud this action, saying that no one should have their private pictures posted without their consent. Some people will call this an issue of right to privacy. Those people are misguided.

Explain how, exactly.

There are things that you just don't do (like, say hitting a woman).

Unfortunately, if the population is large and anonymous enough, you always have someone who does something that you shouldn't do. That's when we need a law. You understand these laws don't fall from the sky, yes? They're the written down rules of society. And society needs rules, otherwise it's not a society, it's just a mob.

And posting sex pictures of other people without their consent is just the kind of stuff that you don't do. And if people don't get it, you have to tell them.

Comment: Re:Fad Ahead? (Score 1) 128

by Rei (#49133325) Attached to: Inventors Revolutionize Beekeeping

I live in a country where beekeeping is juuuust starting to take off. The prevalence of diseases - at present - is probably little to none. And we're highly geographically isolated. So if disease and pest control is normally the biggest challenge, then we've got that taken care of (our main challenges here are cold, windy weather and a long winter; supplimental winter feeding is a must)