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Comment: Or, "Their invention must be right" syndrome. (Score 1) 127

by gestalt_n_pepper (#49150367) Attached to: Invented-Here Syndrome

I see that one a lot. The assumption that because the software vendor did it one way, That's. The. Way. It's. Done.

It's nonsense of course. Our testing system was designed for the most common use case. Maybe 50 dialogs with 5 or 6 controls each. Our system has thousands of dialogs, some of which have as many as 50 controls on a dialog (It's old, legacy, badly designed. I know....). To make that system scale, we had to develop our own abstraction system, an API and a different object mapping system.

In the end, it worked quite nicely. Had we just used it as was designed out of the box, we'd have scrapped it by now, or quadrupled our staff running on that maintenance treadmill. Vendors can be pretty bad at scaling or special cases.

Comment: Re:About time... (Score 1) 127

by Dr_Barnowl (#49149397) Attached to: Invented-Here Syndrome

*ding*

> At least in open-source, if they don't you can try and fix it yourself.

I've had *excellent* support from OSS projects. I've had lead developers personally upload patched builds to my FTP server.

But I've fixed bugs for myself more. Even having the source is often enough to pin down the problem without havign to patch it.

That's why it's my policy that all things being equal (or even a little unequal) to choose open-source components.

Comment: Re:Simple methodology (Score 1) 321

by Maxo-Texas (#49147767) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

In my experience, unless you really really fight it, all programming collapses to waterfall.

In my opinion, it is MUCH better to deliver a testable object every time-boxed period. Any changes (even just move one field) require a realistic re-estimate which must be signed off. But the actual creation of a testable object with feature sets that the testing department can test and confirm is key.

First- testing big O time is exponential. So solving smaller sets of bugs takes much less time.
Second- foundational bugs are found much earlier and can be fixed easier- or called out as significant problems.
Third- you get an actual percentage of completion this way. We've delivered 27% of the promised features and we are 30% along our schedule. We are a little behind schedule so let's work a little overtime next period and get caught up.

Never ever delay a build to get a feature in. Well, maybe a few hours- but not by a day.

Comment: Re:Simple methodology (Score 5, Informative) 321

by Maxo-Texas (#49143027) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

I had no particular problem with estimates.

At a minimum, you could break out easy "construction/recognized pattern" work from risky new stuff.

As far as managing programmers... it was humorous.

Few liked giving estimates. So they would say it couldn't be estimated.

So I would ask, will this project take 2 years... and they would say, "oh no- of course not" and after a bit, we'd get down to 6 months or 6 weeks or 6 hours...

So then we'd time box it to what could be done in a month and move any risky items up to the front so we could establish if a new technology wasn't going to work before we put a lot of work into the project.

Then, I recorded over/under for every project and found (over about 24 programmer data set) that programmers consistently overshot or undershot their estimates. So after a few projects, I had a pretty good idea of their deliverables.

Finally status reports and status meetings with function points and overall percentage delivered kept things on schedule or let us know well ahead of time there was a problem with the estimate/schedule.

Programmers were not my problem- executives were.

They...
a) pushed us to violate standards.
b) ordered overtime without ordering it. As in assign 80 hours work and then insist it be completed when everyone knew it couldn't be completed. Made worse by the fact the indian contractors said "I'll do my best" for "no- you are batshit crazy" and then things fell apart when the indians were unable to deliver. Of course, the indians were very good at delivering to the (crazy/incomplete) specifications on time. At least enough to be testable. I'm not sure if it is because they were contractor types or that they were indian- perhaps a bit of both. I learned in a contracting shop, you always say you can meet the estimate (to get assigned the work) instead of giving a realistic estimate. Then renegotiated it later when it wasn't going to make the schedule. If you didn't, then the three other people bidding on the work would get the work. Executives seemed to have zero memory for the fact that you delivered on time on estimate while the other people were usually late.
c) made everything priority 1a. they had no ability to prioritize as far as I could see. Which really just pushed prioritization down to me or the programmers.
d) cancelled projects without warning.

Comment: Re:Another carefuly planted article (Score 1) 274

by Dr_Barnowl (#49136695) Attached to: Drones Cost $28,000 Per Arrest, On Average

And of course, illegals

* Prop up the economy
* Depress the working wage

If they actually managed to put up a proper border control, people might have to pay their gardener / maid / pickers a decent wage....

It must be hard being a right-wing politician. On one hand, wanting "American jobs for Americans!". On the other hand, not wanting to actually have to pay for them.

Comment: Re:But can we believe them? (Score 1) 97

They wouldn't need a warrant canary - they are in Denmark and not subject to the force of a National Security Letter.

But as others have pointed out, if they come out and say their SIMs are compromised, the consumer outcry will cost them many millions. They have 2 billion units in the wild.

"Corporate responsibility" (to the shareholders...) dictates that they can't admit that, even if it's true.

Comment: Re:But can we believe them? (Score 1) 97

Yeah, but that's a loss-leader.

They sell the SIM in the expectation that you'll spend money on service. It doesn't imply that the cost of the SIM is less than $1. The dollar is likely just something to incentivize the shop to sell them.

My provider will send you a package of multiple SIM cards to give out to people, for free. Doesn't imply that they have a zero cost.

Comment: Re:Because capitalism, idiots. (Score 1) 242

by Dr_Barnowl (#49136053) Attached to: The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics

Exactly.

The cost of antibiotics is where it is, because the first ones were developed on a socialist basis.

Penicillin production was boosted tremendously by the Second World War ; a serious effort was made to find a way to mass produce it cheaply so that it could save the lives of war wounded. There was no requirement to put it through an expensive double-blind clinical trial.

This established a low cost for antibiotic drugs, which meant that subsequent drugs also had to have similar prices.

The return on investment for society in general on these drugs is enormous. Alas, big pharma isn't interested in the benefit to society because of the way it's funded.

The return on investment for the pharmaceutical company these days would be small in comparison to a new cancer drug, but new cancer drugs typically only have a very small niche in which they can be applied. Antibiotics would have a large niche (particularly safe ones that kill MRSA), but entering the market would require the full double blind RCT and lots of paperwork. It just wouldn't be profitable enough for the taste of the pharmacy company, even if the benefits would be incalculable.

All in all, this is a strong argument to have a nationalised (or even a global-level multi-state owned) pharmaceutical company. Which would never be supported by capitalist governments, because of their incentive structure (politicians get into power on the back of corporate contributions, and thus will tend not to support actions that could benefit the whole of humanity without maximising corporate profits).

Comment: Re:Comments are predictable... (Score 1) 148

by Maxo-Texas (#49134783) Attached to: Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans At Classic Arcade Games

Oh sure, it says it is in love but it's a computer. I know it's just a simulation of love, not the real thing.

I agree.

The thing is-- with robotics doing parallel work on human level physical reactions (like tossing things in the air and catching them- without the use of a brain), true AI may be more human like with one part being the conscious mind that says "start walking towards the door" while other parts control the actual movement, balancing, etc.

if you start reading about the brain (Brain Bugs is a good book for it), the first thing you see is that the brain is multiple independent systems. If you break them, the conscious mind does really weird things like, for example, saying "That's not my limb" (alien limb syndrome), losing the ability to form memories, crossing sensory systems (so sounds smell and odors have colors), and what's really crazy is that often- even when informed of the problem- the conscious mind of the people can't process that anything is wrong.

It looks like we have a vision system-- then an object system- and then an importance system- and then a fear system (the amygdala).

The weird thing is- for people with broken amygdala's- they know the rattle snake is important- but not that it is dangerous. In other cases, people have said "I know this is bad" logically- and then done it anyway without being able to stop themselves.
Very interesting stuff.

As of now, they have human level agility and balance with plugged in humanoid robots, vision and dexterity to pick random mixed items out of bins faster than humans. The robot population is rising at a low exponent but the exponent is increasing.

Comment: Re:Breaking news! (Score 1) 148

by Maxo-Texas (#49134723) Attached to: Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans At Classic Arcade Games

That depends on the incentives the AI has.

In this case, it appears it has incentives to gain the highest possible score as quickly as possible.

In this case, tunneling and bouncing off the top wall better matches those goals.

I read about his before and the computer starts out not knowing where the score is-- it has to learn which area is score and then do random things with the game until something succeeds at causing the score area to go up... and then optimize for high score and high speed.

That sure sounds like learning to me.

Comment: Re: Not surprised (Score 1) 300

by American AC in Paris (#49134515) Attached to: Reddit Imposes Ban On Sexual Content Posted Without Permission

When a forum starts to limit legal speech a slowly growing cancer of censorship is inevitable.

1. Reddit cannot, in any way, stop you from expressing your opinion. The most they can do is refuse to facilitate said expression.

2. I find it amusing that such a staunch, unyielding proponent of True Free Speech would use such a tremendously wiggly, pro-oversight qualifier as legal In defining what they consider acceptable. Legal implies a level of trust in the state that is entirely at odds with the rest of your post.

Comment: Re: Not surprised (Score 5, Interesting) 300

by American AC in Paris (#49134509) Attached to: Reddit Imposes Ban On Sexual Content Posted Without Permission

When a forum starts to limit legal speech a slowly growing cancer of censorship is inevitable.

1. Reddit cannot, in any way, stop you from expressing your opinion. The most they can do is refuse to facilitate said expression.

2. I find it amusing that such a staunch proponent of True Free Speech would use such a tremendously wiggly, pro-oversight qualifier as legal In defining what they consider acceptable. Legal implies a level of trust in the state that is entirely at odds with the rest of your post.

Comment: Re:Fuck it - everyone for themselves. (Score 1) 354

by Maxo-Texas (#49132043) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

Currently the payoff period for an LED bulb is well over 10x the payoff period for solar panels (and that's ignoring batteries and inverters which will have to be replaced 2-3 times during the payoff period).

Insulation-- okay if you are low on it. Don't have good figures for it tho.

I went to LED and ignoring the 13x lifespan vs incandescent, my bill dropped noticeably. I pay about $50 a month for 8 months a year and then $120 for 3 months and $150 for 1 month for a 2000sq foot house.

I used to pay about $20 a month more (tho I still had a few $50 months) when I was using incandescent bulbs. So that's an LED bulb paid off about every 20 days. I figure incandescents were both consuming more electricity AND they were pumping more heat in to the house that had to be cooled back down (at more cost).

I Greatly prefer 3100K led bulbs . They are simliar in color to incandescent bulbs.

I have crazy levels of insulation. About 24" in the attic of blown in stuff by the prior owner. It's sort of unbelievable they put in so much. I really can't see how it was cost effective for them.

Comment: Just Remember (Score 5, Insightful) 188

by American AC in Paris (#49130461) Attached to: Google Now Automatically Converts Flash Ads To HTML5

I cannot even begin to count the number of commenters here who pushed HTML5 as the best way to end, once and for all, those incredibly invasive and annoying Flash ads.

You got exactly what you were asking for.

So long as business is on the web, there will never, ever, ever be a technological "solution" to online advertising. There's simply too much money at stake for that to happen.

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