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Comment Re:I think that we can all agree on two facts... (Score 1) 213

I might actually think that a guy with commodore 64 certifications on his wall was cool. I would first figure out if he took them seriously. "We are a commodore shop here." would probably leave me stunned for a minute or two before I could run.

Comment I love these rate my doctor sites (Score 1) 245

These rate my doctor sites seem to generally be right on the money. Our first two dentists really sucked, and when I checked them out on these sites the consensus was that they sucked. Then when I read about some doctor losing their licence in my area I will check out their rating and with a single glaring exception they always have comments such as, "I have no idea where Dr. X got his licence to practice but a crackerjack box would be a good start.".

Then when I finally used these sites to find our present Dr. and Dentist the sites said they were great and they were causing me to add the chorus of glowing reviews.

Comment I think that we can all agree on two facts... (Score 3, Insightful) 213

The first fact is that this guy is technically correct. HR departments go all weak in the knees for certification. I wouldn't be surprised if there is some certification farm out there crapping out certifications in cmake.

But this completely misses the point as to the actual value a certification actually has when it comes to the reality of programming or maintaining/implementing systems. Most of us will agree that the value here is low to potentially negative. A wonderful personal example was that years ago my company asked me to become MSDN certified in something. In order to regurgitate the correct answers for the test I memorized all kinds of crap. But some of it was actually quite helpful. There were some bits about NT boot configs that suddenly made sense.

But the flaw was that I was already very good at working with NT servers. If I were in some stripmall comp collage studying this as my first exposure to computer stuff then it would have meant nothing and yet with some good studying I would have been "certified" to administer NT servers.

But where this really breaks down is when you get a shop that is completely filled with people from a certain company's certifications. I have met companies that say "We are a MSDN shop." Full stop. They won't even consider any other technology.

But my happy moment was years ago when our head of IT who had "over $20,000 worth of Novell certifications there on that wall" was installing a Novell server on his brand new shiny Dell powerhouse. But it wouldn't install. So he gets Dell tech support on the phone and ends up with their top tier who said, "We don't support that old Novell stuff anymore. If it runs on any of our machines it is luck not design. But I know for a fact that it won't run on that machine you have there." Now with this IT guy the whole development staff had long been trying to get Novell out of the building but the IT head swore by it and had a thousand defences as to why it was the best. But the day Dell said No was the day we were able to leverage that into finally getting Novell out of the building.

I have similar stories with other certifications.

So while I don't doubt that they can often increase the individual's salary and I don't doubt that the process of an existing capable user would potentially be enhanced by certification. I do suggest that the damage that is done by certifications being turned into religious scrolls could be enormous to companies that suddenly are "locked in" to a certain technology and not only stop considering alternatives but actively consider alternatives to be heresy.

Comment Re:Here's the problem... (Score 1) 391

If I couldn't build this in a week then I would give up on robotics. Keep in mind this wasn't a quest for perfection it was a "good enough bark removal".

Seeing that only one kind of tree went into the mill the only possible edge case would be wet wood or some kind of drastic lighting change. Thus I would be happy with a few day's video(with the user selected button) where I would have the guys there select the worst case scenario logs and I might spray them with water some of the time.

While I developed it I would leave the video/button pushing data continue to be gathered from the mill's best users so that I could compare my system's decisions with the user decisions on an even larger data set. Those cases where there was a dispute I would have the mill experts all weigh in on who was right and if my system was "good enough" or better than the user I would happily leave it running while also gathering data for a larger data set and providing an auditable trail.

If I were really aiming for a damn good system I would create a simple setup where the mill's best operators would all make decisions on the same logs unaware of the others' choices. This would allow me to statistically define what the error rate among experts was and give me an "acceptable disagreement rate"

So unless installing the relays into the switches in the operator room was somehow problematic this should entirely be a week's operation. Even there I could just install a servo that physically pushed the buttons.

Comment Re:Here's the problem... (Score 4, Interesting) 391

I met a guy (he was around 17) who was working for a pulp mill. His job was working on a machine that debarked the trees. They would run through the machine and then appear in front of him. He had two cords ending in a button which he held in his hands. One button would send the insufficiently debarked tree around for another cycle of debarking, and the other button indicated that it was good enough and could continue.

He indicated that this job was mind numbing to the extreme but that it paid very very well for someone not yet finished highschool. If he worked there long enough his hourly pay would be actually pretty good for the rural area he was in. He told me that many people who worked at the mill never bothered to finish high school and few went to University because even with a degree it would be hard to beat a job at the mill.

I am pretty sure that I could build a bark detecting optical system in under a week to replace him if the mill were still open. But it isn't through a combination of far lower demand for paper product because of the electronic age, combined with far higher efficiencies at the existing mills.

But all one has to do is go to the early seasons of the show "How it's made" and see that even fairly automated assembly lines usually had people doing things such as quality control, packaging, and the occasional odd procedure in the middle. Now, if you watch the recent seasons, about the only thing people do is to load crap into the machines at the beginning, and forklift large boxes of the final product in the end.

One of the final job killers are the pick and place machines.

Comment Ask former bulk food packagers (Score 3, Insightful) 391

If you were to poll people who once worked in bulk goods packaging you might find that they are working even more hours at their minimum wage jobs because they lost their jobs on the assembly line that barely kept their families fed. Since 2002 something like 85% of jobs in the bulk packaging world have gone. This, with a huge increase in bulk packaging output.

Comment Or if public transport was good would I leave... (Score 1) 654

In my city, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, the transit system is terrible, as in you had might as well walk from many points as it will be more reliable.

Reliable is the operative word. For many people transit is not financially an option because they have to be at work on time at a certain time. Our transit system is woeful when it comes to that. Thus even if you have a minimum wage job it is a financially good idea to buy a hunk of crap car as it has a far better chance of getting you to work every day on time.

Also the vast majority of our bus system is designed to get city staff to their HQ from the suburbs where, demographically, city staff typically live. But if you work in one of the industrial parks then you are S. out of luck. And complete suffering upon those who live near one industrial park and work in another. They literally might be 2-3 hours using a transit system that would be a 30 minute drive.

So for me they could even pay me a small fee every time I used the transit system and it still wouldn't be of value.

Comment Re: How much you got? (Score 1) 184

I really really really really hate Oracle. I have used and hate MongoDB way worse. They have created this tool that on the surface gives the developer unlimited freedom; as long as they do things the MongoDB way. I hope that all the MongoDB people realize just how crappy and destructive a product they have created and entirely quit the technology world and go back to be being snobby baristas at some third rate coffee shop.

Comment Re: How much you got? (Score 1) 184

Nearly every OS database has support options from either the very people who built them or other excellent companies. Plus if you run into a "support" issue you have probably run into a bug. Oracle isn't going to patch a bug for some chain of corner stores. They are also not going to hire "best of breed" developers who can fix things. They are going to have IT people who probably hate their jobs.

Comment Why does anyone use Oracle? (Score 1) 184

I ask the question why does anyone use oracle in this day and age? I am not asking for a whitepaper or some PR generated sales points but a real answer from real technical people who have a broad experience with multiple databases. I think that it is mighty telling that none of the mega data companies use Oracle; the facebooks, the googles, the reddits, the slashdots. Basically if their data needs are met by the likes of MySQL, redis, postgres, etc then what company or organization can claim that they need something more "Enterprise class"?

The companies that I have seen using Oracle often could literally have used access for their data needs and had been wildly overserved by having an Oracle database. Something like my personal favourite MariaDB running on a single halfway decent computer could easily handle the needs of a fair sized power company. Put that on a nice cluster of fairly run of the mill servers and it would be solid as a rock.

I have no idea what koolaid the Oracle salespeople are serving up but I would love if someone wrote a guidebook on how to sell like that as at least people might figure out a way to resist.

So I can't see any customer of any size from the very smallest to the very largest needing Oracle. It strikes me as a variation of the old saying, "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM." Sun followed in those footsteps in the 90s but things like Linux put paid to Sun's dominance. Why haven't the excellent OpenSource databases put paid to Oracle?

Comment HR Departments love them like Pam loves cocaine (Score 1) 296

HR Departments love them like HR Pam loves cocaine.This is because, quite simply, many HR departments think that teaching yourself a language would be like teaching yourself to be a doctor. It is inconceivable that an intelligent person could actually end up being able to perform, on their own, as well as some guy who has a certification from the IT collage run out of the nearby failed mall.

This is generally the opposite of what most CS people know which is that the majority of drones popping out of the local IT mall "collage" are strangely incompetent.

But even worse I know people who have become certified in one of the major programming languages (I won't say which one because the people who use that language will not tolerate criticism) and the techniques that you had to use to pass were terrible.

But if you are trying to impress the HR drones in some mega-corp a certification will be just the thing. I am not joking when I say that if a guy named Mr. Stroustrup applied to work at my local power company that he would be better off if he had a totally bogus certification for C++, instead of the "self-proclaimed" title of "inventor of C++"

Comment Re:Fire for installing it let alone buying company (Score 2) 75

I think your quote "the worst software on the planet" is missing some swearing and hookers.

As for the assigned parking spaces then the McAfee execs have two steps ahead of them. First get an assigned parking space policy, then they will be able to screw people out of their parking spaces.

I visited a company once where there was a long wide hallway that ran from one end of the main building to the other and a rabbit's warren of hallways that ran parallel. A few execs had card reading door locks installed on either end of the hallway and on every door that entered into the hallway so that only they could use it. I am talking about 12 people out of around 900. When some auditors(from a potential suitor) asked them about this they said that they often had meetings while they walked and needed the private space.

Prior to their little hallway coup there might have been a dozen people walking in that hall at any given time and it was actually packed during peak times such as lunch. After the lockout the other hallways were near mad max combat zones.

I was so sad when that company didn't manage to IPO as I knew their days were numbered. But their IPO efforts failed and the company slowly shrunk over the years. They still exist but maybe have 200 people working there.

The key being that these people were also scum of the earth and had all kinds of interesting techniques for making sales. One was that they were the exclusive regional salespeople of office gear for a couple of companies. The stuff had all these special connections and whatnot that were incompatible with everything else on the market. Their pricing was (making up the exact numbers) $1000 for your first unit, but $5,000 for your 500th unit. This way they would bid on government contracts and win the small ones. Then because of their exclusive product lines they would get "sole sourced" contracts from the government for all further office gear. This would completely end run the bidding process and for a long time they made boatloads of cash. Then the newspapers got wind of it and the whole thing came crashing down with all kinds of new rules about proprietary solutions not being preferred. But within the contracts themselves they had all kinds of little scumbag tricks. One was to outfit the office of the decision makers with a pile of crazy nice stuff but only for a "trial" run of a year or so. Keeping the "trial" going would be completely dependent upon further contracts which they had experts who would help the bureaucrat to "streamline" the entire purchase. i.e. Sole sourced.

I very much doubt that the McAfee people were any different and letting people like that into your building is begging for disaster. I suspect the terrible software was just a symptom of a completely degenerate company.

Comment Fire for installing it let alone buying company! (Score 3, Insightful) 75

Anyone with enough technological know-how to reboot a computer knows that McAfee is one of the worst things you can do to a computer. So even if Intel fully intended to throw out that bloated sack of excrement and recode it from scratch the reputation it has earned pretty well makes its brand worth negative money. If anything it would make intel look worse.

The only thing that made McAfee software was an evil business model. Thus Intel had two choices. maintain the evil business model to retain any monetary value from their purchase, or to abandon the model and forego any profits/revenues that McAfee would bring in.

To me the only value that I would see in McAfee would be to do a historical analysis to figure out how they became so broken so as to be able to form a checklist that Intel could use going forward to make sure that they never follow the same path.

My fear for Intel is that some psychopathic executives have made the jump from McAfee to Intel and are like ebola being released into a kindergarten. They will flourish and spread while leaving Intel a twitching bleeding from every orifice corpse. I could see Intel executives thinking themselves cunning where they do a huge deal so as to get closer the next promotion whereas a McAfee executive would falsify data to shut down an entire department so that he gets a slightly better parking space.

Comment I know a software guy who fits this for companies (Score 1) 300

Basically if the company hires this guy then they die. I am not saying that they don't do well but that they die a horrible death. If the did a proper check and asked people like me I would say something like, "Are you serious, do you want any staff that work with him to get angry and leave? Do you hate your customers because he will piss them off and they too will leave. As for his product all I can say is that it will be way over documented. Not well built but way way way over documented. So a few upper managers will be happy with the project right up until they realize that he has turned it into complete crap.

Then when they look at the project they will realize that the three stooges would have run it better by accident.

The horrible thing with this guy is that people drink his koolaid until it is way too late. Then they realize that on a simple and not mission critical project that it might not have been a good idea to have a 7 to 1 ratio of QA people to developers.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972