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Comment I buy my devices not the government (Score 1) 137

I don't think that Blackberry has ever fully understood that the end user is their actual customer. For years they have allowed IT departments and Telcos to cripple their devices. So it is basically zero surprise when they allow the government to cripple the device some more.

So after all these years let's check to see what their market share is: Oh look it is within a statistical margin of error of zero. Yup the one time king of the smartphone is so close to zero market share as to effectively be zero. I have visited a number of companies where BBs are still used and those employees are chomping at the bit to fire them into the toilet. I wonder if this news will somehow enamour them more, or will it just give them an extra reason to hate their phone.

Comment Ha ha ha haaaa ha; good luck with that. (Score 1) 191

I have worked with and hung out with people who have attempted this. I have even seen people who presented it as a defacto done deal, a complete new UI that was cool.

The only, and I mean only way that I have seen this work is that the marketing department saw it and lost their minds. They knew money when they saw it. Except that the higher ups within IT basically crapped their pants in anger. The last thing they wanted was some hero coming out of the ranks of their programmers. What next, a mobile friendly version?

So, assuming that you are not already a senior hoo haa then you can play career roulette; do a solid sample and show it to a few marketing people. Either you are their new best friend or the "product manager" will have set your corpse on fire.

BTW having new best friends in marketing can be very very powerful, but remember they are simplistic, irrational people. They want money and they don't want to work for it. They won't stick their necks out for you unless there is a buck in it for them. So when you show it to them hint that this won't happen without their supporting you. Then maybe, just maybe they will hoist you on their shoulders and carry you around the department. But they have the attention spans of a 5 year old so you have to pretty well drop one thing into their laps after another. No delays, no complicated stuff that requires explanation.

You want to do cool nerdy things, but the marketing department knows that cool makes them more money. Thus you must only look at it as cool things that make money. Leave the nerdy stuff out of it. When they ask, "Can you do it?" don't talk about code, APIs, legacy, or anything else, just say, "I will put some serious lipstick on this pig!!!" and then high five them.

If they don't high five you back then you are talking to the wrong marketing guys. Talk to the one in a midlife crisis who just bought a Harley. Remember you guys might have some vague notions that you build the product blah blah blah. But they are the guys who go out and hunt the big game, the customers. They are the guys who put food on the table so the cave women can make the pots. So when talking to them ask yourself, do I make pots, or I am I prepared to stab the bear with a spear?

As for this being a good idea. Making software intuitive and beautiful should be a no-brainer, yet so few so-called brains spend any time on it.

Comment Did they move their operations from the US (Score 4, Insightful) 130

Did they move their operations from the US and fire all their US developers and only hire ones from countries with the strongest data protection laws and the weakest spy agencies?

No? Then they are NSA compromised. Here is a letter from the DOJ ordering you to cooperate with the NSA or go to jail. You can't show the letter to anyone or you go to jail. If you want to contest it you will first go to jail and then you will have to contest it in a special court where you can't get any evidence that is in your favour. So you stay in jail.

If companies like Siemens are using Cisco equipment then they are fools.

Comment Gave the useless meaning in their lives (Score 1) 371

Basically I noted that a single type of person loved, as in passionately, absolutely loved SCRUM. This was someone who usually had some certifications or something extra on their degree such as an Masters in CS. These people had supplanted certifications and procedures for productivity. They would look upon ever growing spreadsheets and mounds of reports as equal or even more important to actually delivering a product. And delivering a great product wasn't even on their radar. They would use words like "Greatness" or whatever but they would also then point to some awkward technology or procedure and use undefended terms like best of breed.

Also I found that SCRUM was used as a leveller and credit taker. I watched many projects where there was clearly a single or small number of programmers who could produce a solid highly functional product on time. Usually they had an awesome track record until some SCRUM master would impose their process on an already working team. This way they could report how the project was going to higher ups and take pretty much 100% of the credit.

Seeing that I have seen SCRUM drive away the best programmers on many teams SCRUM could also then be used as a tool to redefine success. Instead of delivering a product of much value they would deliver beautiful reports and make it look like their efforts were heroic to get the product done. So when the product was a huge lump of crap it was despite their best efforts, and certainly not because.

There is only one place for SCRUM and that is in a highly boring development environment where the product is not measured by its actual value but by how well it meets the contracted requirements. SCRUM will make all kinds of claims to being able to pivot on client requirements but the reality is that about the only thing it can pivot on is if the salesman manages to convince the client to change the contract to include more money.

So as someone with well over 20 years of development experience where would I recommend that SCRUM be used? I would only use it in a large corporation where there was a department that I wanted to shut down and be able to lay off all the most useless managers and boneheaded programmers from that and other departments. Then I would use SCRUM as bait to lure them all to their career deaths. I would also insist that two join that department that you have at least two "industry recognized" certifications; preferably in something obsolete such as Novell.

Comment Re:Engineers? (Score 1) 568

Most engineers I have met can barely past muster as engineers. My favourite being a PEng who built a structure with steel baseplates and bolts to which a large aluminium arches were going to be placed. All in a salty environment. At the late point in construction when someone pointed out the concept of the galvanic scale, the engineering company had to eat the cost of the arches.

Then engineering company 2 designed concrete arches to replace the aluminium ones but proceeded to design ones that couldn't be transported to the location because of bridge heights and whatnot. This was pointed out by the guy who owned the concrete form company. So they redesigned them to be in two parts but the guy who ran the concrete company said that they would probably crack within weeks as it was a terrible design. The engineer told the concrete guy he didn't know what he was talking about as he wasn't an engineer. The concrete guy slid his business card over which had his name ending with P. Eng.

In the end the entire concrete arch structure was designed by the concrete guy and has performed flawlessly for over a decade.

The first two engineering companies were two of the "better" companies in town and the engineers in question are partners.

Do we want bridges designed by rank amateurs? Probably not, but at the same time all the bluster about engineers being professionally certified somehow protecting us from something is mostly a load of shit. More specifically they should be ranked by the success of their projects and those engineers/firms with poor records should be publicly outed.

Comment I question the motivations (Score 1) 568

In my multi decade software career I have repeatedly heard grumblings about somehow regulating those who can make software for money. The complaints were rarely aimed at software quality but more about raising the barrier to entry. It especially seemed to tick off people with a masters in CS or CE to watch as someone who trained themselves get hired into a plum position because that person new some cool hip technology while they were masters of something on the way out. I could never get a proper read on the attitudes of those with PhDs in CS as they tended to so hyper focus on some very narrow technology that they were sort of outside the loop.

But the theme was pretty constant. They were looking for a way to enforce seniority and a way to keep those who didn't have a "proper" education out.

But the simple reality is that anyone who has been responsible for hiring computer people will strongly attest that the modern CS degree does not ensure competency. Working in a huge firm does not result often result in valuable experience. Any hiring person will share amazing tales of people with "proper" educations not being able to pass the FizzBuzz test. Or people who have been working for impressive company X with a CS degree who can't do the slightest bit of ML, not because they haven't done it but because they are unable to do the rudiments of Linear Algebra or statistics; required courses for most CS degrees.

So at this point any region that creates a required certification, guild, or professional organization will simply be like Britain in the late 1800s when they placed onerous rules on automobiles such as the crazy flagman rule. This then basically shot the infant British car industry in the face. Plus we all can predict the outcome of any certification system as being one where major companies such as Oracle would stuff their dicks into it and somehow make Oracle knowledge a critical part.

Comment Yes but the big targets are so juicy (Score 1) 220

The big targets are so very juicy. I can't see a team of world class hackers attacking my site with $80 in annual sales. With a major cloud provider I can see national governments sponsoring hacks so robust that they may very well get agents hired on as staff within the provider themselves. Then once you are in the rewards are so very massive.

Comment This like bridges made from sponges, who cares (Score 1) 320

Any fool who uses Quicktime is well, a fool. So this is like complaining that bridges build from sponges are poor engineering. Who the hell with half a brain would do that.

But it is not the user who is a fool for using quicktime. It is the user for using some crap software from 1998 that installs Quicktime along with the crap software.

I have long argued that most software would be best off if it could just install the associated crap that the crap developers seem to think is a good idea alongside the software.

If anything good is going to come from this extreme sandboxing that comes part in parcel with appstores it is this single feature. No more trashing my entire system and installing toolbar/desktop/driver software for something that I run once a lifetime. I don't even like this stupid bridge crap that adobe tries to include.

Basically if the OS allows the software to run at any time after I have exited the application then the OS needs work. Unless I have explicitly allowed that software to run in the background, on startup, or to a schedule. If I were an even marginally more angry person I would regularly lose my monitors to my fist when crap like Java asks me to upgrade when I am 100% certain that A) I didn't install it, and B) if I did that I would have said, "NEVER UPDATE!!!!"

Comment Not quite. Old losers and hot new talent don't mix (Score -1, Troll) 229

I find that many companies have some old guys who have uber mastered some old technology. They have a wall of certificates that cost a fortune that underline their mastery of some protocol, hardware, software solution, etc. Needless to say they can't even wrap their brains around the concept that some new technology has made their baby so irrelevant that you can't even find much common ground so as to compare.

But the most important pair of skills that these encrusted barnacles have mastered are politics and playing the org-chart seniority game.

So some guy will come along with technologies that really piss off the old farts so they will either fight the change with their dying breaths or even more skillfully they will be change enablers that will guide the new technology into the trash and the new employees out the exit.

So step one will be to volunteer to lead a change team who will assist the new guys with their transformation. Step two will be to make sure that there is a dotted line that goes up from the new hire to the old fart. Then they will begin raining death upon the project by convincing upper management that there should be a risk analysis done before anything else. Next there should be some documentation produced that will thoroughly lay out the best practices and procedures for this amazing change. Next a whole series of initiatives need to be started to document training, certifications, minimum acceptable standards and whatnot to make sure that this amazing technology is even more amazing.

But oh oh, the new hires don't have a JSON certification. Nor do they have a Redis certification. That is OK because some of the old farts do have a XML certification along with an Oracle one, both of those are fine replacements for JSON and Redis. The node.js site documents that there are many open bugs with node.js so Java is the better choice. Also nginx has a healthy number of open bugs, so based on the acceptable practices plan it should be swapped out for websphere.

And finally the marketing team did a focus group which showed that customers would much prefer an engineer installed application rather than something that could be accessed through the terribly insecure browser. Plus the blackberry people are going to send an expert to tie the new system into a blackberry only application. This is good because the company only has approved blackberries for internal use.

Oh where did those new guys go? It seems that they abandoned the project because they just couldn't keep up with the fast pace of our corporate culture.

And by old farts, I don't mean old in years. I have seen people in their 20s with the wall of certificates and an unwillingness to adapt to the tsunami of change.

Comment Mops up the crap makes room for the great (Score 1) 248

Many scientists that I have watches go through the education system are very very very good at doing school. They are otherwise nearly entirely useless when it comes to science. The problem is that these people will get a 99 in math a 99 in various sciences, 99 in all subjects regardless of their actual interests and end up eating 99% of the positions and scholarships. At the end of their PhD they are also very good at playing the system so they end up with Tenure faster, somehow publish the most, and then grab the grants to basically go to the conferences and present their most perfect papers.

Yet they really haven't contributed much at all. I find the real, near mad scientist, great scientists often do well at school but they don't see education as a checklist but the pattern is that they excel at what interests them and at best do OK at what doesn't. The same if they make it to higher education. They will focus on something very cool but forget little things like term papers in early French literature.

Then if despite everything they make it into graduate studies they will start out by rocking the boat which doesn't usually go well and if miracle of miracles they make it through their papers will be at best infrequent as they are only interested in publishing things that count.

Next, they will have problems testing any theories or gathering any data with a grant budget of $8.

Then, if at any point, they left the academic system they are completely disregarded as rank amateurs or dilettantes.

So by massively expanding science funding, all the useless wastes of space are sponged up into the academic system with room to spare. Thus someone who actually has the capability to do things that count will discover that they will have the position and resources to do the amazing things they can.

So the reality is that if maybe there were three times as many scientists being funded the result would be 2 or 3 genuine breakthroughs per decade. But cutting science funding from that level even by a third could result in zero fundamental breakthroughs.

Basically science funding needs to be expanded until all of the teacher's pets have been mopped up, all the people who should have gone to work on wall street have been mopped up, and then finally they start running out of people who want to go into science.

But one of the absolute critical features is that science funding need not make anyone rich. The truly great ones really don't care about money. Give them enough to satiate their needs both for lifestyle and more importantly to do their work and that is it. There need not be any strange commercial partnerships that look great when the academics go out and start an Intel or two. Those sorts of things are great for different reasons but you won't attract the Feynmans and Einsteins.

Comment Who would use HP anyway (Score 2) 89

As a tecnology person I have only ever seen HP as a trio of companies. One sells crappy laptops, one sells printers with exploitive prices for ink and toner, and the other has salesmen in cheap but still too slick suits trying to sell services that only make sense to techno-illiterate CEOs and board members. Not once in my life have I heard some respectable IT person put HP on any list of server technologies that they were even looking into, let alone buying.

The same when I used to see any business that had all IBM desktops. I would just laugh and say, "I wonder what the total cost per machine that is going to come to?" You could be certain that those machines were just part of a giant upsell as soon as some IBM saleman got his foot in the door during a golf game with some executives in the sucker company.

So if anyone is put out by this decision to close this technology it just certifies them as a fool.

Comment Re:This is a solution looking for a problem. (Score 1) 223

They don't care about the hobby market. They do care about the market of delivered goods and things like police drones. Typically they would want to own the market for drones in the $20,000 plus range. But the problem is that if there are 200 companies making ever bigger drones for photographers, movie companies, and eventually fire and police then they will actually have to compete. But compete is not what the big aviation companies like to do. They like the regulators to take out their competition as best as possible first.

Basically this all comes under the category of the value add of having a huge barrier to entry.

So my guess is that they will do this through a size/range regulation. This way the little hobby companies will hit a wall where a tiny improvement in their drone would then cost them millions in regulatory costs. So they won't bother. Whereas without such a wall some of the hundreds of drone companies would just get bigger and bigger until basically they reach a drone large enough to satiate the needs of most customers. I suspect that the largest drone that will be needed for most purposes would be under 40Kg. But the smallest drone for doing things like shipping small parcels will be at least 5kg plus the parcel. So I will throw out the guess that the regulation will have a weight restriction somewhere in the 2-4Kg range. Thus I will just make the prediction of a 3Kg limit. Range is the other factor. A drone that must be something like line of sight is pretty much useless on a commercial front. Thus they will limit it to 500 yards or line of sight. Even a mile could be pretty useful so they won't go anywhere near that.

Then the information nazis will try to keep them away from any "Emergency operations." The last thing the police want is the next Rodney King being filmed by the next Spielberg.

Comment Re:This is a solution looking for a problem. (Score 1) 223

If you hit me with a good sized drone you might give me a good cut and maybe a goose egg from the battery. If I hit you with a good sized (can fly type) goose, I will knock you over and could potentially break your neck.

Going to a car style speed. A drone may or may not even penetrate a windshield completely. A goose could easily go through and potentially kill the driver.

If you go to any drone forum you will see people taking pictures of the broken remains of their drones from fairly small crashes.

Where the main drone injuries come from are those whirling blades; most of which would just shatter on the skin of an airplane.

And much like those idiots with laser pointers, I couldn't think of a much worse place to fly a drone than near an airport.

Then there is another interesting question. As drones become far more important to the economy which would we rather have flying: police/news helicopters or something that makes our economy stronger?

Comment This is a solution looking for a problem. (Score 4, Insightful) 223

Drones are interesting but beyond their scary name they are just the classic tool. Like knives, gasoline, matches, and leaf blowers there are the vast majority of people who will do good with them and a tiny few who will do bad things.

Fertilizer monitoring probably is a good thing as a single bad person can do a tremendous amount of damage. But right now a drone is going to give someone a bad cut or maybe take out an eye.

What I do smell is the government getting really pissed off that drones are being used to inform. That is their worst nightmare. Drones monitoring police, or fire is not what they want. They love when they have an excuse to push the public back and exert their authority. They love when they can put armed patrols around a pollution site where some big donor has been given cart blanche to pollute their way to another billion dollars. They hate when a drone flies overhead and exposes the truth.

As for drones interfering with flight operations, have you ever met a goose? If you are a pilot and your choices are to hit a goose or to hit a drone pretty much every pilot will chose the drone.

But sadly various criminals are going to buy better and better drones and come up with better and better ways to use them. So drug deliveries, even armed robberies are coming.

So this is going to be the classic war on drugs stupidity where they don't have any impact on the criminals while having a massive impact on the benefits that drones could provide the public.

I also wonder if some of these regulations are coming from the really big aviation companies who have pretty much entirely missed out on the commercial drone market and they know that if they craft the regulations carefully enough they will shut out the innovations pouring out of small companies all over. This way it will end up only being large corporations selling to the police, the military, and other large corporations? This completely screws the little guy. But at what point has government taken the needs of the little guy into serious consideration in the last 50 years when it came up against huge corporations?

This is giving me a headache. I had better take one of my cheap aspirin before the TPP allows Bayer to somehow renew their patent.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.