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Comment: Re:Simple methodology (Score 5, Informative) 294

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.

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:While you're at it... (Score 1) 103

by LWATCDR (#49140987) Attached to: Intel To Rebrand Atom Chips Along Lines of Core Processors

I never had an issue with Windows 7 on a core 2.
But then a core 2 is three generations back I am talking about Sandy-Bridge or higher but even a Core2 is probably going to be just fine.
If you are talking about one of the first gen Atoms yea they where terrible but modern ones are pretty good.

Comment: Re:Please tell me this is satire (Score 1) 301

by LWATCDR (#49136767) Attached to: Use Astrology To Save Britain's Health System, Says MP

You mean you are not disappointed with Prince Charles? What about Prince Andrew?
The idea that someone is "better" than I am just because of who their mother and or father goes counter to the idea of a free society IMHO.
I of course would show the correct respect if I ever meet with any of them in real life out respect for the citizens of the UK because it would be wrong to do otherwise to just be a jerk.

Comment: Re:While you're at it... (Score 2) 103

by LWATCDR (#49136725) Attached to: Intel To Rebrand Atom Chips Along Lines of Core Processors

It would be difficult to find any modern x86 CPU that is not good enough for those tasks. Heck even a pretty old CPU should work for most of those.
The amount of CPU power available today borders on the unbelievable.
Outside of power users like gamers, developers, CAD, Video editing, and other high end users a Pentium is more than good enough.
Frankly they would get better value out of an SSD than an I5.

Comment: Re:Bugs in Win 7 UI (Score 1) 466

by azcoyote (#49136595) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10
That bug can occur in previous editions of Windows (Windows Me, even though I liked it, did do this fairly often). All that happens is that Explorer is being fussy and not automatically updating the view, so you have to press F5 to refresh it. I believe this can be aggravated by certain scenarios, such as having a network drive mapped that is unavailable (because Windows wastes its time trying to communicate with the unavailable drive rather than just moving on with other operations).

I agree that Win7 has its bugs, but the truth is that many of these bugs have been in Windows for over a decade, and Microsoft just doesn't do anything about it. They are too busy messing up the UI to actually care about improving productivity and fixing basic flaws in the system. In fact, it always makes me angry that my Win95 was better at searching for files than Win7. In Win7, even when you tell it to search all files regardless of whether they are indexed, it's fairly frequently the case that I can type in the name of a file that I can visibly see present in the folder and Windows will still be unable to locate it.

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:Fuck it - everyone for themselves. (Score 1) 346

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: Re:Mostly right. (Score 1) 670

by rjh (#49130731) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge

I'm not rejecting Noether's theorem -- I'm rejecting temporal invariance. Spacetime is dynamical, therefore not invariant, etc., etc.

You can definitely torture the definitions of words until you reach a kind of invariance, but I feel this creates more problems than it solves. Better to just say, "conservation of energy only holds true for static backgrounds."

See Sean Carroll's "Energy Is Not Conserved" blogpost for a more detailed explanation. He convinced me to stop talking about the energy of the gravitational field as the escape hatch for conservation. :)

Comment: Your own humanity (Score 1) 681

by rjh (#49130349) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Terminally Ill - What Wisdom Should I Pass On To My Geek Daughter?

It's commendable that you want to pass on wisdom. But I suspect your daughter isn't going to miss your wisdom anywhere near as much as she's going to miss you. What is it that makes you so uniquely you?

For example: I have some really strong memories associated with science fiction, particularly Poul Anderson's Tau Zero. So I might record myself reading Tau Zero, and whenever I reached a passage that really resonated with me I might go into a long digression about why it resonated with me, and things in my life and history that also strike that same thematic note. By the end of it, she would know not only that I loved Tau Zero, but she'd know a lot more about me and why I loved it and why it spoke to me and why, with only six good months left, I'd choose to spend six hours of it recording it for her.

Wisdom is overrated. It really, truly is. It's valuable but it's not the best thing out there. And I say that as the son of a father who has the keenest mind I've ever known, a guy who has enormous life experience and wisdom and has shared it with me freely throughout my life. If-and-when he goes, I'll miss his wisdom a lot. But I'll miss him more.

The most important gift you have to pass on to your daughter isn't your wisdom. It's you.

Comment: Re:Fritz Haber (Score 1) 224

by LWATCDR (#49130309) Attached to: 100 Years of Chemical Weapons

1. Nobel did not make TNT and that is the difference.
2. No you did not have to haul saltpeter across the globe to make explosives before Haber since their was another way to make nitrates before Haber that was must more expensive. Take a look at the US civil war and you will see no shortage of explosives.

Nobel was a person that wanted to save lives by making a safer explosive. He was vilified as a merchant of death "wrongly BTW" because people thought that dynamite was going to be used as a weapon which it rarely was. He decided that he wanted to do good to make up for the potential bad so he created the Nobel prizes including one for peace.

Haber created something that save millions of lives but then because of his self-loathing decided that he wanted to stop being Jewish and become an ultra German. He then went on to make weapons of mass destruction.
The only parallels I see is they both dealt with Nitrogen compounds. Now the contrast between them is interesting and the fact that Haber really seemed to become an anti-semitic semitic I find really interesting.
Nobel was just an admirable person. Haber despite his best efforts saved far more lives than he took which is also interesting.

Comment: Re:Not Censorship (Score 1) 284

by LWATCDR (#49130155) Attached to: Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

I understand your point. I just do not agree with it.
of course TOS is subject to change and this is a free service.
It comes down to Google saying "We are no longer going to pay for you publish this"
I do mean pay since they run servers.
They are not deleting the blogs so you can get your material off and move to a different platform.

A formal parsing algorithm should not always be used. -- D. Gries