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Comment: Re:"Technical debt": Accurately describes (Score 1) 321

by PaulMeigh (#37161946) Attached to: IBM Chief: All CEOs Reluctant To Invest In R&D

Technical debt is not just incompetence: sometimes, there is no optimal solution, and you cannot know which tradeoff is the best. Then as you have a deadline, you get something out, and you hope that iterating to a better solution will not be too painful. Sometimes, I write code that is there purely because it might be needed later -- and this time ends up sometimes having been a waste, and sometimes a saviour. In general, it is not wasted, but I have the luxury to do such developments.

I often see technical debt emerge when the world around an application changes. This can put even the perfectly architected system out of position. You could argue that a competent engineer would have implemented a design flexible enough to adapt to change, but accounting for all possible long-run outcomes would be very expensive if not impossible. In civil engineering, this results in things like traffic jam.

Comment: Re:So why don't lawyers fees drop? (Score 1) 622

by PaulMeigh (#35409182) Attached to: Is Software Driving a Falling Demand For Brains?

The bulk of legislators and judges are/were lawyers. The entire system is designed to perpetually create work for lawyers.

Supply and Demand be damned, this is a command economy in this respect with the legislators and judges creating more demand every day.

That's the demand side. On the supply side bar associations dream up achaic rules (state-by-state bar exams, continuing legal education, etc.) to restrict the supply of labor and prevent wages from falling significantly.

Comment: Politics-driven IT (Score 2) 142

by PaulMeigh (#34527340) Attached to: Feds To Adopt 'Cloud First' IT Policy

My dad spent most of his career as a developer for a federal agency. He always lamented that the direction of the organization would change according to electoral results. Not so much because R's and D's disagree on how to run IT, but because a new regime means new appointees at the top. The tendency is for them to advocate for the latest and greatest (buzzword) so that they can show cool bullet-points for their bosses. In reality, the IT planning/testing/implementation cycle in a federal bureaucracy turns out to usually be longer than the election cycle so the impact is minimal. By the time it's conclusively proven that the .NET/Java/Oracle/Cloud solution does not work, there's a new boss in place and a new hype-cycle to chase.

Comment: Let's judge their actions. (Score 1) 215

by PaulMeigh (#34292856) Attached to: Microsoft Says Kinect Left Open By Design

Words are cheap, including (often deserved) anti-MS comments on /. MS could very easily go the Apple/Sony route and push updates in an attempt to break third-party software that uses Kinect. If they do not do this, they deserve some credit for defying the 'my use case only' approach that appears to be the trend in consumer electronics these days.

Comment: Re:Streaming Netflix was disappointing (Score 1) 577

by PaulMeigh (#34125410) Attached to: Will Netflix Destroy the Internet?

Streaming Netflix has NOTHING last time I used it on my Roku box. I only found some of the worst b-rated movies and documentaries and a tiny amount of semi-new releases. No Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark...nothing.

1. It is getting better. Roku also has a new Netflix interface that makes things way easier to find.
2. Selection is WAY better than basic cable, which comes in at at least twice the price.

"The geeks shall inherit the earth." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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