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Comment: Wasn't this the main point of "Agile"? (Score 1) 134

by hey! (#49142597) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

Find a compromise between predicting too much of the future and just managing a project by the seat of your pants; get into a rhythm where you check how good your estimations and learn to get better at them.

Of course you can't develop every project this way; I've used Agile and it's worked for me. I've used waterfall and it's worked for me too. You have to try to be sensible; you can't completely wall of other people's need to know when you'll accomplish certain things, nor can you build a solid plan based on pure speculation. You have to have an intelligent responsible way of dealing with future uncertainty, a plan to cut it down to size.

I've even had the good fortune at one point of winning a $750,000 grant to build a system for which no firm requirements had been established. It was kind of an uphill-flowing waterfall: we knew how long it would take us and how much it would cost but we had no firm idea of what we were supposed to build. If that sounds like a recipe for disaster, it was; but my team was *successful* and built a product which was still be used and supported over a decade after the grant finished.

What's missing from many programming estimates is honesty. It's a matter of ethics; you can't take people's money and say maybe someday you'll deliver something useful to them. People don't have unlimited time and money to accomplish all the things that need to be done in the world. It's an honor being entrusted with people's aspirations, and a serious responsibility. It's hard, even nerve-wracking, but you've got to care enough about the impact of your planning on other people to make the effort to do the very best job you can.

And what I've found is that if you do make the effort you can do a surprisingly good job of estimating a project if it's in an area and with technologies you're reasonably familiar with. If you look closely your specific predictions will often be way off, but if you care enough to be brutally honest the pleasant surprises tend to balance out the unpleasant ones.

Comment: Re:Registration (Score 1) 181

Try to get a taxi at 6th and 44th in Manhattan at 5PM. Taxis are pretty damn expensive in NYC, and pretty much impossible to find when demand is high. Know what is available at 5PM? Uber cars.

If everyone could get a taxi at peak time, would they get home quicker? No, because you'd have gridlock. This is one of the things that city planners take into account when managing taxi licensing.

Public transport is an efficient solution at peak time. It may not seem like it -- what with waiting times, multiple stops, the need to walk a bit and connect -- but mass transit is the only way to keep that many people moving. 25 years ago New York was famous worldwide for its traffic jams -- you don't want that again.

Taxis are useful at times of lower demand, when public transport becomes inefficient.

Unlimited cars leads to a tragedy-of-the-commons scenario. I'd tell you to stop being so selfish, but even enlightened self-interested says you should just get a damn bus.

Comment: Re:Without estimates you can't budget... (Score 3, Funny) 140

by JWSmythe (#49142377) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

Lets see... What would they say? This is the one-sided conversation, since it doesn't matter what you say anyways.

"Ok, we can accept that estimate."

"Ya, ya, ya, whatever."

"We'll have that information to you by the start of the project."

"The information isn't ready yet, we'll have that by the time you need it."

"I thought we had that to you already. We'll have to check with the information source."

"The PMs have some changes."

"Here's the information, but there are some small changes."

"No, those are small changes, they won't impact the timeline."

"No, you can't have more time, we already made commitments."

"The PMs have some changes."

"What do you mean you won't have it in on schedule? You agreed with the initial estimate."

"You're going to stay here until it's done, I don't care how long it takes."

"I don't care that you've been in the office 30 hours straight, this is your fault."

"We're hiring an off-shore company to help you with the project. Get them up to speed."

"The PMs have some changes."

"Since we have the off-shore team, we need to cut your department back."

"I read an article saying Java is the future. Redo it in Java."

"What do you mean we're waiting on the off-shore company?"

"We fired the off-shore company. You're good, you can get it done in time."

"Ok, hire more people into your department, but we're only offering half the salary, and no more bodies."

"Why is this project so far behind? Don't you know what you're doing?"

"The PMs have these changes."

"Why aren't you done? We're weeks from the deadline!"

"You didn't meet the deadline. Don't you know deadlines are firm. We have commitments."

"I don't want excuses, I want results."

"You and your idiot team are fired. Get out of my building."

[2 months later]

"We need you to come back and finish the project. We need it by next Monday, that should be plenty of time."

"Here's all the new specs. They should be easy to do."

"What do you mean total rewrite, it's only a few chances. You are an idiot. Get out."

[1 month later]

"We need you to come back and finish the project. We need it by" {click}

"We need you to come back and finish the project. We need it by" {click}

"We need you to come back and finish the project. We need it by" {click}

"Why do you keep hanging up on me?" {click}

Comment: Re:Registration (Score 1) 181

Professional drivers need to get peak-time business to account for slack time at off-peak hours. If Uber drivers can cherry pick the fares at peak time, undercutting the full-time drivers, there's no incentive for drivers to make themselves available off-peak.

Licensing incorporates a social contract -- it's much like pubs. Where I live, a pub has to apply for certain hours. They can't shut up early whenever business is slack -- they've been given the license to make sure supply matches demand. The number of licenses is restricted so that the business can survive. Quid pro quo.

Comment: Congrats, mods, we have a winner... (Score 1) 289

by westlake (#49140799) Attached to: Reddit Imposes Ban On Sexual Content Posted Without Permission

...for the ugliest post to Slashdot ever modded up "Insightful."

This is truly the finest example of the geek's sexual immaturity that I have ever been privileged to see.

The fundamental truth is that rape is not about sex, it is about power --- a man's dominance over the women in his world. --- and the geek's world is online.

Better yet, stop pretending your body is some special butterfly that will cause the sky to fall and dogs to make love to cats should somebody actually get a look at it.

Comment: Re:"Proprietary So I Get Paid", from Bruce Perens? (Score 1) 125

Hi AC,

Matt Ettus has a story about a Chinese cloner of the USRP. The guy tells Chinese customers that it is illegal for them to buy from Ettus, they must buy from the cloner instead. Then, when they have problems and require serivce, he tells them to get it from Ettus. Who of course made nothing from their device sales and can not afford to service them.

This is not following the rules of Open anything. It's counterfeiting.

So, sometimes it is necessary to change the license a little so that you will not be a chump. I discussed the fact that the hardware is fully disclosed but not Open Hardware licensed with RMS, the software is 100% Free Software, and there is a regulatory chip you can't write. We can go for Respects Your Freedom certification that way..

I've paid my dues as far as "Open" is concerned, and Chris has too. This is all we can give you this time.

Comment: Re:Why custom punched end panels ? (Score 1) 125

The case selection was so that we'd have at least one case that would work. We did not take much time on it. We'd be happy to have other people designing and selling cases.

The version after this one requires cases that look like real radios. That is going to be a bigger problem. We don't yet have a mold-design partner, etc.

Comment: Re:GNUradio? (Score 1) 125

We implement it as a chip that intercepts the serial bus to the VFO chip, and disallows certain frequencies. On FCC-certified equipment we might have to make that chip and the VFO chip physically difficult to get at by potting them or something. This first unit is test-equipment and does not have the limitation.

Comment: Re:How about international versions? (Score 1) 125

Anyone who is good at electronics can get around regulatory lockouts. We're not allowed to make it easy. But nor are we technically able to make it impossible.

U.S. regulation only allows Part 95 certified radios to be used on GMRS, and Part 95 requires that the radio be pretty well locked down. But all of those Asian imports are certified for Part 90 and there are lots of users putting them on both Amateur and GMRS. If FCC wanted to push the issue with any particular licensee, they could.

Comment: Re:awesome! (Score 1) 125

The D-STAR issue is not really ICOM's fault. JARL designed D-STAR (not ICOM) and put the AMBE codec in it because nobody believed that you could have a good open codec at the time. We now have Codec2 (a project I evangelized and recruited the developer) which is fully open. And we do have a software AMBE decoder in Open Source, although the patents won't let us use it. That is why I am working on the patent issue (as noted in the last slide of the presentation).

I know about the counterfeit FTDI chips, and Matt Ettus told me what has happened with the Chinese clone of USRP. We know what to do.

There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be a coincidence. -- Jeremy S. Anderson

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