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Comment Re:Special case vs. general case (Score 1) 85

Oh so true. I have worked with various banks, and that is precisely what happens.

Especially the part about "kill off internal knowledgeable staff, so changing back is impossible".

It seems absurd, but I have seen interviews for "new' external outsourced folk actually occurring over Skype with a second person sitting next to the interviewee audibly whispering answers to questions.
I have tried to take part in "meeting" which appear to be in an outdoor market in India, complete with market sellers yelling in the background.
Not to mention the language challenges.

Some of this would be fine, if it is a lot cheaper.
But it's not. Certainly in a bank where I recently worked, the internal charge rate for on offshore contractor was pretty close to an onshore one. This is surely insane.

The overhead for the translation process (the banks internal standards to the outsource group's standard) was ridiculous - and charged to the customer.

And amusingly, the outsource group considered its staff completely replaceable. "Suresh is away [has left], Jael will be doing it", er no he won't, at least not efficiently, certainly not for a while.

I have yet to have a good experience with outsourcing.

Mind you, I'm outsourcing to a London group at the moment, from Sydney, so I guess I should not be so critical. (Of course I do actually follow their standards, speak the same language, and I'm cheaper than a local Londoner).

Comment Re:Ship GPS can go out (Score 1) 350

In 1981 I sailed a small boat across the Atlantic (30' cat, took 22 days). GPS (civilian) did not exist [1996 was when it became useful and accurate], we used the sun, tables, and a sextant. I only shot the sun, not stars. Sight reduction is tedious, but not too bad with tables and perhaps a calculator. I used an HP41c - wonderful gadget.
Even with a calculator, it is not especially quick, and what you get is a position line (LOP) [actually a large circle mapped onto the earth surface corresponding to a constant angle between the sun and the horizon, but it appears as a straight line 'coz it's big]. You have to shoot the sun again in few hours, and you get crossing lines, which have to be adjusted by your speed and direction.
At night, you can shoot stars, but it's hard and I never did it. The ocean is big, and pretty empty, after all. But no matter what you do, you won't get a position much more accurate than a nautical mile. Maybe you can do better on a more stable large ship.

So not instantaneous, not terribly accurate, and kinda tough if the conditions are rough. Which they often are.

And you get no position if it's cloudy.

But the sun has one major advantage over GPS.
It's really, really hard to turn off (and if someone did, I think there might be other problems).

Comment Re:You only need 3 essentials... (Score 3, Interesting) 149

Later in life (at 50, actually, and yes, I still cut code 10 years after that), I took up figure skating as a hobby. (Warning, it's a) addictive, and b) very tough, oh, and c) quite dangerous ... and expensive).
Yes, it's well and truly dominated by females.

So, anyway, I was at the National Championships, at the after competition ball. Another chap and I looked out over the sea of fit, healthy femalehood, and he commented - "To think I spent most of teenage years with my head stuck up another blokes bum playing rugby. What was I thinking?"

This made me wonder why I spent some of my younger years on model railways - and why more females did not. It's surely a heck of a way to meet guys ...

So, good advice to younger male chaps, seeking to meet girls. Take up figure skating.
And, good advice to younger female chapesses, seeking to meet guys. Take up railway modelling.

Comment Re:Consulting (Score 1) 203

In a couple of major companies where I worked, I archived all my code before leaving, burned them to CDs, and gave two copies to my manager. And I kept a copy for me. I copied them on my home discs, automatically backed up, and left them there.
In both case, the companies lost the copies, and came back to me offering money - years later. And yes, I took it!

It's a sensible idea to have offsite backups - and taking copies home is a good way to do that. Could be illegal, theoretically, but really, what would you do with this specialised stuff? But it certainly is useful to the original company.

So take copies of all the emails, and leave good contact details with your manager, their manager, and if possible for your replacement, and offer a support rate of - say - double your current rate (don't mention that to your replacement). Make it a daily rate, not hourly.

Comment Re:Pro-Boy Bias? (Score 1) 493

Pro boy bias - you are kidding me, right?
In the primary school where my two (female) children attended, it was dominated totally by female teachers.
It's hard to imagine there is bias in favour of the opposite sex to the teacher, surely? Indeed, given the current climate, teaching is not a profession I think males enter without considerable trepidation.

Maybe we need to address some biases in the system?

Males are different to females. They mature differently, learn differently, and socialise differently. Their brains are slightly different. It's not too surprising that they end up being good at different things. Males seem to excel in tasks involving engineering (have you noticed that males end up doing all the "fixes" around the home/car, despite all this claimed "equality?), and females seem to excel in organisational and social tasks. There are always outliers in any such generalisations, and that's fabulous. But I am tired of bias claims where it's clearly not so - if girls or boys want to study subjects, nothing is stopping them that I can see. (Though I suspect boys get a harder time if they like ballet, than girls do if they like woodwork).

It's interesting to consider how good girls must be if they are suffering such bias - after all, they already outperform boys at school. Imagine how great they'd be if the school system was not based against them.

Or maybe the school system is actually biased against boys.

Comment Re:Naive to say the least. (Score 1) 258

Even Jupiter's day is 10 hours. (Ok, 9.9, but close enough).

Maybe if we speeded up the earth's rotation a bit ... yeah, let's do that, make it one hour. Oh boy, effective gravity has gone slightly negative at the equator, we are losing our atmosphere, and cows will fly, perhaps over the moon, though mooing seems unlikely.

Nah, I vote to leave it alone and do arithmetic properly. Boring, but we should live longer (though maybe not in days).

Comment Re:Naive to say the least. (Score 1) 258

every 11 years, or when my inbuilt estimation engine says "these figures are wrong, let's just check that".

Said engine was especially useful when we used slide-rules (you might have to look that up), as I did at high school. It still is, because the world is full of people who blindly believe stuff.

Not you of course.

Comment Re:Micromanagement reigns... (Score 5, Insightful) 420

Micromanagement == Agile.

Sorry, back to open offices.
The problem here is a clash between the qualities useful for office politics (cooperation, social interaction, group activities, knowledge of multiple projects, multi-tasking), and the ones actually required for getting intellectual work done (concentration, single mindedness, long periods of interruption-free abstraction).
For project design, architecture, debugging, etc, the effective person is not the one leaping up and down, having meetings, calling people ... no, it's the one sitting rather quietly thinking "if we did it this way, we'd save 5 years of work".

The whole thrust of "office design", and office working techniques, is aimed at extroverts. Extroverts make rotten programmers, designers, and they tend not to be especially innovative. Management is appropriate for extroverts - and, as we know, people promote people like them ... and even hire them.

So basically, if you are a quiet, bright, introvert, you are probably brilliant at your job - and almost unemployable.

Bummer, eh?

Comment Re:Wrong assumption (Score 0) 552

It is impressively selfcentred - or is that "USA-centred" - to assume all great programmers should immediately move to the USA. Doesn't the rest of the world get a go? They do have computers - er, come to think of it, they just might have invented them. Or was Alan Turing American? Babbage? Boole?

I'm actually glad I migrated to Australia, not the USA. I'd probably be richer, but I'd be fatter, unhappier, and possibly deader than I am now (given the number of USA citizens the USA police shoot each year [400+ USA, 5+ Aus] - oh, and heart attacks).

Comment Old specs (Score 1) 68

When I worked on the radar system for south east England in 1977, the requirements included allowing for a madman in the computer room with an axe.

It was supposed to fail back gradually, eventually all the way to analog passive radar.

Whatever happened to decent requirements?

And get off my lawn!

"Survey says..." -- Richard Dawson, weenie, on "Family Feud"