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Comment Badly designed work email addresses ... (Score 1) 213

Back in the 90s, with my name being Stuart McSomethingOrOther and the CFO of the company I worked at being Stewart McSomethingElse our company email addresses were StuartMcG@companyName and StewartMcG@companyName. Guess who regularly received the most interesting and juicy financial details about the company from the Lawyers ? Sadly Stewart didn't find the occasional mis-directed discussion on software devt anywhere near as interesting.

Comment Re:Um.. we don't see it as advancing our career (Score 1) 125

Hallelujah and Amen brother!!! As a Solution Architect "within spitting distance of 50" You've just described why I get out of bed in the morning. Last week some of the 24yo college newbies finally worked out that they weren't even born when I started my first programming job; and that they were still mewling and puking in nurses arms, when I was making the stupid mistakes that I'm trying to prevent them from making.

Comment Re:Generalisation overload (Score 1) 211

I would bet anything that she succeeded not just because of her people skills but because she was a quick study and learned what it took to be a good engineer.

More learnt to recognise what made a good engineer, than learn to be a good engineer. Her standard intro to new staff who asked what her tech experience was went something like this: "I was a trainee programmer once....I totally sucked at it."

The only guy who tried the "If you've never been a programmer how will you understand the skill and quality of our work?" BS got the following answer: "I press the buttons and it works, you're a genius, I press the buttons and it doesn't work you're an arsehole - there's nothing in between." He lasted 3 months.

Comment Don't underestimate Conspiracy of Mediocrity (Score 1) 211

That said, it seems like the easy solution would be to down-promote this person one final time after reviewing their performance...

Now let's talk about this fabled review of performance: You're the newly promoted manager, and unfortunately you're crap at your new job. I'm the manager that promoted you into that new job - so by definition I'm crap at my job - and I'm doing the performance review.

The great conspiracy of mediocrity means that the unspoken sub-text of the performance review is: "We both know in our heart of hearts that we're crap at our jobs and if we could have our druthers, we would both like to go back to what we were really good at. But we're both trapped, we can't publicly admit we're crap, so we'll just continue to mosey along being mediocre at our respective jobs. Be a good chap and don't rock the boat, and who knows, hopefully there's another mediocre uber-manager who will promote both of us one last time"

Comment Generalisation overload (Score 5, Informative) 211

Gosh the box of dangerous generalisations must have been on special this week in your part of the world. While many non-technical managers "will have no idea what their people are doing" that doesn't have to be so.

In my 25 year career I've had the pleasure of having two non-technical managers who were far and away the best managers I've ever seen in action. They used their non-techiness to their advantage and built high performing teams that would walk over coals for them. It's called trust.... "I know you are all supremely clever, and know stuff that I don't.... that's why you're the engineers. My job is to trust you all to do your jobs well, make sure nothing gets in the way of you doing your job well, and by the way you lot being a bunch of arrogant techie dicks, and ignoring me as a "non-techie girl" counts as "getting in the way of you doing your jobs well" "

And to the point of the original article - Two of the absolutely worst managers I've had were promoted engineers who weren't good enough to make it into the ranks of "chief engineer / consulting architect / great poo bah of technicality" and felt their only scope for promotion was to take on management. To the credit of one of them, he realised he was totally crap at this management lark, and re-trained. Over time he actually became quite a good manager - not great but pretty good.

The other doofus left in a hail of "thank god he's gone" and continued to wreck havoc wherever he went.

Submission + - Kim DotCom can sue NZ Government (

StueyNZ writes: "The byzantine extradition case for Kim Dotcom wends its way through the NZ Appeal Courts. After a previous court ruling that the NZ spy agency, GCSB, acted unlawfully by assisting the NZ Police and FBI in apprehending Dotcom; a 2nd ruling was made that the GCSB could be sued for re-dress by Dotcom alongside the NZ Police.

Obviously, the NZ Govt doesn't want the GCSB exposed to any more publicity than it has to, and so it appealed the ruling, essentially applying to leave the NZ Police to carry the can on the damages case that Dotcom can bring.

Today's appeal court ruling means the GCSB is unable to duck behind the NZ Police while Kim Dotcom grandstands, but will have little or no effect on the extradition hearing which is still set down for August this year.

TL;DR — The liklihood of Kim Dotcom actually being extradited to the US hasn't changed today, although he does get another legal forum to grandstand from."

Comment We don't want critical thinking ... (Score 1) 265

No! No! No!

We the management don't want critical thinking in our employees. We want skilled coders who will shut up and do as they're told.

No critical thinking. No analysis of the content of the latest bunch of lies (ulp, I mean management team talk to the staff). and certainly no telling us we're full of shit when we are.

Comment Re:my whole class was taught to program in high sc (Score 1) 265

...and as we testified to an adjudicator in a wrongful dismissal case a few years ago:

Jack's argument is that we didn't offer him enough of the right training to become a better programmer.

Our argument is that we gave the same training that 80 other programmers got...programming is like Opera Singing, if you don't have the talent no amount of training is going to make you good at it. Unfortuntely Jack made a mistake when he thought he'd go into programming as a career.

On the other hand teaching all kids to at least write a little programme, may help identify those with the talent early enough to get them trained into great programmers.

Submission + - Does the Higgs Boson Reveal Our Universe's Doomsday? (

astroengine writes: "If calculations of the newly discovered Higgs boson particle are correct, one day, tens of billions of years from now, the universe will disappear at the speed of light, replaced by a strange, alternative dimension, one theoretical physicist calls boring. "It may be that the universe we live in is inherently unstable and at some point billions of years from now it’s all going to get wiped out. This has to do with the Higgs energy field itself,” Joseph Lykken, with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., told Discovery News. "This calculation tells you that many tens of billions of years from now there’ll be a catastrophe.""

Submission + - Firefox 19 Launches On Desktop, Android Version Has Lower CPU Requirements

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla on Tuesday officially launched Firefox 19 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The improvements include a built-in PDF viewer on the desktop and theme support as well as lower CPU requirements on Google's mobile platform. You can see the official changelogs here: desktop and Android.
Wireless Networking

Submission + - First bionic eye gets FDA blessing (

coondoggie writes: "The US Food and Drug Administration today approved what it says is the first bionic eye, or retinal prosthesis, that can partially restore the sight of blind individuals after surgical implantation. pecifically the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System includes a small video camera, transmitter mounted on a pair of eyeglasses, video processing unit (VPU) and an implanted artificial retina. The VPU transforms images from the video camera into electronic data that is wirelessly transmitted to the retinal prosthesis."

Submission + - Can You Potty Train a Cow? (

sciencehabit writes: Think potty training a child is hard? Try teaching a cow when and where to do its business. The bovines can defecate nine to 16 times daily, and pee seven to nine times, creating big hygiene problems on dairy and beef farms. So cueing the animals to go in the right place would be a big help for managing manure. But past techniques—including training cows to respond to mild electric shocks—have proven ineffective or impractical for wide use. To see if they could come up with a better potty prompt, the scientists tested a series of stimuli on a dozen Holstein cows. The milkers stood in or walked through a footbath filled with water, for example, or had air or water sprayed on their feet. Alas, "[n]one of our tests reliably stimulated defecation," the team reports. Maybe bovine diapers instead?

Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas