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Comment I'd probably go with Subversion (Score 1) 315

I'd go with Subversion. It's older and has a centralized repository rather than Git's distributed-repositories approach, but that won't be a problem for your team since they aren't spread out across multiple locations. It's got better support for running on Windows (CollabNet sells a supported commercial Windows-based server plus the whole TeamForge line), has Windows clients (both integrated into Explorer and stand-alone) and has supported integration with Visual Studio. Older means that almost every development tool out there for Windows understands how to interact with it. It's also easier for people who aren't familiar with version control to grasp SVN's model and how you interact with it (a commit is a commit, they don't have to understand the differences between their local copy of the repository and the origin copy on the Git server). Finally, SVN offers a degree of centralized control that makes management happy (eg. mandating commit comments in a certain form, controlling individual access to different parts of the directory tree).

Comment Writers won't be replaced (Score 4, Informative) 112

The kind of document Gartner's talking about isn't the kind that's written, it's the kind that's transcribed from facts with some formatting applied. As the article says, it's sports scores and budget reports and such. It's the kind of stuff I call "boilerplate" and write scripts to handle, eg. to take a small input file with the information defining a C++ class ("This is the class name, these are the data members and their types.") and spit out a properly-formatted C++ class definition complete with all the constructors, assignment operator and standard methods needed (which is oftentimes 2 orders of magnitude bigger than the input file). Actual creative writing, the kind that requires coming up with the information to put into the document, is in no danger of being replaced any time soon.

Comment Re:Been there, done that (Score 1) 478

At that point I'd actively avoid a pat on the back from him, I couldn't be sure if it were holding a knife or not. As for the pay raise, yes it did. The only problem he had was that the offer from his company to try and convince me to change my mind about my resignation letter was only about half the raise I'd been offered elsewhere. Not that it mattered at that point, there isn't a raise big enough to keep me at a company where that kind of behavior's acceptable in a senior executive.

It was also amusing on my last day watching HR's reactions as I forced them to go through the process of deactivating and securing all of my accounts and access so that I provably wouldn't have access to anything of theirs after that point. They didn't think that was necessary. I... disagreed. :)

Comment Re:Subpoena the change management records (Score 1) 478

If a manager gives me a verbal instruction and won't put it in writing/email, I simply follow up with an email to him saying "Here's what I understood you to be verbally instructing me to do at such-and-such a date and time. Please confirm whether my understanding is correct, and please clarify any points where it's incorrect. Thank you.". The boss trying to avoid a paper trail is a big red flag to me saying that I'm going to need that paper trail at some point.

Comment Been there, done that (Score 1) 478

Had the CTO claim he ordered one thing when he actually ordered exactly the opposite. He was counting on the "document retention" system to have long since deleted any emails documenting his original order. Pity that, as a properly paranoid software engineer, I had archive folders with retention settings of "retain forever" with copies of all relevant emails for any project I worked on (so I wouldn't lose the context of technical decisions or relevant requirement/spec changes) and could produce copies of his own emails with his actual instructions in them.

I hope the VW engineers had the foresight to do something similar, because this smells to me of management looking to find a scapegoat so they don't have to face the consequences of their decisions.

Comment Re:Won't fly with companies (Score 1) 94

No, in point #2 I'm not talking about placeholders. I'm talking about eg. using an image for a header so you can put the site's name in it's brand-specific font as opposed to simple setting the background color and using text for the name. Or using images to create a separator between headline and content so you can have one that looks exactly like what you use on your TV shows or in print.

As for the third point, it only breaks things if you set the size to something other than the image size (which your server ought to know since it's the one sending the image). And if you're doing dynamic resizing to fit screens, you're probably one of the people I hate when I start scrolling to see the text on your website and suddenly everything jumps around as your page finishes loading and your JS starts resizing images causing reflows and rerendering of the page. It's not so obvious on a desktop system because things tend to load fast, but on mobile devices it makes people tear their hair out. Which is why I said to test your site on a machine with a deliberately-choked-off network connection: to see how it'll render as it loads through a relatively slow, heavily congested link. I suspect a lot of designers test mobile sites on either emulators or using devices connected through fast WiFi links to fast local servers and never test what happens when it takes 30+ seconds to get all the content through the pipe.

Comment Won't fly with companies (Score 5, Insightful) 94

This'll be great for individuals, but companies won't accept it. The first problem is that ad networks won't accept the limitation, so any site that shows advertising will have to eschew AMP. The second problem is that companies use Javascript frameworks so heavily in their Web design that they won't be able to just drop it and go back to static HTML/CSS for their sites. If they were willing to, after all, Google wouldn't've seen such a need AMP in the first place.

I think the same results can be achieved by three things:>

1. Strip advertising down. Ads are the biggest things I find slowing mobile Web pages down as the ads do so many things to keep content from being accessed until the ad's been seen and dealt with and fetch so much stuff from so many remote servers. Minimize the number of ads and make them as simple as possible.

2. Stop using images for layout and convert to using CSS instead. Yes you lose the ability to do fancy brand-specific artwork on headers and separators and such, but you know what? Most users don't care about those things.

3. Stop using dynamic layouts that load the entire page and then make changes to it that alter it to it's final layout. Just lay things straight out so the browser can render stuff as it's loaded. Specify sizes for images, drop the "Tap to read the rest" buttons that hide the bulk of the content (but still require it to be loaded before the page can render), that sort of stuff.

Easy way to do this: one of your test machines runs Windows XP on hardware with a 500MHz CPU, 256MB of RAM, an unaccelerated graphics card with 2MB of video memory and a 56K modem (or 115200bps serial link) for network connectivity. If your site performs decently on that, it'll be good on any mobile device.

Comment I'd like to reverse the process (Score 1) 345

I'd like it if, rather than the merchant charging me and the bank having to figure out if it's legitimate or fraudulent, I send a message to my bank/card-issuer saying "Pay this merchant this much, here's their reference number and here's my TOTP authenticator code.". That should reduce the problem dramatically, and turn the physical card and/or knowledge of the account number into a last-ditch resort when I can't get a data connection, can't get a text message out, can't get a voice call out or don't have my phone with me and the store doesn't have a phone line I can use.

Comment Re:Cheating regulations is rampant (Score 5, Informative) 93

Not quite the same thing. What VW did was recognize the test and change operating modes only during testing. What Samsung did was build a "Home" mode for optimum energy savings and other modes (including changing settings from the defaults in Home mode to give a custom mode) that optimized viewing experience at the expense of power use. The EU's tests use "Home" mode and don't test any other modes, while most consumers immediately adjust the TV for optimum viewing regardless of power consumption, so of course TVs in normal use use more power than their test scores indicate. But the TV doesn't change anything on it's own and it doesn't run any differently during the test than it does in the same mode in normal use, it's just that the EU didn't bother testing the TV in the configuration most consumers are going to set it to. Myself, I'd run the test in every mode the TV has and compare results because you know consumers aren't going to ignore additional modes.

Comment Surprised this still works (Score 1) 139

I'm surprised this scam still works today. All of my cards automatically reject purchases where the shipping address isn't the billing address of my card. I can add addresses to the valid list, but I have to do it beforehand through their web site or through customer service. That should shut this kind of scam down.

Or the other obvious change of, instead of having the merchant charge my card, have me tell my bank/issuer to pay the merchant. Then the merchant never needs to know my card number and it's a lot harder for scam artists to operate.

Comment Pay-for-access idea (Score 1) 229

How about an ad blocker that charges advertisers per view to let their ads be seen, and pays users a portion of that (say split it 10% to the blocker's developer, half the remainder to the site and half to the user) if they allow the ads to be shown to them. If the advertiser wants more views, they can either a) make more interesting ads that people actually want to see or b) offer more money for people's attention.

Comment Re:Engineers were just as guilty (Score 1) 569

Can you afford to walk away from your job right this minute? Knowing you'll get no unemployment compensation, no welfare, no assistance of any kind? It's one thing to voluntarily follow orders, quite another when the person giving the orders is holding the welfare of your family hostage against your good behavior. In my book people who refuse to recognize this are complicit with management in the act, they directly help management perpetuate the conditions that let management get away with these crimes.

Comment Re:I said "No, I won't put that code in." (Score 4, Insightful) 569

Exactly. The basic problem is a lack of management ethics. Management considers it perfectly acceptable to cheat like this, knowing they're cheating and breaking the law while doing so, and they expect everyone in the organization to follow along. Management also considers it perfectly acceptable to lie about why they let someone go, rather than simply fire them for disobeying orders (which would leave the employee free to say exactly what orders they disobeyed) they find some other innocuous excuse and leave the employee no real way to respond when asked by a future employer why they were terminated. Until management ethics is fixed, it won't be possible to do anything about engineering ethics.

Comment Go limp (Score 4, Interesting) 381

I'd go limp: "We'll comply with your request. Please send us the contact information for the service that you'll accept as authoritative for whether or not a request from a particular IP address originates in France or not. We'll also require a binding agreement that the determination of this service cannot be contested by either Google or the French government, and that if any third party demonstrates that the service made an incorrect determination use of that service will be discontinued and the French government shall not demand compliance from Google until the French government has selected a new authority. Until we are in receipt of this information and agreement, Google will unfortunately be unable to operate the French-localized Google site and will be unable to serve search results for France or any French entity or person. Have a nice day.".

Comment Geographic diversity (Score 5, Informative) 68

First rule: have facilities capable of running your business in more than one location. Everywhere is susceptible to disaster of one sort or another, but if you pick areas far apart that aren't geographically similar they probably won't both suffer disasters at the same time.

Second rule: the probability of disaster taking out your main facilities is 100%. It will happen. The only question is exactly when it'll happen, and the only constant in the answer is that it won't be at a good time. If anyone in your organization doesn't like this, remind them that reality doesn't really care what they like.

"I have five dollars for each of you." -- Bernhard Goetz