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Comment: Re:Agile is the answer to everything (Score 1) 133

by Zalbik (#48169299) Attached to: Mixing Agile With Waterfall For Code Quality

The problem is that unless your business IS software

Exactly this.

I've found agile typically a poor solution for building non-trivial internal software for a company.

Issues I've found with in-house pure agile:
- regular access to the customer is problematic
- need to re-architect during sprints due to unforeseen requirements
- inability to produce reliable estimates or determine whether buy/build/make-do is the best option
- running over time/budget due to poorly analyzed requirements

The big "win" of agile is supposed to be that it can adapt to changing requirements. I would say more often than not for in-house development the requirements are fairly fixed. Change can occur due to changing regulations, changing business environment, but these changes typically occur slowly and can easily be fit into an existing project plan.

Agile works great in cases when it's a software dev shop that typically has much more control over the features and architecture of what is being built. For in-house development though, I've also found a mix of Agile/Waterfall to work best.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 832

by Zalbik (#48160293) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Fair Tax handles this by having a certain "consumption allowance" based on family size.

When I first read about it, I was thinking the same think: This hit's the middle and lower class the most. The more I read about Fair Tax though, the more it makes sense. The issues would be determining a fair consumption allowance, and controlling evasion (the rich can consume many goods in other countries...an option the poor don't have access to).

Wealth accumulation (by and large) is not the big issue with income inequality. The bigger issues are the access to better education, better security, better health care, etc that wealth provides is as it creates a negative feedback loop.

Comment: Re:But flights from West Africa are OK? (Score 1) 463

by Zalbik (#48154527) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

The Flu will still kill more people in Africa this year that Ebola. Keep that in mind.

Really?!? 300,000 people are going to die of the flu in africa this year?!?

From the CDC's estimate of Ebola cases located here, taking the LOW count and assuming a 60% mortality rate (also low).

This is a huge problem for Africa. A much much more serious issue than the flu. It just isn't (too) much of a concern for western society as we have much better access to modern medical facilities and much more money to throw at the problem.

Comment: Re:Just tell me (Score 1) 463

by Zalbik (#48154425) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

But recognize that the ebola death curve is exponential.

Yes. In third-world countries with poor sanitation, little to no access to modern medical facilities and nearly no education on the identification and handling of ebola victims.

Ebola has been around since the 70s. This is the same virus. Although the impact of this outbreak to west africa will be massive, the overall impact to the rest of the world (especially first-world countries) will be minimal.

Stop your fear-mongering. It doesn't help.

Comment: Re:He tried patenting it... (Score 1) 975

You don't further science by NOT doing experiments.

Which is exactly why Rossi is NOT DOING SCIENCE.

He refuses to have anyone else gain access to his device.
He refuses to provide technical specifications.
He refuses to even give the basic science for how this thing could possibly work.

And he makes up some BS excuse about worrying about someone stealing his idea, all while sitting on (if it were true), would be the most important invention of the past 100 years.

There are a lot of charlatans out there. We don't have time or manpower to go and replicate every experiment that some basement-dwelling idiot says is the answer to unlimited energy, perpetual youth, or life, the universe and everything.

If Rossi wants to be taken seriously, they he can damn well follow the process and let someone replicate his experiment. Otherwise we should move on, there is nothing to see here.

Comment: Re:Possible solution (Score 2) 204

by Zalbik (#48144115) Attached to: Netflix Video Speed On FiOS Doubles After Netflix-Verizon Deal

It's a little more complex than that. I believe it's more like this:

Little Johnny Verizon opens a sandwich delivery service. He offers "Guaranteed sandwiches in 10 minutes". This isn't a problem for him, as there are only 5 people ordering sandwiches and he can easily get them all delivered in 10 minutes.

Net d'Flix opens a new sandwich shop. It's really really popular. People start asking Little Johnny to deliever sandwiches from d'Flix. Little Johnny (being a little bit greedy) signs up a bunch of new customers. Unfortunately, d'Flix sandwiches take more time to make, and little Johnny can't guarantee his 10 minute delivery time anymore. At the same time, Little Johnny's brother (Fios Verizon) opened his own sandwich shop. Little Johnny gets a kickback from Fios for every sandwich he delivers, so he REALLY wants people to buy from Fios. Unfortunately, Fios' sandwiches are terrible and can only be ordered in "combo packages" where if you really like pickles, you have to order mustard and lettuce as well.

Little Johnny then has a great idea "I'll just tell d'Flix that I won't deliver their sandwiches in 10 minutes unless they pay more money to hire another delivery guy, plus a little extra for my inconvenience". People will whine about their sandwiches not being fresh, and d'Flix will have to pay up.

Now this entire time, Little Johnny hasn't been meeting his "10 minute delivery guarantee", but he doesn't really care as he's the only sandwich delivery person in town, and people really like their sandwiches.

Comment: Re:Keeping it Simple (Score 1) 240

by Zalbik (#48141499) Attached to: Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

I agree, but I also think there needs to be a balance between KISS and other principles (e.g. DRY). I've come across developers who use KISS as an excuse to be lazy.

I recently came across some code from a colleague where it was hundreds of lines filling in object properties from data in a spreadsheet. Each property being filled in was coded as a separate line, calling a one of five different routines based on the data type to be parsed.

I asked "why didn't you just add a configuration (or just an array) that lists the fields to be parsed, then use reflection to fill in the properties" (performance was not an issue). His response was it violated KISS as reflection is "complicated".

Yes reflection isn't as simple as direct property access, and yes adding a config parser/loop is a bit more code, but at least:
- The code is readable (reading 10 pages of code in a single routine makes my eyes bleed)
- Its easier to modify (we had a change where we needed all decimal values to be parsed differently. Suddenly 50 lines of code need to change rather than 1)
- It's immediately obvious where the exception cases are (we had a bug due to a typo where 1 of the fields was being parsed incorrectly in certain edge cases. This filtered down to some calculations later on and was quite the pain to find the culprit).

As in most programming tasks, balance is key.

Comment: Re:"Finds Fault" is faulty reporting (Score 1) 269

by Zalbik (#48103363) Attached to: MIT Study Finds Fault With Mars One Colony Concept

This is how good science is supposed to work,

Huh? Colonizing Mars is not science. It's engineering.

Now, peer review is also a good idea in engineering, but so are things like detailed design specifications, planning, prototyping, feasibility studies, etc.

These are areas in which Mars One is severely lacking.

Comment: Re:21 day incubation period... (Score 1) 483

by Zalbik (#48097677) Attached to: Texas Ebola Patient Dies

I'd love to see you make that same post 10 days from now when the number of confirmed cases in the US skyrockets.

'
Given it took 10 months to reach the 7000 or so cases in Africa, why would you think the cases in the US is going to skyrocket?

Ebola is scary because it is deadly, not because it is particularly communicable.

Comment: Re:Lots of cheap carbon stuff (Score 1) 652

by Zalbik (#48078389) Attached to: Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

Do you have a link? I'm assuming these must be overall consumption.

I'll agree China, India, US are the overall top 3.

When you put Canada of all places in that list, my alarm bells went off. It's ridiculous to think that a country of 30 million people uses more energy than Japan or Russia.

I would also be a little surprised to find that India is now consuming more energy than Russia, but that at least is believable.

I suspect the top 5 now is still the same:
China, USA, Russia, India, Japan (probably in that order, possibly switch Russia and India)

Comment: Re:College admissions is not a life-value system (Score 1) 389

by Zalbik (#48078091) Attached to: Is It Time To Throw Out the College Application System?

You're poor? Well you should have worked harder. You're sick? Well you should be working harder on getting better. Got paralyzed in a horrible accident? Work harder in growing those nerve cells back. Stop being a lazy whiner, assuming that you're a special little snowflake.

Actually, not at all.
You're poor? Society should have educated you better and provided better social support to you and your family. We do a piss-poor job right now providing for the lowest income bracket in western society, which IMO feeds directly back into the high incarceration rates, drug issues, and a host of other issues.

You're sick / paralyzed? Go to the hospital. What sort of backwards barbaric country doesn't have socialized medicine in this day and age? (Note: I do not currently live in the USA)

Have you ever considered that part of the reason why the professional world is so inane and stupid is that we teach our kids to respect and suffer through inane stupidity?

No, the real world is inane and stupid sometimes because people are different. What some people consider inane and stupid, others consider valuable and intelligent. Do you really think your high-school teachers were some sort of horrific monsters who enjoyed inflicting boring repetitious tasks on students for no reason? I don't. As far as I can tell, most people honestly believe they are trying to do the right thing.

I have no doubt that our society would benefit from fostering children's strengths rather than punishing any bit of non-conformity.

I agree. But (a) As I mentioned, in high school these are not children, these are young adults. They should be reaching the point where they can use their own strengths towards whatever task is put in front of them. I have seen little to no evidence of high schools attempting to "punish any bit of non-conformity".

I won't hire someone who's going to be a prima donna and refuse to do necessary work, but I will hire someone who comes to me and says, "Look, I know you asked me to do this project, but this is inane and stupid. I've written up a report detailing exactly why it's inane and stupid.

I would expect someone to first come talk to me about why a project was inane and stupid before they wasted time on a report, but I am always open to feedback. The thing is, if I don't agree that the work is inane and stupid then I expect my employees to capable of doing the work, regardless of whether they agree with it or not. IMO, many "prima donnas" today only want the really intriguing projects that look interesting and they can pad their resume's with (i.e. RDD - Resume Driven Development).

Sometimes (valuable) tasks are unfortunately fairly boring to work on though.

"When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest." -- Bullwinkle Moose

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