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Comment: Re:Current? (Score 1) 509

A great engineer pushes technology forward and leads, a good engineer stays current and keeps his company in good technical standing, and bad engineers make excuses and rest on their laurels.

In a field which is not regulated and where tools are not standardized, how do you know if the greatest and latest tech is actually any good?

Comment: Re:Can't offer much (Score 1) 509

The fact is there are a lot of jobs out there where you can't really be great at them and still have time to be a decent parent, these things range from being special forces to being an olympic athlete, and yes, being great at programming is one of these things. There's simply too much to learn and it's changing too fast to keep up if you cannot be entirely dedicated to it.

The job title of "programmer" (and its variants) covers a large number of different actual jobs and fields. What you've said is not true of every programming job out there.

You end up recognizing that there are different types of programming jobs, in your final paragraph, but I wanted to emphasize it.

The need for "constant technical learning" can true for example, if you work as a consultant, and are placed in different projects, with different technologies, every x months. It is also true if you want to change jobs with some frequency. In those situations, being able to to work, from the get go, with several different technologies is a plus.

But a lot of programming jobs are not novelty technology based. For example, if you work at a company which develops products (instead of services) or at a company that does some in-house development as means to support other business areas, you'll find out that the company as little (or no) incentive to change. Also, in places where the focus is in the domain knowledge, people put way more value on that domain knowledge than on knowledge of technical stuff. These companies may decide to update their technology, or adopt a new complimentary technology as they expand their products, but, with that, typically comes company provided training.

Comment: Re:Can't offer much (Score 2) 509

The fact is there are a lot of jobs out there where you can't really be great at them and still have time to be a decent parent, these things range from being special forces to being an olympic athlete, and yes, being great at programming is one of these things. There's simply too much to learn and it's changing too fast to keep up if you cannot be entirely dedicated to it.

The job title of "programmer" (and its variants) covers a large number of different actual jobs and fields. What you've said is not true of every programming job out there.

You end up recognizing that there are different types of programming jobs, in your final paragraph, but I wanted to emphasize it.

The need for "constant technical learning" can true for example, if you work as a consultant, and are placed in different projects, with different technologies, every x months. It is also true if you want to change jobs with some frequency. In those situations, being able to to work, from the get go, with several different technologies is a plus.

But a lot of programming jobs are not novelty technology based. For example, if you work at a company which develops products (instead of services) or at a company that does some in-house development as means to support other business areas, you'll find out that the company as little (or no) incentive to change. Also, in places where the focus is in the domain knowledge, people put way more value on that domain knowledge than on knowledge of technical stuff. These companies may decide to update their technology, or adopt a new complimentary technology as they expand their products, but, with that, typically comes company provided training.

Comment: Re:It doesn't sound like you're current. (Score 3, Interesting) 509

I'd call someone current who has 5 years of all of these: Objective-C & MAC/iOS experience, C#/WPF, Android 4.1, SQL/SQLite/Oracle, C/C#/C++, Java, Python, Javascript, HTML, .NET and everything else the Microsoft has. If you don't known all of those things then you need to catch up.

Are you joking? Or are you using a loose meaning of the word "know".

People need to start being realistic with this "keeping up" stuff.

Let's take a look at the stuff you listed and where they are typically used:

1) web - Java; Python; Javascript; HTML; .NET
2) mobile - Objective-C & iOs for iPhone; Java for Android
3) desktop - C#/WPF; Java; Objective-C & iOS; C/C#/C++

You just described three different development roles (although there may be some intersection of technologies).

Let's say I'm working as a full time as a "desktop developer" in a company product where I work with a Java development stack. Do you think I should spend my free time doing web development and mobile development , in order to be considered "current"?

Which other professions have these kinds of expectations?

Comment: Re:I'm also somewhat resistant to code reviews (Score 1) 509

I like code reviews and think they can work. Here's some anecdotal evidence:

I work at a company where the "code review" is part of the process, but not all teams end up doing it (i.e. for time constraints). Specifically, there's a smallish team who mostly does not do them.

This has given me the opportunity to see the result of work done with "code review" and and work done without code reviews, by people in the working same environment, hired under the same (or similar) criteria.

In summary, there is a significant difference in code quality in the code written by these folks who usually skip the code reviews. Sometimes these guys work on code that's under my team's irresponsibility and we end up having to cleaning it up (to the point of rewrite).

If these people would do regular reviews, and talk about the code, and what makes it good or bad (this usually happens in a code review), their code would eventually improve. I know my code improved a lot by being reviewed by my colleagues.

The code review allows for some knowledge passing, and is also a quick "code readability" sanity test.

On the occasion that something is caught, it could also be caught at lower cost with other methods. Inspection is not as effective as testing so delaying testing for inspection is ignorant.

Its been publicized that the cost of correcting a bug goes up with time (i.e. its cheaper to fix a bug that is found in the development phase, than if it is found in the QA / testing phase; its cheaper to fix a bug found in QA, than a bug found by the client). I think I first read in the book "Code Complete".

Code quality issues are not caught up by the QA / testing people.

The worst code I have ever worked with has come at the job I've had for the last 8 months. It is all formally code reviewed and it clear that code review is the lowest value work that the programmers produce.

If your code reviews are not improving the code, maybe the process is not a good one. Maybe you want to share how you guys do it?

Comment: Re:The problem is specificity (Score 1) 274

by bmpc (#37907926) Attached to: The Software Patent Debate Is Incorrectly Framed

I think software patents could be fine as long as they are specific to a SINGLE IMPLEMENTATION of an algorithm or idea. If your patent was implemented in C++, then the same algorithm implemented in Perl or even COBOL SHOULD NOT BE COVERED.

In some cases, translating from language-X to language-Y is a straightforward line-by-line-with-a-few-additions conversion. The patent would not be of much value since anyone could just use the reference implementation and translate it to very-similar-language. This would possibly mean that the original "inventor" would start patenting the same algorithm implemented in sevaral programming languages, as long as the conversion is simple and/or has little cost.

(And I'm not defending the patents system.)

Biotech

Is DIY Algae Farming the Future? 322

Posted by timothy
from the for-fun-and-food-and-friendship dept.
hex0D points to this "interview with Aaron Baum explaining why people growing algae at home for food can help the environment and their health, and what he's doing to facilitate this. 'We'd like to create an international network of people growing all kinds of algae in their homes in a small community scale, sharing information, doing it all in an open source way. We'd be like the Linux of algae – do-it-yourself with low-cost materials and shared information.' And one of the low-cost materials is your household urine."

+ - Learn Self Hypnosis->

Submitted by gabrielm86
gabrielm86 (1831744) writes "According to the online popular encyclopedia, Wikipedia.com, hypnosis is defined as "a mental state (state theory) or set of attitudes and beliefs (non-state theory) usually induced by a procedure known as a hypnotic induction, which is commonly composed of a series of preliminary instructions and suggestions." Hypnotic induction can be achieved in a few different ways. One possible way is by a trained professional who suggests one to be in a relaxed state and subdues the conscious mind in order that the subconscious mind can be more awake.

The conscious mind controls many regular bodily functions including our movements, decisions, and is aware of our surroundings. Our subconscious mind is what is most active when we are asleep and less active when we are awake. It controls dreaming and sleeping and is working while we may not even know it.

When the subconscious mind becomes "awake" and takes over our conscious mind through hynposis, we are a lot more prone to suggestion based on our beliefs and values. In other words we are still in full control of our actions, lives, and wills even while one is under hypnosis, contrary to what many believe.

Another way to enter into hypnosis is for a person to induce self hypnosis by a series of external instructions usually given by an audio CD, MP3, etc. The instructions can also be read and then implemented in the mind.

When one taps into the subconscious mind and makes (and takes) suggestions and instructions, these are usually carried into the conscious mind over a period of time. For example, if a person is suggested through hypnosis to change his or her lifestyle in order to lose weight, then that person will carry those suggestions over into his or her conscious mind and will eventually overcome obstacles that holds one back to lose weight. This can be done for many aspects of a person's life. For example, hypnosis can be used to help a person quit smoking, be more confident, study harder, concentrate more, be more motivated, etc.

Hypnosis is also a very safe way to change habits and lifestyles. It does not require any medication or dangerous activities. It is merely a way to be more open to suggestions. The list is endless of what hypnosis can help. It help overcome fears and social problems like panic attacks and anxiety. Hypnosis can be an extremely powerful tool when done right.

Learn Self Hypnosis"

Link to Original Source

+ - Out of control Job Responsibilities 5

Submitted by greymond
greymond (539980) writes "I was originally hired as an Online Content Producer to write articles for a company website as well as start up the company’s social media outlets on Facebook and Twitter. With budget cuts and layoffs I ended up also taking over the website facilitation for three of the company’s websites (they let go of the current webmaster). During this time the company has been developing a new website and I was handed the role of pseudo project manager to make sure the developer stayed on course with the projects due date. Now that we’re closer to launch the company has informed me that they don’t have the budget or staff in place to set up the web server and have tasked me with setting up the LAMP and Zend App on an Amazon EC2 setup, which while it’s been years since I worked this much with Linux I’m picking it up and moving things along. Needless to say I want to ask for more money, as well as more resources, as well as a better title that fits my roles, but what is the best way to go about this? Of course my other thought is that I'd much rather go back to writing and working with marketing than getting back into IT."

+ - Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Far Worse Than Expected->

Submitted by Daniel P.
Daniel P. (666) writes "Apparently, the amount of oil leaking from the source is a lot greater than estimated so far. Recent numbers said that the amount of oil spilled would lie anywhere between 12,000 and 19,000 barrels daily. Those numbers have now been corrected and increased tremendously to at least 20,000 barrels, and up to 30,000 barrels of oil per day, according to The New York Times.

The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) even talks of up to 40,000 barrels a day (http://www.faz.net/s/Rub47C2F00B5F984DC2A4997324448B2EA2/Doc~ED1146D96CA1849D6B551FBD42C5AEF40~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html).

If those numbers turn out to be true, then the amount of oil spilled every week exceeds the total amount of oil spilled during the Exxon Valdez incident in 1989."

Link to Original Source
Privacy

+ - Effective way to corrupt gathered personal info? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I use Facebook, I used Myspace, and when I was much younger I didn't think twice about putting my name/address/phone numbers out on the web. So I know there is already a significant amount of data on me already gathered. My question is — for me people like me, would supplying false information on publicly accessible websites effectively mess up data about me?

For example, say I create several accounts on several social networking sites with my correct full name and a couple other correct details (alternating the correct details), but completely fudge many others. I set these accounts to fully open and I log in every few months and change a detail here and there.

Over time would this be helpful in obscuring my identity?"

Comment: Re:lot of 50-something developers in my company (Score 1) 599

by bmpc (#31174662) Attached to: "Logan's Run" Syndrome In Programming

The same is true in the company I work at, which develops products related to resource planning. Most managers and team leaders of my department are both managers and coders. They have a lot of valuable knowledge.

Domain knowledge is essential because it makes you more valuable. Specially if the products are complex, since the new guy will have to receive a lot of training before he can become useful.

If you work on generic applications or websites where you only need to know technical skills (like a Programming Language + SQL) you are easier to replace with a younger guy.

Comment: Re:Obivous Answer (Score 2, Insightful) 599

by bmpc (#31174284) Attached to: "Logan's Run" Syndrome In Programming

"I'd rather write half as much code, spend half as much time debugging it, and go home. "

Thats why I like Test Driven Development: when I'm writing unit cases, I'm doing test case design AND I'm coding. Then I also get to write the code that passes the tests. So I end up enjoying the testing part of the work a little more.

"Those who will be able to conquer software will be able to conquer the world." -- Tadahiro Sekimoto, president, NEC Corp.

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