Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: It's the non-engineers. (Score 3, Insightful) 41 41

by tlambert (#50016905) Attached to: The Programmer's Path To Management

The stories about jobs and careers are getting so tiresome. I realize Dice bought Slashdot to datamine the comments (free focus group!), but it seems like half the stories are a variation on the same these days.

It's the non-engineers.

They have this misconception that people used to dealing with the intricate semantics of programming languages are going to be unaware of the intricate semantics of English. Therefore, if they ask a question once, and do not get an answer they like, they will repeatedly ask the same question in different guises, hoping to obtain the answer they wanted to hear.

This really comes down to who is more patient than whom.

I usually attempt to buffer my answers in order to soften the blow, but you can ask the same question as many ways as you want, and the answer will likely not change, so long as it is fundamentally the same question. And I usually have the patience of Job. However, there was one incident where I was up against a deadline, and was being asked to "just cobble together something that works, and we'll (read: you'll) fix it (read: in a binary compatible way) later. Which was an impossibility (I was working on some very complex database code written in C++ which did subschema definitional enforcement on an upper level database schema, and the semantics had to be correct for the data stored in the binary backing store to be usable going forward, when we did the next update). The code had to be *right*, as opposed to *right now*, and the time difference was important.

We had a UI person who was in a management position, and they brought her over to argue their case that immediate was better than correct (correct would fit under the deadline, but only if everyone left me alone to finish the code). The UI person was constantly revising the UI in each release, and each release was practically a full rewrite. And she did not understand why I could not write my code the same way she wrote hers. Finally having had enough, I explained "It's OK if your code is crap; you are going to rewrite it in the next release anyway. My code has to work now, and it has to continue to work going forward, and therefore it needs to be correct. I understand that you are feeling the approaching deadline. So am I. However, while your code can be crap, mine can't be because I have to maintain it going forward. Now if you will get the hell out of my office, I will be able to finish the code by the deadline."

Needless to say, there were some ruffled feathers. The director of engineering sided with me. I completed the (correct, rather than expedient) code by the deadline, and the product didn't turn into unmaintainable crap vis-a-vis the update process going forward.

What's the moral to this story?

Well, with specific regard to DICE:

(1) Repeatedly asking the same question in different ways is not going to get them a different answer, if the first answer was correct. Any other answer than that answer would be incorrect, for the question asked.

With specific regard to the current topic:

(2) Engineers who actually reliably, repeatedly, and consistently deliver what they are asked to deliver, within the timeframe that was agreed upon, can, and often do, wield more authority than the managers nominally set above them in the food chain, so it's not like going into management is going to give you any more real authority than you already have by way of your relationship with the team, and their trust of your judgement.

A management path can be a good idea if:

(A) You want more perks (stock options, etc.), although in a good company, if you are a great engineer, you will get those anyway

(B) You are tired of doing engineering for a living (which probably means you didn't qualify as "great engineer" under option 'A' anyway)

(C) You feel you would be more useful and/or happier in such a position (but if your happiness is based on power, don't expect it will necessarily follow)

(D) You are an OK (but not great) engineer at a company which engages in age discrimination, and you are happy to continue working for such a company going forward, and it's your only way to do so (at which point, I pretty much need to question your personal ethics)

Other than that... DICE: Asked and Answered. Please go on to the next survey question.

Comment: Spoiler warning (Score 1) 182 182

by tepples (#50015799) Attached to: How Television Is Fighting Off the Internet

Netflix users with DVD service have several years of experience learning to wait a year for the current season of shows. It works the same with streaming.

Except that people who wait a year have to make an effort to avoid spoilers and have no chance to discuss plot developments with their respective social groups.

Comment: Re:Fucking Lawyers (Score 1) 146 146

by tepples (#50014809) Attached to: SCOTUS Denies Google's Request To Appeal Oracle API Case

That's a hard position to take here with all the opinionated freeloading IP burglars since when they are not whining about ISPs (ex. Comcast, ATT) limiting their content stealing abilities

How is it "content stealing" to view licensed video through Netflix? Or are you claiming that Netflix's license to the video it offers is invalid?

or criticizing anyone (ex. Microsoft) who wishes to turn a hard-earned buck for the quality software they produce at great expense

Most of us don't criticize wanting to earn a buck. We criticize anticompetitive methods of doing so, such as exclusive (or effectively exclusive) deals with all leading manufacturers of a particular class of hardware.

the residents spew their hateful anger at those (ex. Oracle) who wish to protect their IP

What is "IP"? Copyright, patent, trademark, and trade secret are very different beasts. If you mean copyright, say copyright. If you mean patent, say patent. If you mean trademark, say trademark. If you mean trade secret, say trade secret. Or did you mean stealing an IP address?

from downright theft

Copyright infringement and theft are distinct offenses. In the United States, the former is always federal, and the latter is generally handled by the several states, becoming federal only if goods are carried across state lines.

Comment: Flee the Berne Convention? (Score 1) 146 146

by tepples (#50014739) Attached to: SCOTUS Denies Google's Request To Appeal Oracle API Case

If there's a silver lining, it's that this will breed further contempt for the law among the educated. As they flee its jurisdiction.

Very little of the industrialized world is outside the jurisdiction of the Berne Convention. Where were you imagining that they would flee?

Comment: Re:I'll tell you how- they're turning the internet (Score 2) 182 182

by tepples (#50014619) Attached to: How Television Is Fighting Off the Internet

Good luck getting things like the film Song of the South, the film Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, and the TV series Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea on any service. None of these has ever been released even on DVD or BD in North America.

Comment: Re:TRWTF: List is used instead of Map (Score 1) 118 118

How the heck was I supposed to know that a 64 bit flat architecture (pointer range compare across arrays = flat arch) would someday come along that still set int to 32 bits?

How the heck were you supposed to know that your code would run on a flat architecture? Pointer range comparison across unrelated C arrays has been undefined behavior as long as I can remember. Besides, even among flat architectures, the common ABI for the 65816 has 24-bit pointers and 16-bit ints, and the common ABI for the 68000 has 32-bit pointers and 16-bit ints.

Comment: Re:It has this. (Score 1) 188 188

by tlambert (#50013637) Attached to: iPhone 6S New Feature: Force Touch

Do you defend every company which charges premium prices for a product where they limit your ability to do something every computer has been able to do for the last 50 years

Of course.

I will happily defend IKEA for selling me a chair that is limited from being able to do *anything* "every computer has been able to do for the last 50 years".

Except, you know, being sat on. If I can't sit on the chair, I'd be pretty unhappy. On the other hand, not every computer in the last 50 years has been large enough or flat enough to sit on. You gotta draw that line somewhere!

Comment: Re:TRWTF: List is used instead of Map (Score 1) 118 118

Sparse array entries, in general, are not necessarily immutable, although they may be so in this case.

The interface in the PDF describes a mutable sparse array with immutable entries. To assign a new value, you'd delete the entry and then add a new one.

The perversity of nature is nowhere better demonstrated by the fact that, when exposed to the same atmosphere, bread becomes hard while crackers become soft.

Working...