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Comment Open Office Plans (Score 1) 307

I share your pain here. I absolutely hate open office plans, as it is very hard to concentrate on true difficult problems. Never mind the complete lack of personal space as you are typically on a 'bench' type environment. The worst trend in programming I have ever seen.

That said, I don't think it is actually done to encourage collaboration. The corporate world has just convinced people of that. Even all of the obvious extroverts in my office immediately slap headphones on and isolate themselves anyways. I have yet to see this environment in any example encourage people to work together. I think the corporations just love the cost savings in that your personal space is now down to almost nothing and the furniture is crappy desks with crappy chairs that are 'modern'. They just sell the cheapness as 'encourages collaboration'.... I figure soon enough it will be two to a desk at all times for 'pair programming' to ensure the final nail in the coffin for me as a programmer....

Comment Government is for the smart? (Score 1) 307

Except how is student government for 'smart kids'? I've never heard of government being full of smart people before....

Seriously, though, almost all of that stuff was for the popular kids, not the truly smart ones. My school growing up was horrible for this, but once a year they would throw us a bone. There would be a Saturday that was at a college campus and was for truly smart individuals. We all got to go and pick 'courses' to attend, given by college professors, on all kinds of cool topics for a kid in elementary school. We all got to hang out together, and be friends in an introverted way. It was great. Then it was back to the quagmire and ignoring in public school for the rest of the year. Man, I do not miss that at all. Then I went to an engineering school and everything was so much better.

Comment Won't catch the thieves, just the suckers (Score 1) 120

I just had a friend who had their house broken into, and the person who bought their laptop actually contacted them after realizing it was stolen. They had bought it at a gas station from a guy 'selling his stuff to get gas money'. Yeah, the guy should have realized this was a scam. So basically the guys who stole it probably never even turn the thing on. They just sell it for cash and get out of dodge. You will just find a bunch of suckers who couldn't turn down a good deal, and what kind of prosecution rate do we have on those? The thief already go his money, so no deterrent there. Never mind the obvious fact you can change those, but the thief won't bother as he is just going to sell it. So again, for all of this effort exactly what is going to be accomplished?

Comment Percentage of Personality Types (INTJ) (Score 4, Insightful) 280

Well one thing that comes to mind is that some of the best programmers tend to be of personality type INTJ. The frequency of INTJ in male vs. female population is clearly shown to be radically different. Let's look at all of the INTx types:
Intellectuals (NT)
Population Male Female
ENTJ - Chief 4% 5.5% 2.5%
ENTP - Originator 4.5% 6% 3%
INTJ - Strategist 1.5% 2.5% 0.5%
INTP - Engineer 2.5% 4% 1%
All NTs 12.5% 18% 7%

Seems to pretty clearly show why we might have a difference in the number of male vs. female programmers, huh? I doubt the males are forcing personality types on them.

Comment Re: And we care because...why? (Score 1) 280

Because it used to be more of a 9 to 5 professional job with realistic pay and expectations. Now it is a 60 hour a week grind where you must spend much of your remaining free time keeping up with the latest trends so you have a job when your current place either burns through its budget, or hires cheaper h1bs. It's not exactly the kind of environment for prospective mothers, for sure. Never mind the inherent solitude of todays world, as opposed to the past where there was a lot more down time as you waited for compiles, or time at the card sorter. The industry has changed dramatically, and not in a family friendly way.

Comment Re:Companies don't get it.... (Score 1) 474

Except I do work with the CEO, he does know who I am, and I do get incentive bonuses for pulling our butts out of the fire and making the customer happy. We are a consulting company, and work is noticed. So I appreciate your feedback and understand where you may be coming from in some cases, as I have worked in large companies buried in the ranks before, but it is not the case here. I actually don't expect my coworkers to work 60+ hour weeks, and I try not to myself. I just wish they would put in their honest 8 hours a day and not spend a quarter of those 8 hours goofing off while we fall behind. So I am talking about a very different situation here.

Comment Re:Companies don't get it.... (Score 1) 474

Unfortunately, that is my job as the lead. I get the flack if it doesn't get done, and I answer to the customer. They do not. That said, everyone understands what is going on, they talk to them about it. Then they promise to do better, but since the market is so crazy and we are never going to actually do something punitive to anyone, it starts all over again. At the end of the day I do care that the customer sees I can deliver. Eventually I just want to shuck this whole mess and do my own consulting with a few really good guys and call it good. Having those network connections that know you are the guy that comes through is actually important.

So in short, it's my personal reputation on the line here, and I do the best I can to create accountability but we have no effective people management in place to hold people accountable. I just try to roll them off the project as soon as I can, then they sit on the bench and don't make bonus. Hopefully when no one wants them on their project, and they get the crappy projects, they will learn. The problem, though, is almost all of the new hires are like this and someone DOES eventually have to help you, and we have found a few gems.

Comment Re:Companies don't get it.... (Score 1) 474

As I mentioned, yes, Agile as a methodology is not a bad thing. It just is so easy to get wrong. Most places I see focus on the JIRA like aspects of it and the day to day ceremonies of the scrum process without actually looking at any long term goals. I agree the work items should be broken down to two week (or whatever) intervals of work. But you still have to have some idea of where the heck you are going and what the goal posts are at the end of the day. That doesn't mean it can't shift, but the iterations should be getting you somewhere, not just wandering in circles like seems to happen.

I agree that Agile methodologies in their many forms can be great. It just seems so few people get them right. At least in waterfall (I am definitely not advocating for that) it was readily apparent nobody had a clue early in the process and people would just get stuck before they got going. Now, we just have a way of delaying that forever.

That said, I work on enterprise scale big data systems, not web UI type stuff. I think you can wander around a lot more on UI/UX stuff and not sink the ship. You can't really do that with the stuff I work on or the project fails miserably.

Comment Companies don't get it.... (Score 5, Insightful) 474

I've been in the software industry for a bit, and am appalled at what companies think attract great talent. It is so far off base today, that no wonder people aren't happy. Let's take a look at the things they believe are great:

Open office environment: What they say is it is great collaboration. What it really means is that you sit at benches back to back and face to face with your coworkers all wearing headphones. None of them talk, you have little personal space, and if you don't actually want to listen to music, you hear 3 different songs through the headphones. Never mind the Skype calls going on around you, or everyone's computer/phone./tablet all going off at the same time as the company wide email goes out. Good luck concentrating.

Game room/exercise room: What this means is more distractions for the young workers who already can't focus on their task for five minutes and get something done. Now they need to bug you to play with them and wonder why you say you don't have time as we are already way behind. So now you end up doing their tasks while they are shooting pool just to make sure the client gets what they were promised. Basically, more people NOT working while at work, forcing you into more hours to pick up the slack. BTW, how many hours a week does your company actually expect out of you?

Agile: A form of development co-opted by management and companies to micro manage you at every possibility, without actually establishing any direction. Yes, I know this is not how it is supposed to work, but after being in many companies doing it, it is all too often done this way. Everyone gets creative about 'what they did yesterday', and 'what they will do today', yet we still don't have a clear direction on 'what the heck we are doing'. That gets frustrating.

Unlimited vacation: What this actually means is no guaranteed vacation. You get to take it 'if you have time'. So the people who don't actually work take tons, and those who actually care about delivery get squeezed down. Reward is opposite to accomplishments

No Real WFH: Most places frown on WFH, as you are supposed to be collaborating. So you sit on your bench desk with trendy uncomfortable chair with said coworkers all plugged into their music not talking anyways. Why couldn't I work from home?

Quality of code: This one is debatable probably, but in the last three to five years the quality is so poor it is scary. People are rushed and rewarded for 'just getting it out' even though it fails all the time. How about rewarding people for putting something out that actually works and is stable? Could we actually teach proper coding in college?

What I really want is an actual office with walls and a window. Give me a door that I can leave open most of the time when people have questions, but I can close when things are crazy or tough. Give me co-workers that want to solve real problems, and care about unit tests, comments, and making a GOOD solution. Pay me for delivering quality, and more importantly, stop trying to figure out if I am operating at 100% efficiency all of the time. Define what the heck we are trying to accomplish up front, and then iterate rapidly on the solution. That would make me happy, anyways.....

Rant off.....

Comment Get a business plan (Score 1) 229

Switched to a business plan and now I have unlimited data, a static ip, and a dedicated channel on the coax without sharing it with my neighbors. You are locked in for two years, but the service is great compared to the consumer offerings. The consumer service slows to a crawl at night due to everyone watching movies and gaming. My service is exactly the same speed.

Comment Re:Should get a "Burner" phone (Score 1) 189

I really, really doubt if the phone is truly 'off' they can bug it. There is no power draw going on. Either that, or let the battery die.... Put it in a tinfoil pouch if you are really that afraid of it. If it was on and they could access it, the phone would die pretty quick as the draw for it to transmit information would be strong. I have not seen this when I turn my phone truly off (not just standby). I usually take my phone camping in case I break down on the way there and need assistance. I turn it hard off so I don't use up the battery. It always comes back at full charge....

Maybe there is some hidden monitor for 'this' signal type thing going on, but I still have to imagine that would put some draw on it for sure. As I mentioned my preference would be a burner phone with prepaid time just in case I need it on the way there or back to get help. That said, I don't go to burning man (way too many people for me), and prefer a quiet desert experience with a few close friends and a whole lot less cost.

If they do have this hidden feature, though, I doubt they would risk tipping their hand on it just to log users. They will go the far easier route and just capture all of the people sending pics of themselves around to all their friends.

Comment Should get a "Burner" phone (Score 3, Insightful) 189

Sounds like if you are going to burning man, you need a burner phone for the event. I am guessing they are setting up a Stingray device and capturing communications at the event. Simple paid for cash burner phone, and you defeat a lot of that. Or better yet, just don't turn your phone on and avoid the whole mess.

Comment Off grid two years, then now on weekends (Score 1) 146

I spent two years in a mountain cabin living off grid, and working as a software consultant. I used Hughesnet for satellite service, but this was in a remote cabin at 10,000 feet, and a 12 mile snowmobile in. Hughesnet is laggy, but works for basic stuff that you need to do day to day. Solar is completely doable, but you have to not just connect a panel to your laptop and call it good. Then I got a girlfriend and moved back to the city (still keeping and visiting the cabin), so now I do lots of long weekend things. For that, I have a mobile hotspot with a cellphone extender and a yagi antenna I can put up on a pole if needed. Let's me spend a couple extra days out there, then take the weekend off and shut down. I use a solar panel permantly mounted on the truck, and two extra ones I can stand up on the ground. That charges two large 6v Trojan batteries in series to make 12v. I have 12v chargers for everything, and an inverter for those odd things you can't get 12v for. I have an ARB cooler that runs on 12v, so no ice required and cold for as long as you want. Also have ham radio equipment to send emails from those really remote places where all else fails. You can see pictures of my various setups as it relates to ham radio at: https://www.qrz.com/lookup/k7j... It is all very doable if you plan ahead and have big enough batteries to get you through the lulls in sun. I figure with my current setup I could stay out almost indefinitely, especially since I can take warm beer in bulk, and feed it into the cooler as I go since it is all electric and no ice.

Comment So basically a text book? (Score 1) 89

So basically they are just giving them a text book in video form? People are going to pay tuition for this? Does this actually count as a degree in this modern world? I mean the whole value of the education was the ability to ask questions when you didn't understand things, and the interactive coursework. If you don't have that, it's just a self study certification at that point. The sad thing is I am going to have to work with the products of this 'education' system here in the near future. It's already bad enough....

Comment Re:Women who want to do it are doing it (Score 2) 185

You do realize that those of us who got into tech were not exactly popular in the guys department either, right? I mean in highschool it was not the computer club guys getting the dates to the prom, it was the football jocks and such. I got into tech despite the many, many social pressures against being a smart kid. This is true for both genders in America. So don't believe that some magical boys club is promoting up our youth in this industry. The entire pressure in high school for both genders was to shut up, be stupid, and fit right in.

Sports are cool, math is for nerds is what society pushes. Both genders get this until college, and even then the girls didn't want to date the comp sci guys and went for the hockey players. I stuck with it despite all of this, and I don't expect that to change any time soon.

Retirement means that when someone says "Have a nice day", you actually have a shot at it.