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Comment: Re:Hopefully the applicants had a relevent backrou (Score 1) 809

by fractoid (#49049483) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Portion of Developers Are Bad At What They Do?

Vague questions are always red flags in an interview -- there are too many possible ways of answering to be able to determine which is the "right" answer, and applicants will tend to start looking for where the trick is, since it sounds like a trick question.

Not the right applicants. For most positions (except the ones where you're a very small cog in a very large wheel) you have to be able to deal with people too.There was one question in a recent interview that my wife conducted, to which the applicant replied "I can't answer that without knowing more about the requirements." Which was exactly the right answer. He got the job.

Comment: Re:Yes... (Score 1) 809

by fractoid (#49049033) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Portion of Developers Are Bad At What They Do?
This is where we as techies have to step up and not let the clueless take charge. This isn't something I've found a general solution for - if we focus on actually doing our jobs, then that keeps us busy while "non-technical" people sit around with nothing to do. They then have time to do all of the networking, socializing, presence-building etc. that basically lets them schmooze their way into upper management.

I don't really have anything to fix that, other than the observation that corporate culture starts from the top. If a company is built and run by an engineer then they'll respect people who actually get the job done. If it's run by people who got there by schmoozing then they'll only respect people who schmooze.

Comment: Re:Hopefully the applicants had a relevent backrou (Score 1) 809

by fractoid (#49048871) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Portion of Developers Are Bad At What They Do?
In that case yep, I'm totally with you. No matter their specialization, a software developer should be familiar with basic concepts in encryption, networking, algorithms, hardware architecture etc. Nothing in-depth maybe, but they should have some idea what's going on. It's like the way a doctor might specialize in oncology but should still be able to identify a ventricle or an Achilles tendon.

Comment: Re:It's a vast field.... (Score 1) 809

by fractoid (#49048731) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Portion of Developers Are Bad At What They Do?
You (as in, the person asking the genie) are trying to find a way to describe the skills to be precise
Without having the skills to be precise
Or the skills to recognize whether something is precise
Or the skills to recognize whether someone is being precise
And yet still somehow assuming that it's easy to be precise.

Comment: Re:Hopefully the applicants had a relevent backrou (Score 1) 809

by fractoid (#49048669) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Portion of Developers Are Bad At What They Do?
He didn't even say anything about "build an app which sends a file using PKI". He just said "how would I send a file?" All the applicant had to do was answer "well I'd give you my public key and then use PGP to encrypt the email." Is the general concepts of public key infrastructure not basic required reading these days? It's no more unreasonable than asking "I want to send a stream of bytes to another computer on the internet, how would I do that?" and expecting an answer describing TCP sockets.

Comment: Humans are bad at software (Score 4, Interesting) 809

by fractoid (#49048497) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Portion of Developers Are Bad At What They Do?
Genuine answer is "most of them", but only because virtually everyone is terrible at software development. Note that even terrible developers will get there eventually and if you're developing simple software they may still be your best bet. You only need excellent software developers (which implies strong analytical and creative skills) if you're working on something interesting. If you're grinding out simple business logic you are probably better off with mediocre developers because they won't get bored. A scalpel is sharper than a bread knife, but it's not very useful for slicing bread.

In my career, out of the ~50 I've worked directly with, I've worked with maybe three developers that I'd class as excellent. A few that were "good" for various definitions of that word. The rest were marginal at best, but they still got things done after a fashion.

Comment: Re:Eleven Things to Thync On (Score 1) 69

by fractoid (#49045693) Attached to: Mood-Altering Wearable Thync Releases First Brain Test Data
I prefer:
1. Rationalize with your enemy
2. Maximizing efficiency will not save us
3. There's something beyond empathy
4. The data should be a guideline in war
5. Get your reasoning
6. Belief and seeing are both oneself
7. Be prepared to be often wrong
8. Never say reexamine your reasoning
9. Naturally, you may have to engage in evil
10. You can't change human proportionality

Comment: Re:why? (Score 1) 677

by fractoid (#49045673) Attached to: Empirical Study On How C Devs Use Goto In Practice Says "Not Harmful"
Exceptions make it easy to handle fault conditions badly, but no easier (and arguably harder) to handle fault conditions correctly. I was just reading this rant on Old New Thing today about this very subject. If nothing else, the amount of debate on "how to do this easy thing properly" should suggest that exceptions aren't a silver bullet.

Comment: Re:why? (Score 1) 677

by fractoid (#49045669) Attached to: Empirical Study On How C Devs Use Goto In Practice Says "Not Harmful"
I've seen the structure you're describing in a DirectX tutorial (admittedly, back in DX3):

if (!doFirstStage()) goto cleanup;
if (!doSecondStage()) goto cleanup;
...
if (!doTenthStage()) goto cleanup;
printf("woohoo!\n");
return true;

cleanup:
cleanupTenthStage();
cleanupNinthStage();
...
cleanupFirstStage();
printf("bugger");
return false;

It was actually advised as best practice for initializing the stack of COM objects required to get DX up and running. It's certainly cleaner than:

if (!doFirstStage()) {
cleanupFirstStage();
return;
}

if (!doSecondStage()) {
cleanupSecondStage();
cleanupFirstStage();
return;
}
...
if (!doTenthStage()) {
cleanupTenthStage();
cleanupNinthStage();
// ...
return;
}


The RAII pattern makes this a lot simpler (at least in OO languages), but if you're sticking with C then this "goto failed;" is simpler and probably cleaner.

Comment: Re:Science... Yah! (Score 1) 958

by fractoid (#48986393) Attached to: Science's Biggest Failure: Everything About Diet and Fitness
First up, your book promo selfie is very impressive! I hope I look as good as you do at your age! I'm not as ripped as you are (proof, since you asked) but I'm fairly happy with myself currently. I eat and drink whatever I want on weekends (last weekend I had rather a lot of red wine on Friday night, an entire pizza to myself on Saturday night, and then another pizza on Monday night, so I'm not exactly some masochistic food nazi), and weekdays I eat whatever I want to, but stay under my energy cap (~6500kj or so). I've just started working out again (20 minutes, 3-4 times a week) after 4 month break thanks to the arrival of our daughter. I think it's fair to say that my approach doesn't take a lot of willpower to maintain a steady weight, and I've maintained this weight for more than three years now so I think it's safe to say it's not temporary.

If your goal is to slowly trim 12kg over the course of several years (if I'm rightly interpreting your blog post), then eating a healthy diet and exercising six hours a week will obviously do the trick. However, my post was in the context of people who need to "lose a lot of weight". To do that you need to run a significant energy deficit - ~2500kJ a day seems to be a good target. I challenge you to suggest a diet that will allow you to run that kind of deficit without feeling hungry (and thus, requiring willpower). And not just a diet where you don't want to eat more broccoli, but one where you won't be tempted by the chips at the lunch bar. I can have those chips if I want 'em, as long as I don't go over my cap.

Obesity rates in many first-world countries are due, I believe, to poor health and nutritional education (just witness the flood of replies I've had in this thread saying either "energy balance doesn't affect weight gain/loss" or "energy balance is out of my control") compounded by food that is super tasty but very energy dense and very nutritionally poor, and by food manufacturers pushing ever-bigger portions in a runaway arms race against each other.

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