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Comment: Re:Not credit... so your account stays drained (Score 1) 95

by fractoid (#49280365) Attached to: Facebook Introduces Payment System
If you're going to be dumb enough to sign up for such a silly service, chances are you're dumb enough to use it on your main bank account, and then dumb enough to lose your phone (without a passcode enabled) or to leave your facebook logged in and unattended.

The whole thing is a minefield. Although it'll probably take off, as xkcd predicts.

Comment: Re:Should A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer.... (Score 2) 163

by fractoid (#49272785) Attached to: "Hello Barbie" Listens To Children Via Cloud
Well, the Primer was (iirc) a custom product for a plutocrat's (grand?)daughter. It had no ulterior motives, it was simply there to provide a companion and an education for the young girl. I think this is by far the most important criterion for a primer - that it not be influenced by any for-profit company.

I like the book form-factor but that's mainly just because I like books. :)

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.

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis

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