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Comment: Introspection before school (Score 1) 152

by mkawick (#36576934) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Stepping Sideways Into Programming?

Your options are perhaps limitless. I would suggest that before you decide on anything, ask yourself this one simple question: do you like solving tricky problems... brainteasers.. jigsaw puzzles? Programming is a lot like all of these activities combined and "on steroids."

If you think that you like these then learn Javascript. There are some excellent O'Reilly books on the topic and try doing the fun stuff like drawing graphics in HTML5. By the time you've done something fun, you've learned a ton of the language. Once you have these basic concepts down like functions, variables, structure, and reuse, then you are ready for formal training.

Do not go back to school until you have at least established that you like this sort of thing, that you can be good at it, and that it can compliment your career (or at least make a fun hobby). It'll just waste your money and your time and speaking as a former University professor, it is disheartening to see a student struggle who simply doesn't have the aptitude or interest.

Comment: Research suggest a 30% + improvement... (Score 1) 1002

by mkawick (#36144556) Attached to: Do Developers Really Need a Second Monitor?

There has been some research on this topic and the limited research suggests a 30% or more improvement in productivity with a second monitor. This is especially true with more experienced developers.

http://workawesome.com/productivity/dual-monitor-setup/

http://gigaom.com/collaboration/enhance-productivity-multiple-monitors/

There are a lot of resources for this and they often point to different studies. So, if you aren't seeing productivity gains, you may be working very close to the metal where having specifications in front of you doesn't matter, or you may be very junior.

Comment: Re:First things first (Score 1) 312

by mkawick (#34744214) Attached to: How Do You Prove Software Testing Saves Money?

Other fuzzy costs:

How many customers tried to use your software and found it unusable (lost sale there each time)?
How many customers have stopped using your software due to frustration?
How quickly can you get working fixes out the door?
Does adding new features cause a lot of breakage? This is where you lose customers.

Often the best way to measure the value of test is to look at return customers. Customers who are satisfied buy new licenses, recommend your software, or mandate it internally. This is where your business grows. If you don't have that, then you need to fix your development and the first place to start is test.

Comment: Re:Maybe they did it wrong... (Score 1) 395

by mkawick (#34110836) Attached to: A Decade of Agile Programming — Has It Delivered?

Welcome change...but every two weeks. I do see this too often.. every day the manager comes in with a new idea and the team jumps on it. This is called a sprint hijack and can destroy morale and productivity. After a sprint begins, the team should be 'locked down' and any new ideas should be added to the backlog. When you do your sprint planning, then you go through the backlog and decide what's important.

You would never deliver if you had new requirements every day. Scrum is meant to always deliver and you should deliver something every two weeks.

Comment: Re:Maybe they did it wrong... (Score 2, Interesting) 395

by mkawick (#34110750) Attached to: A Decade of Agile Programming — Has It Delivered?

Alright, I'll bite. What do you mean that you're doing it wrong. Agile is supposed to be many things but as long as you follow a few key ideas, it'll work better than waterfall.

1) Continuous delivery. Deliver something every two weeks.
2) Quickly fail. If a problem is found in a design or a project, find it early and save tons of money.
3) Small teams. No 80-person teams here.
4) Small tasks that you should accomplish quickly helping with visibility
5) Highly visible tasks and burndowns to help with "buy in" from upper mgmt
6) Open communication meaning that the team has the responsibility of fixing things, identifying poor performers, and helping people to succeed.

No manager... just scrum masters.

Just these few key points make a world of difference and can be key to success. I haven't seen it fail but maybe you were in a company of design-by-personality...

+ - Framework for flying cars-> 1

Submitted by mkawick
mkawick (190367) writes "The early days of the automobile saw very slow adoption from 1890-1910. Once paved roads and rules became widespread and the automobile became cheap enough that autos became popular. Flying cars face other hurdles. If a driver is bad in the real world, then the worst that can happen is that s/he crashes and kills a few people. Flying cars could become flying bombs of destruction taking out a power plant or flying sideways into a fuel tanker. Other problems are: what does a flying car do when it runs low on fuel, who has the right or way when two cars are flying at the same altitude, what would a flying car do in the case of a wreck (explode, land as safely as possible, notify the police, etc), and how do you drive such a thing (i.e. what are acceptable controls)? Most cars are simple enough but they drive in 2D; when adding a third dimension, how can you free the driver's mind from the complexity so that s/he can focus on the destination?

In light of Google's self-driving car announcement, I believe that we are on the threshold of flying cars. The Personal Flying Vehicle, the Yee, and robots that fly themselves elevate the concept to real terms. The things that I believe limit us really are a legal framework, the equivalent of roads, dealing with the crash aspect, and the robotic driver assist (RDA) to maintain altitude.

We need to face the real possibility that in the next 10 years, flying vehicles are going to be a reality. We need a framework of discussion, legality, and invention. So, how does one go about creating and being involved in such a framework? I am keenly interested, but there do not seem to be any forums for discussion and I'd like to create one. Also, flying car manufactures are coming up to speed so how would I engage them?"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Another law makes the US less competitive (Score 4, Informative) 350

by mkawick (#33643106) Attached to: New Legislation Would Crack Down On Online Piracy

Try these... some are companies, some are blogs... but you get the idea

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/02/microsoft-cryptome/
http://blogcritics.org/politics/article/first-amendment-under-attack-feds-shut/
http://boingboing.net/2010/07/23/dmca.html
http://vigilant.tv/article/3328/blackboxvotingorg-shut-down-under-dmca-for-linking
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2007/09/intellectual-property-laws-abused-in-quest-to-shutdown-lowes-sucks-com.ars

There are hundreds... I simply googled: "companies shut down by DMCA"

This one is plain weird:
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/_improper_use_of_copyright.php

Comment: Re:Another law makes the US less competitive (Score 2, Interesting) 350

by mkawick (#33643032) Attached to: New Legislation Would Crack Down On Online Piracy

In fact, the only important new software companies in the last 12 years have been Facebook and Twitter and they are often cited as a counter example to those who hate the DMCA.

Ignoring their insignificance, can you think of one other...?

These companies succeeded because MS, Sun, and their ilk ignored these startup companies until they were large largely because the conglomerates didn't understand them or their significance. Now, MS tries to pay attn to all startups and we haven't seen a single company in 5 years (Twitter is 2006) since.

On a positive note...shutdowns have slowed as the conglomerates are seeing that their efforts in DMCA notices are "killing the golden goose" that they can later buyout and remain competitive.

Comment: Another law makes the US less competitive (Score 5, Interesting) 350

by mkawick (#33642336) Attached to: New Legislation Would Crack Down On Online Piracy

The DCMA notoriously was touted as solving the online piracy problem. The cold reality is that almost ten thousand small companies have shuttered their doors in the last almost 15 years. New startups are forced to prove that they are not infringing and while waiting they must cease all development. This can take months and cost upwards of 100K meaning that most tech startups must simply shutter their doors. Microsoft alone has filed DCMA takedown notices almost 500 times and is successful at shuttering the company nearly every time.

Now, media sites can be shut down for being "copyright infringing" with very little evidence to the contrary. A small company cannot fight the likes of MS, IBM, Apple, Sun, or the host of other awful DCMA bastards and now they'll need to worry about Bartlesman, Dreamworks, Pixar, and the like. This simply makes it impossible to start a new media company because all that the media conglomerates have to do is claim that someone is stealing and without your company being informed, you can be shut down. The DCMA shuts down software and this new rule will shutdown new media.

The DCMA is one of the main reasons that more and more companies are successfully competing in software development overseas and why more and more software is coming from Russia, China, Norway, and so on. It is becoming impossible to create a new software startup. And now in the land of unintended consequences, we just shipped all of our movie, music, and game production overseas.

There have been no new Googles for over a decade and we wonder where all of the jobs are going.

Comment: Re:Non-compete agreements (Score 3, Insightful) 301

by mkawick (#33502000) Attached to: HP Sues Hurd For Joining Oracle

Also, they are demanding immediate injunctive relief... which court is available that can read this complaint today. With courts slammed and Congress unable to approve judges (or do much of anything useful), where will anyone be able to provide "immediate" injunctive relief?

Lastly, Hurd hasn't done anything yet. They are finding him guilty without any proof, before the fact, and without due process. Boy is HP a bunch of brats... "we can't have him and you can't either".

At least they didn't try to have him killed.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian

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