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Comment: Re:most young developers are at least as bad (Score 4, Insightful) 232 232

Speaking for myself, I've been through six different frameworks/versions of "data binding", starting with VB3, now all the way through AngularJS. I've got 20 years of similar examples in DBMSs, distributed protocols, GUI design, testing, requirements, etc.

It's not that I refuse to learn new technologies, because I've taken on new things every year that I've worked in this field. jQuery? Love it. HTML5, CSS transitions? B-E-A-utiful. Bootstrap? You betcha.

I do, however, refuse to make all the same mistakes and work through the same leaky abstractions and other problems just to try the new hotness. A great example is the NoSQL movement - now that Postgres supports JSON documents (and has had great K-V support for a while now), I'll be very happy to exploit those features without wrestling MongoDB or Firebase to the ground.

Comment: Re:Get serious about your selection process (Score 1) 163 163

Came here to say essentially the same thing - GET REQUIREMENTS. No matter which road you end up choosing, the requirements will make choices much clearer, and their objective nature will give you a buffer against the business folks who agreed to them, but want the flaming logo on Wednesdays.

I did this a few years ago for a decent-sized telecom, that wanted to get rid of dozens of home-built systems in favor of telecom-specific ERP type software (usually called OSS for this industry). The RFP was a bust (no vendor selected), but those requirements guided the next 18 months of systems development, COTS adoption, integration and legacy retirement. In the end, even the business folks acknowledged that without the written requirements, they would not have been able to make any of the advances we made.

Comment: Age-ism or just willful ignorance? (Score 1) 2 2

I was brought into my current job about eight years ago, ostensibly to bring PM and SDLC process to the wild west of application development in my department. The mainframers wanted nothing to do with process improvement, saying they had everything under control. The client/server and web folks gave me the "we're different, old rules don't apply" argument. I asked around, looked through old documentation, anything to get a feel for where this group was at and what they'd done. After about six weeks, I decided it was basically a green field and brought in your run-of-the-mill PMI-style project mgmt and basic SDLC. Nothing fancy, and pretty stripped down since most projects were in the $50K-$150K range.

Fast forward to this year. Management makes a sweet offer for early retirees, and they take the bait. In droves. One of the retirees drops a folder off on my desk as she's headed out the door. It says, "Blast from the past...thought you might enjoy this." It was a fairly complete PM and SDLC definition, from two years before I'd arrived. No one (including the manager who had hired me and given me the task) had offered this to me before, even though that manager's name was on the approvers list.

Now I'm not sure this was strictly age-ism, but might this problem be more properly defined as a "green-field" syndrome? That is, that people would rather bump into the same problem than have to listen to someone else who's already been there?

Science

+ - Has climate change data been fudged?-> 2 2

Orion Blastar writes: ""Thousands of emails and documents stolen from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and posted online indicate that researchers massaged figures to mask the fact that world temperatures have been declining in recent years." Now this doesn't necessarily mean that global warming aka climate change is wrong, but there might be a breech of ethics here in which the data may have been fudged or manipulated or cherry picked to show a different result. That is a violation of the scientific method if true.

One of the emails under scrutiny, written by Phil Jones, the centre's director, in 1999, reads: "I've just completed Mike's Nature [the science journal] trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie, from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline." Prof Jones has insisted that he used the word "trick" to mean a "clever thing to do", rather than to indicate deception. He has denied manipulating data. Another scientist whose name appears in the documents accused the hackers of attempting to undermine the drive for a global consensus at next month's Copenhagen summit. Kevin Trenberth of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research accused climate change sceptics of cherry-picking the documents and taking them out of context.

I suppose a calculation of the margin of error would be needed to verify the data is accurate and not cherry picked."
Link to Original Source

Novell

+ - Novell to charge for access to service packs

An anonymous reader writes: From February 1st 2010, Novell will now force all customers to hold a current maintenance support contract to download patches/fixes for many of their products.

http://www.novell.com/rc/docrepository/public/13/basedocument.2009-11-05.7701532349/entitlement%20policy%20change%20customer%20faq.final_en.pdf

According to Novell the reason for this is:

To deliver clear value to customers who have already invested in Novell maintenance contracts, and to
encourage even more customers to leverage the maintenance services—including support, training and version
upgrades—that increase overall satisfaction and return on investment.

Or to put it another way (my words, not theirs):

Customers are cancelling their maintenance contracts in ever higher numbers. Rather than address this by actually deliverying real value on the contract, you know by maybe having a Novell engineer or sales contact ring you, pro-actively recommend patches/products or heaven forbid actually visit you on site at any time other than contract renewal (customer relationship, what's that mean ?), we'll just stop providing patches for everyone else that way the people paying for maintenance will instantly see the value in their contract. Frankly if you're using our products and not paying for support, we don't want you as a customer.

Is 2010 going to be the year that Novell finally folds ?
Technology

+ - Programmable quantum computer->

An anonymous reader writes: A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up.
Link to Original Source
Media

+ - SPAM: Nano Breakthrough: Self-Assembling Nanoparticles

destinyland writes: Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs have "found a simple and yet powerful way to induce nanoparticles to assemble themselves into complex arrays," discovering that applying light or heat "can be used to further direct the assemblies of nanoparticles for even finer and more complex structural details." Led by Ting Xu (one of Popular Science's "Brilliant 10" young researchers), their technique "promises to revolutionize the data storage industry, eventually leading to the contents of hundreds of DVDs fitting into a space the size of a thumbnail," and the group is already working on paper-thin printable solar cells and ultra-small electronics.
Link to Original Source
Games

+ - Relive the 32X & Genesis Days Again -> 2 2

Busshy writes: DCEmu have today posted a review of the newly released Neo Myth 3in1 Cart from Neoflash that allows retro fans to relive the best of Segas Cartridge Console days with the ability to play Genesis, Master System and 32X games on the cart, compatability is close to 100% with the ability to put a massive amount of games on one cart. Neoflash are soon to release N64, Snes and Nes carts also, if the quality is as good as the reviewer of this cart says then a lot of retro console fans will be in heaven.
Link to Original Source
Government

+ - Shameless Microsoft plugging for ARRA IT dollars

mtutty writes: "Because of the unparalleled focus on transparency, the ARRA will require a huge increase in the amount (and efficiency) of tracking. The vast majority of this increased scrutiny will come through the use of IT, not by adding staff. States and other entities receiving ARRA money are scrambling to find solutions, and of course the big vendors are only too happy to show them the light...

The National Academy of Public Administration (http://www.napawash.org/) has sponsored a free and open discussion about IT approaches and solutions at http://www.thenationaldialogue.org./ While there are some genuinely free and open discussions (e.g., Citability — http://www.thenationaldialogue.org/ideas/citability-org-making-govt-documentation-web-citable-to-a-paragraph-level), there's also some pretty shameless self-plugging going on there. Check out the suggestion called "Use the tools you know and the software you trust " at http://www.thenationaldialogue.org/ideas/use-the-tools-you-know-and-the-software-you-trust.

While the posting itself is a fairly honest, straightforward sales pitch, the comments are obviously slanted ("Stimulus 360 is an incredible solution that is taking off rapidly.", "I'm encouraged by this opportunity to evaluate Stimulus360 even further.", "I am thrilled that Microsoft has released an end to end solution") and in some cases misleading ("Microsoft is not charging for the Stimulus360 solution!").

Full disclosure: I work for the IT department of a small State government. We were pitched the Microsoft solution two weeks ago and I found it less thrilling than these posters."

Comment: Re:Sad (Score 1) 103 103

Depends, many people enjoy doing crazy jumps and moves and fighting monsters and stuff (yes, that includes Mario games), which they couldn't perform when they would be wearing a a mo-cap suit and have perfect 1:1 mapping. Abstraction helps you do stuff you couldn't do in reality, complete lack of abstractions just puts you back into reality, which is not where most people want to be when they think about games.

To some extent, I think that's my point, too. But wouldn't you agree that there are many cases where pointing at the screen or moving the controller in space is a more effective abstraction? The controlled level of physicality in Wii games is different and very enjoyable for non-gamers.

And yet I have never seen such huge obtrusive tutorial texts as in Wii games on any other console. Those games sure have to explain a hell of a lot of stuff for their "intuitive interaction".

As a recovering 133t gamer, I sure don't need those, but if they help my wife, nieces, and kids catch up, then that's fine. It's not all about me anymore.

Really? How come third party developers largely ignore the Wii and focus on Xbox360 and PS3 instead?

That's a pretty subjective point.

Bottom line - the Wii is definitely made for a different class of gamer. Hardcore gamers are generally not going to understand the point of it.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM

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