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+ - Indie Developer Crashes PAX East With an Oculus Rift and Draws Huge Crowds->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "[James thought] he'd try his luck at some guerilla PR tactics and crash PAX East with his trusty Oculus Rift and demo rig in tow. After many laps of the PAX East Show floor, James was about ready to give up and go home, but on his final round he spotted a demo station with one lone occupant and his Oculus Rift. This was his chance."
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Comment: Re:It's a Great Learning Experience (Score 1) 226

by nebosuke (#46764203) Attached to: How 'DevOps' Is Killing the Developer

I suspect there's a bit of a definition issue at play here (with all fault apparently being on my end, given some of the other comments in this discussion). In my mind, DevOps roles are such only if the "Dev" and "Ops" parts are connected--I.e., you manage operations for the software that you've developed. I agree that there are rapidly diminishing or negative returns otherwise. E.g., if you write some Nodejs web services on Monday and troubleshoot MS Exchange/ActiveDirectory integration issues on Tuesday, there isn't much benefit. In that case, however, I'd argue that you don't have a DevOps role, you just have 2 different unrelated roles (which, as I stated, is apparently a definition issue on my part).

The only part that I would argue with is..

The difference is between developers knowing the operations side and being the operations side.

You cannot, in my opinion, "know" the operations side if you have never actually been the operations side. The real question is whether knowing the operations side is worth the effort of being the operations side (at least for a while). In my experience, the answer is unequivocally "yes" (but again, with the caveat that you are the operations side only for the software that you develop, and not for, e.g., rolling out the latest Windows service pack to all users at your location).

I should also clarify that my experience has only been with internal development. The demographic differences with respect to external-facing applications (i.e., user/developer ratios on the order of possibly millions to 1 vs. 10s or 100s to 1), among other things, would necessarily limit the ability of developers to participate in operations.

As you've noted, having to run operations to the exclusion of all development activity would bore you to tears. What that has done is forced me to consider--to a degree and precision that would never have occurred to me previously--how the design and architecture of a proposed solution impacts deployment and operations. Because I did not want to spend all my time supporting the system I mentioned in my previous post, I designed it such that it required about all of 30 minutes every other month to administer, and was easy as hell to troubleshoot in production. This meant a much more complex design, and more difficulty in implementation, but saved me a ton of time on net balance such that I could still spend the vast majority of my time doing more interesting stuff.

If deploying and administering the software that you've developed becomes your full-time occupation to the exclusion of all other activity, then either:

  1. You do not actually understand deployment and administration in the relevant environment(s), and are therefore horribly inefficient at it (and would benefit greatly from learning).
  2. Your design made it very difficult/time-consuming to deploy and/or administer. This is almost an inevitable outcome if the above is true, but can also occur if the developer has a "not my job/problem" attitude when it comes to deployment and administration, or can be a straight-up deliberate trade-off based on available resources.
  3. Both of the above. Or...
  4. You are working at a scale or in a domain for which deployment and administration is an inherently difficult problem independent of solution design (though paradoxically in this case it is usually even more important for the developer to understand Ops, because while there may be little they can do to make the hard problem easier, there are lots of ways they can inadvertently make the hard problem impossible).

Comment: It's a Great Learning Experience (Score 4, Interesting) 226

by nebosuke (#46763679) Attached to: How 'DevOps' Is Killing the Developer

I essentially have this kind of role within my organization. I design, develop, deploy, and support small to mid-tier systems (e.g., the planning system for a $XXXmio/yr global department, with 300+ direct users) while being one of my own customers, as I am actually a business planner (by role) as opposed to developer. I develop systems as a way to do my "day job" much more effectively. Typical tech stack would be Excel UIs, PostgreSQL data store, and whatever else I need in the middle (e.g., nodejs, tomcat, redis, whatever).

What I've found is that, in general, doing the right thing the "right way" is not worth the cost compared to doing the right thing the "wrong way". By definition, in either scenario, the right things is getting done. What most pure developers utterly fail to understand is that in trying to do the former, there is an overwhelming tendency to do the wrong thing the right way instead.

This is because, as Fred Brooks pointed out long ago--and as the "lean startup" movement is re-discovering today--for any non-trivial novel problem you cannot know in advance what the "right thing" is until you've actually tried to implement a solution. Brooks stated this understanding as the need to throw away the first try, and the lean startup movement is essentially defined by a corollary--you have to figure out how to try cheaply enough that you can afford to throw it away and try again (and again, and again if necessary), while progressively elaborating a robust definition of what the "right thing" looks like by using those iterations as experiments to test hypotheses about what the "right thing" is. Doing things the "right way" usually costs so much in time if not capital that you simply can't afford to throw away the first try and start over, or you cannot complete enough iterations to learn enough about the problem.

Now, I'm not saying that you should be totally ignorant of software engineering best practices, design patterns, etc. What I am saying is that there is a limit to how effective you can be in reality if you live purely within the development silo. Having a "DevOps" role (granted, self-imposed in my case) has been one of the best things that's ever happened to me as far as making me a better developer, right up there with the standard oldies like writing your own recursive descent parser and compiler.

In short, it is commonly-accepted wisdom among programmers (for good reason!) that you are more effective if you actually understand the technology stack down to the bare metal or as close to it as you can manage (even if only in abstract-but-helpfully-illustrative examples like Knuth's MMIX VM), and that this understanding can only be gained via practice. It should be obvious that the same is true in the other conceptual direction through deployment and end use.


MIT Researchers Bring JavaScript To Google Glass 70

Posted by samzenpus
from the nice-glasses dept.
colinneagle (2544914) writes "Earlier this week, Brandyn White, a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland, and Scott Greenberg, a PhD candidate at MIT, led a workshop at the MIT Media Lab to showcase an open source project called WearScript, a JavaScript environment that runs on Google Glass. White demonstrated how Glass's UI extends beyond its touchpad, winks, and head movements by adding a homemade eye tracker to Glass as an input device. The camera and controller were dissected from a $25 PC video camera and attached to the Glass frame with a 3D-printed mount. A few modifications were made, such as replacing the obtrusively bright LEDs with infrared LEDs, and a cable was added with a little soldering. The whole process takes about 15 minutes for someone with component soldering skills. With this eye tracker and a few lines of WearScript, the researchers demonstrated a new interface by playing Super Mario on Google Glass with just eye movements."

Comment: yes & glad i resisted temptation (Score 1) 692

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#46010041) Attached to: Blowing Up a Pointless Job Interview
I once got asked a question which I found hurtful and offensive, and felt tempted to 'blow up' the interview at that point. Fortunately, I resisted the temptation. As it turns out, the question was his way of introducing the next thing, which was telling me that he was offering me the job.

Comment: Re:Yeah, like the present school system is working (Score 2) 715

by nebosuke (#45939911) Attached to: How Good Are Charter Schools For the Public School System?

When it comes time for admission and staying in, a student in the top 10% of a US high school just does not have the ability to compete with his/her counterparts who come from China and India [1]. It is like someone wheelchair bound competing in a 100 yard dash against 10 Usain Bolt clones for a single spot.

What you are seeing is the effect of the top 10% of a country with 300M citizens competing agains the top 0.01% of countries with 1B+ citizens each.

Given that educational opportunity in other countries is also subject to extreme selectivity, those 0.01% have also had the benefit of superior education not just through the system provided, but also due to the peer environment. A genius in a school full of geniuses must learn to work hard to succeed as opposed to being able to coast on the momentum of inherent advantage. The benefit of developing a good work ethic manifests itself in college where even a genius has to apply themselves consistently (if not strenuously) in order to master the material being presented.

Comment: Preliminary injunction (Score 1) 211

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#45924005) Attached to: Supreme Court To Hear Aereo Case
I guess it would take a litigator to notice this, but it's quite unusual that a preliminary injunction denial would be getting this kind of appellate attention.

In the first place, it was unusual for an interlocutory appeal to be granted from the denial of the preliminary injunction motion. In federal court usually you can only appeal from a final judgment.

Similarly, apart from the fact that it's always rare for a certiorari petition to be granted, it's especially tough where the appeal is not from a final judgment, but just from a preliminary injunction denial which does not dispose of the whole case.

Comment: Re:Why couldn't he say this 10 years ago? (Score 1) 341

by nebosuke (#45901681) Attached to: The Quiet Fury of Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Maybe if someone actually spoke the truth while in office the problems plaguing our government would have a better chance of being addressed.

No, but this is probably difficult to understand until you've held or are qualified to hold a position of significant accountability and independent authority. At the level of executive leadership, you have to be cognizant of the consequences--especially with respect to your responsibilities.

Essentially, the problem in this case boils down to the fact that speaking candidly as he is doing now would have destroyed his ability to be an effective Secretary of Defense, as the little cooperation he was getting from Congress and the Whitehouse would have evaporated in an instant. It therefore would have been an irresponsible thing to do while he held that position.

The logic goes something like this:

  • - If I am going to prosecute a PR battle with powerful but corrupt/petty/incompetent politicians and bureaucrats, it will do no good unless I win
  • - In order to win a PR battle with professional popularity contest winners and influence brokers, I will need to devote all of my energy to the effort. Failure is still probable.
  • - Even if I win, is the resulting good still worth the opportunity cost related to the list of tasks T that I have allowed to lapse in the meantime? (hint: the answer is 'no' when T == 'stuff the US Secretary of Defense is supposed to be doing').

The responsible thing to do is to pour your energy into fulfilling your responsibilities. If you do not feel that you can fulfill them adequately, resign (after some due dilligence to ensure sufficient continuity in the organization). Wait a while before commenting on your past position and its challenges, as doing so immediately upon resignation is likely to poison the well for your successor. These are the actions of someone focused on doing the best thing to fulfill the responsibilities of the role--up to and including self-removal therefrom if the logical conclusion is that they are not able to effectively do the job.

If you feel that the role of critic is more important than the role you were given, you should not have accepted it in the first place and instead applied to become a journalist/commentator.


NY Police Get Tall SUVs To Combat Texting While Driving 319

Posted by Soulskill
from the tall-vehicle-short-temper dept.
coondoggie writes "The New York State Police have a new weapon to fight the plague of drivers that insist on texting while operating their vehicle: tall SUVs. Most recently reported by the AP, NY has begun operating a fleet of 32 unmarked SUVs that let troopers more easily peer down into a car to see if the driver is texting or not. 'Major Michael Kopy, commander of the state police troop patrolling the corridor between New York City and Albany, quoted a Virginia Tech study that found texting while driving increased the chance of a collision by 23 times and took eyes off the road for five seconds — more than the length of a football field at highway speed. Kopy worries that as teens get their driver's licenses, texting on the road will become more prevalent. "More people are coming of driving age who have had these hand-held devices for many years, and now as they start to drive, they're putting the two together, texting and driving, when they shouldn't."'"

Comment: Re:Why can't I? (Score 1) 124

by NewYorkCountryLawyer (#45427770) Attached to: Google Books Case Dismissed On Fair Use Grounds

I would like to retain your services in this matter. Please list your bank account information so that I may transfer a retainer payment to you. Thank you. Sincerely, Prince Bernard Koffi Austine Nigeria

Dear Prince Bernard, If you're talking about my bank account, you're barking up the wrong tree :)

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson