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Comment: Re:Fear of changing code.... (Score 1) 225

by rioki (#47934909) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

Funny that our software is used to engineer and operate FDA approved production lines. Food & Beverage and Medical are harmless in comparison to continuous Chemical. If a contentious chemical plant fails, you don't just have loss of production, you may need to scrap part of the installation. With some processes the reaction happens in the piping and the material may harden in the pipe requiring the replacement of said piping. Not to mention the operation and control of nuclear reactors.

But since we build the engineering and run-time software for industrial installations, we are decoupled from their narrow and seldom maintenance windows. Nevertheless there is little margin for error. I would rather have a body of software that is properly maintained than a collection of band aid. (Some bits actually are in that state.) To counter that we normally have a ratio of 1-1 developers to testers and in cases of major versions 1-2. Just because I gloss over the budget allocations of new development (80%) vs. maintenance (20%) does not mean we are not committed to quality. Rather the opposite, cleaning up code so a feature fits better in the total architecture is right thing (tm) to do than to try to wedge a the square into a round hole.

But my point stands "we don't have the budget for maintenance" is a lame excuse. Either the maintenance is important and it will be done or it is not and then the developer needs to get his priorities adjusted with the business requirements. Actually "we don't have budget for X" within company that make billions of revenue always a lame excuse. If it is important it will be done, regardless of budget allocation; if not... well then it is not important.

Comment: Re:This isn't scaremongering. (Score 1) 486

by rioki (#47934859) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

I think you sort of misunderstood what I meant. My name is Sean Farrell and that should almost tell you everything you need to know. I am US-American and German by Nationality and currently living in Germany. Looking at the British isles, culturally England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland are quite similar; at least in contrast to the rest of Europe. If you take an Irish, Scottish, Wales and English person and put it in front of, say a French and ask him where they are from, he would have serious problems answering correctly.

The point I was trying to make was that, in response to GP, yes from the outside they (Scotland / Ireland respectively) seem quite similar with England, but if you ever mention that in a Pub you probably will wake up ER.

On the other hand Northern Ireland / Protestant, the situation is different; most will claim some form of English or loose affiliation with England. This being, because they factually are (decedents of) immigrants form England. But then again, who really is "Irish", the Celts who originally settled there, the Viking who came later, the English immigrants that came later.

Comment: Re:This isn't scaremongering. (Score 1) 486

by rioki (#47926717) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

The Royal Bank of Scotland is not Scottish? It is not clear who owns it, since it is publicly traded; but I don't think they would close down their HQ in Edinburgh, just because Scotland is now an independent country.

I honestly think the EU would be fully willing to integrate Scotland from day one. Some eastern European countries will probably complain, but that is just political blocking going on. I am pretty sure that they can turn something like Scotland can "inherit" their EU membership from the UK. (That is under the assumption that the Scottish government actually wants to.) Following that the EU would probably not mind adding Scotland to the Monetary Union and thus give them the EURO. More volume is basically always better for a currency.

In addition Norway is not in the EU and they seem to do well too... I don't get what the doom and gloom is. I understand both sides politically and emotionally, but I doubt that an independent Scotland will not be the end of the world everybody is painting.

Comment: Re:Fear of changing code.... (Score 4, Insightful) 225

by rioki (#47925371) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

No it compares to: You told(1) me to inflate the front left tire, but the tire was worn and had a hole, so I needed to change the two front tires. You should also consider changing the back tires and the brake pads look worn, but it's your car.

(1) "I don't care how, make it work!"

I am a lead developer and bill against two accounts when developing (a third account when I tell people what they should do). I resolve the issue by simply looking at why I started working on something. Did I start working because bug or performance issue forced me to improve the bit (maintenance) or did I start adapting a piece of code because of a feature request (new development). By keeping the "boy scout mentality" (leave the code in better shape than you found it) my peers and I are able to keep a body of software running that was originally written in 1993. Just because you are slightly bending accounting nitpicking does not mean you go gung ho hacking though the code. By the way we are going to release V8.1 next month.

Comment: Re:Fear of changing code.... (Score 3, Insightful) 225

by rioki (#47925113) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

Except that "new development" and "maintenance" are just labels. As long as there are no new user visible features (apart from improved speed and smaller memory footprint) all development is "maintenance". I understand the rationale between the maintenance / new development budgeting and can totally work within it's framework. But sometimes you just need to clean up code before you can add this new feature (100% "new development") and sometimes you need to replace a legacy database system with a modern one to keep the application running smoothly (100% maintenance). You try to answer the question "why am I doing this?".

The "you can't do that because we don't have the budget for maintenance" is just a lame excuse for two situations, either you just don't have the budget to do it or your manager is scared that you will break something. In all cases it is just a failure to communicate properly, which is especially lame when prefixed with "I would like to let you do this, but..."

Comment: Re:Is this technically impossible - no. (Score 1) 190

by rioki (#47924979) Attached to: Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked

I think Bruce Schneier put it quite blunt "trust the math". There is a relative high degree of certainty that the math is solid. You may need to use different "magic numbers" then the specs, but apart from that the math should be solid.

The problem actually comes in the implementation and security protocol. Implementation of the crypto may be faulty. The key may could be intercepted when you are sharing it with the other party. The system the key is stored on is vulnerable to attack. Systems processing the data need to decrypt at least bits of the data to process it and the clear text leaks. The implementation is vulnerable to side channel attacks.

As Tuidjy puts it, everybody with a solid CS background can implement a crypto scheme. That person (having a solid CS background) should also know that it is technically impossible to build a 100% save scheme. You only shift the goal posts by using crypto. The best you can get is to the point where they need to install a camera that reads your screen.

Comment: Re:Six Missoins Each (Score 1) 183

by rioki (#47924775) Attached to: NASA's Manned Rocket Contract: $4.2 Billion To Boeing, $2.6 Billion To SpaceX

You are missing the point that the amount of money invested into R&D actually means something. As it stands I have the impression that each dollar spent by SpaceX in R&D has about the 10x impact then Boeing's R&D. SpaceX is extremely lean and have quite something to show for it. The problem with Boeing's R&D is that most of it is classified in some military contracts and as such hard to evaluate from the outside.

Comment: Re:I hate to be this guy... (Score 1) 183

by rioki (#47924709) Attached to: NASA's Manned Rocket Contract: $4.2 Billion To Boeing, $2.6 Billion To SpaceX

Which is to say that our species probably WON'T survive an ELE, because there's *nowhere else to fucking go.*

Any barge off the coast will be absolutely reliant on everything being shipped up from the mainland.

Any ship at sea will be absolutely reliant on everybody remaining in the ship.

Any colony on an other continent is so far away by the mans of the stone age that it would have never been colonized, even if it was the garden-of-fucking-eden, part deux.

You want to explore the oceans? Great. But don't pretend that there's some sort of massive benefit for our survival as a species. Barring revolutionary breakthroughs in our understanding of fundamental physical laws, the best it's gonna do is make our life here, on earth, better by allowing us to discover new technologies that have terrestrial applications.

I am quite sure that the people that built the first canoe like boats did not think about out massive cargo ships. I can't predict future technology, maybe we will make breakthrough in FTL, or maybe we won't. Maybe living in a self contained space station around Saturn is not so bad in 300 years time.

In addition as you point out the technological advances of a space program sort of pay for themselves. If you can figure out a way to build a self contained space station, feeding people in the Sahara becomes a piece of cake in comparison. Finally we may actually avert an ELE not be leaving the planet, but by employing the technology developed through the space program.

Comment: Re:I hate to be this guy... (Score 2) 183

by rioki (#47924603) Attached to: NASA's Manned Rocket Contract: $4.2 Billion To Boeing, $2.6 Billion To SpaceX

I would like to point out this story: How the Critics of the Apollo Program Were Proven Wrong Of course this is limited to the economic impact in the US, but the I subscribe to the general gist.

Currently starvation and access to drinking water is almost exclusively an economic problem. Although I am not basically opposed to welfare and foreign aid programs, it turns out that getting people to work and letting them pay for their needs more effective in the long run.

So yes, we should build more rockets!

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.