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Comment: the problem is not coding, but coding well. (Score 5, Informative) 353

by nimbius (#47518169) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'
Anyone can write software, but to make it sustainable is a serious challenge. Ive worked at corporations where there was a coding standard that everyone "was expected to know" but it was never told to anyone on their first day (it turns out that was the oreilly perl best practices book.) Im currently working in a shop on a 15 year old application with a confetti development pattern that uses tomcat, jakarta, java, josso, struts, postgres and mysql, as well as a host of other malevolent and unsustainable technology with zero implementation docs and minimal code comments. I understand the love of coding, but as a greybeard i also understand the need for the managerial aspect of it as well so let me try to expound upon what it is we seek to do. im sorry if it comes across in an arrogant way.

standards, practices, limiting scope and clearly defining goals and objectives prevent redundancy and wasted human time, which lets me keep devs longer because im not constantly sandpitting them in your 'just let me code' app. competent documentation and a service framework with a specific workflow ensure your application can and is debugged in a timely manner when it breaks, meaning I dont drive you out of the company with mandatory 24/7 pagerduty. ITIL and SCRUM are designed to ensure you arent a permanent part of the application, and that I can rely on other teams to help support it if or when you decide to leave for your next job at $corporation. Status updates and progress reviews really dont help you though, they help me. I need this information because at my meetings I have to run defense for you, my star coder. I need to know dates, times, and what it is that you're doing because I translate that into simple english for people in charge of my departments expenditures. "hes just coding" is never an answer i can give to my superiors, because ultimately as a management droid im responsible for you. if something breaks, thats actually my fault. and it makes the entire team look bad, despite it just being your code. If there is an unexplained cancellation and I dont convey it to you, that is also my fault and i expect you to hold me accountable. We're a team.

I love creativity, i really do, because it means I've hired a good developer. Find a solution, write an application, code a system, but i fully expect you to design it and come up with a unique and functional way to make it the best. But unlike college, the things you do here will impact the company you're a part of for a long time. your code isnt just getting read-and-shred by the adjunct prof, its expected to perform a useful function for us and as such there are dramatically different standards and practices for how you need to code. im only sorry college doesnt teach this; it can be an uncomfortable awakening for many grads.

Comment: the evil they do is always front and center (Score 5, Informative) 187

by nimbius (#47517355) Attached to: The Department of Homeland Security Needs Its Own Edward Snowden
this is the do everything forever department created after september 2001 and designed to be an intractable part of the amorphous war on terror. to date its various wings include
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: so bogged down by congress it can barely stock the staplers and ink the stamp pads
U.S. Customs and Border Protection: charged with manning our immigration checkpoints that exist, paradoxically, nearly 100 miles inside our borders as well as directly upon them. congress pumps money into these guys, who cant seem to go more than a week without accidentally killing someone across the border.
Federal Emergency Management Agency: home of "secret death camps" for rabid neo-conservatives, and for the rest of us a red flag which completely exposed the bumbling incompetence of the DHS after Hurricane Katrina. their latest campaign has been telling people through billboards about the need to make an emergency plan. As if to tacitly admit theyre just as inept and meaningless as they were 9 years ago
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: packs undocumented immigrants into shanty camps, and really thats about it. Completely neutered after NAFTA for its customs enforcement, and just as paralyzed by congress. Arizona mistakenly began shipping their "illegals" to ICE facilities only to find ICE released them, as it isnt a magic button to get the sheriff re-elected.
Transportation Security Administration home of the freedom grope, these guys are highschool drop outs and police academy rejects itching for a reason to ruin your summer.
U.S. Coast Guard there is no conceiveable reason this agency should not be under control of the pentagon, or something more relevant to its mission, but this is the seventh department its been reassigned to since its creation and like the fat kid in gym class, it probably wont be very permanent.
National Protection and Programs Directorate purportedly does something with "cybersecurity" but its amorphous enough to land firmly in the camp of cabinet level private toilets designed to pitch federal tax dollars into. mostly a 2.5 billion dollar per year dole for government contractors.
U.S. Secret Service they guard the president and for some mind boggling reason, investigate counterfeit currency.

TL;DR: the DHS was designed with no one particular in mind. the first thing our president told us after 9/11 was to "go shopping" and in order to bolster that order from the commander in chief, the consumer confidence index in 2001 got its own department into which lands of home would ostensibly become secure as if by magic. its scope is so broadly defined and its mission so incongruent that it cannot possibly function in any meaningful fashion. Its not off-the-map like the NSA, rather, its largesse makes it incapable of escaping scrutiny.

Comment: you dont need biometrics for this at all. (Score 5, Insightful) 89

by nimbius (#47509781) Attached to: Researchers Test Developer Biometrics To Predict Buggy Code
When your developers cringe at a project, when they encounter a subroutine or callback that literally makes them groan, you've found exactly what needs to be refactored. if you find a python wrapper around a godforsaken class, or find explitives cursing a dead gods name in a forgotten universe, thats the code that needs your attention. Project managers, section leaders, whoever has direct line-of-sight communication with the dev pit needs to pay more attention.

the problem is 'refactoring' is a lie. as a DevOps (christ i hate that fucking word) engineer, I've been faced with rotting festering codebases for years in my career on a daily basis. the issue is business priorities interfering with good coding practices. I and 2 junior devs might want to go rip up a few thousand lines of horror-code to make everyone more productive, but we get denied. why?:

1. downtime is unacceptable for this application. this code controls so much, does so many things, and is so obscure (say it with me, payments processing subsystem) that to do ANYTHING to it is literally worse than pistol whipping the CEO's daughter.
2. New New NEW! we need to get in those swim lanes and stand up in those scrums nice and straight so we can deliver optimum ROI to our dear customers! who cares if the system crashes 5 times a month because this module is satans petrified asscrack, google just launched their new $app so our new $cloud_app_pro needs to go live NOW!.
3. we had the resources, but uber elite coders in our ranks were ganked to other projects months ago. they havent seen the code in 3 months, and we're sure they'll be along to help us again once they put in their 2 weeks and show up in flip flops for the knowledge transfer.
4. you were ganked from the refactor project and are now plugging away at an irritating new web 9.0 cash money matic piece of code that marketing wont stop skullfucking and your boss cant deliver fast enough. Catch this rabbit though and you'll be able to sit down and think through...wait....what was the refactoring project about again? oh christ is that CVS?

what this technology will get used for
efficiency sampling in your dev groups. eye tracking and biometrics will now subtly be included in SCRUM/ITIL/six sigma/devops/management wankfest.

Comment: Re:You dorks (Score 1) 391

by causality (#47494565) Attached to: Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

Instead of holding the people who commit crimes responsible for their crimes, you blame advertising for making them want to commit crimes. Typical liberal bullshit.

There is such a concept as aiding and abetting, or being an accessory to, a crime. Many people have been tried and convicted who themselves did not directly commit a crime.

If you don't believe that concept is applicable here, I'd like to know why. If someone else believes it does apply, I'd like to know their reasoning as well. I don't see how "liberal" or "conservative" has anything to do with it. It's a question of ethical responsibility, not political ideology. By failing to understand that, you're handwaving and dismissing a valid and worthy question about the nature of pervasive advertising and its effect on the population.

Comment: to a larger extent, this is culture war. (Score 0, Troll) 158

by nimbius (#47469811) Attached to: ChickTech Brings Hundreds of Young Women To Open Source
The largely patriarchal narrative woven into the fabric of the american dream is that women are caretakers of children and roasters of turkey during holidays. Whereas the soviet union in the 1970's boasted much greater equality in the workplace in terms of female STEM headcount, the US doubled-down on rhetoric, shuffled 'in god we trust' into the pledge, and made haste to forget rosie the riveter ever existed.

We have an entire party in government that literally see women as uselessly inferior to men. We cant even approach the idea that women are, in terms of sexuality, to be treated as equals to men. Womens healthcare at the local and state level is nothing short of an embarassing campaign to wipe the scourge of contraception off the map, at any cost. Colleges routinely hush up rape cases and take it upon themselves to redact student names and details of repression and reprisal. Its also sadly true that not a day goes by where a politician or religious leader claims to speak for reason when they ardently affirm rape can be 'legitimate' and its the womans fault. Our approach to womens education is inconsistent at best as women didnt get to attend military colleges until the 1970s, and it wasnt until 2013 that we decided they could not only participate in the military but actually serve a combat role.

so yeah, if we ask ourselves why the deficit exists its because we have tacitly and communally agreed that women are inferior, despite a thin veneer of nodding and applause for our insistent declaration that women are no different than men and can achieve anything.

Comment: a bit of legislative history (Score 2, Interesting) 148

by nimbius (#47469115) Attached to: US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes
in 1998 there was a sizeable movement to declare internet access a 'basic human right' and as such, make it an entitlement. Since republicans and conservatives alike respond to the word Entitlement in much the same way as a microwave responds to a sack of paper clips, its safe to say this legislation was enacted to ensure your internet remains permanently comcastic. so how did this come to pass?
the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), following a proposal by the government of Tunisia during ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Minneapolis in 1998, approved Resolution 73 to hold a World Summit on the Information Society and put forward it to the United Nations. It cant be stressed enough that 1998 was clearly a better year for congress as is evidenced by the fact that legislators got wind of the WSIS and its strong position on internet as a basic human right. Much like affirming things like the kyoto protocol and the basic human right to water, the internet was sandbagged in america to ensure it would never amount to something as horrifying as a free service. amending it recently simply extended its reach to local governments. It did now however close a loophole being exploited by local municipalities in which the 'tax' for their paid services like WiMAX and municipal broadband was bundled under things like vehicle registration fees (something used by local governments that need to fund schools but have politicians who promise no new taxes.)

by shitting on the idea of a tax for internet service, congressional republicans have created a two-tier system in america in much the same way as education and housing exist. underprivileged or poor students and families seeking internet access are now relegated back to the library, and those libraries in turn forced to shovel federal dollars into the gaping maw of AT&T and Verizon for something that, yes, is increasingly more of a basic human right in the 21st century.

Comment: holy word salad batman (Score 1) 79

by nimbius (#47456103) Attached to: Led By Nest, 'Thread' Might Be Most Promising IoT Initiative Yet
This isnt an article summary, its a cry for help. Clearly op is choking on a viscous combination of scrabble letters and entropy from /dev/random
also...its Slashdot. im fairly certain the word "Ass" is probably the most welcoming explitive most of us will have the privilege of experiencing this afternoon.

Comment: except that it didnt. (Score 3, Insightful) 311

by nimbius (#47417589) Attached to: Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service
Tor isnt a service, its a technology and accompanying data protocol. There is no corporate entity or backer that "crontrols" the network or if there were, the federal government would have beaten this attorney to the punch long ago. Its like trying to sue LUKS deveopers for a hard drive that cant be read by the NSA.

Comment: apply this technology where it counts. (Score 4, Funny) 87

by nimbius (#47416911) Attached to: A Brain Implant For Synthetic Memory
If this truly life enriching technology comes to fruition I expect America to do that which is most needful and apply it to politicians first. Imagine having an elected represenative with the cognitive ability to make ethical decisions and prudent judgement during legislative sessions that may involve a declaration of war in which american soldiers will often likely return from battle with signifigant brain trauma. This next-generation of politician could one day come to understand the moral and sociopolitical repercussions of things like intentionally shutting down the government. With this helpful medical implant, one could marvel at a world in which the average congressman understands and acknowledges once baron concepts such as the impact of climate change, or even homosexual marriage.

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 4, Insightful) 608

by causality (#47415533) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

But the real problem is this impression that you have to be born 80% as smart as Einstein to get into this field, and that the learning curve is impossible for regular people. That's totally wrong. Average intelligence plus persistence is all you need.

What you really need is to deal with this anti-intellectualism that's so popular in the culture today, and replace it with genuine curiosity, a joy of discovery, and a delight at learning new things.

Do that, and the rest will naturally follow, and not just in software development.

Comment: translating for the athiests. (Score 5, Informative) 144

by nimbius (#47415035) Attached to: Physicists Spot Potential Source of 'Oh-My-God' Particles
For those of us scientists who hold Christ-gods and sky friends as important in our lives as an empty roll of shit-tickets or takeaway flyers:

God Particle: the Higgs Boson.
Oh-My-God Particle: ultra-high-energy cosmic ray (most likely a proton) detected on the evening of 15 October 1991 over Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.

other particles we find similar to it could be given normal names like UHE particles, or super high energy rays but that doesnt secure grant funding in the theocratic Mormon state of Utah.

Comment: this is not for your benefit. (Score 4, Interesting) 353

by nimbius (#47408937) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies
insurance companies are taking a page from social media and hedging their bets that you will concede to them monitoring your every waking movement. In most cases you arent told what exact amount you stand to save on insurance until after the metric is collected, and its usually very little (between 5-15%) You arent even told what metrics that little box is collecting or how theyre used, or how long theyre maintained. Most of the information they keep with these snooping devices becomes proprietary once you sign up. So why are you so ill informed about this?
its largely because insurance companies are using the metrics to forecast profit and loss to their board and shareholders, not because they actually care about saving you money. In some cases signing up for a biometric program might quietly absolve the insurance company from having to treat you for a whole range of different ailments they attribute to a sedentary lifestyle, thus saving them in quarterly losses. The worst part is nobody is asking questions like 'does this fitbit factor into my HIPAA protection?' or 'can this vehicle data be used against me in a court of law?'

full disclosure: im signing up for a workplace fitbit program subsidized by my employer. The data, presumably, is going to be aggregated from the devices and submitted to the health insurance company as "harmless biometrics" but as I cant sign up for my employers healthcare for another 7 months, I have no intention of using the device outside of the data i scrape from it in linux using fitbitd.

Comment: as its been said, hackers unite. (Score 1) 150

by nimbius (#47407571) Attached to: Coddled, Surveilled, and Monetized: How Modern Houses Can Watch You
In the words of stallman and an innumerable mass of others, hackers must unite to make these new tools truly subservient to their owners. FitBit manufactures a vital signs system that has a GIT project designed to make the data yours, not the clouds. WiThings by default wishes to beam your data to a shared hosting server somewhere in europe, but dedicated hackers have worked to show users how that data can be intercepted and secured within the confines of the users home, for the users benefit, and no one elses. Virtually every other application, from home automation to thermal monitoring and control has a hackerspace alternative to the glitzy and well-marketed mainstream platform, especially DVR and home surveillance systems.
its incumbent for us as well as others to realize however that privacy and security from these devices is our soverign responsibility. If you choose home automation then ensure the applications and technologies you see fit to expose yourself and family to are held to an ethical standard of operation and always subservient to you, the user. here are a few options:

Instead of smartthings consider leviton home automation systems and invest a bit of time to learn how to install them. nothing has impressed my guests more than a room with futuristic proximity-based lighting controls.

be vocal about your electrical metering equipment. in my case I wrote a formal complaint to my power company about the digital meter that had been quietly installed at my home. The meter was removed and the old one returned to service.

instead of nest consider thermal controllers similar to johnson and honeywell but at a fraction of the cost on amazon. 1wire sensors, a raspberry pie and a relay board maintain the temperature in my home and garage

I have a camera system for the back yard and garage, but they relay to a PCI board and are stored, encrypted, in 30 day rotations. I transcode 10fps weekly's for occasional review over SSL into webm files.

Comment: just the usual shenannigans,. (Score 0) 176

by nimbius (#47406961) Attached to: US Arrests Son of Russian MP In Maldives For Hacking

The Justice Department declined to say where Seleznev was arrested.

So, just randomly stuffed into a van by the secret service or what? for those not in the united states, the Secret Service is our government law enforcement division that handles major financial crimes. Guam is a US Territory. it cant vote in congress or senate but its residents are considered US Citizens.

The indictment, which was unsealed today

so this guy was indicted but never knew about it? or we filed an indictment and just didnt tell anyone at all? Sometimes we do this because the statute of limitations is about to run out, but when is it appropriate should we decide to indict a foreign politicans son? how would diplomatic immunity work? had russia waived he right to it? its just another example of how american law is enforced at discretion and arbitrarily.

the guy allegedly only profited 1.2 million dollars for his scam and for regular stiffs thats quite a bit. However, what the hell do we hope to accomplish arresting him? the financial collapse of 2008 surely claimed more than a trillion dollars in fraud as well, but we never once considered arresting a banker. Leveraging this as part of our commitment to sticking our dick in Ukrane is absurd as well, but probably something we'll shoot for anyhow considering our policymakers never got the memo about the end of the cold war, the dismal failure in iraq and afghanistan, and the decline of the United States as a global superpower in general.

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. -- Henry Spencer