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Comment: Just a tool (Score 1) 310

by skelly33 (#49778501) Attached to: Why PowerPoint Should Be Banned
Don't ascribe to deficiencies of a tool that which can readily be explained as incompetencies of the user.

If anything, draft new policies that reflect in an employee's annual review to hold them accountable if they are required to hold effective meetings and produce supporting collateral. If it's not in their job description, then let it go. Some people are too busy being great at their actual job to bother improving their back-office skills - and until they are required to hone those skills as a part of their job, why should/would anyone else care?

Comment: Re:No. (Score 3, Interesting) 507

by skelly33 (#49692275) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?
My organization accounts for QA/QC with the definition of "done"; QA is not a second class citizen of the organization, but rather a crucial part of the development team/process - and the story is not DONE until QA says it is. Therefore it rolls over across iteration boundaries as needed, and is only demo'ed when it is done.

The problem we have had with Agile thus far seems to be our inability to produce accurate estimates without doing Big Design Up Front which ultimately means spiking every story before we can get started. Nearly every time we try to shoot from the hip on story estimation for anything moderately complex (or worse), we have missed by several multiples the actual amount of work needed.

This is mainly due to the product being very complex (think enterprise scale SaaS, tens of millions of users, terabytes of data, complex data modeling, and numerous technologies being adapted with a variety of API/interfacing solutions) with many interconnected systems across multiple data centers and cloud services... you just can't stare at a story in the backlog and come up with a meaningful estimate off the top of your head no matter how well defined the acceptance criteria are because no one person knows what the potential impact is to all those systems.

But we're committed to working on improving our processes, cross-training, and reduction of overall system complexity to eventually be able to do just that and are sticking with Agile because it has forced us to take smaller bites which has really been a challenge for our sales/marketing and product owner teams because they want the world and they want it yesterday... and Agile empowers the scrum team to give them a reality check and say no.

I apologize for the run-on sentences... too lazy to edit at the moment.

Comment: Parallel pattern matching... (Score 1) 67

by skelly33 (#49684309) Attached to: New Device Could Greatly Improve Speech and Image Recognition
... I don't see how this would be an improvement over replicating the same structure in silicon with a comparator per RAM bit with as many inputs as there are bits. Compare 8 bits or a thousand bits in a single compare operation for a "pattern" match and a giant AND gate for a single 1/0 match/no match result by supplying all the input data at once....

Comment: Ok, serious question time... (Score 1) 107

I'm pretty sure the only military/government interest in being involved with "attack" scenarios on the Internet stems from the military/government having some critical exposure there. Why don't they, instead of making a plan for cyber warfare, make an initiative to fully separate the military/government network from the Internet and let the public Internet fry if it's going to fry. I can't think of a compelling reason for U.S. national security to have any ties to the Internet... can you? Helping out to protect commercial interests from cyber attacks is one thing, but having critical infrastructure/military/government exposure to the extent that it becomes a matter of *national security* just seems asinine to me...

Comment: Re: And was it really a punishment? (Score 1) 97

by skelly33 (#49192123) Attached to: FTC Targets Group That Made Billions of Robocalls
Also, as someone who works with Asterisk/VOIP... it's *really* easy to set your caller ID to any phone number you want - how about a random caller ID rotation through every legitimate phone number in the U.S.? Gonna block them all? And with text-to-speech being able to re-render variations of the message in any of dozens of voices, it could be quite difficult to pick up on patterns from audio streams. Just sayin... this problem is not easily solved. Some layer for verifiability would be needed. Maybe it's time for POTS to go the way of broadcast television with a fully digital replacement that has some accountability built into it...

Comment: Re:A better idea (Score 1) 259

by skelly33 (#48991795) Attached to: Washington May Count CS As Foreign Language For College Admission
I see what you're saying, but... the purpose of educating yourself is not simply to pick up a single skill. A good book or a trade school can accomplish that. Universities make it their mission to empower people broadly so that they can become powerfully effective members of society. Reading and interpreting poetry is not my forte, but I will do it if/when my course work requires me to do so - and it will - and I understand that the Student Learning Outcome objectives will include aspects such as improving my ability to interpret abstract information and extract meaning from natural expression... which is something we have to do sometimes as software developers to understand what our stake holders want before we get to coding (for example). No CS book would ever cover this.

I happen to be good at foreign languages and I do suggest others give it a try... but not just because I'm good at it. It has been shown that your chances are much better if you start learning your second language early (before 12-14?) and that was the case for me, but not everybody knows or thinks to make that a priority. When they start later in life, it is much more difficult and they might need different "tricks" to remember things until it starts coming more naturally with time. But the process is one which substantially improves your ability to abstract the core thought from the specific semantics used to describe it for rather complex scenarios - another key survival skill for the CS major.

I would not take foreign language requirements away from the curriculum on the grounds of irrelevancy any sooner than I would English, history, mathematics, the sciences, or other humanities classes.

Comment: Re:Not the same thing (Score 1) 259

by skelly33 (#48991377) Attached to: Washington May Count CS As Foreign Language For College Admission
... and that includes CS majors sometimes. I've known developers with bachelor's degrees in CS who had never seen a hard drive, or understood even the fundamental concepts of what goes on in hardware between CPU, RAM, the system bus, attached peripheral devices, etc. What I've noticed in the school I am at now (back-filling formal education for a well-established career in CS) is that there is only one class that teaches those fundamentals, CS1 - and it is not a requirement for the CS degree program. The "core classes" are the second-level programming and higher... not even the first level programming classes count. Conceivably, one could pass on all the introductory classes and never have any idea what a logic gate is, for example. It is bewildering as to how this can be acceptable. I grew up with schematics for my 286 that showed all the ISA bus lines and timing logic to be able to make my own ISA bus expansion cards to interface whatever I wanted in the real world. The times, they are a-changin`...

Comment: Re:Their buying clout alone should end this deal. (Score 1) 105

by skelly33 (#48982669) Attached to: Staples To Buy Office Depot For $6.3 Billion
This merger doesn't alarm me because I don't see anything special about Staples or OfficeMax. I am constantly going into my local OfficeMax with unreasonably high hopes and finding myself disappointed with their selection. I can get everything in that store at my local K-Mart, Target, BestBuy, Costco, or any of a dozen other local small businesses. Near as I can tell, they only thing they offer is the convenience of not having to hit 2-3 of those other stores because they have everything you're looking for under the one roof.

Comment: Re:lol (Score 1) 323

Giving school officials the power to enforce anything at all is what I take exception to. If it is a legal matter and law enforcement is at stake, then a law enforcement officer... and/or a lawyer... should be involved. I see facebook as the electronic version of a physical, private diary which you may selectively show to whomever you choose - if someone *forces* you to reveal the contents of your diary, well that sounds a lot like search and seizure to me and better darn well involve qualified people - which excludes school officials. I am not in favor of cyberbullies, however I am not in favor of municipalities' continued encroachments on civil rights; they are like children constantly testing the limits of what they can get away with. It is imperative to leverage teachable moments when they present themselves.

Comment: Multi-core? (Score 0) 91

by skelly33 (#48374235) Attached to: Intel Claims Chip Suppliers Will Flock To Its Mobile Tech
My biggest complaint against my last couple Android phones is that when an application starts acting up the device loses its @#$*&@ mind and becomes entirely unresponsive. If Intel were to work closely with a software partner like, say, Android, to fix some fundamental reliability issues (make it a phone first, make the baseline UI ALWAYS respond, even if an app is not), I'd be willing to pay more for the more reliable device. There should be no activity that the phone software can engage in that makes it completely comatose for minutes at a time, as it is often prone to do, such that I can't make a phone call - and if hardware limitations are at the core of that matter, then... there's the opportunity. Every time it happens, all I can think is, "well, I sure hope I don't have to dial 911 any time soon." Perhaps this problem is already solved as my current one is now approaching 2 years old as I have been holding out for the Droid 5, but it's been a frustrating several years between this one and its predecessor...

"What if" is a trademark of Hewlett Packard, so stop using it in your sentences without permission, or risk being sued.

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