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Comment: Re:It's the Cubs (Score 1) 56

Well, it says 5 years ago, they would not be a team you would expect. I still say it's the Cubs, and yeah, this is just a guess. But I really can't think who else would have a reason to do it.

When I go down the list, here's the teams that have a front office with a strong, expressed interest in Big Data.

- Athletics
- Red Sox
- Cubs
- Padres (Jed Hoyer legacy)

Here are the clubs that are known to have been investing in advanced metrics previously, in some cases at a limited scale.

- Nationals
- Dodgers
- Rays
- Phillies
- Yankees
- Mets

Out of the teams listed above, the Cubs stand out as the one with the strongest support for big data from the front office, and the biggest gap in terms of what they have now. There was an article about Theo recently that talked about the fact they had someone on payroll who would print emails and web pages out for scouts to read, since they were not reading them online. Five years ago, they are one of the last teams I would expect to use metrics in a meaningful way.

I discount the other teams based on the following factors:

- If it was the Yankees, the price tag would be more like $13 million. They don't spend cheap period.

- If it was the Nationals, Davey Johnson would not be in the front office. He has been vocal about not using advanced stats in game-time decisions.

- If it was the Phillies, the system would be less about game time decisions and more about scouting. Their issues with their scouting system are well-known.

- The Rays are all about efficiency and doing the most with what they have. They don't like to acquire free agents, they are about building from within. They are not going to have a lot of historical data about their players for a system like this to chew on. It would not make sense for them to invest in one.

- I could almost see it being the Dodgers, but the Dodgers have a lot on their hands with new television contracts. I doubt they have the bandwidth for an organizational overhaul on top of that. They are focused on marketing, and this plays a role in how they make decisions.

- The Mets continue to struggle financially, and I am not sure they are entirely solvent. I am sure a capital expenditure like this would be something people would have already heard about through the media. It's possible it's something that would need to be approved by a bankruptcy judge.

The teams I simply discount are as follows. I don't see where big data fits into what they are doing. A $500,000 investment in winning requires some kind of organizational commitment to transforming the club overall, which just doesn't jive with the way these teams spend money. They either have systems that already work, or the markets they operate in allow them to make money without winning. I don't see where the impetus for a big, organizational change comes from with these ones.

- Orioles
- Indians
- Twins
- Mariners
- Angels
- Rangers
- Astros
- Marlins
- Pittsburgh
- Braves

That leaves about 11 teams to think about. If there was a wildcard, I would say it's the Twins, simply because Selig owns them and is aware of what Big Data can do.

Comment: It's the Cubs (Score 2) 56

My best guess is it's the Cubs.

They are looking for minority investors in the club right now, and the cost of ballpark improvements is a smoke screen for taking on the cost of big data. Theo has not been the same without Tessie, and it's not cheap to recreate the analysis that system is capable of performing.

I really wonder what the value of such a system is compared to updating / refining Nate Silver's PECOTA odds to play out hypothetical teams and transactions over a 5 year period. There is so much data available about players at this point, it's almost possible to predict regressions on a macro level.

Comment: Re:Enough (Score 5, Insightful) 224

by techsoldaten (#45782999) Attached to: Snowden Gives Alternative Christmas Message On Channel 4

Then who is it about? Who is actually standing up and doing something about this?

The definition of a narcissist is someone who excessively admires his or herself. I don't see how sacrificing one's own career, income, relationships, freedom to travel, reputation, and subjecting himself to ridiculous criticism and smear campaigns is compatible with that definition.

Edward Snowden has made sacrifices on behalf of principles we should all be standing up for. That has little to do with self-love.

Comment: This almost happened to me at a Pizzeria Unos (Score 1) 1010

by techsoldaten (#45600463) Attached to: EV Owner Arrested Over 5 Cents Worth of Electricity From School's Outlet

This almost happened to me at a Pizzeria Unos in Washington DC in 2003.

I was sitting at a booth and plugged in my charger. The manager came over, starting asking questions about the service, and asked me why I had been there so long. He said he noticed I was stealing electricity from the restaurant and the police had been called, and would not let me get out of the booth.

When the cops came, they took me out to the car in cuffs. They talked with the manager for about 45 minutes. I was released with the promise that I would never return to the restaurant again.

It's strange to think how different things are today, where everyone just does this anytime they are out. But yeah, people have strange outlooks on this sometimes.

Comment: Rockstars tend to be prima donnas (Score 1) 356

by techsoldaten (#44824437) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are 'Rock Star' Developers a Necessity?

There's no room for rock stars in my tightly organized classical and jazz ensemble.

I let go of 2 rock star developers in May. Their stars were so bright they did not seem to understand what they were actually being asked to do. I helped them on their way to finding challenges suitable for their skills and have been cleaning up after them ever since.

I completely respect people who take the art of application development seriously and do want to attract that kind of talent. What rock star implies to me is something more than a soloist, it's someone with an almost pathological urge to show off his or her talents by solving challenges. A challenge could be a bug, or an infrastructure issue, or something else, but they have to address it the moment they notice it. Feeding this urge is not quite the same thing as participating in a structured process for delivering solutions to technology challenges.

I have had guys with such talent they could build web applications sophisticated enough to be unrecognizable as web sites and completely unusable in terms of core functions. The code does something interesting in the background, but I really don't care because the project is suddenly 300% over budget and there's no end in site. Their project managers don't always know what's going on because these developers don't actually tell anyone what they are going to do - they do what they feel like and you get to live with it.

Case in point: the 'KC Box'. This name comes from a rock star developer some might think at the level of a Van Halen, with the way he promotes his personal brand. He was the lead developer on a website built for a client using an open source content management system. 9 months into the project, 100% whitescreens, user logins had been shut off, you could not enter new content, etc. Literally nothing worked, but he did get some interesting contributions to a css preprocessor out of it.

This is the kind of thing I eventually end up with from rock star developers. It's not like they are building things that are sustainable or that other people can contribute to, they are building things to satisfy some internal need.

What's more valuable to me is people who can learn to see the goals of the group of people they work with, contribute to it, communicate about the areas where they see issues and put processes in place for how to address them. I don't have some meaningless label for them, I just get better results with structured development processes and people who know how to work in teams.

Comment: I don't know if this matters, but... (Score 1) 892

by techsoldaten (#44578527) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When Is It OK To Not Give Notice?

I employ about 20 people.

About 70% of the time, when people quit my company without notice, they are leaving with business. A client talked them into contracting with them directly at a higher rate, or another company made them an offer based on walking with a project.

It's a free market and people are supposed to do what makes them happy and all, but shady is shady. I check people's references before making them an offer and never hire people who have left a job without notice. I don't take on projects people bring with them unless they have been away from their former employer for a long, long time. I am not making assumptions about someone's reasons for quitting without notice - in fact, I usually give people a chance to explain themselves, and I would be open to hearing reasonable explanations.

The thing is they never do. I hear a lot of grousing about how work was part of their last job, he / she "just couldn't take" some aspect about it any more, or how there was this bull and it had horns and those horns needed to be seized. But no one has ever pointed to legitimate factors such as an abusive workplace, not being paid on time, not receiving fair / just compensation, or the like.

(Well, to be honest, that's not true. There was one time that someone left a job in protest after management refused to put in assistive devices to help with his handicap. I could understand this. But he was not being honest about his experience and lost out on that factor.)

I don't know if I am the only employer who is like this, but I suspect there are more people who do things this way than you might expect. Seriously, I just want to know when I invest in training people up, having them travel the world with me, setting them up as a thought leader, listen endlessly to their stories about kids and dogs and things they want to buy and their colds and everything else, they are going to at least have the courtesy not to vanish on their way out.


Comment: Let's call this the Acquia tax (Score 3, Interesting) 364

I think I know the origin of this tax bill and what it is intended for.

Acquia - - is a large firm that specializes in Drupal. A lot of the work they do is around setting up, configuring and maintaining Drupal websites.

While they don't produce the majority of the code that is in Drupal, they do provide a lot of services around it to consumers and other businesses. This is really a tax on VARs and other people who implement Drupal using their services.

I am sure there are a lot of other companies that operate in a similar space. While I don't like it, I can see the potential revenues to be drawn in through such a tax.

Comment: Re:Jeff Moss works for the feds (Score 1) 250

by techsoldaten (#44259827) Attached to: DEF CON Advises Feds Not To Attend Conference

I think Jeff is a sincere fellow who seeks to have a nice conference and avoid issues that could be tough on either the Fed side or the Hacker community side.

I don't take his request as retaliation over government policies, and mroe as recognition that the community coming out to DefCon is very different from the one that will be attending BlackHat.

The point of the conference, regardless of anything anyone wants to say, is to have fun. My take is that he is trying to preserve that spirit for the conference.

System checkpoint complete.