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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Slashdot (Score 1) 113


Damn, that's stupidly impossible to see on a whole range of monitors that I have here. I've complained to support, but I doubt they'll do anything.

It's like the Metro Start hover all over again - you have to play some kind of pixel-hunting adventure game the first time you do anything to work out where to go next.

I was LOOKING for it and couldn't find it. And why would you ever want the button to be the same colour as the bar it's in? It's there for a reason - to be pressed. Don't hide it from me.

Comment: Re:Slashdot (Score 3, Insightful) 113

No, I have Javascript enabled, have latest Chrome. It's just borked, and it only happened today (no updates to software between yesterday and today - same browser session still running in fact!) but the site now doesn't render at all nicely and it LOOKS deliberate, but I'm missing any kind of Post button at all.

Comment: Slashdot (Score 3, Informative) 113

Anybody else's Slashdot break today?

I've gone to this top-menu-bar thing, with no left gap at all, with no comment button at all (only Reply To This, sorry!) without warning.

Also, the content is trapped in the left-hand half of the page and won't stretch across.

Not only that, by on the same screen where I have "Ads Disabled" checked, I see an ad.

Slashdot, seriously, without a comment button, I'm gone for good this time.

Comment: Re:It's not just the fragmentation (Score 2) 132

by iluvcapra (#49144819) Attached to: Who's Afraid of Android Fragmentation?

Meanwhile, there is this PC platform that wiped out all of it's other bespoke competitors probably before you even touched your first computer.

An open platform running a bespoke OS stack. It also helped that the original PC clone makers were just that, cloning down to the schematic level the IBM PC.

Android smartphones are bespoke hardware, the average Samsung or Nokia smartphone might as well be Kaypro or a Commodore PET. iPhones are relatively generic by comparison.

In the end this isn't really a technological problem, the business dynamics of the smartphone business just aren't the same as PCs. Development man-hours are very cheap now compared to the 1980s, it's very practical to port an app back and forth. But this means that there is the Network Effect for the OSs quite diminished, so the platform that offers the best business case to developers is going to get the most developers.

And Google doesn't care about third party developers. Google just isn't MS in the 1980s, it doesn't approach app devs as if they were clients, or their core constituency. It doesn't hate them, it doesn't like them, doesn't lock them out, doesn't lock them in, it's just indifferent. They make a big show when it comes to cool libraries and features, but they have minimal commitment to seeing app dev paid. Fragmentation is what iOS fanboys point to when they want to see Android fail, and it's what Android devs point to when they want to talk about something other than revenue.

But Android will continue to be the dominant cellphone platform for the foreseeable future worldwide, because it's cheap and it's "enough." App devs will continue to be losers who need to sell to iOS to make money, smartphone manufacturers will continue to get piss-poor margins as they grind each other into the ground, and actual smartphone users won't really get anything more out of their phone than they ever did, but Google will get its a impressions and user metrics. Which was the whole reason they started this cockamamie thing in the first place.

This is just NOT the PC business in 1980 -- you've got a billion-dollar behemoth basically giving away the keys to the castle so it can make money on the ads and front-running web searches. This completely disrupts the model that MS and the PC manufacturers exploited.

Comment: Re:Predicting the future is hard (Score 1) 273

by Darinbob (#49144781) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

This only works though if a new task A can be compared to older task B. That so rarely happens to me. It might be common in some other areas though, as in "add a new web page with a different customers name up top". But when last month I worked on improving a crypto engine and this month I'm fixing the network MAC layer, and next month I'll do board bring up, then the evidence just doesn't accrue very fast. Then there's a problem that the amount of outside interference is not a constant, some months I can get lots done and in other months I barely have time for my real tasks.

Comment: Re:Is this really a problem unique to devs?? (Score 1) 273

by Darinbob (#49144777) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

But there are so many managers up the chain that take all these estimates as the truth. Before the project starts, before any data sheets have even been read, we're asked to come up with all tasks we think will be needed, then give an estimate for each task. This all gets put on a chart and managers stare at it. Then you'll be asked what percentage of time you can work on each one, and you'll say 50% maybe because they get really mad at you if you are honest and say 10%. Then the chart gets printed and put up on some walls.

The problem then is that the chart is not updated. The developers are too busy to figure out some goofy planning software so that they can budge their estimate and the managers don't always do it. Along the way half those tasks you thought were needed either vanish or are replaced by something else and some new ones are added (because now you have some datasheets and requirements, you thought of something you forget, etc). We open and close tickets that aren't on any project plan. The planning and actual work just don't coincide, they're done by different groups of people with completely different sets of motiviations.

I have been at one place though that managed to estimate things well and had some good planning. I honestly don't know how they did it, except that they moved slooowly. They weren't developing a brand new product from scratch (like I am now) but just adding incremental features, lots of time spent planning before starting by people who are engineers and not managers, a set of bug-fix releases were pre-planned, and there was a multi month back end for QA. They spent more time on documentation than some entire projects I've been on. And it was waterfall. But that was only for two years of my career.

"Well, if you can't believe what you read in a comic book, what *can* you believe?!" -- Bullwinkle J. Moose