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Comment Re:memresistor? (Score 4, Interesting) 170 170

A non volatile PC would be nice.

No it wouldn't. Not unless we go back to having hard reset buttons on the front of our machines. The distinction between volatile and non-volatile memory is useful since we still have such shitty software full of bugs and security flaws. I wan't to be able to "reset" my machine without having to erase my hard disk.

Comment Re:Agile advocates actually hate it (Score 2) 507 507

So true. When we help an organization "go Agile" it is critical that the managers also use Agile and that they stick with it. But this doesn't mean exactly "by the book" since, for example, Scrum might not be the best approach for a management team. Kanban, OpenAgile, Crystal or other Agile methods or techniques might work better for any given team (including a management team). Long term success of Agile methods in an organization requires that management become Agile too.

Comment It's only been 14 years... (Score 5, Insightful) 507 507

That's not even close to enough time for a major cultural change to take place. The Agile Manifesto describes a culture of work that is so fundamentally different from how work was (and still is) performed, that I expect it will take another 15 to 30 years for organizations to really "get it". This is the same thing that happened with Lean manufacturing. Toyota developed it, other manufacturers adopted it as a fad over the course of about 15 years, and then it declined in popularity... but it never died out because it was "correct" and "good". Now, 40 years later, most manufacturers are still learning to be lean, but lean has fundamentally changed the culture of manufacturing. I have clients that will probably be working to adopt Agile methods over a 10 to 20 year period. Agile hasn't failed... Andy Hunt's patience has failed.

Comment Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 1168 1168

"No business that likes money and wants to continue making money will be discriminating against anyone."

False. As a business owner with two business partners, we have refused to engage clients a few times. We do not do work for other companies that are involved in sex trade (e.g. porn producers), alcohol (e.g. bars), or gambling (e.g. gov't run lotteries). We do this for the reason that we think these things are damaging to society and we aren't willing to put money before the wellbeing of society. As a business this has been tough for us from time to time since we have to refuse revenue.

Other businesses might have other ways of discriminating. In fact, there are federal laws that enforce certain types of discrimination. For example arms trade to restricted countries. The people in those countries did not choose to be citizens there yet they are restricted from access to the best of American arms manufacturing. Shame on the U.S. for discriminating.

Fundamentally, we all discriminate. The only question is how much of that discrimination (and what categories) are embodied in our legal frameworks and in our social mores.

Comment I faked a heart attack... (Score 1) 246 246

I started out with the same thing that a lot of other people have talked about: pretend to go along, be a bit (or a lot) stupid, mis-hear or mis-apply instructions, etc. Then, for some perfectly legitimate reason I coughed. Inspiration struck. I faked a heart attack even telling the guy I wasn't feeling good, making noises, and then pretending to fall and drop the phone for some real banging sounds. The guy on the other end of the line was so concerned he stayed on the line an extra five minutes without me saying a word. He hung up and then called back. I let it ring through to VM. I was chuckling for weeks afterwards.

Comment Professionalism Re:Learn both (Score 2) 211 211

Practical professional stuff to learn about: design patterns, refactoring and test-driven development. Start learning this stuff as soon as possible otherwise you'll make all kinds of awful mistakes when your doing your first professional gigs (assuming you get to that point).

Comment Quality and Productivity (Score 4, Insightful) 133 133

Disclaimer: I work as a consultant for large and mid-size businesses.

My experience is that there is no magic bullet for quality, but that there are a few things you can do that will dramatically improve things. What Agile methods bring to this is that they provide fast feedback with customers and users. This means that if the team actually bothers to use the feedback, that they can produce things that have better customer and user perception of quality. Additionally, Agile engineering practices such as refactoring and test-driven development can be used to effectively prevent most technical quality problems. Agile borrows heavily from Lean thinking in which one of the ideas is to build quality in (instead of testing at the end). Lots of practices of Agile methods support this idea and, on rare occasions, I have seen Agile teams building complex systems with defect rates close to 1 or 2 low impact defects per year.

That said, the disciplines of waterfall thinking are often lost when an organization switches to Agile. These disciplines around deep analysis, seeing the big picture, etc. are all still important. They should be done differently with Agile, but they shouldn't be forgotten.

Unfortunately, most teams and organizations do neither waterfall nor Agile well. This is because management has a poor understanding of what it takes to properly support staff who are doing complex creative problem-solving work. Instead, management tries to control staff as if they were assembly-line robotic resources. Ultimately, to be effective with software development, management needs to treat software developers as each being unique, autonomous, and deeply valuable for their own talents, skills and experiences. Likewise, software developers have to stop treating customers and users as idiots... they're not. Agile methods, as a set of values and principles, are about changing these relationships to make them more healthy for everyone involved.

Comment Systems perpetuate themselves (Score 0, Troll) 228 228

The military has a huge budget. Why not re-direct some of that to climate change reduction efforts? Solve the problem not the symptoms. Maybe it's because climate change is just another reason to grow budgets, grab more money... and perpetuate the system itself.

Comment More Education not More Regulation (Score 1) 575 575

Backdoors, privacy laws, etc. etc. etc. are all about reacting to problems that have already happened. I wish people would recognize that we have a fundamental "spiritual" problem (not religious) which is that we need to learn to care about others. Any society that focuses on individual satisfaction and freedom is going to loose the balance with good social behaviour. "Save the children" is all about reaction to a society that fundamentally values the individual freedom too highly and over and above societal health. I think of this as spiritual because it is about our fundamental beliefs and feelings. Wouldn't it be much better if we could effectively educate everyone so that we all cared about each other? Our education systems focus on individual accomplishment and have only minimal support for service, teamwork and other activities and attitudes that would help educate us on supporting each other. In other words, preventing perversion through education.

Parkinson's Law: Work expands to fill the time alloted it.