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Comment A few more key ideas (Score 1) 598

1. 99.999% of end users/customers do not understand software design documents and never will understand software design documents. So we must prototype rapidly into existence so we can get useful feedback early and often directly from the people that will use the tools we build is important.

2. I rarely optimize for performance. But when I do, I always measure first, record the results, and after each change, measure again. Use a stop-watch, a routine you build yourself, or a fancy-pants Profiler that tells you how much time each line of code took, but never ever optimize without measuring.

3. Software Engineers/Programmers are usually religious fanatics when it comes to languages and tools. Almost any problem can be solved in almost any language. If you're on a project with someone who loves Java, they'll write better code in Java. This idea extends to OS choices. If someone loves the Mac OS, their programs written on the Mac OS will be much better than anything that programmer would ever write on Windows or Linux. 4.

Comment Don't Worry (Score 4, Funny) 1532

1. None of the essential services, such as air traffic control, will be shut down. You'll still be able to hop into your G5 and fly to Paris for dinner tonight.

2. OSHA, on the other hand, will stop inspecting your refineries, so some of your human resources employees may need to work a little harder to replace losses due to on-the-job mortality and morbidity.

If the #1 and #2 above do not apply to you, please ignore this post, it's not your government that shut down.

Comment Here's an effective diet in one Slashdot Post (Score 2) 461

1. Do not eat at any establishment that normally has a drive-thru window.
2. Do not drink any carbonated beverage except beer or sparkling wine.
3. Do not eat candy.
4. Eat one fresh apple per day. Generally favor fresh vegetables and fruits over grains, meats and dairy.
5. Eat stuff you like, but don't gorge. For instance, I go to my favorite Taqueria once every week or two, but I get two tacos instead of five. Most days, I eat food I cook myself.
6. Restaurants are not usually making low-calorie high-nutrient food in reasonable portions. If you are going out to eat, eat 1/2 the portion they put in front of you and share the other 1/2 or take it home or throw it out. There's no points for cleaning your plate.
7. Avoid packaged convenience foods. If it comes in a cardboard box with a picture of food on the outside, skip it. It's not food.
8. Count your calories with a smart-phone app. Be honest with yourself. If you log everything you eat, you'll make better choices.
9. A normal deck of playing cards is roughly the size of a day's healthy portion of meat (3 oz).
10. Get a moderate amount of exercise throughout the day. By exercise, I mean getting up and walking 15 mins or doing pushups or planking for 90 seconds. Building the big muscles in your body helps you burn more energy while resting. Overdoing this is useless and causes injury.

For extra credit, try fasting once per week to reset your hunger point and save one day's calories. Learn that being hungry for an hour or two isn't necessarily signaling the imminent end of your world.

Comment Orwell was right (Score 1) 442

The simple concept of Doublespeak explains very clearly what a government means when it says: Promote innovation through intellectual property law. Our governments mean to stifle, not promote. Copyright should not extend more than 20 years past the life of the original author. Public domain should be growing every year. Instead it's stuck to protect Disney.

Comment We will NEED GMO food crops! (Score 1) 679

We are not going to do anything effective to halt CO2-influenced global climate change. So, we'll need GMO crops that can withstand our increasingly destabilized climate. In 20 years, I predict the new GMO tornado-resistant tomatoes will make our current grocery-store red rocks seem soft and toothsome by comparison.

Comment Re:not where from, where to? (Score 1) 523

What an awful waste of both Scotch and Parma Ham. The high alcohol content of the Scotch mixes with the high salt content of the ham and utterly kills your palate. You'll taste neither with any acuity. With the Parma Ham, you're much better off with a semi-dry Prosecco. With the Scotch, don't eat anything if it's good Scotch. If it's bad Scotch, don't drink it, it's not worth the liver damage.

Comment Measure Programmer Productivity? (Score 1) 365

How can we have an intelligent discussion about the Cost-Effectiveness of older programmers vs. younger programmers without a method to measure programmer productivity? The only thing measurable is the "Cost." The "Effectiveness" part is left out completely. When you come up with a generally accepted method for measuring programmer Effectiveness, please let us know. Until then, I predict, anti-old-programmer bias in hiring and layoffs will continue in most organizations.

How does an individual programmer deal with this bias in her own career plan?

Option 1: Burrow deep into a niche technology upon which one or more corporations depend for tens of millions (or more) dollars in profit. Ideally this niche technology will be as attractive to current CSci students as learning COBOL is today. Show up for work everyday. You'll have employment opportunities well into your 70's.

Option 2: Start a small business. Software businesses have notoriously low start-up capital costs. If you can identify an unmet or under-served software need of a number of small or mid-sized businesses and work with potential customers to come up good solution, you can create a business that will feed you and your family until you no longer want to work.

Option 3: Bag groceries, deliver pizzas, work seasonally at the post office or in retail or try real estate or insurance sales or used car sales when you're 55 trying to survive to 65 and Social Security/Medicare.

I've seen a large number of techies (not just programmers, but Engineers as well) choosing Option 3 by default because they didn't want to stare the grim reality in the face.

Comment Re:Human Beings (Score 1) 759

>> Even though we have freedom of speech, we run the risk of losing our livelihoods if we say something that might offend someone somewhere.

Freedom of speech, as enshrined in the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution protects us from our government. It does not protect us from our fellow citizens or employers. If you say something nasty to me about my wife, whether it is true or not, the 1st Amendment does not protect you when I punch you in the nose. Laws against assault may apply, but they are not based on the 1st Amendment.

>> If someone can come up with a disparaging name to call a female that is not sexist, please suggest one,

Since you asked: Jerk or asshole both fit the bill.

Comment Re:Not in your contract (Score 1) 292

This is the best advice. Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you and you may be rewarded in the end. When the manager for this company realizes you've done diligent work up to the last second of your contract and that manager moves on to another company after the newbie fails to live up to expectations, he may call you and offer you more work at an even better rate. If you hold out on the replacement and don't give him full training (that you are indeed being paid to do), then you ruin your reputation with the newbie (who knows where he'll end up?) and the manager(s).

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