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Comment Stack Ranking? (Score 1) 164

if you're in a big supertanker of safety, which Microsoft was, then that safety is like an anesthetic. It's like taking antidepressants. The world just feels too comfortable.

I thought stack-ranking was supposed to make everyone feel uncomfortable to motivate them; but they did away with it recently due to complaints.

Perhaps being threatened by real doom (startup failure risk) has a different feel than doom created by the superficial ill-informed bullshit criteria of a PHB (Dilbertian) ranker. The nature of real doom is relatively clear and knowable, whereas dealing a PHB is like trying to tame a chimp on LSD: too random to strategize around such that you grow tired of trying to guess.

Comment Re:Code I consider 'elegant'. (Score 2) 373

Some engineers consider code "elegant" if it's factored to the smallest possible form, which generally means all repetition possible is factored out.

But such code has at least two problems. First, is that it may not be easy for a good portion of developers to read and understand. Factoring out all possible duplication often results in a lot of indirection (reference levels), and indirection can slow down and complicate reading because you have lots of small parts referencing (using) lots of other small parts.

Second, future changes may not follow along the grain of the existing high factoring. The future patterns of change or similarity won't necessarily follow the past patterns. There are more "tight knots" to untangle in order to rework the code for a given change. Tight factoring means you have to do a lot of UN-factoring when you need to add changes that don't fit the existing factoring patterns.

A certain amount of duplication is probably the ideal. Both too much or too little factoring creates problems. It's the skilled developer that finds the Goldilocks range of factoring. Often only experience and familiarity with the domain can bring about that ability.

I've learned this the hard way: experience and past design mistakes, NOT because I am smarter. I do make it a personal mission to remember and learn from failures, though, both my own and others'.

Comment Re:Flight recorder (Score 3, Informative) 491

The Indian ocean is very deep, it is a remote location and two weeks have passed already. This black box will be harder to find than that of the Air France flight which got lost over the Atlantic. Back then they said that the sender of the black box will run for a month. I don't believe that they will find it this time.

There's no doubt that they'll find it, the question is when. As we speak, the remains of MH 370 are sitting on the bottom of the ocean, under 5,000 meters of water, and they're not going anywhere. Nothing is disturbing the wreckage, so it will just sit there for months, years, or decades until someone comes along. The Titanic sat on the seafloor for 73 years until new technologies made it possible to locate the wreckage, and yet it was remarkably well-preserved given how long it had been underwater. I doubt it will take 73 years- technology has advanced a lot, and continues to advance- but even if it does, the plane will be waiting.

Whether anything useful comes out of the flight data recorders or not is another issue. After 2 years, the data recorders from the Air France flight still worked, I don't know if anyone really knows how long the data would still be good. Solid state memory is pretty indestructible, so if the chips can survive being immersed in saltwater, maybe a long time. The bigger issue is whether the pilot shut down the recorders as well. In the SilkAir crash, the pilot or copilot shut down the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder before deliberately putting the plane into a dive. Whoever hijacked this plane seems to have wanted its fate to be a mystery, so there is a real possibility that he shut off the recorders as well. If so, we may find the crashed plane, but if so, we'll never know anything more than what we know now.

Comment Re:Evidence that media cycle is useless (Score 1) 103

We're talking about a vast search area, maybe the size of Texas or larger, depending on how generous you want to be in drawing the boundaries. What are the odds that you cover an area that large with satellites and don't find *something* floating? Whether it's from the plane seems less likely. What are the odds that over two weeks after the plane crashes into the ocean, wreckage is still afloat? In rough water, it will tend to break up, fill with water, and sink. There's also the possibility that the pilot put the plane into a power dive like in the SilkAir murder-suicide. In that case the plane would be broken up into thousands of fragments. Some of the pieces would probably float, but they'd be so small you'd never be able to spot them.

There are plenty of likely scenarios where we never find a scrap of the flight, or maybe an isolated scrap drifts up months or years later and two thousand miles away. And every day without recovery of wreckage, those scenarios become more likely.

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