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Comment Handling management (Score 3, Insightful) 432

Only to then get a big fat "NO" from management because "it already works fine".

This is where your department head or intermediate manager needs to raise the following issues:

* Security
* Expandability
* The ability to sell the code to others

For reasons like the above, I support extending liability to software. If it drops your data, it's an error in the code, and someone should pay. Watch management change their tune after that!

Also, to the parent comment:

In the real world, almost everything is a prototype because the demands were too unimportant to be written down in the rush to get something coded that was clickable

This is why many experienced coders eventually migrate into management. Their job becomes managing their employees' time so that management's demands are met, but also so that behind the scenes, the job can get done right.

Comment Prototyping (Score 5, Interesting) 432

Brogramming is prototyping.

In the ideal project, you gather the spec in advance, carefully design, and then implement.

In the real world, almost everything is a prototype because the demands are not known. Your product may succeed for entirely different reasons than you expected. At that point, you're going to be re-coding. Once you present a prototype, people will have changes that are more than cosmetic. You're going to "hack" -- literally kludge around the expected design -- and force it to work.

At that point, you have a prototype. The correct response then is to go back and refactor everything to make rev2.0 a solid and powerful piece of software.

This doesn't apply in every case. If you've got a clear task that's more technical than business/social, you can draw it all up on paper and build it the way L. Lamport suggests.

But for the rest of us, 'brogramming' is just another way of saying "getting to rev1.0"

Comment The subconscious mind (Score 1) 181

You raise an interesting point:

The conscious brain seems a little underformed in some, but our subconscious abilities are incredible and near-perfect. We can all judge speed and distance with enough practice, recognise people, navigate based on landmarks, remember and recite music, and dream.

What do you think is obstructing this subconscious mind?

What more do you think we would know if we were more in touch with it?


Comment A priori (Score 1) 181

There is nothing special about biological chemistry. It is a substrate on which intelligence and sentience can function. There are likely others, and likely more efficient substrates as well.

Then in your view, the nature of intelligence lies in the informational nature that is common to all of these substrates? Sounds like an argument for a priori models of cognition.

I think we should be open-minded to such things, even if we think both Plato and Jiddu Krishnamurti were off their rockers.

Comment Is this true? (Score 1) 181

The more ways we attack a given problem, the more chances of success.

I'm not sure that's a universal rule. If anything, I imagine it's an inverted dip curve: the more angles of attack you add, the better the success, to a given point, at which point it becomes a liability until you're trying almost all possible avenues, at which point you're brute forcing and so success rates go up (but speed goes down and cost goes up).

Comment Is society in decline? (Score 1) 417


Remember the book War of the Worlds? In it, what ultimately kept the aliens at bay were the same diseases that plague us.

It turns out that we needed predators, new adventures, challenges, struggles and discomforts to stay motivated.

Instead, we have Big Macs and Netflix, and we keep shuffling the same technologies around and trying to build an economy on selling the result to each other and then taxing it...


Submission + - As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow to a Trickle ( 1

concealment writes: "From 78 r.p.m. records to the age of iTunes, artists’ record royalties have been counted as a percentage of a sale price. On a 99-cent download, a typical artist may earn 7 to 10 cents after deductions for the retailer, the record company and the songwriter, music executives say. One industry joke calls the flow of these royalties a “river of nickels.”

In the new economics of streaming music, however, the river of nickels looks more like a torrent of micropennies."


Submission + - Dangerous: European Courts Considering Requiring Search Engine Filters Over Emba (

concealment writes: "That did not stop Mosley, however, who first used the recent "Leveson Inquiry" (a response to the later story of News of the World hacking into phone lines) to push for new rules requiring search engines to delete the photos from ever being found online. And thus began phase two of Mosley's response to the article: he went on a campaign against search engines, believing that if he could somehow force search engines to ignore the photos from that original story, the world might forget about it. Even though, in the Leveson hearing, Mosley admits that he was warned that by taking this issue to trial in the first place, it would renew interest in the issue, including putting such private information into official public court documents:"

Submission + - Canadian Game Developer Fired After Spoofing Call-Center Workplace (

concealment writes: "An independent game developer recently got fired from his day job at the Canadian Revenue Agency after releasing a satirical depiction of his apparently aggravating and unfulfilling call-center job.

Entitled "I get this call every day," David Gallant's point-and-click "adventure" game highlights the dubious satisfaction of dealing with thoughtless, abrasive people on the phone every day.

Gallant has not confirmed that the game is the reason for his dismissal due to legal concerns. However, the site also notes that he has realized a not-inconsiderable silver lining from the loss of his job: Sales of "I get this call every day" have skyrocketed."

Comment What I wish my university had done (Score 1) 383

Since people often need to look you up later, permanent alumni address forwarding would be a nice touch.

For example, give people addresses like

The pseudo-machine (2005) would exist to keep unique addresses to each of those names.

If people have truly identical names, add '666' to the second one.

Comment Monopoly power (Score 1) 203

Competition works well for fungible commodities, but not for things like basic public infrastructure which is extremely costly to build and maintain.

I think this is true, and that's why the state grants monopolies to utilities companies.

This is an unsustainable race to the bottom. They both are losing money here and one of the two will eventually shut down their system in this area to stanch the flow of red ink. Then, the other will gradually start to raise their pricing back to the break-even point.

Generally what you are saying is true. After all, that's the reason Comcast isn't improving in most markets; they're already at the top, and offering a better service than the competition.

The one wrinkle here is that Google's business model is not to profit off the fiber, but to use it as a means to sell other products.

I'm not sure how that one will work out. I don't trust large corporations because they're made up of humans, and if humans screw up badly on their own, in groups they screw up by creating an echo chamber and following each other into oblivion like lemmings.

For that reason, large anything (corporation, volunteer group, government, empire) is prone to fail and fail hard. And with the increasing standardization across the industrial world, "too big to fail" becomes a prophecy of the vast consequences that occur when they do. To substitute a colloquial expression: "the bigger they are, the harder they fall."


Submission + - The Often Overlooked but Invaluable Benefits of Mentorship (

concealment writes: The value of a mentor can be doubly undervalued by many people – especially younger professionals and junior executives. We learn a great deal about management principles and practices in school. Leadership, though more popularly discussed in school now, is still more often learned outside of school. The value of a mentor who can help cultivate leadership skills one-on-one in real-time, reduce the anxiety in taking big steps, and focus leaders on achieving their goals – is huge. Many times it’s the first few years out of school that can shape the career path of an MBA, and that is determined by whether they create or are given an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skill.

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