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Comment Re:Developers hate Agile too (Score 1, Interesting) 597

You're doing it wrong. The daily standups should be about 5 minutes and are mainly for communicating problems encountered, if any.

As I understand it, in a stand-up, one is supposed to say what one did yesterday (I don't care), what one is going to do today (again, I don't care), and what road-blocks, if any, you have (and, unless your problems affect me doing my work, I still don't care). And it never takes 5 minutes. You also have to factor in the time of just getting everybody in the same place at the same time.

If you discover a road-block at, say, 2pm, what do you do? Just sit there twiddling your thumbs for the rest of the day because the next stand-up at which you can bring this to anybody's attention isn't until tomorrow? You should just either walk over to me or e-mail me now. If you do that, then maybe we can solve the problem by, say, 3pm. Why wait until the next stand-up? If everybody did this with problems, your claimed reason for needing stand-ups evaporates.

Stand-ups are both annoying and pointless. Agile is nothing more than modern-day snake-oil.

As a project lead I found a lot of value in stand up meetings. Not all devs like them, that is for sure. The thing to remember though is just because an individual developer may find little value in it for them personally, that doesn't mean it doesn't have value for the success of the project as a whole.

If you encounter a road block at 2:00 by all means, try to resolve it, but the truth is not all developers will and often they don't have to, it can wait and they move on to something else. Then there are developers who will naturally put things off anyway (sometimes too long) or will bang away at a problem forever when they could simply ask someone else. The beauty of the stand up meeting is that problems are quickly identified even if the dev doesn't specifically mention them. If they've spent 2 days on something that should have taken a few hours, you as the project lead know there's trouble.

Just the fact that a developer on a daily basis has to stand up in front of their peers identify what they did and what they are currently working on helps them stay on task and helps you as the project lead nip problems in the bud. It also keeps everyone involved informed as to who is doing what and the current state of things as a whole. All by holding one short meeting. And if you're really doing agile, the developers are located in the same area and assembling them shouldn't take anytime at all.

Comment Re:Conservation of Energy (Score 1) 266

The only thing that makes it not a sailing boat is that I happened to use land to make the engineering easier to describe. We can trivially change it back into a sailing boat by saying "it's a really really wide catamaran, and the mast is attached to a travelling base.

Even if you could build such a thing that would actually strong enough and flexible enough to deal with all the forces involved while still being able to float and steer, it would no longer be fast enough to accomplish the goal. Imagine what it would take just to have a mast mounted to a moveable base which would have to have a keel whose angle could be set independently of the direction of the boat.

Comment Re:Conservation of Energy (Score 1) 266

This machine can head straight downwind and exceed the speed of the wind itself. A sailboat can't do that unless it's using some method other than a sail for propulsion.

A sailboat can reach a point downwind faster than the wind speed by traveling at angles to the wind but that is different.The blackbird is doing something else.

Comment Re:Conservation of Energy (Score 2) 266

Sailboats only go faster than the wind on a reach, not directly downwind. Eventually the apparent wind goes down to zero so there's no more (forward pushing) force acting on the sail. When sailing across the wind on a reach, the force on the sail remains even as the boat accelerates.

That's what makes this thing unique, it can go downwind faster than the wind itself is going.

Comment Re:I'm going to assume that was hipster irony. (Score 1) 91

We use jQuery because it allows us to deliver what our users want in a significantly shorter period of time. Not only they get it sooner, it costs the company less and we can focus on doing things that jQuery doesn't do. Especially in our case since we have a limited set of hardware and browsers to support. Wringing the most speed out of a site that we possibly can isn't necessary.

And just because you're using jQuery for some stuff doesn't mean you have to forget how to write native javascript or use css for those things that make the most sense to use it for.

Comment Re:I'm going to assume that was hipster irony. (Score 1) 91

Then you don't know enough people using jQuery. Just because I'm quite capable of writing straight javascript or creating my own library doesn't mean that jQuery doesn't have benefits for programmers. Smart programmers don't reinvent the wheel just because they can.

We use jQuery for actual in house web applications rather than a site that gets infrequent visits from random users. The difference being that we can use an application cache to store things like a minified version jQuery library on the client so it doesn't need to be downloaded every time you visit the site.

Submission + - Forcing IT Department Staff to Take Long Vacations 1

unimacs writes: I run the IT Department at a relatively small organization. Each year we go through an annual audit. This year the IT portion of the audit was much more extensive than in the past and we were provided with a written report that contained various recommendations. One of them was that staff be required to take a vacation each year that was at least a week in duration.

The reason behind the recommendation is that it would ensure that people are adequately cross trained and that no particular employee would become so critical that the organization couldn't function without them for a week.

I should add that the auditing company specializes on small non-profits and I could see where heavy reliance on one person could be a problem for some places though I don't think it's a issue for us at the moment. Anyway, I'm in a position to implement that policy and am not really opposed to it but I am wondering what Slashdot's take on it is. Seems to me we could accomplish the same thing (and more) by making sure each staff person leaves the office for a week long training session each year.

Comment Re:Reports of the death of PC... (Score 2) 267

In some cases at work we've replaced laptops with tablets for field use. Laptops were often not a very good fit anyway.

At home, we used to have two PCs, then a PC and a laptop, then 2 laptops and we've since replaced one laptop with a tablet. That arrangement works pretty well, especially when you consider that my son has his own tablet through school and my daughter has an iPod touch that she uses for email, games, messaging, and watching shows on netflix.

My point is that there are things that we used to use PCs for that are done as well or better by a mobile device. That's not to say there aren't trade offs but I do believe that tablets in particular are cutting into PC and laptop sales. Lots of people use a computer primarily for web and email access. Even though a PC might be better at some things and many families will keep one around, they aren't going to be as inclined to buy new ones as often. Our current laptop is 4 years old and we've got no plans to upgrade anytime soon. We'd probably get another tablet first. So yeah, I think the PC market has definitely been impacted.

Comment Re:Personal success, financial success (Score 1) 144

I think the mistake some techie folks make is that they feel they should be judged strictly on their technical skills. Whether you want to call it "good at office politics" or "having people skills", ultimately the success of many projects depends on technical people being able to effectively work with non technical people to deliver a product.Those are skills that you should develop if you don't have them all ready.

I may promote or give better opportunities to an employee that is really good at getting user stories as opposed to somebody who's good at generating code but not much else. That's still a meritocracy.

Comment Re:Reality (Score 1) 144

Good post, except one point needs to be changed(or you need to change your naive view): CS kids usually have no idea about "math" as you call it. It is much more encompassing than you think it is. That is, if you think there is no math beyond what is taught in CS curriculum. ( some form of "discrete math", calc, DE, basic statistics).

Just recall that mathematics predates CS in any form and CS is some really really tiny part of "math". In any case mathematics is much more abstract and pure than CS.

That's it.

It's all relative.

I have no idea about modern CS degrees but 20 years ago the required math courses you had to take in order to get a CS degree left you about 10 credits short of a math minor (which I went ahead and got). I don't consider myself a math expert by any means but compared to an average college grad my math skills are (or at least were) pretty good. Believe me that I know I was just scratching the surface.

My post was in response to the AC who said that CS degrees are a waste of money and don't tell you anything about the applicant. It does tell me that they have above average math skills though not necessarily much above average. Someone who's programming skills are self taught may really suck at math and in the organization I work for that would be a problem.

Comment Re:$130k a year?! (Score 1) 144

How long could society support every couple having 4 kids?

The point is that having 4 kids is a choice. So is two kids. So is none. Likewise there are 1,200 sqft apartments and $4,000 sqft homes.

Choosing more interesting work over a higher salary doesn't necessary mean you can't support a family, but certainly having a large family can make that harder.

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