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Comment I had a palm pre (Score 3, Interesting) 169

and now I'm sporting a new android phone. Because I had no choice after HP killed webos and the hardware.

Open sourcing it is probably the best thing they could do, at this point.

If you think WebOS is dead, let me tell you, in many ways it was and is still miles ahead of android.

I severely miss the productivity of the seamless, quick flipping between running applications that even my much more modern android phone (with at least double the processor speed and memory and more than twice the screen size) cannot fathom. Yes android multitasks, but switching between apps is a pain, even with third party task switchers. And there's nothing as slick and reliable as synergy and the webos messaging UI.

Here's what I'd like to see: port the WebOS development "stack", the card GUI, and synergy (with the email, messaging, and facebook apps) to android. Find a way to get android apps to run within the webos card GUI. Thats an "app" I would happily pay good money for. I hate my android phone sometimes (in the same way I hated not having many apps on my palm pre). Lots of apps though.

I think this would be a better goal than just porting WebOS to various hardware. WebOS will probably never have the apps that android has. Eventually, I'm sure, Android will catch up in the GUI and such.

Comment Killed by outsourcing. (Score 1) 653

While it was certainly not the only issue, outsourcing I think is largely responsible for destroying the company I worked at up until a few months ago. They outsourced 99% of the software development (and graphic art). The only people stateside were two programmers (myself included) and a bunch of project managers, plus some marketing people, and one IT guy. The outsourcing was kept secret from our clients as much as possible.

Now, some of our outsourcers were really bad. Some were good, but slow. Some were fast but produced really insecure code. A few were good, fast, and could communicate well. All in all, not much different than what I've experienced from american coders.

The issues came with things like the time zone difference, which can make a problem that would be solved in hours take days instead. Developers would just slog on through a task and get it all wrong instead of stopping to ask questions, because they couldnt get an answer from the americans who were sleeping.

Sometimes we'd get good results when the task was clearly documented beforehand and there were no complex issues or decisions to make during the coding.

I do believe that these people know what it means to say "you get what you pay for". They know they are working way cheaper, and so they probably in many cases aren't putting that much effort into it.

Another thing is that it seems nobody ever interviews these programmers, like you would if you hired somebody in person. So of course you aren't weeding out the bad ones.

I think outsourcing can work, but it has to be managed properly. I don't think it can be looked at only as "hey its cheap!". It should be used because maybe you can scale up/down faster if needed for a project, or perhaps you can get different teams in different time zones working so that you are producing 24 hours a day.

And what about "outsourcing" to americans who simply live somewhere that doesnt have an inflated cost of living? If you lived in some state other than california or ny you could probably charge half as much.

Comment Same problem.. (Score 1, Insightful) 631

The problem here is the same thing that is effecting all our decisions. We look at the top 1% (people, companies, whatever) and get angry because they have everything, and then look at the bottom 1% and get angry because they have nothing and think one must cause the other. And we completely overlook the middle.

Its the middle thats important. Because from there you can fall to the bottom too easily. Only from there can you typically rise to the top. The middle is the backbone. As mentioned already, that $1 billion spent on Apple's data center employed thousands of people directly and indirectly for at least a period of time. And those people and companies are probably all from the middle.

You can argue that our economic system is broken (or flawed by design) but so is our society. We pay attention only to the top and bottom and ignore the middle. We have brains and brawn but no backbone. We have the tools but no wisdom to use them correctly.

Comment light transistor (Score 4, Interesting) 55

Does this mean a light transistor is coming soon?

I am wondering if there is any material that acts as a mirror and can be switched from reflective to transparent electronically? I assume there is not or you wouldn't have devices like MEMS displays. I'm thinking if you had such a material it would be essentially a light transistor.

Comment In other news.. (Score 1) 757

The possession of hand-sized rocks today have been made illegal. "I had a few rocks out in my garden and I was fined and the rocks were removed by the police" says Mrs Smith. A law enforcement spokesman describes this as 'collateral damage' not resulting from regulations but from the selfish actions of criminals. "Any common criminal could pick up one of those rocks and break your window, or bludgeon your kids right in front of your house. Think of the children for Christ' sake!" said Sgt Aswipe (thats prounced ahs - weep - ay).

Comment the only important "metric".. (Score 1) 203

I think the only real "metric" is, at any given point:

"How much of what I said I could get done, did I get done?"

This applies at the highest level of the project, from the team to the entity its being delivered to,
all the way down to the lowest level, from the developer to his lead.

I think this is the most important aspect of so called agile development.

1. Estimate how long it will take to complete x features.
2. Review progress at a non-annoying/non-production killing interval.
3. Revise the next estimate based on how accurate you were on the previous estimate.

This has to be done on a person by person basis. Every person gets things done at his/her own rate. You can't have a manager estimate the task hoping (or trying to enforce) the creative person will meet that expectation. You can't have the person pitching a client making the total project estimate, it has to "trickle up" from the people doing the work.

I've seen all these mistakes made. The company salesman/owner/whatever tells the client we can do it in 30 days. The project managers try to push this deadline onto the developers. The developers then go WTF there's no way we can do it that fast... dev a over here is a good programmer but he's kinda slow, and dev b is really fast but he sometimes makes mistakes, and dev c is really great at solving problems in general but isn't a great programmer or fast.. etc.

You have to go by the word of your developers, not bean count on their "output". Yes, this puts the dreaded task of Estimation upon your developers, but its better than the stress of being told how much they are expected to churn out. Its up to the managers to then efficiently assign tasks to the right people and track estimation accuracy etc.

Comment Too far behind (Score 1) 383

I'm not switching back to firefox until they catch up with IE (9) and Chrome (16).

I mean come on, even Microsoft is up to version 9 and 10 is coming soon!

And Chrome 16? That just makes Firefox look archaic!

Its no wonder Chrome is so much better!

Catch up, Firefox!

Comment what about the moon? (Score 1) 135

Looks like we are pretty safe, but, it does pass through the moons orbit. Which makes me wonder, what if such an object hit the moon? While it probably wouldn't effect us much directly, what would the result be? We would certainly be able to witness the impact even without a telescope.

How would this effect our society? What would the moon look like afterwards? What kind of science could be done by observing this? Would we wake up as a society to the much more real threat of an impact on earth? Would this spur a renewed interest in space exploration?

Here's to hoping something hits the moon. I think it would be quite interesting.

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The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"