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Businesses

Ask Slashdot: How Can You Manage Developers Distributed Across Multiple Projects? 112

An anonymous Slashdot reader asks whether it's possible to manage a "distributed" team of software developers in different locations who are all assigned to different projects, each with their own independent project managers: All embedded software engineers from multiple offices in different countries are now being reorganized into this new distributed team [with] better control of its own development practices, processes and tools, since everyone is working in embedded software...

While there's extensive material throughout the Internet on best practices for managing distributed teams, it seems to either take an agile perspective, the project manager's perspective or be otherwise based on the assumption that everyone in the team are working in the same project. In my case, I'd be managing a distributed team of developers all assigned to different projects. How can I build cohesion, alignment and trust for my team of embedded software developers in this new three-dimensional distributed matrix organization?

Anyone have any relevant experiences to share with distributed teams or "matrix" organizations? Leave your answers in the comments. How can you manage developers who are all distributed across multiple projects?
Displays

Ask Slashdot: Tiny PCs To Drive Dozens of NOC Monitors? 197

mushero writes: We are building out a new NOC with dozens of LCD monitors and need ideas for what PCs to use to drive all those monitors. What is small and easy to stack, rack, power, manage, replace, etc.?

The room is 8m x 8m. It has a central 3x3 LCD array, as well as mixed-size and -orientation LCD monitors on the front and side walls (plus scrolling LEDs, custom desks, team tables, etc) — it's designed as a small version of the famous AT&T Ops Center. We are an MSP and this is a tour showcase center, so more is better — most have real functions for our monitor teams, DBAs, SoC, alert teams, and so on, 7x24. We'll post pics when it's done.

But what's the best way to drive all this visual stuff? The simplest approach for basic/tiny PCs is to use 35-50 of these — how do we do that effectively? Almost all visuals are browser-only, so any PC can run them (a couple will use Apple TV or Cable feeds for news). The walls are modular and 50cm thick, and we'll have a 19" rack or two, so we have room, and all professional wiring/help as needed.

Raspberry Pis are powerful enough for this, but painful to mount and wire. Chromeboxes are great and the leading candidate, as the ASUS units can drive two monitors. The Intel NUC can also do this — those and the Chromeboxes are easily stackable. My dream would be a quad-HDMI device in Chromebox form factor. Or are there special high-density PCs for this with 4-8-16 HDMI outputs?

Each unit will be hard-wired to its monitor, and via ip-KVM (need recommendations on that, too, 32+ port) for controls. Any other ideas for a cool NOC are also appreciated, as we have money and motivation to do anything that helps the team and the tours.
Programming

Ask Slashdot: How To Handle a Colleague's Sloppy Work? 332

An anonymous reader writes "I'm working on a new product with one of the more senior guys at our company. To be blunt: his work is sloppy. It works and gets the job done, but it's far from elegant and there are numerous little (some might say trivial) mistakes everywhere. Diagrams that should be spread over five or six pages are crammed onto one, naming is totally inconsistent, arrows point the wrong way (without affecting functionality) and so forth. Much of this is because he is so busy and just wants to get everything out the door. What is the best way to handle this? I spent a lot of time refactoring some of it, but as soon as he makes any changes it needs doing again, and I have my own work to be getting on with. I submit bug reports and feature requests, but they are ignored. I don't want to create bad feelings, as I have to work with him. Am I obsessing over small stuff, or is this kind of internal quality worth worrying about?"
Privacy

Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Collecting and Storing User Information? 120

New submitter isaaccs writes "I'm a mobile developer at a startup. My experience is in building user-facing applications, but in this case, a component of an app I'm building involves observing and collecting certain pieces of user information and then storing them in a web service. This is for purposes of analysis and ultimately functionality, not persistence. This would include some obvious items like names and e-mail addresses, and some less obvious items involving user behavior. We aim to be completely transparent and honest about what it is we're collecting by way of our privacy disclosure. I'm an experienced developer, and I'm aware of a handful of considerations (e.g., the need to hash personal identifiers stored remotely), but I've seen quite a few startups caught with their pants down on security/privacy of what they've collected — and I'd like to avoid it to the degree reasonably possible given we can't afford to hire an expert on the topic. I'm seeking input from the community on best-practices for data collection and the remote storage of personal (not social security numbers, but names and birthdays) information. How would you like information collected about you to be stored? If you could write your own privacy policy, what would it contain? To be clear, I'm not requesting stack or infrastructural recommendations."
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: 802.11n Bake-Off Test Plans? 125

First time accepted submitter Richard_13 writes "I am seeking a bake-off test plan for an enterprise size deployment of 802.11n wireless. We are about to go to tender for a large scale deployment of 802.11n controllers and APs — and I need a bake-off (benchmarking) test plan that is focused on testing the *maximum number* of clients that an AP can handle before it falls over, in addition to the throughput for each client. We intend to test the latest products from the major vendors, Aruba, Cisco, HP, Xirrus, Ruckus, etc.; not consumer products like Linksys, D-Link or Netgear. Any bake-off test plans or useful links to multi-vendor wireless focused web sites would be greatly appreciated."
Cloud

Should a Web Startup Go Straight To the Cloud? 442

Javaman59 writes "I am a one person company developing a web site from home. The site is hoped to attract millions of accounts and daily hits (just to give an idea of the scale of things, as its important to the question). My infrastructure is currently Visual Studio 2010 on a PC. To progress the site I need to set up version control, continuous integration, and staging. I have a Win2008 server VM, with all the Windows software (free and legal) to do this. However, I am only just competent as a Win admin, and I foresee each step of the way (setting up a domain; SQL-Server, etc) as a slow, risky process, and a big disruption to development. Should I forget my VM server (it will make a nice games machine!) and just go straight to the cloud for all my infrastructure?"
Businesses

Best IT-infrastructure For a Small Company? 600

DiniZuli writes "I've been employed by a small NGO to remake their entire IT-infrastructure from scratch. It's a small company with 20 employees. I would like to ask the /.-crowd what worked out best for you and why? I came up with a small list: Are there any must have books on building the IT infrastructure? New desktops: should it be laptops (with dockingstations), regular desktop machines or thin clients? A special brand? Servers: We need a server for authentication and user management. We also need an internal media server (we have thousands of big image and video files, and the archive grows bigger every year). Finally we would like to have our web server in house. Which hardware is good? Which setup, software and OS'es have worked the best for you? Since we are remaking everything, this list is not exhaustive, so feel free to comment on anything important not on the list."
Programming

For Automated Testing, Better Alternatives To DOS Batch Files? 426

An anonymous reader writes "I am working on a project that would allow our customers to test out sending different PCL commands to LAN printers. My initial thought was that a DOS batch file will allow users to select some simple options, send the tests to printers, and even generate a small web page which, when launched from the batch file, will provide email feedback on the tool. This all worked. To spice it up I added some ANSI color commands to the menus, though the implementation of that may prove tricky without resorting to .COM files or forcing the load of the ansi.sys via the command.com shortcut. And this implementation goes against my initial idea that I want the entire thing to be contained in a standalone batch file. My questions are: Is there a better option for this? Are DOS Batch files too 1990s to be taken seriously in 2010? The application needs to (1) be simple (2) be easy to update (3) be able to send PCL commands to LAN-attached printers and (4) allow email feedback. I don't know what other programming language would allow this and be as simple. I tend to think that I have found the best tool for the job but if you have another idea let me know. Call me crazy but I love DOS."
Programming

Submission + - DOS Batch files in 2010? 2

An anonymous reader writes: I am working on a project that would allow our customers to test our sending different PCL commands to LAN printers. My initial thought was that a DOS batch file will allow users to select some simple options, send the tests to printers, and even generate a small web page which, when launched from the batch file, will provide email feedback on the tool. This all worked. To spice it up I added some ANSI color commands to the menus, though the implementation of that may prove tricky without resorting to .COM files or forcing the load of the ansi.sys via the command.com shortcut. And this implementation goes against my initial idea that I want the entire thing to be contained in a standalone batch file.

My questions are: Is there a better option for this? Are DOS Batch files too 1990's to be taken seriously in 2010? The application need to (1) be simple (2) be easy to update (3) be able to send PCL commands to LAN attached printers and (4) allow email feedback. I don't know what other programming language would allow this and be as simple.

I tend to think that I have found the best tool for the job but if you have another idea let me know. Call me crazy but I love DOS.

How To Help With a University ICT Strategy? 149

An anonymous reader writes "I have been asked to contribute to my university's revised ICT (Information and Communication Technology) strategy and I am curious what fellow Slashdot members consider to be the main advice in this context. What are the major mistakes that organizations like universities make? Given the complexity of the different participants in a university, how does one have a coherent strategy that fulfills the needs of such a wide audience? How does one promote open source in a managerial culture? How does one deal with the curse of the virtual learning environment?"

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