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Comment Hardware/Software Systems (Score 2) 420

If you're a developer, work for companies that build complete hardware/software systems rather than just software. Typically if they design and manufacture in-house, the bulk of the software work requires close collaboration with hardware, FPGA, and systems engineers, and this works best keeping everyone local. Attempts to outsource in these environments usually end in failure, and the companies that try often learn their lesson and don't try again.

Comment Depends on the person (Score 1) 376

The story that I've heard repeated often is that developer salaries tend to flatline in a person's 50s and even retreat a bit as they close out their careers, while managerial salaries continue to increase throughout the later years of a career. Whether this is supported by actual data or not, I don't know. I can certainly see the potential for this to happen with developers who get complacent in a long-term job where they've maxed out their career path and then get laid off, which could force them to take a significantly lower-paying job elsewhere. I've transitioned from development into management over the past few years, largely because I'd endured a string of awful managers and was confident I could do a better job. Management is definitely not for everyone, though -- it requires a different set of skills from development, and many developers lack the patience and people skills needed to do the job well. But developers with an interest in and aptitude for management clearly make the best managers for development groups, because they have a deep understanding of the issues their teams face, and they have a much easier time building trust and credibility with the group. In the end, it's really about where your skills and interests lie. Do you have the patience to deal with petty office politics, hand-holding MBAs through repeated explanations of the mythical man month, fielding complaints from your team that you're too focused on schedule and complaints from above that you're not focused enough on schedule? Do you get gratification out of identifying and building on your developers' strengths and helping them earn their way to a promotion? Do you enjoy solving problems related to scoping, sequencing, and balancing of other people's work to define and meet milestones? Do you mind dealing with software licenses, office supply purchases, and other mundane "care & feeding" tasks? Can you be content relegating coding to a hobby activity, rather than your main pursuit? If you answered "yes" to all of the above, then it may be worth considering a management path. If not, then you should stay sharp, stay current, and keep your skills valuable and marketable, regardless of your age.

Comment Android actually works pretty well on laptops (Score 1) 121

I've been using Android x86 for a while on an old spare laptop and, generally speaking, it's worked pretty well! Surprisingly many Android games don't seem to like it (swipe gestures don't seem to map well to a mouse), and apps that rely on portrait orientation are annoying, but for general web browsing it's been fine.


Nate Silver's New Site Stirs Climate Controversy 335

First time accepted submitter taiwanjohn (103839) writes "One of the first articles on Nate Silver's highly anticipated data-driven news site used flawed data to make its conclusions, according to some of the nation's top climate scientists. Silver's FiveThirtyEight published its first article about climate change on Wednesday, entitled 'Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change.' But climate scientists are condemning the article and its author, Roger Pielke Jr., saying he ignored critical data to produce a 'deeply misleading' result. The crux of Pielke's article is this: Extreme weather events are costing us more and more money, but that is not because climate change is making extreme weather more frequent or intense. The reason we are losing more money, rather, is because we have more money to lose. Pielke came to this conclusion by measuring rising disaster damage costs alongside the rising global Gross Domestic Product. He also cited a U.N. climate report, along with his own research, to assert that extreme weather events have not been increasing in frequency or intensity."

Comment Re:Ha Ha (Score 3) 227

Same thing here. Our project has been using git for years, much to the chagrin of the least common denominator middle managers in our department. They've been pushing hard to get rid of useful work tools with "funny names" under the guise of a common tools initiative that was always in the bag for Microsoft. This will really stick in their craw. I love it.

Comment Re:It comes down to purpose, not conservatism. (Score 1) 283

When there's a client involved and significant money, "cool" and "new" are only good if they actually help sell and maintain the software. The client doesn't care about [...] lambda expressions.

Lambda expressions are in fact cool, but anyone who thinks they're new must have been in a coma since the 1930s.

Comment User attitudes towards search are the problem (Score 1) 154

I can't help but think the only long-term way to reduce the effectiveness of these kinds of SEO tricks is to remove all storefronts from Google results. Even that isn't foolproof certainly, and I'm sure that online shopping sites will then just use non-store entry pages. But these SEO tricks work because many people, when they want to buy something, just go to Google and click on the first link presented, which I don't think anyone knowledgeable about web search will think is a good idea. That behavior has to change, and until Google gets serious about informing users about it, or Google somehow loses its place as the #1 search provider and whoever takes its place does so, SEO will probably continue to be big business, and Google/Whoever will continue having to run around putting out little fires.

Comment Re:Make some kids (Score 0, Troll) 418

> How about go adopt a kid instead? There's a world full of children that need good parents.

For a lot of people, the major appeal of having children is to mix their DNA with their partner's and see what they get. I would have no interest in raising someone else's child and pretending they were my own.

For the people who do enjoy this, great. I'm sure the children benefit from it.

> Quite frankly, I think it's irresponsible to have children of your own with so many that need the love, protection, and guidance that a good parent could provide.

And with equal frankness, I think it's ridiculous to paint people as being irresponsible simply because their priorities don't match yours. If you're happier raising a used child instead of a new one, bully for you. Other people prefer having sole responsibility for whatever baggage a child is going to carry through their life.

Comment SEI's PSP/TSP (Score 1) 483

Estimate the parts required using historical proxies based around size and content. Use historical development time data based on the part estimates. Consolidate the group of smaller estimates for yourself, or ideally across an entire team, to allow estimation error to cancel itself out as much as possible across the group. Now you have a solid estimate of the total effort required, and you just have to map that to the available development hours in each developer's schedule, rebalance as necessary, and see what your end date looks like. Team Software Process
Classic Games (Games)

Monkey Island To Return 153

Briareos was one of several readers to write with news that TellTale Games, along with LucasArts, will be bringing new Monkey Island games later this year. Tales of Monkey Island will be a series of episodic games released for PC and WiiWare in the coming months, and The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition will be a remake of the original 1990 game, available on the PC and Xbox Live. A trailer is available for the former, and this is what the press release says about the latter: "The development team at LucasArts is bringing the game into the modern era with all-new HD graphics, a re-mastered musical score, full voiceover, and an in-depth hint system has been added to help players through the game's side-splitting puzzles. Purists will also delight in the ability to seamlessly switch between the updated HD graphics and the original's classic look." Grumpy Gamer has a nostalgic look back at the franchise.

Comment Re:Ethanol is just stupid (Score 0) 894

The free market's whole point is to kill failures, so no doubt there is many.

The free market does not have a point. The idea was to create a financial system out of the general economic trading that has been with man since prehistory. An exchange of goods and services. There is a rough justice to such bartering, given there are no great differences in wealth and power between the participants.

What we have now, however, is not this thing, and I'm glad of it. The primary sellers are huge corporations that pursue every legal avenue available to maximize profits, including patents, licenses and copyrights. When the laws do not favor them, they lobby to get the laws changed. To them it has nothing to do with fairness; it is entirely a cost-effectiveness equation.

Regulation, at its best, is the only really effective shield against this kind of rapaciousness. That's not to say it's always good, but to decry all government intervention is to also bash the only check on corporate power available to us.

Comment Re:Ethanol is just stupid (Score 0) 894

Isn't life wonderful when we just let the government do things?

Sometimes it is. There are unquestionably things government is best suited to do. Regulation to take the sharp edges off the free market is one of those things.

As far as corn prices go, it's unlikely that ethanol is a big part of that, and Pepsi and Mountain Dew release their "throwback" line as a small thing, not nearly in large enough quantities to lend credence to your theory. And to describe the market for corn as "free" is ignorant at best, and disingenuous at worst; government farm subsidies play a substantial role in the price of corn in the U.S., which in turn has fueled high fructose corn syrup's ascendancy as universal filler-sweetener in this country.

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