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Comment Free content (Score 5, Informative) 119

Being in the middle of taking a Coursera course right now I can state that the content is still free if you audit the course. Auditing a course gives you access to the lectures, coursework, and the forums. You cannot submit coursework for a grade, nor receive a final grade and certificate (if you pass) unless you have paid for the course.

Having taken several of the original free courses I was concerned at first but once I read through all the fine print I think it's a fine way to monetize the system. Free for those that want information and a charge for those that want proof of having taken the course.

Comment Re:I concur! (Score 1) 232

This again. Every language is poor if used poorly. Every technology is poor if used poorly. And the opposite is also true. The trick to getting good technology if used correctly is that some technologies require more discipline on the part of the developer/implementer to use well.

In my company we aggressively mentor everyone so the language (Scala) doesn't have a lot of dark corners. We also mentor the mathematics (I see monoids. They're everywhere!) so that when someone comes across a bit of advanced code almost indistinguishable from magic they don't think "it's magic. I can't touch it." It takes an extra dozen weeks or so but the return is huge (like taking a couple of thousand lines of code and turning it into 80, all nicely immutable to kill those nasty action-at-a-distance bugs).

There's nothing wrong with Perl that isn't also wrong with every other language. They are a tool. If you choose not to learn how to use a tool appropriately don't make the mistake of thinking the tools you know how to use well are intrinsically better.

I would never describe Perl as boring. Annoyingly random, and obtuse, but never boring.

Comment An answer (Score 1) 176

First, don't go it alone. If you can't find a few friends that you can convince that you are on to something with whatever product ideas you have then you aren't on to something.

Software development is a team sport. Even if the other players are you in 6 months. Have coding standards. Have have your IDE or some program enforce them. Write documentation. Use version control. Use a bug tracking system. (Yeah, all that stuff you've read is best-practice... it got published as best-practice for a reason.) As a startup select a "major" language but for scripting just accept that any of perl, python, ruby, bash are fine. Train, mentor, and grow your people. You want really good generalists at this stage and not experts that can't also do ops, admin, front-line, etc. Using open-source software is a force multiplier. If you are going to extend OSS just make sure that your product value is in the data you are generating and not the code (since you'll be giving the code away for free).

You'll want to find people at least as good as you are for raising money, marketing, sales, product development, and IT (assuming you'll be CTO/VP Eng and leading development; if not find a CTO [tech strategist to put in front of investors and give you something coherent as far as technology goes], and/or a VP Eng [developer+manager who can wrangle the cats and makes sure product gets delivered when product is supposed to be delivered]. Coming from the tech side of things do NOT undervalue marketing, sales, and your CEO. The better mousetrap will not sell itself. At the same time while a great sales guy can sell snow to Eskimos they won't pay a lot for it. Find/build a team that covers each others weaknesses.

Gonna stop here. Could go on like this for a while since this is what I've been living the past 4 years.

Blogs in no particular order: Joel on Software, Paul Graham, any other 2-3 of the top tech incubators in the country (Google em).

Finally, ignore anything above that doesn't make sense for the business you are running.

Comment Theory vs Practice (Score 1) 387

It's not being an expert at some particular language that ends up paying. It's being an expert. You will always have to play your cards right but there are high paying jobs in any of the languages. Figure out the style you like, become an expert in one of its mainline languages, play your cards right, profit.

Comment Re:Simple is good (Score 1) 94

Valid criticism of Scala: full functional programming requires ScalaZ which has nightmare stupid misfeatures like use of Unicode operators

First all the unicode operators of scalaz have names as well. Second, just what language is the functional library scalaz written in? I'll bet *that* would be a pretty good functional language to work with.

Comment Scala-- (Score 1) 636

It's Scala. They left out pattern matching and didn't drive the monadic nature of common programming collections through the collection classes. You can leave out the monads (although the first time you want to convert the contents of an Optional value via a function returning an Option you'll wish they hadn't) but leaving out pattern matching was a plain and simple misstep.

Comment Re:Um... (Score 1) 693

I guess I did miss the point. Since in my family it was all about how misguided the Vietnam war was and talks of student sit ins and such. Fonda was naive but she was, I think, on the correct side of the argument.

But I guess you missed the point too. Holder stated [1] that the Executive Branch wasn't going to make a blanket statement hemming in the Executive to use drones during such events as Peal Harbor and 9/11. So what we've got is a temper tantrum which compares two of the most epic events in US history where the power of the Executive would have swept pretty much anything before it to a single Vietnam war protester who happened to get a lot of attention because she was a celebrity over whom the Executive could only exert the most minor of authority. If a drone were to have killed Jane Fonda it would have been an obvious criminal action. If a drone had shot down one of the remaining jets after the towers were hit it would have been a justified use of a military force to avoid a larger death toll. Trying to compare the two is simply trying to derail the stated response to (Rand's) original question.


Comment More productive than what? (Score 1) 445

(Dang. Wish I'd gotten in on this thread earlier because I'm just gonna repeat elements from the best posts.)

Yes I have daily meeting with my team; Monday and Thursday 10-10:20 Mountain.

Yes it's productive. Younger hands call roadblocks and the elders speak up with, "I'll help you on that".
Someone's stalled for a couple of weeks or three without calling roadblock and I start to ask about things in our weekly 1-1 (burnout; too proud to ask for help; "Nailing top tier in my guild's PvP rankings but I'll be back in the saddle next week").
Meetings run long with dirt-diving, carping, gossip about execs then my canary just died.

I was a unix sysadmin for six years, manager for three, developer for four and now I'm back in the manager slot. In that time I had a manager that held a daily hour meeting and a project manager that held once weeklies that I would trade my teeth to get as much out of my team as they did out of us but I'm not them and my team isn't the one they worked with and my dailys held twice a week work for me.

Dailys are the answer for everything. (Except when they aren't.)


Comment Re:Alamo Drafthouses are the model of the future (Score 1) 865

I envy you then. Our Alamo's food is less than stellar. (West Oaks, Houston.) The special features are very good but the normal menu is straight out of cans and the freezer. Just a touch more effort on their part would go a long way. I'm not expecting miracles but I'd rather not have to stick to the two things on the menu I've found to be... hard to do wrong.

With that mini-rant out of the way I totally agree with you that, in general, they are the way to go for a good evening at the movies. (Other of their locations I've been very happy with the food so I suspect it's a kitchen issue.)


Comment How to answer (Score 1) 997

Joel also runs Fog Creek Software. Tell your boss you want this sort of environment since Joel recommends it.

10-11 hour days can be done. I aim for 65 hours a week. They can't be done without extenuating circumstances though when you can just walk on over to the next shop and get the same pay for a standard 8 hour day. Update your resume. It might work out but I'd bet against.


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