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Comment Re:Migrations are costly and newer is not better (Score 1) 217

This, I believe, is the story of EVERY migration. It's not necessarily that older is better, or "they don't make them like they used to", but that software development is a bug-prone and arduous process that you will not get right the first time.

This is absolutely the case. Software projects are still incredibly risky. You only have to read the Standish Group's CHAOS report to see how risky these sorts of projects from a management perspective.

The fact that the system is still there doing it's job means that the original project was one of the lucky ones that made it through to a somewhat successful conclusion. You need a very good reason to run that risk again.

In general, just upgrading your dependencies and tool-chain is probably not a sufficient excuse. You need some other compelling reason.

Comment That Walmart Bit... (Score 1) 940

I would say that Walmart is subsidizing the welfare system more than the other way around. People that are on welfare and work at Walmart wouldn't have any job, most likely, if Walmart didn't exist. After all, who actually has the scale that allows the formation of a job of a greeter that waves when you walk in. Only a big store can do that and carry a profit. Speaking of which, Walmart actually doesn't make a great profit margin. It just has lots of big stores.

Comment I vote for Gridlock! (Score 1) 819

The very thing needed for a democracy to genuinely work at a national level is for people to be of one mind. That is obviously not the case in the United States and hasn't been since, well, ever. Even the American Revolution was driven by the minority of the population, as was, quite frankly, the Civil War. Today, the country is pretty sharply polarized, and no group really trusts each other and nor should they. We have liberals and other statists (including neoconservatives), evangelicals, libertarians, anarchists, all of them who have an idealized life that is completely different. Add to the mix of wide political outlooks that include continual race and gender based politics and political argument, and you've basically a country that can't help but be in a continual state of gridlock.

My ideal case is to deconstruct anything about the government. I resent that the courts have so much power over my family that they have soured my ability to trust any kind of governmental power whatsoever and my only answer is to vote to shut it down. This libertarian idea is impossible to reach, so the best bet is to let the powers that be bash each other, so, I always vote for divided government. Shut it all down, I say, at the Federal Level, then break up the states next!

Comment Calibration matters? (Score 1) 425

Well let's say there's some degree of error between the calorie in general and the calorie for you. I would think that, it's some multiplier, and that, you should be able to adjust it by monitoring your diet and the consistency with what you eat. Like, if you gain 1 lb a week, and eat 10000 calories during that time, then regardless of what the measure is, you need to either adjust your intake down, or increase your burn rate, or both. I hate to be barbaric about it, but you never see fat people in gulags and concentration camps. Sooner or later, calories DO matter.

Comment Re:Team Reviews are far superior (Score 1) 186

When I look at the list of 100 bugs found by a single tester in my team, who is not busy having review meetings and counting metrics, in a week, I laugh at these numbers.

If your tester is finding 100 bugs a week, you're doing it wrong. Your underlying quality is much too low. It's much more expensive to find a bug by functional testing than by code inspection. This is because all those bugs need to be fixed and retested. This usually requires a rebuild and other ancillary tasks that drive up cost.

Worse, it's usually a geometric progression with this kind of pattern in that for every hour spent bug fixing, there's a ratio of new bugs introduced that have to be removed by the process. This process repeats until the defect count is acceptable. Even with a relatively low co-efficient of bug introduction, the geometric series usually adds 20-30% additional cost to the development.

Sometimes I think a lot of software processes are held up as improving quality not because they actually work, but because the reduced productivity makes the quality metrics look better..

This comes back to my earlier point on people ignoring published research because they feel they know better. Do you know there's actually properly controlled scientific trials that actually establish the truth of what I'm saying? Why is your thought superior to this research? Why is this research defective?

Comment Re:Team Reviews are far superior (Score 2) 186

No offense meant, honestly, but your place sounds miserable to work at. It's not the process, but the ridiculous level of formalization and standardization.

Code inspections work best when they're formal with clearly defined roles and clear reporting steps. There have been large scale studies done that confirm this. The research fed in to the development of the Cleanroom methodology pioneered at IBM.

The less formal the structure, the less well it works.

One of my big bugbears with software development as a craft is our failure to really learn from experience. There were lots of studies done on the craft from decades ago that cleanly establish these basic principals. We choose to ignore them because developers feel they know better than published research.

The truth is that people suck at writing software. Even the very best developers in an organisation are not as a good a team of lower quality people that inspects their own output. Teams > individuals.

Honestly, it isn't as corporate as it first appears. Once the roles are defined, the work turns to inspecting the source. It takes a few seconds to cover off that part of the meeting and from there the real work begins.

There are other benefits

One is that everyone has read everybody's source. There's none of this "Only Bill knows that piece of code." The whole team knows the code very thoroughly.

Another is that relatively junior people end producing code just as solid as person with 25 years experience. They end up learning a lot on the way. Do not estimate the tremendous power of that.

My teams enjoy the process and they certainly enjoy not getting as many bugs coming back to bite them in the future when the feature is out in production. Once they're done, they tend to be done and are free to move on to the next feature.

The benefits of having a cleaner code base, fewer issues and more accurate delivery times has a huge affect on morale.

Comment Re:Team Reviews are far superior (Score 1) 186

Please mention the place so I never get into a mile of it. How would of Linus have created Linux without people like you? Didn't he understand the technical debt he was creating? He could have been finding bugs at a rate of 1.25 per applied man hour instead of actually creating something useful! Silly man. You process guys are useless.

I find this example really odd because Linux is built around a process of a huge amount of code review. They do it differently because they're a distributed team but they absolutely have a rigorous code review process.

Comment Re:Team Reviews are far superior (Score 3, Interesting) 186

You sound like a bean counter, and your organisation sounds like it is hell to work in. 1.25 bugs per man hour? Christ.

Well I'm the head of development at our place so I inhabit both worlds. Businesses like to measure return on investment. By being able to speak that language, I can generally frame activities developers naturally want to do in those terms. This leads to developers getting more of what they want.

You know what developers really, really, really hate? Having to work with technical debt and having no process to remove that technical debt because the program is now "working".

The best way around technical debt is not to put it in to the program in the first place. This process does a sterling job at that. So our developers are generally a pretty happy bunch.

Comment Team Reviews are far superior (Score 4, Interesting) 186

In our organisation, we have teams of six people that work together on their sprint. QA staff are included in this team.

On major features, the team code reviews the feature together in a special session. Roles are assigned. The author is present, a reader (who is not the author) reads the code. There is an arbitrator who decides whether a raised issue gets fixed. This arbitrator role is rotated through the team on an inspection by inspection basis. Finally, there is a time keeper role who moves the conversation to a decision if one topic is debated for more than three minutes.

This process typically finds a humongous number of issues. It takes us about 4 hours of applied effort to discover a bug in pure functional testing. This process discovers bugs at a rate of 1.25 bugs per man hour of applied effort. So if you have five people in a room for one hour, you have applied 5 man hours. You'd expect to find 6-7 bugs. If you include all the stylistic coding standards bugs, this is typically 10-15 bugs per hour.

So while on the surface it looks expensive to have all those people in a room talking. The net result is that it tends to accelerate delivery because so many issues are removed from the software. Better still, the review occurs before functional testing begins. This means the QA staff on the team can direct their testing at the areas highlighted by the inspection process. This further improves quality

It's true that about 50% of the ossies are stylistic issues. But usually we get 1 or 2 bugs per session that present a serious malfunction in the program. The rest could be problems under some circumstances or minor faults.

Team reviews are vastly, vastly superior to pair-programming. There really is no contest.

Comment Strawman! (Score 1) 130

AS opposed to what? Having an article written about in a science journal about another planet that no one cares about, just to dick measure? Let's face it, there's not much in space exploration at this moment that is anything more than pure entertainment, machine or non-machine. Getting an exact date on the end of the universe isn't going to change anything, and in any case, even if the universe did end, there's not a damn thing we can do about it anyway. So in essence, you argument of sending machines to gather content for your entertainment is no more valid than someone who wants people on the red planet. But, if we keep sending people out there, we will figure out a way to do it less expensively, and there's plenty of people that would go, simply because the earth is too big of a pain in the rear for them.

Comment LISP (Score 4, Interesting) 429

LISP is probably the most powerful language every discovered. I say "discovered" here and not "created" deliberately. There is a quality about it that makes it feel more like an extension of mathematics rather than a language.

It might have conquered the world if only Eich had been allowed to build Scheme in the browser, as he was hired to do.

Instead, it languishes for some reason I can't really understand. I still wish for a day it becomes a mainstream language but I think it'll just remain a wish.

Comment With someone else's money (Score 1) 215

The whole thing about the left, is that they say they are nice because they want to spend someone else's money to do what they want. If they got up and did whatever they wanted to do, on their own, they wouldn't need government. But nope, they want to take everyone else's money to build their wonder society because their own society is too useless to build anything for itself. It's like a cancer, consuming everything in the body of the nation.

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