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Highly-Paid Developers As ScrumMasters? 434

An anonymous reader writes 'At my company, our mis-implementation of Agile includes the employment of some of our most highly-paid, principal engineers as ScrumMasters. This has effectively resulted in a loss of those engineering functions as these engineers now dedicate their time to ScrumMastery. Furthermore, the ScrumMasters either cannot or do not separate their roles as Team Leads with those of ScrumMastery and — worse — seem to be completely unaware that this poor implementation of Agile development is harmful to our velocity. To date, I have chalked this up to poor leadership, a general lack of understanding of Agile, and an inability to change from traditional roles left over from the waterfall development mode. In addition, I have contended that, for a given Scrum Team, the role of ScrumMaster should be filled by someone of lower impact, such as an intern brought in specifically for that purpose. But I would like to put the questions to Slashdotters as to whether they have seen these same transitional difficulties, what the results have been at their respective companies, or whether they just plain disagree with my assertion that principal engineers should not be relegated to the roles of ScrumMasters.'
Programming

Netflix Prize Contest Ends, Down To the Wire 100

suraj.sun updates us on the Netflix Prize now that the competition has officially closed. We discussed the new leader with one day to go in the contest: The Ensemble, taking the lead from long-time leader BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos, the first contestant to submit an entry that broke the 10% barrier. In the contest's final day, BellKor re-took the lead with 20 minutes to go, then The Ensemble apparently pulled a Michael Phelps with 4 minutes to go, squeaking ahead by 0.01%. At least so the leaderboard claims — but those numbers are posted by the competing teams. The NY Times reports that an official winner will not be named until September — Netflix needs that much time to pore through the complex entries and read the code. Netflix contacted BellKor on Sunday to tell them the team remained in first place; The Ensemble has had no such notification.
It's funny.  Laugh.

WTF? NC Offers to Replace 10,000 License Plates 467

beadfulthings writes "In light of recent discussions about the Internet habits of the older generation, it's comforting to know that in North Carolina, up to 10,000 license plates containing the potentially offensive 3-letter WTF combination will be replaced by the Motor Vehicles division at no cost — if the owner of the vehicle finds the plates offensive. As reported on Winston-Salem's television station WXII, the MVD was alerted to the problem by an irate 60-year-old technology teacher who'd been clued in by her grandchildren. The article includes a helpful slide show of twenty Internet acronyms every parent should know. The article doesn't include any information on how you could actually apply for a WTF license plate."
Networking

Gunplay Blamed For Cutting Fiber 276

coondoggie writes "Internet service providers in the US experienced a service slowdown Monday after fiber-optic cables near Cleveland were apparently sabotaged by gunfire. TeliaSonera AB, which lost the northern leg of its US network to the cut, said that the outage began around 7 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday night. When technicians pulled up the affected cable, it appeared to have been shot up over a length of a kilometer. 'Somebody had been shooting with a gun or a shotgun into the cable,' said a TeliaSonera spokesman. The company declined to name the service provider whose lines had been cut, but a source familiar with the situation said the lines are owned by Level 3 Communications Inc. Level 3 could not be reached for comment."

Jon Katz To Be Played By Jeff Bridges 207

Robotech_Master writes, "Long-time Slashdot veterans will remember Jon Katz, the editorial writer whose Slashdot articles invariably generated heated controversy. It appears he may have the last laugh; how many of the Slashdot posters who ridiculed him went on to be played by Jeff Bridges in a movie? From the article: 'In his new book, "A Good Dog: The Story of Orson," Katz chronicles the life and death of the lovable but troubled border collie that transformed his life. It continues the story begun in Katz's last book, "A Dog Year," now being made into a movie starring Jeff Bridges as Katz.' Katz critics may get a chuckle out of the plot synopsis for the film: 'A man having a mid-life crisis has his life turned upside down when he takes in a border collie crazier than he is.'" The film should be released in late 2007.

A Buckyegg Breaks Pentagon Rules 137

Roland Piquepaille writes "Chemists from Virginia and California have cooked a soup of fullerenes which produced an improbable buckyegg. The egg-shaped structure of their 'buckyballs' was a complete surprise for the researchers. In fact, they wanted to trap some atoms of terbium in a buckyball "to make compounds that could be both medically useful and well-tolerated in the body." And they obtained a buckyegg which both violates some chemistry laws and the FIFA soccer laws which were used until the last World Cup. Read more for additional references and a picture of this buckyegg carrying metal molecules."

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