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Comment Re:One has to wonder (Score 1) 253

As a recovering former IRS employee; I can answer some of this. Mostly it boils down to leadership (a lack thereof). The IRS puts all of its most critical "features" towards the end of their multi-year development projects. So, as an example, the "document matching" components in the IRS's ACA processing systems that help identify fraud won't be built until 2018 or somewhere around that time frame. Leadership hopes that this will somehow prevent steep cuts; but as we have seen this really doesn't work (anymore). Beyond that; the U.S. government as a whole desperately needs better identity management. Something like the HSPD PIV card for all citizens (or the DoD Common-Access-Card) would solve a ton of identity management issues. But politically, I don't think people are ready for that. The advice I give to my friends is that until the identity management stuff is fixed; always file your returns early. This dramatically reduces the chances that you will be an identify theft victim with the IRS.

Comment Code Coverage of Unit tests? Interface Boundaries? (Score 1) 308

When I was doing maintenance work I would take on P.O.S.s all the time and clean them up. Usually I would find missing / lacking unit tests and set about filling those gaps. This really gets you into understanding how the code works. Then, if I found stuff that was particularly stinky; I'd move it behind and interface and set about improving upon the implementation. This is aided with unit-test coverage tools like Emma (for java), BTW. Having a Jenkins/Hudson or similiar continuous-build/integration tool really helps, too.

Comment My predictions for IBM's technology... (Score 3, Insightful) 93

1) IBM Rational ClearCase will continue to stink
2) ClearCase users will develop blindness as a result of continued exposure
to the eye-sore that is the clearcase-ui
3) ClearCase will create a new disease in the enterprise called CC-Shingles
as it infects every application that touches it with needless process steps
4) Cubicle neighbors of CC-users will soon be donning noise-cancelling ear-muffs to block
out the loud cursing of the ClearCase users around them
5) ClearCase market share will continue to dwindle below its already measly 2 % market share
as more and more workplaces find CC to be the most dis-tasteful source control product ever.

Comment Find the Fun (Score 1) 708

If you just can find-the-fun; the skills will blossom almost with you noticing it.

I'm about your age and recently had 3 job offers to decide from. I think what made me marketable was all the fun development projects I work on outside of work.

Years ago it was text-to-speach apps, new readers, and personal search tools that I enjoyed working on. Today I'm having fun building software for home-security (facial recognition and object recognition libraries are fast maturing) and helping my neighbors set up their own home-security systems based on this stuff (for free of course).

There's so much cool stuff in OSS to learn about; you are almost crazy not to be into this stuff.

I learned a ton about MySQL when I built my first mythTV DVR; and would never want to go back to watching TV any other way.

My Rss reading project taught me a ton about XML and XML-Schema; plus it cut down on the amount of surfing I do.

For my next home project I'm probably going to build some tools for my son's MineCraft worlds.

And I can't wait to start playing with the android SDK a bit more so I port some of my favorite projects over to my tablet.

Comment Judge Penfield Jackson said it best... (Score 1) 262

The original ant-trust breakup judge, Penfield Jackson nailed it:

Most harmful of all is the message that Microsoft's actions have conveyed to every enterprise with the potential to innovate in the computer industry. Through its conduct toward Netscape, IBM, Compaq, Intel, and others, Microsoft has demonstrated that it will use its prodigious market power and immense profits to harm any firm that insists on pursuing initiatives that could intensify competition against one of Microsoft's core products. Microsoft's past success in hurting such companies and stifling innovation deters investment in technologies and businesses that exhibit the potential to threaten Microsoft. The ultimate result is that some innovations that would truly benefit consumers never occur for the sole reason that they do not coincide with Microsoft's self-interest.

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Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming