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Comment Re:How "indirect" was the use? Was SF just a proxy (Score 2) 123

Which just highlights that the problem is the licensing model.

Yes - that is what you get when you go for commercial software.

Open source is nice. No licencing fees, manufacturers don't meddle in how you use (or resell) the sw, no licence tracking overhead. Lower TCO, and the overall quality is better too. Finally, there are fewer ads involved!

Not all commercial vendors have such painful licenses, but a lot do.

Out of curiosity, what OSS options are out there that offer the breadth of functionally that either SAP or Salesforce do? It's hard to use an OSS alternative when none exist.

Comment Re:oracle all over again (Score 4, Insightful) 123

In other words, so long as you throw out all their code and use them as a kind of shitty application server, they can be alright- if you get good developers to write the app for you. Sounds like you should just skip the middleman and write your own application from scratch then.

This is true of all similar systems though (Remedy, Salesforce, ServiceNow, etc..).

The execs get sold on it by sales people that show them a built out and customized suite, but all they pay for is the basic unmodified system. Then they refuse to put the budget into the management and configuration of the tool.

I've been in the business for 20 years now and I've yet to meet any user that is happy with such systems. When you dig into it the real reasons always come down to a poor deployment/implementation.

Comment Re:Coffee (Score 4, Insightful) 228

That's precisely why you need to find a similar case, or ideally, many similar cases.

How are you supposed to know the intricate details of another company's codebase and development process to be able to judge if they are really similar or not? You can only guess and hanging someone's job on a guess is pretty crappy.

In terms of distractions, if you're in a lead development role then it's your responsibility to raise at the highest levels of management and evidence the fact that your team just isn't being given sufficient time to work on actually writing software and documenting interruptions as evidence isn't difficult. Similarly taking a poor specification up the chain and explaining why it's poor also isn't difficult - explaining where there are deficiencies in a specification is fairly easy to do if they are present. These are all traits in a good lead, and any lead not able to do these things is precisely the sort of junior to mid-level developed wedged into a senior role that I talked about - a good lead has to know how to get things done in the business world as much as they know development.

And how many times have we done just that and heard "we hear you, but ..."? I've spent my career jumping into shit projects and making them maintainable and extendable. Luckily I've mostly had managers that understood what I did for them and trusted me, but I've had a few that haven't and those jobs are miserable because they try to grade me like you suggest and it's unrealistic. I fix code and I make users happy (because I fix the code and simplify their interactions), but that all costs time and pain and management typically just sees "not much movement".

But most of these issues aren't about measuring developer competence, they're about tackling fundamental problems within a business - that's a separate issue.

It's not a separate issue as it directly impacts how efficient a developer can be. Until those issues are addressed (and they never will be) you can't fairly judge anyone on metrics impacted by those issues.

If you can't tackle those then you're fucked as a business regardless of how good or bad your developers are.

Welcome to the world of a real job working for a real company. Most companies have fucked up processes and policies.

Comment Re:Not Possible to Grade on Metrics (Score 1) 228

Project I am managing now there was a "superstar" programmer - or so it was thought. The project would not have been successful without his work for sure but ... Every line of code he wrote is terrible. It serves the purpose intended but its unreadable and cannot be extended at all. I have yet to find anything he wrote that could be extended to a useful degree and I am not alone. If he had not been a programmer at the time the project would have failed completely yet his work has a super high ongoing cost. Should he be rewarded for pulling a miracle at the time or castigated as a failure now?

Are you working on the same code as I am? Sure sounds like it...

The problem with all these metrics is that there are tons of inherited code bases like the one described and now the poor shmucks that have to pick up the pieces are to be held accountable to these metrics when much of it is out of their control (because how often does management bite the bullet and allow for a complete rewrite?). If the code does not allow for extension and the new developer is tasked with extending it, it's going to be slow and there will be bugs.

Another developer just starting out. Regular coaching etc. and seemed to be getting the hang of things but ... could or would not take the smallest initiative. Caution is a good trait when starting out but at a certain point the expectation becomes different. You have someone capable of the job but they need continuous hand holding. OTOH Code hygeine was good. I haven't had any problems reading their code or extending it.

If I had good management that understood what is important, I'd want an army of these people on my team. As an industry we are hung up on rockstars and we want teams to be full of them, but the problem is that rockstars rarely agree and bring a wealth of other issues. Having people that can be given a pre-decided task and get the job done in a clean and effective manner would be worth their weight in gold in a non-"Now! Yesterday! Now!" environment. The ones that have the interest/drive will develop the skills to move up to a lead role over time, but there is nothing wrong with the ones that just want to bang out good solid and clean code day in and day out.

Comment Re:In my experience (Score 1) 228

Judge them on bugs. If they are constantly trying to fix their code then you have a metric on when to seek a better one.

Are they their bugs or someone else's? Are they due to inherited code that was poorly designed and even more poorly documented? Are they because something was forced into a design/architecture that couldn't support it? Are they due to bad tools/frameworks being used (through no fault of the developer in question)? What's a bug versus an unclear/unknown requirement?

As far as seeking a better one, just how in the process of interviewing someone (even in one of those drawn out all day BS games that are favored these days) are you supposed to determine what their "bug fix rate" is?

Comment Re:Coffee (Score 4, Insightful) 228

There is plenty of evidence out there as to how long it takes a succesful company to release a piece of software - find something with a similar scale to what you're doing and see how rapidly they release.

Like all the other measures, it's not that simple. Is it code that the development team wrote themselves or did they inherit it? If they inherited it, how well was it originally designed, coded, and documented? Is the project using the best tools for the job or has it been forced to work around suboptimal tools for various reasons? Does the project have a solid design/direction or is the whole thing made up as it goes along? Are there defined use cases the developers can work against? Is there a clear customer stake that the developer can work with to better understand the needs and adjust the code accordingly? Do they keep getting distracted from the deliverable by support or tasks that should be outside their scope?

There are many reasons a good developer may be "under performing" through no fault of their own. Measures like lines of code, bugs, delivery time, etc.. rarely take that into account.

Comment Re:Threshold (Score 1) 409

There will always be a need for manual labor,

Really? Seems to me like that will be the first thing to go, or indeed has already gone in many cases.

Lower skilled labor goes, but every time there is automation to remove a simple task the bar of "simple" gets raised as there is always more to do that we don't have the ability to automate.

They said Ford's assembly line was going to be the death of factory workers, but it proved not to be. They said robots on the assembly lines would be the death of the factory workers, but they haven't been. The backhoe and Ditch Witch didn't remove the need to have "ditch diggers". In all cases the human work changed, but humans were still needed. The workers that wanted to stay employed acquired the new skills that were needed.

It's up to the displaced to learn the new skills to fill the new role or some other existing role. I have no problem providing assistance to those that are willing to make the transitions while they are going through the change. It's those that stand by and complain without doing anything that I have no sympathy for.

I don't count myself as something special or irreplaceable. I know very well that I could be replaced at anytime by someone that can do it for less (H1B, off shoring, etc..). But rather than bitch about how life is "unfair" I instead bust my ass to keep my skills up to date so that I can continue to make a living.

At the end of the day we are the only ones responsible for making sure we have a job. If someone isn't willing to do what's needed to be employable, it's no one's fault besides their own.

Comment Re:Threshold (Score 2, Insightful) 409

But by not having a social safety net for everyone, this kind of thing looks like it might ruin the US.

Why is it the government's or society's responsibility to support those that refuse to support themselves?

There will always be a need for manual labor, at least until the machines rise up and successfully exterminate us. Every time there is a great advancement in technology we hear the same thing, yet we still have all kinds of work available for those motivated to do it.

Those that truly can't learn new skills due to REAL physical or mental limitations should always get our help. Those that simply refuse to transition or look at certain jobs as beneath them deserve neither sympathy nor support.

We can not halt progress and change simply because some can't/won't keep up.

Comment Re:AT&T -- pushing away their loyal customers (Score 4, Informative) 58

I was AT&T since before they sold off wireless to Cingular. Got tired of the iPhone and switched to a Nexus late last year, then I bit the bullet and dropped AT&T for Google's Fi service. My only complaint with Fi is that it just works for Nexus and Pixel phones. The service and cost structures are incredibly refreshing (what do you mean I get credit back for unused data and don't get raped for overage charges???).

tl;dr: To hell with AT&T and the rest.

Comment Re:Why not? Ask Lenovo (Score 2) 161

Meh. I tried multiple screens. It sucks having to always turn your head back and forth all day long. I prefer one giant screen to multiple tiny ones. Dell U3014 FTW.

I once ran 4 24" monitors laid out end to end and I hated it both for what you mention and also what I need always seemed to be on the farthest monitor which took "forever" to get to.

Now, however, I found standing them up in portrait mode is perfect for me since I'm working on code all day and it lets me see even more of it at once. I've also found that 3 seems to be my magic number as that is what I have connected to my laptop, but I have a 4th on my desktop and I find I don't use it much.

So as others have said, it just depends on what you are doing and how you use them.

Comment Re:Why not? (Score 2) 161

This has very nearly no practical use.

Really? No practical use?

I haven't played any games on a computer in probably a decade at this point and I would love to have extra monitors. As it is now I have 3 24" monitors connected to my work laptop (plus it's 15" which I actually don't use) for working from home. When traveling, however, it is painful being reduced to one 15" monitor again.

Sounds like they have it set up so you can run it with 1, 2, or 3 monitors as needed. So when you are somewhere for a short period (say sitting in the airport) you just have it crank up one, but when you sitting at a remote desk all day you can kick up all 3.

The downsides for me would be the weight as that thing looks about like a 90s slab of shoulder pain. I also prefer standing my external monitors on end so I can get more code on a single display, but even "shorter" I still wouldn't have to overlap windows nearly as much.

If they do it correctly where it can actually stand up to some travel I can see it being a big hit for people like me that travel some, but like the extra desktop space.

Comment Re:how... what... (Score 4, Funny) 303

I assume he's worried about meth heads breaking in & stealing his stuff to sell to support their habit

In which case the answer to the question is to use that lump of money to move to a better area. Alternatively if they are really already in a good area where such crime is not really an issue, use it for treatment of their obvious paranoia.

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