Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×

Comment Re:Some methods I use (Score 5, Insightful) 229

Sigh. This is how great developers see bad managers and avoid them.

1. Defect Rate: The more experience, quality developers are given the more complex tasks generally and actually generate a large amount of defects. Defects are also a case of amount of humanity involved in the area developed. More defects in HMI code because of more eyes. Defects are also based on testing, so if a code is rarely used or testing only cursory, defects are not found. This information can be found and highlighted in the FREE Debugging course from Andreas Zeller at (Nope not shilling but found this course very informational).

2. Just because someone is an experienced developer does not mean they can estimate a job. One of the hardest things that developers are asked to do is SWAG a job. The numbers are generally way underestimated due to our human overestimation of time in future (look it up, I dont have the time. heh). These times get filtered back through contracts and customers and come back even less time. Exactly how many projects have you been on that actually made time/budget exactly as estimated? There is a reason developers work a lot of unpaid overtime.

3. Testing as you go along. Are you stating all developers should do Test Driven Development? Okay, then provide hard, frozen requirements up front. Oh wait, you are AGILE so that cant happen for larger items. Oh.. there we go.. inch pebbles.. I think the best estimate is down to 3-4 hour chunks of time. Okay, so I established that ETC is hard enough, now do it constantly in a changing requirements weekly. Wait, Im almost done here.. give me some time to finish... I thought I would be done before lunch.. but Im not done yet. Management responsibility is to manage the developer to help them and the management to make realistic time.. so "almost done" is not done.
- Is it Soup? That is what I heard from my bosses when I first started in the game. Is it Soup? 20 minutes from me being first assigned a task. No real concept of the entire task. You learn to answer "Shortly" and they stop asking. 2 weeks if they ask me now.. no matter what it is. They learned to give me real time to get a much better ETC out. One of my early ETC was "3 months" from spending 2 hours on the ETC. When given 3 days, the ETC was a year and it took... a year!

4. Development and constant need to have stuff explained. Verify they understand the first time. Language barriers exist constantly. Yes, this is a decent enough metric but if they can follow computer language logic, they are not dumb. I am at a place where it is expected for new developers to work 18-24 months before becomes productive. Still.. this is one that I can see if you want to cycle engineers to get better ones and do not have a large learning curve for your products.

5. This is general employee issue. Not specific to developers.

KLOC metrics and defect metrics are shown to have real faults when using them to judge a developer.

Things that managers (or leads, including myself) do that slow down/hurt development:
1. Not listen. Most of the time, as a lead, we know it all BUT we are NOT listening and not HEARING why some task will not come close to what we think will happen in the project.
2. Micro Manage. Start the task with a known stopping date and get buy in. Dont go every to them 4 times a day, put them in a fishbowl, look at your watch if they take a longer lunch or go to a doctor, and tell others you dont trust developers as they need to be lorded over (yes, had a manager do this). The developer will come to you when they realize they have issues or need help. You help them by resources, processes, talking, etc but If you then look at them like they are insane.. you will no longer have that trust and you will have way more "Surprises". Here is a metric: If a developer never needs help and has surprises on time and issues... if you are not micro managing them, this issue lies in the developer and they need help on personal time management skills at least. If you are micro managing, you should quit and find a new job.. you have destroyed your trust and your team will no longer be what it could be. They will hide from you, keep issues from you, and do less than they could because of your methods.
3. Stop going out on weekends when your Team is crunching for you. Your role as a manager is not just to give tasks, its to LEAD by example. If you want your team to push for a couple of weeks and you ask them to do so, YOU do it too. If you are stopping by on a Saturday to make sure they are working and you are not.. FIRE YOURSELF you are a micro manager and will crush your team. No one will want to follow you.
5. If you are really a hardass on defects, you generate an atmosphere of "I can't fail" which slows down development even more and products are not delivered. Look up "devopts". If a defect is found, we do not blame.. we know its human.. get the human out of it. Eventually, bugs are less and development is faster.
4. .. I can go on.. and on... but one thing that bugs me. How does the manager know more about the technical stuff than the developer? How does a LEAD, LEAD and inspire. "Be the Quarterback, not push the delivery quarter back."(c) - I am quoting me.

All of the above are designed to help you get a loyal team that will do things above and beyond to get a job done. It is in the best interest of a manager to get the loyalty and hard work due to it out of them. Then you can push them harder, and get more out of them. As one VP told me, we keep giving you 5 lb bag and 10lbs of crap and you guys deliver. Why? because we WANTED to work for the guy.

Comment Another Idea from the Dark Ages implemented. (Score 1) 161

I hope they are not going for patent on the idea. I got prior art as I presented this same idea back in 1991 as a presentation to a class. This is rather simple idea as well, Authorized Vehicle Interruption System. The thing that was funny was no one I presented the idea to believed it would be allowed by governments because it could be hacked pretty easily as the RF frequencies are not encrypted.

Anyways, It is always fun to see an idea you had like 20+ years ago start to be implemented. I bet this idea has been around since the Car Radio has been invented. The idea is simple enough.

Comment Re:This is an interesting case (Score 1) 136

All well and good, but does the old employer have the rights to your basic skillset? If you are a developer and know C/C++ and learned some really neat skills and tricks that make you a master of the craft, does that mean you cannot code somewhere else?

John Cormack is one of the deep mind behind many of the developments including 3D engines and the like. It would be stupid to expect that he would not continue to develop new technologies and build on his knowledge and skillset. The question is, did he take actual product (code, documents) that belong to the old company, and apply them to his new job?

If say, you wrote a bubblesort routine that is 10 times faster but you wrote it. Can you make a better bubblesort at a newer company?

Comment Re:I disagree (Score 1) 435

Alas, I have a 60 LG Plasma 3D TV that is really nice. However, finding a specific set of glasses for it (active) was hard. So I found and obtained 3 pair and got my 3D on with Guardians of the Galaxy (best 3D movie IMHO). However, the glasses required recharging constantly. The 3D movie experience was far and few between due to content and the 3D glasses were not used/made well and ended up DEAD. So now I have no way of looking at the 3D experience like I expected to be able to do for years.

On a side note, a friend has Passive 3D TV and it seemed a bit less... quality. It could be the LCD/LED aspect since I still love Plasma as 600hz rate is better than 120hz but Plasma is harder to maintain supposedly.

Comment Door Games, etc (Score 1) 181

I ran a BBS for 9 years and it was great. Eventually, the internet overtook such programming fun for me and I switched to programming a MUD for 18 years.

Door games I wish were actually still around:
SI Droids
Quizzors Mountain
Power Struggle

Those games may have been text based, but they did consume a lot of time and brain power.

Also, the additional fun part of that time was:
Which was better transmission method? Better BBS software? Best way to use your 1200baud modem? Zmodem, Qmodem? How to get long distance the cheapest PCLink.. etc

The invention of viruses, anti-viruses, ZIP vs ARC, etc. A lot of innovation from small groups.

!Member Berries galore here!

Comment Re:Ignorance abounds (Score 1) 497

Lets go even further. Some of the best code I have seen is by people who have never gone to college. Some of the worst code as well.

Environment equals quality. If the environment does not encourage quality, then quality will not be the output. No matter if you are an A student, PHD, a high school student, etc. If the environment is put together fast and quick, and expects fast and quick... that is what the output would be.

Comment Re:shocker (Score 1) 112

Check your local city/town council. Ours has "deals" with the cable company put in place that prevents Verizon from coming into our city. The deals were to get the cable company to lay wires, even though they would have done so anyways. A 500k population city will get cable without these deals yet our council did them. We still got it later than other cities next to us and they have Verizon option. Call it political madness.

Comment Cut Calories and Increase Exercise. My god! (Score 4, Interesting) 496

My Fitness Pay is a great "Food log" which was told I should use 25 years ago when I first started noticing the "behind the desk" effect. I still play sports constantly but the weight gain was huge.

I lost 50+ lbs on MyfitnessPal. I didn't need to eat the crappy "whey" and other tasteless stuff. I chose to eat a bowl of cereal in the morning, low cal lunch (100-200 cals from a frozen quick meal) and I would eat a big dinner. Big dinner? Steak and Potato with a Salad at Outback. All that under the calorie limit to sit sedentary and lose 1.5 lbs a week.

When I stopped Myfitnesspal, I gained weight. Its a simple equation: Get a real Food Diary and use it.

Now, to get that my fitness pal back on track.

Oh, and avoid Diet Drinks. This guy mentions he ate high protein to make sure he burned FAT but diet drinks just make you crave food. I really think high protein foods = less sugar = less cravings. Thus the steaks are much better than burgers effect for losing weight. They stay in you longer and are half the calories.

Comment Be careful, the Devils advocate is useful (Score 1) 255

In Team management, a team is more productive with a devils advocate that challenges and pushes others. Linus holds the devils advocate position for Linux as he constantly challenges and even causes issues with others.

The problem of being a Devil's Advocate is that they are seen as "Obstructionists, nay Sayers, anti-anything, slowdown members, etc" and when given a choice are the first voted out of a team. When the Devil's Advocate (or Angel member as we try and name them) are gone, the team starts to lose focus and goes the effectiveness goes down.

This is management 101 training. The problem with any organization including FREE is that there has to be a strong discernment between the devils advocate and the complete slug. This is a hard thing to do and I have seen many projects kick the backbones off because they were "slowing the project down" and the project then gets worse, not better.

Comment Guitar Hero is actually FUN and family! (Score 2) 163

I know.. I do have a family and my daughter is special and she loves Guitar Hero/Rock Band and I have every one I can get my hands on from GameStop used bins and even have 3 Metallica Guitar Hero (Best Guitar Hero ever!). I will play with her, my son will play with her, and as a family we have a lot of fun. It is something special to enjoy a community game that has some great tunes behind it.

Enough with the advertising. I just want new guitars and new sounds. I personally prefer Rocksmith but all these games are just fun in the end. It is a family event rather than a family fight.

I look forward to it myself.

Slashdot Top Deals

"I've got some amyls. We could either party later or, like, start his heart." -- "Cheech and Chong's Next Movie"