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Comment I See Bad Programmers Everywhere (Score 1) 683

And they don't know they're bad programmers. It is a story as old as time itself. I can imagine two flint knappers sitting around talking:

Thag: "Grog, I have to tell you something about Dag."

Grog: "What is it?"

Thag: "He is a terrible flint knapper. The absolute worst. His flints are all crooked, half the time they're broken, he's just awful!"

Grog: "Have you told him this?"

Thag: "Of course, but he is impervious to criticism!"

Grog: "It is part of the human condition. By the way, you're not so great at this yourself. Just saying."

Thag: "You mean the ones who are the most vocal about others' lousy work are often guilty themselves?"

Grog: "Yep. 'He who smelt it dealt it'."

Thag: "Screw you. I'm going to talk to a zillion people about this who have never actually seen my work. I'll bet they are more sympathetic."

Of course, you could always wait until he retires.

Comment It's in the way you work, I believe (Score 2) 275

I've telecommuted off-and-on for about 1/4 of my 20 year career, so I've seen a lot. Some people can just pull off telecommuting and some can't. I've never seen the situation described in this post, though, I can see how it might happen. Maybe I've just gotten lucky: telecommuted for the right companies, the right mix of people (including management), etc. Most teleworkers who have been perceived as goof-offs are, most of the time, goof offs.

But I think it has more to do with the way I work.

I'm a "productive burst" kind of developer. I can't just sit and develop all day long. My productivity goes in bursts. And because telecommuting allows me to get rid of the "chaff" that builds up in my life (like laundry, for example, why, yes, I can design software while sorting my whites from my colors, thank you very much), freeing me up to really make good use of my time when I'm in front of the computer (i.e., I'm not mentally churning on some stupid personal task). So when telecommuting, I'm very very productive and that is demonstrated in the level of work I am able to get done as a result.

Some of the commenters do have a point, though, that if you're mediocre, you're perceived as a goofball. If you're good, you're perceived as mediocre, etc. You get a sort of "telecommute bump-down" in perceived competence. That may be partly the managers' fault (as has been pointed out). But I think as a teleworker, you have a responsibility to make sure the work you do is visible. If you're not able to demonstrate that, maybe you're not as good as you think (sorry to break it to you).

But all in all, my work speaks for itself. And yours should too. If you can't demonstrate productivity when telecommuting, you shouldn't do it. Go on into the office, huddle around the water cooler and talk smack about the boss like all the other sheep. Go on, now. Get! :-)

Comment Laughable (Score 2) 378

Apple has made programmers cool? Um, no. The very idea is sort of laughable.

What has happened is that technology has proliferated, meaning it's in the hands of more people than ever before. When people find out you are involved in technology, they see you involved in something that touches their lives. That's it.

Of course, most people are brain-dead cattle, following the herd, and really have no idea that there's a difference between a programmer and the Geek Squad guys at Best Buy who look down their noses at everyone for $10/hour.

A typical conversation with someone I know might go like this:

Them: "So what do you do for a living?"

Me: "I write software."

Them: "Oh, neat. Hey, my computer keeps popping up this message about Elbonian midget porn or something. What do you think it is?"

Me: "I really have no idea. Probably a virus. I am a programmer."

Them: "Oh, wow, like those guys at Apple. They are suddenly so cool. I'll bet you get laid all the time!"

Okay, I totally made up that last part. Most people have no idea what a programmer is, unless they've seen "The Matrix" and then they think I wear a cheap suit and sit at a desk waiting for FedEx packages (but still have no idea what a programmer, um, program writer, is).

I guess what I'm really trying to say is: I HATE SAUERKRAUT. That's all I'm really trying to say.


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Internet 92

MMBK writes "Our friends at JESS3 have unveiled The Ex-Blocker. It's a Firefox and Chrome plugin that erases all name and likeness of your ex from the Internet, even if they become a meme, or the president. You'll no longer have to threaten to delete your Facebook account or concoct an elaborate e-hoax to assuage the reality-shattering complications that are born from break-ups. Simply construct an Internet that omits bad vibes all together."

Supersizing the "Last Supper" 98

gandhi_2 writes "A pair of sibling scholars compared 52 artists' renditions of 'The Last Supper', and found that the size of the meal painted had grown through the years. Over the last millennium they found that entrees had increased by 70%, bread by 23%, and plate size by 65.6%. Their findings were published in the International Journal of Obesity. From the article: 'The apostles depicted during the Middle Ages appear to be the ascetics they are said to have been. But by 1498, when Leonardo da Vinci completed his masterpiece, the party was more lavishly fed. Almost a century later, the Mannerist painter Jacobo Tintoretto piled the food on the apostles' plates still higher.'"

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