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Comment How to measure a great developer (Score 1) 229

Honestly I don't think that being a great developer is quantifiable in the sense that you can feed some metrics into an equation and come up with a number. If you do that, even poor developers are smart enough to work the system.

Here are some signs of a good developer, IMO:

* Writes code that can be easily understood, even when the task at hand is relatively complex.
* Removes code on a regular basis. (Net LOC added might even be negative)
* Asks good questions to clarify requirements.
* Produces good tests, uses them to validate the code they've written.
* Makes proper use of libraries instead of "re-inventing the wheel".
* Makes good review comments on other developer's code that make it cleaner, more testable etc.
* Documents complex systems so that the next poor sap who owns it won't be completely lost.

Obviously if you're measuring by LOC added, stop it. That's in direct opposition to most of these principles.

Comment Re:License to work (Score 5, Informative) 639

As a counterpoint to this, my childhood was on a farm, and pretty much was straight out of a John Mellencamp song. We didn't have hired hands, were not dirt poor but certainly not "well off". We pretty much did all the work as a family - including fixing the tractors to some degree. Well, honestly, my dad did that and at best I watched. That might not be your experience, and I respect that, but small family farms still do exist in some parts of the US. I can see why these folks would want to fix their own tractors. For one, do you know how hard it is to get a tractor that isn't working to a dealer?

As for John Deere being a greedy corporation or just trying to make an honest buck - you can look at it either way. The fact is that tractors these days are large very expensive pieces of machinery that are generally not purchased sans financing - so the initial cost vs monthly cost is just a matter of which pocket the money comes from.

Comment Re:Lol... (Score 2) 819

I take it you've never had to debug something done by someone who was high. It's horrid.. The writer thinks their work was the best thing the have ever done but the reality ends up being a mess. If drunk it's a lazy unmotivated mess with everything done the easy way, if high it's a massively overcomplicated mess (everything is connected!).

It's not as if were talking about the arts here, both systems admin and programming are a logical process and require a clear head.

Maybe, but in my experience, programming while incompetent is a much, much bigger problem than programming while high. I've seen plenty of programming fails by well meaning, sober people that just made my head spin - and I've never (knowingly) seen an example of what could be labeled "high coding". That said, in the end you need both competent programmers and competent code reviewers. If they are incompetent, they need to go. Presumably competent coders will will also keep their "recreational activities" at home. If they don't do that and it shows, they are incompetent and need to go. Drug testing won't really help determine who is competent and who is not - at least for coders.

Comment Yes... but. (Score 3, Interesting) 113

There have been bad cables out there that put in the wrong spec resistor or are otherwise mis-wired. However, I don't agree that "authenticating" the cables is the answer. The word "authentication" implies that there will be key exchanges involved, which puts all the pieces into place for vendor lock-in (i.e. LG devices only charge with LG certified cables, etc... ), not to mention additional cost and complexity. I for one already have a selection of USB-C compliant chargers and cables (yes, using Benson's spreadsheet). Will those be accepted by new USB-C devices supporting this specification? Will there be a supply of cheap USB-C cables that support this "authentication" AND work with every device vendor? I doubt it on both accounts. I prefer Benson's approach of shaming the vendors that don't follow the spec.

Comment Too early for April Fool's. (Score 5, Insightful) 492

I suppose that since April Fool's day is two days away that this is not a joke. That said, Canonical has completely lost their collective minds. It started with Unity, then Mir, and now "ubuntu minus Linux". Seriously guys. What the hell IS ubuntu if it is not Linux? Unity for windows? Barf.

Comment Re:Underwhelmed by Netflix (Score 1) 75

>I understand that the licensing terms make it impossible for Netflix to have such an extensive library, but they and the content producers need to work out something or people will start abandoning them and going back to the old-fashioned way of streaming movies... illegally or quasi-legally.

Not really, no. Think of Netflix as a provider of exclusive content and curated, rotating third party content for a low monthly price. It's more akin to HBO than a video store. IMO most people that have Netflix understand that. For the "video store" model to make economic sense, it pretty much has to have a la carte pricing per show or movie. Guess what? iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play are all doing that and it's 100% legal.

Personally I don't think that netflix streaming has to be a video store. I'm quite happy with what I'm getting now for the price. That said, it wouldn't shock me if someday they launch a parallel streaming service with a la carte pricing.

Comment Re:Are all ten of them Java? (Score 2, Interesting) 241

>If ever there was a language where people copy and paste somebodiy's working code and try to mangle it to work for their own purposes with no understanding of the actual language or security thereof, it is Javascript.

In the majority of web applications the client is given limited scope by the server. Clients can't be given full trust because anyone can create their own malicious client. Security bugs are therefore on the server. Today most javascript is still client side. Yes, node.js has been making inroads, but it is far from the most popular server side language. I predict that if node does eclipse java in popularity, it will also beat java in server side security bugs. Perhaps by a wide margin, since I've also seen a lot of client side programmers work on server code in node. If you're used to being on the untrusted side of things and then suddenly have to make secure code, you're bound to make mistakes.

Comment Re:Assembly == SLOW ; JAVA == FAST! (Score 2) 372

And, under ideal circumstances . . . its gonna be hard to beat Assembler. (Slower to market . . . perhaps . . . but faster for you the next 20 years as you run it.)

You may be right, but I wouldn't bet on that. First of all, it's not unheard of for a CPU architecture to die in 20 years, but that aside: It would be interesting to take an x86 assembler program written 20 years ago and run it on modern hardware, then perform the same experiment with a C program recompiled with a modern compiler.

The 20 year old assembly program would be optimized for a 20 year old CPU architecture (and essentially running in backward compatibility mode), whereas the C program would be optimized for the current architecture. I'd wager you'd see far greater improvement moving to the modern CPU in the C program. Whether it would be faster than the assembly program would depend on what it did, but I would think that in many cases the C program would be faster, even if the assembly program smoked it 20 years ago.

Comment Re:pointless (Score 4, Insightful) 307

4k is indeed pointless, unless you literally have a full size movie theater in your house. How in the world can anyone make out individual pixels at 1080p on a reasonable screen size without getting right up to the screen? It's physically impossible.

And as for streaming being able to provide 4k before disc-based formats - HD streaming is good, but not close to blu-ray quality today at 1080p/24. This is due to bandwidth constraints. How is increasing the resolution going to help improve the bandwidth?

I would rather like to have a 4k desktop monitor (because I do sit right next to it), but I would not pay more for a living room TV that has 4k (because I don't).

Comment I think there's room for both (Score 1) 432

Though I hate the term "brogramming" and think it's completely stupid to try to program while drunk, I believe there is room for what used to be called the "heroic" model of software development in certain circumstances. The fact is that the technology world is fast paced, and often the product that becomes dominant (makes the most money) is not the one that's the most well engineered. It is the one that works well enough, has features people like, and makes it to the market first. A few very good coders with good domain knowledge and broad skills working heads down on such a project can absolutely run circles around (iterate faster) a large engineering team of siloed engineers focusing on requirements and architecture.

That is not to say that proper software engineering is dead... quite the opposite. In most industries and once a product reaches a certain size - quality, security, etc. are expected. You need a combination of good engineers and the right processes in place to make that happen. You cannot substitute processes for good engineers. As for waterfall vs agile... neither is perfect.... but Agile is better when requirements tend to change. It's bad to be dogmatic about either one though.

Comment Re:Technological masturbation (Score 4, Interesting) 79

>I can appreciate their efforts from a technical standpoint, but in the end they used that time to create a technical novelty that in reality will not see a long term use nor large scale adoption. A sharper and more polished Arch experience would have a tremendously larger impact compared to this.

Personally, I don't see the point to having a Linux userland with a FreeBSD kernel or vice versa. I'd much rather have a stable system with wide adoption (either Linux or FreeBSD, not some unholy hybrid), but I like the fact that this exists anyway. In the free and open source software world, anyone with interest and time on their hands can do what they want to do. This is in opposition to the closed model where a few decision makers are trying to maximize profit given their resources.

FOSS works a lot like darwinian evolution. A lot of random mutations occur and most do not survive. A few, however, do survive and become widespread and we are better off for it. Don't think of it as wasted effort, think of it as part of the process.

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