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Comment Re:Can't Be True! (Score 1) 118

If this only affected their kids, I'd actually side with them and say vaccines should be a parent's choice. I'd still call not vaccinating the wrong choice, but it would be their choice. However, a parent who doesn't vaccinate their child weakens herd immunity and exposes other people to diseases. People who a) are too young to be vaccinated, b) can't be vaccinated for valid medical reasons, or c) were vaccinated but the vaccine didn't "take" (vaccines aren't 100% but herd immunity usually covers the fraction who don't get protected). When their actions negatively affect other people - including possibly killing them - they don't get to argue that it's their freedom to choose not to vaccinate and it goes beyond a "Darwin effect."

Comment Re:Can't Be True! (Score 1) 118

That was just goal post shifting. Once the mercury link was busted, the anti-vax groups claimed it was other compounds in the vaccines. When that was disproved, they went to generic "toxins" or "they get so many vaccines that their immune system is overwhelmed." Never mind that they can't name the "toxin(s)" that cause autism (if they keep it generic, you can't disprove it) or that a baby's immune system wards off hundreds of bacteria/viruses daily (if not more) and a few shots won't tip the scales. They'll keep shifting the "why" in their belief that vaccines cause autism instead of admitting that they have nothing to do with one another.

Comment Re:Reverse logic (Score 5, Insightful) 640

This doesn't remove the "driving drunk" as a blame factor, it just adds "car driving the wrong way down a one way street" to the list. Her being drunk likely contributed to poor reactions that led to the accident. However, this doesn't add "the car accelerates like a rocket ship" to the list of causes to the accident, despite what the father says.

As a father, I get the impulse to not want to blame your child. Not to mention that he just lost his daughter. That's not a time in a person's life when they are 100% rational. Still, the hard truth is that his daughter was at least half to blame (with the other half going to the driver going the wrong way). The car's acceleration wasn't the cause of his daughter's death.

Comment Re:Arrest him and throw him into Gitmo (Score 4, Insightful) 626

And the sad thing is, why couldn't a potential terrorist do this also? Give a fake social media account filled with nothing but liked cat videos and posts about how wonderful it is that Beyonce is pregnant. Give a PIN code that unlocks the phone into "totally not a terrorist user" mode with a browser history of innocuous searches, a bunch of games (e.g. Angry Birds), and other completely normal content. Then, when the border guard lets them in, unlock the phone into "secret evil terrorist" mode.

NOTE: I'm not in favor of what the NASA scientist was put through. Just pointing out that, even in the face of someone arguing "we need this to keep us safe," this doesn't make sense since it could be sidestepped so easily.

Comment Re: Arrest him and throw him into Gitmo (Score 2) 626

Here's the map of those "border zones."

Note that only 13 states don't have a portion of them within the zone and many states have all or most of their area within the border zone. For example, all of Maine is in the border zone. If you live in Maine, theoretically you could have your car searched without a warrant at any time because you're within 100 miles of the border. I live in NY and it's hard to tell for sure on the map, but I think I live barely outside of the zone. Still, most of New York State is within the zone including all of New York City.

Comment Re:Something is missing (Score 3, Insightful) 357

I heard this years ago. I think the key is idling time. When you try to turn left, you often need to wait for traffic to clear in both directions before going. While you're doing that, the UPS truck is sitting there burning gas and getting 0 mpg. If the driver makes right turns, they might drive further, but they'll wind up still moving and thus won't be wasting gas waiting on a clearing. By using special mapping software, they can find the ideal route to deliver packages so that the truck is idling as little as possible and uses the minimum amount of gas needed.

Comment Re:Coffee (Score 1) 228

"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."

I don't think the intricate details matter, I've worked for enough different companies to realise that the idea that some company is a special snowflake is an incredibly rare an unlikely thing. The odds of your company being in such a fundamentally different place that you're talking about drastic differences in delivery time, let alone if you take a number of samples is entirely negligible.

But apart from that many of the big boys actually do blog about their issues and state of their codebase, so the problems you describe are all incredibly well understood. You wouldn't realistically throw someone onto a project anyway and judge them immediately. There's always going to be a bedding in period with an employee and it's within this period that a lead will be taking on the issues within the team and the business, raising them and tackling what they can - few leads get to jump into entirely problemless companies and can attain maximum efficiency straight away. The question is how are they performing when those problems have been sorted, again, you're really conflating business issues with developer competence here, if you don't get business issues sorted then of course developer competence is going to be irrelevant.

"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"."

I hear you, I'm not pretending all business are perfect, but this wasn't about how do we survive in terrible businesses (hint: you don't, you leave them), it's how do we deal with problems of developer competence in general and my point is that we do that by having sufficiently competent and talented leads to weed out the bad, and help the good rise up.

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

I've worked in companies like those you mention and as I say, no amount of ability to gauge competence will help them - the fundamental problem you're talking about is not developer competence, it's about bad business practices, in that environment someone will always be looking for someone else to blame and even if they have an objective measure that you're the greatest developer in the world there will still be people who will ignore it because they don't want the latest failed delivery to be their fault. You can't resolve that as a developer, and being measured fairly wont fix or change it. A good lead might be able to change such a company but only if there are people in said company willing to fix problems, you're describing companies though where that's obviously not the case - as you said, "we hear you, but ...", in that case it's a lost cause until they either wake up to this or go bankrupt but realistically even if they wake up it'll be more than just a good lead dev they need to fix this, it'll be a good HR director, a good finance director, and a good CEO.

I learnt very early on in my career as a developer that you can't sit around in those companies hoping things will magically fix themselves - those companies aren't looking after you so you have no obligation to look out for them, don't feel like you have to stay for any degree of loyalty that they're not willing to pay back, and if you are talented as you believe you are then just move until you find a good employer. Then you can worry about measuring competence, because then you'll be somewhere that wants to get that right, and that's the company that needs the good lead.

Comment Re:Coffee (Score 1) 228

I think I've always been quite lucky in that respect, whether working at small companies or large, public sector or private, I've always found that development's opinion has at least been deeply respected. We've always been recognised as the money makers so there's always been an inherent fear about interfering with us unnecessarily.

I wonder what the difference is? I've worked as a developer in a few fields - engineering, defence, medical, and finance so I don't think it's a field specific issue. Maybe cultural or location based?

I've always looked on in disappointment when I've seen stories here and elsewhere that there is no shortage of companies that treat developers as disposable assets so the problem you describe is certainly an issue in a number of places.

I'm biased of course, but I've always figured that a company dependent on software treating it's developers as disposable assets is like a restaurant treat it's chefs or an army treating it's soldiers in the same way - a restaurant wont get far with no one to cook, and an army wont win any wars without any soldiers. It doesn't seem like a smart move if you're commercially dependent on a group of people to do anything other than do everything you reasonably can to help them do a good job.

Comment Re:Coffee (Score 2) 228

I don't disagree, I think this is where the problem with most companies struggling with development is - they just don't have the talent sufficient to judge whether they have the talent.

Time and time again the companies that I've seen excel at development have either found a 1 in 100 developer out of sheer damn luck who just happened to be looking for some aspect of the role in question (i.e. maybe it's a small town and they just wanted to live near their family regardless of career impact), or they've decided to think outside the corporate box of fixed salary bands and have paid for someone at that level even if that meant paying that person more than their boss.

But what is clear in my experience is that when you get past that point of filling those roles based on ability to blag, time spent at company as you point out, and other such nonsense metrics then the rest sorts itself out. The problem is that most companies like you say fail at this very first hurdle, and so we get questions such as in the summary where they're trying to fight the symptoms, not the root cause.

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If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst