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Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop? 176

An anonymous reader writes: I'm a systems architect (and a former Unix sysadmin) with many years of experience on the infrastructure side of things. I have a masters in CS but not enough practical exposure to professional software development. I'd like to start my own software product line and I'd like to avoid outsourcing as much as I can. I'm seeking advice on what you think are the best practices for running a software shop and/or good blogs/books on the subject.

To be clear, I am not asking about what are the best programming practices or the merits of agile vs waterfall. Rather I am asking more about how to best run the shop as a whole. For example, how important is it to have coding standards and how much standardization is necessary for a small business? What are the pros and cons of allowing different tools and/or languages? What should the ratio of senior programmers to intermediate and junior programmers be and how should they work with each other so that nobody is bored and everyone learns something? Thanks for your help.

Comment Re:What about electronics? (Score 5, Informative) 145

I contacted the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory a few minutes ago. Here's what I got from them:
Please be advised: the data is for South Africa, which is closer to the equator. Places closer to the poles will experience slightly stronger conditions.

Two CME's are heading this way. Precise time of impact not yet known. They should hit 12-13 September (South African Standard Time). Conditions should clear by Saturday afternoon SAST.

Glancing blow. No need to worry about it, unless you have a satellite in space.

Direct hit on earth.
GPS satellites are expected to be affected.
Communications equipment will probably be affected.
Transmission lines are not expected to be affected.
Electronics are not expected to be affected.

Comment Re:inb4 (Score 1) 200

Having inattentive ADHD can be very painful. You can really honestly want to just do it. But as soon as you start, you find yourself either getting overcome with immobilizing dullness, or you simply can't help but to jump to some other "temporary" distraction like surfing the www, to get yourself perked up. Only to discover later that the whole day is shot and you've accomplished nothing.

That's more or less how I feel, except that it actually 'hurts' (the best way I can describe it) to concentrate on 'boring' tasks.

Comment Re:What Type (Score 2) 90

I know you were making a joke, but before 1986 surgery (including major surgery) on infants was routinely performed without anaesthesia (they used a paralytic to keep the infant still), as it was thought that anaesthetic were harmful to infants and infants did not have a fully developed nervous system necessary to feel pain. For the same reasons infants and children were denied pain medication.
Turns out that not only do infants feel pain like adults, but they still felt the pain from surgery as adults. The pain and trauma never went away so most of these adults suffer from a form of PTSD.

Submission + - What is your best hacking and/or DOS story?

drfreak writes: I started using the Internet early in the upper 1980's. Back then most people didn't have direct access. We'd dial into a server instead which gave us shell accounts to play with and use text-based content such as UseNet and IRC.

Even with the net being that limited many of us forged our first attacks; often just to mess with our friends but sometimes also to punish an adversary. It was all in good fun back then and no real damage was intended. It also gave my friends at the time and myself a lot of new experience coding because it is always more fun to have a goal when writing a script or program than to just do "Hello World."

Ok, so I'll disclose my personal favorite: Hanging out on EFNet IRC a lot, I was always attracted to the misfits called "Operators" which actually ran (still do) the network and hanged out there. Many people (including myself) have tried and failed to hack that channel and kick all the operators out as a badge of honor. Knowing I didn't have the skill at the time to write a bot to do it, I took a bare-bones approach and read the IRC RFC looking for loopholes.

My Friends and I were so intent on hacking IRC we experimented with creating our own network of servers just to see how they operated. While doing that I had an epiphany that there was no limit on how many people can be listed in a -o message. The only limit was in the client, which was typically four.

So, I convinced a friend who was an IRCop to give me an O: line to test my new server. I then commenced to login via telnet masquerading as said server and de-op nearly everyone on #twilight_zone. The only thing which prevented my success was I was typing the list by hand and someone joined at the same time so didn't get de-opped. I was banned forever from that channel for managing to de-op a few dozen people in one line, but I still felt successful for pulling off something a regular bot could never do by my own hands in a telnet session. The only reason I wasn't banned from that network forever was out of respect for the research and attention it took to pull off the attack. I also had no idea what social engineering was back then but it was key to getting server-level access.

So what are your early benign hacks, folks?

Submission + - Alternatives to Slashdot post beta? 8

An anonymous reader writes: Like many Slashdotters, I intend to stop visiting Slashdot after the beta changeover. After years of steady decline in the quality of discussions here, the beta will be the last straw. What sites alternative to Slashdot have others found? The best I have found has been, but it has been a while since I've looked for tech discussion sites.

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