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The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

Alomex Acurate estimates aren't that hard (109 comments)

I was a manager and never missed a deadline. It really isn't that hard. Most people fail because they do it the wrong way. First give no estimates until you have developed a good picture of the global architecture and have some bare bones functionality running. This takes about 1-3 months of your team, but well worth the effort. Then keep an eye from the very beginning on who's falling behind, and move resources around to support the people who ended up with more than their fair share. Assign a medium size portion of the project to your senior developer(s) so that they are available near the end to go and help in those areas that turned out to be gorier than predicted. You cannot bring people from outside since it takes them too long to ramp up as obseved by Fred Brooks. This is why you use your senior people: they know the whole system and can jump in in any part***. Stand firm in your refusal to add features and lastly, near the end, drop any minor feature which gets postponed to version X.1.

Most costumers are happier with a version in time with 95% of the features than a complete version three months late.

Also be realistic with what means to be in time. If you take three years to develop a system and you are five days late, you were off by 0.5%. Any one who tells you in this case that you were late is just mathematically innumerate. I was never more than a week late, but I'd dare say that even an error of 5% (which for a three year project is seven weeks) should not be considered late. Forecasting is an imprecise science afterall.

Oh and one last thing, there is one estimate you tell the team and there is another one in your head. So the goal is "we run as hard as we can to finish by May 10th, so that when sh*t happens (which always does) we make the real June 1st deadline (which you always keep secret so programmers don't budget for it.... you know, work expands to fill allotted time).

*** Stu Feldman, a Unix principal was used this way, according to Ritchie. Stu didn't fully own a single component of Unix but his code is everywhere, doing central things that had fallen behind and were passed on to him.

about an hour ago
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Empirical Study On How C Devs Use Goto In Practice Says "Not Harmful"

Alomex Re:why? (677 comments)

...and the one use of GOTO that could be often justified got incorporated into modern languages as the break/continue pair.

So all in all a good outcome: stop using GOTO as the main control structure while preserving its good uses.

about two weeks ago
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Empirical Study On How C Devs Use Goto In Practice Says "Not Harmful"

Alomex Re:why? (677 comments)

Most human beings proficient in both, want to use the same notations in both.

Which is why C's choice of assignment operator is so asinine and bug inducing, yet one that few of its descendants has been willing to break. In fact I can only think of Go as a modern language which eschewed it.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: With Whom Do You Entrust Your Long Term Data?

Alomex Re:Same answer every time. (178 comments)

The private part yes, the keep it part is the one that fails. They can simply delete it, and no amount of encryption will protect you from that.

about three weeks ago
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Perl 6 In Time For Next Christmas?

Alomex Re: Perl is more expressive (192 comments)

Go is timid update on C/Pascal. My response to it is meh. We can do a lot better than that.

Python has two big problems: (1) no strict type checking/variable declaration and (2) it's interpreted/compiled to byte code.

It also has a small problem: code indentation really doesn't work. Nice idea, but no, didn't work.

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Alomex Re:It's much more complicated than this... (825 comments)

Private companies can be incredibly shortsighted too. Around here they built penny-wise pound foolish buildings in the 70s and 80s that are energy inefficient and terrible workspaces but were cheap to build back then. You cannot give that space away.

So again, while I generally agree with the virtues of the private sector, I haven't drank the kool-aid that they are always preferable.

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Alomex Re:It's much more complicated than this... (825 comments)

Not so if there is only one privately owned highway coming out of your town.

Yes, generally speaking privately provided services are more efficient, but as I pointed out, there are well known exceptions. Usually they have to do with what are at heart either insurance schemes (defense, healthcare) or natural monopolies (roads, utilities).

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Alomex Re:Double Irish? TAX ALL FOREIGNERS!!! (825 comments)

Is that how you justify to yourself ignoring indisputable facts from the world over as well as the USA?

Whatever it takes just so you don't pop your ideological bubble that everything private is cheaper even though facts speak to the contrary?

Okaay.

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Alomex Re:Double Irish? TAX ALL FOREIGNERS!!! (825 comments)

You are now arguing that deficits are bad, which is a different topic.

Presently we are running a deficit, which is the mathematical definition of underpaying, not overpaying.

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Alomex Re:Double Irish? TAX ALL FOREIGNERS!!! (825 comments)

You are now changing the subject. since you cannot deny that government provided health-care is cheaper, so off you go about the economic crisis, the welfare state and other side issues.

Thanks for participating dude. So much for your (false) assumption that private healthcare is cheaper.

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Alomex Re:Double Irish? TAX ALL FOREIGNERS!!! (825 comments)

Again, all of the western world provides government healthcare more efficiently than private health care in the US. This is an undisputed fact. By the way, of the public/private portions of healthcare in the US the government ones are the ones that provide the most bang for the buck. This has been confirmed in numerous studies, going all the way from medicare/medicaid/armed services insurance to Obamacare today.

I know you will refuse to believe it. It is clear you care more for ideology than reality.

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Alomex Re:It's much more complicated than this... (825 comments)

Sure there is corruption, just like in the private sector. Or do you think an incompetent CEO being fired with a golden parachute is anything but?

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Alomex Re:Double Irish? TAX ALL FOREIGNERS!!! (825 comments)

Funny you mention healthcare, where we have abundant data from all over the world that conclusively prove government provided healthcare is cheaper than privately provided one.

We have similar data for private energy, highways, and public transportation. For others the private sector is more efficient.

Those are the facts, the rest is foaming-at-the-mouth ideology.

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Alomex Re:Double Irish? TAX ALL FOREIGNERS!!! (825 comments)

You go to a restaurant and you do not cover the entire dinner bill. I.e you underpaid and ran a deficit. The restaurant then allows you to run a tab and charges you interest over the balance as it is done by any and all financial institutions. Now you are trying to use this as an argument that you "overpaid" the restaurant bill?

Try that in front of the court together with all your "sophistication" and you can write to me from jail telling me what the judge thought about your reasons for not covering the entire restaurant bill because you "overpaid".

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Alomex Re:Double Irish? TAX ALL FOREIGNERS!!! (825 comments)

You are getting services and you pay for it through taxes. This does not fit any sensible definition of stealing. I can see that you are one of those libertarians that operate under the pretense that we would be better off with highways built by private parties for which you would have to pay a fee just like a tax to the government but with the difference that you have no say where it is built.

Fine, you are welcome to believe that. It still does not make takes theft or slavery. They are democratically agreed to and you get something in return for them. Let me know when a robber gives you back something in return for the stolen goods. That is how false your analogy is.

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Alomex Re:It's much more complicated than this... (825 comments)

Right because things such as interstate highways, NIH, NSF, defense. medicare are all "corruption",

Things like the internet, and the web browser were funded by federal money, but we are busy making a partisan argument so lets wrap all of it under "corruption", facts be damned.

Sigh, American really has no hope when (1) that is the level of discussion and (2) it is considered "insightful".

about three weeks ago
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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

Alomex Re:Double Irish? TAX ALL FOREIGNERS!!! (825 comments)

A tax is not stealing. Period. You might be in favor or against it but the present deal is that you do not pay upfront for every consumable, e.g. roads, defense education of your workforce: instead you pay through taxes.

You lack the sophistication to explain why you disagree with taxes and falsely equate a levy with stealing to cover up for this.

Your malicious argument is like raping the readers (see what i did there?). Go back to the drawing board and come back when you can explain why a government that is running a deficit is according to GOP-types overtaxing rather than undertaxing.

about three weeks ago
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Nobel Laureate and Laser Inventor Charles Townes Passes

Alomex Re:Townes was Told that the Maser Was Impossible (73 comments)

He also discovered electron tunneling, though he gave it as evidence of how nonsensical quantum mechanics was. He was correct on the derivation, but wrong on the interpretation.

about a month ago
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The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

Alomex A kids toy (307 comments)

Nearly everyone of my colleagues bought one, fell in love it, realized its limitations and moved back to a phablet/laptop combo.

Nowadays I rarely see one in the wild. Not at coffee shops, not at planes, nor at work or university.

The exception seems to be elementary school when a lot of kids still use one. Even then many prefer an iPod because of portability factors.

about a month ago
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Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure

Alomex Re:physical access (375 comments)

X11 was written in the 1980s

Written? More like scratched in crayon in the walls of a padded cell.

The architecture of X has always been a mess going back to the very beginning. Need proof? the client is on the server and the server is on the client. 'nuf said!

p.s. notice that you need no elevation for this. This was a common joke back in the pre-security days. You wrote a cool user space application that after a few minutes of inactivity would pop up an xlock clone. The user would then type his/her password and "unlock the screen".

The application would then create a word readable .pwd file in the user directory which then you could use to mess up the users space, like hiding all files with a message "because you haven't paid your tuition/our logs show you've downloaded too much porn/you've used your entire yearly usenet posting quota".

about a month ago

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