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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Deal With Programmers Who Have Not Stayed Current?

Johnny Mnemonic Managers (509 comments)

Step on his feelings. This kind of thing needs to show up on their (annual) reviews, and their performance should be derated. That doesn't necessarily mean fired, but their performance evaluation should be penalized. That would generally mean a failure to get COLA increases, to say nothing of merit increases. If they have 10 year old skills, then their wages should be frozen as of 10 years ago. If you don't have annual reviews, your company has a problem. That's what managers are for. If they're not doing their job, that should show up on their reviews as well.

Are they worried about hurting this guy's feelings? This isn't a daycare. Are you worried about this guy leaving for another company and taking valuable information with him? He's not going anywhere, no one else would hire him with skills that old.

If you have a company that mature without either annual reviews or management that feels that they should manage, your company has a dire problem and you should get out of there. The way you phrase this makes it sound like it's actually a government position, and sadly that is more par for the course. Now you know why people don't like paying their taxes.

about a year ago

Explosions at the Boston Marathon

Johnny Mnemonic Re:tell me again (1105 comments)

This comment is +5 insightful? Whelp, it was a nice ride, /. I'm off to reddit.

about a year ago

Eric Schmidt: Regulate Civilian Drones Now

Johnny Mnemonic Re: How would you feel about it? (420 comments)

Even commerical drones fly above your shotgun range. Why do you think Google has images of your backyard without you noticing?

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Android Apps For Kids Under 12 Months?

Johnny Mnemonic Re:6 months? (311 comments)

Fuck the kids, I would drink that stuff by the pint the next time I have to get on a plane.

about a year and a half ago

CIA Director David Petraeus Resigns, Citing Affair

Johnny Mnemonic Re:5 days prior to hearing. (401 comments)

Media let it die? Romney made an argument out of it and it was in the news cycle constantly.

I don't know what he hoped to prove by it, really. Romney never said that he would have done anything differently.

about a year and a half ago

Apple Delays Simpler and Cleaner iTunes 'to Get It Right'

Johnny Mnemonic Re:Tim Cook doesn't like to apologize (252 comments)

What changes to the retail stores? I haven't been following the news, but I'm curious. They had a pretty successful strategy and I don't know why anyone would mess with that.

about a year and a half ago

HP Plans To Cut Product Lines; Company Turnaround In 2016

Johnny Mnemonic Re:Computers are Dead (184 comments)

"Cloud" is just market speak for hosted service.

Well, no it's not. It also means using white-box commodity servers to serve a large software application. The savings from using commodity servers is put back into the software development to make it more robust to handle the less reliable commodity servers.

If you're large enough, you develop the software yourself; if you're even larger, you design the commodity hardware yourself, which allows you to drive out cost while increasing performance in the things you get a return on. Neither of which either Dell or HP can add any value to, so there's just no reason to use them.

Google is the 5th largest server manufacturer in the world by itself. Add in the other big cloud players: Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and a significant portion of server purchases are going to commodity hardware, whereas 10 years ago it was OEM. And it's not going to get any better. The fact is, building your own white box makes sense for more and more installations, because it's really not that hard. If you need more than about 10K cores, you can probably find it cost effective to start doing it now, and if you are any kind of software company, you already have much of the software development resources in house.

about 2 years ago

Hardware Is Dead — At Least Most Expensive Hardware Is

Johnny Mnemonic Re:Nope (342 comments)

you're doing it wrong. The cloud is meant for applications you can distribute. For those that you can't, it doesn't work nearly as well or you have to sacrifice the uptime generally associated with the cloud. I can end your "cloud" of $50K machines with a backhoe or even just a power failure when the gens don't kick in. In a real cloud, you get regional or even global DR so you can survive even the total loss of an entire DC. If you can fail your application from one $50K machine in one region to another $50K machine in another, I'd warrant you could do the same locally too, and save a lot of money doing it.

about 2 years ago

Misunderstanding of Prior Art May Have Led to Apple-Samsung Verdict

Johnny Mnemonic Re:Why all the butthurt? (503 comments)

Samsung clearly copied Apple's product, the evidence being a Samsung email that summarily described every valuable feature of the iPhone and how Samsung should implement those very same features themselves.

If Samsung were repackaging art that existed prior to Apple's use of it, they would have done so without reference to the way that Apple used it specifically.

They didn't say "hey, we should use pinch to zoom!"

They instead said "hey, we should use pinch to zoom because Apple does it and they're successful with it!"

That, I believe, as did the Jury, is credible evidence of patent infringement.

about 2 years ago

Google Building Privacy Red Team

Johnny Mnemonic Re:Intentional vs. Unintentional (92 comments)

c.f. the wifi sniffing debacle. I'm pretty sure that what transpired was the developers of the product downloaded a public source program, like AirSnort. And then used it, probably with the intention of just collecting unencrypted SSIDs, but accidentally left on the more intrusive features as well.

They should have noticed that it was collecting data at a rate greater than SSIDs would indicate, but I can see overlooking that as well.

about 2 years ago

Google Building Privacy Red Team

Johnny Mnemonic Re:I think... (92 comments)

If you were a Chinese dissident using gmail to communicate and collaborate, you might have different priorities.

about 2 years ago

Is Phoenix the Next Silicon Valley?

Johnny Mnemonic Re:Funny you should ask... (555 comments)

As of 10/11, Phoenix had 830K, with plans to add 160K and maybe even a million more feet later. source.

However, just one building in North Carolina has 500K of space (source), and Apple is by no means alone out there, with at least Google and others. Central Oregon and Washington are also big; Facebook has 300K in Prineville and another 300K on the way. Apple is also building in central Oregon, Google has a large facility, and yahoo and microsoft have large facilities in Central Washington.

Phoenix is a player, but by no means has "as much DC capacity as the rest of the US combined." They may have more colo space, and more individual 100k+ size units than elsewhere, to but consider all of the domestic DC capacity you are including self-builds in that statement.

about 2 years ago

Is Phoenix the Next Silicon Valley?

Johnny Mnemonic Re:Arizona? No Thanks (555 comments)

You can determine who's an illegal just by looking at them, and discriminate accordingly? I don't think so. The police are empowered to ask for "papers, please" of anyone that they "suspect of being illegal". Which practically means, anyone mocha colored.

I'm actually curious to know how you're supposed to "prove citizenship". Is a driver's license enough? What if you're not driving? Are you supposed to walk around with a birth certificate at all times? Do the white folks do that too, to prove that they're not illegal from Canada?

If white folks don't feel at risk enough to carry "proof of citizenship" while not driving, because they know that they won't actually be required to show citizenship at an indiscriminate time, the police are simply racial profiling. Or, by any other name, being racist.

about 2 years ago

A Million-Year Hard Disk

Johnny Mnemonic Teach them (394 comments)

Teach them the language. Expose 1 gram of the substance, and make one dot. Then label the really hazardous stuff with 100 dots.

If they can't draw a conclusion from that, maybe they deserve to be irradiated.

about 2 years ago

An HTTP Status Code For Censorship?

Johnny Mnemonic Re:No problem (369 comments)

Where are they now that BHO has topped everything Bush did in eight years? Oh right, BHO is THIEIR kind of tyrant. :-/

Your assumption reveals your ignorance, but I'll respond anyways.

As a moderate liberal that voted for Obama, I honestly don't know what to do. I'm very disappointed in Obama, but have no good alternatives:

  • A. Vote Obama anyways. Maybe once he got clearance, he learned that all of this nonsense is really necessary. I think that's self serving justification nonsense, but it's what I got.
  • B. Vote Romney. There's 0 chance he'll retract the federal control mechanisms, and very probably will make them worse. Maybe at least he'll balance the budget, but probably do so while increasing fed intrusion into social issues as well.
  • C Vote Paul. He's a whacko, not least because of his advocating isolationism which I think is a dangerously reductionist view of the world. Quite simply, if we pull back, China and probably Russia will greatly expand their control of the world.
  • D...?

I frankly think this centralization of control and partisanship ends in bloodshed, when a disenfranchised minority figures that they've had enough of the Other Guy telling them what to do, and can no longer effect their will at the ballot box or are actually suppressed as a radical element that just happens to be on the wrong side of the central control. Maybe we should prepare for it. But it's probably at least 20 years off, if ever, and running around preparing for it now seems whacko.

more than 2 years ago

The Next Arms Race: Cyberweapons

Johnny Mnemonic Re:Not until someone dies. (125 comments)

The problem I have with the "cyber weapons" terminology is that they are weapons which do not kill anyone. Not that that is a bad thing.

Try going without the power grid for a week across the country, especially during the winter, and see who dies.

Shut down the transportation infrastructure, for instance by disabling the fuel supply infrastructure, and see who dies. Grocery stores have, at best, enough food for 3-4 days before they're out.

Shut down the public water utilities, esp if you shut down the power grid at the same time, and see who dies.

I'm no expert, but I believe we are very vulnerable to a disruption to our infrastructure. Especially in the US; since we have never experienced much of a failure along these lines, we have little preparation for it. Imagine something like Katrina hitting every major metro in the country at once, while we are preparing for a major military engagement.

more than 2 years ago

NPR's "Car Talk" Glides To a Halt

Johnny Mnemonic Re:All the anti-NPR vitriol this story incites (148 comments)

Diane Rhem is the toughest interviewer I've ever listened too. Her lack of accepting bs from liars was awesome and very welcome.

more than 2 years ago

Online Courses and the $100 Graduate Degree

Johnny Mnemonic Re:I took his AI class (339 comments)

160,000 students @ $100 each is $16M.

$16M at $32k buys 500 TAs / year.

160K students / 500 TAs is 320 students / TA.

One TA could give each student one dedicated hour every other month and maintain a regular 40 hr per week year round schedule.

That's not that far off from being reasonable.

If you pay the TAs only $15K-20K you would have budget for overhead and profit, or more TAs for more FTF time.

more than 2 years ago

Why Open Compute Is a Win For Rackspace

Johnny Mnemonic Re:Open source software makes sense. (46 comments)

supporting some hardware

OCP isn't about supporting some hardware. It's about building servers when you already have 24/7 hardware support and all of the parts on site already, and own the software stack so there's no value add there.

If you're not in the space where you do everything yourself already, then OCP isn't for you.

more than 2 years ago



Computer interactive exhibits for ages 3-8

Johnny Mnemonic Johnny Mnemonic writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Johnny Mnemonic writes "My company has the opportunity to contribute to a children's museum in our area. We are a technology company, so I'd like the exhibit to be computer/networking related, and to raise the awareness and understanding of how the internet, networking, and computers work. However, Children's Museums cater to a pretty young age group of 3-8 year olds, so the the exhibit needs to be highly interactive, durable, tactile, and yet instructive of the concepts. Google fails to turn up any turn-key options, and, although the concepts are computer related, a computer-based exhibit tends to be too fragile and susceptible to withstand the rigors of 250 preschoolers/day. How would you design a display that meets those requirements and is still fun and educational?"

Frequency and use of Unix executables

Johnny Mnemonic Johnny Mnemonic writes  |  about 5 years ago

Johnny Mnemonic writes "I help Sys Admin a Linux setup. It has a several hundred end users, spread out in many locations and time zones. Our users often write their own bash/python/perl scripts to help with their daily duties, and other users often invoke those scripts directly from the author's home directory when they have proven interesting and useful. Also, we have perhaps a dozen directories in which reviewed scripts can be located. Some of the scripts can be quite sophisticated, and grow to multiple hundreds of lines.

We have found that when a script is useful, our users expect it to work all of the time--regardless if the original author of the tool has quit, if the code breaks, or it doesn't scale up to being used by hundreds of users due to poor design. When that happens, we are put in the awkward and frustrating position of supporting a script that was poorly designed and/or poorly documented--and often the first time we are even made aware of it is via the trouble ticket for the tool breaking. So we are in mad scramble to understand the tool, and understand why it broke--and the users that have come to depend on it are breathing down our back.

The Sys Admin team would like to know all of the scripts that these users might be using. We care less about executables that have been written but aren't actually being used--so it's not really useful to just look for files which are +x. Our users are a clever bunch, and the utilities that they build themselves serve their needs well--we generally encourage this tool creation process. We encourage this kind of self-help, so we can't simply disable the ability to run arbitrary executables altogether. We just want to know about them when they build those tools, so we can better support them should they become popular with other users and useful to the business.

How are you aware of all of the scripts and tools that your users build for each other? How and when do you accept support responsibilities for home grown tools? How do you require users who just want to get the job done to accept coding conventions and best-practices? We have tried to mandate that the user base accept these from the outset of their development--but have found that strictly enforcing good code hygiene from the outset actually results in them talking to us less, not more--and makes the problem worse, not better.




Moderation Inflation

Johnny Mnemonic Johnny Mnemonic writes  |  more than 11 years ago
Has anyone else noticed that, as of recently, it seems like there are more higher modded stories than before? I used to be able to fairly consistently read 30 comments per story at mod 3. Now, I more often than not have to bump my thresh to 4 or even 5 to limit the number of comments to c. 30/story.

Has the readership grown, while the stories published per day hasn't? Or, more simply, has the total number of mod points in circulation increased at any given point in time? I'm a little disheartened--I hope this isn't a trend that continues. Or, at least if it does, that we can move our thresh up higher, to 6 or more. It would provide more granularity among reading comments, but I don't really see much reason for it, as -1 to 5 seemed to be working pretty well.

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