How Do You Get Better Bug Reports From Users?
I have tried a bunch of ways. Trained the 'expert' users in the area on how to put in a better ticket. Sent tickets back to them because of lack of information. Judicious of cattle prods and a tack hammer... However, users will use what method is easiest to them, which tends to be:
- Calling someone they know directly
- Emailing someone they know directly
- Emailing the ticket capture email address with 'Call me'
- Calling the service desk
- Screaming at someone from IS in the hallway
- Emailing the ticket capture email address with a long email chain which tangentally mentions the issue somewhere in the middle
- Complaining to coworkers
- not doing anything
- Log into the ticket system and put in 'call me'
Pieces of employer-supplied clothing I own and wear:
We get shirts due to some organizational achievement. I pull them out of the closet around my annual review.
I keep track of my passwords ...
14 character, randomly generated passwords, changed monthly... all in my head. I use to tattoo them on girlfriends... but that didn't workout too well.
Firm To Release Database, Web Server 0-Days
I thought it was 'what doesn't kill me cripples me for life'...
Why Programmers Need To Learn Statistics
I find tfa pretty clueless when it comes a real understanding on what is needed for performance testing and tweaking. A statistical analysis is nice, especially with monte carlo type analysis, like Bungie running Halo 3 on numerious xboxs simulating load and player interactions. However, I find that what is lacking with programmers is a basic understanding on the high levels of process analysis, such as network analysis, CPM, and PERT. Knowing a process has high levels of variance is nice, but not useful for understanding the why. Where is Zed's example of multivariant linear regression or ordered probit? Discussion on hypothesis testing? Anyone, anyone?
As a side note, Statistics in a Nutshell is the only book programmers really need on stats.
Google Applies To Become Energy Marketer
Military. Twenty guys could take over Mountain View with some decent training.
Office Work Ethic In the IT Industry?
I agree with your statement. IT does a bad job learning their customer's business. I think it has to do with the inherent IT ego. I work on some systems (Infor's SmartStream and BPA for example) where other customers can't believe that IT is so heavily involved in business process decisions. Many of our business process improvement projects are run by our systems department (were our IT project managers are) instead of the functional users. For a midcap organization, that seems to be unusual. (Observed phenomina that would make a good research article) However, it works for us.
Don't get me wrong, we still make spectacular screwups. Usually it is due to the lack of a rigourous project management methodology. I am the only person with the project management professional (PMP) certification and there is some resistance against my calls for a more formal process. (I don't want full PMI methodology, only an idiot wants to apply that willy nilly) Ends up that a good quarter to half of my projects start out as someone else's. It is my experience that the major issues tend to be lack of requirements analysis, cost control, and/or scope control being the major issues here. (Another observed phenomina that would make a good research article - should I start writing the problem statements for my fellow researcher too? Get busy) Better training and education would fix some of these issues.
Office Work Ethic In the IT Industry?
Let me make a comparison. I and another analyst are working similar projects with a similar timeframe. He has worked here for a year after college. I have worked for ten. We have four weeks to finish the project. I finish mine in two weeks at about four hours a day, five days a week. He takes all four weeks, working ten hour days, seven days a week. The difference between us is really experience. I will spend my time up front learning my users wants and needs, while he works on the rock methodology of requirements analysis. (User: I want a rock. Analyst: Is this the rock you want? User: No, find a different rock. Goto Beginning.) I take time every week to network with my users and learn their business processes and what their problems are. My cohort just is to busy showing everyone how smart he is and how hard he works. That is why I read the WSJ, Slashdot, Wired, the Economist, some industry rags (our core business, not IT), and Tech Review at work. It helps for me to understand what my customer needs are, sometimes before they do. Design iterations are quicker and more complete solution wise. Trying to explain it to a fresh face out of college who has been taught just to code is very difficult.
Google CEO Says Privacy Worries Are For Wrongdoers
You make a valid point. The discussion becomes what is private and what is not. Lets go to your example of pedophiles. First off, I agree with the bullet to the brainpan concept of handling pedophiles. However, I am think more of the implied children. My brother does not want pictures of his sons on the net while they are minors, especially when they are very young due to the preceived temptation it is to preditors. It is a valid point to encourgage better privacy. When we consider the number of complaints comming to light of Iran's intellegence services targeting expat dissidents, the argument becomes stronger. When we allow for information that can be sigificantly damaging to someone to become public domain, the World suffers in ways we might not anticipate.
Google CEO Says Privacy Worries Are For Wrongdoers
For some reason, I think cryptography is going to become more popular... what is the stock symbol for PGP?
Barnes & Noble's Nook, Reviewed
Having a kindle and a tendency of reading more then the average geek, due to my Ph.D. work (I read about a Robert Jordon book and a half a day between work-school-pleasure reading, not considering websites and email). I love my kindle for pleasure reading, but find that it does not do a good job for academic or professional reading where one has to cite the work. The form factor works for me, where a DX would be a little too large. I can do about four page flips per second with my kindle, which isn't too bad.
The PDF function works for me since the firmware update, but I don't read game manuals or such. Mostly I read journal articles and vendor documents. I prefer to print those out, since my note taking methodology is kindle-incompatable. I am building summary of the articles I am reading for annotated outlines, so it makes sense to print for my type of work.
What I like the best about the Kindle is the portability mixed with readability and battery life. I have mobipocket on my windows phone and could be a pain at times to read, due to the eye strain and backlight sucking the life out of the battery. I use a book light, which has an advantage with regular books and journal articles. In all, the kindle works for me.
I do have the Kindle app for the PC, but it doesn't really work for me. I wished they did have one for the android phone, just when I can't take my bag with me.
The NoSQL Ecosystem
Database size is usually not an issue for modern RDBMS, such as Microsoft SQL, Sybase ASE, Oracle, or IBM's DB2. I am running an ERP on Sybase with 3 TB worth of data, a datamart on Microsoft with 5 TB, a Patient Record System on Microsoft with 20 TB, a HR system with 2 TB, and a Patient Accounting system on Oracle with 8 TB of data. All of these systems talk with at least one other system, usually with the assistance of SSIS (Thank god for SSIS, our ETL is heavy lifting, approx. 5 TB a night of incrementals). With enough server hardware, we can scale up to very large levels easily. We forcast out our data size needs out for the next three years and have been very accurate, not running across SAN issues.
Only systems we have had issues with in the area of data size is MySQL and Informix.
Reporting To Executives
Write a detailed report, explaining all the jargon simply, and then summerize it to about 150 to 350 words. Most executives will read the "executive summery", but you will get bonus points from having the further content. However, if you decide to fill the body of the report with junk, you will find out that some of your reports are being read front to back.
Working on my Ph.D., I have a tendency of writing work reports within the 10 to 20 pages range, using APA citing. I use extended abstracts (~350 words, check the report section of APA 5) and use a clear style of writing, expecting my readers to be college educated, but not to the extent that I am educated. However, I tend to be writing lengthy project plans, audits of projects and systems, and in depth analysis of business processes and products.
I treat status reports differently. Status reports are rarely over ~350 words, weekly reports trending at ~150. Brevity is king here. I put in a table of all of my projects with their status, next milestone, CPI, SPI, and EAC. I might also include PDFs of relevent reports that I had published that week.
If I Had To Choose, I'd Be A ...
Silence shrouds the forest
As the birds announce the dawn
Three travelers ford the river
And southward journey on
The road is lined with peril
The air is charged with fear
The shadow of his nearness
Weighs like iron tears
BSA Says 41% of Software On Personal Computers Is Pirated
You are right. It is one of our favorite benefits.
Barack Obama Wins the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize
Heck, at least Kissinger won after actually reducing nuclear weapons, decreasing tension, and opening up China.
Tech Or Management Beyond Age 39?
Listen to this person. They know their shit. Moving through project management does help with the transistion, but depending on your org, it might not help. All that MBA bs that people complain about actually has purpose.
CIA Officers Are Warming To Intellipedia
Well cited, very informative. I love it. Hey, what is with the helicopter over the hou0u8409ulksfd['OQ#([No Carrier]
Hospital Turns Away Ambulances When Computers Go Down
Usually has at least two. We keep two v-8 generators on standby and have a massive ups battery bank and even then many devices come with their own built in ups.
Handmade vs. Commercially Produced Ethernet Cables
We have a lot of cable, considering the campus with quite several 4 or more floor buildings with three seperate networks, with redundant run cable. We buy the patch cable in bulk, but the long lenths, we pay someone to run and make. It is just cheeper and we get higher quality. Most people, without a lot of experience, will make crappy cable.
Test Taking Strategies
Following a thread recently posted, binomal distribution answers the 'how many I need to get right' question. Say that I am a slacker and only want a 70% on a 40 question 4 answer, multiple choice test. For some odd reason, people would think that I would require to learn 18 questions.
However, if we follow binomal distribution...
f(x,n,p) = [n x]*p^x*(1-p)^(n-x) where x is number of trials, n is number of successes and p is chance of success.
So, if I want at 70 or higher on my exam with a 82% chance of succeeding, I want to know 20 questions. Same principle says to make a 90, I need to know 28 questions, not 26.
Report Design - Flat Report
One skill on my skill set is Report Design. Having done a significant amount of report creation of functional and end-users, I have some definite opinions on how to create a report. In this installment, I plan to cover flat reports, the basic reports that list data.
Where I work, we deliver a large amount of reports using HTML. Our BI portal is cutting edge, being based off of Infor's MPC product, which itself is built upon Microsoft's technology, specifically .Net, SQL Server, Analysis Services, and ASP. Our standard method of creating a report is to grab the dimensions from the MPC Applet and port out the data through XML. We take the XML doc and transform it using pretty vanilla XSL and CSS.
After some user analysis, we decided the best methodology of design is to flip the report from the standard. Most analysis type personnel, like Accountants, expect to see a grid of data with the totals at the bottom and subtotal breaks throughout the report. Unfortunately, I found that most end users, the real consumers of the report, would print the report, sometimes to the tune of 1000 pages, and look at the last page to see the total of the report. If that total looked good, then the user would toss the report. Otherwise, the user would flip through the pages looking for a subtotal that looked wrong. The user would then save that section and throw away the rest.
In tackling this problem, I conceived of putting the report total at the top of the report, just under the title. This would put it on the first "screen" of the report in a browser. Next is a hyperlink back to the page containing the original applet. After that, I put the subtotals in a table. These subtotals are linked to the actual subsections of the report. Finally, each subsection has a like to go to the top of the page. This aides in navigation on the page and seems to encourage most users from printing out the page.
The design was highly embraced by my end-users. I had some issues with certain accountants because they were not wanting to 'embrace change'. In other words, they wanted to whine. However, they came to enjoy the reports after some working with some of them.
I graduated from my school with a 3.33 GPA for a BBA in Management. I am accepted to the same school's Grad program. Wheee. I need sleep.