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Comments

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Intelligence Density and the Creative Class

devonbowen Re:it's more complicated (185 comments)

When Bill Gates started doing his foundation work, I remember him talking about bringing computers to everyone in the world. Then a year later I remember reading a quote from him about how wrong that was. He finally realized that many people don't have basic food and water. Now he seems to be doing some decent things with his life but it took a long time (and a lot of immoral business practices) before he woke up. Better late than never, I guess. While these people certainly understand the business world better than I do, to say they are smarter or more worldly is highly debatable. If you want to use an example of someone that's smart and worldly, pick someone like Nelson Mandela. Not a CEO.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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How To Behave At a Software Company?

devonbowen Re:Humility (842 comments)

Admit when you don't know how to do something.

And then tell them that you're willing to accept the challenge of figuring it out. Honesty is even better when combined with a can-do attitude.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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Meteor Spotted Yesterday Over Midwestern United States

devonbowen Re:Did NASA know about this? (163 comments)

Most of these things are too small to have been found by scientists. They've done a good job over the last few years finding most of the big ones (1 km diameter - stuff that'd wipe out the planet) but there are still plenty of smaller ones that they have no idea about. Most of them, in fact. I believe the only one that's ever been known in advance of its impact was in Sudan last year. And that was only known a day or so in advance.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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The Economist Weighs In For Shorter Copyright Terms

devonbowen Re:Most nonsensical argument (386 comments)

So your suggestion is that nothing good ever enters the public domain?

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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Obama Administration Withholds FoIA Requests More Often Than Bush's

devonbowen Re:Biased much? (601 comments)

What are you smoking? That's not remotely true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Us_debt

Notice how the debt increases during Republican presidents and decreased during Clinton.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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Looking Back From the 1980s At Computers In Education

devonbowen Re:A super calculator (269 comments)

Wow. I was lucky enough to be in a small country school that got one of the Apple IIs that Apple was handing out. No one knew what to do with it so it basically sat in the corner. A friend and I heard there was a computer in the school and figured it would be something like HAL. When we asked if we could use it, the teacher in charge had no clue so she just gave us free reign. Same at the next school I went to where they gave me a key to the lab with about six machines. Then at home where my parents gave me a TRS-80 Model III. Then in college when the department gave me a VAX (which no one was interested in because it ran something called "UNIX"). I basically learned by people giving me machines and getting out of the way. And thank god for that.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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Spam Hits Google Buzz Already

devonbowen Re:Facebook Will Not Acknowledge the New Guy (135 comments)

It may be true that your social life would suffer by leaving Facebook. But that's only because you've set up your life that way. The most interesting friends I have are those that don't have time for Facebook. And someone inviting me to friend them is usually a good warning sign that they aren't. Previously, I used to have to tell by how much a person talked about TV.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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Mum's the Word On Google Attack At Davos

devonbowen Re:Soooo.... (217 comments)

Immediately before the war American support was around 80%. But before Bush beat the war drums support was less than a majority. When he first mentioned the idea of invading Iraq, he had less than 40%. Bush created that 80% with all his WMD talk. As crazy as it sounds, before Bush's push for Iraq the American people were focused on Bin Laden and Afghanistan.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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WHO To Investigate Handling of Swine Flu Information, Vaccine Orders

devonbowen Re:"Overestimate" WTF? (372 comments)

The difference is that firefighters prepare because they are absolutely sure that there will someday be a fire. Just like buildings built in earthquake zones are pretty near certain to be hit by an earthquake in their lifetime. This was a single flu season with no statistically significant evidence to indicate it would be different than any other. Now huge amounts of money has been thrown out the window on this one incident. And most of this preparation (the vaccine) is useless for the next event. That's not only a poor use of resources. But it will also dampen future efforts when the media is not crying wolf.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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WHO To Investigate Handling of Swine Flu Information, Vaccine Orders

devonbowen Re:The WHO needs to shut the fuck up (372 comments)

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 3,000 children, teenagers and young people died this year from the H1N1 flu. These are otherwise healthy young people who would not otherwise have died. A lot of them were infants under 5 years old.

Did you really just use a "think of the children" argument?

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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WHO To Investigate Handling of Swine Flu Information, Vaccine Orders

devonbowen Re:Fear-fad (372 comments)

A friend does statistical models for a government health agency and was giving me the latest-greatest swine flu stats all the way through the media storm. The stats were never really very scary.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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In 2009, I've donated (or will donate) to charity ...

devonbowen Re:Not suprised that Zilch is leading for now. (596 comments)

Or check out any of the charity comparison sites that are easily found with google. They'll give you the basic financials and such in an easy to digest tabular form. Then you can look deeper into one or two that look interesting to you so you can really understand where your money is going. Of course, then you actually have to care enough to invest both money and time. Complaining is probably easier. ;-)

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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As 2010 approaches, I expect the next year ...

devonbowen Re:oh god, the new year (444 comments)

Hey, that's my annual rant. Get your own. ;-)

(I deal with it by remembering that their memberships make mine cheaper.)

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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Each American Consumed 34 Gigabytes Per Day In '08

devonbowen Re:Massive exaggeration (245 comments)

You listed Jon Stewart as a "traditional news" source? That's like listing SNL's "Weekend Update". Though I guess if you're defending FOX News as being news, then I can see how you'd lump him in there to help stretch your point. (I should also note that most of the things you mention that no non-FOX watcher would ever hear about, I saw on Jon's show. Black gun owner, ACORN, etc.)

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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Computer Failure Causes Gridlock In MD County

devonbowen Re:And if they had been using roundabouts... (483 comments)

I once heard that traffic circles generally increase the number of accidents but decrease the number of fatal accidents. So that's also a factor.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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Giant Rift In Africa Will Create a New Ocean

devonbowen Re:Poor Headline (168 comments)

The news is not that the East African rift will form a new ocean - that's been known for a few years

In order for an ocean to form, the plates on either side need to have somewhere to move to. That requires not only the local rift dynamics but also a shift in all the surrounding plates so they "get out of the way". I don't know of any evidence that this is happening. If others do, I'd be happy to have references.

Similarly, the nearby Red Sea was able to start spreading because the plate to the north was being subducted near Iran. But since that subduction has likely stopped, it's questionable whether the Red Sea will continue spreading into anything much bigger than it is today.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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Device Protects Day Traders From Emotional Trading

devonbowen Re:Dividends? What dividends (260 comments)

Dividends, which is what you are talking about, have not been paid in years.

Dividends are alive and well where I live. I haven't looked at the US market in a while but I thought it was only the tech stocks that weren't paying dividends.

Without dividends, all that is of interest to investors is the stock price increasing, and for that to happen, the company must report increases and logarithmic growth year after year, which is unsustainable in the long or even medium term.

Without dividends, the earnings simply stay in the company itself instead of being paid to you. They don't vanish. Look at it this way... image the company doesn't pay them to you but instead puts them in a company bank account. The price of the stock must rise because the assets on the books are now higher than last year and, as a stockholder, you own a portion of those assets. You make it sound like the earnings will cease to exist if they aren't paid as dividends. But they still do exit. They're just in the company (which you own) instead of in your bank account (which you own). And if you trust the company enough to buy their stock in the first place, then you probably aren't going to mind if they hold on to your dividends. This simplifies your taxes and allows them to use the money when opportunities arise to make the company still stronger and further increase the company value.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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Open Access To Exercise Data?

devonbowen Re:Why? (188 comments)

I don't download the files or keep logs or anything like that. But I do have the watch to give me some feedback when I'm slacking off or pushing too much. It helps keep me in line. But the most interesting part for me has been getting more familiar with how my body works -- noticing that my heart rate is 5-10 beats higher in hot weather (due to vasodilation as the body tries to cool) or how it varies as I run inclines. I've gotten to the point where I can pretty much tell you what my heart rate is just by paying attention to breathing stress. Having that feel for how the body reacts has helped me with other things like pacing myself while backpacking, scuba diving in high currents, etc. More awareness is generally a plus.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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Did Chicago Lose Olympic Bid Due To US Passport Control?

devonbowen Re:I'm sure it didn't help. (1040 comments)

Switzerland's been in Schengen for about a year now. But, yes, even before that there were plenty of places where it was hard to notice where the border was.

Devon

more than 4 years ago
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Initial Reviews of Google Wave; Neat, but Noisy

devonbowen collaboration - not chatting (336 comments)

I'm surprised how many people here see Wave as a Twitter or Facebook. (This is Slashdot, right?) I see Wave primarily as a tool for collaborative development. Want to build a gamma ray spectrometer? Get a few like minded people together and create a Wave to organize the project. When I'm mulling over a project I already organize my thoughts in a tree structure just like Wave does. Though it's usually just in a text file with indentation to highlight the various branches of thought. I'd love to be able to do that with a Wave where I could have a group of people do this and also add multi-media, collapse ideas and add summaries, or view the history of the development process. That I can see other people's changes as they make them is just eye-candy to me.

Devon

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Outsourcing Software Quality

devonbowen devonbowen writes  |  more than 7 years ago

devonbowen (231626) writes "I'm doing the IT specifications for a project that's being outsourced. The goal is to completely rewrite some software that already exists in-house so that it follows some common standards (modern programming language, framework, browser support, etc). These things are pretty easy to define and it's also reasonably easy to test that the resulting product complies. But how can I specify software quality?

My concern is with maintainability. Is there anything we can write into the specs that will nudge them toward writing code that we'll consider readable and maintainable? Most "coding standards" documents tell you where to put curly braces but leave the bigger issues to be worked out within your corporate culture. And, of course, when outsourcing you are working across two different corporate cultures. One idea that has come up is to have code reviews early to help create some common understanding of code quality between us. Defining the frameworks and libraries should also help to some degree. But I was hoping for something more concrete.

Yes, I know that this problem could be avoided by simply not outsourcing the project. But that simply isn't an option here for political reasons. So given that it's necessary, how would you encourage quality in an outsourcing spec?"

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