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Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

dskoll Re:My opinion (209 comments)

You completely missed my point. You have to be passionate about your craft. I didn't say you have to be passionate about a particular employer.

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?

dskoll My opinion (209 comments)

I started a software company back in 1999; we're still around and up to 10 employees, so I have had some moderate success in the software business.

I think the LifeHacker link makes a lot of good points. I especially agree with limiting overtime. I *never* ask my developers to work overtime. Just never. Because I don't set release dates. When someone asks when the next release will be, I say "when it's ready" and I mean it. It's far more important to get it right than to get it out "on time", whatever that is.

I would add that to be a great software developer, you need a lot of discipline. You need to write your unit and regression tests even if you don't feel like it and even if you'd rather be moving on to the next cool feature. You need to write your documentation clearly and comprehensively. You need to have your code reviewed; even the best programmer can benefit from suggestions that improve code clarity.

You need to listen to your customers. You can write the greatest software in the world, but if it doesn't do what your clients want, that's not much use. But you also need to have enough judgement to know when your customers are asking for something ridiculous and you need to have the communication skills necessary to explain to them why what they think they want isn't what they really want.

You also have to be passionate. If you went into computer science because you thought you'd get a secure job, but never particularly liked computers and didn't do programming on your own time, forget it... you won't be a great software developer.

3 days ago
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Smartphones, Tablets and EBay Send SkyMall To Chapter 11

dskoll But there's always SkyMaul! (65 comments)

SkyMaul has more interesting stuff, and only slightly more ridiculous.

about a week ago
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South Africa Begins Ambitious Tablets In Schools Pilot Project

dskoll Cool! Just one thing missing... (66 comments)

... all that's needed is for Eskom (the South African electrical utility) to actually supply reliable power to recharge all those tablets!

about two weeks ago
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Google Fund To Pay For 1 Million Copies of Charlie Hebdo

dskoll Re:My 2 pence (311 comments)

OMG, lame lame lame. Typical Islamist conspiracy theory. Of course, if you're just an idiotic Western leftist, then I apologize for calling you an Islamist. The correct term should have been whore for the Islamists.

about three weeks ago
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Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

dskoll Re:Freedom of expression (1350 comments)

Most Muslims are very nice people. You didn't read what I wrote. Islam is intrinsically evil. Most Muslims are not evil because their intrinsic human nature leads them to reject the evil aspects of Islam. Unfortunately, it's dangerous to verbalize this because apostasy in Islam is punishable by death. So most Muslims quietly reject the worst aspects of Islam without actually admitting to doing that.

You say you find my generalization offensive? How offensive do you find the cold-blooded murder of 12 people just because they dared to exercise their democratic right to free expression?

about three weeks ago
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Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

dskoll Re:Freedom of expression (1350 comments)

If a country is under threat, an armed response may be appropriate. I know some people don't like that fact, but it's a fact.

As long as France wants to remain a democratic country, it may sometimes need to resort to extra armed security on the streets.

about three weeks ago
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Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

dskoll Re:Freedom of expression (1350 comments)

? How do you leap to that conclusion?

about three weeks ago
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Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

dskoll Re:Terrorists (1350 comments)

+1. Islam is petrified of people who think, because thinking people will see it for the racist, facist, evil, misogynistic, hateful, backward pile of war-mongering nastiness that it truly is.

Anyone who doubts the depths of depravity encouraged by Islam should read Cruel and Usual Punishment, written by a former Muslim who suffered at the hands of Islam.

about three weeks ago
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Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

dskoll Freedom of expression (1350 comments)

This is the response of the fascist ideology known as Islam to freedom of expression.

about three weeks ago
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Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

dskoll Re:Religions codify survival info ... (755 comments)

Religion is very easy to reach and abuse.

Flip it around - there are billions of religious people who don't kill anyone

How many of them don't kill because they just think it's wrong? And how many say "Wow, I sure would have liked to have killed someone except my religion says it's wrong." Only in the latter case does religion deserve any credit.

about 1 month ago
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Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

dskoll Re:Religions codify survival info ... (755 comments)

But the desire to kill comes from within

Yes. But it takes an organizing philosophy to rally others around you to commit atrocities. Religion is very, very good for that. As such, religion is highly dangerous. It's like ordnance left lying around, just waiting for the right terrorist to come along and use it.

about 1 month ago
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Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

dskoll Re:Religions codify survival info ... (755 comments)

miss the fact that it doesn't take religion to convince people to kill and otherwise mistreat one another

That is true. But religion provides a very powerful organizing principle for sociopaths to justify their actions and to convince others that they're right. In this way, religion is similar to other theoretically-fine but practically-disgusting ideologies such as communism.

about 1 month ago
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Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

dskoll Science cannot prove anything (755 comments)

Science can prove nothing. The scientific process is all about coming up with a theory of how things work and then looking for evidence that disproves it. If such evidence is found, then the theory is refined to take it into account. In that way, ideally, scientific theories converge on the truth... but there's no way to prove they're true.

Linking science with god is ridiculous. It's like saying we can prove mathematically the existence of invisible pink unicorns. The sentence may be syntactically correct, but it has no meaning.

about 1 month ago
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Know Your Type: Five Mechanical Keyboards Compared

dskoll Re:Why not include the original IBM design? (190 comments)

I'm not much of a gamer, but the Unicomp keyboards are excellent for typing. They are, however, quite noisy, so may not be appropriate for a crowded office.

If you have games that require abuse of the keyboard, I would not use an expensive mechanical keyboard... let the games kill the cheapie membrane ones.

about a month ago
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Know Your Type: Five Mechanical Keyboards Compared

dskoll Re:There is only one.... Model M (190 comments)

I don't have any Model Ms, but I do own a bunch of Unicomp keyboards that use the same technology. Anyway, my kids were definitely not brought up on those keyboards, but after trying them they absolutely fell in love with them. I haven't tried any of the other mechanical keyboards in the original article, but I think the Unicomp keyboards are miles ahead of membrane or laptop keyboards.

about a month ago
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Putting Time Out In Time Out: The Science of Discipline

dskoll Releasing the inner reactionary... (323 comments)

I'm basically a fairly liberal person, but when I read about "progressive" scientists wanting to "construct new strategies for parenting", my inner reactionary boils over.

I have three kids ranging in age from 12 to 20. I agree that spanking is a bad strategy; I never used it. I also agree that timeouts are useless, especially for very young kids. For very young kids, a stern reprimand delivered immediately after the undesired behaviour usually works. For older kids, removing a privilege is quite effective provided you don't make empty threats. Don't threaten anything you're not prepared to carry through; kids can smell a bluff a mile away.

But letting a kid cry it out until they sleep through the night? That's a godsend. My first daughter was not sleeping through the night even at 11 months. Finally one night I said "That's it, I don't care how hard she screams, we are NOT going in there."

It was a couple of hours of hell. And then 19 years of bliss.

All you really need to be a decent parent is to love your children and to have common sense. Unfortunately, the latter is sometimes in short supply, especially among people "on a mission to change parenting." That itself is a cringeworthy label.

about a month ago
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Virtual Reality Experiment Wants To Put White People In Black Bodies

dskoll Black Bodies? (448 comments)

Won't that cause lots of radiation?

about a month and a half ago

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