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Fchristant
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Agreed on the importance of communication skills, but there are few professions nowadays where this is not required, so it says nothing about programmers specifically. I also think that you stereotype programmers a bit too much in the beginning paragraphs. You make it sound like they are all anti-social, projecting the Hollywood cliche onto them. In my own experience working in several large companies with large development teams, I do not see that. I see perfectly "normal" people, with adequate communication skills, a family at home, proper clothing, etc. It seems everybody fixates on the bearded Debian hardcode C programmer, but reality in my experience is very very far from it.
Toggle Commented Feb 4, 2011 on How to Write Without Writing at Coding Horror
"Which is better for you and your clients: writing software that costs $1000 but requires a $500 hardware upgrade, or writing software that requires no upgrade but costs $4000 because you spent four times as long to wring that last 10% of optimization out of it?" You are right about the business argument, especially when you use an extreme example like that. However, I do oppose to this "let's just add more hardware to the equasion" as an excuse for actual craftsmanship. Call me a hippy, but it is incredibly wasteful to just keep piling servers (which need a location, power, maintenance, etc) when you could have optimized it or do it right within reasonable effort. I mostly have a problem with the mentality that we live in a world with limitless resources and energy, and money is the only constraint that matters. It is the other way around: money is limitless as it can be created out of nothing, actual resources cannot. I know this is merely a philosophical argument that wont help anyone in actual business, but I do home some of us start to realize the real value of money vs real things.
I don't think "social" is the answer to better search results. In fact, I think it makes it worse. - First of all, there is no reason to believe that spammers cannot manipulate a social search engine. Just look at sites like Digg.com where at one point people were getting paid to blindly vote content up. - Even with educated, moral users minus the spammers social search ranking would most likely result in search result popularity indicators, which is not necessarily actually the best search result. - It is questionable in the first place whether users at all would rank search engine results. They just want the result. I'm hoping this recent problem can be solved by an algorithm, as I place more trust into that than mankind itself.
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2011 on Trouble In the House of Google at Coding Horror
@oskar: as @andreas already mentioned, no matter what session mechanism you use, there are only two ways to link a client-side user with a server-side session: via cookies or via a URL parameter. You can encrypt the session id all you want but if somebody simply steals it, they are you. You are right though that you could perform additional checks on the server-side, for example by IP, hostname, user-agent, etc. That will help a bit. Another helpful strategy is to regularly regenerate the session id. These will reduce but not eliminate the fundamental issue of shared physical network access.
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2010 on Breaking the Web's Cookie Jar at Coding Horror
@paul: "Does your address have to be public? Everyone I know who isn’t into computers like we are (which, remember, is likely 95–99% of the people in the world, and is therefore the kind of person that matters) uses Facebook instead of e-mail. There’s no real concept of a public address for messages there. You have to explicitly allow people to send you messages by becoming their friend." Well, that is your context. Here in the Netherlands, those people do use email, MSN and this local social network called Hyves. Your context is not universal. Guess what your group and mine have in common? Email. The other part about context is that you are talking about the consumer space. Friending people before you can send them anything will obviously not work in an enterprise. I can understand that Jeff and people of a similar background who use email as a consumer, not in an enterprise context, see email as annoying and outdated, but now put yourself in my shoes: I'm currently working on 4 projects at the same time. In total it concerns a group of nearly a 100 people that I need to report to or instruct. I also need to manage and structure tasks associated with it. I need to handover stuff to newcomers. I need to archive documents. I need to be able to search through all this crap and find things fast. I need to be able to discuss things electronically and I need a record of proof for new assignments. I work with people both old and young, from various backgrounds. As far as I know, only a rich email client can do all of this. The situation I am painting is much different from three developers in the same room working on a consumer product. Email is imperfect but often a neccessity. The alternatives are much worse.
@Nathan. Well said. I keep hearing these "I hate email" and "Email is dead" messages but they are bogus, because as far as I know, there is no alternative that has the characteristics that email has. What are we going to do? Post messages on forums, twitters, blogs and hope that somebody reads it? How will you be notified though? Wouldn't that be exactly the same as email? Instead of one source of communication and distraction we will have a dozen? How about not ignoring the fact that email is much more than communication, it is also legal proof, used as a todo, planning and scheduling application (when combined with a calendar). Some even use it as their main document management system. There are major issues in email I admit. Spam is one and is solved mostly. Misuse and overuse is one but you will keep that in every tool, because it is about culture, not technology.
Yes it is a huge problem, but I am not at all surprised at the overwhelming amount of incompetence in our industry. - For the most part, it's the money. It is an industry that pays well. An industry that had two major peaks in the last decade alone. Peaks where almost anyone could get hired. In offshore locations, it is a way out of poverty. This results in millions of paycheck programmers, who lack passion. - Most programmers work for companies and do enterprise application development. Increasingly, these programmers are considered commodities, a service that can be bought at an outsourcer. We all know that outsourcing is about cost reduction, not quality. For an outsourcer, billed hours count, not passion. It is in their best interest to have as many people as possible as sell them as competent as possible: seniors bring more revenue than juniors, so there is a motivation to cheat. - Many employers are overasking. They demand you to be young and flexible, yet have many years of experience in a ton of technologies. The result of overasking is candidates overselling. - Although a tech interview is common sense, quite often people are hired by non-programmers, who lack the skill to differentiate quality. In the end, it is a lack of appreciation and knowledge of programmers that results in situation as it is now. That, and the cost/profit oriented world that we live in today. I suspect this is not unique to IT, you will find that a vast majority of workers in any industry would quit working today if they could. It's the mortgage that keeps many going, and work is tolerated suffering, not a passion. Guys like Jeff are in a lucky position to enjoy what they do, but not everyone has those possibilities. Don't look down on the ones who are not passionate. They are just people trying to make a living. They are not frauds or lazy by definition. Finally, I too am against academic and math questions for application development positions. I have developed at huge multinationals for 10 years very successfully, but don't ask me how a Bubble sort works. I will understand how it works, but I don't recall it since I don't NEED to know how it works. Ask things that apply to the actual job. PS: I would be against a registry of competent programmers. There are plenty of certification systems in place, and I do not consider it ethical to divide people like that. It is a lame excuse for saying that you are too lazy to assess candidates yourself.
Toggle Commented Feb 22, 2010 on The Non-Programming Programmer at Coding Horror
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Feb 22, 2010