May as well get a ChromeBook
139 posts • joined 2 Jun 2015
Don't get the pitchforks yet, Apple devs: macOS third-party application clampdown probably not as bad as rumored
First, Google touts $150 AI dev kit. Now, Nvidia's peddling a $99 Nano for GPU ML tinkerers. Do we hear $50? $50?
If you're worried that quantum computers will crack your crypto, don't be – at least, not for a decade or so. Here's why
At least Sony offered a t-shirt, says macOS flaw finder: Bug bounties now for Macs if you want this 0-day, Apple
Re: IT, fostering delusions since 1977
Here's how things work in the real world of software development:
Customer spends 2 years and massive amounts of money developing an unambiguous, watertight specification. This takes endless rounds of meetings, consultations, requests for comments, workshops and fact finding trips.
Specification is put out to tender. The only companies willing to wade through the 3000 pages of specifications are massive, multi-national conglomerates (MMNC). Small, innovative software companies know to avoid this potential clusterf*ck.
After a year, there are only 3 tender bids, all from the same 3 MMNCs. All 3 bids are similarly priced and will take several years to complete. The tender is awarded to the same MMNC which has several other, similarly sized contracts.
Work commences and initially proceeds well until the first change request. It turns out that some requirements have changed since the spec was developed 3 years ago. Some things are no longer needed but other things are now essential. MMNC does an impact assessment and says project will be only delayed by 1 month, with no impact on cost. This emboldens people who now think that *all* changes are free. Changes now come in thick and fast as a lot has changed in the intervening 3 years. MMNC then says that project will be delayed and cost more as changes are not really free, after all.
Work still goes on until someone notices that the colour of a widget is not specified. All work stops while the colour is queried with the company. This takes endless rounds of meetings, consultations, workshops and fact finding trips. After 3 months, a decision is made on the colour of the widget and work recommences.
The above cycle is repeated until something is *eventually* delivered at twice the cost and twice the time. Users try it but their needs have changed in the 6 years since the spec was written, so they don't use it.
The 'blame game' now starts in earnest with the company and MMNC each pointing the finger at each other. This continues until the next specification is developed and put out to tender.
Value added installer
Many years ago, I worked on some *really* expensive software. It was about $25k USD *per seat* about 20 years ago. Only problem was the installer only took a few seconds to run. Where is the value in that? I wrote a small, err, 'installer helper' which just displayed a dialog box with a progress bar and some customisable text eg 'Configuring datastore' (there was none), 'Acquiring network connections' (not required), 'Updating discombobulator' etc. The installation procedure went from 20s to well over 10 minutes. Now *that* is value for money!
The browser is the new operating system.
Developers still have to test on all supported (versions of) browsers. Some large organisations are on a fixed version of a browser for several years. Browsers have regressions and inconsistent support for 'standards'.
Chrome is now the dominant browser ie same as Windows on the desktop.
We are really no better off.
And the next 7nm laptop processor will be designed by In, er, AM, um, Qualcomm: The 64-bit Arm Snapdragon 8CX
FYI: NASA has sent a snatch-and-grab spacecraft to an asteroid to seize some rock and send it back to Earth
Tape vendors feel the cold, clammy hand of AWS on their shoulders. Behind them grins the Glacier Deep Archive
Real world software engineering
- endless, soul crushing meetings
- pointless documents to review
- clueless CTOs
- buzzword bingo
- using outdated technology
- maintaining someone else's cr4p code
- very occasionally writing code
- impossible demands from marketing/sales
- last minute requirements from marketing/sales
- conflicting requests from marketing/sales
- constantly changing priorities
- 'performance' reviews
- annual Resource Actions (IBM only)
Other side of the fence
Quite some time ago, I had to interview a candidate for a software development role. His CV seemed to indicate all the right-ish sort of experience, so we asked him in for a chat. He arrived in a suit and tie, and, according to my work colleague, smelt of chip fat (!). He was more than a bit overweight, sweating and very nervous, so I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and served up a few soft ball questions. His answers were invariably: "I'm sorry, I can't remember", even as the questions got progressively easier and easier. Needless to say, he didn't get the job. We suspected the recruitment agent had sent over his local pub landlord for a bit of a laugh.
Well, it was told to me as a true story and one should never let the truth get in the way of a good story...
There is this bloke in Melbourne, Australia who goes around to all the government auctions and buys up all their obsolete computer gear eg washing machine disk drive etc. He gets the stuff for pennies/cents since its all obsolete and nobody wants it. He then stores it all in a disused aircraft hangar and waits... Inevitably, some *other* government department urgently needs a washing machine disk drive to keep their legacy system going. Guess where they have to go to get one? I'm sure he doesn't mark it up too much!
Should a robo-car run over a kid or a grandad? Healthy or ill person? Let's get millions of folks to decide for AI...
It only took Oz govt transformation bods 6 months and $700k to report that blockchain ain't worth the effort
Apache OpenOffice, the Schrodinger's app: No one knows if it's dead or alive, no one really wants to look inside
Former Apple engineer fights iPhone giant for patent credit and denied cash, says Steve Jobs loved his 'killer ideas'
Re: Developer PC
Worked at a company on a *huge* C++ app where one of my good mates was working on the 'main module' for the system. Over the years, the 'main module' turned into a dumping ground for everything which didn't have an obvious home (or if the devs were too lazy to figure it out). Inspite of having the fastest hardware money could buy, linking the main module took over 20 *minutes*! My mate could only try about two dozen changes a day. He did a *lot* of web surfing.
Re: religious co workers
Heard a similar story, told to me as a true story...
It was a company employing *lots* of PhD level maths geeks, who all got an 'I love you' email from the rather attractive receptionist. In spite of their collective genius, they *all* fell for it; each thinking their ship had finally come in!