Reader Mail – 04/22/2012 To 04/28/2012

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John commented on Test Driven Development Personality Analysis.
I once worked at a big company who did 'test driven development'. The analysts wrote tests for every module, and handed them over to the developers. A typical test might read: if parameter A is 2, and parameter B is 3, then the module should return 5.

All the programmers at the company were boys. The management decided they were a bunch of flaky, undisciplined prima donnas. So they hired a girl - let's call her Stella.

Stella was a marvel. All her code was absolutely perfect. It checked in, and never broke the build. It flew through all the automated tests without a single flaw. And she was amazingly fast. Meanwhile, the boys were constantly running late, and checking in code that either broke the build, or failed the tests.

Stella was given a commendation, a bonus and a glowing reference, and swiftly joined another firm. The boys struggled on, and some months later, the program was completed, tested and deployed into production. It wasn't long before the customers noticed the program was giving nonsensical results.

The source code was retrieved, and someone reviewed Stella's code for the first time. Every one of her modules, hundreds of them, contained one statement which simply returned the expected test results, for example:

IF ParameterA = 2 AND ParameterB = 3 THEN RETURN 5

That is a good story.

No matter what performance review metric you use, someone will always find a way to game it.

"Test driven development" is stupid. How can you write tests before the code?

Automated testing is good. The best tests cover problems that actually occurred once.

When I did QA, I reviewed the code. I came up with specific tests that illustrated bugs I found.

Another amusing lesson is "When you do a lousy job and con people, switch jobs before your results catch up with you."

Justin commented on Twitter Vs. Patent Trolls.
Well aside from the fact that I've written sparc assemblers and others, the problem snowflake solves is not as simple as you make it sound. Non coordinated id generation that is roughly time ordered that is horizontally scalable? I'm not convinced I could do that while dreaming. Keep in mind this isn't a hash, its a unique id. I guess you could argue their 64bit limit is self imposed and a bad idea.

That was my point. Why does each twitter message need a unique 64 bit integer id? They made a stupid design decision in one place, and came up with the snowflake algorithm to work around it.

Anonymous Coward commented on Amusing Baseball Image.
Off-topic, but a very good talk by George Carlin about the USA, freedom and how we don't have any choice as both political parties are the same.

Liviu commented on Diablo 3 Requires An Internet Connection.
They should allow separate single player chars that you can't play online but still allow you to play without an internet connection.

Anonymous Coward commented on Muni-Meter Legal Loophole.
I live in the United Kingdom.

We have to purchase residents' parking permits if we want to park a car outside our very own houses. That was introduced something like 20 years ago.

Anonymous Coward commented on Muni-Meter Legal Loophole.

The traffic wardens (they are now called community enforcement officers) have trouble catching motorists out.

So they wait for builders to park in a street and while they are busy unloading their van, they fix a ticket to their vehicle.

One parking warden in our street openly admitted his job is now effectively to prey on builders when they visit to repair residential properties.

Effectively this is an extra tax on getting your house repaired!

Anonymous Coward commented on Muni-Meter Legal Loophole.

Working for a local council in the United Kingdom is a very profitable job.

Planning permission results in a rather nice stream of cash for individuals.

The managers and executives are on salaries of hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, if not millions.

They have gold plated pensions.

And all they have to do is collect the rubbish every two weeks!!!!

Where there is muck, there is brass! But it doesn't take much brains just dump all the rubbish in a big hole.

That's the problem with parking and traffic laws. They are used as a revenue enhancer rather than for enforcement.

If the policeman has a ticket quota, the incentive is to write lots of questionable tickets.

If you get a ticket for $100, the incentive is to pay it rather than contest it. If you contest the ticket, you must take a day off work, worth more than $100. If you contest the ticket, you probably won't win.

Tickets are a stealth tax increase, rather than for enforcement.

Coward #56 commented on Muni-Meter Legal Loophole.

Off-topic, but the Artist Taxi Driver has done so well on this one. I'm sure a minute or two went by before he raised his voice. The video is about the UK government committing crimes and the police doing precisely nothing about it.

Anonymous Coward commented on NBA Union Corruption.
I don't follow industrial action news closely. However whenever there is a union strike in the United Kingdom, the company management usually takes the union to court on the grounds that they didn't follow procedure to the letter when taking a vote whether to strike or not.

I'm sure High Court legal action is very expensive and must cost the workers a lot of money.

The legal professional are high paid parasites. They suck money out of every aspect of life.

Anonymous Coward commented on State Media Inconsistent Standard.
It is also inconsistent that if a club member bends the law they get a free pass. Little people get stomped upon.

The Artist Taxi Driver discusses the Bribery Act 2010

David Laws MP cheats on expenses but gets a free pass

Woman jailed for the "crime" of earning a low, irregular salary of between

200 - 800 pounds a month. I would suspect most of her government benefit went on housing benefit i.e. to her Landlord not directly to her.

So basically if you are a little person you go to jail. But if you are in government you get a free pass.

Anonymous Coward commented on State Media Inconsistent Standard.

Off-topic, but related to a previous post by FSK on software hiring.

Anonymous Coward commented on State Media Inconsistent Standard.

Off-topic, but it is interesting to compare FSK's views with that of the cartoon below. They seem well aligned.

Norman Maltoff also had a famous website about H1-Bs and the myth of a software engineer shortage.

Also, a "shortage of workers qualified to do X" really means "people don't want to pay the fair market salary".

An employer will demand 5 years of experience in .NET. That excludes a lot of people. A good programmer with less experience in .NET specifically can do the job. Unfortunately, hiring managers don't think that way.

I agree that software engineer is a dead-end job, unless you become self-employed. Most of my experience counts for zero when looking for a job. When dealing with evil hiring managers, it's frustrating. I'm shocked that no hiring managers think "Wow! FSK is a really good programmer! I want him to work for me!" I know that I'm near the top end of the ability scale.

Another "advantage" of younger workers is that they're easier to push around. I've been around the block a few times, and I know when someone else is acting like a twit.

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