Print Story The blind leading the blind
Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Sat Feb 18, 2017 at 08:39:56 AM EST) Reading, Me, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "The Hollow City", "A Closed and Common Orbit". Me. Links.


What I'm Reading
The Hollow City Ransom Riggs. Second volume in the "Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children" series. Reasonably good, takes the story further with the magical/superpowered children going on a journey through WW2 Britain in search of a cure. The period setting is a bit sketchy and unconvincing, but the story works.

What I'm Reading 2
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. Sequel to "The Long Way to a Small Angry Panel". Has two strands of story, one of an AI trying to adjust to a new life in a humanoid robot body, one the backstory of the engineer Pepper.

The Pepper story is good throughout as she faces problems and hardships. The AI storyline is pretty weak, lacking conflict and tension. Overall plot is very predictable, and with a smaller cast of characters that's more noticeable as a flaw.

Another problem is that the AIs-as-slaves concept is raised but can't be seriously addressed without the cutesy utopia turning horrific. A slavery narrative where an escaped slave lives in whiteface in a slave state, in constant danger of being exposed, dependent on a protector; would not be a cute story but a nightmare.

Overall though if you don't try to dig to deep it's a fun, entertaining story.

Me
Slammed at work with a ludicrous release schedule where we have two releases a week or two apart, so no diary for a while. It's oh so very important that we deliver for new customers, so obviously the best course of action is to constantly divert hundreds of hours of effort that could go into developing new stuff into releases instead.

Doesn't help that we have no clear unified system of priorities. My team has two Product Owners, both distracted with other things, my line manager often has different priorities, and the two releases have different release managers. Each team is supposed to have one PO who decides priorities and goals, but it seems to have ended up with me telling people what to work on and deciding what to merge in to the releases.

Had to work through a couple of ailments as well, including an annoying eye infection that meant I couldn't see out of my left eye.

Toddler doing OK though he's been having more tantrums on the way to nursery. As soon as we get there though he runs straight off and starts playing happily without a backwards glance.

Links
Socioeconomics. Women’s cooperatives: A glimpse into Rojava’s economic model. Tax and the self-employed. Graph of pre and post housing cost incomes by region. Dani Rodrik: What did NAFTA do, Think for yourself on free trade.

Articles. Origin of the phrase "virtue signalling". The respectable "pirate next door".

Random. Got 14 on this Timed spelling quiz. What are the clappers that you go like? Fate of Jar-Jar Binks revealed. Victorian illustrated Shakespeare.

History. Anarchy in the 12th Century UK? Perkin's Tractors: old medical fad. Did early helicopter fly in 1876? What happened when the Soviets tried to replace weekends with shift system?

Sci/Tech. Star Wars graphics. Crap robots at Hebocon. Factcheck: Mail on Sunday's "astonishing evidence" about global temperature rise. Specialised mobile phone (see reviews).

Video. Every Jason Statham Punch. How to score a seat on the Subway.

Politics. Lessons on authoritarianism from Putin's trust-less Russia, Boring and tolerable Malaysia. Corbyn's Brexit compromise might play OK with Labour voters. Politics is back and business didn’t see it coming. The myth that British data scientists won the election for Trump. How to think about climate apocalypse:

...the ideal psychological culture for the current form of calamity capitalism is an apprehension of coming collapse mated bluntly with the possibility of individual escape. An economy driven by debt and fueled by looting and burning the resources that have sustained the species for generations would feel far more monstrous if it weren’t for the lingering suspicion that it might all be in flames tomorrow anyway. The world is on fire. Might as well build that pipeline.

...the inconvenient truth, the other inconvenience about the world ending this way: it’s not ending for everyone. ...How would the Cuban Missile Crisis have gone down, though, if the negotiating parties had known, with reasonable certainty, that they and their families would be out of reach of the fallout?

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The blind leading the blind | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
1876 Helicopter by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Feb 18, 2017 at 03:45:57 PM EST
While apparently there isn't a good way to determine the acceleration purely from the power-to-weight, the Wright Flyer could work at all thanks to a 12hp/177lb engine. The entire plane weighed 745lbs (Including either Orville or Wilbur). It looks like the whole site is down, which is a good thing as that [1903] engine certainly couldn't provide 177 pounds of thrust, let alone anything made in 1876.

Wumpus

Not to mention by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Sat Feb 18, 2017 at 04:24:41 PM EST
That it was apparently powered by a spring. I wonder if what they actually saw was a working scale model.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Flying models were very popular ... by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Feb 18, 2017 at 06:17:36 PM EST
... in late 19th early 20th century, to the point of being popular toys. Simpler Toys than helicopters, but also one of the reasons human flight seemed in reach.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
Toy helicopters by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #4 Sat Feb 18, 2017 at 08:06:31 PM EST
Are very old: http://www.67notout.com/2016/01/jesus-had-helicopter.html
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Agile by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun Feb 19, 2017 at 08:47:11 AM EST
Like waterfall, but with more production drops.  At the end of the day, no matter what anyone says, the delivery date is the primary driver.  Scope, time and budget.  On every project I've seen in the last fifteen years the only strong constraint is time.  But everyone likes to pretend otherwise.




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
Experience by Herring (4.00 / 1) #6 Sun Feb 19, 2017 at 10:39:25 AM EST
The best project I worked on was one release of the actuarial modelling system. We actually managed to get a couple of experienced actuarial users to sit with the dev team for the last 4 months or so. That worked really well - rather than a week-long cycle of deliver, test, raise bugs/comments etc. you could hammer something out in an afternoon. Probably 8 man-years of effort on the project and it was two days late.

However, I, personally, did a lot of BDUF on that project. Again, that was only possible because I had a lot of product knowledge and free access to the expert users.

The problem in any complex and unique undertaking - be it a software system or Wembley Stadium - is that it's impossible to estimate accurate because it is unique. Well, it's not impossible, but given that you never have all the information when setting the timescale, it's practically impossible.

Agile doesn't stand a chance without complete organisational buy-in. And that never happens.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Scrum by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Feb 20, 2017 at 12:00:24 AM EST
Used to work OK here, but we got bought out a year or so ago and the new management are gradually bollocksing things up. No methodology really helps in that case.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Agile worked for us by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon Feb 20, 2017 at 07:09:49 PM EST
past tense.

Generally, it works fine, but executives/PMs can't abide "we don't know what we'll be doing in three months", so everything gets scheduled out using fake agile. 
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Right by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #9 Mon Feb 20, 2017 at 07:54:42 PM EST
So you spend the minimum possible effort on fictional roadmaps, and they let upper management budget. Then when they inevitably change, you're glad you didn't spend too much time. Like here, the roadmaps are usually a substitute for product design.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
Well, quite by Herring (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Feb 21, 2017 at 02:11:48 PM EST
Half-implementing a poorly understood methodology is never going to help a dysfunctional organisation.

Precis: you can't polish a turd.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
The blind leading the blind | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback