This is how corporations and the will to profit undermines first principal knowledge and leaves a wake of fake education that ultimately needs to be unlearned or unwisely held as a fragment of useful adrift in an island of potential non-logical nonsense
8 months ago in Articles
[..] on average, we waste 11%–20% of our time in front of our computers on systems that do not work or that are so difficult to understand that we cannot perform the task we want to.
8 months ago
When we let "the industry" set our standards, we get a mess of crap that works for the specific use cases of the giant companies that created it. Meanwhile, actually using these things ourselves leaves out a lot of use cases, adds complexity, and becomes burdensome, to the point you don't even want to use it.
I worked with a designer that actually told me this un-sarcastically. "My KPI is signups, not logins. Bury the login link. Existing users don't move the metric."
Metrics-based and KPI-based software development has ruined quality for decades.
I felt like fighting this fight alone for years in the golden years of node, webpack and react where everybody was creating crazy stacks and adding GraphQL and so on, to basically get what Django + jquery did 10 years ago in a tenth of the time and code.
So far I also survived:
- xml is the future
- let's use nosql for all the things
- you must use the same language at the back and front
- yes, you site must have an AMP version (ah, you forgot this one, didn't you? It was sooo imporant, and then pouf, it was gone like tear in the rain)
- yes, your home page must be an SPA
- you can't code anything without async
- you can't live without a message queue
- everything must become a micro service
- of course you need a container for that
- of course you need a orchestrator to organize those containers
- of course you need the cloud, it would be crazy to deal with those containers and orchestrators yourself
- dude, why do you have a server? Use a serveless backend!
- dude, why do you have a backend? Just call saas from the edge!
Every year, some generation of engineers have to learn the concepts of "there is no silver bullet", "use the right tech for the right problem", "your are not google", "rewriting a codebase every 2 years is not a good business decision", "things cost money".
I encounter daily young people who are so stricken by anxiety about productivity, because they can't explain how they will actually benefit from the outcomes. Being productive is really hard when any value produced immediately and only goes towards lining the pockets of the wealthy.
If anything it's the incentive system in software industry, which is at fault.
1. No designer is given promotion for sticking to conventional designs. It's their creative & clever designs that get them attention and career incentives.
2. No engineer is paid extra for keeping the codebase without growing too much. It's re-writes and the effort he puts in to churn out more solutions (than there are problems) that offers him a chance to climb the ladder.
3. No product manager can put "Made the product more stable and usable" in their resume. It's all the new extra features that they thought out, which will earn them reputation.
4. No manager is rewarded for how lean a team they manage and how they get things done with a tiny & flat team. Managers pride themselves with how many people work under them and how tall in the hierarchy they are.
Our industry thrives on producing more solutions than needed. Efforts are rewarded based on conventional measurements, without thinking through- in what directions were the efforts pointed at.
I'm a self-taught developer at global market leader company. I worked on the business side for years and built quite a few internal apps end-to-end completely alone. I had no choice but to follow good practice to maintain them alone.
I was quite reluctant to join the dev team, it never had a good reputation, but eventually decided to give it a go. Agile and estimations, spill overs, etc is such a pain in the ass, it feels like a pseudo-science. A lot of people spend a lot of energy on just this administration while we are way behind on many other things, like proper unit testing, good quality documentation, well established CI/CD. And everybody is focusing so much on the estimates, tickets like this was the end goal. I want to change their approach but there's a long way to go.
9 months ago in Articles
In 2019 it was revealed that the Dutch tax authorities had used a self-learning algorithm to create risk profiles in an effort to spot child care benefits fraud.
Authorities penalized families over a mere suspicion of fraud based on the system’s risk indicators. Tens of thousands of families — often with lower incomes or belonging to ethnic minorities — were pushed into poverty because of exorbitant debts to the tax agency. Some victims committed suicide. More than a thousand children were taken into foster care.
12 months ago in Quotes
Right now, in nearly all industries, and even in parts of tech, you become a manager, by being manager-like. That means playing politics and going to business school. Deeper understanding or appreciation of the job isn't really necessary.
2 years ago in Quotes
The whole IT ecosystem has become a hail mary. Even admins usually have no idea what a certain program actually wants to do. If the admin knows how to install the app so that it actually runs, you call them a good admin.
From a security point of view, an application is like a nuclear power plant. It's good if it works as planned, but if something blows up it endangers your whole enterprise.
The whole container movement can be seen as putting the apps in a sarcophagus like Chernobyl. That way the radiation hopefully stays in, but history has shown that it really doesn't. Also, the wheel of history has just turned one more iteration and now admins just view the sarcophagus as something you deploy as you previously deployed the app. Who is responsible that it is air tight? Well, uh, nobody, really.
2 years ago in Quotes
Did you see that the top post on HN for a decent chunk of yesterday was celebrating that they were getting 200 rps? 200 rps was not something to brag about to your parents 15 years ago, but half of HN seems to have never heard of serving a static file through Nginx.
I don't want to be overdramatic but it confused the hell out of me and it made me worry about the industry. How can you have all these people cargo-culting into frameworks and languages and they don't know the fundamentals?
3 years ago in Quotes
Recently I needed to retrieve a zip file of some old work attached to my copy of an email that I sent to someone in 2011, using Gmail. It wouldn't let me, because the attachment contained "a potentially dangerous file". It informed me that "If you're sure the file is safe, you can ask the sender to upload the file to Google Drive." So somehow I'm supposed to send a message back in time to myself and tell him to upload the file to a service which didn't even exist yet? Absolutely ridiculous.