I mean, go look at some of their sites. Tell me that’s not an infomercial. C’mon, just try. It’s embarrassing even to look at the thing.
Yeah. Well, they make money hand over fist, because of P.T. Barnum’s Law, just like Scientology does. Can’t really fault ‘em. Some people are just dying to be parted with their cash. And their dignity.
The rest of us have all known that Agile Methodologies are stupid, by application of any of the following well-known laws of marketing:
– anything that calls itself a “Methodology” is stupid, on general principle.
– anything that requires “evangelists” and offers seminars, exists soley for the purpose of making money.
– anything that never mentions any competition or alternatives is dubiously self-serving.
– anything that does diagrams with hand-wavy math is stupid, on general principle.
And by “stupid”, I mean it’s “incredibly brilliant marketing targeted at stupid people.”
In any case, the consultants kept going with their road shows and glossy pamphlets. Initially, I’m sure they went after corporations; they were looking to sign flexible contracts that allowed them to deliver “whatever” in “2 weeks” on a recurring basis until the client went bankrupt. But I’m equally sure they couldn’t find many clients dumb enough to sign such a contract.
That’s when the consultants decided to take their road show to YOU. Why not take it inside the companies and sell it there, to the developers? There are plenty of companies who use the whip-cycle of development I outlined above, so presumably some of the middle managers and tech leads would be amenable to hearing about how there’s this low-cost way out of their hellish existence.
And that, friends, was exactly, precisely the point at which they went from “harmless buffoons” to “potentially dangerous”, because before they were just bilking fat companies too stupid to develop their own software, but now the manager down the hall from me might get infected. And most places don’t have a very good quarantine mechanism for this rather awkard situation: i.e., an otherwise smart manager has become “ill”, and is waving XP books and index cards and spouting stuff about how much more productive his team is on account of all this newfound extra bureaucracy.
More from that lovely bunch of people who we like to think of as creationists-with-a-website. Yes, the Intelligent Designers are back. Having had their bottoms soundly birched in the US, they are now determined to “educate” England’s schoolkids about their utterly unscientific counter “theory” to evolution.
For those who have missed all the fun, Intelligent Design holds that life on earth is too complex to have evolved on its own, without an intelligent entity guiding its path. This intelligent entity is not specified as being God, largely because of the US insistence on the separation of church and state, but it is hard to think of another candidate for the job.
The Guardian reports that the group Truth in Science has sent out “information packs” to all the heads of science at secondary schools in the country. Almost 90 sent feedback to the organisation, with 59 responding positively, saying they thought the pack, which includes a DVD and printed teaching materials, would be a useful teaching aid.
I’m sure there’s a whole team of UI designers, programmers, and testers who worked very hard on the OFF button in Windows Vista, but seriously, is this the best you could come up with?
Every time you want to leave your computer, you have to choose between nine, count them, nine options: two icons and seven menu items. The two icons, I think, are shortcuts to menu items. I’m guessing the lock icon does the same thing as the lock menu item, but I’m not sure which menu item the on/off icon corresponds to.
I worked at Microsoft for about 7 years total, from 1994 to 1998, and from 2002 to 2006.
The most frustrating year of those seven was the year I spent working on Windows Vista, which was called Longhorn at the time. I spent a full year working on a feature which should’ve been designed, implemented and tested in a week.
I’ve worked in large companies, so I’m not too surprised… Read and weep…
Here is a transcript of Richard Stallman’s presentation made at the fifth international GPLv3 conference, organised by FSIJ and AIST in Tokyo, Japan.
From the Orwell classic, 2006*:
What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of web pages had been identified, that number would be edited and republished, the original html code destroyed, and the corrected pages placed on the web site in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to the web site, but also to official photographs, video, documents, reports, transcripts, films, audio files, graphics, — to every kind of data or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance. Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All official history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place. The largest section of the Records Department, far larger than the one on which Winston worked, consisted simply of persons whose duty it was to track down and collect all copies of reports, fact sheets, press releases and other documents which had been superseded and were due for destruction. A number of electronic files which might, because of changes in political alignment, or mistaken prophecies uttered by Our Leader, have been rewritten a dozen times still existed in protected files bearing their original date, and no other copies existed to contradict them. Reports, also, were recalled and rewritten again and again, and were invariably reissued without any admission that any alteration had been made. Even the emails which Winston received, and which he deleted as soon as he had dealt with them, never stated or implied that an act of forgery was to be committed: always the reference was to slips, errors, misprints, or misquotations which it was necessary to put right in the interests of accuracy.
But actually, he thought as he reframed the video of Our Leader’s speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln, it was not even forgery. It was merely the omission of another piece of nonsense. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie.
Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of the time you were expected to make them up out of your head. For example, the Army’s recruitment forecast had estimated it needed 8,050 recruits for the month of May. The actual figure came in at a little over 5000. Winston, however, in rewriting the forecast, marked the projected figure down to 6,700, so as to lesson the Pentagon’s embarrassment. In any case, 8,050 was no nearer the truth about what was needed than 6,700, or 10,000 for that matter. Very likely no number of recruits would save the Army from being destroyed by incompetent leadership. Likelier still, nobody cared. All one knew was that every month astronomical recruitment numbers were produced on paper, while soldiers were deployed for their third or fourth tours in the battle zone. And so it was with every class of recorded fact, great or small. Everything faded away into a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become uncertain.
* The title of George Orwell’s novel is 2006. It has always been called 2006.
The U.S. Supreme Court often hears disputes over how much authority the federal government has to stop businesses from polluting.
But rarely, if ever, in nearly four decades of environmental regulation has the government argued that it has no power over an entire category of potential pollutants — or that if it had the power, it wouldn’t use it.
That’s the position, though, that the Bush administration is taking in a lawsuit seeking federal limits on vehicles’ emissions of greenhouse gases. The Supreme Court is to hear arguments Wednesday in the case, which was filed by California, 11 other states and most of the nation’s major environmental organizations.
The court’s ruling, due by next summer, also will resolve a similar lawsuit over the government’s power to regulate greenhouse gases emitted by factories and other industrial sources. And it may decide a challenge by automakers of a California law requiring them to limit tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases starting in 2009. That law has inspired similar statutes in 10 other states.
An overwhelming majority of scientists agree carbon dioxide and other common substances known as greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and are causing worldwide temperature increases that threaten to become catastrophic in coming decades.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency argues in the case before the Supreme Court that greenhouse gases are not air pollutants, and therefore are not subject to government regulation. Even if the common gases are pollutants, the EPA says, nationwide regulation would be premature at best and might cause more harm than good.
On the bright side, this ship should have no problem going under bridges in the future. Since it’s about 20 feet shorter now.
With the exception of remaining idle in 1993, the Windoc had been an active member of Paterson’s bulk carrier fleet with few reportable incidents until August 11, 2001. On that date; while passing downbound underneath the Welland Canal’s Bridge #11 at Allanburg, ON, the lift bridge structure descended prematurely on top of the Windoc before the vessel could clear. This voyage had seen the Windoc depart Thunder Bay, ON with 26,023.9 tonnes of wheat on August 8, 2001 bound for Montreal, QC. The Windoc’s wheelhouse from the forward facing windows on up was sheared off tearing the stack from her deck. The heavily damaged vessel became a deadship drifting a short way down the canal before grounding and blocking the waterway. A serious fire erupted in the stern by the main engine casing spreading to the accommodations area. The crew valiantly worked the ship and fought the fire in an attempt to save her until shore-based assistance arrived. There were no reported injuries and her cargo (worth $6 – $8 million) was undamaged. The Windoc, in addition to serious damage aft, also received eight hull fractures.
A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.
The copyright on sound recordings will not be extended after an independent review commissioned by the Treasury.
Sir Cliff Richard and Jethro Tull had been among artists lobbying for copyright to last 95 years, rather than the present 50.
The decision means that from 2008 Sir Cliff’s earliest recordings will start to come out of copyright.
Music journalist Neil McCormack told BBC Radio Five Live it was a blow to the industry.
“This was set before the advent, the big boom of rock and roll. The boom in popular culture which has led to a whole vast number of people making their living from these royalties.
“You can make a record in 1955 and have been getting royalties… been living on that and suddenly they’re gone.”
Yeah, and if you haven’t done anything in the intervening 50 years you really do deserve to start living under a bridge. Deal with it.
I received an e-mail:
I can’t bring myself to describe this one, so I thought I’d kick it your way to see if you could do anything with it.
It’s some animated business to business campaign for Windows Vista, and it leaves you wondering “What in the name of Jesus H. Particular Christ on a pogo stick were they thinking of?”
Indeed. If this thing is for real, and I can’t find any indication that it isn’t, and if I’m correct that that the target audience is retail personnel, and if I were in the target audience, I’d be pissed off that Microsoft apparently operates under the assumption that I’ve got a room-temperature IQ.
I can only imagine… marketing at Microsoft is so fed up with having to explain again and again and again and again what the multiple versions of Vista are for, that they sigh “look… I’ll tell you once again…” and came up with this.
And if this is how they feel about the people selling their product, how must they feel about the people buying it?