A former supervisor called me the other day. He’s having quality control issues at his new gig, and quality control was one of the things I did when I was working for him. He wanted my insight. And he was very direct with one question he asked me.
“You would always set work aside and then come back to it,” he said. “Why?”
He knew my tactic worked, but wanted to know why it worked. Read more
I read Andy Grove’s Only the Paranoid Survive last week. I always figured it was an autobiography or memoir, not a business book. But it’s a business book. A very good one.
I avoided it because I didn’t like Andy Grove. I’ve never been a fan of Intel’s business practices during the 1990s and 2000s, including using payola to keep competitors’ chips out of large computer systems, but after reading this book, I’m more disappointed than anything. Whichever company had Andy Grove wins, period. No need to cheat. Read more
By reader request, I’m going to grab onto the third rail and talk about the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare/healthcare.gov website fiasco.
As someone who has been involved in a large number of IT projects, inside and outside the government, successful and failed, I can speak to that. I know the burning question in everyone’s mind is how can three guys banging away at a keyboard for three days build a better web site than the United States Government?
The snarky answer is that the best projects I’ve ever worked on have been when someone asked for something, then one or two other guys sat down with me and we banged away at a keyboard for a little while and didn’t tell anyone what we were doing until we were done.
But it’s probably more complicated than that. Read more
Rob O’Hara posted a podcast about phreaking today. He explains in layperson’s terms how the phone system was controlled by tones, cites it as an example of security through obscurity, and he talks about his own first-person experience subverting the phone system. He was far from the only one who did that.
Pricing collectibles is more art than science, and most guides have some errors in them, so large (or at least very vocal) numbers of people mistrust them.
I still use them, however. Knowing how they’re produced–or would be produced, in a perfect world with perfect data–helps someone to use them to maximum effect. The principles are the same for any guide, whether you’re talking trains or video games or baseball cards or any other collectible. Read more
Yesterday an interesting question popped up on Slashdot, asking for an alternative to a computer science degree for an aspiring web developer. He complained that what he’s learning in class doesn’t relate to what he wants to do in the field.
I saw this on Slashdot today: A computer science student was expelled from a Canadian university for practicing what most people would call white-hat hacking.
Their reasoning: “Schools are supposed to teach best practice, which includes ethics and adherence to reasonable laws.” Read more
Well, that was a disappointment. It was retracted nearly as quickly as it burst onto the scenes. Crud.
A reasoned, level-headed analysis of the problems that current copyright law creates rocked Slashdot yesterday. The amazing thing is, this thing came from Washington.
Here’s the highlight reel: Read more
Gizmodo got its grubby little hands on a training manual allegedly used in Apple Stores. It looks credible, and answers some questions.
I’m positively uninspired this morning, trying to recover from a weekend of the most boring writing I’ve ever done in my life–something that, mercifully, only a small handful of tortured souls will ever have to see and read–so I’ll do some short takes.