29 Sep

Seven signs of dysfunctional engineering teams

I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Heart of Darkness this week, read by Kenneth Branagh. It’s fantastic. It also reminds me of some jobs I’ve had in the past.

There’s a great passage in which Marlow requires rivets to repair a ship, but finds that none are available. This, in spite of the fact that the camp he left further upriver is drowning in them. That felt familiar. There’s also a famous passage involving a French warship that’s blindly firing its cannons into the jungles of Africa in hopes of hitting a native camp situated within. I’ve had that job as well. Hopefully I can help you avoid getting yourself into those situations.

There are several really good lists of common traits seen in well-functioning engineering organizations. Most recently, there’s Pamela Fox’s list of What to look for in a software engineering culture. More famous, but somewhat dated at this point, is Joel Spolsky’s Joel Test. I want to talk about signs of teams that you should avoid.

This list is partially inspired by Ralph Peters’ Spotting the Losers: Seven Signs of Non-Competitive States. Of course, such a list is useless if you can’t apply it at the crucial point, when you’re interviewing. I’ve tried to include questions to ask and clues to look for that reveal dysfunction that is deeply baked into an engineering culture.

Preference for process over tools. As engineering teams grow, there are many approaches to coordinating people’s work. Most of them are some combination of process and tools. Git is a tool that enables multiple people to work on the same code base efficiently (most of the time). A team may also design a process around Git — avoiding the use of remote branches, only pushing code that’s ready to deploy to the master branch, or requiring people to use local branches for all of their development. Healthy teams generally try to address their scaling problems with tools, not additional process. Processes are hard to turn into habits, hard to teach to new team members, and often evolve too slowly to keep pace with changing circumstances. Ask your interviewers what their release cycle is like. Ask them how many standing meetings they attend. Look at the company’s job listings, are they hiring a scrum master?

Excessive deference to the leader or worse, founder. Does the group rely on one person to make all of the decisions? Are people afraid to change code the founder wrote? Has the company seen a lot of turnover among the engineering leader’s direct reports? Ask your interviewers how often the company’s coding conventions change. Ask them how much code in the code base has never been rewritten. Ask them what the process is for proposing a change to the technology stack. I have a friend who worked at a growing company where nobody was allowed to introduce coding conventions or libraries that the founding VP of Engineering didn’t understand, even though he hardly wrote any code any more.

Unwillingness to confront technical debt. Do you want to walk into a situation where the team struggles to make progress because they’re coding around all of the hacks they haven’t had time to address? Worse, does the team see you as the person who’s going to clean up all of the messes they’ve been leaving behind? You need to find out whether the team cares about building a sustainable code base. Ask the team how they manage their backlog of bugs. Ask them to tell you about something they’d love to automate if they had time. Is it something that any sensible person would have automated years ago? That’s a bad sign.

Not invented this week syndrome. We talk a lot about “not invented here” syndrome and how it affects the competitiveness of companies. I also worry about companies that lurch from one new technology to the next. Teams should make deliberate decisions about their stack, with an eye on the long term. More importantly, any such decisions should be made in a collaborative fashion, with both developer productivity and operability in mind. Finding out about this is easy. Everybody loves to talk about the latest thing they’re working with.

Disinterest in sustaining a Just Culture. What’s Just Culture? This post by my colleague John Allspaw on blameless post mortems describes it pretty well. Maybe you want to work at a company where people get fired on the spot for screwing up, or yelled at when things go wrong, but I don’t. How do you find out whether a company is like that? Ask about recent outages and gauge whether the person you ask is willing to talk about them openly. Do the people you talk to seem ashamed of their mistakes?

Monoculture. Diversity counts. Gender diversity is really important, but it’s not the only kind of diversity that matters. There’s ethnic diversity, there’s age diversity, and there’s simply the matter of people acting differently, or dressing differently. How homogenous is the group you’ve met? Do they all remind you of you? That’s almost certainly a serious danger sign. You may think it sounds like fun to work with a group of people who you’d happily have as roommates, but monocultures do a great job of masking other types of dysfunction.

Lack of a service-oriented mindset. The biggest professional mistakes I ever made were the result of failing to see that my job was ultimately to serve other people. I was obsessed with building what I thought was great software, and failed to see that what I should have been doing was paying attention to what other people needed from me in order to succeed in their jobs. You can almost never fail when you look for opportunities to be of service and avail yourself of them. Be on the lookout for companies where people get ahead by looking out for themselves. Don’t take those jobs.

There are a lot of ways that a team’s culture can be screwed up, but those are my top seven.

29 Sep

Together with AMD, Toshiba Offer Notebook PC

JAKARTA – Toshiba notebook to hit the market back in the homeland. Having recently launched a dual function, this ultrabook, Toshiba re-introduced its notebook personal computer (PC) in Indonesia under the name Toshiba Satellite C40D.

Toshiba Satellite C40D which is the development of TV technology from Toshiba, claimed more powerful and rich graphics. The kitchen was redone powered by Quad-Core AMD A4 APU.

Channel Manager of Toshiba Singapore, Albert Susilo states, with the audio technologies V2 Toshiba Audio Enhancement Technology, the consumer ear audio quality spoiled by sharp and clear. “Crystal clear,” he said at the launch of the Toshiba Satellite C40D at Le Meridien Jakarta, Monday (8/7).

With a unique design and is claimed to be better than the previous generation, Toshiba Satellite C40D available with spans 14.0 HD screen. The price is pegged at under $ 5 million. “Toshiba Satellite C40D be available in the Indonesian market in early July at a price of USD 439,” said Albert Susilo.

While AMD Indonesia Country Manager, Jenny Susanto said all products from AMD’s APU is designed to provide the best computing experience. “This notebook is instantly able to deliver sharp image quality, color, and more life to improve the consumer experience in watching the video,” he said.

Jenny added, AMD has always made ​​a breakthrough to provide the latest experience that not only includes the traditional architecture, but also the latest graphics processing interface. To provide experience productivity, graphics, and entertainment, this notebook is reinforced with a variety of the latest exclusive technology from Toshiba and AMD.

28 Sep

No space for over-30s as relaunched MySpace erases its past

Did you pour your heart out on a MySpace blog and make hourly checks on your Friends total? Now the social network has been accused of erasing the personal histories of its dedicated members after a $20 million relaunch designed to bury its past and attract a new teenage audience.

The music-centred platform, which helped launch Lily Allen to fame and attracted 100 million users at its 2007 peak, is seeking to climb out of the social network “graveyard” after years of being a source of digital derision.

The site, lacking innovation and overtaken by Facebook, shed users and was abandoned by Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corporation had bought the company in a disastrous $580 million deal.

Backed by new investors, including singer Justin Timberlake, Myspace (after dropping the capital ‘S’) has been rebranded as a music-streaming service, with a new sleek interface, and an iPhone app for radio play and animated GIF creation.

The new Myspace has shown signs of life, attracting 31 million unique visitors and one million app downloads since a high-profile relaunch last month.

However its owners do not appear to want those loyal users, who stuck around even when MySpace became a tarnished brand, to spoil the party for its new target audience of young “millenials”.

Furious users complained that Myspace has erased all of their blogs, private messages, videos, comments and posts, when they try and log-in to the new site.

Myspace veterans, whose lives have been marked out by the blogs and photos posted daily over nearly a decade, are threatening a class-action lawsuit over what they see as the destruction of their personal histories.

One disgruntled member wrote: “I was a loyal user who never deserted Myspace. I used it almost everyday since 2006. I wrote hundreds of blogs that, to my horror, were simply gone as of last night with no prior warning given. That is no way to treat us. Please give us a chance to recover old blogs. This is like losing family photographs, and it is really horrible.”

Another posted on the site’s forum: “This is no different than losing one’s writing or photographs in a house fire, and I am feeling awful right now.” “You in essence just stole our blogs without permission to delete them. How dare you!,” complained another user.

Myspace, bought for just $35 million in 2011 by Timberlake and the Specific Media Group, told users that it had made changes to create a “better experience.” The company said: “That means you won’t see a few products on the new site. We know that this is upsetting to some but it gives us a chance to really concentrate on creating a new experience for discovery and expression.”

The “year zero” approach extends to stars who once built huge followings through MySpace. Britney Spears, who enjoyed 1.5 million Friends on the old MySpace, found her new “Connections” count set to 0.

Myspace won’t mind irritating 30-somethings who enjoyed sharing family photos if the network maintains a positive buzz from younger users since the relaunch, which featured the rapper Pharrell in a major advertising campaign.

The new app is ranked among the Top 20 social networking apps and the site makeover received positive feedback on Twitter.

Yet Myspace has been forced to respond to the backlash from its loyal users.  “Change isn’t easy and there has been a lot going on lately,” the company said. It told angry members: “We understand that this (blog) information is very important to you. Please understand that your blogs have not been deleted. Your content is safe and we have been discussing the best ways possible to provide you your blogs.” Pictures and music playlists can be located and transferred over to the new Myspace, the company added.

Founded in 2003 by a team of California web pioneers led by Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe, MySpace generated $800 million in revenue by 2008. Arctic Monkeys were among the bands who used the network’s music-sharing feature as a springboard for success.

26 Sep

Guidewire Software Wins First Place Vanguards in Insurance Practices (VIP) Award Recognition in Five of Six Categories

Guidewire Software, Inc. (GWRE), a provider of software products for Property/Casualty (P/C) insurers, today announced that it has received five of six 2013 Vanguards in Insurance Practices (VIP) Awards. The VIP Awards are sponsored byInsurance Networking News (INN) in partnership with Celent and were announced and presented at the recent ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum in Las Vegas. The VIP award winners were solely determined by insurance company professionals through their participation in an online survey where they were asked to name technology providers that deliver the most value in various VIP categories.

Guidewire’s 2013 VIP awards included recognition in the Back Office & Support Systems, Customer Experience Solutions, Decision Support Solutions, Insurance Core Solutions, and Strategic Partner categories. More information about the 2013 VIP Awards can be found at www.guidewire.com.

“The VIP awards identify the leaders in insurance technology and recognize the vendors that best help insurance carriers meet the increased expectations of consumers and agents,” said Carrie Burns, editor-in-chief, INN. “This year, we’ve seen that while insurers still consider customer service and stability to be important traits of vendors, the ability to plan for advances in technology is becoming just as important.”

“Guidewire is very effective in building and supporting their partner networks, and their customers appreciate that choice of implementation partners,” said Chuck Johnston, director, Celent. “They’ve also built out a solid organization that has connected with their customers and created good rapport, as seen in the award results. They’ve made significant investments in pertinent technologies to support their customers, also reflected in the award results.”

“It is a great honor for the Guidewire team to be recognized especially given that the award rankings are based solely on feedback from P/C insurance professionals,” said Brian Desmond, vice president, Marketing, Guidewire. “We thank Insurance Networking News and Celent for sponsoring the VIP awards program, and we thank everyone who participated in the survey.”

This year is the seventh annual VIP ranking of technology solution providers to the insurance industry. 2013 winners were chosen based on votes from 476 unique respondents.

About Insurance Networking News

Insurance Networking News is a trusted source for information on how technology is being implemented to support insurers’ strategic business objectives, providing insightful analysis of the technology innovations utilized to automate critical processes. Insurance Networking News is written to help senior insurance executives obtain mission-critical information on resolving industry challenges.

About Guidewire Software

Guidewire Software is a provider of software products for Property/Casualty insurers. Designed to be flexible and scalable, Guidewire products enable insurers to deliver excellent service, increase market share, and lower operating costs. Guidewire products include Guidewire InsuranceSuite™, consisting of Guidewire PolicyCenter®, Guidewire ClaimCenter® and Guidewire BillingCenter® which span the core functional areas in insurance; Guidewire LiveSM, a cloud-based network connecting peer insurers, core system data and expert tools through instant on apps; Guidewire DataHub™ and Guidewire InfoCenter™ which help insurers address their data management and business intelligence challenges.

26 Sep

Casing Cooler Master CM 690 III, New Interiors

JAKARTA, WEDNESDAY – Many people often overlook the casing. Though casing also plays a vital role for the health of the computer. Good air circulation can cause the hot air trapped in the casing. Tail processor could overheat.

One of the Cooler Master introduced a new casing. CM 690 III is a successor of the CM 690 is in great demand throughout the world. What’s the difference with the previous product?

Pay attention to the interior. There is a new location HDD / SSD combo. The slot can be accommodated in the hard disk or SSD 3.5 “or 2.5”. Up to 10 SSDs can be installed at that location. Behind the motherboard tray can also be fitted with an SSD. Yummy, if the location of HDD / SSD combo is not necessary, you can move it. That is, you will get a space to place other hardware.

The casing can also be fitted with a graphics card with a size of 42.3 cm long and 17.1 cm tall CPU cooler. In addition there are system-tray ODD latest EZ for quick installation.

Anything else? CM 690 III is capable of supporting as well as two units of liquid cooling radiators measuring 24cm (2 x 12 cm) on the top and front. You can still install the radiator measuring 12cm at the rear.

Its chassis supports a total of 9 fans, with three of them measuring 20cm. With this feature, setting air conditioners and liquid can be easily adjusted and remain constrained by the needs and imagination of its users. While the full nets cover the front and top. To minimize dust, dust filter available.

25 Sep

Chat apps ‘Nimbuzz Messenger’

Chat on Instant Messenger Applications Through One Application

Nimbuz is a place for you who have an account on a popular instant messenger applications. So by using Nimbuzz, you can chat on Yahoo Messenger account, Facebook Chat, or Google talk, through one application that is Nimbuzz.

d6-435-nimbuzzMetode it uses diverse, can through desktop applications that must be installed first, or can be directly through the browser by logging in using an account on the official website through Webchat feature. To check if the connection is using Nimbuzz goes well, provided a useful bot to respond to the chat that you do.

Nimbuzz also has the facility to call abroad at a cheaper cost than using regular telephone rates. You do this by purchasing credits through Nimbuzz! Out with the subscription fee is offered. Similarly, the video chat facility if you have a webcam or a camera that supports it. Share files such as audio, image, or video are also possible as most similar applications.

Nimbuzz Messenger comes complete various platforms, ranging from PC desktop to mobile. For the mobile platform is available on Android based operating systems, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Symbian and Java. Nimbuzz also features a comprehensive list of some brands of mobile phones that support this application. And users can perform a cross-platform chat so that you more easily in touch with relatives in cyberspace.

21 Sep

This is the realization Stud Google, Moto X

Google not only successfully make the Android operating system, but apparently Google is also competing in the smartphone market plunge in collaboration with Motorola. This time I will make sure to introduce smartphone champion, Moto X on 1 August.
Various leak is scattered, including what kind of form. A leaked disseminated @ evleaks, the usual Twitter account posted the leaked gadget show looks Moto X.
Reporting from VentureBeat, Moto X design looks interesting, where the device has a 4.5 inch screen, while the kitchen spur MSM8960T of embedded processor Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core with 1.7 GHz technology. The RAM capacity of 2 GB.
As for the power of the battery, Moto X is said to rely on the battery capacity of 1500 mAh, which is powered by a battery cover with Kevlar material which is safe on the back. While Android 4.2.2 Jelly bean in trust Google and Motorola as its OS.
Plus always on listening features allow users to do voice commands without having to touch the Moto X. To run this feature, the user must activate the pass setting. Like Siri – that should say Hi Siri password first, the first command to be spoken is Ok Google Now, however, without having to press any buttons.

20 Sep

Polytron Wizard II smartphone Crystal W3430

Bening sequel

In this year, seems the more prevalent use of multiple processors on a variety of devices. The goal, presents a better performance on the gadget. Polytron also updating its lineup via Crystal Wizard II (model W3430) which has brought dual core. This increase is expected to bring better ability for the device to process the data.

U3-435-PolytronJika the previous Wizard series (W2400 – PCplus 418) Polytron still using single core 1GHz CPU, the W3430 used MT6577 1GHz dual core processor from MediaTek. This is the CPU that was booming among gadget makers from China and locally. This is thanks to a hefty CPU capabilities at more affordable prices. Unfortunately, the capacity of the main memory is still 512MB. This seems intended to suppress the price of this product.

In this product, Polytron has upgraded on the screen. Now, the Super AMOLED panel used so that the screen resolution is 480 × 800 pixels looks sharp and bright. Cool again, to protect the screen the “nodes” added a layer of solid glass Gorilla Glass to prevent scratches / collision. Polish on the screen seems to be a mainstay on the successor Polytron highest smartphone (currently) on the market.

In addition to presenting a brilliant visualization, graphical interface in Polytron Wizard Crystal II W3430 is also quite interesting, including Skins Theme. Here also have prepared some useful applications such as Kingsoft Office for processing documents to popular social media applications. Polytron also provides access to applications through the facility suggested Suggested Apps and TelkomStore (provided by PT Telkom). Media’s own internal storage capacity of 4GB device. This storage is divided into two 2.1 GB for installation applications and about 400 MB to be accessed by users.

One of the coolest mainstay in Polytron Wizard Crystal II W3430 is a quality 8 megapixel camera. The resulting image quality is quite good PCplus according to its class. Panoramic photo function that combines nine photos were fairly decent. These features include HDR (High Dynamic Range) to get good photos in dimly lit situations.

Although the kitchen spur that is not too high, Polytron Wizard Crystal II W3430 still having an excellent features. Various facilities such as AMOLED + screen Gorilla Glass coating, a dual SIM connection, to access to perform system tuning is an attractive offer. This device is suitable for those who want to look unique among popular brands.

19 Sep

Intel Releases Low-Powered Atom Chips for Servers

Now that Intel Corp. (INTC) has released new chips for the smartphone market, where it has been squeezed out by competitors like ARM Holdings PLC (ARMH) and Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), it has elected to restart its initiatives in the server business as well. Intel has three-quarters of that market, by most estimates. Although the opportunities in the corporate server market are not as great as those among consumers, it needs to keep its hold on one of its major franchises.

As it struggles to keep server share, it announced:

Intel revealed new details for the forthcoming Intel Atom processors C2000 product family aimed for low-energy, high-density microservers and storage (codenamed “Avoton”), and network devices (codenamed “Rangeley”). This second generation of Intel’s 64-bit SoCs is expected to become available later this year and will be based on the company’s 22nm process technology and the innovative Silvermont microarchitecture. It will feature up to eight cores with integrated Ethernet and support for up to 64GB of memory.

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The new products are expected to deliver up to four times the energy efficiency and up to seven times more performance than the first generation Intel Atom processor-based server SoCs introduced in December last year. Intel has been sampling the new Intel Atom processor server product family to customers since April and has already more than doubled the number of system designs compared to the previous generation.

The market probably will not need to wait long to see if the initiative works. Chip companies are fond of release data sales on new products, if they are successful. By the firm’s next earnings call, Wall Street will know if the new Atom product and the servers it runs will replace older ones in which systems were less efficient.

19 Sep

Galaxy Note III, “Gadget” First Use 3 GB of RAM?

Phablet news about Samsung Galaxy Note III from re-emerge. This time in the form of hardware specifications that will be used.

Obtained from the leaked tech site Slashgear, Friday (07/05/2013), one of the popular series of Samsung’s devices will use large-capacity RAM, amounting to 3 GB.

If true, the Galaxy Note III will be the first mobile device that is equipped with 3 GB RAM capacity.

Just for the record, smart phone devices and premium phablet circulating lately generally use 2 GB of RAM.

Galaxy Note screen measuring 5.99 inches allegedly III with Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080) and a Super AMOLED display panel types. The size of a half-inch larger than its predecessor, the Galaxy Note II, which has a 5.5-inch landscape display. As for the Galaxy Note to be launched in 2011 and carries the 5.3-inch screen.

Bodi Galaxy Note III allegedly bit slimmer than its predecessor. If the Galaxy Note II has a weight of 182 grams, the Galaxy Note III a little lighter by 180 grams with a thickness of 8 mm.

At the time of its release later, the Galaxy Note III will run on the latest Android operating system, 4.3 Jelly Bean. He will also support 4G LTE technology-Advanced network.

Just like the Galaxy S4, there will be two versions of the Galaxy Note III, which was launched to the market. In a particular market, this device will be armed with the Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core 800. As in other markets will be using processors made by Samsung’s own Exynos 5 “Octa” SoC.

Same as before, Samsung is rumored to be introducing a new model of the series Galaxy Note at this year’s IFA to be held in Berlin, Germany, in September 2013.