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Re: [hackers-il] The dream retinue for star programmers

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  • Shlomi Fish
    ... What I would like is the dream software-development tool. Something that if you declare a new variable it will ask you what you are going to do with it,
    Message 1 of 23 , Dec 8, 2000
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      On Fri, 8 Dec 2000, Omer Zak wrote:

      > Here is a question to the real star programmers among us:
      >
      > Suppose you are working for a company, which understands the value of star
      > programmers, and is prepared to hire as many support personnel and buy as
      > much furniture and equipment as needed, so that you the star programmer
      > will be able to work in the most efficient way possible.
      >
      > What would you recommend the company to equip you with?
      > The idea is that it is very difficult to find, hire and retain star
      > programmers, so they will be the bottleneck to the organization's
      > performance. But there are several other intelligent persons, who just
      > cannot excel in programming to to various reasons. But their other skills
      > could help star programmers save their time.
      >
      > Partial list of suggestions:
      > 1. Software tester to test for you the brilliant code which you wrote.
      > 2. Technical writer to spare you from the pain of documenting your code
      > yourself.
      > 3. Big desk.
      > 4. Big, flat panel display (or, better, two displays).
      > 5. Fast Internet connection.
      > 6. Junior programmer who will perform the boring tasks which you specify.
      > 7. Information specialist, to search literature and the Internet for any
      > facts that the programmer needs.
      >
      > Any other wild ideas?
      >

      What I would like is the dream software-development tool. Something that
      if you declare a new variable it will ask you what you are going to do
      with it, and detect if you do something else. Something that will enable
      one to write documentation that corresponds to any line in the code and
      ask the user what it doesn't understand.

      Also, something like that that can decipher other people's code, but
      that's usually impossible. Also, a very smart and intelligent lint. Even
      tough, I don't usually use lint even for UNIX.

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish

      P.S: only others can judge whether I am a star programmer or not, (you can
      find software I wrote on my homepage and I can send you some more), but
      basically this is something I'd like as a programmer, whether star or not.


      --- Omer
      > WARNING TO SPAMMERS: at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html
      >
      >
      >
      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
      >
      >
      >
      >



      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
      Home E-mail: shlomif@...

      The prefix "God Said" has the extraordinary logical property of
      converting any statement that follows it into a true one.
    • Omer Zak
      ... Perhaps I started the message way it was started because I do consider myself to be a star programmer. :-) ... How about someone who knows to perform code
      Message 2 of 23 , Dec 8, 2000
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        On Fri, 8 Dec 2000, Nadav Har'El wrote:

        > On Fri, Dec 08, 2000, Omer Zak wrote about "[hackers-il] The dream retinue for star programmers":
        > > Here is a question to the real star programmers among us:
        >
        > There's a problem in answering your question... If I answer it, it would imply
        > that I consider myself a "star programmer", and doing that is a faux-pas (ein
        > hanachtom meid al isato, you know). So let's start off by saying that I'm
        > answering as a "Nadav" that igored the first line of your posting :)

        Perhaps I started the message way it was started because I do consider
        myself to be a star programmer. :-)

        > > Partial list of suggestions:
        > > 1. Software tester to test for you the brilliant code which you wrote.
        > > 2. Technical writer to spare you from the pain of documenting your code
        > > yourself.
        >
        > Personally, I would consider either of these a PITA (pain-in-the-a**), because
        > it would mean that I have to explain everything I do to two people, and I
        > would have to strongly rely on two other people (because botching up either
        > the testing or the documentation would make users think that what I did sucks).

        How about someone who knows to perform code inspections, only can't
        originally create the masterpiece? He would inspect your code, find and
        note any problems with it, and also document it. He would also run the
        code and test it.

        The drawback is that such people would probably deserve their own star
        status (i.e. hard to find and worth a lot as well). So continue to think.

        > I would also add a soundcard: it can cost as little as 66 shekels (that's
        > the price of the one I got), and listening to music on the job can be a lot
        > of fun :)

        According to DeMarco and Lister's "Peopleware", 2nd edition, chapter 12
        ("Bring back the door"), research made in Cornell University demonstrated
        that people use the same brain center for listening to music and for
        creativity (needed to create the really novel solutions to problems).
        Thus, hearing music on programming job is bad for your creativity.

        Due to obvious reasons (no offense meant or taken, ShlomiF :-) ) I can't
        personally vouch for the correctness of the above claim.

        > > 6. Junior programmer who will perform the boring tasks which you specify.
        >
        > I can just see the job ad you post for these junior programmers: "come work
        > for us, and you'll do all the boring task that our stuck-up snob
        > star-programmers refuse to do" :)

        A better way to phrase the same way is "come and work as apprentice to
        today's brightest programming stars, learn their secrets and ways of
        thinking, and 7 years from now you will too be a star programmer".

        > > 7. Information specialist, to search literature and the Internet for any
        > > facts that the programmer needs.
        >
        > This is sometimes called a "librarian"... I don't think you really need one
        > in your company, it's even better if you have access to some big library
        > (e.g., the Technion's) where you can get books you need at a moment's notice.

        This is not the same. Librarians deal mostly with finding, loaning,
        returning and repairing books. Information specialists gather information
        from all sources, and know where to find the answer to any question.

        > > Any other wild ideas?
        >
        > A laptop?
        > A fast internet connection at home and/or a cellular Internet connection for
        > the cellphone?
        > A masseuse? :)

        Continue suggesting more wild ideas.
        --- Omer
        WARNING TO SPAMMERS: see at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html
      • mulix
        ... If i were a star programmer, i wouldn t be reading my mail on friday night, i d be coding the next linux, from scratch, and be done debugging it by the
        Message 3 of 23 , Dec 8, 2000
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          On Fri, 8 Dec 2000, Omer Zak wrote:

          > Here is a question to the real star programmers among us:

          If i were a star programmer, i wouldn't be reading my mail on friday
          night, i'd be coding the next linux, from scratch, and be done debugging
          it by the time the takeout arrives.

          > What would you recommend the company to equip you with?

          here's my wish list:

          flexible working hours. i work when i want to.

          flexible working location. onsite or offsite, at my discretion. have
          laptop and internet connection, will travel.

          flexible projects and choice of technology. c++, c, java, perl, commodore
          asm if that's what i want to do the prohject in (and i can give sufficient
          technical arguments to support my whim)

          > Partial list of suggestions:
          > 1. Software tester to test for you the brilliant code which you wrote.
          > 2. Technical writer to spare you from the pain of documenting your code
          > yourself.

          i would like to have ultimate control over my staff memebrs. to be able to
          decide who to work with and who not to.

          > 4. Big, flat panel display (or, better, two displays).

          in general, a computer which makes my task, programming, as easy as
          possible. and i decide what defines such a computer, naturally.

          > 5. Fast Internet connection.

          wholeheartedly agree.

          > 7. Information specialist, to search literature and the Internet for any
          > facts that the programmer needs.

          access to any knowledge source i need, be it in electronic form or
          dead-tree form. no questions asked as to why i need it or how much it
          costs.

          > --- Omer
          > WARNING TO SPAMMERS:at http://www.zak.co.il/spamwarning.html
          --
          mulix

          linux/reboot.h: #define LINUX_REBOOT_MAGIC1 0xfee1dead
        • Chen Shapira
          ... I m interested.
          Message 4 of 23 , Dec 10, 2000
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            >
            > Well, I decided to maintain a list of addresses of people who are
            > interested in daily or even more frequent updates to when the story is
            > updated. E-mail me if you wish to be added.

            I'm interested.
          • Chen Shapira
            ... I would get a tool maker. Whenever I need CVs to do just something else, and Yet another emacs feature, or a small script to do specific tasks, I find
            Message 5 of 23 , Dec 10, 2000
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              > Any other wild ideas?

              I would get a tool maker.

              Whenever I need CVs to do just something else, and Yet another emacs
              feature, or a small script to do specific tasks, I find myself wishing for
              someone else who would know perl/emacs-lisp better than I do and do it for
              me.
              Same for writing setups and doing builds.
              (where I work they have a special team handling CVS/Build/Setup for
              everyone, its fantastic!)
            • Chen Shapira
              ... I think everyone gets a decent amount of those. Ofcourse the more valuable you are the higher the value of good and decent become. So those are
              Message 6 of 23 , Dec 10, 2000
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                > Besides, I woild like to have a decent salary, good stock
                > options share
                > and a car.

                I think everyone gets a decent amount of those.
                Ofcourse the more valuable you are the higher the value of "good" and
                "decent" become.
                So those are automatic :-)
              • Omer Musaev
                ... ... Contrary to Nadav s experience, I find 3 monitors on a desk a good thing:) Hovewer, as mulix stated, a perfect computer is a question of
                Message 7 of 23 , Dec 10, 2000
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                  mulix wrote:

                  > On Fri, 8 Dec 2000, Omer Zak wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >> Here is a question to the real star programmers among us:
                  >
                  > If i were a star programmer, i wouldn't be reading my mail on friday
                  > night, i'd be coding the next linux, from scratch, and be done debugging
                  > it by the time the takeout arrives.
                  >
                  >
                  >> What would you recommend the company to equip you with?
                  >
                  <snip>

                  >> 4. Big, flat panel display (or, better, two displays).
                  >
                  > in general, a computer which makes my task, programming, as easy as
                  > possible. and i decide what defines such a computer, naturally.

                  Contrary to Nadav's experience, I find 3 monitors on a desk a good
                  thing:) Hovewer, as mulix stated,
                  a perfect computer is a question of personal decision.

                  >> 5. Fast Internet connection.
                  >
                  > wholeheartedly agree.
                  >
                  >
                  >> 7. Information specialist, to search literature and the Internet for any
                  >> facts that the programmer needs.
                  >
                  > access to any knowledge source i need, be it in electronic form or
                  > dead-tree form. no questions asked as to why i need it or how much it
                  > costs.


                  While I am not considering myself a star programmer, I think that LOTS
                  of disk space on netapp
                  and personal budget, i.e. readiness of employer to purchase whatever I
                  think could help me is
                  a good thing TM.

                  Besides, I woild like to have a decent salary, good stock options share
                  and a car.


                  omerm
                • Gilad Ben-Yossef
                  ... To comment on some previous comments regarding how does one knows whether she is a star programer? then I guess my answer would be: If you happen to work
                  Message 8 of 23 , Dec 10, 2000
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                    Omer Zak wrote:

                    > Here is a question to the real star programmers among us:

                    To comment on some previous comments regarding "how does one knows
                    whether she is a star programer?" then I guess my answer would be:

                    If you happen to work for a multinational corporation and you happen to
                    drive back to your (company supplied) home in a Southern California
                    "gated community" (3 pools, tennis courts, electric gates) by the
                    wonderful (Really!) road going between Malibu and Thousand Oaks, and
                    while driving the (company supplied) car you happen to hit a car going
                    the other way and totally trash your and the other drivers car (but no
                    one gets hurt) and the company simply sends you a new car and have their
                    lawyers take care of everything for you, without you having to to pay a
                    penny, display insurance papers etc. then you must be a star programer :-)

                    <sigh> Yes, I was once that good... ;-))

                    Now seriously, you seem to describe something very similar to the
                    "Surgical Team" that Fred Brooks describes in chapter 3 of the now
                    famous "The Mythical Man-Month". Since I can't quote the entire chapter
                    I'd advice you to go read the book. It's boring as hell, but still very
                    important.

                    Besides it (the book) makes a hell of a crushing answer when some dumb
                    ass pointy haired manager tries to convince you to take in new team
                    members to try and make a late project deliver on time and you go:
                    "That will only make the project *MORE* late, not less!" and he goes:
                    "Says who?". At this point I simply send them the title and the ISBN of
                    the book and a link to it on Amazon.. ;-)

                    I always thought the Surgical Team idea is very good except of the
                    social implications but never heard of any place this actually got tried
                    out in.

                    Interestingly, once can think of the Open Source development model
                    presented by Linux and ilk as a sort of Surgical Team development:
                    The developers write code, someone else tests, yet someone else
                    documents (well, maybe... ;-) This in addition to many of the
                    "communication and administration" functions becoming unnecessary
                    because of the extremely low cost of communication.
                    Well, maybe I'm stretching it too far...

                    Gilad.

                    --
                    Gilad Ben-Yossef <gilad@...>
                    http://benyossef.com :: +972(54)756701
                    "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, while interrupts are disabled. "
                    -- Murphey's law of kernel programing.
                  • Shlomi Fish
                    ... Then subscribe to shlomif-tpdos-subscribe@vipe.technion.ac.il and I ll send notices there whenever I update it. God bless ezmlm. Regards, Shlomi Fish ...
                    Message 9 of 23 , Dec 11, 2000
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                      On Sun, 10 Dec 2000, Chen Shapira wrote:

                      >
                      > >
                      > > Well, I decided to maintain a list of addresses of people who are
                      > > interested in daily or even more frequent updates to when the story is
                      > > updated. E-mail me if you wish to be added.
                      >
                      > I'm interested.
                      >

                      Then subscribe to shlomif-tpdos-subscribe@... and I'll
                      send notices there whenever I update it. God bless ezmlm.

                      Regards,

                      Shlomi Fish

                      >
                      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                      > hackers-il-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >



                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                      Home Page: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/
                      Home E-mail: shlomif@...

                      The prefix "God Said" has the extraordinary logical property of
                      converting any statement that follows it into a true one.
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