Software “Engineer”

So first there’s this: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/11/programmers-should-not-call-themselves-engineers/414271/

While some of his examples are weak and suffer from a lack of awareness of scale (e.g. that only a few phones of 10’s of millions are “bricked” by a major software update) this does make a valid point that the title “engineer” was appropriated by the software industry while none of the attendant checks and balances like regulation, professional organizations and requalification were. We all know the old saw about if bridges were engineered the same way software is “engineered” we’d have no way to cross rivers. So there’s something to his position but one might argue that progress would not be nearly as rapid if software “engineering” were subject to the same strictures as “real” engineering and, really, are a few bricked phones really in the same league as the Tacoma Narrows?

But then there’s this: http://www.wired.com/2015/11/null/

And I put my face in my hands.

Just in case you don’t think that’s a real thing: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4456438/how-do-i-correctly-pass-the-string-null-an-employees-proper-surname-to-a-so

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Allergy Alarmists

This is great stuff:

> Now imagine that a diner whose “serious dairy allergy” required you to take all those time-consuming steps decides to finish her meal by ordering ice cream, telling her server that it’s OK if she “cheats a little.” This, Leviton says, happens all the time.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2015/10/14/why-food-allergy-fakers-need-stop/PB6uN8NF3eLWFjXnKF5A9K/story.html?utm_source=nextdraft&utm_medium=email

Yes, you can stop the music

Amusing article about politicians using music without permission:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-long-history-of-musicians-telling-republicans-to-stop-playing-their-music/

Of course, the most delicious irony concerns the actual meaning of the Springsteen song “Born In The USA” which is often overlooked by those playing it:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/11/06/are-politicians-too-dumb-to-understand-the-lyrics-to-born-in-the-usa.html

autopsy.io

http://autopsy.io/

Another startup deadpool with the commentary by those directly involved (mostly) this time. Some of the self analyses of the failures are awesome. Some of the business ideas are cringeworthy.

It certainly made me feel more comfortable about the frequent internal monologue I have which goes:

“How about a startup that …?”

“No, there are 5 good reasons why they won’t work”

Aside: Who makes a web site that looks like a spreadsheet? It doesn’t work in an embedded browser on an iPad (the links aren’t functional) so it’s not just a aesthetic choice.