Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef --)

2001-01-21 Thread Kieran Barry

On Sat, 20 Jan 2001, Chris Benson wrote:
 On Sat, Jan 20, 2001 at 09:04:24PM +, Robin Houston wrote:
  On Sat, Jan 20, 2001 at 08:01:51PM +, Chris Benson wrote:
  
   Another link is 
   
   http://www.arsdigita.com/careers/
   
   They seem to be a very good model for a consultancy business 
  
  Personally I wouldn't like to work anywhere that thinks like this:
http://www.arsdigita.com/asj/managing-software-engineers/
  
  Even if that article is slightly tongue-in-cheek, it disturbs me :-)
 
I get the feeling that some of Greenspun's writings are written as
advertising. One theme running through his writings seems to me is to
explain his architecture to the audience. He keeps things really simple,
so that even a manager should be able to understand him.

But it remains advertising. He goes just slightly over the top about how
great ArsDigita is.

 I suspect it is *not* tongue-in-cheek -- he wants only the best and does
 expect 70-80 hour weeks ... during a project.  In some discussion I saw
 about this he justified it two ways that I remember: (1) not everyone
 worked on projects all the time and (2) if people did work full time on
 projects they'd be getting about ~us$500k / year.  (Having spent the
 entire 80's doing 70-80 hour weeks for less than gbp10k I'd liked to
 have had the chance!).
 
Hmm. My experience says that on many projects, there are people you
don't want to work overtime. This is because they created many of the
reasons why overtime is necessary.

Greenspun believes that everyone should be potentially great (or great
already.) He suggests that when a project needs work, people work
harder. And an interesting point is that he is in a small town
(Cambridge, Masse-however you spell the damn thing), so that commuting
is much quicker. On a typical day, I leave for work at 7.25, get to work
at about 9.10, leave at 6.30 and arrive home around 8.15. (This is since
Hatfield. Total work time 8.30 after lunch. If my commute was 10 minutes
each way, I'd have 3hours and 10 minutes of extra work time a day. (Not
that I'd necessarily want to work it...)

Look at the consultancy thread, where despite the project being composed
of a group of friends, a lot of people wanted to work from home. 

 There are also good bits there which have been mentioned in other threads:
 quote
  The average home cannot accomodate a pinball machine. An office  
  can. The average home can have video games, which are very popular
  with young programmers, but not people with whom to play. The
  average home cannot have a grand piano but almost any office can.
 
For the time being, the techy is "talent". We should be treated well,
until they find a way to clone us. At the very least, if we aren't being
treated well, it implies that the project isn't valued. 


 I don't think I'd like to work for them though ... I'm getting old'n'soft
 :-( and I find the attitude that comes over in Phil Greenspun's writing
 rather (very!) arrogant.  And of course they use shudder TCL.
 
I think that Greenspun needs to be outspoken to pay for the techies
toys.

TCL is used because its multithreaded. Perl 6 is going to be
multithreaded. It should be able to wipe TCL out.

 But the organisational structure and strategy/vision *is* interesting.

Yup. There isn't enough talent around, so people get promoted beyond
their competence. If you train your people they'll only leave.

The only way out of that cycle is to train in-house,
and treat people so well that they stay.

Discuss.

Kieran




Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef -- )

2001-01-21 Thread Roger Burton West

On Sun, Jan 21, 2001 at 08:37:02PM +, Kieran Barry wrote:

Yup. There isn't enough talent around, so people get promoted beyond
their competence. If you train your people they'll only leave.

The only way out of that cycle is to train in-house,
and treat people so well that they stay.

Which implies that hassling them if they don't work 70-hour weeks is
counterproductive. When I was looking for my current job, it took me
a week from starting to search to getting two decent offers; so I know
there's demand for people who can do what I do. In turn, my employers
know it too: which means our relationship is a lot more civilised than
it's been in other places where I worked.

I don't think training is related to leaving; people leave anyway,
all the time. Giving someone training might increase his market value,
but if your company isn't prepared to pay for that, why train him in
the first place?

Roger



Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef -- )

2001-01-21 Thread Paul Makepeace

On Sun, Jan 21, 2001 at 08:37:02PM +, Kieran Barry wrote:
 Yup. There isn't enough talent around, so people get promoted beyond
 their competence. If you train your people they'll only leave.
 
 The only way out of that cycle is to train in-house,
 and treat people so well that they stay.

Solution: teach them uber-esoterica like TCL ("The Cult
Language") so they become social pariahs thus dependent on
support from The Company, and further can't get a job anywhere
else owing to their debilitating intellectual crippling and
emotional  psychological dependencies :-)


Keeping employees 101: Show respect, recognise them, care for
them and provide opportunity for growth.  It's all about the
love; that's all anyone really wants.

Paul



Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef -- )

2001-01-21 Thread Michael Stevens

On Sun, Jan 21, 2001 at 08:37:02PM +, Kieran Barry wrote:
 TCL is used because its multithreaded. Perl 6 is going to be
 multithreaded. It should be able to wipe TCL out.

I've never actually understood the appeal of threads. Why do
people like them?

Michael



Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef --)

2001-01-21 Thread Jonathan Stowe

On Sun, 21 Jan 2001, Michael Stevens wrote:

 On Sun, Jan 21, 2001 at 08:37:02PM +, Kieran Barry wrote:
  TCL is used because its multithreaded. Perl 6 is going to be
  multithreaded. It should be able to wipe TCL out.
 
 I've never actually understood the appeal of threads. Why do
 people like them?
 

Thats a trick question right ?

/J\
-- 
Jonathan Stowe   |   
http://www.gellyfish.com |   I'm with Grep on this one 
http://www.tackleway.co.uk   |




Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef -- )

2001-01-21 Thread Greg McCarroll

y* Michael Stevens ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) wrote:
 On Sun, Jan 21, 2001 at 09:05:43PM +, Michael Stevens wrote:
  Ok, it's trolling a bit, but their main use seems to be where
  you don't want to bother to do proper nonblocking IO...
 
 quick web search
 
 They're apparently faster. And make it easier to share data.


aside from the whole LWP aspect, i think the main appeal is they are
a defined art - unlike the matre'd/minicab controller element of 
forked process management

we really want standardisation of technology interfaces in the industry,
and threads go a little towards that - oh and a law that alows be to
go around and shooting people who work in IT and i deep unworthy[1].

Greg

[1] i'm willing to limit this law to semi-automatic weapons - i'm that
reasonable

-- 
Greg McCarroll  http://www.mccarroll.uklinux.net



Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef -- )

2001-01-21 Thread Michael Stevens

On Sun, Jan 21, 2001 at 10:58:54PM +, Greg McCarroll wrote:
 y* Michael Stevens ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) wrote:
  On Sun, Jan 21, 2001 at 09:05:43PM +, Michael Stevens wrote:
   Ok, it's trolling a bit, but their main use seems to be where
   you don't want to bother to do proper nonblocking IO...
  quick web search
  They're apparently faster. And make it easier to share data.
 aside from the whole LWP aspect, i think the main appeal is they are
 a defined art - unlike the matre'd/minicab controller element of 
 forked process management

Hmm, it just always feels like someone sat down once and said "ok,
we have two choices:

1) we could improve proccesses, and IPC, and make them useful and standard
and easy for the task we want to do.

2) we could ignore the considerable work we spent implementing processes,
and build a new form of thing, and them build all our standards on top
of that

". And they picked the second option.

 we really want standardisation of technology interfaces in the industry,
 and threads go a little towards that - oh and a law that alows be to
 go around and shooting people who work in IT and i deep unworthy[1].

I do agree with this part.



Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef -- )

2001-01-21 Thread Greg McCarroll

* Michael Stevens ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) wrote:
  we really want standardisation of technology interfaces in the industry,
  and threads go a little towards that - oh and a law that alows be to
  go around and shooting people who work in IT and i deep unworthy[1].
 
 I do agree with this part.


the standardisation on the bloody massacre part?


-- 
Greg McCarroll  http://www.mccarroll.uklinux.net



Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef -- )

2001-01-21 Thread Michael Stevens

On Sun, Jan 21, 2001 at 11:24:03PM +, Greg McCarroll wrote:
 * Michael Stevens ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) wrote:
   we really want standardisation of technology interfaces in the industry,
   and threads go a little towards that - oh and a law that alows be to
   go around and shooting people who work in IT and i deep unworthy[1].
  I do agree with this part.
 the standardisation on the bloody massacre part?

Actually both.

Michael



Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef --)

2001-01-21 Thread Kieran Barry

On Sun, 21 Jan 2001, Michael Stevens wrote:

 On Sun, Jan 21, 2001 at 08:37:02PM +, Kieran Barry wrote:
  TCL is used because its multithreaded. Perl 6 is going to be
  multithreaded. It should be able to wipe TCL out.
 
 I've never actually understood the appeal of threads. Why do
 people like them?
 
The concept of execution threads within a process makes it easy to share
resources like database connections. As I understand it, that's it. The
pre-forked model that Apache uses has a problem because it's tough to
share resources.

Incidentally, I think this is the reason servlets are used.

Regards

Kieran




Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef --)

2001-01-21 Thread Jonathan Stowe

On Sun, 21 Jan 2001, Greg McCarroll wrote:
 y* Michael Stevens ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) wrote:
  On Sun, Jan 21, 2001 at 09:05:43PM +, Michael Stevens wrote:
   Ok, it's trolling a bit, but their main use seems to be where
   you don't want to bother to do proper nonblocking IO...
  
  quick web search
  
  They're apparently faster. And make it easier to share data.
 
 aside from the whole LWP aspect, i think the main appeal is they are
 a defined art - unlike the matre'd/minicab controller element of 
 forked process management
 
 we really want standardisation of technology interfaces in the industry,
 and threads go a little towards that - oh and a law that alows be to
 go around and shooting people who work in IT and i deep unworthy[1].
 

Ah that'll be Grep pissed with his week then :)

/J\
-- 
Jonathan Stowe   |   
http://www.gellyfish.com |   I'm with Grep on this one 
http://www.tackleway.co.uk   |




Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef -- )

2001-01-21 Thread Michael Stevens

On Sun, Jan 21, 2001 at 10:34:54PM +, Kieran Barry wrote:
 The concept of execution threads within a process makes it easy to share
 resources like database connections. As I understand it, that's it. The
 pre-forked model that Apache uses has a problem because it's tough to
 share resources.
 
 Incidentally, I think this is the reason servlets are used.

Servlets are actually pretty nice. They're like mod_perl handlers except
they feel... cleaner somehow. IMHO, anyway.

Michael



Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef -- )

2001-01-21 Thread Robin Szemeti

On Sun, 21 Jan 2001, you wrote:

 Keeping employees 101: Show respect, recognise them, care for
 them and provide opportunity for growth.  It's all about the
 love; that's all anyone really wants.

and money ... lots and lots of money ...

-- 
Robin Szemeti

The box said "requires windows 95 or better"
So I installed Linux!



Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef -- )

2001-01-21 Thread Paul Makepeace

On Sun, Jan 21, 2001 at 11:32:19PM +, Robin Szemeti wrote:
 On Sun, 21 Jan 2001, you wrote:

[Could you configure your editor/mailer to attribute correctly?]

  Keeping employees 101: Show respect, recognise them, care for
  them and provide opportunity for growth.  It's all about the
  love; that's all anyone really wants.
 
 and money ... lots and lots of money ...

Money is a beautiful thing, there's no doubt.

Paul, just got a check, er, cheque finally...



Re: ArsDigita working practices (was: Big Macs v The Naked Chef -- )

2001-01-20 Thread Chris Benson

On Sat, Jan 20, 2001 at 09:04:24PM +, Robin Houston wrote:
 On Sat, Jan 20, 2001 at 08:01:51PM +, Chris Benson wrote:
 
  Another link is 
  
  http://www.arsdigita.com/careers/
  
  They seem to be a very good model for a consultancy business 
 
 Personally I wouldn't like to work anywhere that thinks like this:
   http://www.arsdigita.com/asj/managing-software-engineers/
 
 Even if that article is slightly tongue-in-cheek, it disturbs me :-)

I suspect it is *not* tongue-in-cheek -- he wants only the best and does
expect 70-80 hour weeks ... during a project.  In some discussion I saw
about this he justified it two ways that I remember: (1) not everyone
worked on projects all the time and (2) if people did work full time on
projects they'd be getting about ~us$500k / year.  (Having spent the
entire 80's doing 70-80 hour weeks for less than gbp10k I'd liked to
have had the chance!).

There are also good bits there which have been mentioned in other threads:
quote
 The average home cannot accomodate a pinball machine. An office  
 can. The average home can have video games, which are very popular
 with young programmers, but not people with whom to play. The
 average home cannot have a grand piano but almost any office can.

Attractive

 A worthwhile goal is to have at least one thing that is extremely
 attractive about the physical enivronment for any particular
 prospective software engineer. Here's a possible list:
 * dog-friendly policy
 * grand piano
 * climbing wall
 * indoor garden
 * aquarium
 * koi pond
 * exercise room with fancy machines
 * pinball machine
/quote

I don't think I'd like to work for them though ... I'm getting old'n'soft
:-( and I find the attitude that comes over in Phil Greenspun's writing
rather (very!) arrogant.  And of course they use shudder TCL.

But the organisational structure and strategy/vision *is* interesting.

Who might come to PO on Monday night (with chqbook for the machine) to see
what people are thinking of doing.
-- 
Chris Benson