Universal Credit: government closer to recognising failure?

WOW! There could be a lot of factors involved in the pending “collapse”, but still. Makes you think twice about “agile”.

cartesian product

Universal Credit – the amalgamation of various welfare payments into one unified entitlement which will vary in “real time” as claimants’ circumstances change – is at the very heart of the British government‘s plans to reform the welfare state. The idea is that the welfare system will “make work pay”. Once that meant it would have a shallow taper – in other words, the loss of benefit as claimants got work would be reduced: today that aim seems less clearly expressed, but that is another issue I won’t go into here.

Universal Credit is also the world’s biggest ever “agile development” software project and a massive financial and social (and hence political) risk for the government. Unless delivered on time and on budget then the consequences are grave – some of the most vulnerable people in society could be left literally destitute, with all that entails…

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XBOX One : A Huge Mistake

With the announcement of XBOX One yesterday, I can’t help but think “What the f@#! is Microsoft thinking?!”.

Disabling disc sharing between consumers?  Look, if I buy a game, am done playing it, and want to pass it off to my little brother, I should have that right.  Charging him $60 isn’t going to get you $60, it’s going to get one less player.  Honestly, how much money does Microsoft plan on making with a scheme like that VS the amount of steady gamers they are going to lose.  Bootlegging isn’t that rampant in XBOX.  Since an XBOX Live account can not be used in most rooted XBOX systems, the bootlegging is left to a small proportion of the gaming community.  All they have done is alienate their consumers from using their publishers product.  What about stores like “Game Stop” or services like “Game Fly”?

I have played enough crappy games in my life, to know that not every game is worth $60.  I have also played enough demo’s/rentals to know a good game when I see one.

I forsee this being the beginning of the end for Microsoft and its vast market-share of the gaming community.  More people will decide to stick with their mobile phone, Sony Playstations, or PC gaming.  Sure you’ll have a few hardcore fans, and some great titles may attract a few buyers, but I predict insanely different numbers in comparison to the XBOX 360 launch.

Decisions of Highly Successful People


I am learning more and more about “effectively dealing with others” every day.  It’s hard being a programmer for hours a day, and then talking to humans again.  The computer listens.  It does exactly as it is told.  If my instructions are incorrect, it will perform incorrectly.  There is no assumption on my end, or in the code.  Computers are emotionless workhorses.  Humans are wildly different.  Things I say/do affect they way people perceive who I am as a man and as a businessman.  A person can tell me one thing, and do another.  I’ve often been called too “blunt” and many people see me with a  “harsh” persona.  It’s almost like a switch, you need to turn on and off.  with computers, you think in logical terms and highly defined processes.  With humans you must take into consideration many factors.  How are they feeling, has life been stressful lately, am I asking too much of them?  It’s a dance, and I must learn to tango.  The better I get with people, the easier my job becomes.

I don’t usually feel the need to convince others I am good at what I do.  I did at first.  Being so young, and no college really left me feeling incompetent when reading about other programmers.  Even today I wouldn’t say I am the upper echelon of developers.  If anything, I’m constantly trying to convince myself that I am a “good” programmer.  I think back 6+ years to the code I wrote, and I know, I am a much better developer now.  But I also think about the code I write today, and what IT will look like in 6 years.  Probably pretty terrible, lol.  The great thing is, the more I read about my programming idols, the more I learn that they all went through it.  We all begin somewhere, we all write silly code that we wish we could re-factor after new found knowledge.  I guess that ties into #4 “come to terms with the fact that you are not perfect”.  I get it.  My code will never be “perfect” it will always be “good enough”.  The business decisions I make will be good and bad.  The only thing that matters is learning from your experiences, waking up the next day, and giving it another shot.  Keep pushing forward, do good business, beat your deadlines, and all will be good.

Phishing Scam : Walmart TV’s


Ha!  That is pretty damn clever.  I think this is the first time I can remember of a “receipt” being sent out.  I am still curious as to why they can’t proofread their emails for spelling/grammar.  Is it for spam detection, or are they really just that lazy with it?

Furthermore, why isn’t there more done to ensure email origination?  I can see when a Twitter account has been “verified”, or if a Facebook account is authentic.  Where is the system for emails?  Maybe it is out there, and I just don’t know about it?

Commenting Your Code


A great article about commenting and code.  I can’t even begin to describe some of the odd comments I’ve seen in code.  Things like “// Loop through items to find the right one”.  Items?  What items?  What makes it a “right” item?  I would forgo those comments, for some above WHY an item is “right”.

I am all about “self documenting code”.  I feel code should flow, as if reading a story.  I often had talks with other programmers who said “I don’t ever need to use this code again, so why waste time wrapping it in a method/function?”.  Well that may be true for today’s code base, and your code may make sense to you, but think about the next guy coming in after you.  If you write great code, it can live for a long time, even after you’ve left a company.

“Always leave the code base, in a better state than you found it in”.

Simulated Bank Heist:


Pretty impressive stuff.  Looks like Nish Bhalla from SecurityCompass was able to create $14 million dollars from “thin air”.  Granted, he had access to an internal network ahead of time, but still this is impressive.  A little sniffing, a lack of encryption, and some wherewithal and Nish was able to create a new account.

I would think banking of all places would be more serious about encrypting their data.  Shouldn’t there be some kind of compliance for passing banking data, even on internal networks? Or is this more about a lack of decent talent, capable of coming up with these security measures?