An Alternative for 'Less Relevant' Agile: the Studio Model

Last week Forbes ran an article by writer/data scientist Kurt Cagle arguing that Agile software development “was becoming less and less relevant.” Within five days it had racked up 300,000 hits, and “I’m still digging out from the deluge of email, Tweets and Linked In messages,” he wrote this week.

But in a new follow-up, Cagle looks back over his 40 years of programming, remembering successful six-month development cycles in the 1990s that used “a home-grown methodology which I’ve since dubbed the Studio Model, because it reflected the way that you create movies, television programs, orchestrated concerts, video games, and to be honest, most intellectual property.” He then attempts a 12-point manifesto for this Agile alternative, which emphasizes things like a clear vision, good design, redundancy, flexibility, and remembering that as a project moves forward changes become “exponentially expensive”.

All too often, proponents of certain methodologies want to claim that their methodologies are the reason for success, when in reality, the deciding factor was the skill and tenaciousness of the people involved, the presence of a clearly articulated vision that could be changed as needed but that was not written in jello, and on recognizing the distinction between providing flexibility and fueling failures.

Agile is not, by itself, a methodology. The Agile Manifesto is a wish-list, written primarily by programmers, in response to the incessant micro-management by non-technical managers who were in general too incompetent to learn about the technology that they managed. I cheered when I first read it… Agile legitimized the idea that all stakeholders must be involved in the process of shaping the product’s constraints and parameters (something that even now is still more preached than practiced). It gave a voice to developers and (some) others in the production process who up until then often had little say, and its message to managers in particular about the need to trust in the competence of the people they manage is one that cannot be stressed loudly enough. Its emphasis on change management has spurred a lot of thought about the nature of change, experimentation and development costs in the field. And for all that I think that certain Agile tools are a bit on the cheesy size, the idea of formalizing the process of development in such a way as to give creatives both the opportunities and the tools to shape and push back on design decisions is invaluable.

Yet, there are two key sets of problems that the Agile community faces. The first, and foremost, is that it decentralizes responsibility too much — it essentially punts on the whole issue of governance or editorial guidance. This is that whole vision thing all over again… Agile empowers autonomous teams, but those teams still need to be able to pull together towards a common set of goals, and this means sacrificing some autonomy for cohesiveness. Agile also does not (ironically) distribute very well for precisely that same reason…

Agile may be everywhere, as several readers suggested, but scratch the surface a bit and you’ll find that most of those successful agile projects were ones where you had a strong architect or steward, a culture that was already primed to work in a more Studio-Model like manner, a strong design in the first place as a foundation, and exceptional team-members that used agile in the way it should be used — as a scaffold, rather than a crutch. There are good things to take out of the last twenty years of Agile, but this is not 2000, and it’s well past time to acknowledge what’s worked with Agile … and what hasn’t.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – An Alternative for ‘Less Relevant’ Agile: the Studio Model

How To Install Prometheus with Docker on Ubuntu 18.04

Created in 2012 at SoundCloud, Prometheus is a time series database used in DevOps for real time monitoring. Prometheus is part of an ecosystem that provides alerting, dashboarding as well as a whole set of tools to bind to your existing datasources but Docker is a virtualization platform that provides a way to easily create, manage and run containers in a single node environment or a cluster. In this tutorial, we are going to install Prometheus with Docker as well as setting up a basic configuration for Prometheus.

Source: LXer – How To Install Prometheus with Docker on Ubuntu 18.04

Why support open source? Strategies from around the world

There are many excellent resources available to teach you how to run an open source project—how to set up the collaboration tools, how to get the community engaged, etc. But there is much less out there about open source strategy; that is, about how to use well-considered open source investments to support an overall more

Source: LXer – Why support open source? Strategies from around the world

Is Silicon Valley Building a Chinese-Style Social Credit System?

schwit1 shared this thought-provoking article from Fast Company:
Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies. Here are some of the elements of America’s growing social credit system.

– The New York State Department of Financial Services announced earlier this year that life insurance companies can base premiums on what they find in your social media posts…

– Airbnb can disable your account for life for any reason it chooses, and it reserves the right to not tell you the reason…

– You can be banned from communications apps, too. For example, you can be banned on WhatsApp if too many other users block you. You can also get banned for sending spam, threatening messages, trying to hack or reverse-engineer the WhatsApp app, or using the service with an unauthorized app…

The most disturbing attribute of a social credit system is not that it’s invasive, but that it’s extralegal. Crimes are punished outside the legal system, which means no presumption of innocence, no legal representation, no judge, no jury, and often no appeal. In other words, it’s an alternative legal system where the accused have fewer rights. Social credit systems are an end-run around the pesky complications of the legal system. Unlike China’s government policy, the social credit system emerging in the U.S. is enforced by private companies. If the public objects to how these laws are enforced, it can’t elect new rule-makers…

If current trends hold, it’s possible that in the future a majority of misdemeanors and even some felonies will be punished not by Washington, D.C., but by Silicon Valley. It’s a slippery slope away from democracy and toward corporatocracy. In other words, in the future, law enforcement may be determined less by the Constitution and legal code, and more by end-user license agreements.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Is Silicon Valley Building a Chinese-Style Social Credit System?

Paris is testing 'noise radar' that will automatically ticket loud cars

Parisians with powerful cars might want to think carefully before showing off their rides. Parts of the city (most recently the suburb of Villeneuve-le-Roi) are testing a “noise radar” system from Bruitparif that can pinpoint loud vehicles and, even…

Source: Engadget – Paris is testing ‘noise radar’ that will automatically ticket loud cars

EFF Warns: 'Don't Play in Google's Privacy Sandbox'

An EFF analysis looks at the problems with some of Google’s new “Privacy Sandbox” proposals, a few of which it calls “downright dangerous”:

Perhaps the most fleshed-out proposal in the Sandbox is the conversion measurement API. This is trying to tackle a problem as old as online ads: how can you know whether the people clicking on an ad ultimately buy the product it advertised….? Google’s ID field can contain 64 bits of information — a number between 1 and 18 quintillion. This will allow advertisers to attach a unique ID to each and every ad impression they serve, and, potentially, to connect ad conversions with individual users. If a user interacts with multiple ads from the same advertiser around the web, these IDs can help the advertiser build a profile of the user’s browsing habits.

Even worse is Google’s proposal for Federated Learning of Cohorts (or “FLoC”)…. FLoC would use Chrome users’ browsing history to do clustering. At a high level, it will study browsing patterns and generate groups of similar users, then assign each user to a group (called a “flock”). At the end of the process, each browser will receive a “flock name” which identifies it as a certain kind of web user. In Google’s proposal, users would then share their flock name, as an HTTP header, with everyone they interact with on the web. This is, in a word, bad for privacy. A flock name would essentially be a behavioral credit score: a tattoo on your digital forehead that gives a succinct summary of who you are, what you like, where you go, what you buy, and with whom you associate…

If the Privacy Sandbox won’t actually help users, why is Google proposing all these changes? Google can probably see which way the wind is blowing. Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention and Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection have severely curtailed third-party trackers’ access to data. Meanwhile, users and lawmakers continue to demand stronger privacy protections from Big Tech. While Chrome still dominates the browser market, Google might suspect that the days of unlimited access to third-party cookies are numbered. As a result, Google has apparently decided to defend its business model on two fronts. First, it’s continuing to argue that third-party cookies are actually fine, and companies like Apple and Mozilla who would restrict trackers’ access to user data will end up harming user privacy. This argument is absurd. But unfortunately, as long as Chrome remains the most popular browser in the world, Google will be able to single-handedly dictate whether cookies remain a viable option for tracking most users.

At the same time, Google seems to be hedging its bets. The “Privacy Sandbox” proposals for conversion measurement, FLoC, and PIGIN are each aimed at replacing one of the existing ways that third-party cookies are used for targeted ads. Google is brainstorming ways to continue serving targeted ads in a post-third-party-cookie world. If cookies go the way of the pop-up ad, Google’s targeting business will continue as usual.

The Sandbox isn’t about your privacy. It’s about Google’s bottom line. At the end of the day, Google is an advertising company that happens to make a browser.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – EFF Warns: ‘Don’t Play in Google’s Privacy Sandbox’

The next 'Apex Legends' event includes a sniper-focused mode

Respawn’s latest Apex Legends event is relying on a time-honored opportunity to keep things fresh: challenge you to master a handful of weapons. The studio is running a Voidwalker event between September 3rd and September 17th that will include a li…

Source: Engadget – The next ‘Apex Legends’ event includes a sniper-focused mode

How to Stream Hurricane Dorian News

Hurricane Dorian strengthened to a Category 4 storm Saturday evening as it continues its approach toward the southeastern U.S. coast. The question of exactly where the storm will make landfall is still up in the air, especially after its forecast path shifted east earlier today. Some forecasters are even saying Dorian…

Read more…

Source: Gizmodo – How to Stream Hurricane Dorian News

'Why PHP Still Beats Your Next Favourite Alternative'

Long-time Slashdot reader Qbertino writes: On PHPday in Verona (Italy) Rasmus Lerdorf, creator of PHP, gave an enlightening talk on PHP and its history. 25 years of PHP (video of the talk) is ripe with details on PHP, the design choices behind the web’s favorite server-side templating language and with explanations on why what you may think of as an inconsistent mess actually makes perfect sense just the way it is. Very insightful, fun, interesting and a must-watch for PHP lovers and haters alike.

Introducing one slide, Lerdorf remembers that in the 1990s, “the web looked like this — CGI bins written in C.”

But he also shows his first computers from the 1980s at the beginning of the talk, before moving on to screenshots of Gopher, and then of the Mosaic browser. “This changed everything. And not just for me, for everybody…

“Everybody around at the time, playing with this stuff, and having had UUCP addresses and playing with Usenet and bulletin boards — it was very easy to see that this was going to change the world.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – ‘Why PHP Still Beats Your Next Favourite Alternative’

Windows 10 will let you reinstall the OS from the cloud

To date, reinstalling Windows has meant using a local copy — either something already stored on your PC (and thus at risk of going bad) or something external. Soon, though, it might just be a matter of grabbing it online. On top of changing tablet…

Source: Engadget – Windows 10 will let you reinstall the OS from the cloud

Check if Your Mobile Carrier is Throttling Netflix With This App

A recent study by Northwestern University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst found that every major carrier in the United States has artificially slowed down videos from places like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube.

Read more…

Source: LifeHacker – Check if Your Mobile Carrier is Throttling Netflix With This App

The Big Levandowski: Could an Uber Engineer's Indictment Discourage Workers From Changing Jobs?

Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: For nearly 20 years,” writes WIRED’s Alex Davies in How Anthony Levandowski Put Himself at the Center of an Industry, “the French-American Levandowski has played a kind of purposeful Forrest Gump for the world of autonomous driving. Rather than stumbling into the center of one momentous event after another, Levandowski has put himself there. And he has left a mixed trail in his wake: Former colleagues have described him as brilliant, engaging, motivating, fast-charging, inconsiderate, a weasel, and just plain evil. None, though, deny that whether for good or ill, the benefit of society or himself, Levandowski has played a propulsive role in the development of self-driving tech.”

But that’s of little comfort to Levandowski, who was charged by the Feds earlier this week with stealing driverless-vehicle technology from Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo unit, prompting the New Yorker’s Charles Duhigg to explain How the Anthony Levandowski Indictment Helps Big Tech Stifle Innovation in Silicon Valley. The Economic Espionage Act of 1996, Duhigg notes, “was mostly intended to be used against overseas saboteurs, but it has largely been directed at American citizens — and, in effect, has made federal prosecutors into heavies operating on behalf of disgruntled tech firms.”

The definition of a ‘trade secret’ in the statute, Duhigg adds, is so broad that it could very well mean anything. Daniel Olmos, an attorney who has represented individuals accused of stealing trade secrets, once told Duhigg, “I get calls all the time from scared engineers, who once put some work stuff on their home computer so they could work on it after dinner, and now they’re worried if they try to jump to another firm they’re gonna get sued. And you know what? They’re right to be worried.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – The Big Levandowski: Could an Uber Engineer’s Indictment Discourage Workers From Changing Jobs?

'Cyberpunk 2077' video offers a 'deep dive' on playing styles

CD Projekt Red has a lot more to show of Cyberpunk 2077 than its initial gameplay video and Keanu Reeves’ character. The studio has published a 14-minute “deep dive” clip that explores the dilapidated Pacific district and, crucially, the ways that e…

Source: Engadget – ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ video offers a ‘deep dive’ on playing styles

Should the Linux Kernel Accept Drivers Written In Rust?

Packt’s recent story about Rust had the headline “Rust is the future of systems programming, C is the new Assembly.”

But there was an interesting discussion about the story on One reader suggested letting people write drivers for the Linux kernel in Rust. (“There’s a good chance that encouraging people to submit their wacky drivers in Rust would improve the quality of the driver, partly because you can focus attention on the unsafe parts.”)

And that comment drew an interesting follow-up:
“I spoke with Greg Kroah-Hartman, and he said he’d be willing to accept a framework in the kernel for writing drivers in Rust, as long as 1) for now it wasn’t enabled by default (even if you did “make allyesconfig”) so that people don’t *need* Rust to build the kernel, and 2) it shows real benefits beyond writing C, such as safe wrappers for kernel APIs.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Should the Linux Kernel Accept Drivers Written In Rust?