Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Wednesday, January 3, 2007day link 

 Nano factory


Cool animated video of a matter replicator at work. It sort of presents itself as if it were a real machine, and that's really how it would work. Maybe it will be like that, in 20 years or so. Would be great. Print out your own billion CPU laptop on your kitchen table. It helps with a visualization, of course. I want one. (Via Metafilter)
[ | 2007-01-03 19:47 | 2 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Mongolian training camps for programmers
Yakov Fain visited a class for Java programmers in Mongolia, called "Dealing with Overseas Employers 101", and these were his notes:
1. America is rich, we are poor. It’s not fair, they have to share.
2. In the beginning, their manager will try to scare you by promising that he’ll check up on the status of your assignments daily. Do not be afraid – a status report is just a formality, and they’ll take whatever you write.
3. One of your major problems will be "what to write in status reports". Never write “I could not do it ” there. Americans like positive statements. For example, let’s say you’ve got an assignment to create a reusable component that will identify the number of failed database requests. You do not even have a clue what are they asking for.
The first week you spend on Google in hopeless attempts to find such component. The status report for the first week should read “Comparing various approaches of creating reusable db-failures component to find the most efficient and effective way for its development”. During the second week invent something similar. Hopefully, on the third week something more urgent will come up and you’ll get another assignment.
4. Be prepared to spend the first couple of weeks waiting for the logon id and password to your employer’s network. After obtaining these credentials, you’ll find out that you still don’t have access to a dozen of servers, which require Unix logon. Your remote manager will promise you to resolve it as soon as possible, but because of the service level agreements (aka SLA) with the Unix support team , you won’t get access for another week or so. Typically, it’ll take about a month just to get you connected.
5. Never say “I do not know”. Accept all assignments – one of two things will happen – either you’ll figure out how to complete the assignment, or it’ll get cancelled.
6. In conversations with your overseas teammates, always require detailed written specifications for each small program modification. Ignore their statements “I’d fix it myself faster than writing detailed specs for you”. They have no choice and must work with you to show that your team is useful.
7. Use time difference to your advantage. For example, if you want to send an email asking for some clarifications, do not send it in the moring, because you may get an immediate answer. Do it in the evening (your time zone), before leaving the office – you’ll get the answer only next day.
8. If you have a choice, avoid fixed price projects. Hourly-based pay will allow to put a couple of extra hours here and there, and having a couple of extra rupees or rubles never hurts.
9. Experienced offshore programmers never try to obtain US working visa and to work onsite. If you do this, you’ll work a lot harder – not worth the trip.
10. Always be polite – it’ll get you far. Insert “Excuse me”, “Thank you”, “Yes sir” in every other sentence. Always smile - even during phone conversation. The he showed this movie about an offshore tech support.
11. Change your local employer every three months. You are gaining experience daily, and even if the new job offers just one percent of salary increase, go there. It’s a golden IT offshoring era – use it while it lasts! Or as they say, it's time to make a quick buck!
I could understand if he was a bit speechless. This was apparently the standard program delivered by a major guru in the subject. I.e. how to do outsourcing for Americans.

But actually they've figured it out a little too well. These are almost the same rules for being an American employee in a big corporation. Oh, or French, for that matter. Always say yes, but if you do things slowly enough, priorities have probably changed in a few months, and nobody will notice that you didn't actually finish anything.
[ | 2007-01-03 20:23 | 7 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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