July 10, 2015

"How a team of young people, living in a repurposed McMansion in Maryland, helped rebuild Healthcare.gov."

"The Secret Startup That Saved the Worst Website in America." Excerpt:
So the team that started by performing bug fixes on a sprawling, struggling mass of code ended by writing critical, efficient infrastructure for the government. Yet what the MPL team accomplished philosophically may be even more important: It helped teach government bureaucrats how to think about building websites in 2015....

The MPL team was not the ideal workforce: They were (and remain) contractors to contractors. They were not protected by a union, nor did they enjoy the many benefits of working as public employees. They are coders-for-hire who could relocate across the country quickly, and they reflect the larger industry they work in: Mostly young, mostly male, and highly educated. It does not have to be this way. This kind of precarious employment—lucrative, quasi-nomadic—is as much the result of poor planning as a natural consequence of writing code for a living....

80 comments:

MayBee said...

It helped teach government bureaucrats how to think about building websites in 2015....

The MPL team was not the ideal workforce: They were (and remain) contractors to contractors. They were not protected by a union, nor did they enjoy the many benefits of working as public employees.


Hahahahahha!!!!!

I wonder if anyone realizes the cause and effect here.....

Roger Sweeny said...

Mostly male? Shame! Shame!

Tank said...

OK, I got beat to it.

Did Steve Sailer write this?

Funny.

Michael K said...

Things are bad when the Obama administration has to go to a "mostly male" non-unionized, non-government employee work group to save its ass.

Tank said...

Other possible tags:

gamergate

Atlas Shrugs

white mail privilege

diversity is our strength

Curious George said...

"It helped teach government bureaucrats..."

I doubt it. And it sure didn't teach The Atlantic anything:

"The MPL team was not the ideal workforce: They were (and remain) contractors to contractors. They were not protected by a union, nor did they enjoy the many benefits of working as public employees. They are coders-for-hire who could relocate across the country quickly, and they reflect the larger industry they work in: Mostly young, mostly male, and highly educated. It does not have to be this way. This kind of precarious employment—lucrative, quasi-nomadic—is as much the result of poor planning as a natural consequence of writing code for a living."

Beth said...

Now if only they would bring in similar people to do the same for data security.

Curious George said...

Mostly mail. And mostly something else.

MayBee said...

We do not understand why government bureaucrats, comfortable in their positions and protected from consequences of failure, were not good at creating the website.

Michael K said...

The story is unintentionally hilarious. The writer barely understands the culture of coders and why they are the way they are. This will never work for the whole system but that isn't important because the system they are setting up won't work anyway. Ted Kennedy, years after his death has finally gotten rid of the "cottage industry" of health care and created General Motors.

That'll work.

The saying from Vietnam applies. "If it isn't worth doing, it isn't worth doing well."

khesanh0802 said...

Key word about coding in the article "LUCRATIVE". Maybe that ( and the fact that they enjoy it) is why these people take on the work.

MadisonMan said...

Government contractors -- as a whole -- are not at all nimble or agile. Ever.

I've run into several who are excellent, but in general? I don't expect good products from them because they are completely hemmed in by bureaucracy.

Chris N said...

You can just kind of watch the establishment media liberal publications morph into something more Leftist under the current activist moon.

A shame, really.

Henry said...

Agile good! Waterfall bad!

As Michael K writes above, this article is unintentionally hilarious. Well actually, not hilarious. More of a 2000 word groaner.

But my favorite line is this spin from David Cutler, a health adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign:

“It’s very hard to think of a situation where the people best at getting legislation passed are best at implementing it. They are a different set of skills.”

Yes, that is true. It is very hard. It's also very hard to think of a situation where the people best at getting legislation passed are best at writing worthwhile legislation. Those too seem to be a different set of skills.

Xmas said...


Journalist discovers the magical world of Agile Development and Sprint Methodology, is shocked to find Government contracting is antithetical to modern software development.

who-knew said...

He writes "lucrative, quasi-nomadic" as if that is a bad thing. I suspect that for a lot of these programmers, that is a feature, not a bug.

Chris N said...

I hear there are a few excellent programmers who work for the Chinese gov't, so perhaps it follows that we'll need to make our gov't more authoritarian, unchecked, and dependent upon a conformist culture.

Then, finally, will non-unionized young, male mercenary contractors will be fully integrated into the collective. Unless of course it's for wars foreign or domestic, or to keep The People in check.

Do the people who write this stuff even realize how far away they are from the Constitution and basic freedom?

PB said...

Contractors to contractors...why have government managers at all?

How could a good result occur with a workforce with such little diversity? Anyone? Bueller?

MaxedOutMama said...

Hah, that has always been the way coders work and live. I used to work for CAP Gemini America. Ain't nuthin' changed.

tim in vermont said...

Fox Butterfield! Is that you?

I bet if they gave them all featherbeds, secure pensions whether they worked hard or well or not, a full time grievance merchant to constantly keep them looking for slights, and an army of political operatives like garage to make sure that nobody ever thought of criticizing anything they did. Then ensured that the workforce reflected Democrat constituencies regardless of qualifications, but still kept the high wages, we could have had Healthcare.gov 2.0, a carbon copy of the first clusterfuck!

Scott M said...

"This kind of precarious employment—lucrative, quasi-nomadic—is as much the result of poor planning as a natural consequence of writing code for a living."

...and should bother no one that's not involved with the arrangement. Hell, contract nurses have been doing this very thing for DECADES.

MayBee said...

How many times has President More Regulations Obama, fan of government to make things better for all, had his programs bailed out by someone from the private sector? How many times has he had to bring in someone from business to save him?

Obamacare
The VA
Rattner

I know there's more. Do people learn anything from this? Or is it always a crazy coincidence?

Bob Ellison said...

Nobody asked me. I coulda built healthcare.gov from scratch for a million bucks.

tim in vermont said...

App 2.0 is responsive, meaning it works on all types of screens, desktop and mobile;

Yeah, that's what "responsive" means. I guess the "fact checkers" don't do dictionary.

kcom said...

It's not a coincidence. It's bad luck.

PB said...

Nice to know so much info was stuffed into OPM databases, which were hacked. I think that 22 million people compromised is going up again.

Michael K said...

I thought the article was hilarious because I enjoy watching disasters. I guess it comes from being a trauma surgeon or something. I have a favorite book about military disasters. I don't enjoy experiencing them, of course, which is why I started wearing a seat belt when I started the trauma center. How embarrassing would it be to come in as a trauma and have everybody know you didn't buckle your seat belt? I've written code. Not for a living like those guys but I was an engineer.

I'm watching a video of a Bret Stephens speech about Obama's foreign policy, speaking of disasters.

Henry said...

tim in vermont wrote: App 2.0 is responsive, meaning it works on all types of screens, desktop and mobile;

Yeah, that's what "responsive" means. I guess the "fact checkers" don't do dictionary.


Actually, that is what "responsive" means in web user interface design. The basic idea is to use CSS media queries to determine the size and orientation of a device then customize web site styles accordingly.

tim in vermont said...

That's a pretty weird re-purposing of a word then. So what do they call it when an app responds quickly to service requests?

Guildofcannonballs said...

Let's commission a study by committee to form a working opinion on how to improve government efficiency to "private-sector velocities," but unionize everyone and mandate no feelings are hurt and, oh yeah, NO WHITE MALES.

kfb said...

To add on to PB's post...
"Contractors to contractors...why have government managers at all?
How could a good result occur with a workforce with such little diversity? Anyone? Bueller?"
@ 7/10/15, 8:13 AM

Who told the worker bee/coder/nomads what to code and what needed to be fixed?

Scott said...
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Scott said...
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Henry said...

That's a pretty weird re-purposing of a word then. So what do they call it when an app responds quickly to service requests?

Fast?

I agree that it is a bad word choice. Combine it with "accessible" which means that the user interface meets requirements for the handicapped and you can have a really confusing conversation. I find that even when talking with designers and developers people mix up responsive and accessible or use them generically instead of specifically.

Scott said...

This is the Agile Manifesto:


We [meaning programmers] are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.



The second point, "Working software over comprehensive documentation," is why Agile is a nightmare for government or any institution that by its nature must build software to specifications. Agile is about software developers interacting directly with end users and doing iterative prototypes, and fuck everybody else.

It is difficult to see how MPL could have developed healthcare.gov from scratch using Agile methodologies, because they could not develop the website directly from user input, while ignoring the documentation -- namely the Affordable Care Act -- and the hundreds of powerful people who had an interest in the outcomes.

In a sense, healthcare.gov, which was built using something like waterfall or SDLC methodology, was MPL's first prototype. It was in effect became MPL's design specification. MPL didn't have to concern itself with all the politics surrounding that first site. They just had to make healthcare.gov work. That didn't require much input from anybody and thus was an infinitely easier task.

Agile methodology was designed to gratify programmers by putting their own needs first. The manifesto ("manifesto??") is a highly narcissistic way to view the software development process.

Scott said...

The word "Agile" in the article is actually a proper noun, or an adjective. In either case it should be capitalized in all instances when referring to the distinctive software methodology. The Atlantic fucked up.

Scott said...

I meant "It was in effect MPL's design specification."

Anonymous said...

I agree with other commentators, that's unintentionally quite funny.

But it's not so funny when you remember that there is a mental disorder among the left. Or maybe it's not a disorder, it's just a mental glitch. They have stored in their memory banks the words, "Correlation is not causation." and it repeats endlessly.

Therefore, they need make no connections between one event and another. They are incapable of recognizing that their way of doing things is sub par, and ends up creating sites like Healthcare.gov.

I promise you there are Democrats and Leftists sitting in a room right now saying to themselves, "We just needed to spend more money."

khesanh0802 said...

@Michael K Thanks for the Bret Stephens reference. Watched a bit and have downloaded it so I can listen to the whole thing.

buwaya puti said...

Scott is right to a degree.
A great deal depends on the requirements, and most organizations are awful at figuring out what they are.
It's amazing how little managers know about their own workflows, what their data is, where it comes from, where it goes, and where it is. Then one has committees of managers trying to work it out, and getting it grossly wrong every time.
But one has to start somewhere.

SteveR said...

The problem of government run "anything" in a nutshell. When this ACA finally dies and is replaced by single payer (the Plan), you'll get the full effect.

tim in vermont said...

The problem with skipping the comprehensive documentation step is that there are so many legal requirements.

Old timer COBOL programmers used to say that the program was the documentation and an accountant without special programming skills could audit and approve it.

How do you audit a program that is not comprehensively documented?

Government is not suited to this business, plain and simple.

I remember reading an article in the New York Times in the 80s that said that lawyers should be writing computer code.

Scott said...

@buwaya puti: Well, yeah. But SDLC is designed to iron out all that crap. That's why it's suitable for developing software that has to serve many interests. Agile works best where the mission is focused from day one and you're developing software in an autocratic management structure.

tim in vermont said...

Oh yeah, and the more powerful a language is, the hard it is for a lay person to understand what a line of code does.

Bruce Hayden said...

Government contractors -- as a whole -- are not at all nimble or agile. Ever.

And, likely even less so when the prime contractor was selected because one of their executives was a friend of Michelle's from college. This is just one more example of why the Obama Administration has been so horrible in managing the federal bureaucracy - they had no business experience, and little government management experience.

Interestingly though, federal employees can be nimble, etc. coders. My first career was software engineering, and I started it almost 4years ago working on the Decennial Census. That sort of project staffed up once a decade, then dumped its employees until the gearing up for the next one. We had a bunch of young, hard working programmers who were pretty good. And, some deadwood, and other employees who had already taken on-the-job retirement. I remember one of them (GS-12) having worked for most of a year to get a program written. She went on vacation, and it blew up, as it was put into production. We couldn't wait for her to get back to fix it, so two (GS-7/9) of us rewrote it (correctly) in two days. I remember several years of short deadlines, that we always made, and a management team that got out of our way. Then, after the Decennial Census, a lot of those young, talented, programmers were bumped, losing their jobs, by the GS-12s who had already taken on-the-job retirement. Luckily for me, I had jumped to a private company (and govt. contractor) a couple years earlier, after being told I couldn't move to systems software until after the Decennial was over.

I then spent better than a decade working for federal govt. contractors. We had decent talent, and most of the problem involved the govt. contracting process, which tended to turn something that should have been straight forward into something that was much more complex. My last three years though were pretty good (putting me through law school). The govt. manager we worked with had discovered minority contracting, and found a minority contractor who would do what he wanted, without many questions. All he did, essentially, was take a small cut of all the sub-contracts run through him. All because he was Korean (or maybe Vietnamese). And, I was able to come out of law school with money in the bank as a result (my income almost doubled during this time). We did a lot of good work during those years.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

"The team called Marketplace Lite never actually built a working or lite version of the marketplace. The task was too complex and far-reaching. But in failing to finish it, they pushed the government to better understand technology."

Michael K said...

"unionize everyone and mandate no feelings are hurt and, oh yeah, NO WHITE MALES."

Also no Asian males. They are the new white males. Just ask Harvard,

Asians are great coders which is why China is eating our lunch on security. Russians are good too because they have a tradition of mathematics plus they did a lot under the Soviets with crappy hardware.

Henry said...

Bruce Hayden wrote: most of the problem involved the govt. contracting process, which tended to turn something that should have been straight forward into something that was much more complex.

Yes. The MPL team was indeed the ideal workforce because they were (and remain) contractors to contractors.

And every one of those nomadic gentlemen chose the start-up path. Where I work there is a constant to-and-fro between established software companies and start-ups. Lots of people prefer the start-ups. What reporter Robinson Meyer completely misses is that "nomadic" and "precarious" also often means "interesting."

Bruce Hayden said...

Old timer COBOL programmers used to say that the program was the documentation and an accountant without special programming skills could audit and approve it.

Maybe, but it was still the worst programming language I ever had to write in. It did get a little better when they added some structured programming constructs to the language, but it was still one of the worst programming languages out there for writing correct code. Partially, it was too verbose. And, partially, it had some of the most dangerous programming constructs available. For example, you couldn't tell where the flow of control would proceed in many cases, because the target of goto's were assigned elsewhere, or various sections were executed by other code, often with no clear entry and exit. (e.g. Paragraph Z executing paragraphs B through G, then maybe paragraphs F through M, etc.) The one thing that COBOL really did do for programming was to introduce structures, and some of those capabilities are still missing from more modern languages like C++, etc. (such as moving corresponding fields from one structure to another).

Bruce Hayden said...

Sorry: My first career was software engineering, and I started it almost 4 decades ago working on the Decennial Census.

tim in vermont said...

I am very sympathetic to the excuse offered by the original developers of Healthcare.gov that requirements were not released to them for political reasons until late in the process. These guys had relatively fixed requirements, plus buy dealing with the easy 60 percent of the cases, they bought a lot of simplicity.

It is a saying I have heard and said throughout my career at different places, said a lot because it is true: "Ninety percent of the effort goes into ten percent of the cases."

tim in vermont said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott said...

@tim in vermont: Vilfredo Pareto is laughing. I like to think he is in Heaven.

And I think you would agree that healthcare.gov was a death march from the day ACA was signed. The contractor who took on development of the site must have factored that into the bid, and was prepared to not fulfill the terms of the contract.

Kyzernick said...

Slightly off topic, but I have been itching to learn programming for a few months now. Any of the experienced coders here know a good place to start, short of going back to college for a BS in Computer Science?

EDH said...

Every last vestige of competitive free enterprise is needed to help destroy it.

The Drill SGT said...

Locking the programmers in a room, sliding pizza under the door and cans of Jolt through a mailslot has been the secret to successful SW success since COBOL was developed.

and keeping upper management out of the way, by using a middle aged ex-programmer outside the room as the "Requirements Manager"

Nothing changes

Jim said...

I'm sure that this somehow violated zoning or HOA covenants.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Kyzernick said...

Slightly off topic, but I have been itching to learn programming for a few months now. Any of the experienced coders here know a good place to start, short of going back to college for a BS in Computer Science?

I would say that depends on what you hope to accomplish by learning programming.

Personally if I was starting out I would learn Java. It is object oriented, you don't have to worry about memory leaks, it has cross-platform support, and lots of information available on the internet. It also has a lot of similarities to Javascript, C, C++, and C#, so it would be possible to switch between them if you needed to.

I know Python is popular in some settings, particularly as a learning language. It is less structured, more do-stuff-on-the-fly. The syntax is quite different from Java/C type languages. Personally I hate it.

Bob Ellison said...

Kyzernick, I would advise you to start with Java. It's a robust language that crosses platforms and can give you quick satisfaction for your efforts.

Bob Ellison said...

Ooh...kismet, Ignorance is Bliss.

Bob Ellison said...

Also, Kyzermick, remember this: great programmers are born, not made.

Henry said...

I would say that depends on what you hope to accomplish by learning programming.

Exactly. For web development, learning Java in conjunction with Javascript will put you in the catbird seat. There is a ton of neat stuff being done these days in Javascript and as a scripting language Javascript (plus HTML and CSS) gives you immediate bang for your effort.

For learning, I would start with some internet tutorials. There are many free courses offered by major universities as well as tutorials on sites like Kahn Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/computer-programming).

Kyzernick said...

Thanks for the advice. Java seems to be a common chorus from my few computer friends too. Not sure if I can be a "great" programmer, but I'll settle for "capable". I'm an Excel superuser, and I want to see if I can open new doors with something more complicated than formula syntax and light VBA.

bgates said...

The MPL team was not the ideal workforce: ...They are ... highly educated. It does not have to be this way. This kind of precarious employment—lucrative, quasi-nomadic—is as much the result of poor planning

I'm sure the planners will remove the problem of a highly educated workforce engaged in lucrative employment.

Michael K said...

"great programmers are born, not made."

And remember that, like mathematicians, the best code warriors are probably under 30. And male, of course.

I'm back to studying Physics for Engineers in a probably forlorn hope to keep Alzheimers at bay. That and calculus will keep me busy now that my last book is done.

MaxedOutMama said...

Kyzernick -Java, javascript, Ruby, maybe Python.

Start with Javascript - there's a whole lot of bang for your buck. https://www.javascript.com/
http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/javascript


Then Java - free, just download it, and you already know that == is different that =, so... Tons of free courses out there.

Last, Ruby.

When you get to the Java, I would recommend reading Head First Java. It will bang a few fundamental concepts into your head that will save you pain and suffering later.

Enjoy!!

Kyzernick said...

Thanks for the advice Mama!

cold pizza said...

COBOL. Heh. I still have my old programming textbooks from 1980. Knowing COBOL didn't help me one bit when I went into the USAF where I got to use even more arcane and ancient programming and hardware.

"When I was a boy all our networks were for hauling in fish from the sea
And our baud rate was 8 bits an hour (and she was worth it!)
And our IP address was just '3'"
(From "When I Was a Boy" by Frank Hayes, copyright 1997)

-CP

Big Mike said...

Slightly off topic, but I have been itching to learn programming for a few months now. Any of the experienced coders here know a good place to start, short of going back to college for a BS in Computer Science?

@Kyzernick, I retired this summer after a lengthy career (going back to the late 1960's) in software development. I can confirm what you read upthread, i.e., the best language to learn is Java since most of the important web standards are Java-based (e.g., JSON, JavaScript, JDBC). That and the SQL database language will leave you very well-placed in a job hunt.

The trick is to try to avoid "death march" programming projects. Michael K's remark about the best code warriors being under 30 may be tied to the long hours seven-day weeks that are common in death marches. The best book about death march projects that I've read is Showstopper, by G. Pascal Zachery (please use the Althouse Amazon portal), which describes the high stress environment that surrounded the development of Microsoft Windows NT release 1.0. It includes a scene where a child tearfully tells his father that he'd give up all his toys if daddy could spend a weekend at home with him.

As to agility, it isn't really all that new. I was one of the leaders of a very successful effort to deliver a system using Information Engineering Rapid Application Development (IE/RAD) back around 1992. But as has been noted by numerous others upthread, the government may specify agile software development in the request for proposal (RFP) but then asks for detailed plans and design reviews that effectively block agile development. Since the plans and requirement specs and design reviews are legal contract deliverables, the software people have a choice between getting thrown off the contract for non-performance or doing an agile delivery of working code. I wish I could blame it on the guy at the top of the bureaucracy, but it's a function of bureaucrats being bureaucrats since the first government officials were hired back in the days of the Egyptian pharaohs.

MadisonMan said...

I wouldn't bother with java. You'll never be hired to program in java -- it's too 2005.

The most popular short courses at the annual meeting I go to every year are python. Learning that, javascript, html-5 and SQL (there are many versions of this) will set you in good stead.

But what do I know? The last code fix I did was in FORTRAN.

tim in vermont said...

If you are an "Excel superuser" you should build on that and learn SQL. You probably already understand a great deal of it, it is just learning the words that make the concepts happen. IMHO anyway. Crystal Reports and SSRS are both easy next steps from Excel and will get you into SQL. And if you are doing Excel for people, doing reports for them is a logical step. That's how I started, doing reports for my boss, happy to have a practical application for my hobby, at that time.

Most of these languages can be learned in a short time, but the culture around them takes a longer time to absorb.

The first time I sat down at my programmer's desk and saw my first page of C code for DOS, I almost crapped myself (OK, maybe not, but I was taken aback), but then I took a deep breath and never looked back.

Kyzernick said...

I enrolled in a self-paced SQL certificate course that I haven't begun yet. Part of me was wondering if I should do that first, and then learn something like Java, Javascript, or Python. Seems like Java is a clear winner, but I'm intrigued now that someone's mentioned SQL - I am usually a fast learner so I think I'll finally start that SQL course this weekend, and maybe do some Codeacademy (what a great site that is, btw!) work in Java to feel it out. Def need to do the SQL first though, since I paid money for it and there is a division at my company that uses SQL a lot.

Honestly, I thought knowing Excel as well as I do was a feat. I rode that high for about a year, and then realized how silly that notion was. Having just turned 30, I want to branch out and learn before I'm too obdurate or senile to become competent (if not "master") new skills.

Unknown said...

But what is there to teach concepts of programming, not so much How to Program as Why to Program. You need the tools but where is the notion of developing for yourself, the thing the program is to do? Algorithms 101?

Kyzernick said...

Well, I taught myself Excel over the course of about 18 months. Went from =sum(a1:a300) to formulas that require 10+ lines of the formula bar even at full screen. My boss (and most of my colleagues) tell me that they've never seen dashboards with better form or function than mine, and I've had people who thought they were good at Excel look at me in shock and ask, "Excel can do that, really?" I'm not sure if these other languages will be the same. If not, I have some friends who are well versed in them already (and if you count old FB friends from the days of yore, probably about a dozen) that I can ask questions about.

Heck, all this and more could be learned from them. But I'm somewhat arrogant, shy, and hate admitting that I'm a n00b. I'd much rather learn what I can on my own, and then seek out experienced help. I feel people are more open and eager to assist when they know you're trying (and have been trying) to learn something independently. I would never give detailed brake job instructions to a friend who didn't own tools. But I'd sure as hell swing by at oh-dark-thirty to help a friend with a stuck caliper if I knew they'd been trying to fix it themselves and just got over their head.

Big Mike said...

@Unknown, that's why you take college programming classes.

YoungHegelian said...

Notice how "success" is defined: getting the web site to "work". The expansive specifications of the original RFP were simply kicked to the curb, and a simplified product was delivered. While no one will ever follow this up, this was, from the viewpoint of Federal Contracting Regulations, highly irregular, not to say illegal. But, oh, the great Fearless-Leader-In-Chief's butt & reputation was on the line, so all those laws be damned. Everybody else has to play by those rules, but not the fuckers whose constitutional job it is to enforce them.

The original web site was supposed to cross-check applications against data at other agencies (e.g IRS), and that never got done. Young "brilliant" Turks such as described in the article can kick ass when it's development in an environment they grew up with (e.g. the LAMP stack). Getting them to write an app that talks to middleware that in turn talks to a 30 year old CICS/Cobol system is a whole different kettle of fish.

Skeptical Voter said...

Mostly male; mostly Asian or white.

As Young Hegelian correctly points out, they designed a kludge--a fix to make a defective system work after a fashion.

I'd say that the Democrats in Congress--and particularly Obama and Pelosi (with maybe some Harry Reid) were like members of the cargo cults in Papua New Guinea. They expected technological miracles to drop from the sky. They dreamed of a "Cadillac" of a computer system with power windows, power seats, cross checks and all that. Ot course the image of Reid and Pelosi in feathers and painted faces with maybe a long gourd penis sheath for Obama brings a fleeting smile to my face.

The Democrats got a kludge that, compared to the original dream, is a clapped out Citroen 2CV. But they held it up and cried "victory".

But of course that sort of "defining down" has happened to at least a couple dozen "goalposts" and targets contemplated in the original Obamacare 20 headed hydrocephalic monster piece of legislation.

Bob Ellison said...

Kyzernick, good luck to you. You're gonna do great.

Chris N said...

My lady is pretty smart: higher-end excel contractor here in the Seattle area, started out like Kyzernick as a hobby. She's done some PM work for Microsoft, and for some local firms. You can do it, but best to have a support network.

Pretty punishing schedules, deadline driven and a younger man's game. Lots of Mandarin spoken at MS now, lots of very competent Indians, Chinese and Russians floating around the scene. Global marketplace and cheaper labor.

I know some game designers and a natural language search engine guy. There's definitely a culture, especially with the gamers.

I'm humbled around many of these folks' raw processing abilities, intelligence and focus.

Unknown said...

Big Mike, I studied engineering at two different colleges and all they wanted to do was shove some Pascal or some Fortran down my throat. No concept of concepts. Just here's programming, here's some had stock ad hoc stuff, go do something. Or do what I tell you to do, which is great training for the next 30 years. Very uncreative, very confining to my mind. Fyi this was nyu and vt.