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Re: the electrix repeater

Here's my guess as to what's happening at Electrix. Software is hard. Big
software is really hard. People who've written small pieces of software and
had them work don't always realize that it doesn't all just scale linearly.

Add to that the fact that there are probably a lot of time-dependent and
parallel operations going on in the unit and you've got a debugging
nightmare. Things go wrong but you can't make them go wrong again.

So, if you'd be prepared to only do the things they demo'd in the sequence
and with the timing they demo'd them, you'd probably be fine. Some tester
probably didn't stick to the script and had something bad happen, but they
are having a horrendous time reproducing it reliably.

My first job in the commercial software industry was working for Ann Arbor
Softworks. At the time A2S was famous for FullWrite Professional being
vaporware (though in total it was less than a year late). I joined at a
point where we spent several months operating under the lines: (a) we'll be
done in two weeks and (b) if we don't ship in two weeks we're going to go
out of business. A few years later I was talking to one of the lead
engineers on the team and he confessed that he'd realized afterward that he
and the other lead engineer could hold about two weeks worth of work in
their heads. Hence when asked how long it would take to finish, they'd
reflect for a while and come up with the answer "Two weeks".

My question is: Has anyone at Electrix read _The Mythical Man-Month_?


on 8/1/01 6:04 PM, Mark Sottilaro at sine@zerocrossing.net wrote:

> I'd love to here an
> uncensored version of what's going on at Electrix from an 
> engineer.  I'd bet we'd all have a nice chuckle.
> <nelson> Ha ha </nelson>