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Stephen Pride

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Recent posts by Stephen Pride

I know this is a delicate topic on these boards, but I thought this write-up was interesting ...

Jobs Outsourced to Indian Firms May Not Go to India


In a bid to tap new markets and satisfy customers keen to outsource to more than one location, India's back-office service providers are setting up shop overseas.

Infosys Technologies Ltd.'s back-office subsidiary Progeon has opened a center in the Czech Republic, while MphasiS BFL Ltd.'s arm MSourcE has a contact center in Mexico.

WNS Global Services, India's largest independent back-office services firm, is opening a center in neighboring Sri Lanka.

16 years ago
I am creating a plugin for my Struts application, and was wondering how to programmatically retrieve the property values for the plugin. IOW, suppose my struts-config.xml file contains the following:

How do I retrieve the property name/value pair of "test" and "123" from within Thanks.
16 years ago

Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
The irony is the younger ones have to keep working longer and harder to
help support those who retire at 70 or cannot find a job at 50 onwards. Ageism should be recognised as an evil practise and rooted out. Easier said than done unless it becomes not unusual to find old and young learning and re-learning together.

[ July 01, 2004: Message edited by: Helen Thomas ]

What companies must wrangle with when keeping older workers isn't so much their salary, but moreso their cost of benefits. For many companies, this is the real reason they tend to discriminate the elderly worker. Not because they may be lacking in skill or mental clarity, but because they are costing the company more for health/medical reasons. What I am finding today in many companies is that they are changing their benefits strategy to encourage younger, single employees to come work for them, and making it more burdensome on older employees and/or those with a family. It is cheaper both in salary AND especially benefits to hire the former over the latter. Also, and I won't dwell on it too much, is the fact that these companies are trying to screw workers more and more by changing retirement perks, such as pensions (i.e., many have gone to the cash balance plan in lieu of the old guarenteed types of pension plans).
16 years ago
Just checked my status via the Prometric site, and it just says "Tested". Guess I'll continue biting my nails.

Originally posted by Jessica Sant:
Saw this article on CNN -- its crazy the length some people will go to get a job they don't deserve.

This was all the norm during the dot-com hey-days. I recall reading an article shortly after the "bust" that said upwards of 70% of candidates applying for IT jobs during that time lied on their resume and/or job application. Of course at that time, just saying you knew what Java was pretty much landed you at least an entry-level position. Unfortunately, the climate has now gone 180 degrees - you almost need a PhD with 10 years experience now to even get an interview. (That's probably why lying has gone up so much.)
16 years ago

Originally posted by Marc Peabody:
A GameCanvas, Thread, LayerManager, CommandListener, 2 Sprites, and a TiledLayer...
Which classes do you think should not have been included??? :roll:

Sorry. My original statement should have read:

For instance, I created a Boulderdash clone last year in order to understand much of the Game API and MMAPI. It would probably require 10-20 user-defineed classes/interfaces if I were to make it completely object-oriented, but instead, it only had two user-defined classes and no interfaces.

As far as the demo is concerned, its okay for a small game that it is (a demo). But if this were a large-scale application requiring a lot of objects, a different design would be probably be needed to save resources. IOW, creating a class for each object that the application will use could very well chew-up a lot of resources and present resource waste. The game I created had ~20 objects, yet no classes/interfaces were created for any of the objects (which they could have easily been to make the design a lot more object-oriented). As wireless devices become more-and-more robust, and resource monitoring becomes less of an issue, I feel more applications will not only become more robust, but the design will tend to lead towards more of the object-oriented approach.

Originally posted by Mehdi Chaouachi:
I recently found a very good game api code tutorial. It could be very helpfull to the people who are still preparing for the beta, since the exam has a lot of code questions on this part.
The original link is here :

I read this article last year when I was trying to understand the Game API. At the time, I thought it was a wonderful article (and, for the most part, still do). However - and this may be pet peeve of mine - the structure of the program is not very good for the architecture it is on. By this I mean, the author has done an "okay" job of creating an application full of object-oriented principles, but a lot of times those object-oriented principles leads to a bloated application. One of the main things to do when writing mobile applications is to reduce the number of classes/interfaces. If this was a production application with a lot more features involved, it could very well reach the limits of the device. I can't remember the article in detail, but I don't recall the author mentioning this aspect at all.
For instance, I created a Boulderdash clone last year in order to understand much of the Game API and MMAPI. It would probably require 10-20 classes/interfaces if I were to make it completely object-oriented, but instead, it only had two classes and no interfaces.
This was actually reported on 60 Minutes (or one of those news shows) last year, although, the reprt was specific to South African nurses coming to the US and the subsequent nursing shortage it is causing in South Africa (which has one of the highest rates of AIDS cases).
16 years ago
Tech Companies Focus on Asia to Expand Jobs

Technology companies are seeing a rebound in business, but top executives this week said any jobs added to meet growing demand will likely be in countries where labor is cheaper than the United States.
Executives speaking at the Reuters Technology, Media and Telecommunications Summit in New York said they see increased hiring in countries like India and China, but few jobs will be added in the United States.

16 years ago

Originally posted by Sathya Srinivasan:
3. Some questions required knowledge of the EXACT syntax of APIs. I found this to be a bit unfair since most programmers tend to use the API documentation and IDE support for correct terms. I can accept this for some basic classes (like java.lang.*) but to expect the programmer to know the exact syntax of other packages is asking a bit too much. It tends to test your memory rather than your skill.

I can almost echo your exact experience of the exam, especially the above item. In a way, I understand why they are asking us to memorizing each and every API, but the list seems infinite - and, as you say, it is something that seems to test memory more than applied skill as a developer can easily peruse the javadocs to find the class they need. I think a generalization of API heirarchy would have been sufficient.

And India has a lot to lose from these harmful practices as well. Sure, they are benefitting now, but what happens if all these US companies pull the plug when they stockholders realize the "savings" are, more often than not, a total fabrication? We're not building a long-lasting and prosperous future with Indian development groups. Instead we're setting them up for a fall. Is this going to be good for India or any other country we outsource to?

Or when the companies realize that country XYZ is better/cheaper than India. With rising salaries, this will be inevitable there, too.
16 years ago
Very good summary, Rob. I'll add my $0.02 ...

Originally posted by Rob Aught:
For one thing, many white collar jobs handle critical or highly confidential information. We're sending these jobs to countries where there are fewer protections and also making it easier for organized crime to get this information. This bothers me.

This scares the living daylights out of me as well. It wouldn't be so bad if we - as customers - had a choice on how are information is stored/protected, but we dont. We just have to rely on the company to make it secure. I recall an incident not too long ago where a lady(?) in Pakistan who was working for an American outsourcing company threatened to divulge customer information because she wasn't happy. Very scary.
While I don't think this will be the norm, I do think it will occur in greater numbers than before.

Another problem is that it shows a real disregard for customers. A company that has moved its call center to a foreign country and then expects me, a paying customer, to try and decipher what their representative is saying is basically telling me they don't value my business very much. It's difficult to vote with your wallet here either, because a typical customer doesn't know what kind of support they're really getting until after they've bought a product or signed up for a service. The company basically has you at that point, and dealing with subpar service is just rubbing salt in the wound.

My own company has moved a lot of their internal (and external) technical support offshore. Recently, I submitted a work order via an online tool to have an Ethernet drop activated in my office. A day later, I decided to cancel the order, but needed to call the technical help desk in order to do so. After going through a miriad of touch-tone menus on the phone, I finally reached a human - a foreigner with hard-to-understand English. It took me several minutes of repeated dialog just to describe my problem. And even then, the person still could not figure out that I had submitted a work order and just wanted it cancelled - (they thought I was having problem with the tool itself). Finally, after about ~15 minutes of talking, the problem was finally resolved. What should have taken 5 mins max, took ~15 mins due mainly to a language barrier. I don't get paid a millionaire's salary, but the 10 extra minutes spent by me probably cost the company a few $$$'s. However, multiply that by 10's or even 1,000's on a daily basis, and the cost really adds up.

Ok, what about better quality? Well, for the past two years I believed the complaints from my colleagues in other companies were merely justification for not wanting to do off-shore. Every one of them said the same thing - "The code is crap". Often it was that exact phrase, but I took it with a grain of salt because I have worked with a lot of Indian programmers on H1-B visas, and these guys were pretty sharp. Why would it make a difference in code quality if there were here or there? Basically I wrote it off as sour grapes.
I was wrong. I did a code review on an off-shore project. The code was about to enter production and it was going to enter it regardless. However, I had the time and I wanted to look at it. I was asked to do so by the project manager who had too much to do already.
It was terrible coding. It was stuff that I wouldn't have written in my first year of IT. My friend, acquaintances, colleagues, were all telling the truth. This stuff was really bad. Maybe it was just this project? I went back and talked to the project manager about what I had found, he confirmed that was pretty much par for the course. Although he did say he'd let the off-shore talent know what I had found.

Yet another side effect I can relate to.
16 years ago
Does anyone know what the passing score is for this exam?

Originally posted by Eric Pu:
Someone on another forum told me that the Sun would send more than 400 vouchers.(Probably 500)
So if you take the exam after 400 candidates have taken it, you can not take the exam though you have the voucher. That means if you take the exam near the deadline, you may have no chance of taking the exam since the number of people who have taken the exam has reached 400.
So I want to know will it happen?
Thank you.

Although I have no definitive evidence to back up my opinion, I seriously doubt this is true. I have my exam scheduled for the 23rd. I received a note today from the Sun Cert people (a service message) reminding me of my exam and to schedule it soon, but only because people tend to want to schedule their exam on the last day - (not because Sun sent out 500 vouchers and will only test the first 400 of them).
Finally got mine, too. Now the real anxiety begins.