“Anonymous”

Anonymous

I have had a few years of frustration at self-proclaimed “web saviours” amounting to little more than scattergun ddos attacks, ftp and database compromises. All, I should say, as easy to protect yourself against. For a start don’t use ftp! Switch that service off, and use ssh or a secure ftp protocol to deal with file management. I have had a few more experiences this year dealing with fallout from hacker attacks, along with some communication to some groups and individuals.

I have been a little hard on youth, as it is easy to lose focus by getting caught up in a moment. Sometimes I believe hackers confuse the web itself with their targets. Attacking random websites, just because you found back-door access into server or database, seems a little churlish and not in the least bit revolutionary. “Highlighting security flaws” is a pretty weak motivation, as who does it really benefit. The hoster? They nail that particular hole shut and go about their business. Meanwhile the hosters’ customers are the ones who sustain the actual damage.

Anonymous

One of the more publicly known of the more focused hackers is the “The Jester” – he calls himself a (US) Patriot hacker. Maybe not best of starts, but his targets are deliberate – mainly Islamist extremist websites, but occasionally sidesteps onto other projects such as the turgid Westoboro Baptist Church and the tasteless twitter trolling site that appeared quickly in the wake of the Newtown school shootings.

There is an arrogance in the hacker world – as with anything with tech, you get the stars and a million imitation drones. It is easy enough to create a presence on the web and declare yourself and Anonymous hacker. Take credit for other attacks, blame embarrassing boo-boos on other. There is a childish level of “blame culture”, but now the “stars” are easier to spot as they carry an agenda is that understandable and to varying degree, morally sound.

What currently interests me how few seem to challenge hackers online. For all the umprompted outpourings of opinions, no-one seems to challenge something so prevalent and so potentially damaging for individuals. Are you sure you don’t have an opinion? Usually with a little digging you can find responsible party for a website attack. Though there are truly anonymous hackers out there, most will publicise their action in some way. Even if it is just boasting in a readme file! My point is if you don’t voice up when you think something is wrong, how will they ever know. “Script kiddies” are getting to be a bit of a curse, rather than any help.

Agile psychology

Personality tests in various guises are commonly used in recruitment and career counseling industries. Such tests have also been considered as instruments for predicting the job performance of software professionals both individually and in teams. However, research suggests that other human-related factors such as motivation, general mental ability, expertise, and task complexity also affect the performance in general.

As my interest in technology makes way for interest in management and methodology, I have become increasingly aware of the subject of psychology.  A well-oiled and experienced team can produce seeming miracles in project deliveries, but as that is minority, generally we end up managing what we have , to deliver what we can.  A major, and I mean major, omission in any methodology is address teams beyond just a reference term.  The team is all to delivering a project, but too commonly, we are playing smoke and mirrors games with the stakeholder.  . Sometimes by accident and sometimes by design.  Has anything really changed with methodology, or is it just covering the cracks in a different way?  yes and no.  But ignoring psychology and focussing on process,  you lose the complexity of the actual project team.

I think I would get a general round of affirmation, when I say that development is a creative business.  Sure, developers are being paid, but they are at the creative end of the process – translating the stakeholder vision into tangible software.  Software development processes are simple, they have to follow logic – as with a computer, a project has to have all the data and instruction to process.  Therein lies the complication – and a timeless, methodology-agnostic issue.

  • What does the customer want
  • What do they REALLY want
  • What do they want that is illogical
The Product Owner role can be a very beleaguered one, positioned as they are, between the stakeholder and scrummaster (and/or Project Manager).  Rarely included 100% into team structure, this is the major weak link, and no reflection on the skills and experience of the Product Owner.    It is very telling that when there is weak Scrummaster in place, the Product Owner adopts role of traditional project manager.  It is telling because that is what the combination of a Scrummaster/Product Owner does, as in Agile project management is seen as two parts (implied implicitly).  This seemingly good breakdown of responsibilities is positive idea – two people with same goals, managing both sides.  And it is.  If it wasn’t goddamn people!
Scrummaster role is highly skilled, though this is rarely observed when recruiting.  Any old senior developer will do, is general pervasive attitude.  The Product Owner ideally should be a mixture of Business and Systems Analysts, though I have only seen this mix in finance industry (possibly an existing type of role).  Again, there is a lackadaisical approach assigning the role to someone who can only be part-time on project, and only understands the business, and not necessarily the drivers behind the project. You fire one arrow from a bow, you are more more likely to hit the target – of you fire two from same bow, you run more risk of getting off-centre or missing it entirely.