1319: "Automation"

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Steve the Pocket
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1319: "Automation"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:58 am UTC

Image

Mouseover caption: 'Automating' comes from the roots 'auto-' meaning 'self-', and 'mating', meaning 'screwing'.

That part made me laugh. The same thing tends to go for rewriting a codebase from scratch for the sake of improving efficiency, which happens to be fresh in my mind right now for reasons.
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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby addams » Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:34 am UTC

"Every job expands to fill all available time."
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

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They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby sol_hsa » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:08 am UTC

While I understand the humor behind the comic, I disagree with what it appears to suggest.

First off, even if the automation takes as much (or more) time than the original boring task, it is better for two reasons:
1. It is way more fun to do than the original task, and
2. the mistakes made by humans when doing repetitive boring tasks are removed.

We do a lot of automating in my current job, and keep looking for new places to script instead of wasting time on repetitive tasks AND repetitive bug-hunting because of human errors.

This has also seeped into my hobby projects; I've done a few directx DLL wrapper hacks, and one bit that takes a lot of time and generates a lot of bugs is the actual wrapper generation; I finally got fed up with it and wrote a wrapper generator - https://github.com/jarikomppa/dxwrapper - of course, after that fun thing was finished, I haven't actually used it for anything, but that's beside the point… =)

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby da Doctah » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:11 am UTC

sol_hsa wrote:First off, even if the automation takes as much (or more) time than the original boring task, it is better for two reasons:
1. It is way more fun to do than the original task, and
2. the mistakes made by humans when doing repetitive boring tasks are removed.

...to be replaced by newer and better mistakes of types that nobody could have dreamt of under the original boring regime.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Kit. » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:24 am UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:Image

The first graph is how it's sold to the management.

The second one is what is actually anticipated.

Steve the Pocket wrote:Mouseover caption: 'Automating' comes from the roots 'auto-' meaning 'self-', and 'mating', meaning 'screwing'.

And "mating" does not always mean "screwing".

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Renozuken » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:42 am UTC

But think of all the time you could theoretically save if done perfectly.

also comically similar to /1205

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Diadem » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:45 am UTC

Loved the word pun in the alt-text.

Reminds me of another one I heard recently: Politics comes from 'poli' meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'blood sucking leeches'.
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby sol_hsa » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:04 am UTC

da Doctah wrote:
sol_hsa wrote:First off, even if the automation takes as much (or more) time than the original boring task, it is better for two reasons:
1. It is way more fun to do than the original task, and
2. the mistakes made by humans when doing repetitive boring tasks are removed.

...to be replaced by newer and better mistakes of types that nobody could have dreamt of under the original boring regime.

Sure, it's possible that new problems appear, but that's what automated tests are for =)

..and re-doing the "work" is much easier, just fix the scripts and re-run them, instead of spending man-hours on redoing the boring work..

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby black_pignouf » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:39 am UTC

Maybe I'm stupid, but I don't understand the 1st graph.
Shouldn't the automation curve fall down to zero in order to save time, or at least represent less work than the original task?
Shouldn't the two curves cross somewhere?
If automation isn't worth it in theory, it sure won't in reality.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:22 am UTC

Diadem wrote:Reminds me of another one I heard recently: Politics comes from 'poli' meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'blood sucking leeches'.

Insects. Blood-sucking insects. Forget etymology; sounds like someone needs to learn some entomology.
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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby BlitzGirl » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:27 am UTC

Image
Knight Temporal of the One True Comic
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Spoiler:
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Image
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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby orthogon » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:47 am UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:
Diadem wrote:Reminds me of another one I heard recently: Politics comes from 'poli' meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'blood sucking leeches'.

Insects. Blood-sucking insects. Forget etymology; sounds like someone needs to learn some entomology.

Actually, those are ticks. Tics are involuntary and uncontrollable habits, such as twitching of the face or selling off public utilities cheap to your friends in the private sector.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Quicksilver » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:48 am UTC

There's so much truth to this, but part of the ongoing process is that I find new things to automate while I'm coding away.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Kit. » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:43 am UTC

orthogon wrote:
Steve the Pocket wrote:
Diadem wrote:Reminds me of another one I heard recently: Politics comes from 'poli' meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'blood sucking leeches'.

Insects. Blood-sucking insects. Forget etymology; sounds like someone needs to learn some entomology.

Actually, those are ticks.

(obligatory) Actually, ticks are arachnids and not insects.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Diadem » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:44 am UTC

orthogon wrote:
Steve the Pocket wrote:
Diadem wrote:Reminds me of another one I heard recently: Politics comes from 'poli' meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'blood sucking leeches'.

Insects. Blood-sucking insects. Forget etymology; sounds like someone needs to learn some entomology.

Actually, those are ticks. Tics are involuntary and uncontrollable habits, such as twitching of the face or selling off public utilities cheap to your friends in the private sector.

Relax, you two. It's a joke.

edit: relax, you three
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby BAReFOOt » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:06 pm UTC

That’s what shell scripting is for Randall!!

It all depends on how often you have to solve the same or a similar problem in the future.

  • The first time you solve the problem, if you know you have to solve it again in the future, you write it down. (As in history | tail -n $x > ~/bin/$name.) You lose no time. You gain no time.
  • The second time you solve a similar problem, you add the variable(s) and branching to accommodate for just that. You lose very little time. You gain a lot of time from the past work.
  • The following times, you may have to add more slight variations. You lose very little time. You gain a lot of time from the past work.
  • After that, you basically just run the script with maybe a parameter or two.
    And the occasional bugfix maybe.

That’s how all my “glue” started out. It became a system I never want to miss. Without it, I feel massively crippled.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby BAReFOOt » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:23 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:
orthogon wrote:
Steve the Pocket wrote:
Diadem wrote:Reminds me of another one I heard recently: Politics comes from 'poli' meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'blood sucking leeches'.

Insects. Blood-sucking insects. Forget etymology; sounds like someone needs to learn some entomology.

Actually, those are ticks.

(obligatory) Actually, ticks are arachnids and not insects.


Actually, y’all aspies need to get back to basic common sense!
It leeches on something. It’s a metaphor!
And “tics” is spoken like “ticks”. Text is a extremely shitty and lossy medium. In human conversation there is no difference.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby orthogon » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:31 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
orthogon wrote:Actually, those are ticks. Tics are involuntary and uncontrollable habits, such as twitching of the face or selling off public utilities cheap to your friends in the private sector.

Relax, you two. It's a joke.

I, too, was aiming for humour, but I may have missed that particular target. I enjoyed the original joke very much.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Kit. » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:59 pm UTC

BAReFOOt wrote:
Kit. wrote:
orthogon wrote:
Steve the Pocket wrote:
Diadem wrote:Reminds me of another one I heard recently: Politics comes from 'poli' meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'blood sucking leeches'.

Insects. Blood-sucking insects. Forget etymology; sounds like someone needs to learn some entomology.

Actually, those are ticks.

(obligatory) Actually, ticks are arachnids and not insects.

Actually, y’all aspies need to get back to basic common sense!

Is it the least common sense or the greatest common sense?

Or does it depend on which word the superlative applies to?

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby markfiend » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:06 pm UTC

My job is basically people telling me "We spend a lot of time on this task. You should write a program automating it!"
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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby QPhysics » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:19 pm UTC

Top graph, "Work on original task" should have been a horizontal line.
As drawn, the automation does nothing for saving time at any point in the process.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby speising » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:21 pm UTC

well, that's the whole raison d'être for software developers, isn't it? killing jobs is what we live for.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Diadem » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:26 pm UTC

speising wrote:well, that's the whole raison d'être for software developers, isn't it? killing jobs that aren't software engineering is what we live for.

Fixed that for you.

Software Engineers are the Borg of the job market. We turn every job into one of our own.
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby mountainpenguin » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:18 pm UTC

Reminds me of a Douglas Adams quote (from Last Chance to See):

I am rarely happier than when spending entire day programming my computer to perform automatically a task that it would otherwise take me a good ten seconds to do by hand

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Prosthetic_Lips » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:21 pm UTC

I think Randall's second graph is incorrect. Let me explain.

As you get into the "no time for original task anymore (sic)" section, the work should go DOWN, since you are working on it less -- turning it into the same type of "long tail"-type graph that he shows in the upper "theory" graph.

So, either way, you are spending less time on the original task. Perfect!

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby sardia » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:59 pm UTC

I thought this post was a chorus for this one
http://xkcd.com/974/

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Fenyx » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:57 pm UTC

My most successful automation story!

I may not have saved time personally but in the aggregate time has definitely been saved.

Now I just need to play a couple hundred more games myself so I can break even...

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby BlueNight » Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:01 pm UTC

I had over thirty new HR packets to scan to PDF, with up to eight documents each to rename with human-readable but standardized filenames.

So I made an Excel that auto-generates the document names from:
the staff name
the document name (Driver License, etc)
a master date for each staffer, and
a unique date (DL expiration, etc.) which defaults to the master date if not altered.

It took an hour, but it will save me a lot of time.

Wait, "will"?

Yes, because I have over thirty new HR packets to scan. Our scanner makes nice PDFs from black ink, but these are signed and dated in blue ink, which is invisible to the scanner. I can scan to .jpg easily, but then I have to raise the gamma and convert them to B/W PDF, then combine them. My image conversion tool doesn't do that in one step, so it's time to make a batch file and put it in shell:sendto...
---------
BlueNight

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby veit » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:02 pm UTC

I wanted to post the old "Geeks vs non-geeks"-graph for reference... alas: This message was flagged as spam and has been denied. :-(

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Kit. » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:17 pm UTC

veit wrote:I wanted to post the old "Geeks vs non-geeks"-graph for reference... alas: This message was flagged as spam and has been denied. :-(

Now we are supposed to bash you for not reading the forum rules :(

Can someone automate this? Should not be hard.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby San Fran Sam » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:26 pm UTC

My boss wants me to automate and document my spreadsheets. I think the plan is something like....

1. Automate spreadsheets.
2. Document the hell out of them.
3. Train someone as my back up.
4. Get laid off.

Just because you think someone is out to get you doesn't mean they aren't.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby alanbbent » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:41 pm UTC

If you do it right, you can use less-valuable time to write the automation, so that you can save time when it matters more. So even if the raw hours saved takes a long time to exceed hours automating, the hours you're saving are BETTER hours. Right? Please don't fire me. I'm really good at automating things.

Also: ticks are arachnids???? YUCK

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby addams » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:43 pm UTC

veit wrote:I wanted to post the old "Geeks vs non-geeks"-graph for reference... alas: This message was flagged as spam and has been denied. :-(

Really?
Again?

We will do well to remember,
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It may be automated.
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Last edited by addams on Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:50 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Some of us see The Stars.
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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:45 pm UTC

San Fran Sam wrote:My boss wants me to automate and document my spreadsheets. I think the plan is something like....

1. Automate spreadsheets.
2. Document the hell out of them.
3. Train someone as my back up.
4. Get laid off.

Just because you think someone is out to get you doesn't mean they aren't.


Sometimes it's less "make them replaceable so we can replace them" and more "make them replaceable in case they get hit by a bus" - in rare cases, it's even "make them replaceable so we can promote them"

Of course, I don't know your boss, so I can't comment meaningfully on which it actually is.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby senor_cardgage » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:57 pm UTC

Seems to go along with this one quite nicely: http://xkcd.com/1205/

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Klear » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:56 pm UTC

addams wrote:Hey! I have an Idea!
The first five posts can be answers to random questions about the Forum Rules!


That's actually pretty brilliant. Anti-spam measure which doubles as a stupid filter.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:11 pm UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:Mouseover caption: 'Automating' comes from the roots 'auto-' meaning 'self-', and 'mating', meaning 'screwing'.

My job at the moment is automating GUI tests, and I can relate to that :(
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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:35 am UTC

Kit. wrote:
Steve the Pocket wrote:Mouseover caption: 'Automating' comes from the roots 'auto-' meaning 'self-', and 'mating', meaning 'screwing'.

And "mating" does not always mean "screwing".

it could mean "splicing" but self-splicing doesn't make sense...

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby addams » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:25 am UTC

da Doctah wrote:
sol_hsa wrote:First off, even if the automation takes as much (or more) time than the original boring task, it is better for two reasons:
1. It is way more fun to do than the original task, and
2. the mistakes made by humans when doing repetitive boring tasks are removed.

...to be replaced by newer and better mistakes of types that nobody could have dreamt of under the original boring regime.

The good old Newer and Better problems.
That is very funny.
Because, it is true.

Diadem wrote:Loved the word pun in the alt-text.

Reminds me of another one I heard recently: Politics comes from 'poli' meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'blood sucking leeches'.

That is funny, too.

It may not be literally true.
It sure sounds right.

There was a time when Politicians were more boring than not.
They still are. They have 'People' that keep them interesting.

Poor things.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1319: "Automation"

Postby Morgan Wick » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:58 am UTC

black_pignouf wrote:Maybe I'm stupid, but I don't understand the 1st graph.
Shouldn't the automation curve fall down to zero in order to save time, or at least represent less work than the original task?
Shouldn't the two curves cross somewhere?
If automation isn't worth it in theory, it sure won't in reality.

The graph starts out representing the amount of time spent doing the task to begin with.
The automation curve represents the amount of time spent trying to automate it on top of the original task.
Eventually, you're not spending any time trying to automate it anymore, and the task takes less time than it did to start out with.


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