Friday, 22 July 2011

Technology Employers Cheap on Technology

I have a basic problem at work at the moment, my PC hardware I'm using as my main development box is starting to show its age.  Compared to other machines in the company its a pretty swish bit of kit (Core 2 Duo 2.0ghz, 6GB RAM, nVidia 8400GS) but when you compare it with my actual own personal development machine (Core i7 950 3.0ghz, 16gb RAM, nVidia 4800 GTX) it looks a little measly.

And I thought back through time to late 1997 when I got my first technical job... we always had machines a step behind the technology curve.  And it struck me as a utter false economy then, and it strikes me as it now.

I sit at work waiting for between 3 and 12 minutes for system wide builds to complete (I've been spending lots of time recently improving the optimization of my hard drives to speed up searches and file access) but he raw grunt of the machine is simply starting to flag.  3 minute build times for the stuff we do now 24 months ago (when the machine was bought for me) was excellent... but now, well I come home and can do much more complex builds in less and less time... 20 seconds for the same build... and I'm running like 4 virtual machines at the same time (on my 8 true cores).

At work, I'm struggling to run 1 virtual machine and a couple of copies of Visual Studio... I'd be far more productive with a much better machine.  And it'd only cost a grand!  You consider how much they pay me, increase my productivity by as little as 5% in a day and they're getting close to saving paying me to sit staring at a progress bar idle waiting for that same amount of time...

But the problem doesn't just stop where the hardware specification is, it continues... they insist, instead of implementing decent codes of practice and education of the less IT minded to prevent virus infections and people falling for cons they load the machines down with stupid (and unfit for purpose) virus scanners.

My employers use McAfee, and its an utter joke, we actually got slammed by a virus not too long ago (all my machines were clean I hasten to add) but the virus scanner we have in place; as ordered by the corporate overloads; didn't pick it up!

Then the IT department also get on with loading our machines down with yet more junkware... there's one they have running which reports all installed software to them, an audit trail of installed software as it were... this thing sits detecting every executable and DLL on the machine and reporting it back over the network to the IT department... Every time I perform a build it generates approximately 1,800 executable and DLL files... so I'm taking a hit on the hard drive to access the file, then the compiler is being scanned by the "On Access Scanner" then I'm getting hit as the compiler outputs the object file.  Next the linker gets "On Access Scanned" and the output executable object file is then scanned, toe tied and tissue typed.... All when there should be one scan access, or preferably none!

Gah, shit shit shit.

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