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Bits and Pieces

February 25th, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s time to clean out the old inbox of all the bits and pieces that have been stacking up. These aren’t in any particular order and they’d all justify a full write-up but I’d rather get them out there than have them stagnate in the email bucket. Enjoy!

First off, I’m on a bit of a Seth Godin kick. Here is a short riff titled What smart bosses know about people who read blogs. Maybe I’m wrong for being somewhat amazed at how many folks in this industry don’t read blogs – but at least I’m not alone. Eric Sink covers this point in his post Baptists and Boundaries where he asserts (correctly) that most software engineers don’t read blogs. Ask yourself: what kind of people do you want on your staff? Those that, when the day is done, got home and watch the latest in reality television or those that are passionate enough to crack a book? Sadly, most managers want Sheepwalkers.

Some of this, I suspect, is a fear of failure and it’s clear that most people would rather fail conservatively than succeed in a radical manner (I know I’m quoting someone but I can’t seem to find the attribution, shout if you know but for now, take a look at this excerpt from Alistair Cockburn). Of course what it means to fail is a very fluid concept that Seth touches on in The Tyranny of Opportunity Cost.

Let’s get back to that passion bit. Kathy Sierra has a great post entitled Don’t ask employees to be passionate about the company! Amen. I know why C-level types are such cheerleaders but I’m always surprised when people wonder why the rank and file aren’t.

So these last two pieces aren’t related at all to the previous ones (hey, this is a tab clearing exercise!) but they’re still very interesting. James Duncan Davidson comments on the lack of Java on the iPhone but what really caught my attention was this quote:

For me, having Java was really important. But after I left Sun and talked to more end-users, I realized that as an end-user, the technology used to create something is not important. The important part is the result.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Ryan sent me this link to a jQuery plugin for Taconite. Very cool stuff!

Last but certainly not least, Tim Bray has a very interesting post titled Comparing Frameworks. The moral of the story – you can’t really say Java is “better” than Rails without defining what you mean by better. What do you care about more? Notice where he ranks the options in regards to developer speed and maintainability. Last I checked, most of our projects spend the *vast* majority of their life in maintenance mode and I don’t think I know too many customers that want their projects later than sooner. Anyway, good read.

Whew, that helps ;) Looks like most people here in the big Minnie will be spending significant portions of today just digging out from the snow we got/are still getting. Oh well, this *is* Minnesota after all. I hope you’re reading this somewhere warm and dry!

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