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Archive for April, 2007

Tab Clearing

April 7th, 2007 1 comment

It’s time for another tab clearing exercise… I always have such high hopes that I’ll have time to do full write-ups for all of the stuff that piques my fancy but Kathy Sierra nails it when she talks about the myth of keeping up. Anyway, in no particular order here are some links that have been burning a hole in my browser – or some such hacked metaphor.

Tim Ottinger over on the Object Mentor blog has been posting some great stuff of late including this piece on solutions finding problems. I’m sure we’ve all got a favorite story about a coworker (always a coworker…right?) that wields a Golden Hammer or falls in love with a pattern and uses it again, and a again…and again. And of course there is always the project manager that says “we got x patterns in this release – we’re going for the rest in the next iteration.” Yeah. And while developers are usually to blame for tool abuse, corporate policy often dictates a team will use all that pours forth from the (insert your favorite large company here) sales spigot. Anyway, good read.

Also from Tim is this piece on zero. I remember a long time ago when a senior engineer dropped the old “there are only three numbers, zero, one, and everything else” on me, but this quote really struck a nerve:

However, my manager was secretly reporting our progress in terms of lines of code/week. I was called on the carpet after some very productive weeks of producing unusually clean code. My manager’s problem was that we had been averaging over 200 lines less per week. By making the system cleaner and smaller, we were being reported as making negative progress, and were ordered to stop!

It’s just another “bad metrics” story, but it underscores an unspoken assumption that code should always grow bigger over time.

Oh man – I can relate. Boy can I. Bigger isn’t always better (as my belt can attest) but that doesn’t seem to stop most developers from adding more and more and more. The true artist knows that what is left *out* is just as important as what is put in.

Nat Torkington’s post on The Future of Web 2.0 is a must read – very funny! Personally, I think Web 95 will be the real step forward though I’ll try to hold out for Web XP.

Stephen J. Dubner has an interest take on boarding a bus. He discovered that a couple of hundred yards actually saved him time – he’d make the first bus and gave him a decent chance of securing a seat. I’m constantly amazed at how people become so blind to alternatives, be it solutions to a problem or quicker routes out of parking lots. Most people will wait and wait to make a left when a handful of rights will get you there faster. Oh well, that works out well for me.

Seth Godin talks about noisy people and points to a video that you’ve got to watch. Oh how we shun the nonbelievers…. Speaking of Seth, Presentation Zen links to a Godin video, well worth the few minutes of time. And speaking of videos, Scoble has an interview with non other than Joel Spolsky. You have your choice of the full hour plus or 6 minutes – your call ;)

Well, that ought to buy me a few days…enjoy!

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The Early Morning

April 7th, 2007 No comments

I’m not really a morning person (thank god for Caribou), but I’ve always preferred getting an early start to the day; arriving at work before the sun peeks its head over the horizon gives you an interesting perspective. For example, near where I work there’s this bar and I always know what day it is by how many cars are still in the parking lot when I’m heading into the object factory. It’s not uncommon to see half a dozen vehicles scattered around the lot on a Friday morning and frankly I take some comfort in the fact that these folks were wise enough to take a cab or hitch a ride.

Now, I expect to see some cars left overnight at the bar but there’s something I’ve noticed of late that doesn’t quite make sense. Dynamic language camp starts promptly at 8 am (OK, not always so promptly) which means I’m usually walking in around 7:30 or so. Every morning as I stride towards the EE/CSci building I’m perplexed by the sheer number of bikes that are securely attached to the racks fronting the facility. I understand the case for Friday mornings, but I don’t recall there being too many 8 am Saturday classes when I was in college.

Needless to say, I find myself constructing the conversation between two students as they walk out from a late night hackfest. One guy stumbles towards his two wheeled transport but his buddy grabs his arm “hey, you’ve had too much Jolt tonight man, give me the keys to the bike lock.” Maybe there really are some extremely dedicated students out there, I don’t know. But I like to think we’ve got some real heroes stepping in to prevent the tragedy of a wired geek trying to navigate his way home after another long night in the lab.

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So Sad

April 6th, 2007 No comments

I was very saddened to read this today on Kathy Sierra‘s blog:

This will be the last post here quite some time, until I figure out what to do next.

While I completely understand where she’s coming from, I will *greatly* miss her voice in the blogosphere. My day was always a bit brighter when my aggregator showed there was something new on Creating Passionate Users and I for one hope that Kathy quickly finds a way to continue spreading her message in a way that she’s comfortable with. I further regret never having seen her present live – I’ll just have to settle for the podcasts. It is so very sad that some incredibly small people were able to distinguish a light so bright. Here’s to you Kathy, you will be missed.

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