Bertrand Meyer is a well-respected member of the programming community, having introduced useful object-oriented concepts practices such as “contracts” for methods and classes. He also literally wrote the book on object-oriented programming (in ‘97, and it’s still in print). So when he writes a book on his response to the Agile wave, you get the urge to read it. It doesn’t hurt that it got honorable mention in the Jolt book awards, or that it’s a pretty quick read.
When my wife surprised me with an Evoluent Vertical Mouse 4 for our wedding anniversary, the look on my face was reminiscent of a barn cat stumbling across a clandestine mice suffrage rally - Tasty!
Like most of us, I use the keyboard and mouse enough that I have to think about the implications to my wrists. I try to avoid leaving the cozy confines of the keyboard whenever possible, but unfortunately in certain cough environments it just isn’t possible pull the nano receiver completely. This mouse is designed to help alleviate some of those concerns by forcing you to adopt a handshake position with your arm, which is touted to be more ergonomic.
So after using the fancy fellow 40-60 hours a week for the past 8+ months or so, what’s the verdict?
Let’s start with some live-action shots of the Evoluent VM4RW making first contact with a curious android:
This morning I found myself musing on a warm and fuzzy feeling that lay pulsing deep within my soul. Upon examining it more closely, imagine my horror when I should see it represented by one word, so laden with fear and derision: Microsoft!
I don’t think I’m alone among honest developers in thinking that Microsoft has done an about-face in its posture toward the development community. Herewithin I shall promulgate that this transformation is due to a new-found humility on their part.
The other day someone told me about some premium parking spaces in Manhattan going for a million bucks. Somehow I don’t doubt it. We all value a safe place to park our possessions. Oftentimes, however, we lack a place to park our inspiration.
Are you a slave to your inspiration? Does your curiosity keep you constantly roaming from one tasty patch of interesting information to the next without ever getting a solid grasp of anything? Perhaps you need to “park it”. You need an inspiration parking lot.
If you’ve been around the computer industry for a while, you’re no doubt aware that we are afflicted by information overload. There’s too much information and knowledge to be absorbed by one person in one lifespan. And that same body of knowledge continues to morph and shift with the capricious tides of the industry.
A recent article on SitePoint discussed How Not to Get Overwhelmed as a Developer. It advocates specialization in order to avoid eventual burnout. That’s a good start, but even subfields have become so vast that even then you feel overwhelmed under the torrent of technobabble. Further adding to your frustration, you read an excellent article or two, and within 8 hours, you’ve forgotten 80% of what you read. That’s annoying. In this post I’d like to introduce you a time-tested reading technique which can boost recall from that measly 20% to a respectable 80%. It’s called SQ3R. Combine that with the techniques of mind-mapping and you’ll find yourself better equipped to face the information onslaught.
You’ve no doubt heard the hype surrounding the use of 4K (Ultra HD) in software development. I’ve been using the 4K 39” Seiki SE39UY04 television as a computer monitor for a couple of weeks now and wanted to share my story. In case you’re trying to decide whether or not to pull the trigger, this article is for you.
O that your bloated code“What in the world… is this refactoring thing?” The question hung in the air one crisp overcast morning, intermingled with the varied roars and toots of stressed out commuters accelerating to merge onto the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. I’d recently ventured out from the lonely homestead of solo-cowboy programming and moved to a big-ranch team of seasoned developers. The term “refactoring” ricocheted in and out of every other tech-speak paragraph while they wrangled big sections of legacy code and pondered the design implications of introducing a new feature into the system.
Could meander less often
Or return to its commode
TL;DR: If you’re new to software development, this book is a real gem. Even if you’ve been programming for a while you’re likely to find some gold dust between the pages.
The book’s core tenants are presented as a series of “trim tabs” - Small lightweight practices and mindsets that are easy to adopt in the short-term but payout handsomely in the long-term.
Apparently the authors obtained these insights working as consultants in the software business. Imagine walking into a struggling software development firm knowing next to nothing about their business rules, domain logic, and you’ve never seen their code base before. What can you possibly accomplish in a few weeks that the developers haven’t been able to accomplish in a few years? That’s where the trim tabs come in.
Recently it struck me that there is a metaphorical similarity between technological disasters and geological earthquakes. The last 100 or so years have seen a big increase in the amount of damage caused by earthquakes, both to lives and to property. The US Geological Survey maintains a list of the most destructive earthquakes in history, those which caused more than 50,000 deaths. I counted 22 earthquakes. Of those, exactly half of them occurred since 1900.
So why are these geological phenomena killing so many more now than in the past?