Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I told you so

Are you tired of saying "I told you so" to the same people over and over again? Get the point across with a deck of "I told you so" cards.

Take a small pack of sticky notes and every time someone says something that makes you wince, write it down in the deck, along with the date.

Later, when they are bitten in the ass by the very thing you were warning about, flip through the deck until you find the right page, tear it out and slam it on the table. Yell "BAM!" or "Take That!" or "You All Can BITE ME!" or whatever, and feel vindicated at last.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Esoteric programming

I always thought RPG was pretty "out there", but these take the cake...


Teaching developers

I think a frequent theme here will be the development of developers. That is, the crafting of a skilled developer from the freshly minted graduate of a "computer science program". Feel free to define "computer science program" as you like. I will classify it as a program from a university or college that has something to do with computers, with the goal being to turn out a graduate who has the skills necessary to make a computer do something useful.

The range of skill levels demonstrated by new grads is fairly wide. Some are able to hit the ground running, while others take some time to get their sea legs. In fact, there are studies that show that the people most likely to need help are the ones most likely to think they don't need it.


Can you teach someone things like proper debugging techniques, how (and when) to write useful log messages, how to be thorough in testing, etc.? I think some of that comes from experience, but I also think some people are born with a good sense of how to do the "right" thing in a certain situation. For the others, well... there's always the old saying - "if you can't set a good example, at least be a horrible warning". And we'll see you on the Daily WTF.

Friday, May 27, 2005

AI Breakthrough or the Mismeasure of Machine?

I'm not sure if this means that computers are now as smart as people, or that people are now as dumb as computers...

If a computer program took the SAT verbal analogy test and scored as well as the average college bound human, it would raise some serious questions about the nature and measurement of intelligence.

Guess what?


Thursday, May 26, 2005

No magic here?

If there's no magic here, then where is it?


I was having a conversation the other day about how much easier life (and by life, I mean software development) would be if there were a silver bullet that solved everything.

Imagine - one tool that tracked requirements, design, implementation, source code control, bugs, resolutions, etc. One methodology that worked for getting sixty people to row in the same direction over a long period of time. One magic solution to shipping a massive software product.

Surely someone must have invented this? Oh. No magic here...

Hello world

I've been thinking about creating a blog for a while, but just hadn't been motivated enough to do anything about it. So why now?

I've been reading quite a bit lately about software development, and turning people into software developers. These are both things that interest me greatly. I've also been in the middle of a two year development project that has gone off the rails, back on the rails, and then back off again, a few times. I think there are some lessons to be learned from this experience.

What can you expect to see here? Some ideas about why we write software that sucks, and maybe some ways to avoid doing that. Some ideas about what it takes to be a professional software developer, and how to get there. Probably some .NET stuff, C# in particular. Probably some curling...

Stay tuned, and we'll see where this goes.