Perplexinomicon

Recent:

Feb 28

Or at least saves time, which as we all know is equal to money.

In 1985, my family moved to Rochester New York. The new house was quite a bit larger than our old house, and we had a lot more room for bookshelves. For whatever reason, my Dad decided that we were going to have the same bookshelves in every single room of the house, adjustable bookshelves with a particular stain in one of two heights and one of two widths.

Feb 14

It’s pretty common in agile books to come across the concept of shu-ha-ri, the idea that beginners learn differently than intermediates who learn differently than experts. Beginners, they say, need to just go through the drills, sort of unquestioningly, just working on doing each step without worrying too much about whether they understand the steps or not. In an agile book, this is usually an admonition to the new agile team to trust that the process works.

Jan 18

Among my many goals this year is to learn more Scala, by which I mean, learn any Scala. I took the first chunk of Martin Odersky’s Functional Programming in Scala coursera in the fall before circumstances intervened, and I liked what I saw. Scala seems to be worth learning, familiar enough to be easy to learn but introducing enough new material to change how I program.

Oct 9

When I was working in San Francisco, the office had one of those pod style coffee makers, the ones where you put vacuum sealed grounds pods into a receiver and get a shot of espresso or ristretto or whatever size of pour you push the button for. The office also had some really cool, microwave safe mugs at espresso sizes. So to get my caffeine on, I’d heat up about half a cup of sugar and milk and then throw in three ristretto sized pours one after the other. Until the coffee maker died (it really wasn’t build for an office environment) life was good.

Sep 23

At Agile Day NYC 2012, I encountered a familiar meme. The meme is “UX people are the new prima donnas”. The idea being that the old prima donnas, the software engineers, are now on board with agile but that those pesky UX guys just won’t get on board. And I have to admit, this resonates with me to a degree, because I know some UX people who hate agile. They don’t get it, they don’t like it, and as far as they can tell, they have no place in it.

Sep 21

I’m sitting in Laguardia International Airport on a beautiful day in New York, waiting for a flight home. There are lots of flights home, of course, because there is a flight every hour, on the hour, but for some reason I booked a flight that leaves at 9pm. That seemed like a good idea at the time, but now… well, now it just seems dumb.

Sep 2

This blog–and site–is being put together using the Middleman framework. I’m using Middleman because I want to move my blog and website hosting from HostGator to Heroku, partly because Heroku is free at my bandwidth and storage requirements and partly because Heroku is something I want to start working with more. I have applications I want to write, and Heroku is a cloudy place where I can host these applications. So gettting the static website up is a first step.

Apr 18

One of the challenges of being an apprentice is finding time to digest everything that you’re learning. Every day serves up new challenges, both technical and interpersonal. The reflexive reaction, especially for someone like myself, might be to try to fit the new challenges into familiar boxes, to fight fear with imagined competence rather than humble terror. It probably does not come as a surprise to you that–according to Chapter 4 of Apprenticeship Patterns by Dave Hoover–this is a mistake.

Feb 10

One of the things I appreciate about Dave Hoovers book Apprenticeship Patterns is the idea that writing software is a craft. Unsurprisingly, not everyone wants software writing to be a craft. If software is a craft, you run into some problems with personell and hiring, because unlike line workers, craftspeople are not interchangeable or easily trained. And some people don’t understand that a simple retaining wall is just as much a product of the stone masons craft as a soaring cathedral. Me, I like the idea of craftsmanship, even if I sometimes forget that I’m still an apprentice.