Seven Steps to Disaster
Retrospectives allow you to analyze what worked and what didn't about a project so you can do better in the future. How often, though, do people have either the resources or the wherewithall to do a retrospective on a complete disaster -- arguably where we'll learn the most?
I have yet to toot my first tweet. Most of social networking has been lost on me. Too much noise, not enough signal.
The Positive Legacy of C++ and Java
In a recent discussion, there were assertions that C++ was a poorly-designed language. I was on the C++ Standards Committee for 8 years, and saw the decisions take place. I think it's helpful to understand the language choices for both C++ and Java in order to see the bigger perspective.
How Do You Force Volunteers To Do Something?
This issue came up during the organization of the upcoming Pycon conference, regarding speakers posting their slides and notes. I liked what I wrote to the organizing group so I wanted to share it here.
The Fan Programming Language
At the free Alternative Languages Day 0 of the upcoming Java Posse Roundup, one house has decided to have a camelot coding dojo on the Fan programming language, which I hadn't heard of before.
The Manga Guide to Databases
No Starch Press sent a copy of this book to me for review. My brother and his wife have been home schooling my 15-year old niece, and he wants to teach her databases.
Report on an Unconference in Poland
One of the great things about hosting Open Spaces/Unconferences is the way that it inspires other people to do it, turning the idea into a viral meme. Grzegorz Duda sent me this message which I thought was worth sharing.
Becoming a Grass Farmer
Since my (personally) revolutionary experiences with (1) dynamic languages and (2) open spaces conferences, I have been trying to understand how these revolutions happen. This presentation from the TED conference has given me some insights.
What Can't Grails Do?
I asked Guillaume Laforge this question at the JavaGruppen conference in Denmark while he was giving a compelling presentation on Grails.
Flex/AIR Jam Right Before the Roundup
The next Flex/AIR workshop with James Ward and myself will be February 25-27, 2009, Crested Butte, Colorado, This is right before the JavaPosse Roundup, so you can get the most out of your airline ticket.
Throwing a book of rules at a terrible programmer just creates a terrible
programmer with a bruise on their head where the book bounced off.
-- Jeff Atwood
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
-- Benjamin Franklin
If somebody comes up to you and says something like, "How do I make
this pony fly to the moon?", the question you need to ask is, "What
problem are you trying to solve?" You'll find out that they really
need to collect gray rocks. Why they thought they had to fly to the
moon, and use a pony to do it, only they know. People do get confused
-- Max Kanat-Alexander
If I'd asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a
-- Henry Ford
I don't care if it works on your machine! We are not shipping your machine!
-- Vidiu Platon
I'm beginning to wonder if the sum total pain caused by the box-and-arrow crowd has outweighed the occasional usefulness of UML.
-- Carson Gross
You do not have to spend a lot of time and effort on those who strongly resist
change. You only have to help and protect those who want to change, so that they are able
to succeed. Put another way, your job is not to plant the entire forest, row by row --
it is to plant clumps of seedlings in hospitable places and to nurture them.
As they mature, these trees will spread their seeds, and the forest will eventually
cover the fertile land. The rocks, will, of course, remain barren regardless. ... once
you have figured out who cannot be converted, you should not waste more time trying to
-- David Hutton, The Change Agents' Handbook
... no institution can put all its energies into pursuing its mission; it must
expend considerable effort on maintaining discipline and structure, simply to
keep itself viable. Self-preservation of the institution becomes job number one,
while its stated goal is relegated to number two or lower, no matter what the
mission statement says. The problems inherent in managing these transaction costs
are one of the basic constraints shaping institutions of all kinds.
-- Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody
A nation ... consists of its laws. A nation does not consist of its situation at a given time.
If an individual's morals are situational, then that individual is without morals. If a nation's
laws are situational, that nation has no laws, and soon isn't a nation ... Are you really so scared of
terrorists that you'll dismantle the structures that made America what it is? ... If you are, you let
the terrorist win. Because that is exactly, specifically, his goal, his only goal: to frighten you
into surrendering the rule of law ... He uses terrifying threats to induce you to degrade
your own society.
-- William Gibson, Spook Country