Interesting articles on ‘Utopian’ development

Joel has posted a link up to Steve Yegge’ blog.  In particular, to one specific article about Good and Bad Agile.  It makes google sound like an interesting place to work.  It reminds me of Orson Scott Card’s article about how software companies die from 10 years ago.  Steve definitely is describing the ‘beekeeping’ method of software development.

Google sounds great.  Sounds like heaven to work for.  But… (and you *had* to hear that coming, right?)

Why doesn’t that work for the rest of companies in the world?

Part of the answer to that lies in what google actually ‘sells’.  Google mainly sells advertising.  It doesn’t matter what the advertising is on, it just matters that they have their name on it.  Therefore, they are not ‘going after’ specific niches or areas, they can put anything out that they want, and as long as there is space to advertise, it’s a good product.

Next, Google is a company that is primarily focused on software development.  The people who started the company are developers.  They have a deep understanding of software development.  They promote an atmosphere that software developers want to be part of. 

Few companies have the kind of resources or patience that Google has.  Google mail is still in beta, and that has been going on for over 4 years!  Imagine Microsoft releasing Exchange Server as a beta, expecting people to use it, and keeping it in beta for the same time frame.

Yeah, Google sounds like a lot of fun.  I bet Bell Labs was fun to work at, too.

Update to Windows Live Writer Beta!

There’s a nice update to Windows Live Writer (Beta) over at the Windows Live Writer blog.  Nice update has some cool improvements, especially the startup time.  Also, there is are SDKs being published that allows one to incorporate Live Writer into other applications and to write plug-ins for the application itself.

Good job all!

One non-listed change for Windows PowerShell RC2

There’s a new Release Candidate out for Microsoft Windows Powershell.  RC2 seems very close to shipping, it runs faster, and has some nice features baked in (WMI and ADSI are now included).  As with each release, there have been numerous changes.  One change that is rather important, but somehow missed in the notes is the change to the profiles directory.  The profiles directory used to be Documents and SettingsusernameDocumentsPSConfiguration.  That has changed to Documents and SettingsusernameDocumentsWindowPowerShell.  It’s a good change, I totally agree with it, but *please* document it!
BTW, if you are wondering how I found the new profile location, at a PowerShell prompt, I typed $profile.  This gives you the location of the profile used in starting the session.

Great question asked yesterday…

Yesterday was a red-letter day for the PC industry… The CIO of my company asked if anyone in the company had a Mac!  No one has one on their desk, but I happen to have one at home.  He need our company web sites to be checked on Safari, and to make sure that they worked on the user registration information.  I was *VERY* happy to volunteer my Mac and time to test it out.  Everything ran great, and looked even better on the mac than the PC.  Safari has some features that are great.  The auto fill-in feature works incredibly well.  And, it works like you expect it to, not some half-geek / half-idiot designed user interface.
Now, if only I can convince them that a Mac Pro would be an incredible development machine…

Too much to blog about, not enough to blog about…

Ok, I’ve been severely remiss in blogging lately.  So much has been going on, that I have no idea where to begin.  Unfortunately, that’s led to vapor lock on my blogging skills.  I don’t want to whine about the job, and the lack of coding.  Life is going very well, even with the little stupid hiccups that poke up when things are going right.

First off, I saw my house site a little over a week ago.  I was immediately hit with buyer’s remorse.  My townhouse is literally ‘on campus’ on the local high school.  Fortunately, common sense caught up with me, and I realized that a wall and trees will be built around the community, and that I will very rarely be home when school is in session.  I’ve calmed down, and am now excited about the house again.

Second, I’ve started learning how to be a bass player.  I bought a bass guitar several years ago, just to record with.  I don’t think I’ve spent more than 10 hours in 4 years playing my bass.  Mainly, I was never happy with the sound of the bass.  Upgrading my Pod XT Live to the Bass Model Pack, changed all that!  What a difference!  Compression and Bass amp models really improved the sound, and I started to practice with the bass.  And it really helped when I actually played bass for the band!  I survived playing for over 2 hours only playing bass.  It was a LOT of fun.

Finally, the C6 ‘vette is incredible.  I’ve never driven a car with this kind of horsepower and control.  Smooth and fun.  I enjoy driving every day.  Words just cannot describe it.  If you ever get a chance, drive one, just for the experience.

More later…

It’s going to be an *EXPENSIVE* week…

This week has been the most amazing week in my life.  There are some SERIOUS changes coming in my life.  It is definitely a material upgrade to my lifestyle.  Some things that I’ve been working for are starting to come together.

First up was the ‘vette.  Purchasing a new car was something that I had planned to do before the end of the year.  it just turned out that this weekend was a good weekend to deal.

Next, the mystery purchase.    Well, not really a mystery purchase.  It’s just going to be a mystery how I’m going to be able to pay for it.  The item in question is a new house (townhouse, if you want to get technical).  I’ve been looking around for a new place to live, and out of the blue, my company has put a new development up for sale.  Working for a home builder has some *serious* advantages, which I cannot list here.

I will have more about this stuff later, I’m too tired to write anymore…

I *wish* I had written this blog entry…

At the risk of being a ‘link parrot’, here is a GREAT blog entry about being a programmer, and what it means to actually CARE about your work.
Thanks Rick for this incredible link.
Just a couple of comments about the entry.  I totally empathize with Pete.  The world HAS changed.  Unfortunately, what we are seeing in software development is analogous to the industrial age in manufacturing.  At one point, we had master craftsmen who could do work that would last a lifetime, but was expensive and took time to do.  Manufacturing and automation allowed people with lesser skills to produce goods much quicker, cheaper, and with a reasonable degree of quality.  I think that is what software development is turning into.  I don’t like it, I certainly don’t agree with it, but it seems to be the reality that is coming about.
So, when does the SCCA for Software Development meet, and how do I join?

Corvette Summer

I did it.  I finally broke down and bought an ’06 ‘Vette.  And I couldn’t be happier!

The whole story begins Friday night, with me searching for a used C6 Corvette with manual transmission and at a dealer.  I had decided that it was time to trade 2000 ‘vette in.  My ‘vette had over 153,000 miles (yes, 153,000!).  She was a great car, and I was very happy with the car, but enough was going wrong that I really needed to trade it in.  The final straw was needing an oil change.  Every time I brought the car into the shop, I get this ‘your transmission is about to fall out’ line because of a small leak in the transmission.  Now, it’s been leaking for almost two years, with no problems.  But, my drive to work is now different, and the traffic is *very* different.  So, I’ve been concerned.  Back to the idea of the oil change.  I really didn’t want to hear about how the transmission is going to fall out, so I started searching.

About 3 weeks ago, I had come across an incredible deal on an ’06 ‘vette at a dealer I really like.  When I drove down to the dealership, I found out the car had been sold several days before I even went to look at it.    This had started getting me looking, if for no other reason than I pictured I could afford it.  BTW, the car is STILL listed on Autotrader.  Horrible internet service for this dealership, so no link for them.

So, Friday, I found a car that I *really* liked, at a local dealer, Maroone Chevrolet.  I had bought my 2000 from them, and they had left a *horrible* taste in my mouth.  Even though I didn’t like them, I decided that I would walk through their website.  I filled out the ‘get trade value’ section, just to see what my car was worth.  I filled in all of the info with real info, because I did want to contact them.  Saturday morning, I got a call from the internet guy.  He had checked, the car I was interested was still there, and asked when I could come in.  I set an appointment, not sure I would make it.  After some hemming and hawwing, I decided to go and look.  I DID take all my info, just in case I liked the car enough to try to get it.

After I got there, the salesman let me take the car for a test drive.  They have a fairly big area where to ‘circle’ the dealership, so I got to feel the car.  I haven’t driven a stick shift in quite a while, so it was good that they were back roads.  All I can say about that test drive was, ‘Yee-Haw!’  I’ve never driven a car that was so easy to connect to.  It was *AMAZING*.  The acceleration is just freakin’ scary.  One second you are sitting still, 4 seconds later you are going over 65 mph.  This was one reason I have not driven a C6 Corvette up until now.  I knew the moment I drove one, I would want one.  And this one didn’t disappoint.

What really surpised me was the level of detail that has gone into designing this car.  All of the little ‘gripes’ about the C5 ‘vette were addressed and implemented.  The windows roll down a bit when the doors are opened, and then rolled up when the door is closed.  This save a *LOT* of wear and tear on the seals, plus it keeps the windows in place.  Wind noise was a killer on the C5.  The trunk now has an ‘automatic closer’.  When you LIGHTLY press the trunk down, a motor pulls the trunk completely closed.  AWESOME!  No more ‘HATCH OPEN’ messages when the trunk wasn’t completely closed.  Same thing for the hood.  The C5 required letting the hood drop HARD to get it to close.  The C6 will close with just a small drop, and can be closed when one side is already latched.  Beautiful.  Of course, I shudder to think of what might happen if the electronics go south…  Which is why I ended up getting a 6 year/60,000 mile extended warranty.

Finally, Maroone made a sale, they did a AWESOME job getting me the car, and getting everything taken care of.  I even saved money on my car insurance when I changed over to the new car.

Cool labor day weekend…

Ok, so I’m writing this a little bit late, so sue me…

This Labor Day turned into an amazing weekend! 

First off, Friday… wow, Friday… what can I say that I DIDN’T say in a previous entry?  Well, other than the fact that the guys from Queensryche were INCREDIBLY nice.  Super guys, nice to talk to, just super cool.  I can’t wait for them to come back to South Florida for another concert.

Saturday turned into a very interesting day.  My friend Rich’s son, Joshua, had his Bar Mitzvah on Saturday.  Rich was kind enough to invite me to the ceremony and reception.  It was very interesting to sit through the service.  It definitely is something that I will not forget.  The reception was excellent, as there was plenty of good company and good food.  Thanks Rich and Josh!

Saturday was also an important day in the world of sports… The University of Tennessee was back playing college football!  I was lucky enough to get home just in time for the kickoff!  Tennessee played Cal at home in Knoxville.  Seeing as I grew up living in Knoxville, I watched the ‘area’ camera shots as closely as the game itself.  And it was a heck of a game!  Tennessee started the season with a vengence!  35-18 against the #9 team in the country!  YEAH!!!!

Sunday was a nice, quiet Sunday, doing some of the weekly chores and running errands.

Monday was a day off, with more errands and catching up with some friends whom I haven’t seen for a while.  Unfortunately, I ended up missing band practice.    Hopefully, I will have my amp back this week, and the band’s on!  Also, Monday Night Football was back with two, ah, local teams, Miami and Florida State playing.  I have to cheer for FSU, as some close friends, *cough* Rick *cough* Trish *cough* went to that school.

Starting the Labor Day weekend off with a *BLAST*! (Queensryche content)

I have so many titles running through my head on this one, that I ended up with something generic… Oh well.  The content, though, is pretty cool <grin>

Here’s the setup.  I like the band Queensryche.  I’ve been listening to them for almost 18 years (please don’t let that make this ‘classic rock!’).  A friend of mine knows that I like the band, and when she received a ‘pre-sale’ promotion code to allow one to buy tickets before they went to the general public, she sent it to me.  This was in April or May (I can’t remember).  I IMMEDIATELY bought tickets as soon as the presale started and ended up with 12th row tickets.  That’s pretty cool to begin with…  I invited my friend Rick along, ’cause he’s a big fan as well.

So, Friday night was the show.  It almost didn’t happen because of an over-hyped thunderstorm named ‘Ernesto’.  Fortunately, South Florida was spared from that storm, and the show went on.  BUT, it was raining.  Not outrageously hard, but a good rain was falling, and the show was at an outdoor venue.  I almost didn’t go, because of the rain.  So, when I get to the show, the first thing I did was pick up a T-shirt.  This turned out to be an INCREDIBLY smart move <grin>.  I found my seat, and my friend.  Once the show started it was still raining.  What’s a little rain, eh?  Queensryche was incredible.  The premise of this show was that they played the entire Opeeration Mindcrime albums back to back, live on stage.  All I can say is WOW!  They did an incredible job, great sound, great performance, cool acting, just incredible.

So, here’s where it gets interesting.  As we are leaving, the couple in front of us looks up and says, ‘Hey we won these things from the radio station, you want them?’  Rick looks at them and shugs… I looked at what they were handing us… Two little stickers that say ‘Queensryche Aftershow’.  I’m thinking, nah, these *can’t* be what I think they are.  I ask them, ‘Are you sure?’  They were like ‘Yeah, we’re leaving’.  So I’m like ‘OK, we will definitely take them’.  Rick’s looking at me a little puzzled.  So I explain…. ‘They just handed us back stage passes to meet the band’.  He’s like ‘You’re kidding’.  ‘Nope, let’s check with security…’

Sure enough, they were back stage passes!!!!! OMG!!!!

So, we ended up getting to meet the band.  Both Rick and I had bought the exact same t-shirt, so we got the band to sign our respective shirts!  Unfortunately, that means I can’t wear it, but, hey, I might just frame it!