Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sam Harris finally get’s angry


It was fascinating to listen to Sam Harris, who always seems so calm and in control, demonstrate such frustration in this interview.  He still manages to make excellent point after excellent point, its just a different tone.  It’s a serious conversation but there are definitely funny moments with crushing digs of his critics.  

He’s such a clear thinker on such a variety of topics I love listening.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Super intelligent

Just finished reading Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom.  The book was an extremely thorough review of the potential path to AI and every conceivable consideration and consequence.

Friday, September 19, 2014

RIF Notes #31

"…business staff think we can load up technical debt because they never truly see the consequences. But those consequences are there…they are just never expressed in a way that the business staff can engage with" -Steve McConnell

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

RIF Notes #30

“Clutter is taking a toll on both morale and productivity. Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School studied the daily routines of more than 230 people who work on projects that require creativity. As might have been expected, she found that their ability to think creatively fell markedly if their working days were punctuated with meetings. They did far better if left to focus on their projects without interruption for a large chunk of the day, and had to collaborate with no more than one colleague.” —Decluttering the company [The Economist]

Friday, August 1, 2014

eXtreme Programming: Days of future past

Going back, maybe ten years ago, when I first read Kent Becks Extreme Programming I found it compelling. Most of the practices made immediate intuitive sense.  I especially liked the practices:  coding standards, unit testing, refactoring, continuous integration, collective code ownership, code reviews and maintaining a sustainable pace. They are now engrained in the way we operate.  What was appealing about them was that they were directly applicable to the practice of programming.  I could and did begin adopting them in some part as an individual to develop my own development skills, quality and productivity.  There was no need for a formal organizational structure or project management philosophy overhaul required in order to just start doing some of the practices and benefitting from the discipline.  Extreme programming is a methodology as the name implies, for programmers. 

Later, as I became more aware of broader Agile, the myriad of Agile practices felt like watered down versions of XP or at least less concrete.  The Agile manifesto’s vague generalities weren’t prescriptive enough, for me, I never really got it.  If fact, I have seen them used to vindicate code-like hell as being agile.  I was disappointed when XP fell out of favor.

Unsurprisingly, I found the project management aspects of XP less interesting personally.  Nevertheless, those are the aspects that Agile became synonymous with.  Teams that are ‘agile’ more often than not refer to their project process rather than their engineering discipline.  Initially I was intrigued by Scrum.   It appeared to be somewhat prescriptive, albeit around the process rather than the programming .  It had a structure which vague Agile didn’t (which may be true of Lean and Kanban too).  In my experience, however, Scrum tends not to be all that prescriptive and molds to the team rather than the other way around.  While agility is great and desirable, Agile still seems to be all over the place meaning everything and nothing all at once.

When I came across Uncle Bob’s Extreme Programming, a Reflection recently and recalled Martin Fowler’s similar criticism of Flaccid Scrum (Scrum without technical practices), I was encouraged to know that I wasn’t alone in my nostalgia for XP.

I recommend going back, re-familiarizing with XP and reclaiming what was lost.

Monday, July 28, 2014

RIF Notes #29

“Most artists and designers I know would rather work all night than turn in a sub-standard job. It is a universal truth that all artists think they a [sic] frauds and charlatans, and live in constant fear of being exposed. We believe by working harder than anyone else we can evaded [sic] detection. The bean-counters rumbled this centuries ago and have been profitably exploiting this weakness ever since. You don’t have to drive creative folk like most workers. They drive themselves. Just wind ‘em up and let ‘em go.”—Linds Redding