Bryan Lawrence : Bryan's Blog 2007/01

Bryan Lawrence

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Bryan's Blog 2007/01

Software Design, or, why Chandler is going nowhere

Joel has an interesting review of a book about the Chandler design and philosophy (I came across this via Joe Gregorio. The whole review is well worth a read, but I can't help wanting to quote these bits (sorry Joel, I know it's more than one paragraph, but I want to shout about these three over and over again, and I promise to attribute every time).

... you fell for that old overconfidence trick of your mind. "Oh, yeah, we totally know how to do this! It's all totally clear to us. No need to spec it out. Just write the code."

... you hired programmers before you designed the thing. Because the only thing harder than trying to design software is trying to design software as a team.

I can't tell you how many times I've been in a meeting with even one or two other programmers, trying to figure out how something should work, and we're just not getting anywhere. So I go off in my office and take out a piece of paper and figure it out. The very act of interacting with a second person was keeping me from concentrating enough to design the dang feature. What kills me is the teams who get into the bad habit of holding meetings every time they need to figure out how something is going to work. Did you ever try to write poetry in a committee meeting?

Mind you, I'm not convinced that diving off into an office to solve every problem is possible: despite the Mythical Man Month, sometimes you have to share tasks, and you just have to talk about them. What you do need at every technical meeting is some sort of straw man though!

(And I'm really sorry that Chandler appears to be going nowhere. I want a good mail/calendar/tasks application, and Outlook just doesn't deliver ... and nor does anything else I've tried, albeit all of the ones I've tried may have been hamstrung by having to interoperate with Exchange.)

by Bryan Lawrence : 2007/01/25 : Categories computing (permalink)

Quiet Times buying an LCD TV

This is heading to be my quietest blogging month since I started ... mainly because of a hectic workload, and the fact that we need a new TV, and I can't bring myself to pay the going rate for an LCD TV ...

Some of the time that I might have spent blogging I've spent catching up on email from being out of the office, the rest has been spent combing the web to decide which TV/price combination we like and can afford (and fit in our living room). I can't believe how much LCD TVs cost, nor how many variants just one manufacturer can put on the market ...

Reading reviews is little or no help: "which online" put you off anything except their best buys (and they're not that enthusiastic about them), and half of the reviews for the models I'm interested in are not in English ...

Anyway, I've had enough. I've settled on one, and I've settled on a supplier, and now the thing is out of stock. I'll wait a few days, and hopefully they'll get a supply, and I'll do it, else expect more quiet times: I've got to buy a TV shortly (the NZ rugby season starts soon, and our old one has various fundamental problems) - and I've got even more time out of the office next week, so will be catching up on even more email at night ...

by Bryan Lawrence : 2007/01/23 : 0 trackbacks : 0 comments (permalink)

The Big Storm

Last weeks big wind took its toll too: not only did I nearly get stuck in Liverpool (all trains stopped, all motorways bar the one to Manchester closed), my back fence blew over, as did a bunch of trees. So I've got fence building to do ... more wasted time ...

I didn't really see any big winds myself, but as I say, I felt the effects. I missed the fence and trees falling over (asleep at the time), and I missed most of the drama nationally as getting back from Liverpool was a bit of a saga: the most expensive taxi ride of my life (from Liverpool to Birmingham: fortunately a shared taxi pricewise; unfortunately a shared taxi bumwise - ever sat in a black cab for five hours? Don't!) ... followed by a two hour wait in Birmingham for the train crew to materialise (can't really blame the train company for that), and then a slow train home (speed restrictions because of the wind). After all that, I didn't fancy watching the news (on my soon to be replaced TV).

by Bryan Lawrence : 2007/01/23 (permalink)

ubuntu sound

Yes, I'm still here, but it's just been hectic since the holidays ...

Over the holidays, I did manage to upgrade our home computer to ubuntu edgy (from OpenSuse 10.0). This was is every sense an upgrade, but it had one catch: I lost my sound. It's taken me from New Year til now to find time to do anything about it.

The key link was this one, and I followed the advice on alsamixer and IEC:

IEC is an input to certain high end sound cards ... Ubuntu turned on those options by default. To turn off those options, rum "alsamixer" (without quote) in gnome terminal. You can move around each option with your arrow key (right and left key.) Move to every IEC related options, turn off all of those options (use keyboard "m" to turn off.) After turning off hit "Esc" key to save, and type "sudo alsactl store" so that it is saved permanently.

by Bryan Lawrence : 2007/01/14 : Categories ubuntu (permalink)

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