Personal Development

Contest Voting: Which person made the best case for their technology person?

<a href="http://codesnipers.com/?q=node/473">Steve Moyer's</a> appreciation of Jack Crenshaw?
5% (2 votes)
<a href="http://codesnipers.com/?q=node/472">jwikholm's</a> dedication to Craig Larman?
45% (19 votes)
<a href="http://codesnipers.com/?q=node/481">Nola Stowe's</a> discussion of Keith Casey?
38% (16 votes)
<a href="http://codesnipers.com/?q=node/482">Gavin Bowman's</a> dedication to the mISV Community?
12% (5 votes)
Total votes: 42

Contest: The Micro ISV Community

This is the fourth and final of the contest entires. Voting begins tonight in less than 4 hours!

I tried thinking hard about my entry to this contest, and I tried to think of a list of technology people who had influenced me, but it just wasn’t happening.

I stumbled into technology, so I couldn’t pick a single shining light that has driven or shaped me and my career. It’s rare that I make it all the way through a technical book. I’ve always tried to learn enough to accomplish the current task and then hoped to come back to it later, but later never comes. I’m trying to figure out whether this makes me a really bad person to give free books to, or whether I really need it, I’ll let you guys decide for yourselves.

So I’m thinking back over the road that brought me here, maybe I’ll find a winner there. Maybe I should pick a childhood neighbour. I remember playing Frogger and Manic Miner on someone’s Spectrum, which in turn made me bug my parents to get me one. Maybe I should choose my parents for humouring me and not forcing me to go and play outside? When I started work, there were various people who gave me a chance, mentored me, or steered me towards software development. There are a few candidates there.

Contest: Craig Larman - An Agile Evangelist

This is the second of a series of contest entires. Voting begins on Friday 08 September.

After some very serious pondering I have come to the conclusion that the person who has had the most profound impact on me has to be Craig Larman. Although there are of course several movers and shakers that have influenced me, Mr. Larman is the one that really has made me think differently about software development.

Craig Larman is the author of "Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager's Guide". At first the book title felt repelling since it was directed at managers and I certainly am not one. Fortunately for me I read the book - I devoured it in a few nights. The concepts of Agile software development seemed so perfectly sane and logical that I was shocked that I hadn't thought of them before. This image of a this-is-for-your-own-good kind of down-to-earth mentality was further enforced when I got to hear Craig speak at the second ever Agile Finland seminar.

Craig Larman has permanently shifted my brainwaves by such a degree that I will not - without influential coercion - go back to the Dark Age of Software Development from which I was once freed.

Requires Willpower

In previous posts on Codesnipers, I’ve talked about a few anti-burnout productivity tips, and about my own attempts to implement them. Over the last few weeks, I’ve discovered an effect similar to the yo-yo weight loss/gain that dieters often experience, and learned that, like Nicotine patches, staying sharp and getting things done requires willpower.

CodeSnipers First Birthday Contest

Greetings and welcome to CodeSniper's First Birthday Contest.

For those of you just joining us, we launched one year ago this morning with 10 contributors. We've had some ups and downs, some changing of the guard, and some silent periods (*ahem*July*ahem*), but overall, it's been fun and educational so far. On the flip side, I know of at least three CodeSnipers who have been contacted by companies and had their contributions here referenced. Not huge, but still exciting.

Now the contest part...

MicroIVs - Making Dreams Come True

Hey! Where's the "S" ... that's the all important "Software" part! If you thought I misspelled the title of today's post, I didn't. I'm starting off today talking about "Independent Vendors". Does the same Internet that enables MicroISVs today also support the creation of self-sustaining MicroIVs of different flavors? I believe it does! If you didn't catch the thinly veiled recapitulation of the the title of Bob Walsh's excellent book, "MicroISV - From Vision to Reality", all I can say is "Shame on You" (okay, maybe you're in the wrong place ... you can find Google here). If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then maybe other businesses can follow the MicroISV leaders. Almost every topic in Bob's book is either directly or indirectly related to every small business.

Retrain your brain

 Brain Age for Nintendo DSDo you feel yourself slowing down as you get older? Feel like your brain’s getting a bit sluggish? Nintendo might have the answer: Dr Kawashima's Brain Training (Brain Age in the US).

You’ve probably already read about this, and about how popular it’s been with Japanese pensioners, in a mainstream newspaper or on another website (got to love that marketing exposure). In case you haven’t, it’s a collection of short brain exercises for the Nintendo DS. It makes you perform simple little tests like memorization, reading aloud, or basic calculations, on a regular basis, keeping graphs to track your performance over time. To make sure there’s no cheating, you can only record a score in each training program once a day.

Bill Bows Out

In case you've been in a zen-like coding state for the past couple of days, Bill Gates is checking out the building. In hindsight, it's clear Bill has been edging closer and closer these last few years: first handing over the day to day to Steve Ballmer, then elevating Ray Ozzie to sit one step down from the throne.
Since everyone else with a heartbeat and a laptop have opined what this means for Microsoft, the software industry and the WBM (World Bill Made), I thought I’d weigh in with what a few predictions of what this means for micro-ISVs:

  • Go Live Go – Ray Ozzie gets the Net in ways Gates only reluctantly ever did. Now that Ozzie is The Man, expect to see the Live vision of the world get significantly more resources and prestige internally in Microsoft at all levels. On a practical level for developers, expect to see Microsoft build a true online ISV distribution channel – one that micro-ISVs will be able to get in on.
  • Big Ships Turn Slow – At the same time, Microsoft is a huge company nowadays, and huge companies at the top of their game turn very slowly. Office 12/Vista will unroll pretty much as planned over the next several years. After that though, I would not be surprised to see the next big Office/OS become a low cost core endpoint for consumers, business and enterprise pulling down from the MicrosoftNet added functionality tailoring the one size fits all to the era of customized everything.

So You're a Programmer, but Should You Be

In my last post, "I went to the dark side and made it back alive", I made a brief reference to Myer's-Brigg's personality typing and the need to understand your strengths and weaknesses. In all honesty, I wouldn't have had a clue with regards to personality types if it wasn't for my wife's expertise in this area. While she specializes in child and youth psychology, she's contributed to a lot of what I understand about myself as well as how I view others. In fact, she'll read this before you will.

The basis of this personality testing is that there are four pairs of traits we each have. You get to pick one (that's wishful thinking) of each pair and that's how you'll tend to behave. This results in sixteen distinct personality types, each of which has a few traits in common with others (say those that share three of the four) and some traits that are particular to just that group. The title of this post refers to programmers, so I'll focus on the traits that make good programmers (or the lack of the traits that cause bad programmers). One other facet of this typology is that two of the traits will tend to group the types. Keirsey calls the four major groupings the "Temperments" and the 16 possible combinations the "Role Variants".

The 80/20 Revolution

The most common theme on Codesnipers lately has been information overload, which is just a small part of the wider topics of productivity and burnout. Bob’s been talking about the 80/20 principle in many different ways, but here he applied it to his RSS feeds list.

I’ve been trying something similar over the last couple of weeks, so I thought I’d share. At first it was difficult, because, believe it or not, I didn’t have a feeds list.