Contest: The Technology Person Who Has Had The Biggest Impact On Me

This is the third of the contest entires. Voting begins tonight at 5pm EST.

I wasn’t going to enter, because the person who probably has had the most impact so far on me is Keith Casey. Oh yeah what a kiss up!! You’re just writing this because he is running this site and you want to get on his good side! … no, I’m not writing this to win. I’m just writing about him because I would feel dishonest writing about anybody else.

I knew Keith from when we were teenagers. I would see him occasionally since those day, but we never talked too much and certainly not about programming! One day, I hear he is looking for PHP programmers. Hey, I do PHP. I dream in PHP. So I shoot him an email and I start working as a contractor for CaseySoftware.

The two years before this, however, I was sort of in a “programmer depression” where I didn’t even actually check my personal email at home. I didn’t do any consulting, no freelancing, no “talking” about coding with anyone. I was a lone developer working in an environment that was not very progressive.

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.

Contest: The Technology Person Who Has Had The Biggest Impact On Me

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

Since I spent the first 15 years of my career as an embedded engineer, it was critical that I learn to program efficiently. Embedded systems have several requirements that are challenging ... limited processor power, limited memory, and the need to always be running. Wouldn't you hate it if your microwave oven gave you the blue screen of death? There is often a financial incentive to minimize the hardware costs which only serves to exacerbate the problem.

You might say this still isn't rocket science, but for my candidate, it is. His name is Jack Crenshaw, and I've been reading his "Programmers' Toolbox" articles in Embedded Systems Programming magazine for almost twenty-five years. His early stories were peppered with commentary on how routines were developed for NASA. Some articles are purely theoretical, but many have pseudo-code algorithms that can be directly implemented. These articles are the primary reason for the success of the embedded systems that I've developed.

CodeSnipers Contest - Deadline Nears

Update: After an unexpected outage from Thursday morning until Friday evening, I am extending the contest until 11:59pm EDT on September 5th. I apologize for the change of plans and would like to thank Nola for her debugging and forensics.

Don't forget that 11:59pm EDT on September 1st - about 38 hours from now - is the deadline for our CodeSnipers essay contest:

We are accepting essays about "the technology person who has had the biggest impact on me". Write 2-3 paragraphs and tell us how the person has made the impact on you. It can be a positive or a negative, related to business, technology, marketing, etc, but the person(s) *must* be involved in technology.

The prize is $50 in books from the Pragmatic Programmers. They have a variety of books on software development, project management, team tools, and misc other things, so you should find a variety of things to suite your tastes and experience. Shipping in the continental US does not count against this total but other shipping does. Conveniently, the Pragmatic Programmers sell ebooks of all their stuff.

Entrepreneurship (Part II) - Please help!

Last month in my post titled MicroIVs - Making Dreams Come True, I described trying to instill the entrepreneurial spirit in my two eldest children. In what can only be described as yet another manifestation of my insanity, I'm considering teaching an "Entrepreneurship 101" class at the Grace Prep School, where my son will be attending 10th grade. Two factors make me think this would work; First, I'm on the advisory board for the local public high school's Technology education programs, where I've seen this work. As part of the marketing curriculum, the students have managed all facets of a successful store, located right in the high school building. Second, Grace Prep is a pretty progressive school ... it has already embraced many non-traditional learning techniques and values education with experience over rote learning. There may be a third alterior motive, since I'm concerned that I'm not boring enough people through this blog (although, based on the lack of comments I've received, I suspect that you are indeed snoring before you reach the "add new comment" link). I suspect there would be some real satisfaction in lulling a student to sleep and then calling on them. In any case, I'd like your opinion on both the concept and the implementation.

Here's the elevator pitch: Have the students in the class create a real MicroISV. The students could be divided into groups (Sales/Marketing, Customer Support, Management, Product Research and Development) based on their interests and/or aptitudes, with each group responsible for a portion of the business. I would provide the domain name, web site and software development (a program I wrote in less than a week last year). I believe that this software is saleable and have considered creating a MicroISV for it, so I don't feel bad using it as the company's product. The students would have to start the business, market and sell the software, handle customer interaction and direct product development.

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.

"Muntz" your code

A long time ago, when I was a much younger engineer, I read an article in "Electronic Design" magazine by Bob Pease of National Semiconductor titled "What's All This Muntzing Stuff, Anyhow?". In this article, he describes how Earl "Mad-man" Muntz, would clip parts out of his engineer's circuits to see if the parts were absolutely necessary. As a consequence, his television sets cost dramatically less than his competitors. This article is definitely worth a read (as are Bob's other articles).

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...

No Such Luck

Reading Steve’s last post was a frustrating experience. Not only did he miss fewer slots than me, he had a good excuse for it. The reasons for my relative lack of posting lately are far from interesting, convincing, or enjoyable.

I'm Not Dead Yet

So goes a famous line from my son's favorite movie, Monty Python's "Quest for the Holy Grail" (I'm sure he'll grow out of it). I realize that I've missed my last three posting slots and thought I'd explain.