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Thought Clusters

Software Development & Management

Last Build Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 19:38:21 +0000


On Aaron Swartz

Sun, 20 Jan 2013 23:03:55 +0000

Aaron Swartz’s sad death is one of the great losses to the tech community. The first time I heard about Aaron Swartz was when I was looking for an RSS feed to Paul Graham’s essays. Because he had a static site, he had pointed an RSS link to one on Swartz's site, which Swartz had […]

Software Development and Geography

Sun, 09 Dec 2012 22:58:34 +0000

This is a nice image from 37Signals showing where their developers are located: David says that they would have missed out on a lot of great people by only looking at developers living in Chicago. That is true. What is also striking is that despite their actively looking for good developers who can work remotely, there […]

Machine Abundance

Sun, 25 Nov 2012 18:52:41 +0000

I was digging through old stuff when I found some notebooks I had filled up about 20 years ago. I used to be a trivia fan and copied down things like Olympics gold medal winners from reference books. The idea was that I could easily look up the information without having to go to some […]

Lines of Code is a Bad Metric, Either Way

Mon, 08 Oct 2012 02:43:16 +0000

The Dropbox team had a post explaining their decision to use CoffeeScript instead of JavaScript and, in particular, re-writing their existing codebase in CoffeeScript. In case you are unfamiliar with CoffeeScript, it is a language that compiles down into JavaScript, so you have the option to do new development in CoffeeScript while retaining your previous […]

Reckless Debt versus Strategic Debt

Sun, 26 Aug 2012 04:49:01 +0000

Chris Eargle has a great article explaining that the term “technical debt” comprises both strategic debt and reckless debt: Technical debt accrues interest, and it must be paid back lest the interest payments (lost time) become too high for product maintenance and future development. If immediate business concerns outweigh future business concerns, it makes sense […]

The Politics of Software Development

Sat, 18 Aug 2012 21:04:38 +0000

Steve Yegge has a couple of posts (here and here) expounding a new theory of thinking about software engineering. As he says, 1) Software engineering has its own political axis, ranging from conservative to liberal. […] 2) The notions of “conservative” and “liberal” on this political axis are specialized to software engineering. But they exhibit […]

The Limits of Being Persuaded

Sat, 11 Aug 2012 16:52:27 +0000

Jeff Atwood had a post about persuasion, linking to one of my favorite movie scenes where Idi Amin, the former dictator of Uganda, castigates his advisor for not effectively persuading him to expel Asian residents who were not Ugandan citizens. The conversation goes like this: Idi Amin: I want you to tell me what to […]

Rules to Liberate vs Rules to Choke

Sun, 29 Jul 2012 22:23:43 +0000

Angela Baldonero at Return Path has a post about her work at human resource management. Some of her points are very good. She writes about not tolerating brilliant people who cannot work in a team. Their company (apparently) does not simply pay lip service to their stated value of total transparency, but acts on it even […]

Acquisition for Termination

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 20:52:45 +0000

I read Matt Gemmell's take on critics of Google's acquisition of Sparrow (an email client) with interest. It echoes some of what I previously wrote about entrepreneurs, i.e., they are in the game to benefit financially and because there are many business factors outside their control, sometimes it is worth selling the business when they […]

The Pokayoke Software Development Guide

Mon, 02 Jul 2012 01:31:15 +0000

Aaron Swartz has written up a guide for software development from idea to launch. He calls it “The Pokayoke Guide to Developing Software”. I was unfamiliar with the word “Pokayoke”, but it means mistake-proofing, i.e., “eliminate product defects by preventing, correcting, or drawing attention to human errors as they occur”. Developing software from zero to […]