I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a Lenovo ThinkPad X240 test device for a review. Lenovo has been making a number of changes to their line of business notebooks recently, and I wanted to get in and get my hands on one to check it out, as a developer first and foremost and a ThinkPad zealot second. The changes made to the new line of devices are numerous – some changes awesome and innovative, while others leave you pondering the overall direction. Will I be buying one? Read on the find out.
In web and software development we all know what it’s like to finish a project and have it leave a bad taste with either your team or your stakeholders. Often left with thoughts of “if we’d just had time to slip that last feature in”, “I wish we’d understood that requirement earlier. or even worse “I wish we’d given that more testing time”. The problem is that as humans we’re incredibly good at this kind of thinking, but by using Agile processes to change this thinking both your development team and stakeholders alike will be a much happier bunch.
Offshoring – the business consultant's best friend. It's often used as "the grass is greener" answer to many large software development team's senior management. After seeing this sold in some way at nearly every role I've had for the last 10 years, the one question I don't often see asked alongside is what problem this solves and if there's other answers. Like many legitimate leadership questions this is overlooked not because managers are unintelligent, but because it's often a hard question to answer. Digging deeper delivers answers that can save a lot of time, stress and money.
Nuget has become such a valuable part of the .Net ecosystem it's any wonder how we got the job done with 3rd party packages without it. When working on projects in a team many developers turn on Nuget Package Restore to save them having to check their packages into Source Control. This allows them to have their packages download whenever a new developer goes to build. It’s also quite popular with project teams that have Continuous Integration setup. I recommend against Nuget Package Restore, as I’m simply not a fan.
We’ve all been guilty of it in our development careers at one time or another. When starting out using a language or framework that you’ve never used before you often have no choice but to. What I’m talking about is the act of “copy paste coding”, and it’s as common in the programming world as chewing gum under seats. When you copy and paste other developer’s code into your application it’s important to fully understand what the code does before you continue; or risk joining the many fools that have gone before you.
In the IT industry employees experience a weird phenomenon once they begin to move up the ranks. You often start work in IT because you get to build stuff, monitor things, and watch your creations grow. The weirdest thing about this is that in our industry to step up in your career you often have to actually stop producing things. To move into management put down the tools, and loosen your grip on what you love.
No matter what your chosen career path society places constraints on what is an acceptable amount of interest you are allowed to show to a subject before you become *weird*. People working in IT face this more than most. In my life I have known a lot of really smart people,who are obviously in love with what they are doing, not sharing their excitement with others for fear of being thought of as uncool. However crazy this sounds from the outside one thing is true; they are holding themselves back from success.
The "www." prefix in a website's address was originally thought up by Tim Berners-Lee (The creator of the interwebs) to help us differentiate between a website’s address and that of a mail server, FTP, or Gopher server (remember those kiddies?). The world has moved on from gopher servers and the like, but for different reasons has continued using this prefix without much purpose or reason. In the last few years many people have commented on their religious decision either way to support or ditch it. I put it to you: do you www. or not?
Part of my job is hiring people to build websites for advertising clients. Most of the things that we build don’t compete with brain surgery for complexity, but as anyone knows when working in software, having skilled people working on simple problems often leads to scalable, well built solutions – I hire accordingly. The problem is how do you define "skilled" and does it even have meaning in software out of the context of a company’s needs?
I have recently changed mobile service providers. The experiences I’ve had calling my old provider (Vodafone Australia) to cancel my plan and my new one (Telstra Australia) to buy their products have made it clear to me that companies that employ call centres for customer enquiries (mostly) have it completely wrong by modern customer service standards. Its seems really simple – so why does no one get it?
Web Creatives like Black. There is no denying it. Every where i have worked where a graphic designer has had involvement in the creative process of a website, black has always been an early option. Nearly any text you throw on this magical colour will have bad readability in comparison to a dark-on-light approach, and yet designers keep plugging away… Maybe its got something to do with the tools they are creating these designs with; The Apple iMac.
When users of Windows Phone 7 devices open up the marketplace application in the US, they are greeted by an Apple’esque pricing model that start at $0.99 cents – but what if you don’t live in the United States? Why aren’t we charged the equivalent US$0.99? As i discovered recently this disparity in pricing is beyond ridiculous. So is this just currency conversion or is it a bad joke that users are getting sick and tired of – let’s take a look.
I have recently had a couple of interesting discussions with a different people on twitter and “the real world” about the use of third party build dependencies such as unit testing frameworks, database versioning tools and other command line executables in your build. The topic of these discussions has been about where these dependencies should be located, inside your project, or installed on your build server.
Test Driven Development, Behaviour Driven Development, Extreme Programming and many other new-age hippy development methodologies have spread through the development world like wild fire. I believe there is room for one more in the shape of Build Driven Deployment/Automated Deployment - A new source of confidence in the development world. Time to go out and spread the word.
Writing quality software for clients is difficult at the best of times. Planning a timeline, planning resources and making sure you have the skills to complete the job, along with a myriad of other things to worry about – If your company is a solution provider, not an integrator (a digital agency) you also have to factor in the end result, and expected return that the client will even get out of the project (the end game) before you even start. So the question is, with so many things that require careful planning, why do software development timelines always appear to carry less weight with management than projects in other mediums?
So in today's day and age stored procedures are not a new thing at all. DotNet Developers seem to put themselves in one of two camps, those that think they are awesome and use them for everything, and those that think they only have certain times when they are needed and only use them when the absolute need arises (these days, not regularly).
The past 6 months started out as looking like yet another elected Communications Minister of our great island nation was simply out of touch with his portfolio. However things have started to take a sinister turn with the recent direction our elected leaders have started to take in relation to how we consume the internet in Australia – and i honestly believe they think they are making the right move. This is BAD.
My day-to-day job is always interesting to say the least. I work in an “Agency” atmosphere, where catch phrases, high budgets, high hopes and a lot of other hoo-hah take place on a daily basis. I am, however, a realist. I would prefer you to drop the f-bomb in a meeting if it meant the difference between clarity and shades of grey. It is because of this, that i am constantly mystified by a lot of my fellow agency brethren’s conversations when it comes to the topics of emerging media and the social media space in general. How much bullshit can these people spew before the world wakes up?