Sunday, August 31, 2003

Top Ten Reasons For Project Failure

I just found the Top Ten Reasons For Project Failure. I must admit that this hits the nail squarely on the head! Excellent job. Every project that I have been on that fails has at least one of these characteristics. I love delivering projects and it makes a team feel great, but more times than not I'm palced in a position of failure and while I'm trying to stir the boat in the right direction (by talking with management), there's so much a developer can do in these types of organizations. One item that I think got left off was managers knowing how to manager developers. The best managers that I have had in the past have been ex-developers, but I don't think it's necessary for a manager to be an ex-developer to be a good manager. They just need to understand the needs of developers. Anyway, it's a great article to click on over to!

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Cool Article On Wikis

I love the quotes on process. I burst out laughing at how true it is. And they discuss the virtues of VERSIONING! Click it and laugh too. BTW, it's not funny because they were trying to be funny, but because it's true. Preach on brothers!
Social Software

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

If You're Not Now, You Never Were
Alright, I left the Smalltalk world professionally 4 years ago and since then, I've called myself an "ex-Smalltalker". I realized this morning that I've never been an "ex-Smalltalker" though. Now, would I say this? I mean, I get paid for the Java and JavaScript that I write, but when I go home at night what do I fire up to let my imagination run wild? You guessed it, SMALLTALK. Hell, I even called my latest incarnation of my music project, Alto Dorado after the first two machines to run Smalltalk. I've never left the community keeping a close eye. So, why did I leave Smalltalk professionally? Well, you can guess. I thought companies were running away from it and toward Java. I didn't want to be a dinosaur at such an early age. So, I did what I thought was the right thing even though I knew Java was an inferior language. I look back at that decision now and regret it. I've never considered myself a Java developer. I just never felt the pride to label myself as such. I feel proud to call myself a Smalltalker. So, in short, I no longer refer to myself as an "ex". I use Smalltalk in all of my side projects and hopefully soon I will be again using it full time. I can dream can't I? I envy all of you who use it on a daily basis at work. I tend to sneak it in via scripting here and there at work. But, most of the Smalltalking is done on the weekends and when I get home. I don't know why I wrote this blog entry per se, I have just recently come to the conclusion that I am and will always be a Smalltalker until I find something better. I've tried many languages and nothing gives wonderment like Smalltalk except maybe Lisp (but, even it doesn't come close). I'll end this entry with "Go Smalltalk!"

Sunday, August 24, 2003

MS Agent Remote Control
Alright, I love jokes and I have more fun with the MS Agent than you can imagine. Anyway, it's a great toy on every MS Windows platform. Well, I decided to do a quick Dolphin Smalltalk app that generates scripts for the actions of the agents! MAD MAD FUN! So, you can record his actions and then create a JScript to run him. Click here to download him!

Friday, August 22, 2003

Mini KISS
OK, This is too funny. Just go here and check it out! I will not say anymore....JUST GO! NOW!

Thursday, August 21, 2003

We can hope...
I gleamed this post from my pragrammatic programmer list:

>From: "Perry E. Metzger"
>To: Colin Putney
>CC: ll1-discuss@ai.mit.edu
>Subject: Re: Java GOOD -- Fire BAD
>Date: 20 Aug 2003 20:26:53 -0400
>
>
>Colin Putney writes:
> > On Wednesday, August 20, 2003, at 01:39 PM, Perry E. Metzger wrote:
> > > I think the environment is changing. The possibility of selling Lisp
> > > into large organizations right now is better than it has been in 15 or
> > > 20 years.
> >
> > I'm curious as to why you think this. I've got the same hunch about my
> > favourite language - Smalltalk - but I can't really put my finger on
> > any compelling evidence that this is so.
>
>There seems to be a growing realization that languages do actually
>matter. My friends in the security community point to things like
>papers on why Multics was more secure than Unix (one big reason: PL/1
>did bounds checks, C does not). My friends hacking on OSes are sick of
>perpetual bugs with things like interrupt priority levels which better
>languages would make easier. Paul Graham's essays have had more of an
>impact than many might acknowledge -- hell, I'd more or less abandoned
>lisp in spite of a long standing love affair with it until what he
>wrote pointed out to me how dumb that was of me.
>
>There's also the success of languages like Perl, Python, and others
>for actual application deployment, even though they're slow as all
>hell, just because they provide a higher level environment.
>
>Finally, the amount of memory we're dealing with these days and the speed
>of our processors make high level languages practical, (even things
>like Perl!) while the tasks we're working on have gotten so ambitious
>that high level languages feel more and more necessary.
>
>I think the world is finally getting to the point where languages like
>Smalltalk and Lisp are going to take over.
>
>--
>Perry E. Metzger perry@piermont.com


Personnally, I think we are far off from this happening, but it is looking more hopeful...Maybe it's the lists that I'm on and most of the folks are fans of dynamic languages (lisp, smalltalk, perl, python, ruby, etc). It would be too cool to use a dynamic language at work most of the time (right now, I use Smalltalk for scripting tasks and making my life easier). Hell, I think it would cool to work in lisp for a bit....=)
Awesome Post
Read this post on Google from the comp.lang.smalltalk newsgroup. It's right on the money and it describes perfectly a lot of the managers that I've had in the past. The thing that simply amazes me is the amount of knowledge and proof of how to do quality software....But, for most of us in the trenches, it is largely ignored...sigh...Anyway, I loved this post and thought it was great reading!

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Career Calculus
I got this article from the pragmatic programmer list. It's an excellent read! I think constant learning is a necessity in our industry and this is just one more article I can point to uphold that statement. I also liked the fact about learning from your mistakes. I can't tell you how many times that other programmers blame me for their mistakes. I'm always quick to rush over to my code to see if the problem was mine. I'm usually the first person to check my code if something happens in the build and to help whoever fix the problem. But, I think it is a good thing to acknowledge you messed up, but it's equally important to help in others clean up their messes as well. It's what separates the men from the boys (or women from girls) in our industry. Go read it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Squeakers: The Movie
I just got this in the mail and it was the first time that I got to see and hear Mr. Alan Kay. I must admit that it was very inspirational and made me very proud to be both a Squeaker and a Smalltalker. I thought they should have had more "wow"s, but it might have looked like an infomericial though. I wish it had been longer as well. It ended much to soon and it seemed they rushed it. But, overall, complaints aside (which really aren't complaints), I thought it was excellent and I'm going to show it to every person on this planet that I can find. If you would like your own copy, go here to pick up your own copy for $6 and be prepared to be amazed what children can do with "our" language...Now, if I could only get my DVD to work Mr. Kay on it giving a speech!
The Eyes of Alice Cooper
Well, the master is returning this year with a new album on September 23! YES! I have just a little over a month to wait till I get to hear the latest offering. And of course, I need to plan where I'm going to be seeing him...and worship...=) No one does a show like ALICE!

Monday, August 18, 2003

Law Of Demeter
Excellent concept and this is an excellent article on it: http://www.javaguy.org/papers/demeter.pdf. The examples are in Java which makes my life easier at the moment. But, you would be amazed how ground breaking this concept is to a lot of folks. It's common sense to me and other object hard-core folks, but it is quite new to A LOT OF JAVA folks. Anyway, excellent article and explains the principle in a simple straightforward manner. All technical articles should be like this: Well-written, easy to digest, offers one concept, and keeps it simple.
Remind me to never work at an amusement park
This is an awful story. Click here. It makes me glad I don't work in amusement parks. Ouch...Ouch...Ouch....If I ever work in a amusement park, I promise I will cut the hair...

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Don't know where to find the "any" key?
Click here and be enlightened! FUNNY STUFF!

Friday, August 15, 2003

Amen...And All you smart asses who put down the South...Take Note!
I got this emailed to me from my lovely wife

Fourteen Ways To Avoid A Good Southern Ass Whuppin
Issued by the Southern Tourism Bureau

To ALL visiting Northerners, Northeasterners,
North-westerners, Westerners and Southwestern
Urbanites:

1) Don't order filet mignon or pasta primavera at
Waffle House. It's just a diner. They serve breakfast
24 hours a day. Let them cook something they
know. If you confuse them, they'll kick your ass

2) Don't laugh at our Southern names (Merleen,
Luther, Tammy Lynn, Inez, Billy Joe, Sissy, Clovis,
etc.) or we will just HAVE to kick your ass

3) Don't order a bottle of pop or a can of soda down
here. It's called Coke. Nobody gives a
flying rat's ass whether it's Pepsi, RC, Dr.
Pepper, 7-Up or whatever... it's still a Coke.
Accept it. Doing otherwise can lead to an ass kicking.

4) We know our heritage. Most of us are more literate
than you (e.g. Welty, Williams, Faulkner). We are also
better educated and generally a lot nicer. Don't refer
to us as a bunch of hillbillies or we'll kick your
ass.

5) We have plenty of business sense (e.g., Fred Smith
of Fed Ex, Sam Walton, Turner Broadcasting, MTV,
Netscape). Naturally, we do, sometimes, have small
lapses in judgment (e.g. John Edwards, Al Gore, Bill
Clinton, David Duke). We don't care if you think we
are dumb. We are not dumb enough to let someone move
to our state in order to run for the Senate. If
someone tried to do that, we would kick his/her ass.

6) We are fully aware of how high the humidity is, so
shut the hell up. Just spend your money and get the
hell out of here, or we'll kick your ass.

7) Don't order wheat toast at Cracker Barrel.
Everyone will instantly know that you're a Yankee.
Eat your biscuits like God intended with gravy.
And do NOT EVER put sugar on your grits, or we'll
kick your ass.

8) Don't fake a Southern accent. This will incite a
riot, and you will get your ass kicked.

9) Don't talk about how much better things are at
home because we know better. Many of us have visited
Northern hellholes like Detroit Chicago, and DC,
and we have the scars to prove it. If you don't like
it here, Delta is ready when you are. Move your ass on
home before it gets kicked.

10) Yes, we know how to speak proper English. We talk
this way because we don't want to sound like you. We
don't care if you don't understand what we are saying.
All other Southerners understand what we are saying,
and that's all that matters. Now, go away and leave us
alone, or we'll kick your ass.

11) Don't complain that the South is dirty and
polluted. None of OUR lakes or rivers have caught
fire recently. If you whine about OUR scenic beauty,
we'll kick your ass all the way back to BA-STON HAA-BAH.

12) Don't ridicule our Southern manners. We say sir
and ma'am. We hold doors open for others. We offer
our seats to old folks because such things are
expected of civilized people. Behave yourselves
around our sweet little gray-haired grandmothers or
they'll kick some manners into your ass just like they
did ours.

13) So you think we're quaint, or losers, because
most of us live in the countryside? That's because
we have enough sense to not live in filthy, smelly,
crime infested cesspools like New York, Baltimore or
Boston. Make fun of our fresh air, and we'll kick your
ass.

14) Last, but not least, DO NOT DARE to come down
here and tell us how to cook barbecue. This will get
your ass shot (right after it is kicked). You're
lucky we let you come down here at all. Criticize our
barbecue, and you will go home in a pine box... minus
your ass.
RIGHT ON! Article on Outsourcing
Here's an excellent article on the outsourcing mess. This guy hits it right on the head and it's something that us XP/Agile and Smalltalkers have been talking about for awhile. I think the smarter IT organizations will realize that they can get more done with less, but the less needs to be smarter folks. And how do you find and keep the smart people? Create an environment that inspires them and they will come. And to find out if you have a smart one, look at their code and put them on a "try before you buy" basis. India is nothing to be scared of. I think weeding out people that don't love programming is a good thing. Programming is not just a job, it's a passion.

I got the article from a friend of mine, Ram. Thanks Ram!

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Too Funny!
Oh boy! I had diet pepsi running through my nose on this one: The Paradise Pattern. I would suggest a port to C# would be just as advantageous....=) Yeah, it's poking fun at java again...=) But, it's too much F-U-N!
Ozzfest
Went to Ozzfest this Saturday. I missed two of my fave bands, Shadow's Fall and Killswitch Engage, but oh well...Cradle of Filth made up for it! They totally slayed. Voivod left a lot to be desired, but I did get to meet them and thank them for two great albums (Nothingface and Dimension Hatross). Finally, I was impressed with Marilyn Manson (I was expecting it to suck), but he put on a very good show. I was most disappointed with Disturbed (very average music and nothing to write home about...and what's the deal with beating up your mother?) and Korn (pure noise, hell, I wanted to beat up the singer after hearing his tripe and his really bad band). Finally, there was Ozzy and Zakk came out as a pimp. I could not stop laughing! Zakk and crew put on one hell of a show, but unfortuantely, try as he might, I think Ozzy is way over the hill. It was painful watching him, but the excellent backing band more than made up for it. Rusty, my bud that went with me, commented that Ozzy should only 2 songs per Ozzfest and then, I backed that up with Black Label Society being the headliners...Zakk is quite the showman and it would be great to see a full set of BLS...And hey, he can even throw in some Pride and Glory (which by the way, we stood in line to meet him, but he never showed! I wanted to beg for another P&G album!!!!!) Good time overall!
Spammers, better run...
Read this article and let's start the ass whoppin'!
http://www.paulgraham.com/ffb.html
Paul Graham, CPS, Lisp, and Web Services
OK, so the major discussion this week on the lightweight languages list have been continuations. Paul Graham, who I am a big fan of and an extreme Lisp advocate, posted this link to one of his excellent articles. It talks about the way he implemented his web services in lisp and his design decisions. The interesting thing about the article is about how many extreme programming practices that he mentions (do the simplest possible thing, constant testing, test first, customer first, etc) and how a dynamic language can support the whole process. He also mentions using Continuation Passing Style to aid in keeping things in context for multiple invocations of the web services. I can clearly see where Avi Bryant and crew got some of their excellent ideas for Seaside! It also amazes how much the things that I embraced in the Smalltalk community come from the Lisp community. What amazes me even more is how much of this history is lost in the Java and corporate communities. It's amazing how many frameworks I see in Java that are subpar to things that I used in Smalltalk. Anyway, I think the scripting languages did not lose the history lesson and are continuing in the same tradition. I would much rather work in Ruby (or Javascript, Python, etc) than Java anyday of the week. Of course, ideally, I would love to work on Smalltalk full time because my days in that language were very enjoyable even though the circumstances of some of my projects was less than ideal. At least the language never got in my way!

Anyway, I must admit I love continuations now that I have played with them quite a bit in both Ruby and Dolphin Smalltalk. I think they can be easily used for handling contexts in event handling (think about mouse captures for drag and drop!) and any distributed service that needs context between invocations. It's amazing that this gem has been around for a very long time in the Scheme and Lisp communities. I'm even shocked to hear that people have a hard time with them. They seem very natural to me for the problems that we are trying to solve with them now. Nonetheless, they seem to have a bad reputation that I think is not warranted. They were a solution looking for a problem and that problem has been around, but we finally figured out what to do with it....Well, the Lisp and Scheme guys already knew what they were good for....=)

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

{} Crowd
I just saw this and started to use it! I love it! It describes the C/C++/Java crowd into a nice short acronym-like way. It's not deragatory either. I don't know why I liked this so much, but I figured I'm going to be using it a lot more!
James Robertson
I've been reading Mr. Robertson's blog for a few days now and it's great to see he's as witty as ever. We butted heads a lot when I was at ParcPlace, but I always an intense respect for him. Anyway, check out his blog at here. It's clearly pro-Smalltalk and lots of anticedotes for the {} crowd. I think Mr. Robertson always felt I was on the Java side of the fence when I was ParcPlace, but I just felt ParcPlace should have fought Java harder and match it on features and marketing. Anyway, I love his enthusiasm and it's inspired me to try to take a more active role in the things that I like. Strangely, it's been reading his blog that has grown my interest in Python again. I still would pick Ruby if given the choice of Perl, Python, or Ruby. But, maybe that's because Ruby is like Smalltalk without the environment. Anyway, I got to go back to the java mines.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

KISS and Aerosmith
Well, I was one of the fortuanate this Saturday to witness the opening night of the Kiss and Aerosmith tour. Kiss are child hood idols of mine. When I was little, my world was simply Batman, Hulk, and Kiss. I was disappointed with Kiss when I saw them on their supposed "farewell" tour, but I think that was because Ace Frehley was doing good to hold the guitar (I'm sorry, but it's painful to see one of your heros to have fallen off the crest). Well, last night, they gave me the show I had wished when I saw them on the farewell tour! THEY ROCKED! They were everything I thought they would be when I was a kid. They didn't play everything I wanted them to (ala Calling Dr. Love, Charisma (hey, I can dream right?), Radioactive (yeah, I know, it's one of my all-time faves), Strutter, Two timer, etc). But, they covered most of the other bases. I swear I hope they never retire and they keep Tommy Thayer. He did exactly what Ace should have done the last time I saw them...=) The only thing I could do without is the canned Beth (get a damn keyboardist out there and do it proper! Karoake sucks!). So, since I've lived in this area for a short time, I've gotten to see Alice on Halloween and now Kiss on opening night! This place rules! Oh yeah, how was Aerosmith? The enitre was almost everything Done With Mirrors and post. In other words, very little classic Aerosmith and a lot of ballads. Tyler's voice seemed blown and they all looked tired except Joe Perry. I think he gave a great performance. I figured since Kiss only played 70's stuff from the classic line-up that Aerosmith would follow suit. Oh well, at least we got to hear some of their new "blues" album which was cool, but nothing mind blowing....The highlight of the evening was Kiss! I hope they never retire because I will never grow tired of Gene doing the blood and fire breathing thing. Much like I will never tired of Alice getting his chopped off or him holding himself up on crutches during 18. Can I just say it, last night "I WANTED THE BEST AND I GOT THE BEST!" I've now seen all of my childhood faves in concert and most of my fave 70's acts (now, if I could Lynyrd Skynyrd and Van Halen (with roth), I would be set...).

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