A savoury media diet for a cold and somewhat dreary Winter (2018) March 18, 2018

One of my favourite reads is Kottke.org, a blog by Jason Kottke. Calling it a blog is a bit of a slight: it’s more of a magazine, like a proto-New Yorker. It’s thoughtful and relevant, weaving current events, artsy things, various interesting edges of tech, and topics about general humanity. Kottke has been killing it […]

A JavaScript link mashup for Winter 2017: Things I used and liked in the JS universe this year. December 11, 2017

2017 was a good year for JavaScript. The newer language features are now part of our daily routine. Tightly integrated CI and packaging scripts are the norm, and we have a huge sea of libraries and tools available to us. The core JavaScript frameworks have settled down and mature to the point that we can be confident in JS as the base for large-scale commercial projects.

Tip: Become a part of your side projects. May 2, 2017

I’m an idea guy. It’s why I love designing software, both in terms of system design and user experience. I love designing and developing products too. It’s something that can get me fired up, keep me from sleeping, and keep me motivated through even the darkest, rainiest days.

My love-hate relationship with Sprints, Agile, and software development processes in general. April 22, 2017

In PM land we use tools and techniques like burn down charts, sprints, and spikes. You can get obsessed over getting these things right, and fail to ship effective, quality software. The special language used in and around these processes adds to the problem too, as the language ends up feeling like an accomplishment in itself. Too much focus on the pomp and circumstance of a process takes away from actually building great software.

Tips for Avoiding Technical Debt and Regret. August 15, 2016

It’s easy to feel unqualified to measure technical decisions, especially if you’re not technical. You may be disconnected from the planning process or you may not understand the jargon and details of an approach. How can you ask intelligent questions about risk when you feel so separated from what’s happening? How can you make clear decisions about risks with incomplete technical knowledge?

💰 Being Honest About “Technical Debt”. July 17, 2016

At best, we treat software technical debt like consumer debt, where we blissfully ignore the commodity and the terms of our choices, focusing only on our immediate need. At worst, we label our poor technical decisions debt (especially our predecessor’s). It’s a lazy phrase, a cop-out, and is a costly way of doing business.

Do just one more thing March 28, 2012

I have a suggestion. Do just one more thing. If it’s not rude, do another. And another.

Simple methods: the triage board November 14, 2017

Some of my most productive business tools are the simplest. Take the *triage board*. It’s a whiteboard that hangs over my desk that has a list of my current projects, with magnets marking what I’m working on next. Weekly I erase the board and re-prioritize my projects, and daily I scribble notes and move the magnets as I work. 

Rediscovering the interestingness in my Twitter feed. March 18, 2017

Sometime over the last year I stopped paying attention to Twitter. Between the political cacophony of 2016 and a growing list of people I was following, the noise ratio was just too poor to hold my interest. Twitter had become like LinkedIn to me, a service I used to have a professional presence, but not one that inspired or taught me anything. I had given up.

Reasons I hate TODO list and task tools. December 30, 2016

There’s a lot to like about our beloved task management tools. But if we’re honest, there’s a lot they get wrong too. Here are a few ways TODO tools grind my gears: Every task and list looks exactly the same. Lists are organized with limited hierarchy and pre-requisites. Lists are organized with no real spacial […]

🦄 Unicorns and the Shifting Landscape of Computing. April 3, 2016

Now this is where it gets interesting. I’ve been interviewing and hiring for almost 20 years. I have accumulated a bunch of questions I ask people. And while the technologies I talk about have changed, I have always expected certain skills and behaviours from specific levels of software developers. In terms of soft skills this has been very successful, but recently I’ve noticed that the hard skills have dissipated.