Saturday, September 07, 2019

A Generic Funeral Brochure Template in Google Documents

I recently designed a funeral brochure in Google Documents and wanted to offer the template to anyone who could use it.
The template document is here.  (Thanks to wikipedia for the content text).
It consists of a two column table on each page with the correct dimensions to print well.
The pdf created from Google Docs is here.
If you set your printer for double-sided printing it will print it out like this:

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

In Windows 10 the Desktop Window Manager is using 100% of the GPU

Sometimes my Windows 10 machine would get incredibly slow.  Even the cursor would start lagging behind.
Looking at the performance monitor I could see that "Desktop Window Manager" was using 100% of my gpu. 

The solution for me was to do this:
On the desktop in empty space, right-click and select "display settings". Make sure all displays and their "scale and layout" are of a 100% size. My issue was out of my three displays, my laptop display had 125% scaling on it. When I switched it to 100% the GPA went back to normal.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Self referencing loop detected for property 'Object' with type 'Castle.Proxies.IServiceContextProxy

When writing unit tests using Moq objects I occasionally get this error:
 Message="Self referencing loop detected for property 'Object' with type 'Castle.Proxies.IServiceContextProxy..."

It happens when JSON is trying to serialize an object that it thinks has a pointer to itself and could create an infinite loop - although in your code it may not be infinite, but JSON doesn't know that.  It's just trying to protect you.

 One way to fix this is to replace the Mock object with real fake object.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Most Underrated Wonder of the Ancient World - Obelisks

My daughter and me under Cleopatra's Needle at the Met in New York

  1. Twenty Eight Egyptian obelisks remain standing today.
  2. They are built from a single piece of rock.
  3. The Egyptians did not have iron tools, so it is thought they pounded the granite with heavy dolerate rocks - one of the few things harder than granite.
  4. An army of workers would have had to labor "an infinity of hours" to create one. If a crack were found in the rock during work, the monolith would be abandoned and work started on another site.
  5. Obelisks could be 100 feet tall and weigh 400 tons.
  6. Moving them was tricky, because the granite would crack easily if not properly supported. Stone is great in compression, but weak in tension.
  7. In 37 AD Gaius Caligula ordered an Egyptian obelisk that was already 1800 years old to be moved to Rome. It was 25 meters tall with a base of 8 meters and weighed one million pounds and made of pink granite. It remained standing in Rome for 1500 years.
  8. The end of the Middle Ages.
    The pope ordered the obelisk moved to the center of St. Peter's square. On September 10, 1586 the obelisk was moved by 907 men, 75 horses and 40 cranes.

    No obelisk had been moved for over a thousand years, and the people of 1586 thought they had at last equalled their Roman ancestors . The fact that they had moved the obelisk only a few hundred meters, instead of from across the Mediterranean did not matter - a new age of technology and engineering was dawning. Some historians mark this engineering marvel as the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance.

    As it looks now:

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Interview Questions for Older Relatives for Genealogy Research

My Great Grandfather, Pickens Steele Fincher
During my recent Sabbatical from work I have been researching my family tree. I've interviewed some relatives about their lives which has been enlightening. I found a few sites on the web that have questions to ask older relatives. Here's some of my favorite ones:

 If your parents, or grandparents, are still alive ask them some of these questions and record your conversation on your phone. They will be gone before you know it.

You can see more photos about the Fincher clan at

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Agile Austin - Why 76% Of Organizations Are Failing At Agile

Why 76% Of Organizations Are Failing At Agile

David Hawks from gave a great presentation to 50 Agilists at Agile Austin this week.

He used an interactive poll from which was a nice touch, so the audience could vote in real time on a question and we could see the results in a bar chart.

Four phases of change:

1. "Status Quo"

2. "Chaos and Resistance" When we introduce change the process always get worse.

3. "Integration and Practice" is next in which things slowly get better.

4. "New Status Quo" where things are genuinely better.

Four Agile Steps:

  1. Align

    Why are we going to Agile? It's not just to "do" Agile. Goal should be something like improve time to market, improve productivity, make happier customers, and have better quality.

  2. Learn

    Everyone needs to understand Agile.

  3. Predict

    We need to make things predictable before going faster.

  4. Accelerate

    This is where we actually start getting better.

  5. Adapt

    Try new things like Experiment Based Development

David had us do a small task in groups.

Why do so many companies struggle?

Most company think of Agile as a team level problem. Upper management just wants the team level to change, but not anything else. We need to change the System. We need to change the Organization, the leadership needs to understand Agility.

Three Impediments to Successful Agile Transformation

  1. Implementing solutions without clarity in desired results

    This produces:
    Lots of resistance and frustration
    Silo Optimization
    No clear measure of success

    We did another exercise on how the importance of different tasks to transform a culture.

    Steps to Organizational Change

    a. Create Urgency - "We have to get better,
        or our company may go bust."  (Comes for the top level)
    b. Form a powerful coalition
    c. Create a vision for change
    d. Communicate the vision
    e. Empower action
    f. Create quick wins
    g. Build on the change
    h. Anchor wins in culture
  2. No mechanism to resolve organizational level cross department impediments
    a. Impediments not resolved quickly
    b. Resistance is empowered
    c. Teams hit a ceiling and become disenfranchised

    Executives: We totally support agile, but what's the date, and what's the features?

  3. Leaders Not Creating Focus

    If the leaders say all projects are equally important - the teams have no priorities.

    So, the people with the least knowledge of corporate urgency, select the tasks that are coolest, easiest, and whose sponsor screams the loudest.

    a. lots of interruptions
    b. No time to improve
    c. no flow
    d. no ability to forecast
    e. slow time to value

David showed us how Agile Velocity evaluates how an Agile transformation is going.

Approach Agile by asking why, get buy in, break into smaller things.

Note to Self: How to Use NUnit with C# .Net in Visual Studio for the Mac

I always forget the three libraries to use NUnit with Visual Studio.
Note to self: Download these from NuGet:
  1. NUnit
  2. Microsoft.NET.Test.Sdk
  3. NUnit3TestAdapter

Then select "Run/Run Unit Tests" and VS will create a runner in the bottom pane.

PS: Latest endpoint to connect Visual Studio to the repository is

You can put these directly in the csproj:

    <PackageReference Include="Microsoft.NET.Test.Sdk" Version="16.0.1" />
    <PackageReference Include="NUnit" Version="3.11.0" />
    <PackageReference Include="NUnit3TestAdapter" Version="3.13.0" />