Monday, April 27, 2009

Chatting with friends is so passe. Let's talk to strangers!

I was tickled to see the new site that let's you chat with strangers. What a concept. Omegle was started by an 18-year old high school student from Vermont. That's the great thing about the web these days - anybody can be a player. Although my first use was not all that intriguing:

Connecting to server...
You're now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!
Stranger: hi
You: hi
Stranger: asl?
You: i don't know what that means.
Stranger: age
Stranger: sexe
Stranger: language
You: oh
You: 50/male/english
You: u?
Your conversational partner has disconnected.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Using Viruses to Treat Bacterial Infections

New Scientist has a great article on an old technique of using viruses to treat bacterial infections. Instead of using a broad-spectrum antibiotic that indiscriminately kills good and bad bacteria, infections can be treated with a bacteriophage that only attacks a specific species of bacteria.

Monday, April 20, 2009

AgileATX April Meeting - Scott Bellware on "5 Things I Learned from Lean "

Before Scott's presentation to the 100 people assembled for AgileATX started, I talked with a recruiter (it's a good sign for recruiters to be at an Agile group) who said two interesting things:
1. Demand for Java and .Net programmers is about equal, but java has been growing because the proportion of government jobs is increasing and our government is often open source friendly.
2. Many large corporations are looking for developers with an Agile edge.

I always enjoy hearing Scott "Force of Nature" Bellware talk. He's original and not afraid to challenge current software dogma. This week Scrum was skewered. The point of his that struck me most has to do with Scrum teams being democratic. "Don't trap your best people into a democracy where good people are outvoted." You need a disciplinary to drive the process.


On another point, in reference to the lean principle of a continuous learning community he said, "A learning organization cannot happen when people feel entitled not to learn."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Keeping Software Developers in the Flow By Combing Meetings

Click to read reviews or buy Peopleware
In their book Peopleware, Demarco and Lister talk about the importance of giving developers large blocks of time to get let them get "in the flow" and wrap their heads around a problem. Continual distractions like meetings, phone calls, and reading emails break the train of thought and it may take tens of minutes to get concentration back on the deep technical issues. Today I took action on their concept.
On my team we have a weekly book discussion time, where each of us gives a summary of their current technical book. (Our current books are jQuery in Action, Code Complete, Hibernate in Action, and Domain Driven Design Quickly). We meet on Wednesday at 2:30pm, but this breaks the concentration of my developers - we have to stop our work, check which conference room it's in, so we are combining our book discussion time with our weekly team meeting to remove one interruption of our time. I'll post later how this works.