Friday, August 26, 2011

And the winner is ... SmallPox

Interesting visual about the most deadly diseases in history.
Malaria kills almost 800,000 people a year and yet our first world news seldom mentions it. Few organizations target it. Malaria is the elephant in the room few talk about. Fortunately the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation takes the suffering of millions of people seriously.
The Deadliest Disease Outbreaks Visualized
Infographic by Visual News

Arduino Boot Camp II

Our intrepid band of Arduino wannabes met again and Blake Freeburg taught us how to read sensors, this is part two of an eight part series in learning the Arduino way.
Rachel watched "Beauty and the Beast".

Quicken 2010 Cannot Connect to Bank of America

Quicken is so awful in many respects and somewhat competent in others, but I have used it for years and have a lot "invested" in the product.
Recently it stopped connecting to Bank of America and I got it to reconnect by basically disconnecting it from "OneStep Update" and then adding it back. Here's my suggestions:

1. Select your Bank of America account from the navigation pane on the left side.
2. Click on the "Account Actions" dropdown list on the upper right side.
3. Select "Edit Account Details".
4. Select the "Online Services" tab.
5. Select the "Remove from One Step Update" button.
6. Then add the account back by selecting "Activate One Step Update".
7. Bank of America will give you a challenge question.
8. My account then successfully could connect again to Bank of America.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why Software Is Eating The World

Marc Andreessen has a great article in the wsj about why software matters more than most people think. (Granted he is heavily invested in software, and it's to his advantage for people to think software is important, but he makes valid points).
"... every company I work with is absolutely starved for talent. Qualified software engineers, managers, marketers and salespeople in Silicon Valley can rack up dozens of high-paying, high-upside job offers any time they want, while national unemployment and underemployment is sky high."
I am currently seeing this in Austin. I bump into old friends in the industry and their companies are hiring not just one software developer but 8 - 10 people. It's a great time to be a really good polyglot software developer.
For the past decade enrollment in software as a major has been falling. I think High School seniors hear the news about all the software jobs going to India and China and they think no more jobs will be left here. The seniors are partially right. The low skilled software jobs are going off-shore, but many of the highly technical jobs go begging for applicants here in the US. So Seniors, if you have a love of programming and technology, heed Marc's advice, go into computer science and write the software that will eat the world.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Austin .Net Users Group Meeting August 8th, 2011 Business Intelligence

Jeffery Palermo spoke about how developers can make their data more usable by Business Intelligence software. He talked about using Fact tables and Star schemas. He gave a great example of some very ugly SQL to produce a report that was turned into clean SQL by using a fact table.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Arduino Boot Camp

Blake hosted an Intro to Arduino, the open design controller.

At the end I had my Arduino board blinking lights.

Bruce Tate Speaking at Agile Austin August 2th, 2011

Bruce Tate gave a talk on "Languages and Leverage: The impact of programming languages on high-leverage programming". I'm a big fan of Bruce since he wrote Beyond Java, Bruce has been willing to move on to new technologies after making a huge investment in Java.
Bruce took old movies and identified each one with a language making the time more fun.


My random notes (which may or may not be what Bruce actually said):
Complexity is expensive; oversimplification leads to complexity.
Scala is good for java developers to come to the functional party, but perhaps not a good language for those not vested in java.
Lisp is the most powerful language with possible exception of Haskel.
Every 3-5 years Lisp makes a comeback.
The language matters a lot in a project, especially since it affects communication with team members. The community around a language matters.
Bruce uses RubyOnRails for his company.
We are all polyglot programmers now - javascript, css, html, and our main language.
Don't put in more languages on a whim, make sure adding a new language buys more than the overhead it costs.
Every 10-15 years programming goes through a paradigm shift - we are starting the transition to functional programming to take advantage of all those cores that Intel gifts us.