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Archives for Programming

batch method objects and reducing duplication

I’ve been falling behind in blogging here, but I did write up a note last week on the Sumo Logic blog about something I recently ran into while programming, and Sumo has kindly allowed me to publish a copy here as well.   When Sumo Logic receives metrics data, we put those metrics datapoints into […]

responsibly testing in production

(This post was informed by a session at Agile Open California; many thanks to Llewellyn Falco and Matthew Carlson for their discussion and suggestions. But if there’s something in here that sounds wrong to you, blame me, not them!)   Agile software development has always had a strong focus on your software being correct. At […]

agile open california 2015

I’ve gone to every Agile Open (Northern) California, and it’s absolutely my favorite conference. I’ve learned a lot there, I’ve had a lot of really interesting interactions there, it always gets me thinking. For a few years, the conference was therapy for me; fortunately, that wasn’t necessary this year. I felt significantly more detached than […]

how to develop software

All quotes are from The Process of Creating Life, by Christopher Alexander. Emphasis and ellipses as in the original.   The further I went to understand the actual process which had been used to make the tile, the more I realized that it was this process, more than anything, which governs the beauty of the […]

interviews and whiteboard coding

I talked with a friend of mine at Agile Open California a couple of weeks ago who was bemused by an interview he’d had recently: the company had asked him to do a programming exercise in advance, which he enjoyed and was looking forward to talking about with them during the in-person portion of the […]

the xp practices

Probably the most important hour I spent while I was transitioning out of teaching and into programming was spent attending a talk on extreme programming. Ever since then, the XP approach has been my default way of thinking about how to produce software; I’ve never been on a team doing XP, but I’ve dived headfirst […]

brenda romero: jiro dreams of game design

It’s months since GDC, and I’m still trying to unpack my feelings about Brenda Romero’s Jiro Dreams of Game Design talk. Or maybe not so much my feelings about it—it’s an excellent talk, no question—but my emotional reactions to it. Her talk confronts concepts that I care about (greatness, team structure, creation) in contexts that […]

medium: setting up a build system

After I set up Medium, the next thing I did was start writing code and unit tests. And I will write about unit tests in a couple of posts, but I want to jump ahead one stage, to a build system, because that was something that required workarounds almost from the beginning and turns out […]

medium: setting things up

As I said recently, I’m experimenting with writing a Netrunner implementation in JavaScript. I’m calling it Medium; here’s the first in a series of posts about issues I’ve encountered along the way. Before I go too far, I want to thank two sources of information. The first is Bill Lazar; he’s one of my coworkers, […]

men, women, programming, culture

So, a couple of weeks ago, a prominent programmer / writer wrote a post whose driving metaphor was: frameworks are bad because it’s like one woman having many men sexually subservient to her, whereas the way things should be is for one man to have many women sexually subservient to him. People complained, he apologized […]

netrunner implementation experiments

GDC got me in the mood to do some game-related programming; and, when that mood didn’t go away after a couple of weeks, I started to spend some time thinking about what exactly that would mean. I’d thought initially that maybe I’d learn how to use Unity, trying to implement one or two game-related tech […]

what are apple’s language plans?

I spent my commute home today listening to John Siracusa and Guy English talk about how Objective C is getting old in the tooth. A topic, of course, that Siracusa has addressed a few times; as you would expect, it was a thoughtful discussion, I’m glad I listened to it. And I really am curious […]

that paul graham interview

So, there was this Paul Graham interview going around recently. Which was originally behind a paywall, so the link that got passed around was from Valleywag; I wondered how much they might be quoting out of context (which is what Graham claimed), but looking at the full text and The Information’s explanation, it seems not? […]

programming as meditative practice

I’ve been thinking recently about what I want to get out of work; and it seems like, these days, I’ll get the most out of work if I focus on what I personally like about the process, the details of working with code. Which, for me, translates into: paying attention to the shape and feel […]

netrunner, systems thinking, rule sets, cynicism

I play a lot of Android: Netrunner at work; other board games, too, but Netrunner is the one that’s sunk its teeth into me most deeply. I mostly play over lunch, but sometimes I play at other times, and occasionally those lunches get pretty long; this makes me wonder: is there any way I can […]

on estimation

It probably would surprise people who have interacted with me recently to hear it, but I actually spent a fair amount of time a few years back trying to get good (as an individual, as part of a team) at estimating: reading the literature (both agile and otherwise), trying it out, and refining and repeating […]

object thinking

One of the books I read over vacation was Object Thinking, by David West. I should probably reread it, I certainly don’t claim to understand it well yet or know to what extent I trust the ideas therein, but it’s the sort of melange that appeals to me. The book doesn’t shy away from grand […]

upgraded memory to rails 3.1/3.2

A while back, I got around to upgrading memory (my spaced repetition memorization project) to Rails 3.0. Then Rails 3.1 hit; I upgraded to that in the sense that I was using a 3.1.x version of the Rails gems, but Rails 3.1 came with a bunch of new defaults: jQuery instead of Prototype, the asset […]

silicon valley vc startup culture

One thing I’ve been wondering recently: to what extent do I like the influence of Silicon Valley venture capital firms on the local startup culture? There are certain ways in which their influence is good, no question: it’s great that there’s money available for people to try new things, it’s great that it means that […]

upgraded to ubuntu 12.10

I upgraded this server to Ubuntu 12.10 last night. And, as is always the case, almost everything went smoothly, with the only exception being my memorization program. It’s a Rails app, and at least half the time I upgrade the server, something goes wrong with it. Usually, reinstalling Passenger does the trick; last time, I […]