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Archives for October, 2006


Okami is an amazing game. In some sense, it’s quite derivative: it’s working well within the Zelda genre (complete with sonic homages to its predecessor), so it’s not as novel as some recent games, but there’s more than enough new presentation in the game to keep me happy, combined with a thorough rethinking and improvement […]

pick my next distro

I’m currently running Fedora Core 5 on my home machine. FC6 is out; following a sage reader suggestion, I’m going to reinstall the OS (in a larger drive) rather than do a simple upgrade. Which means that I could almost as easily switch distros. So: stick to FC6, or switch to Ubuntu? I’m actually quite […]

remote state

Yesterday, I moved more items off of my list of web pages to regularly click on and onto Google reader. Which emphasizes: Google Reader has too much of my state these days. I don’t care so much about the list of what I’ve read and what I haven’t read, but I should at least make […]


A few days ago, I went to Amazon’s books page, and was greeted with Serre’s A Course in Arithmetic. Which kind of surprised me – I’m pretty sure that, in the past, I’d rated math books, but it had been a while since I’d seen any show up in their book recommendation list. (Do they […]

lean thinking, shared purpose

I just finished Lean Thinking; it’s my current favorite lean book. One thing that made me jealous: they give several (to me) convincing examples of companies wanting to try out lean, and that brought in some people who really knew how lean worked. After doing what those people said, they immediately got some fairly impressive […]

scrum and bottlenecks

In response to a not-very-coherent question of mine on the lean development list, Tom Poppendieck posted an interesting response. From it: Over a decade ago, when Jeff Sutherland invented Scrum, he was faced with a situation in which his product development process bottleneck was the capacity of skilled developers. He designed Scrum specifically to exploit […]


Results here not so good, alas.

the shame of the nation

In Jonathan Kozol’s earlier books, I’d already been appalled by the horrible physical condition of schools serving nonwhite populations. And, in The Shame of the Nation, we see that too: In the years before I met Elizabeth, I had visited many elementary schools in the South Bronx and in one northern district of the Bronx […]


I am pleased with the first round of the playoffs this year. For better or for worse, I’m not planning to get ALCS tickets, but if the A’s win, it would be nice to see a World Series game…


I signed up for Netflix today. It fits in well with my current philosophies; the reason why I’d been holding off was that Liesl and I don’t watch movies very often, and we have a fair number of unwatched movies around. So we wanted to go through the backlog first. But it’s becoming clear that […]

throughput and latency

I’ve been kind of obsessed with the theory of constraints recently, which has gotten me wondering about bottlenecks. One of their points is that, in general, a system has a single bottleneck; you should do everything you can to make that bottleneck as productive as possible. For a simple bottleneck example, say you have a […]

new hard drive

I was given a second hard drive for my computer recently. Some random thoughts: Annoying to have to buy a bracket to mount it in the computer, and even more annoying that Sun doesn’t want to sell me one directly; fortunately, it’s easy enough to get a used one for cheap. Having said that, once […]

benefits of slack

After some discussions on the leandevelopment list, it would seem that slack has has more benefits than I realized. My current list: If you’re not the bottleneck in your process, adding slack won’t decrease throughput and may well increase it (since it makes it easier for you to avoid stealing resources from the bottleneck). Leaving […]

how to improve?

I am currently awash in confusion about how we (my team, but also everybody working on the same product) should improve. Tough stuff; I hope I’ll have something more coherent to say here soon. Fortunately, the good folks on the leandevelopment mailing list are helping me sort through my difficulties. The fact that I’m so […]

august 2, 1961

The two titles I was considering for this post are both military analogies. Sigh. So I will go with the title from the section in the book. From How Children Learn, pp. 36–37: The other day we went to Carlsbad Caverns, a strange and beautiful place. To get there, we rode many hours in the […]