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My LinuxTag 2004 photos   25 Sep 04
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Some photos from LinuxTag 2004 in Karlsruhe. I especially liked the Xbox booting Linux screenshots. pics

I need my daily dose of vim .. even in Mozilla   25 Sep 04
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mozex.mozdev.org/

Mozex is an extension which allows the user to use external programs for these actions:

  • view page source
  • edit content of textareas (possibly utilizing a spell-checker in the text editor)
  • handle mailto, news, telnet and FTP links
  • download files

Is Tableau the Next Google?   25 Sep 04
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link

example graphs

 Will this company be successful and become another Google?
 First, graphical data mining has never been a big hit. And second,
 there are lots of competitors in the business intelligence sector,
 including at least Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion and MicroStrategy.
 So make your bets and wait for the next multibillion-dollar IPO.

Skolelinux: V1.0 with codename Venus is out!   25 Sep 04
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Skolelinux is made as free (as in speech) software, and is an overall computer solution based on school's resources and needs. It is based on Debian and runs very well on older hardware, too.
  • Skolelinux is a network architecture tailored for use in schools.
  • Skolelinux is designed to be easy and cheap to maintain.
  • Skolelinux gives the students their own usernames, home directories and services.
  • Skolelinux includes OpenOffice.org
link

Ender's Game and Software Development   25 Sep 04
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Very interesting entry by /\ndy Hunt. Ender is in reference to a novel by Orson Scott Card called ‘Ender’s Game’. Its part of a series of three books, all of which are well worth reading. www.toolshed.com/blog

Test-Driven Writing   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Stefan Schmiedl)
 >An activity that I /do/ still have trouble with, however, is writing.
 > When faced with having to compse anything more substantial than an
 > email response, I feel the fear start to creep in and I get myself all
 > tied in knots.  Even after I start to put some words down, I often
 > find myself getting stuck because the thing isn't flowing and the task
 > of finishing seems overwhelming.

Yup, writers block definitively, as John Roth diagnosed already. But if you’re able to describe it in such flowering detail as above, there’s no need to have it.

 > So on my way home last night (after another frustrating couple of
 > hours trying to get some thoughts on paper), I was thinking about how
 > I could make my prose writing come as easily as my code writing.  I
 > started wondering if I couldn't somehow employ a TDD-like cycle in my
 > writing process.

I am often writing articles with my business partner, who’s<br>especially good at collecting lots of nice stuff on the web. The first thing I have do with the "drafts" I get from him, is to find the<br>structure fitting best to the available data. This is currently donein a Mindmap using freemind (freely available at sf.net, IIRC). For some<br>time I also tried vimoutliner (www.vimoutliner.org) for this, but found that for this process, the two-dimensional display of a mindmap is better suited to my brain.

When the outline is finished, I start to grow the flesh on the bones. That’s relatively easy, as I confine my work strictly to the current paragraph.>

The next step is easy, if I have the time: I let the stuff settle for a few days, then go over it once more and clean up the unbelievable mess I created then. If I don’t have the time, I need to play about two hours nethack, which erases my brain just as well…

So the steps are:

 - data collection
  - gradually by experience
  - by force (coauthor delivery)
 - data organization
   - mindmap
   - outline
 - draft
   - follow the map
   - work local
 - refactor or polish
   - grammar, spelling, rhetoric
   - present line of thought more clearly

I think that there’s a difference between code and prose showing here. You expect your code to give certain results for a given input, and you are free to not care about the implementation at all. With prose, implementation is almost everything. So the cost of providing a "working release" is higher with prose than with code. At least for me.

 >find myself getting stuck because the thing isn't flowing and the task
 >of finishing seems overwhelming.

Writing is like every other kind of art. It is never finished. Feeling better now?

Writing is like dealing with animals. Don’t be afraid of it, and it won’t hurt you.

Your fellow author in pain, S.

Test First, by Intention   25 Sep 04
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A code and culture translation from the original Smalltalk to Ruby Original by Ronald Jeffries, translation by Aleksi Niemela and Dave Thomas. www.rubycentral.com/articles/pink

In this document we show you the Ruby version of the Smalltalk code published in the pink book.

How to Construct Bad Charts and Graphs   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Gary Klass) A short but good article in the style of Edward Tufte, the big guru when it comes to displaying data in a meaningful way. Fundamental rule of efficient graphical design: minimize the ratio of ink-to-data The three fundamental elements of bad graphical display are these: Data Ambiguity, Data Distortion, and Data Distraction. link Make sure you check out these classic bibles about envisioning information by Tufte: Envisioning Information and The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Selling XP   25 Sep 04
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Alistair Cockburn has a very interesting paper on "The Costs and Benefits of Pair Programming". Of course Pair Programming is not the only "extreme" aspect of extreme programming but Alistair’s article contains some very interesting metrics (seems a lot less "extreme" after reading Alistair’s article). members.aol.com/humansandt/papers/pairprogrammingcostbene/pairprogrammingcostbene.htm

XP success story: Sabre takes extreme measures   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Computerworld) Using extreme programming practices, Sabre Airline Solutions has reduced bugs and development times for its software products.

Sabre Airline Solutions had many years of experience with its AirFlite Profit Manager, a big modeling and forecasting package that many airlines use to wring more income out of flight schedules. Even so, Release 8 of the software was four months late in 2000 after final system testing turned up 300 bugs. The first customer found 26 more bugs in the first three days of its acceptance testing, and subsequent joint testing by Sabre and the customer uncovered an additional 200 defects. www.computerworld.com/softwaretopics/software/story/0,10801,91646,00.html

 

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