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I've never been a Project Manager before   25 Sep 04
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Check out the excellent Dilbert

The Linux Incompatability List   25 Sep 04
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Saw this on /.

"The Linux Incompatibility list is a wiki project that attempts to document hardware that is incompatible with Linux rather than list what is compatible. In the wiki, it is possible to add alternitives so as to push hardware manufacturers to make good binary drivers, publish specifications, or even better, publish open drivers."

Wine-Migration   25 Sep 04
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At Linuxtag in Karlsruhe I met during lunch one of the authors of ganymede. I am the last person in the world to promote the use of the Win32-API, but it can come in handy, when you have to use some legacy software on Linux and do not want to pay license fees for the usual suspects like vmware. Having to maintain only one code-base is sexy, too.

I asked David Guembel, one of the fathers of the software to email me a short describtion:

 On an abstract level, the idea behind our ganymede system is simple: To make
 an application run under Wine (a free Win32-API layer and Windows
 executable loader), it is neccessary to know what parts of the Windows API
 are actually required by that particular piece of software. Software has a
 modular structure - in this context, a module is a Windows executable
 (.DLL, .EXE, .OCX etc.) - and every module provides (exports) certain
 functionality and requires (imports) functionality from other modules.
 Thus, ganymede internally creates a dependency graph of an application's
 binaries. This method is static and does not require anything but a fresh
 installation of the software to be analyzed.

 Before x-raying a Windows application, ganymede parses and stores an
 analysis of the soure code of one or more Wine versions. It automagically
 determines the implementation state of the APIs provided by Wine. During a
 software analysis, the functionality required by the Windows application is
 compared to what Wine provides, and missing or incomplete APIs are
 reported. By storing Wine versions and the dependency structure of the
 analyzed applications in a database, automatic or manual re-analysis with
 different Wine versions is possible. Via the API ganymede itself provides,
 the collected data is accessible in several ways. One application of that
 API is our tool named sysiphus, which uses ganymede and a GUI-based
 approach to semi-automatically determine the best possible Wine
 configuration while providing for the possibility to re-use already
 licensed Windows DLLs to fill the gaps Wine still leaves.

Unit Tests -- just do it!   25 Sep 04
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Been coding a lot these days on SmallWorld. I try to be disciplined and continue adding unit tests to the hundreds of unit tests wherever sth. could go wrong, but ever again I go off the track and code several methods and even entire classes without any tests. It’s simple stuff and hey, this is ruby :-).

Then I sit here for 3 hours trying to understand why the dammed computer does not do what it should. It’s that feeling I hate most. You waste time .. I mean I could as well go skiing or drink a bottle of vodka .. would be about the same productivity progress on my code and at least I would enjoy the sun.

After hitting my head long enough and starting to isolate the stuff .. I found it .. I had forgotten one return in a most trivial three line long method. Shame on me. Now I will go back to being test-infected. test-first is even better. Dammit .. sorry for the rant, but I doubt there are many systems like computers where one comma at the wrong place can make everything go boom. Oh well, try to modify the DNA and do not know what you are doing. :-).

Game Design & Engineering Theory   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Miyamoto’s Tokyo Univ. Lecture Today (July 3), at the Komaba campus of Tokyo University, a lecture was held by Shigeru Miyamoto, director and head of information development at Nintendo Co., Ltd. I’ll write out the main points of the lecture here. I’ve deliberately left some parts out; my apologies for this.

…I arrived at the classroom ten minutes before the lecture began. I was worried that there wouldn’t be any seats left, but I discovered one at the fourth row from the front so I hurried over and sat down. The classroom, which can hold around 200 people, filled up almost instantly. By the time I entered the room, Mr. Miyamoto was already sitting in a chair next to the blackboard.

Since Miyamoto was apparently too busy to make any special preparations for the event, it was decided to move from a traditional lecture format to a more informal discussion. To start off things, the instructor in charge discussed CERO [the Japanese game rating system], age restrictions, GTA, Kakuto Chojin, and other topics related to game regulation.

And then Miyamoto stepped up to the mike. Applause…

Just Ship, Baby   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Kent Beck) Short two page essay: The focus on shipping is not an excuse for cutting corners, but perfect adherence to the practices is no excuse for not shipping.

Software for Slackers   25 Sep 04
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I need this program to stop my internet addiction.

Are you a slacker? So am I. Do you browse the Web, read the news, and write email all day in stead of working? So do I. Does it make you feel miserable and apathetic? Do you tell yourself to stop browsing the fucking Web and get some bloody work done? Do you have absolutely no discipline? I know your pain.

But recent technological advancements have made it possible… There is a cure for your disease!

Years of slacking at the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology have resulted in a brilliant 461-line Perl script (which includes 130 lines of comments for free!) that makes it all possible! Your productivity will dramatically increase!

Today, I present Lockout: The Self-imposed, Computer-aided Work Enforcer. This program will help you get some work done by not allowing you to browse the Web. It won’t allow you to do anything but work. It’s a miracle! Your colleagues will respect you, your Ph.D. adviser will compliment you, and your boss, if you have one, will probably not notice the difference! It’s amazing! Scroll down! Read more!

Get the program

Agile Processes Summarized   25 Sep 04
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(Source: Ron Jeffries and Alistair Cockburn, XP-ML)

I think that to get a group to be agile, you have to get people to do something like one of these things:

  1. Go in that room there and do all 12 XP practices until you actually do know better. (XP)
  2. Go in that room there, don’t let anyone screw with you, work on whatever you think you can get done for a month. Keep doing that until everyone is happy. (Scrum)
  3. Go in that room there, in peace love and understanding, ship software every month (*), and think about it. (Crystal Clear.)

There is a telling sameness to all of these, is there not? —> This is a wonderful summary of a summary! There’s not much to be removed (see Saint-Exupery, below). In Italian, the expresso of an espresso is called a "ristretto" (any Italians online?). This is the agile ristretto. It belongs on a Blog or something. "La perfection est atteinte non quand il ne reste rien a ajouter, mais quand il ne reste rien a enlever." (Saint-Exupery)

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

Simple things ..   25 Sep 04
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I was just now doing some research on bus ticket clearing houses and I came across his post in from 2001 by Michael Forrest.
 >Reciprocity is not guaranteed on airlines (or toll bridges - it
 >has always amused me that the toll on the Severn Bridge between
 >England and Wales is GBP 4.20 for a car to enter Wales but there
 >is no toll the other way, ie entering England). (Maybe it shows
 >how the two countries value themselves?)

All of the bridges in the San Francisco Bay area only charge toll in one direction. Some genius realized that, on the average, just about as many cars went each way for the obvious reason that most trips across the bridges are round trips. So they doubled the toll and took down the toll booths going one way (except for the Golden Gate Bridge where the toll booths remain, unattended). There has been considerable saving in toll collection costs and the toll booth traffic jams in one direction are gone. Is it possible the Severn Bridge does similarly?


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