Monthly Archives: February 2007

Passion vs. Bleh

I read this Coding Horror post with interest and couldn’t help smiling. Whilst most people I interview can write simple programs, I consider that to be a pretty low bar for the kind of people we are looking for, although the FizzBuzz questions are kind of fun. Taking the example provided, I offer the following timings:

  • Starting visual studio: 1 minute (didn’t have a pen and paper handy so I had to write it).
  • Writing first version of the program: 25 seconds.
  • Writing the second version that deals with the corner cases: 15 seconds.

Interestingly – I wonder how many people implement the corner cases and whether they ask for clarification on the requirements 🙂

Personally, I think what a lot of it boils down to is passion. Someone who is passionate will seek to do the things that they want to do, no matter what it is, so chances are that if you spot a passionate programmer they probably have what it takes to be good at their job.

Note: There is a big difference between being passionate in the job interview, and being passionate 24/7 – you typically have to spot 24/7 passion in the wild.

User groups and other such community gatherings are a great way to find passionate developers in the wild. The trick is netting them 🙂

When it rains it hails.

I knew I said that the seasons were changing in Canberra, but I didn’t realise just how much. I wrote this first post whilst I was on the bus in the south of Canberra. By the time we got to Civic everyone was looking out of the windows in awe – pretty much all of Canberra-town itself was covered in a layer of either hail (must have laid over night) or leaves that had been shredded off trees.

It must have been pretty severe because some trees have been completely stripped of leaves and in some spots there is a good foot of ice on top of the ground (amazing). Unfortunately my phone just ran out of batteries so I can’t take a photo (new battery should arrive next week).

If you are coming through Canberra this morning expect delays, from what I overhear on the bus CB radio, there are quite a few trees down around town.

Geoff Appleby has some great photos of what it was like in the city last night – pretty impressive stuff.


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George W. Bush could be replaced by Windows Workflow Foundation.

Jeff Ventura has done the analysis and proven that George W. Bush could be replaced by Windows Workflow Foundation. Based on Jeff’s workflow I’ve determined that in order to implement the GeorgeBush workflow we would need to implement the following external data services:

  • ArmyService
  • NavyService
  • AirforceService
  • CIAService
  • UNService
  • CondyService
  • CoalitionOfTheWillingService

I don’t have the workflow designer installed on this machine so I can’t show you the WF implementation and I am yet to decide whether it should be a sequential workflow or a state machine workflow.

Disclaimer: I know people who are currently over in IRAQ (Australians and Americans) and I am not making light of their situation.


Changing Seasons in Canberra

This week I have really noticed the changing seasons in Canberra. It is starting to be just that little bit darker when I wake up in the morning which means my brain is having trouble motivating my body to get out of bed.

With all the rain (which is in itself unusual) we have been having lately the Tuggeranong valey is starting to green up nicely. Last night we had a pretty wild thunder and lightning show along with a very thick down pour of rain.

At about 21:30ish we lost power on the appliance circuit of our house so I had to go down and flick the switch (picture me out in the pouring rain olding a LED-lamp trying to figure out which of the switches on the panel on the side of the house is the emergency shut off switch).

The view from the bus stop this morning was spectacular, everything is smelling fresh and for the first time in a long while the fog is invading the valley.

If you are planning on coming to Canberra now is definately a good time of the year.


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Reducing Visual Studio 2005 SP1 installation time.

I’m not sure why applying 500MB worth of patches can take so long, but applying SP1 to Visual Studio 2005 just takes forever. Anyway, Heath Stewart has come up with a nice little batch script which streamlines the process by tweaking some computer policies, installing the patch then setting the registry back to normal (nice!).

I reckon this saved me the better part of a day because I had the following Visual Studio components installed:

  • Visual Studio 2005 Premier Partner Edition
  • Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite
  • Visual Studio 2005 Team Explorer

One thing that it would be good for it to do would be to run the patch silently so that you didn’t have to come back and click OK every now and then – but its a time saver regardless.

BCC is a tool, not a weapon.

Darren is asking about the correct protocol for BCC. Since I live in a glass house I don’t think that I should throw stones, but I know that BCC can be used as a tool rather than just as a weapon. Here are some scenarios where I find it useful that I wouldn’t mind admitting to:

  • You need to send a wide distribution e-mail but to protect the privacy of all the individuals receiving the e-mail you add them all to the BCC list. The fact that the e-mail is sent to multiple people is not a secret.
  • You sent someone an e-mail and they bounced you to one of their colleagues. Don’t thank them by filling up their mailbox, move their address to the BCC field so that they get the next message, but not subsequent messages. Note up the top of the e-mail that you are “dropping them from the thread via BCC”.

I doubt I will stop using BCC as a weapon _sometimes_, but its certainly not polite, and it can land you in hot water.

Hyundai advertisements pulled.

I just read on Duncan Riley’s blog that the recent Hyundai advertisement with the toddlers driving the car to the beach has been ordered off the air by the Advertising Standards Board here in Australia, you can read the media release by ASB here.

Personally, I don’t think that this goes far enough. We should stop toy companies manufacturing toy cars, its just reckless (sarcasm).

Brands as cults, and keeping an eye on what you stand for.

Darren Neimke sent me an instant message containing a link to this PBS article/interview with Douglas Atkin. I found the interview interesting and timely. I have a genuine interest it building a brand at the moment for a service offering that we are about to start building.

I want the service to resonate with a particular segment of the software development community and speak to their dreams and aspirations. The reason I want to serve this particular community segment is because I feel that I am one of them, and I know the challenges that I face.

Hopefully I will be able to talk more about this in the future, until I get a green light, until then I’ll need to be a little cryptic.