Month: March 2010

iPhone on Verizon? Uh…don’t think so.

Until Verizon solves the problem of not being able to do 3G data and voice at the same time I really don’t care about being able to use an iPhone on their network.  Of course there are people out there who will ask why you need to do such a thing and my response to them is ” because I can”.

Seriously though I have had multiple times where I’ve had to look up something while on a phone call on my iPhone.  I’d not like it if that option were taken away.  That would be the case on Verizon so I really don’t care how great their network is.  If I can’t do data/voice at the same time they can keep their network.

Gruber On: the Office 2011 for Mac “Save” Button

Over at Daring Fireball Gruber notes:

Icon for the Save button is still a floppy disk, despite the fact that Apple hasn’t sold a machine with a floppy drive for a decade.

So what do you suggest they put there John?  It’s a well-known icon regardless of platform 8-year olds not withstanding.  I suspect the 8-year olds probably haven’t used a manila folder either yet the open manila folder is a standard icon for opening files.

Flex time? … Or Fear?

CNN posted an article about the current trend to, when offered flex time options at work, turn them down.  The thought apparently is that face-time in the office is more important.   I can understand this to a certain extent if you have a boss who (mistakenly) equates face-time with quality of work.  In any other case I’m just not sure I understand why someone would turn down an offer of flex time from their employer, even with the current economy we find ourselves in.

The part that disturbed me most about this article however was the employee who had been using flex time options from her employer for three years. The article says about Jennifer Clarin:

But Clarin says she actually works harder at home. There’s no draining commute, and she makes sure she’s available for nights and weekends as a gesture of gratitude to her company, Boardroom Communications.

I completely reject the notion that because someone is using flex time options that they should make sure they’re available for nights and weekends…especially as a ‘gesture of gratitude’.   The fact is most people work harder and *more* hours if they work at home than in an office.  As noted for Clarin there is no commute time and someone working at home generally has fewer distractions, not more, than if they were working at the office.  If you’re working harder you shouldn’t then have to give up the rest of your life as a ‘gesture of gratitude’.

Both sides of the employment equation benefit from flex time options whether that means working from home, flexible hours, etc.   Scheduling things outside of work becomes easier for the employee and the employer gets better quality work.   I’m still trying to figure out why companies seem to be taking away these options these days instead of expanding them.

Pre-ordering the iPad is a fool’s game? Yeah right.

I know it’s an opinion piece but this article, reposted on Macworld, is really ridiculous.

Buying a new kind of product sight unseen is foolish. Especially given how mysterious Apple has been on what the iPad can do and what restrictions on capabilities and media access it will place on users and content providers.

Really?  Has Apple been mysterious?  I was pretty clear on what the iPad can do and what it can’t do based on the presentation from Steve Jobs when he introduced the device.   It’s based on iPhone OS  and has, currently, the same limitations as iPhone OS.   There are changes to account for the new screen and there are new applications but it’s a Wifi and/or 3G larger iPod Touch.   What is so mysterious about it?   And what restrictions and media access is Galen Gruman referring to that we don’t already know about?

I really wish people would just get over the fact that Apple makes good products.   If you don’t like them don’t buy them but stop faulting others for buying them.

A really easy way to remove beer bottle labels?

I was searching on the right concentration to use PBW to remove labels on beer bottles I had collected for homebrewing.  I came across this post where the author claims to have a really easy way to remove labels:

I have read the messages from users who recommend soaking the bottles in PBW™ solution and others using WD-40 to dissolve the glue, but I found a really easy way. The labels will soften up and come off by filling up a large basin (about 7 to 9 gallons) of hot water with about 2/3rds to 3/4ths of a cup of Tide laundry detergent (or other brand of strong powdered laundry detergent)

The author then goes on to note:

After you do this step, the bottles must be cleaned as usual with PBW and a bottle brush to remove any trace of the laundry detergent solution.

So let me get this straight?  You could have used PBW to remove the labels in the first place but its easier to remove the labels first with laundry detergent then use PBW?  Am I missing something?

It’s the requirements stupid!

Today I had a new coworker tell me that I really couldn’t comment on his method of organizing source code because I hadn’t used it.   It was guaranteed to produce the fantastic results he was talking about if only we’d just adopt it for all projects going forward.  (He didn’t find it odd that even though this system was apparently very intuitive everyone kept asking the same questions over and over). But he’s missing the point completely.  The problems on the particular project I’m working on are about the requirements.

I’ve been a software professional for 15 years now.  In that time I’ve seen a lot of things and have tried a lot of things.  I’ve been part of the newest fads in software development usually to see all of them fail.  Why?  Because the most important part of the equation is the customer knowing what they want and being able to communicate that in the form of requirements and in all but one case they haven’t been able to do that.

The most successful projects I’ve ever been involved with were *gasp* based on the waterfall method of software development.  Well wait…how can that be?  Doesn’t a project have to be “agile” to be successful?   Of course that’s tongue-in-cheek but based on what I’ve read projects can’t be successful using that methodology.  But they were and why were they?  It had nothing to do with the methodology at all, it was all about having good requirements.   We came up with good requirements by spending a hell of a lot of time with the clients.  First finding out what they needed.  Then spending even more time working with screen mock-ups in the meetings.  Then finally showing a real prototype to make sure we were all on the same page.  We then threw that prototype out and started coding.  (We also had a designated note-taker so we could keep a record of what was agreed to).

I have not had the pleasure of using that system since (this was 1996-98).   Since then any project I’ve been involved with has had problems because of lack of good requirements and requirements gathering.   That stuff takes a lot of time.  It takes interaction between the software people and the clients.   There has to be a record of what was agreed to and people can’t just keep changing their mind as the winds change direction.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the development methodolgy.

Getting back to my new coworker…   While his code organizing ideas have some merit the organization of our codebase isn’t the problem.  Someone can learn what goes where very quickly.  On a larger scale code organization still isn’t the problem.  The problem, once again, is requirements.  We just aren’t getting good requirements and nobody is writing anything down to the point we can come to agreement on things.   Changing the organization of the code isn’t going to fix that problem.  He even insists that it can help but I don’t see quite how organizing code around business concerns is going to make people come to a consensus on exactly what is supposed to be built.  Until that happens everything else is almost a moot point.