I have to admit, a good whiteboard is one of my absolute favorite things in the world. While I absolutely spend all kinds of time writing in text editors, and other digital medium (and have tried just about every tablet/digital/smart-pen replacement for dumb-pens and paper) there is something about how easy it is to work at a whiteboard, especially collaboratively. Maybe it’s good memories of doing work at the board in HS Math.
At home, I recently moved into a new apartment that has a slightly > 8′ long wall space right by the entry. While *clearly* too tight for me to want to put furniture on that wall, the space is *screaming* for a large whiteboard. One of my prime criteria is project/bucket-lists though – so I do expect items to stay up on the board for potentially a *loooooong* time. Looking at options, it seems like we have can figure out something:
Across the different options I have to admit, I think I’m almost definitely going to look into the glass tabletop – I have lusted after that look for a while, and this looks like by far the most reasonably way to get there I’ve seen so far, will post pics once I get something up.
… and then I can build one of these: http://www.cnet.com/news/3d-printed-plotclock-writes-the-time-on-a-tiny-whiteboard-every-minute/
(Some background: I recently accepted a new position running Engineering @ PlaceIQ – and so have a clean slate in a hyper-growth environment to think about the classic problem of “ahhh…. our users give us terrible requirements” – of course they do, they’re not trained/practiced in requirements analysis…)
BDD is something that on/off I’ve been watching/trying the last couple of years. TDD changed my life (as it may have changed yours) – but while it did a great job confirming “I built what I thought I should build”, it did a less great job confirming “I built what was needed to be built”.
(Another note: I distinguish “I built what was needed to be built” from “I built what I was asked to build”)
BDD though I think adds a critical layer of translation/transparency – it gives us a common check-point to agree on and review the *key* behaviors of the system – and provides a language in Given-When-Then that structures how we think about it’s behavior. https://sites.google.com/site/unclebobconsultingllc/the-truth-about-bdd I think has an awesome post where he sums up that:
Some of the brightest minds in our industry, people like Dan North, Dave Astels, David Chelimsky, Aslak Hellesoy, and a host of others, have been pursuing the notion that if we use a better language to describe automated requirements, we will improve the way we think about those requirements, and therefore write better requirements. The better language that they have chosen and used for the last several years uses the Given/When/Then form which, as we have seen, is a description of a finite state machine. And so it all comes back to Turing. It all comes back to marks on a tape. We’ve decided that the best way to describe the requirements of a system is to describe it as a turing machine.
Cucumber has been the latest tool I’ve been playing with to try to see where this takes us – and on the whole… I like where it’s going. https://github.com/cucumber/cucumber/wiki/Given-When-Then is something I think I can take to my business users (we’ll see ) and the harnesses let me hook into Maven and all my other tooling to then confirm that we’ve done X,Y,Z – and tie in regression results so they key in too. Also – creating a specification library gives me the other piece that I’ve always felt was missing in terms of issue-tracking – tracking the current-state of the system vs. just deltas.
Exciting enough to work on on a Sunday afternoon, anyway…]]>
This was a letter posted at the Franklin Institute’s Railway exhibit, that I think helps highlight the importance of specifications. Both:
Seem like they represent really smart people building absolutely the wrong thing. Something to keep in mind]]>
I’ve owned 3 kindles (3rd-Gen, Touch, Fire) and loved them all. And yet – since getting an iPad, I hardly touch them. The Kindle App for the iPad is great. Even though the iPad Mini with LTE (since, really, always being connected to the internet, on every device you own, is *incredibly* addictive) is $559… being able to read my books, watch my videos… *and* Skype my buddies, check my Evernotes, and play games using the same apps I do on my phone and the big iPad is… priceless.
I do think there’s going to be pressure to get the price under $300 – but, it feels nice. I even like the lightning connectors – for all the complaints about the new connectors, well, it’s nice not to worry about plugging it in backwards I am, however, like everyone waiting for a good speaker dock – and trying to figure out if it’s worth replacing the *big* iPad, just to get down to one set of connectors and chargers…
The Kindle has been a winner for me too – but iBooks has been growing on me – in particularly the fact that it lets me easily import the good 150 *non-Kindle* eBooks. And – as long as you import them into iTunes, all the page-syncing and bookshelf sharing matches up – but for books I’ve bought from 1/2 a dozen bookstores, almost all (especially Baen Publishing – a long-time eBook pioneer) now available in ePub.
So… I’m torn. I *probably* won’t be able to justify a Mini… which doesn’t mean I’m not tempted…]]>
If you haven’t gotten enough Franken-Storm Sandy coverage on the news, there’s a bunch of citizen-journalist coverage on AllVoices – a site that’s also built by PulsePoint, and which is the proving ground for what we think will be the next generation of technology powering social publishing.]]>
My Key Premise: Apple tends to think in terms of scenarios/workflows instead of features – which I think is why they often surprise the press – the press is looking for features, and Apple tends to leak a few out – but for many they don’t make sense until they all add up and you see the workflow they intended. So, this year – I think Apple’s decided the key, marquee workflow of the iPhone 5 is “using your iPhone in the Car”. Here’s where I think it adds up:
What I think the iPhone 5 will look like:
My WAG on how Apple’s going to do #3 above:
The one distinction I wish the share functionality had was a bit more granularity – at a high level, I often want to share things *either* casually (e.g. some witty snippet from a leisure book) or professionally (some insightful comment about software engineering, or management practices). Those 2 audiences are very different though, and at times never the twain shall meet – hence the unsuccessful experiments previously with cross-posting tweets to my Facebook feed. I do want my friends to think I do stuff other than work afterall…
In the long run I think deeper integration with groups, lists, circles, tags, or multiple accounts is what I’m really looking for – e.g. when I ask “share” I kind of want the Kindle to ask “with who?” Though, admittedly, I’m still super-excited that Amazon’s supporting Overdrive, bring libraries back into the fold (so this local library supporter can stop being guilty for buying the 1 e-reader that *didn’t* support the library’s digital collection)]]>
I swapped out my 3G MiFi at work for one of the new Verizon 4G LTE models, and initial results indicate that it’s obscenely fast when it’s connected to the 4G network, but the same 3G speed that was passable last week feels lethargic otherwise (parts of the Northeast Corridor NJTransit Commute). Sitting still at Newark Penn Station, I got over 20Mbps down, and 4Mbps up – which is faster than my cable modem at home.
While in transit it steadily dropped as I got further from NYC, and for many parts of the train trip (which unfortunately is where I use the MiFi the most) it drops back to 300-400Kbps that I got with the 3G model.
Aside from that, the other points are all about what you’d expect:
Having said all those bits, the bottom line is I love this thing, and expect that in a few months as LTE coverage creeps across my train commute I’ll be even happier. While I would have said 3G was fast enough for the stuff I do on the train, the truth is 20Mbps is life-changing fast – it feels like when I first got a cable modem, except it follows me around.]]>
Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.
– Margaret Motamed on agile-coaching-support (Google Group)]]>
Agility is dynamic, context-specific, aggressively change-embracing, and growth-oriented. It is not about improving efficiency, cutting costs, or battening down the business hatches to ride out fearsome competitive ‘storms.’ It is about succeeding and about winning: about succeeding in emerging competitive arenas, and about winning profits, market share, and customers in the very center of the competitive storms many companies now fear.
S. Goldman, via Alistair Cockburn’s Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game]]>