Friday, 29 September 2006

I've had some personal experience in the past couple of years - mostly all good - what some call "agile" programming styles. One thing I don't like much, however, is the sometimes "religious" slant that can invade agile development teams. If you think about it, an agile methodology that doesn't allow itself to be flexible is just about as non-agile as possible. In other words, agile zealots can at times defeat the benefits of the methodology.

The one thing I have found is truly necessary for any agile-ish method to work is 100% participation and buy-in on the part of all involved, from the workers all the way up through every layer of lead and management. Without that, it will fail eventually.

Steve Yegge lives up there in Washington and has written an excellent (and beautifully opinionated) piece about what he calls Good Agile and Bad Agile. If you're a developer or a manager of developers you'll either agree or disagree with Steve, probably strongly in whichever direction you lean. Regardless of your position, it's worth your time to read what he has to say.

I mean hey, he's so colorful, even if you don't have a clue what agile development is you can enjoy the writing. Heh. Forgive the language quoted (like I need to say that). Here's an excerpt:

... Up until maybe a year ago, I had a pretty one-dimensional view of so-called "Agile" programming, namely that it's an idiotic fad-diet of a marketing scam making the rounds as yet another technological virus implanting itself in naive programmers who've never read "No Silver Bullet", the kinds of programmers who buy extended warranties and self-help books and believe their bosses genuinely care about them as people, the kinds of programmers who attend conferences to make friends and who don't know how to avoid eye contact with leaflet-waving fanatics in airports and who believe writing shit on index cards will suddenly make software development easier.
You know. Chumps. That's the word I'm looking for. My bad-cholesterol view was that Agile Methodologies are for chumps.

But I've had a lot of opportunity to observe various flavors of Agile-ism in action lately, and I now think I was only about 90% right. It turns out there's a good kind of Agile, although it's taken me a long time to be able to see it clearly amidst all the hype and kowtowing and moaning feverishly about scrums and whatnot. I have a pretty clear picture of it now.

And you can attend my seminar on it for the low, low price of $499.95! Hahaha, chump!
No, just kidding. You'll only find seminars about the Bad kind of Agile. And if in the future you ever find me touring around as an Agile Consultant, charging audiences to hear my deep wisdom and insight about Agile Development, you have my permission to cut my balls off. If I say I was just kidding, say I told you I'd say that. If I then say I'm Tyler Durden and I order you not to cut my balls off, say I definitely said I was going to say that, and then you cut 'em right off.

I'll just go right ahead and tell you about the Good Kind, free of charge.

It's kinda hard to talk about Good Agile and Bad Agile in isolation, so I might talk about them together. But I'll be sure to label the Good kind with a happy rat, and the Bad kind with a sad dead rat, so you'll always know the difference.

How can you not read what this guy has to say? That's just a start - read it all on Steve's blog.



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Friday, 29 September 2006 10:14:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 28 September 2006

Nice to live here, dontcha know. The sunrise view from my front porch this morning as I left for work:



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Photography | Random Stuff
Thursday, 28 September 2006 19:41:04 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 23 September 2006

Saw this coming a mile away. It's always fascinating when people - or companies - show their true colors.

Apple Computer is sending cease and desist letters, apparently, so a number of companies and organizations that are using the term "pod" in their positioning or names, claiming it causes confusion in the marketplace. Podcast Ready is the latest victim among several.

Give me a break.

The deal is this: It's said Apple has recently applied for coverage from the USPTO to get protection via trademark for the word "pod" in addition to the already protected term "iPod." They've not been granted protection, and I would hope they won't get it. "Podcast" is probably next on their list, at this rate. I see several others have already applied for the term and several variants.

But , after all, it doesn't take a solid legal footing to be a bully, it just takes - well - a bully mentality.

And now, it appears the fight is being taken to the podcasting playground. Despite the fact that Apple didn't invent the term "podcasting," and despite the fact that they adopted - even embraced - the term (and created a whole section and special logo for iTunes, etc.), Apple apparently believes they can Monday-morning-QB this one into the courts - and they must think they can win. One would hope that's not the case, but in California, who knows.

Don't get me wrong - Apple's a company that makes cool stuff and I own a Mac in addition to my PCs. But hey - no one likes a bully, especially when there's really nothing to gain, and a lot of people who could be negatively affected as a result of this move. The idea that the terms "Podcast Ready" and "myPodder" could be confusing in a way that hurts Apple is a stretch. "Podcast" is practically a household term now, and the fact is that Apple didn't jump in until well after it became the defacto standard name and term (despite some heated debates early on around the terminology).

Apple really needs to go find someone or something else to pick on, lest all the other kids on the playground get tired of the black eyes and bruises. Or send some of the lawyers out for a vacation or something. Their judgement is getting clouded.



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Saturday, 23 September 2006 09:45:06 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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In a few hours I'm heading for San Francisco (again) to speak tomorrow at (yet another) conference. I'm starting to realize that my little world has certainly changed over the past few years. These days I find myself constantly on the road, speaking in front of groups of people who need to know more about that which I know. I'm on the phone or face-to-face a few times a week with reporters and industry analysts, talking about Internet security, anti-fraud efforts and identity protection.

And somehow I thought I was going to be a photographer. Heh.

Sure, the flying can be tiring (drink lots of water on-board, that's the ticket, except you can't carry it on anymore), and I think I could probably count on my fingers and toes how many times I've slept in my own bed in the past six months. But the experience is a great one, and I am learning and growing more and more every day.

Tomorrow afternoon's topic of conversation (which incidentally is how I try to do my presentations - interactively) is "Solving the challenges of multi-factor authentication." I plan to discuss strong authentication in general (which includes multi-factor among other methods), the many wonders of passive and active behavior biometrics, Cardspace/Infocard and related projects, why we need stronger authentication in the first place, the difficulties of deciding what to implement and how to make it happen, what the impact of requiring strong authentication is on consumers and businesses, and some creative ways to meet the needs of everyone involved. So, nothing big. If you're an identity and access-management geek, or someone who has to implement this stuff, it's probably interesting. If you're anyone else, you're probably bored already, heh. ;)

Best part, though, is that I will get to see my dad, whose birthday I missed last month due to a fit of travel and business overextension on my part. I think I was in Minneapolis or something. I am very much looking forward to spending some time with him.



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Saturday, 23 September 2006 08:22:34 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 20 September 2006

There's no point in droning on and on about this one - Scott Hanselman is 100% correct when he proclaims:

"I say this: IE7 and Office 2007 not supporting Basic or Digest Authentication out of the box for accessing secure feeds will negatively affect adoption of RSS more than any other failing of the spec since its inception. It will slow adoption down at every level; it will make it harder for Financial Institutions to justify it and it will flummox internal Enterprises who don't have completely NTLM/AD infrastructure."

He discusses this in the context of using RSS to securely retrieve feeds for banking data, for example. Sure, there are many points to ponder regarding the retrieval and storage of likely sensitive information, but in the end this is something that will be needed, and would be useful now for many uses.

Do you think this functionality is important? Scott does and so do I. Read his post, Accessing Private and Authenticated Feeds - Why it's important, and say something - in the comments here on this blog, on Scott's blog, on the IE Blog, on your blog.



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Blogging | RSS Stuff | Tech
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 15:44:51 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Microsoft today announced and released (in an apparently closed beta) Soapbox, their new service aimed at the YouTube crowd. Word is it will allow you to upload your videos, up to 100MB, for sharing with others. Works with Windows Media player or Flash embedded in the web page. You can get on the waiting list for a beta account via a link on the Soapbox site.

This should be interesting to watch. From the site:

"Soon you’ll be able to upload your own videos, watch those made by other contributors, post comments on what you’ve seen, and much more."

I sure hope I can subscribe to feeds there. That would be a terrible boat to miss. We'll see soon enough.

   Soapbox



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Tuesday, 19 September 2006 05:55:21 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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