Friday, October 31, 2008








Friday, October 17, 2008

Specifications are hard; seeing things that are not quite right is easy

I've been thinking a lot about client environments as a system integration problem lately. So I'm reading Fowler on Continuous Integration, prompted in no small part by a bookmark from Ben.

There's a ton of great stuff to think about in this article, and this quote isn't the main point by any means - it's an aside, really - but it's SO TRUE! "We've found that it's very hard to specify what you want in advance
and be correct; people find it much easier to see something that's not
quite right and say how it needs to be changed.

And here's the thing in context - surrounded by lots of other truth.
One of the most difficult parts of software development is making sure that you build the right software. We've found that it's very hard to specify what you want in advance and be correct; people find it much easier to see something that's not quite right and say how it needs to be changed. Agile development processes explicitly expect and take advantage of this part of human behavior.

To help make this work, anyone involved with a software project should be able to get the latest executable and be able to run it: for demonstrations, exploratory testing, or just to see what changed this week.

Doing this is pretty straightforward: make sure there's a well known place where people can find the latest executable. It may be useful to put several executables in such a store. For the very latest you should put the latest executable to pass the commit tests - such an executable should be pretty stable providing the commit suite is reasonably strong.

If you are following a process with well defined iterations, it's usually wise to also put the end of iteration builds there too. Demonstrations, in particular, need software whose features are familiar, so then it's usually worth sacrificing the very latest for something that the demonstrator knows how to operate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Experiment and Logic: GOOD; Authority, Intimidation, Self-Interest: BAD

Stumbled across Robert Anton Wilson's website, and found this gem:

I believe that everything admirable in the modern world results form the use of Argument by Experiment together with Argument by Logic (without making an Idol of either), whereas everything heinous and terrible results from the persistence of the older habits of Arguments by Authority, Intimidation, Self-Interest and Legal Precedent, or the various forms of calling the other side sons of bitches.

RAW co-wrote the Illuminatus! trilogy.

Before I give you the link to the page that holds that quote, let me point out that it contains an excerpt from RAW's Wilhelm Reich on Trial in Hell which is quite accurately titled, and co-stars the Marquis de Sade. You've been warned.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Lord, I'm Discouraged

No, I'm not discouraged. I'm actually happy! Happy about this news, at least: The Hold Steady's magnificent classic rock lament/homage "Lord I'm Discouraged" is available on Rhapsody now! (It wasn't the last time I raved about how good it is.)

Go listen.

(Or if you'd rather YouTube than Rhapsody, I gotcha covered there too.)

That guitar solo completely channels rock. 

As always, the lyrics kill.

And the chorus builds to a crescendo, and the piano, it sounds like a carnival, and the microphone smells like a beer....

Go listen now. These are the disciples of St. Joe Strummer