The weekend! It's the weekend!!

I’m sitting on the sofa with some weird MTV programme blaring at me, but my niece seems to be enjoy it, despite my protestations… Yesterday was the first Xmas ‘event’ of the year, namely the Development Team’s away day. 50 of us, crammed into a nearby gastro-pub, crackers, crap toys, and turkey. All washed down by … Guinness. Still the food wasn’t all that bad, and it was good to unwind, the last two weeks have been manic as we headed towards a release deadline. And so my attention turns to Christmas. We are heading through to my parents today to help put their tree up. Something I’ve not done for many years, and at some point I’ll need to …

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Recently Read

Tomorrow we get to spend the afternoon in the pub after gorging ourselves on turkey and stuffing. Yes, it’s the Development Christmas Lunch. This year it’s handily placed right at the end of a release cycle (although that does mean some poor souls may be dragged back into the office), so we can celebrate the release AND the birth of a baby a long, long time ago (or whatever you believe). That also means that next week I’ll have a little more free time to think about the future, and get some plans in place. I’ve already got a fair list, some of which will feature here. However, for the time being, here are a few things that caught my …

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Brussels

The food from the Brassica oleracea Gemmifera group that is, not the capital city of Belgium. I quite like Brussel Sprouts providing they aren’t boiled to death. However, over lunch today, it seems I am in the minority. At a table of 7, I was the only person who liked them. Some people dislike them so much they want to bash them but of course that might be genetic (it’s a PTC receptor thing apparently). If you don’t like plain Brussel Sprouts, try this; Steam (or boil) the sprouts for 10 mins, then chop them up. Chop up and fry some nice bacon, add a dash of cream and throw in the Brussels. Delish. There are plenty of other recipes …

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Saying goodbye

No, I’M not saying goodbye, but it’s been on my mind recently. At some point this blog will end, it may be a gradual decline during which the format and content will slowly morph into something else, or it may just stop and be replaced by something else. I’m comfortable with the fact that I will always have an online presence, my own microbrand if you will, and I’m quite happy for that to evolve naturally. After all, what you see here today is far removed from what I started with. However in the process of cleaning up the Scottish Blogs directory there is one glaring piece of advice I’d give to all new bloggers. As well as suggesting they …

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Write the docs first

I’m currently pondering a proposal, suggesting to our Dev team that we write the user documentation first, and then use that as the basis of what the product should deliver. This wouldn’t work for everyone but given that an XP environment encourages little (well, less) documentation than a more traditional ISO style project, then having a draft of the user documentation would be beneficial in many ways: Early design thoughts are often lost as they are translated into the stories used to develop the functionality. Fleshing these out into more fully formed documentation would better capture that information, and focus it on the user. Earlier consideration of the “what ifs” will likely come of this, pushing thoughts and discussions out …

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Stress is a wonderful thing

Nearing the end of a project is always a stressful time. Regardless of the best plans, contingency and prayers, things always end up tight at this point. That’s when the stress kicks in. I actually revel in this kind of work, doing my best stuff under pressure, with no time to ponder I make decisions with conviction and plough onwards. There is also a subtle effect on other areas. I’m usually working long hours at this point, and so end up a little run-down, narky and tired. Emotions of all kinds are quick to the surface and over the years I’ve started to focus more on them than any impending doom scenarios that are building elsewhere. I should point out …

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Free is Free

A few weeks back Radiohead, a fairly well-known rock band from England, released their new album via the web and in a fairly radical move, allowed people to pay whatever price they wanted for the privilege. Anything from £0.00 to £100, they said (I wonder what the top amount paid was…). Since then… apart from a couple of press releases full of ill-thought out stats… nothing. What happened? Where is all the noise? Where are the “told-you-so” bleatings? What happened to the “revolutionise-the-music-industry”? It’s a disappointing damp squib if you ask me. On one side, Radiohead remain silent on the matter. Or as good as. On the other side the press was quick to report that a large number of …

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Stepping Back

I was recently chatting to someone who has a plan. He is retiring at aged 50 and going off to live in the wilds of Canada. He’s Canadian so it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds, but the really scary part is that he is deliberately going to be “off-grid”. He’s a self-confessed geek so this is quite a step and, when he told me all this I suggested that it was some form of backlash against the grip of technology, a deliberate swipe at the lifestyle we all find ourselves living in modern society. “But of course it is” he grinned. I harbour a similar desire, namely to retire aged 50, but as yet have no plan to get …

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Recently Read

With the TICAD conference last week, a couple of days in my sick bed, and the imminent product release I’m working towards, I’ve not had a lot of time to post here. However, the RSS feeds keep trickling in, so here are a few items that caught my eye over the past couple of weeks. What Beautiful HTML Code Looks Like I’m a terrible coder. Which is just as well because I’m not a developer but as I do dabble in HTML and CSS quite frequently (hey, and PHP too), then this is a good reminder for me to develop my own best practises. Code is Tabbed into Sections: If each section of code is tabbed in once, the structure …

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(Don't) Call me

I need some advice. I want either cheaper TV, Broadband and Telephone calls, how do I get them? Actually that’s a lie, I only really want cheaper telephone calls. Currently we have contracts with both Sky and Virgin Media. We have Sky for our TV viewing and we take all the movies and sports channels, although I am considering cropping the ‘standard’ channel package down a little. My parents have Virgin Media for their TV service and, ignoring the fact I’d have to invest in a PVR system of some sort to get back the functionality I’d be losing, I happen to think the Sky service is better. It certainly seems easier to use and Virgin don’t give you the …

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