Windows 7 RC

Having installed the Release Candidate of Windows 7 a couple of days ago, I have to say I’m fairly impressed and it may even sway me to keep a Windows box in the future despite plans to move to Apple hardware/software completely. Let me tell you why.

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My PC

ss001, originally uploaded by Gordon. Since I was asked, here is my current Windows XP desktop. I keep the desktop clean, it’s my “inbox” where things are then filed or moved. The taskbar fades out when the mouse ISN’T over it, and yeah Xentient Thumbnails to get the icon of an image to display as the image itself (a la the icon on my desktop).

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No Docs = No Product

What of agile documentation? It seems like such an old argument that surely, SURELY, doesn’t need revisiting? Alas it seems that the world of software engineering still contains those who think that code = product. Thankfully, in my experience, the numbers are thinning as most practitioners of modern software practices are at least educationally aware of the need for product documentation, even if they don’t fully understand the reasons. However, there are still those who are happy to hack away, and then claim they have a product. If you are such a person let me make one thing clear, you are wrong. Not only are you wrong but as time marches on, you get further and further from being correct, …

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Trickle and Blink

“There is no such thing as too much information” We’ve all heard this statement at one time or another, and in the internet age it’s accepted as a statement of truth. Which is shame as it’s completely wrong. Turns out, that you only need enough information, not all of it. A while ago I wrote up some thoughts on how to integrate an authoring team into an Extreme Programming (Agile) development group. The post Trickle vs Traditional outlined a basic way of building up the required content throughout the various stages of an XP release and, to save you re-reading that post, let me grab the crux of what I was saying: The trickle method relies on the ability of …

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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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Dilbert does it again

I really don’t know how Scott Adams manages to tap into these things, or is the software industry REALLY that similar the world over? Regardless suffice to say that, in our Extreme Programming (XP) development group (XP is a form of Agile development), todays’ Dilbert raised a bit of a chuckle: (click for bigger)

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Trickle vs Traditional

The following is taken from current experience, fitting a Publications team into an agile (XP) development methodology. It’s very much a work in progress… ~ In a more traditional development environment, there is likely to be specifications and design documents on which you can rely. This is not the case in an agile development environment, with requirements focussed around user acceptance, and a heavy reliance on word of mouth (through pair programming) and shared knowledge. It may sound chaotic, it is not. Each piece of functionality is assessed and if there is not a direct requirement for a piece of functionality it doesn’t get done, similarly each piece of functionality is stated as a story, and will have an index …

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Small things matter

I’ve been pretty good about not fawning over my Mac too much, right? I mean this hasn’t turned into a fanboy style homage to Steve Jobs and all things Apple. Well, no more so than usual… I don’t think. This does mean that I’ve had to fit the strong urge to blog about the myriad of small things that I’ve noticed when using the Mac, the myriad of things which go to show that attention to detail and spending time on small issues IS important. Of course the fact that the Mac software is pretty robust in the first place allows the developers at Apple a little more time to worry about such things but that just means that it’s …

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On switching

I received my MacBook some weeks ago, but decided not to post immediately and try to get a better feel for both the new hardware and operating system before posting my thoughts. What follows has been written up over the period of a few weeks. It’s official. I am now cool. I must be because Matt said so, in a roundabout way admittedly, and in case you have no earthly idea what I’m blithering on about now, I’ll first refer you to this post, and then get to the point and confirm that yes, I am now the owner of a shiny white MacBook. I am cool. As is my wont, I had spent some time researching, reading articles written …

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XP tip

Quickly Tiling Windows in XP “With the first window open, press and hold Ctrl, then right-click the second window’s button in the taskbar and choose Tile Horizontally or Tile Vertically in the pop-up that appears.” You really do learn something new everyday, thank you LifeHacker!

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