Why Real Software People Don’t Fit In Your Corporation

(c) Amana stock photos

“He’s a real software developer,” I told her. “It’s not just that he’s ‘in a different league’”, I said. “He’s playing an entirely different game.”

I was sitting with a business lead who oversaw a large IT project. She and I were talking about the best people on the team. I mentioned that Ivan was clearly the best we had.

Rodika looked at me queer.

“Easton?” she asked. “The big guy wit…

Getting Sound Back on a Macbook Pro (when the headphone is stuck on Optical)

Girl DJ with headphones and lights. Graphicstock

A regular problem for me with my Macbook Pro is getting the sound disappearing because the headphone jack gets stuck in optical mode (TOSLINK on). You can tell it’s happened because:

a red light is on inside the headphone jack (the light is the TOSLINK signal); and
adjusting the volume through the sound controls brings up a sound meter with a “no signal” symbol below it (looks like a do not…

The iPhone in Doctor Who (c. 1984)

Ever wonder whether Apple has a case against other “tablet” makers?

The Atlantic today has a blog post about how the patent office rejected a “scrotal support” by referencing the movie Borat, showing that he had already invented it. Madrigal went on to point out that using pop culture in movies was not just a feature of frivolous filings: “Part of Samsung’s recent response to an Apple patent…

Software Architecture: There Is No One Right Way

Looking down at Château-d'Oex from our chateau on after a snowfall. © E. Forrest Christian.

I spent some time perusing the programming stacks at Seattle’s main library today, and skimmed through some texts on software architecture. Perhaps the most interesting was 97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know: Collective Wisdom from the Experts (ed. Richard Monson-Haefel). It’s a collection of various two-page thoughts from people who do software architecture from across t…

Why Managers Should Not Write Technical Job Postings

Yardmaster in railroad yards working, Amarillo, TX, 1943. By Jack Delano via Library of Congress Collection (LOC)

A friend of mine encouraged me to tell this story which I watched unfold first hand while a software development manager for a mid-sized consulting firm. One of my best developers — a software architect, really — started laughing in the middle of the day. We all needed something to release the strain of our bi-weekly drop work, so all us meerkats gathered around his desk.

“Look at…

Using Timespans to Solve Communication Problems

calendar page

Ever wonder if timespans has any practical usefulness? Here is how I used timespans to clear up a communication problem in a global IT architecture group for an international bank.

Awhile back I worked with a group of enterprise architects (EA) at an international bank with major operations in all the inhabited continents. The group, although “headquartered” in the US, had members in each of…

Different Worlds: My Experiences with AT&T/RIM vs. Apple


Recently, I had two problems come up. Neither of them are really horrifying but the experiences that I had show why Apple dominates the markets for consumer-oriented electronics, and why RIM’s Blackberry, Obamania aside, is declining.

I should start out with a confession: I’ve been a systems administrator at a variety of levels on several network OSes, including Solaris, HP-UX, Windows NT,…

Retraining Mainframers to Object Oriented Programming (OOP)

Analog Computing Machine in Fuel Systems Building Lewis Flight Propulsion Lab-NASA

I’m going through my old email archives, and discovered a note from a project I ran to help a very large US property & casualty insurer to better retool their mainframe-oriented programmers (procedural using COBOL) to client-server paradigms (mostly Object-Oriented Programming using Java). It was an interesting project because the dirty secret was that some people were better than others. One of…

New MacUpdate Promo Bundle

Since I got so much grief from some of y’all for failing to mention the last one, here’s the news: a brand new MacUpdate Promo bundle is available. You get some great apps, plus the chance that they will unlock SoundStudio (probable), BannerZest (likely), and Parallels Desktop (possible but don’t hold your breath), all for US$64.99. In my opinion, the licenses for the core apps make it worth t…

Greybox Really Is a Popup Window That Doesn’t Suck

I’ve been evaluating several technologies for a small web project I’m working. One of the things that I’ve seen lately are these popup windows that display on top of the original page, graying out the original and “floating” on top of it. There are several neat implementations of this for images but I needed to popup little informational windows, something more than a tooltip but less than a fu…

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