Say Your Name…

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If you watched this series, you know everything starts to unfold and come a bit unglued when Walter (White) asks the person on the other side of this scene to “say my name…”  This blog probably won’t be nearly as exciting at this scene was, but hopefully a few tweaks will help ease the reader’s eyes.

This week in the blogging courses I’m going through we were challenged to change the title and tag lines of our blogs.  I did change my title from “onefloridacoder’s bit bag” to “john@Scale” – however my muse took a break when I started playing around with the tagline.

I read the advice from other bloggers but it didn’t get the muse off his coffee (or whatever he drinks) break.  Still, I think it should change it and I will.  I’m sure one day or evening when I’m riding my bike to or from home – it’ll hit me like a bug on my visor.  Stay tuned.

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Orlando Coding Dojo 2011.07.30

After a bit of discussion the dojo group decided on the Python language – there are many others the group has used by in my experience it’s only been Python and Ruby, neither are easy to use for me.  Once the choice for language has been established the problem for this dojo was a Euler problem 7.

Ketema, the host of the dojo had setup TMUX to run the session.  Usually we have one PC that drives the coding through a projector that everyone can see.  With TMUX everyone got a session and could pilot and co-pilot their five minutes of coding on their own machines.  I’ve not seen this before, so this was one thing I took away wanting to figure out.

Once everyone got started it was about helping everyone else out that had not seen or used Python (myself included) or written a program before.  In some ways Python reminded me of my Ruby experience I had at the dojo last year.  The SMEs in the room were quick to help us understand why Python did it certain things, and how it can do things differently than Ruby.  This is where the dojo begins to add lots of value quickly.

If you’ve never written a program using a test first approach (aka TDD), this is something that will help you make sense of it all.  If you’re used to the term baby-steps and fire-engine-steps, these are baby-step coding sessions.  The group coding for roughly two hours and only put up about (excluding whitespace) 30 lines of code.  The best part about this was that almost every function and code block was discussed at length so all (I think) 11 of us understood why something had been coded the way it was – very cool!

This being my second dojo to attend, it was a another great experience and encouraged me to try a few things I haven’t done and to do the some of the things I currently do, better.

My favorite quotes came from one of Caike’s friends he had brought all the way from Brazil.  We (geeks) have heard the notion that we should keep functions/methods to ~10 lines of code.  The statement someone made enforce this tenet, but also my own idea that the third time you write (or refactor) it will be close to it best state whether it is 10 lines or not.

“When we try to keep our functions to 10 lines sometimes it causes us to write [poorer] code to achieve this.”  A few minutes later he stated this, “[In Rio] we use red, green, and blue.  Blue being the refactor step that gets us closer having better code.”  To paraphrase something else he mentioned code should be correct first, testable second, and elegant (readable/maintainable) third – in that order.

Again, just a great session of learning and sharing, stuff you can’t really get from a book and only from a community that wants to share and strive to become better developers than we were yesterday.

Know the rules, before you buy the tools

resharperI met Scott over three years ago and this was one of the quotes that stuck with me; not to mention he’s a very smart developer.

So over the last six months I turned off ReSharper and just used the refactoring tools in Visual Studio 2010.

I reached the place where I ‘m most annoyed at creating code that (ReSharper) short-cuts and macros can provide more quickly.

I did have a friend one time who shall remain nameless (you know who you are) that could type faster than Intellisense could on a wickedly fast machine; ReSharper literally slowed him down, yes, he was that fast of a typist.  If you’re that fast, don’t bother; if you’re one of the normal folks that can use some (non-Mavis Beacon) typing support, check it out.

As a PSA, I did try to upgrade a 4.x license I had purchased a few years ago; but the folks that were handling my order let me know that I had already purchased the upgrade and arranged for a full refund.  Hopefully you buy your tools from the same type of shop.

-ofc

It Could Be Much Worse

I’ve never been a physio-nerd at all; like following what my body is doing as I get older and if or when I should start worrying about stuff.  I decided to dive into a book and find out what’s in my near future for my age.  After 30, stuff happens, after 40 more and different stuff happens and so on, and so on.  I work with guys who are younger than me so I see what they are up against right now and kind of compare that to what my “physio-whatevers” were doing back then.  that has been a bit  of a white elephant but did convince me that everyone, yes Virginia, everyone is created differently.

I had someone recommend (can’t remember who, but I’m told that more exercise will increase short-term memory) a book about 40-something guys’ health stuff.  So I took their advice and decided to figure what’s going on b/c I can’t figure out what I think should be happening, and what I think shouldn’t be happening – that made no sense, but maybe exercise will help preventing making statements like that too.

Anyway, it’s go a lot of interesting facts backed up by this or that PhD or institute of something or other; it is interesting reading and it make sense when my brain tries to decipher each chapter.  Bottom line, I’m going to live; the other part of my findings so far is that I can live longer if I do and don’t do certain things.   Of course every single syllable sounds like common sense – but we know common is sense isn’t common; so I’m learning which is good and like I said just from what I learned so far, it could (totally) be much worse.

This month my first endeavor will be to join a Couch To 5K group at my company’s health center.  That should be fun, and rewarding according to this book.  I’ll let you know how it works out.

Moving On, Finally

I’ve been working with a team who will take over system support for a system my team has been building.  My team worried that we didn’t “deliver to the audience” while we delivered what we believe the customer wanted.

“Delivering to the audience” means, did we build something that developers (seasoned or not) could learn to understand, pick-up, and eventually own.  The big brass ring is always, can folks learn how to be more efficient or learn what not to do, with what we created – either case is still a valuable lesson.

 

This week we had three sessions.  Covered most everything we needed that exposed the patterns we used, and the ones we chose not to use.  Most of the dialog that came across the table led me to believe that they were going to get it, and it was going to sink in.  Our team who uses an unused executives office as a work room literally has an open door policy.  We stay available in IM and email contexts as well since most folks, developers in general, would rather communicate electronically.  The folks I met with this week seem to be more face-to-face and ready to get this stuff on them.  All good indicators that I can move off of this system with little or no ties to this system post-go-live.

So the goal here is to move back into what my team initially did, which I’m being told may change a bit in the future.  It sounds exciting and a bit spooky as well.  However, we enjoy being part of a larger strategy team that  helps folks learn how to be more efficient or learn what not to do, with what other folks (large and small software shops outside of our own shop) created by kicking tires and test-driving software in a real(our)world context.

I’ve always hated moving, but now I realize that not all moving is bad.  Sometime we have to move on, other times we’re asked or forced to move on; at least this time there are no boxes to unpack.

Hey, is this thing plugged in?

Well, I will admit I did give the PostADay challenge a good go, but I’ve come to realize I can make myself stare at my phone or pop open a “flash-post” in WP.  I just see myself moving farther away from sitting in front of my blog each day.  This has been a season the comes and goes for me, and I’ve seen my peers, near and far, just strike this balance of being plugged and unplugged.

So, I’ll keep the challenge going but only for a PostAWeek.  Hopefully, the ones I do post won’t read like their strained or distilled out of vague idea or thought.  Besides, what’s the sense in blogging if it’s going to be crap?  None.

And Now A Quote from Iago

 

"Iago"“When are we ever gonna get our hands on that stupid lamp!” This weekend was a great long weekend to sort more leftover baggage from 2010. Feels like I’ve dropped an easy 2 tons this weekend.

The whole “lamp” analogy is just about letting go of what I can’t reach, and honestly don’t want to. The idea right now is to just focus on “reach” – as in what I can reach, not “rich” which always seems to be much too expensive for me. Not in the sense of money, but mental currency.

Just this weekend I’ve had a very educational experience working on things that are within reach, and not the things that are so rich. Looking forward to rest of the week now.  Besides, I’m seeing that the rich stuff isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and ends up being very high maintenance, like that “stupid lamp”.

Happy Monday!