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Back in January, Brian H. Prince from Microsoft interviewed me about the UML features in Visual Studio Team System 2010. Today, he informed me that the interview is finally live on Channel 9 ......

My buddy Josh Holmes has written a very excellent post on the Return on Investment (ROI) for software. I recommend it to anyone who sees software as a business, not just a job or a hobby. Last week, the always-worth-reading Patrick Greene made a comment that made me start thinking specifically about the ROI for Requirements Analysis. Most teams and ......

Here’s a screenshot of my document in Word 2007: That’s exactly what I wanted: three columns in different shades. Hurray for Word 2007! Then I saved as PDF. Here’s a screenshot from Acrobat: I don’t know why the colors “leaked” like that, but it’s bad. And while I could imagine this being Acrobat, not word, this is clearly Word’s fault. I added a line ......

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen a strange tweet yesterday: Looking for a word... "Employee" is to "Roster" as "Vehicle" is to _____? "Fleet" doesn't seem quite right. With a lot of helpful suggestions, especially from @patrickgreene, we settled on “Fleet Manifest”. It’s ideal for what I needed. But in case you’re wondering why I needed ......

…an evolving list: Stability. It’s behaving better than Windows XP did on this box. Not that I had many problems (once I dumped some defective NVIDIA software); but it was sometimes slow for long stretches while something somewhere hogged the CPU. Never could figure out what, but it’s gone in Win7. Arranging the task bar the way I want it: Outlook, ......

In a classic Dilbert strip, Tina the Tech Writer is forced to write docs for code that doesn’t exist yet. Her last line: “If you call our tech support, we’ll blame Microsoft.” Works for me! I blame Microsoft for why I don’t have a new Lounge today. OK, so time spent job searching is a larger factor. But still, I’d rather blame Microsoft. In particular, ......

19
Mar 09
Once upon a time, I had a really thorny development problem to solve. I needed to build a histogram of the colors in a true-color image. There was a theoretically easy way to do this. If I had had C# then, the code would’ve looked like this. int[,,] histogram = new int[256, 256, 256]; for(int y = 0; y < bmp.Height; y++) { for(int x = 0; x < bmp.Width; ......

From PowerPoint – 2007, no less! On one page, we can set the size. X and Y are arranged horizontally, Y first. On the next page, we can set the position. X and Y are arranged vertically, X first. This has confused me practically every time I’ve had to edit the size of something in PowerPoint. I know it’s there. I do. But the behavior is so counterintuitive, ......

By and large the literature of a democracy will never exhibit the order, regularity, skill, and art characteristic of aristocratic literature; formal qualities will be neglected or actually despised. The style will often be strange, incorrect, overburdened, and loose, and almost always strong and bold. Writers will be more anxious to work quickly than ......

Continuing The Project that Time Forgot, a UML case study. (Click images for larger versions.) On the surface, this Episode may seem almost social. Demented and sad, but social. But if you could join Hacker Girl, reading Geek Girl’s Tablet PC over her shoulder, you might see a different picture: And you would also see this diagram: You saw a conversation. ......

25
Feb 09
A small benefit of being between gigs: I’m sitting here, coding and networking and working and planning, while watching From the Earth to the Moon Episode 5: Spider. If you’re any sort of an engineer, you need to watch this every year (or more) for inspiration. It’s the best, truest picture of engineering I’ve ever seen on screen. And for me, it’s a ......

I just wanted to rename a Word document while I was working in Word. You know what comes next. In practically every application out there, I have two choices: Close the app. Navigate to the file in Windows Explorer and rename it. Double-click it to reopen the file. Within the app, do a Save as…. Optionally delete the old file name. In both cases, both ......

Update: Fixed a typo and a calculation error. Josh Holmes has a great post on Return on Investment (ROI). And by “great”, I mean great even by Josh’s usual standards. He worked hard on this one. I was privileged to review three drafts before he published it; and by draft two, I was saying, “Josh, this one’s a winner. I’m going to reference this one ......

I am the mirror, reflecting what you say to me. I am the mirror, I’ll show you where you want to be. Talk to the mirror, I’ll tell you what you really said. Look in the mirror, I’ll draw the picture in your head. There in the mirror: it’s what you didn’t know you knew. I am the mirror, and I’m listening… to you ......

There’s an old joke about an engineer called out of retirement by a company in trouble: their most vital machine has stopped working, and nothing they have tried will get it started again. The old engineer looks at the machine, studies it for a few minutes from different angles, and flips a switch. Presto! The machine starts to work, humming along like ......

Diagnostic Checklist: Requirements Archaeology □ 70 Your project is to supplement, upgrade, or replace an existing system. □ 30 The existing system is poorly documented, or the documentation is out of date. ____ Total You can learn how to score the checklists here. Problem: The project is to supplement, upgrade, or replace an existing system, which ......

Continuing The Project That Time Forgot, a UML case study in comic strip form... (Click pictures for larger images.) After a long hiatus due to weather, illness, work, conferences, and more stuff than I can explain, the Lounge is back. This Episode gets the ball rolling for Act II, so there’s not much new UML content here yet. But I can give you a few ......

As I’ve written elsewhere, I love maps. And I love a story that includes maps. Maps help me to see where the action takes place; and they give me tantalizing clues to action yet ahead. When I first opened a hardcover of The Hobbit and unfolded the big map of Wilderland, I was hooked. So for those who love maps like I do, here’s a map of Carnivore Park. ......

Note: This is a Best Of post from my other blog. The topic came up on Twitter, so I'm rerunning it here. Coding Geekette has a slightly dated but still timely post about The Making of a Good Developer. That post was inspired by Justin Etheredge's equally interesting post on why Being Smart Does Not a Good Developer make. Both address the idea that good ......

Continuing The Project That Time Forgot, a UML case study in comic strip form... (Click pictures for larger images.) Here, for your convenience, is a larger version of the activity diagram from panel 2: Figure 1: The Recipe for Growing a Dinosaur And here is Editor Bill's comment on that diagram: "I hope in the commentary you plan to explain that this ......

Been swamped with work and holiday and illness, too swamped to do a Lounge Episode or anything meaty. So instead, I offer up the best laugh I've had all week: the story of Manager Rob, The Turtle, and The Tree. There are several things I must say before I get to this story: Manager Rob is not the Boring Manager Rob from Jonathan Coulton's Code Monkey. ......

An attempt to trade quality for cost or schedule actually results in increased cost and a longer schedule. Steve McConnell, Professional Software Development What has long been known in other businesses is true for software development as well: if you cut corners for shorter schedules or lower costs, you will get longer schedules, higher costs, and ......

Continuing The Project That Time Forgot, a UML case study in comic strip form... (Click pictures for larger images.) “We grow dinosaurs!” Big whoop, huh? Like anyone reading the strip hadn’t figured that out before I started Scene 1… It’s hard to surprise the characters in a story when the audience can tell from the promos what the surprise is. But ......

In an effort to understand and better serve my readers, I keep an eye on my referral logs. I like to know who likes what they read here, and then learn what else they read. But this one has me boggled. One of my most recent referrals is from the headlines page for fanpop's community for The L-Word. It's a link to my recent post for Ship It On The Side. ......

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