Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Blogger Profile Change

All change!

I am in the process of migrating this blog to another account. For anyone following via my Blogger profile, I am now over here.

It's not personal

Oh dear. It would appear that some people reading this blog andTwitter feed believe that I am writing specifically about them. Naturally, this makes them a little sensitive to the criticisms that I sometimes level at the industry and the comments/observations I make.

Let me reassure everyone that the articles I write generally don't relate to any one client, or incident, or person, or project. There really would be little point in writing about anything that is only specific to one project; to be fair it would be deathly dull, and irrelevant to everyone else. Even in the rare case when there is a particularly interesting success or failure story, I ensure that names are changed, and generally wait a while as well before publishing to anonymise the problem and protect the guilty. And remember I have had people I have never worked with before accuse me (albeit lightheartedly) of spying on their project, so some observations must be common across multiple projects.

Sometimes I publish idle thoughts. Sometimes (hopefully) insightful. Other times complete rubbish, the ramblings of a madman.

So where do these snippets come from? Certainly some of the material comes from personal experience, both past, and to a small degree, present. General observation of the industry provides a huge amount of material, with certain themes and problems coming up time and again (and often from way back too). Some comes from discussions with fellow developers and coaches working in other companies, a throwaway comment triggering anything from an idle thought to a complete theory. Some more comes from talking to managers, a very different but related discipline. Yet more from talking to people outside our small, mad world of software development. Then there are the books, films, documentaries, seminars... Everything influencing everything else, trying to compete for space in a grand unified theory of software development, the universe and everything.

So maybe, just maybe, it's not about you.


If you do start thinking that anything I write sounds like it is directly referencing your project. Or your company. Or even you personally. Stop and think. Why is it resonating with you? Why is it sounding familiar? Why are you embarrassed/angry at seeing something so familiar in print?

Then ask yourself the two most important questions of all:
"Are we doing something stupid here?"

"If we are, how do we stop doing it?"
Remember, it's not personal. It's about working smarter.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

A blast from the past

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I spent several happy years working for the legendary Acorn Computers and their near mythical set-top box subsidiary, Online Media. We did some seriously cool, groundbreaking stuff there, including being (arguably) the first to stream video over internet protocols. All the computers ran on RiscOS, a homegrown, lightweight, adaptable operating system for ARM processors.

Alas this time came to an end, and Acorn disappeared, but their legacy lived on. RiscOS carried on, supported by various companies.

I had mostly forgotten about it until now. An old colleague recently mentioned that in 2006 a group of ex-Acornites started a new company, RiscOS Open Limited (ROOL), dedicated to maintaining the operating system and take it forward. The OS is still available, and supported. So do take a look, and if you have an interest in RiscOS then do consider helping them out.