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Quoting Watts Humphrey, "Developers are caught in a victim's mentality." We never think it's our fault, it's always somebody else's.
-Jared Richardson
..."Ship It!" is in the style of the other Pragmatic books and is an easy and focused read. I finished it in two days and have already gained a wealth of insight that I can apply immediately. Hig...
-Anil John
Ship It! is part manual of best practices, part software methodologies book and part a distillation of ideas and experiences of good and bad projects that the authors have been involved in. It migh...
-Tech Book Report

Blog Interviews (Nov 4)
Jurgen Appelo has an ongoing interview series on his blog. He's published a lot of very smart people and I'm honored to squeak in too! ;)

Five Easy Questions for Jared Richardson

From the page...

On this blog I have published interviews with Steve McConnell, Johanna Rothman, Alistair Cockburn, Robert L. Glass, Scott Berkun, Mary Poppendieck and Grady Booch. Everytime I ask the same five questions, and everytime I am pleasantly surprised by the answers I get...


Category: Personal

Still Without a Mac (Aug 20)
I'm currently w/o a Mac and existing on web mail interfaces... If I owe you mail and I haven't replied to you, I apologize! Your email is probably trapped in subfolder in Mac's backup image.

But I'll be live again soon. Someone's loaning me a MBP this weekend to bridge me through the September 15th Apple announcement. If Apple doesn't update the MacBook Pro line (as rumor says they will), I'll be very unhappy. :)

Category: Personal

My New Job... NFJS One (Aug 13)
Next week I'll be starting an exciting new career opportunity. I'll be working with Jay Zimmerman and a few other key people to provide a "one source solution" for a variety of consulting and training services. The inspiration for the name comes from the No Fluff Just Stuff software symposiums that Jay started back in 2001 and I regularly participate in. The idea is to provide an additional level of superior service to companies who want private training or that last a few days building on the 90 minute presentations offered by a No Fluff Just Stuff show. There are many opportunities to take training to a deeper level and that's what we'll be providing as well as some public classes centered around agile testing, Ruby, and Rails classes very soon.

In addition we'll be organizing several regional Ruby conferences and Agile conferences. The Agile One and Ruby One events will be very similar in size and composition to the NFJS shows. Smaller numbers (capped at 250 attendees) to ensure a great level of interaction between the speakers and attendees.

It's been a busy year, and it's just going to get busier!

Category: Personal

Twitter's Addicting (Apr 30)
I never got why people liked Twitter, but I saw enough people I respect using it (like Ward Cunningham, Dave Thomas, Venkat, and Neal Ford, to name a few) that I decided to try it out... I like it. A lot.

Now that I can "twit" from my iPhone, I don't have to use desktop time to update or track other people's streams. I can post or read at a stop light or in an airport.

Also, the iPhone has a killer app called Twinkle that shows me Twitter feeds based on my location. There's something compelling to me about being able to see feeds within 1-2-5-10-100 miles from my current location. And it's amazing how many people there are "Twitting" on Twinkle within 2 miles of my house.

(In order to use Twinkle, you'll need to "jailbreak" your iPhone. You'll find a nice GUI on the ZiPhone page. It's a busy page, you'll have to navigate a bit. Also, only jailbreak. Don't unlock or activate unless you really know what that means.)

And just now I read an article titled Tweeting for Companies 101. Don't let the title fool you... while there's a decent amount of information for a corporate Twitter movement, there's tons of good information for the individual user as well.

Here's a page of Twitter Apps to get you started. Scroll down to find non-Windows apps.

Here's my link. Come visit. Get addicted too. :)

Category: Personal

Career 2.0 at RTP JUG (Apr 29)
I'll be giving my keynote talk Career 2.0: Take Control of Your Life at the local Java User's group next month. I gave this as a keynote in Chicago a few weeks ago and it was very well received. Brian Goetz summed it up as "actively manage your career". Pretty close. More than just an admonition to do that, it's also the steps you need to get started.

Triangle Java User's Group

Here's the talk description:

Has your career been a random product of your manager's whims or company's needs? Never rely on your company to keep your skills current and marketable. Take control of your own career with a proven strategy.

These are solid, repeatable steps to get your career in the trajectory you want. The first step is deciding where you want to go. We'll walk through creating a long-term plan, then break it down into manageable steps. Learn to lead within your own company, then stretch out to your local, regional and national community, building your reputation as you go. From coding to writing to speaking, each step will move you closer to where you want to be: in a position of having options and in control of your career.

Category: Personal

Starting to Use Twitter (Apr 25)
I've had a Twitter account for a while now, but never done anything with it... however I just added my iPhone as a data entry device. I'll try to start keeping it up to date now that I can do updates in an airport or taxi.

If you're into such things, here's my link

Category: Personal

Are You a Thought Leader or a Cog? (Apr 25)
I was recently on a panel discussion that was asked why should a developer should bother to learn Groovy. They cited job results. Much like this blog entry.

Trendy Bastards, Aren't We?

My response to the question "Why should I learn any new technology" is this... do you want to wait to be one of the cogs in the machine? Just another developer among hundreds with a buzzword compliant resume? Or do you want to be the person who learned the new tech, like Groovy and Grails, ahead of the curve, and was then in huge demand while the rest of the industry plays catch up? Do you want to be the person who knows the new, cutting-edge tools and introduces them at work? Or do you want to work with what someone else chooses?

Don't get me wrong... I love Ruby and Rails. I've done very little with Groovy and Grails. But if you limit your learning to existing projects, that means you're limiting your role within your company, and limiting your career, to following the crowd. It's hard to catch a wave after it's crested.

Will every technology you learn be a home run? No. It's like buying stocks. Some will be a home run, some will be a solid return... others will be a learning experience where it's a complete loss.

But over time, if you invest regularly in your knowledge portfolio (or your retirement account), you'll always end up with a decent return and be very comfortable.

Category: Personal

Leaving Cisco and Moving to 6th Sense Analytics (Nov 1)
I know I haven't been at Cisco very long, but it became apparent that the position wasn't a good fit for me after a few months. Life is too short to waste any of it, so I've moved on and accepted a position at an exciting local startup.

I'll be starting at 6th Sense Analytics next week. If you haven't looked over there products, I'd encourage you to do so. Their products for automatically capturing what type of work people are doing, then determining product state (among many other things) is very cool.

I'm hesitant to describe too much because I haven't started working at 6th Sense yet, and I have a lot to learn about the tools, but here's a little.

Is everyone on the team writing new code? Do they traditionally need a week of testing and editing to get the new features stable? This tool will catch that. When everyone says "We're ready to Ship It!", this tool will provide a simple tool that can say "Actually, you need some time to let the code stabilize... it's still changing significantly every day. You'll be able to ship in two weeks if people stop pushing new code and clean up what's in place."

How much time does your team spend writing automated tests versus new code? Again, this can help you individually, or as a team, to realize you're out of sync with your team.

I've got a lot to learn about the 6th Sense tools, but I'm very excited about this new opportunity.

The one downside? I got lazy. Instead of submitting a talk to Ruby Conf, I let Cisco pay for it... since RubyConf is this weekend, I'm not going.

I probably could've just paid for it myself (Cisco's been very flexible), but I've had a few weekends at home in a row, and it's kind of nice. :) But I'll miss everyone at RubyConf. Blog a lot for me guys!

btw, I still get questions from people about Cisco writing software...(I thought they only made routers??) This was my group. Yes, there are teams at Cisco writing software. Some of it's very cool stuff too.

Category: Personal

I've Accepted a Position at Cisco (Jul 24)
It's a long story, but last night I verbally accepted an offer to work on a very cool project at Cisco. They have an enterprise Rails and Java project that I find very interesting. The technology stack is pretty big, so I may be dipping back into other technologies as well.

It is a full-time position, not a consulting gig, so this will dramatically change my focus, but I'll continue to speak on the No Fluff tour, and other conferences. The people I'll be working with see the benefit to letting me get out of the office and interface with smart people.

I'll post more when I have more time, but for now that's the announcement. :)

Category: Personal

Pay Yourself First (Jun 7)
The 'pay yourself first' strategy applies to you personal technology portfolio as much as it does your personal finances. I was reminded of this tonight by an Alan Hoffler blog entry.

Alan's entry said, among other things, "We spend far too much time on our jobs, and far too little on ourselves."

Check out the rest of the entry ... and Alan's blog in general... you'll find good stuff there.

And then find someway ~today~ to invest in yourself both personally and technically. If you don't do it now, when will you? And if it's not important to you, who else do you think will step and take of things for you?

Category: Personal

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