Monthly Archives: December 2009

Logic Lunch Counter

This post goes out to all of you logic junkies.

You know who you are: you’re the ones with the list of fallacious argument types on a little index card beside your monitor. Heck, you might even have a web site dedicated to “clear thinking” or something like that. You’re the people who make the first post under an article and allege “Ad Homimem!” or “Appeal to Authority” and then spend the rest of the day having people call you names.

It’s gotten so prevalent that sometimes when I’m on a busy internet site I feel like I’m at a lunch counter where people are yelling out orders: “#15: Gambler’s Fallacy!” or “#7: Red Herring!” or “#23: Affirming the Consequent!”

Boy do I feel your pain.

Continue reading

Share
If you've read this far and you're interested in Agile, you should take my No-frills Agile Tune-up Email Course, and follow me on Twitter.

Agile Startup Tricks

I’ve been busy working on my startup for the last month, and as an agile-big-corp guy, many of you are probably wondering: how am I doing in the micro-team startup field?

Very well, actually.

Here’s a brain dump of things I’ve learned over the last month. As always, take what you can use and leave the rest:

Continue reading

Share
If you've read this far and you're interested in Agile, you should take my No-frills Agile Tune-up Email Course, and follow me on Twitter.

Hamburger Casserole Recipes?

Over the last few months my wife and I have been doing a bit of real-estate prospecting. It’s not like the usual stuff, where you look at listings, do a lot of calculations, walk the site, and then start the financial work — this has all been on the web. We’ve been investing in small web properties.

So, for instance, the next time you’re looking for hamburger casserole recipes, hopefully you’ll hit one of our sites. (If you go there you’ll find there isn’t anything salacious or untoward: it’s just sharing some of the best recipes we have for hamburger casseroles to people who are looking for some)

This has been an eye-opening experience, so I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve learned.

I’ve become a bit of a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) freak. Not a spammer or anything like that, but somebody who is beginning to understand how different pages get ranked different ways on different search engines. I’m starting to learn, for instance, how Google knows how to sort the results of your search.

I now understand why my blog will always be 3rd or 4th string: I have no focus. Or rather, I write like a normal person writes in their diary and not like a targeted money-making machine. There are guys who can do this: find a small niche and write the heck out of just stuff in that niche.

I am not one of those people.

I get bored easily, and the blog is mainly for me. So it’s always going to be a mishmash of whatever I like. Cross out the plan for world-domination through blogging.

Continue reading

Share
If you've read this far and you're interested in Agile, you should take my No-frills Agile Tune-up Email Course, and follow me on Twitter.

Unethical Programming?

The recent story about FaceBook’s Farmville having more traffic than Twitter got me thinking: is there such a thing as unethical programming?

I know many of you will say that Farmville is harmless because it takes people away from boredom and provides them with entertainment. And, after all, they choose to do it.

But there is an undeniably addictive nature to these games. Each game not only competes with other games that a person might play when bored, but it also competes with stuff a person should be doing.

So — where’s the line? Would you write a game that “entertained” doctors in surgery? (Put another way, if you were designing medical software, would you add game-like hooks to keep people’s attention focused on it as a way of competing with other medical devices?)

Would you write a program that people would rather play than have lunch? A game that millions of people spend 40-hours-a-week on, like Wow? FaceBook’s games are using players to perform hours and hours of menial, mindless tasks as they market and sell to them and other FB users. At what point do you cross the line between simply entertaining people and harmfully manipulating them and using them?

Share
If you've read this far and you're interested in Agile, you should take my No-frills Agile Tune-up Email Course, and follow me on Twitter.