Category Archives: WTF

Roll Your Own Linkbait Tech Headline

I’ve noticed two things in the last month. First, there seems to be an overwhelming number of stories in the tech world about how Google search results all look the same. Second, and ironically, how these stories themselves look all the same.

In fact, just like the Google Search Results for answers to tech questions, or reasons why git, Apple, and Node.js are so totally awesome, or ways your relatives can die in far away places and leave you fortunes, tech article headlines are beginning to all look like the same stuff, just re-hashed in various ways in a desperate attempt to try to appear new.

Since everybody else is doing it, you can too! Here’s my handy-dandy “Roll Your Own Linkbait Tech Headline” generator, complete with embeddable code for your blog. Sure, you’ll have to write the rest of the article, but I can’t be expected to do everything now, can I?

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The Case For Nothing

The TSA announced this week that they are going to start being more aggressive with their pat-downs. This, in addition to the virtual strip searches they want to perform, has made me want to stop flying commercially forever.

Folks seem to enjoy this kind of abuse of my freedoms, though — folks from all sides. When I’m in a conservative room and I complain about conservationists taking away my private property rights (or government telling me I have to buy insurance), everybody agrees. When I’m in a liberal room and I complain about the TSA or internet monitoring, everybody agrees.

Everybody seems to agree: whatever they want to do is more important than my freedom of action and my personal property. They know better than me, and they are very willing to decide that I need to make sacrifices to make them happy about something or another.

But I don’t want to talk about politics. Or at least not directly. I’d much rather try to go meta and talk about general principles. What I would like to talk about is the reaction of individuals when organizations do stupid things, because I see people doing this same thing to each other at all levels of organization, from tiny teams of a dozen or so up to the size of the United States Federal Government. And the response is always the same.

Nothing.

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Lighten Up

I got in the habit a few months ago of collecting unusual technology-related pictures.

It started out as an effort to collect images for presentations, but somehow it took on a life of its own.

Here are some of the best. Enjoy!

Dilbert cartoon about user interfaces and morons

Children's book with title: no, you can't be an astronaut

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Who owns my Friendships?

Back in the day, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, we had a Dayrunner. The Dayrunner had an address book, and all was good. If you met somebody you wanted to track, you simply put them in the address book.

Nowadays we have all sorts of cool systems to keep track of our friends. This should have made that old Dayrunner obsolete, right? Now our friends should be with us wherever we are.

Think again.

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Who me? Worry?


Coming soon is the big day where Y-Combinator chooses its Winter teams. Over on the news.yc board, there’s a lot of angst and tension.I applied too (for the first time), but I have absolutely no worries at all about my application. Why? Do I have some secret connection into YC? Am I Paul Graham’s illegitimate love-child? Have I hacked into the YC computers?

Nope.

Because I have context.

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Grokking the Geeks

I grok geeks. Since I do, it was fun to be a presenter at the Code Camp in Roanoke last weekend. Big crowd! Lots of neat stuff. Plus, I won the grand prize, an X-Box 360. What more could you want?

Here are some pictures from the shindig. My presentation was on the beauty of CodeSmith and NetTiers.

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The Twelve Days Of Nerdmas

My true love, darling of my life, asked me yesterday what I wanted for Christmas. When you get to be an old and cranky nerd like me, you’ve already collected a lot of every kind of whack-job tech-toy out there. I mean, I have the black AND white I-Pod Nanos. I got the smart phone with 4GB of storage. I got the tablet notebook with the cool little fingerprint reader. I got stuff all over the place. So what do I want this year?

Well for once, I’ve decided I have had enough with compromising! This year, I don’t want to be limited by what’s actually in production or what really exists per se. Dagnabbit, I want to just let loose and tell the old lady what I really want, or as Dr. Phil would say, it’s time to get real, folks.

So here it is, my friends, my list of items. While technically not in existence, these items are on my wish list for Christmas. I’m a consumer: I can say it, why can’t I buy it? Gimme gimme!

In case Bill Gates or Santa Claus is reading this, I want to state for the record I’ve been good all year long. Mostly. Yes, there was that incident involving the monkey costume and the drunken circus clown, but honestly, I didn’t know that those flatulence spray cans are actually explosive. Who did? It doesn’t say so on the can. So let’s just discard that one small incident. After all, there was no police report, and that should count for something. We’re tech folks, right? Actually, I’ve heard that Santa probably gets some kind of XML downloads from the cops. He’s certainly not managing that database using a pencil. He probably has some kind of clustered Beowulf server farm up there. Santa’s a Linux man, for sure.

So I’m taking the Twelve Days Of Christmas Song and putting together a litte kick-ass list of stuff that I should already be playing around with right now. Let’s get to it:

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Philosophy of Religion

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I just finished a tape series entitled “Philosophy of Religion” by Professor James Hall and the Teaching Company. It’s part of my goal to pick up college-level courses I might have missed during some of my free time during the day, like when I am driving to a client site.

I really enjoyed the tapes, which were an overview of the various philosophical facets around the existence of God. What can we say about God that is knowable?

This was one of these tapes that I’m pleased that I DID NOT run into when I was in my twenties! What did Steve Martin say? “I took philosophy in college. Not enough to do anything, just enough to be messed up for the rest of my life” There is some truth in that. At some point, philosophy becomes a game of noise and symbolism, not of immediate import. In my opinion, you have to have a firm foundation in the real world to begin to weigh and understand these arguments. So many brilliant men, having made an initial jab into something new for the species, went overboard and took their ideas to the point of absurdity.

So what did I learn about the big guy from these tapes? The professor did not take a position, but here’s what I got out of them using my own life as a backdrop. This isn’t mean to be controversial — I’m just recording my current feelings about what I think you can know or not about God. If I get hit by a bus, maybe my kids or grandkids one day might find this piece interesting to them.

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