summing up 46

a more or less weekly digest of juicy stuff. please find previous editions here.

  • why software sucks, good programmers, designers, architects or creators of any kind are simply thoughtful. they are so passionate about making good things, that they will study any discipline, read any book, listen to any person and learn any skill that might improve their abilities to make things worthy of the world. they tear down boundaries of discipline, domain or job title, clawing at any idea, regardless of its origins, that might help them make a better thing. recommended
  • why software sucks, virtually all of the cost of software development is, directly and indirectly, the cost of design. if a student architect could design a skyscraper, push a button, and have some futuristic genesis device instantly construct the building at virtually no cost - and at no danger to anyone - and with perfect components throughout, would he not do so? further, imagine that with a push of another button, the entire building could be reduced back to its constituent atoms
  • how to stop worrying and learn to love the internet, i suppose earlier generations had to sit through all this huffing and puffing with the invention of television, the phone, cinema, radio, the car, the bicycle, printing, the wheel and so on, but you would think we would learn the way these things work, which is this: 1) everything that's already in the world when you're born is just normal 2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it 3) anything that gets invented after you're thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it's been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really
  • "technology is stuff that doesn't work yet", bran ferren
  • i'm not the product, but i play one on the internet, we should all stop saying, "if you're not paying for the product, you are the product," because it doesn't really mean anything, it excuses the behavior of bad companies, and it makes you sound kind of like a stoner looking at their hand for the first time
  • why agile has failed, because creating good software is so much about technical decisions and so little about management process, i believe that there is very little place for non-technical managers in any software development organisation. if your role is simply asking for estimates and enforcing the agile rituals: stand-ups, fortnightly sprints, retrospectives; then you are an impediment rather than an asset to delivery
  • on the effectiveness of lectures, listening to lectures is the least effective means of delivering learning, closely followed by reading textbooks. this is not to say that there are not great lecturers and great textbooks - but statistically the overall amount of learning per hour spent in lecture is the lowest of a wide number of possible delivery methods