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Grumpy Old Man

A Mugged Liberal

A Liberal is a Conservative Who Hasn’t Been Mugged

I discover that our book Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests is already up with the file sharers. This is before Nat and I have even seen a printed copy. I don’t know whether to be flattered that someone thinks our effort is worth pinching or annoyed that the production process has not protected our interests.

If you’ve downloaded a copy, remember that it took us three years to write, which includes a great deal of lost income. The least you can do is tell the world how good it is so that maybe we sell a few more copies.

The UK today

Two “facts” heard on the radio today:

  • there are now more mobile phones than people in the UK
  • half of UK children have had no fresh fruit or vegetables in the previous week

What kind of hole have we dug ourselves into?

Update: Nice follow-up from “TestObsessed”, you can get your free certification from her. As she suggests out, I’d rather be a sucker for an elaborate joke than have this be true.


There is now, apparently, a “World Agile Qualifications Board” offering Agile certification programs (I won’t link to it directly, but it’s at waqb (dot) org). The site looks professional, but there’s not a single name or organisation on it, so there’s no pedigree—but people can apply to join the review board.

Assuming that this is more about an excess of ambition, rather than a direct scam, what does this say about the state of both our industry and the Agile movement that some mysterious person thinks that this is a good idea? Enough people have been seduced by the idea of certification, that someone is prepared to try their luck with a big-sounding title. With enough Google keywords, it might even pay off.

I’d love to be corrected, but I don’t believe this is what we’ve struggling to achieve all these years.

"Basically, since about half way through last year, the global financial system has been on a work to rule"

From D-Squared

This man is corrupting the next generation….

Cay Horstmann, Professor of CS at San Jose State University, Sun Java Champion, and consultant in Internet Programming, says

I perform an occasional unit test after I’ve encountered a failure that I don’t want to have recur, but I rarely write the tests first. If so many experienced developers don’t write unit tests, what does that say? Maybe they would be even better developers if they followed Heinz’s advice. Maybe they don’t make many mistakes that unit tests would catch because they’re already experienced. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

What that says is that we work in a horribly inefficient industry where too many developers spend their time fixing bugs (using the debugger) sent back upstream by the testers, and it looks like there’s evidence to prove it.

via Kerry Jones

An "optimistic" view

Yesterday morning on the the Today programme, James Lovelock said that he was feeling quite optimistic because he now thinks that the Earth will still be able to support 1 billion people by the end of the century—as against nearly 7 billion now.

Sometimes the current financial crunch feels like a dry run for the bigger show.

We're not craftspeople yet.

Software Craftsmanship 2009

In the run up to Software Craftsmanship 2009 it’s worth reminding ourselves how far we have to go. Recently the (London) Times put the dire state of UK government IT projects on its front page.

One bright correspondent suggested:

Why not use university computer science departments for large public sector IT projects? They could form part of the course work and would be far cheaper as there would be no culture of profit to worry about.

I can just hear the other disciplines jumping on this bandwagon: “it was costing too much to do the stress calculations for our nuclear power station, so we assigned them as coursework”, “we can’t afford these QC’s, so we got some students to handle the negligence case”, and “accountants are expensive so we had some students work out the portfolio risk” (no, wait, that last one might make sense).

Anyway, as long as anyone is not too embarrassed to put this sort of nonsense in print, we don’t have a profession.

Never was my favourite metaphor…

Copied wholesale from D-Squared

In business circles, particularly among a certain kind of aggressive American businessman (or consultant, or banker, or politician, they’re fairly interchangeable), there is a favourite proverb about a pig:

“When you have bacon and eggs for breakfast, you’ve got your breakfast from a chicken and a pig. The difference between them is that the chicken is ‘involved’ but the pig is committed

which is of course, true. It should also be noted, however, that when you go out to get your next few breakfasts over the course of the rest of the month, the chicken will have laid another egg every day, but the pig will eventually run out of bacon

If I promise to work like a dead pig, can I go home early?

dilbert-chicken-and-pig

A coincidence? I don't think so…

The day after Apple announce their new, metal MacBook, the plastic starts chipping off my current white one. Hmmm.

Update It gets worse. Our two 12″ PowerBooks, the machine we really wanted them to refresh, have started failing too. They’re trying to force an upgrade.