Thursday, November 23, 2006

Photo Publication - studentkanelen

Originally uploaded by brockleyboyo.
Another photo published! This time from Copacabana beach in Rio being used for a student website in Norway;

" a news case about Norwegian students tending to travel more and further than before (radio)"


Joel on software writes about a hypothetical article concerning agile and context switching. Basically (I think) it hinges on this;

"Dmitri Zimine has a hypothetical story of how interrupting a programmer for a two hour emergency request needed to close some sale can actually waste two weeks. "If Sarah spends just two hours thinking of her old project, she loses a day of productive work on the new one," he says."

He then goes on with;

"However, something in the conclusion here strikes me as odd. Dmitri is only looking at one side of the cost/benefit equation. He's laid out a very convincing argument why Sarah should not interrupt her carefully planned two week iteration, but he hasn't even mentioned arguments for the other side: the important sale that will be lost.

Agile development is supposed to be about agility. It's supposed to mean that you can change plans quickly."

Which I would agree with, especially as the dictionary definition has this to say;

" Characterized by quickness, lightness, and ease of movement; nimble."

Now after reading the article I think the whole argument hinges on the time cost to the programmer;

"In the wild nature of software development shops, however, it never takes 2 hours. 2 hours is the time Sarah is on the phone trying to clarify the problem. 2 hours is the time she is waiting for this phone call, reluctant to get into anything serious. 2 hours is the time Sarah is tweaking her development environment to build her old project. 2
hours is the time Sarah is spending to see if she can come up with a very restricted workaround. 2 hours is the time Sarah is on another phone call, explaining the potential workaround. Not enough time for real solution, no time spent on actually resolving the problem. 10 hours of unplanned and unproductive time is spread out over 3 days. 30% of iteration wasted."

Which is probably correct. The thing is, Sarah shouldn't be wasting any of her time on anything other than a bit of understanding of the problem context and what she needs to do and then the actual coding. Most of those 2 hour sections being lost is down to Sarah having to do a lot of the clarifications and waiting around. If that project had an analyst (or someone similar) worth their wages then they would take on a lot of this and work out if it actually needed to be done and then what the implications would be. Sarah would only lose the actual time needed to get it done, near the end.

So a smaller proportion of time would be lost. Though that is still time lost to the current iteration. Thing is, this is the nature of the beast. surely the iteration should have some slack (yeah, I know) or something might need to come out to accomodate Sarah's diversion. This is where the manager comes in.

Now I realise in actual projects in this sort of situation the account manager would probably know it would be Sarah that would be one doing the actual work and want to talk to them, but here is another point where the development manager comes in and holds them off, sends in the analyst to sort it out, then involves Sarah. That's where the abstraction comes in.

So I kind of agree with both of them but also disagree.

PS - Sometime Flock can be a right pain. Occasionaly it decides it can't connect to the server.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Moved - at last!!!

Hurrah! On Monday we finally moved to the new house. It was not without hiccups;

  • The movers arrived just after 12. Unfortunately neither the money from our buyer or the money for our mortgage had come through.
  • About 1ish the money from the buyer was received.
  • About 1:30 the movers had finished loading everything we owned into the van and were ready to go. Unfortunately the money from the mortgage company had still not arrived. Even worse it turns out the BACS transfer that was to have been completed by 10am had gone wrong somehow.
  • Now the mortgage company had to get a manager in another department to signoff an electronic transfer. They took their time...
  • Ot was now about 3:00, we were literally homeless and the men in the van were sitting around.
  • We executed our plan B i.e. arranged to stay at a friends overnight and arranged with the movers to send the van back with everything in it to the yard overnight and to come back the next day if there had been no movement by 4:30.
  • About 3:30 the solicitor rang saying that the money had finally come thorugh to them and they were sending it on to the vendors solicitors.
  • My g/f went to the estate agent's to wait for the key release.
  • Eventually about 4:00 we got the go and the key was released.
  • It was all over by 5.

The movers were really quick. In fact I highly recommend them - London Van Man. I used them 3 times this year (long story) by now and each time they've moved me quickly and efficiently.

Have been unpacking the last few days.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Blimey! Some Student in the states put up a website that generates out a boarding pass (publicising a well known flaw apparently) and gets visited by the FBI twice and has his apartment searched (found it via Schneier on Security)and computer equipment confiscated;
I came back today, to find the glass on the front door smashed.

Inside, is a rather ransacked home, a search warrant taped to my kitchen table, a total absence of computers - and various other important things. I have no idea what time they actually performed the search, but the warrant was approved at 2AM. I'm sincerely glad I wasn't in bed when they raided the house. That would have been even more scary.
Good use of police time is that one. Why couldn't they just ask him nicely to remove the site and get the root cause fixed i.e. proper airport security rather than terrorise some spotty university post-grad student. As we all know criminals and terrorists always like to publicise their little tricks in advance to the whole world! Like Duh!

Reminds me a little of a comment in one of the Michael Moore books (don't remember which one) regarding the amount of FBI time used in the prosecution of Clinton over a misplaced cigar. Whilst elsewhere there were people taking flying lessons but not interested in the take off or landing bits...