Process kills developer passion

Process kills developer passion

Best practices sound good in isolation, but they can suck the life out of developers.

The software industry is now full of "best practices," and many of them make sense when considered in isolation. But when you lump them all on the backs of developers, you end up with dispirited bureaucrats/bean counters.

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Software patents, prior art, and revelations of the Peer to Patent review

Besides the greater openness that Peer to Patent promotes in
evaluating individual patent applications, it is creating a new
transparency and understanding of the functioning of the patent system
as a whole. Problems with prior art disproportionately affect

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Four short links: 22 March 2010

Four short links: 22 March 2010

Trading Software, Learning Programming Languages, Web Security Scanner, Learning as Game

  1. Marketcetera — open source trading platform.
  2. Google Code University: Programming Languages — video-based classes on C++, Python, Java, and Go.
  3. Skipfish — open sourced web application security scanner, from Google.
  4. Professor Swaps Grades for XP — divided class into guilds, awarded XP for achieving various solo, guild, and pickup quests. (via johnny723 on Twitter)
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Four short links: 14 January 2010 Four short links: 14 January 2010

Four short links: 14 January 2010

Google for Good, Flash in JS, Pop Software, and Scientific Publishing

  1. Four Possible Explanations for Google’s Big China Move (Ethan Zuckerman) — I’m staying out of the public commentary on this one, but Ethan’s fourth point was wonderfully thought provoking: a Google-backed anticensorship system (perhaps operated in conjunction with some of the smart activists and engineers who’ve targeted censorship in Iran and China?) would be massively more powerful (and threatening!) than the systems we know about today. It’s deliciously provocative to ask what the world’s strongest tech company could do if it wanted to be actively good, rather than merely “not evil”.
  2. GordonAn open source Flash™ runtime written in pure JavaScript. (via Hacker News)
  3. Pop Software — great blog post about this new category of software. The people who are consuming software now are a vast superset of the people who used to do so. At one time, especially on the Mac, we’d see people chose software based upon how well it suited their requirements to get a job done. This new generation of software consumers isn’t like that – they’re less likely to shop around for something rather they shop around for anything. These are people who want to be entertained as much as they want to have their requirements met. [...] Apps are not Applications – they are their own things. They are smaller. They are more fun. Pop software has amazing scale, is hit-driven, is a very hard business for developers, and isn’t going away. (via timo on Delicious)
  4. Why Hasn’t Scientific Publishing Been Disrupted? — an analysis of the scientific publishing world: what roles it serves, how some of those roles can be better served by new technology, and which roles are still mired in traditions and performance plans anchored to the old models. As is often the case, people won’t move to the new system when the amount they’re paid is determined by the old system. (via timoreilly on Twitter)
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The Minds Behind Some of the Most Addictive Games Around

The Minds Behind Some of the Most Addictive Games Around

If you've wasted half your life playing Peggle, Bejeweled, Zuma or Plants vs. Zombies, blame these guys!

An interview with Jason Kapalka, one of the founders and the creative
director of PopCap. We discussed the evolution of PopCap, how the
casual gaming industry differs from mainstream gaming, and the
challenges of creating games that can be engaging, without being

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Four short links: 14 July 2009

Four short links: 14 July 2009

Twenty Questions, CC Pix, INSERT INTO WEB, and Wash Your Hands!

  1. Twenty Questions about GPLv3 (Jacob Kaplan-Moss) — twenty very challenging questions about the GPLv3. foo.js is a JavaScript library released under the GPLv3. bar.js is a library with all rights reserved. For performance reasons, I would like to minimize all my site’s JavaScript into a single compressed file called foobar.js. If I distribute this file, must I also distribute bar.js under the GPL?
  2. CC Searching within Google Image Search — what it seems. (via waxy)
  3. YQL INSERT INTOinsert into {table} (status,username,password) values ("new tweet from YQL", "twitterusernamehere","twitterpasswordhere"). That’s too cool. (via Simon Willison)
  4. CleanWell — very low-cost recyclable enviro-friendly antimicrobials to battle third-world disease. Met the founder at Sci Foo. He said women wash hands more than men, because women enter bathrooms in pairs. Single easiest way to increase handwashing compliance is to put sinks and basins outside the room, in public view.
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Four short links: 7 May 2009

Four short links: 7 May 2009

iPhone Rocketry, Copywrongs, Econopocalypse, and Empire

  1. How To Use An iPhone To Fly RC Airplanes and HelicoptersSo I had my basic idea down. iPhone joins the Linksys router network. It gets an IP address. Then, I open up my pilot program. The pilot program interfaces with the router via SSH (I couldn’t think of a better way that has redundancy, and speed, and was already buily by someone else). The pilot program interprets what the iphone is doing, and outputs data to one of the ethernet ports of which there are conveniently 4. Rudder, Ailerons, Throttle, Elevator.

  2. Economist Debates: Copyrights and Wrongs — The Economist live debate about copyright, with the moot “This house believes that existing copyright laws do more harm than good.” Public comments, voting, and new informed opinions each day.
  3. How I helped build the bomb that blew up Wall Street (NYMag) — story of the software developer behind a lot of the mortgage repackaging software. Many good lines, e.g., But even then, I was wondering why I was making more than anyone in my family, maybe as much as all my siblings combined. Hey, I had higher SAT scores. I could do all the arithmetic in my head. I was very good at programming a computer. And that computer, with my software, touched billions of dollars of the firm’s money. Every week. That justified it. When you’re close to the money, you get the first cut. Oyster farmers eat lots of oysters, don’t they?
  4. Yow — words of wisdom from John Battelle on Google as the new Microsoft: If any lesson is to be drawn, perhaps prematurely, from all this, it’s that no company – or two companies – can lead a culture for longer than half a generation. After that, the culture starts to distrust the companies’ motives, regardless of whether they are pure or well intentioned.
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You ain't gonna need what?

One of the defining characteristics of the Rails movement has been its willingness to throw out the rules by which software developers and consultants have typically worked. Those rules typically produce big, overblown projects laden with features that no one ever uses–but which sounded good during the project specification phase. Build the simplest thing that could possibly work, and…

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Google Opens Mobile Access to Public-Domain Books

Via a Google press release, word that visiting books.google.com/m provides mobile access to 1.5 million public-domain books from within Google Book Search: Today, we're making it possible for anyone with an Android or an iPhone to find and read more than 1.5 million public domain books in the US (more than half a million outside the US) in the…

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Popping the Hood on the iPhone Missing Manual App

Over on Teleread, Chris Meadows has a nice review of our iPhone Missing Manual app, which echoes several other reviewers (and my own personal experience with the app): How helpful is the book? I have already found a lot of remarkably useful information just in the space of a few chapters. It would be no exaggeration to say I…

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