Archive for December, 2006

Samsung Develops Marathon Fuel Cell

December 31, 2006

Personal Tech – Samsung Develops Marathon Fuel Cell:
Korean daily Chosun Ilbo reports that Samsung, the world’s third-largest maker of cell phones and a force in the notebook and display markets as well, has engineered a fuel cell that can power a notebook computer for up to a month. The fuel cell is part of a docking station that lets a Samsung Q35 notebook run for eight hours a day, five days a week, for up to four weeks in a row.

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Game of snake anyone?

December 31, 2006

Flow is a rather gorgeous version of snake.

(via LinkBlog)

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Kaizen at Corbis

December 31, 2006

David Anderson’s Approach at Corbis: “I’m creating a Kaizen culture encouraging grass roots, shop-floor improvement suggestions within a structured objective framework of management metrics.”

This is the epitomy of my approach. I won’t rule out anything that works and I’m not really sure what the answers are, yet. It seems likely that many of the lean and agile best practices will work, since at the end of the day we are doing software development and measuring our success using throughput metrics balanced with cost metrics. However, if these don’t and something else does, we’ll go ahead and use that. I also think that the best people to generate these new ideas are those that do the work itself.

I don’t want to write a blank cheque of business change however. Many initial thoughts will be towards more formalisation and more documentation, e.g.
we didn’t develop something that matched specifications?
– let’s formalise requirements gathering and require sign-off from more people!
instead of
— let’s build more trust between the business and IT
— have more discussions
— ensure that insights from both are well communicate
— work together to think through everything more carefully
So, I think it’s important to build and encourage grassroots process improvement within certain principles.

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This is my first blog

December 30, 2006

I am blogging through ecto (for the first time) and to WordPress (for the first time). Gradually I am going to move across my old blogs that are on blogger). For the moment, I am glad that I’ve actually been able to connect to WordPress and get everything working with ecto!

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The value of timeboxing

December 30, 2006

One of the best practices that I have been rolling out is splitting iterations of customer-valued work in boxes of a couple of weeks instead of using a full-blown waterfall methodology.

Under the old model, the customer received dates commitments and estimates of work. However, priorities changed quickly and the team needed to spend more time re-estimating and keeping the documentation uptodate than producing the software the customer actually valued. As a result, the development team was rarely able to deliver on useful software on time, and had to spend even more time communicating the delays. A vicious circle ensued. When software was eventually delivered, the business had moved on and the requirements were out of date (despite being signed off).

Now, the customer gets regular supplies of fresh software. The software is guaranteed fresh because requirements are only analysed in much detail at all for the next iteration. He knows that his latest priorities will be pretty quickly converted into working software every couple of weeks. He also sees something like a cumulative flow diagram showing a steady stream of working features being delivered to him. His need for time and date planning, for estimations and documentation goes down.

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Blogging about blogging

December 30, 2006

How come so many blogs seem to be talking about blogging? Generally, I find such self-referentialism interesting, like the ‘strange loop’s you’ll find in “Goedel, Escher, Bach”. But there is so much blogging about blogging that it reminds me more of masturbation. If you can’t write about something interesting, write about writing.

Some of this is writing about new phenomenon seen in the blogosphere and that interests me too.

There are certainly some collections of blogs that seem to be about themselves than about any content, or grounding with the outside world. For instance, I read a huge number of articles about the Mac software give-away sites and then deduced from this, the state of Mac software development. In fact, a lot more seems to be written about Mac software development than people actually developing Mac software.

Maybe this comes down to the principle as that about dealmaking: it’s much easier and a lot more fun to buy and sell businesses than it is to run them.

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