Red Squirrel Reflections
Dave Hoover explores the psychology of software development

Dave Hoover

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Old Archives


Tue, 31 Oct 2006

An Uninteresting Question

Martin's post on Pair Programming Misconceptions is littered with pragmatic insights for anyone considering adopting pair programming. This was the one most relevant to my current mindset:
"I should also point out that to most XPers I know the question of whether a team is XP or not is uninteresting; the real issue is whether a team is effective."

[/xp] permanent link

Wed, 25 Oct 2006

A Knowledge-Motivated Person

I was doing some last minute preparation for my Apprentice to Journeyman talk at GLSEC tomorrow when I reviewed my notes from my recent exploration of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and felt compelled to share a quote:
"He'd no longer be a grade-motivated person. He'd be a knowledge-motivated person. He would need no external pushing to learn. His push would come from the inside. ... Motivation of this sort, once it catches hold, is a ferocious force." (page 197)
This quote is significant for me because my transition from being grade-motivated to knowledge-motivated has been a profound experience.

[/learning] permanent link

Mon, 16 Oct 2006

The Difference between an Expert and a Student

Kevin Barnes posted an insightful piece on Knowing, Doing, Learning in the context of web framework development. A quote that fits into Expose Your Ignorance...
"...the difference between an expert and a student is that an expert hasn't yet learned how much he doesn't know."
via Obie

[/links] permanent link

Bye-Bye AppleScript, Hello Apple Events, Thanks Hamish

So I lied. In my last post I said that I would be taking a break from Open Source in the short-term. How wrong I was. When I released SafariWatir 0.1.2 I whined about the lack stable Ruby/AppleScript support, which has been my excuse for SafariWater's sluggish performance. On Saturday, Hamish Sanderson, the author of appscript (Python + Apple Events) and rb-appscript (Ruby + Apple Events), contacted me to point me toward his recent port of appscript to rb-appscript on RubyForge. I just committed to the svn repository after spending about 3 hours tonight refactoring SafariWatir to use rb-appscript. Wow! Now I have a different performace problem. The pages actually go by too quickly!

A release should be out soon, right after Hamish and I sort out some annoying warnings being spewed out somewhere in the depths of his magical modules.

[/projects/watir] permanent link

Fri, 13 Oct 2006

SafariWatir 0.1.2

On the plane to San Jose last week I polished off another SafariWatir release. This will likely be the last release for a while. Due to the flooding that we experienced last week, I have become very focused on revenue-generating activities in the short-term. There's nothing like losing 1/3 of your living space and slow-to-respond insurance companies and a family of 5 to support to keep you focused on the bottom line!

This release adds table and frame support, along with improving the click events. Here are some examples of what you can do with SafariWatir at this point...

require 'rubygems'
require 'safariwatir'
require 'test/unit/assertions'
include Test::Unit::Assertions

browser =
browser.frame("menu").link(:text, "Books").click
browser.frame("menu").link(:text, /psychology/i).click
assert_match /Silver Anniversary/, browser.frame("content").text

assert_match /What is Basecamp\?/, browser.table(:index, 1)[1][2].text
                                                # First table
browser.close                                   #          First row
                                                #             Second cell
                                                # Yes, Watir uses 1-based indexes.

[/projects/watir] permanent link

Mon, 09 Oct 2006

Doing things Differently

Back in 1999, Richard A. O'Keefe responded to a question of language marketablitiy with an fascinating post to the mercury-users mailing list.
Why would anyone choose an unhyped language like Mercury over a widely hyped language like Java unless they were interested in finding out what can be accomplished by doing things DIFFERENTLY?
via reddit.

After four years of yearning to feel the difference that Ruby can make, and finally feeling the difference in the past year in my full-time work, it's exciting to have the luxury of looking beyond Ruby for this DIFFERENT-ness that Richard is talking about. Smalltalk and Scheme are two of the languages I yearn to learn now.

[/links] permanent link

Phaedrus on Retrospectives

In the midst of the flood insanity, I've finished reading the classic Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It has certainly inspired me on many levels, and provided excellent food for thought as I continue to ponder the Apprentice to Journeyman patterns on a background thread. The most directly applicable quote I found in my study of the book related (in my head) to Retrospectives:
"You look at where you're going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back at where you've been and a pattern seems to emerge. And if you project forward from that pattern, then sometimes you can come up with something." (pages 167-8)

[/xp] permanent link

Wed, 04 Oct 2006

Rails Seminar Watir on Rails talk cancelled due to Flood

I arrived in San Jose late yesterday because of a thunderstorm delay in Chicago. When I landed I called my wife to let her know I had arrived. I was looking forward to presenting Watir on Rails at AjaxWorld's Ruby on Rails Seminar. Unfortunately, the thunderstorms that delayed my flight also flooded our home. Thankfully my wife and children are OK, but there's some serious damage to our house and I'm catching the next flight back. My talk won't be happening today.

Update: We've received an amazing amount of help and support over the last 24 hours. When I arrived at home today, it was depressing to see a mudpit and a dumpster where our front yard used to be, but it was inspirational to see so many friends and family hard at work getting things cleaned up and dried out. This experience has certainly given Staci and me an opportunity to see things, particularly material things, from a new perspective. At times like this I'm frequently reminded of Jerry's Sage Advice: "It may look like a crisis, but it's only the end of an illusion."

[/projects/watir] permanent link

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