Red Squirrel Reflections
Dave Hoover explores the psychology of software development

Dave Hoover

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Old Archives


Thu, 28 Dec 2006

Obtiva Training Schedule for early 2007

Obie will be teaching our Ruby on Rails TDD Boot Camp at the end of January in San Francisco. I will be teaching Enterprise Ruby: Bending Rails in late February in Wheaton, IL. Tyler will be teaching the Ruby on Rails TDD Boot Camp in mid-March in Wheaton, IL. Let me know if you want more information.

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Limits and Frontiers

I'm currently reading The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism. This quote caught my attention...
Even while we pursue this inquiry, practical persons elsewhere are hard at work on startling inventions the rest of us will not learn of until tomorrow, their sense of adventure stimulated by the "energy crisis." Someone somewhere is struggling to invent better batteries for electric cars. Someone is pushing toward a breakthrough in hydrogen-powered engines. Someone is trying to unlock energy from some material no one else has thought of. Thousands of bright young men and women are now competing -- to serve humankind; to acquire fame like Edison's; to launch whole new industries, even a new era of world history; and, perhaps, to make a personal fortune, too. Inventors are competing to end the oil age, primitive and polluting as now in passing it appears to have been. The "limits" of the earth are not yet known. Limits are a frame of reference bounded by one time. In the light of another time, today's limit marks a frontier. p. 71

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Sun, 24 Dec 2006

2006 Retrospective, Thoughts on 2007

I remember telling Sean Doran, my last project manager at ThoughtWorks, that I would probably break a lifetime record in 2006 for least number of hours slept. That prediction came true. And not surprisingly, here I sit, writing about it at 1:23 AM on Christmas Eve. Many of my sleepless nights were spent on projects that have thus far proven fruitless ... 3 books and a web site. Well, "fruitless" in that nothing tangible has been delivered yet, but that's not to say that I didn't gain anything along the way. Like each of the previous five years since I began this awesome journey into the world of software development, I learned a ton. I'm reading less than previous years, but I'm coding and writing and speaking more than I ever have before.

Several important events transpired for me (and for some of you) in 2006 that make me incredibly excited for 2007 and beyond...

First, Ruby has officially stepped into the ring with the the big boys. That is important for me because it means that it's easier for me to get paid to write in my favorite programming language. In 2007, I will be programming in Ruby more than Java, and that feels great. If I was a better person, the programming language wouldn't matter so much, solving clients' problems would give me joy regardless of how I accomplished it. But I'm coming to terms with the fact that I am a lazy, selfish person, and I really don't do well if I can't work in a hyper-productive language that's fun to use.

Second, I left the best job I'd ever had to join a small, local company. This was certainly risky, but it has led to some incredible opportunities to try on some different hats. I learned how to develop a training course and execute it. I learned how to develop new business. Joining Obtiva has also given me the great pleasure of bringing in the sorts of people that I want to work with. After reading a lot of Paul Graham in 2005, it's been awesome to see a lot of his wisdom ring true in my life. I love small companies.

Lastly, Friday was a landmark day for Obtiva, and for me personally: We opened our new office in Wheaton 3 blocks from my house. Having a physical office opens up the possibility to establish a Software Craftsmanship Studio, which is a dream I've had ever since I met Ken Auer and Nathaniel Talbott. It's scary to think that this opportunity is already here, but thankfully I'm already surrounded by some great people. My primary goal for 2007 is to spend an increasing amount of time in the Wheaton office working on our Rails projects and hopefully identify a young person in the local community who would be a good fit for apprenticeship.

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Wed, 20 Dec 2006

Grow some balls

Like many other software developers, I can feel the industry's slow, but steady progression toward Lisp and Smalltalk, also known as "languages of the gods". Giles shares some excellent stories and rants along the way...
If there's anything godlike about using Lisp or Smalltalk when the rest of the world is on Java and C#, it isn't the skill level required. It's the balls. Standing up to the rest of the world and telling them, "your technology decisions are bad and I'm going to use a language that doesn't suck" is a very unusual move.
via reddit

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Mon, 11 Dec 2006

Please keep your brain on

Kevin Barnes is becoming one of my favorite bloggers. Today he posted a little gem about dogmatic YAGNI.
My point is that sometimes you are going to need it and you know you are going to need it. The secret is to use some balance and not just shut off your brain.
This took me back to what agilists were saying in 2001...
No process is foolproof enough, or complete enough, for users of that process to turn off their brains.
I believe this quote was from a paper from some of the guys from RoleModel but I can't find the PDF.

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Sat, 09 Dec 2006

You know the Bears are having a good season when...

...even the programmers are scheduling their user group meetings around Monday Night Football. I love Chicago.

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Fri, 08 Dec 2006

Obie on monkeypatching

As much as I love the freedom that monkeypatching provides, it's not until I taught the concept to a room of Ruby newbies that I appreciated how dangerous it could be in a team environment, particularly on a team with more than one Ruby newbie. Obie is teaching our Rails course at Cisco this week where it sounds like he had a similar experience.

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ActiveRecord 101

Tim Kuntz has written a nice series of blog posts on introductory ActiveRecord: intro, impl-1, impl-2, conventions.

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Wed, 06 Dec 2006

SafariWatir Screencast

Watch the screencast of SafariWatir running its test suite.

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Mon, 04 Dec 2006

Watir on RSpec with Screenshots

Since moving home to Norway, Aslak has been doing some cool work with RSpec and Watir. Most recently, he's added automated screen capture on failing Watir tests to his bag of tricks ... and he's not just using plain 'ol Watir, he's using SafariWatir too. :-)

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