Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

xidey.wordpress.com Has Moved To thepursuitofalife.com

Today I moved by personal blog from the former url https://xidey.wordpress.com to http://thepursuitofalife.com. I wanted more power and control over my WordPress installation, so decided to take the plunge.

I’ve definitely got mixed feelings about the move, because my old domain carried a PageRank of 5, and as I understand it, wordpress.com doesn’t offer the option of using permanent 301 redirects, which would tell Google that the links should transfer over and keep my PageRank intact. Oh well.

I’ll be adding plugins of all sorts over the next week or two, including a long-overdue one from @npost that I think I promised back in the summer.

If you’re a subscriber, please consider re-subscribing to thepursuitofalife.com, and if you’re not, please consider adding me to your feed reader!

Steve McConnell and Me

I don’t know how I’ve forgotten to post this photo of me with one of my software heroes, Steve McConnell. I attended an Agile seminar at Steve’s company Construx last month, and attempted to get a photo with my iPhone, but the picture was never taken.

Thanks to my friend and colleague Hank Meuret, Steve came by the office a couple weeks later and was kind enough to pose with me for the following photo.

Clean Your Earbuds

I just inadvertently noticed that my right earbud was playing at a much lower volume than my left earbud. Looking closely, I saw that the right bud had gotten a small accumulation of ear wax, which I am NOT blaming on my wife, who occasionally borrows my $100 Shures to go work out at the gym.

I pulled the rubber ear grip off, used a napkin to wipe the accumulation off, and noticed immediately that not only was the volume back to normal, but the clarity of the sound had improved as well – by a significant amount.

Clean those earbuds on a regular basis!

Random Saturday Thoughts

No big topics today, just a few thoughts running through my head…

  • I’ve been thinking a lot about unit-test granularity and wondering about the costs involved with creating “pure” unit tests (tests only one method, everything else is mocked) vs. a looser integration testing model…I’ve always had great success with the integration model.
  • Met several Pelago people last night at Seattle Startup Drinks.  Nice guys, and their flagship product Whrrl really is generating a lot of buzz.  I heard last night that they have around 50 employees!!!!  The question is, can they get enough revenue soon enough to support that kind of burn rate.  GPS and location-based services (LBS) are hot right now, so we’ll see.  I’m rooting for them.  I like Whrrl a lot.
  • If you don’t bother to read your e-mail, I probably shouldn’t bother to re-explain it to you when you ask something that was already covered..<grumble>
  • Microsoft bashing (yes, bashing) is alive and well.  A mini-thread this morning on the Seattle Tech Startups mailing list led to a post right out of 1998 – Microsoft doesn’t innovate.  The other tech stacks are superior.  All the good developers don’t use Microsoft.  Microsoft is expensive.  It’s almost like some people’s view of the world was cemented 10 years ago and they reflexively spout the same nonsense whenever the subject of Microsoft comes up.  Here’s a news flash: YOU’RE BORING EVERYONE.  STOP IT.
  • Heading to Priest Lake next week.  I can’t wait.  The lake, the sun, relaxation….I’ll need to bring my laptop, <ugh> but not do too much with it, I hope.
  • Great discussion with Anders Conbere about Erlang last night.  It sounds like a neat language to learn.
  • There’s an open house / launch party tonight at Giraffe Labs.  I may try to make it, schedule depending.  Good people there.
  • I’m wondering if there would be any interest for a Twitter-themed product at the next Six Hour Startup.

AdUUp: Lame, Tone-Deaf

Oh, AdUUp, you just don’t get it.

First there was the over-the-top Seattle Tech Startups presentation in May that was a spectacle of spamminess and self-promotion, culminating (in my mind anyway) with the announcement of a supposed exclusive search deal between AdUUp and Flock for the Flock 2.0 browser’s default search engine. Flock, of course, refuted this announcement in no uncertain terms.

Then, last Friday, this sequence of events:

7:59 AM: A comment by “Henry Collerton” was submitted to my blog, stating, among other things:

fleeQ and adUup sure got a lot of haters.
Glad to see that naysayers are very vocal.
Hope the squash you when they make a $100 million dollars sucker!

I’m pretty sure that “Henry Collerton” is a pseudonym (Google the exact name and you’ll see why). Henry lists his website as http://www.aduup.com.

8:03 AM: Henry Collerton posts again, four minutes later, calling me a pervert, and comparing me to this guy, who, despite (a) having an interest in SF, and (b) being named “Anthony Stevens”, is not me. This fact escapes Henry Collerton.

10:43 AM: A couple hours later, I get a LinkedIn invitation by Dylan Rosario, in which he says (emphasis mine):

I’d like to invite you to talk about your problem you have with my company and products. I am sure that you just don’t understand what we are doing.

Yes, the problem is all mine.

Not that I feel like talking about AdUUp, but I’m 100% certain I’m not the only one who feels that AdUUp, – how to put it charitably? – lacks that certain something. Do a search for AdUUp on Summize and you’ll get a sense of some other opinions.

So, Dylan, are you Henry Collerton in disguise? Even if it wasn’t you, I would find out who in your company is calling blog critics “perverts” and do something about it. At the very least, try to get some perspective and, instead of blaming the messenger, do some serious introspection. Engage your critics respectfully, don’t attack them.

My already low opinion of AdUUp just got much lower. Is that the result you wanted when you woke up Friday morning?

“Should” Is Not A Great Marketing Strategy

Is the better mousetrap you’ve been peddling being presented to customers with the admonition “You should use this” or “You ought to use this”, with no clear understanding of the immediate pain point that you can solve?

Example #1.  OpenID. Yeah, in theory it’s great that I can use one identifier to get me access to all of these current future services, and yeah, we *should* move to a saner identification and authentication scheme, but that’s not enough for me to overcome these issues:

1) Complexity: I don’t want to understand what an OpenID provider is, or why I need one.  I want to go to WordPress and say “Make this an OpenID”, and have them prompt me for whatever additional info they need.

2) Chicken-and-egg: I don’t want to go to OpenID until one of my daily services requires me to.  They don’t want to do that until enough people use OpenID.

Example #2: RDF, markup, and the Semantic Web. This is another case where in theory it would be great if we all tagged everything and let robot overlords do all the dirty work of aggregating meaningful information and finding the needle in the haystack, but why am I going to invest a bunch of time, with mediocre tool support, to do that today?  What pain am I feeling?  Google does fine by me.

Example #3: Open Source. A lot of the arguments for open-source come down to a theoretical argument against capitalism, closed knowledge systems, info-tyranny, the archaic intellectual property rules, or what have you.  Frankly, all of those arguments pale in comparison to free-as-in-beer.  What pain am I feeling?  The empty pocketbook is painful.  Everything else is grad-school rap session bullshit for your customers.

Example #4: Twitter Clones. I included this one because we may be at the cusp of a real change, with Twitter’s recent uptime problems and turnover in the engineering staff.  I’m on Twitter because (a) it’s simple and (b) all of my friends are on Twitter.  If it goes down for a short bit, it’s not a huge hassle – why move to Pownce or some hand-forged RSS MacGuyver replacement?  I’m not (yet) feeling the pain.  But if there is  more extended downtime, the evidence that we need to move to another platform will be incontrovertible.  Attention Twitter: the pain is starting.  Make huge strides now in your reliability or risk losing your franchise.

Everyone should  now go read (reread?) Clayton Christensen. (pun intended).

Hot Headed? Read This Post

Michael Schneider has a post up on various theoretical ways to cool down your pillow.  Great stuff.