Programming practice links for October 18, 2010

mockyblog: “Programmers: how to make the systems guy love you” – common sense advice that you’d be surprised how many don’t follow.

InfoQ: Abel-Avram: “10 Suggestions for the Architect of an Agile Team” – if you are practicing an agile-lite process, are a senior developer on a team, and have helped usher systems to launch, you will have probably practiced these 10 pieces of advice. I’m not sure if these are applicable practices for architects and am not sure they are applicable for a team that is practicing pure agile.

Artima: Bill Venners: “Tracer Bullets and Prototypes: A Conversation with Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas, Part VIII” – a long rumination on the ‘Start with a vertical slice’ tip from the previous link.

On Visualizing Iterative Waterfall

Go read Jon Moore’s latest piece “The Power of Visualizing Iterative Waterfall”: “the most powerful reason to start visualizing the flow is that it shows you exactly what parts of your process you should change, and when. There’s nothing like being able to show a product manager that their availability is driving overall throughput to encourage spending more time with the team.”

I didn’t know who to go to for help – hunger in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Inquirer profiles the lives of families going hungry in Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District, home of a few of my old neighborhoods, Kensington, Fishtown, Frankford in Philadelphia: “A Portrait of Hunger”.

There is no excuse for letting anyone go hungry in the richest country in the world. None. The article points to three main culprits: a lack of paying work, a lack of guidance to services that can help, and the bureaucratic complexity of applying for those services as root causes.

It was the same for us when I was growing up and when I was out on the streets, sleeping on trains, I didn’t know who to go to for help, or how.

The comments posted on the article really go far in showing how low our culture has become in kicking people when they are down and blaming them entirely for their circumstances.

We’re all in this together. For some great commentary on this, check out Susie Madrak’s latest post. Like her I can still remember when my family needed help. I can remember being in line for a block of cheese at Bridge and Pratt. I remember all too well the chuckles of some at school due to the quality of my Salvation Army and Goodwill bought clothes. I remember the Salvation Army Santa Claus visiting the family to drop off some toys to make our Christmas brighter.

None of us are 100% self made and choosing to belabor that some people need help, instead of offering TO help, does no one any good. Please, if you are able, find some way, any way, to lend a hand.



Cradles to Crayons

United Way

Project H.O.M.E.

Salvation Army

John Scalzi: “Being poor and not feeling rich are not the same thing, don’t confuse the two”

John Scalzi, in “Why Not Feeling Rich is Not Being Poor, and Other Things Financial”, reacts to those employing his powerful piece, “Being Poor” against the (in my opinion) lack of empathy Todd Henderson shown in his piece complaining about being classified rich while earning greater than $250,000 (original piece deleted, this version is from Google’s cache). The anger that erupted over the post has led him to unfortunately quit blogging.

I post both these pieces more to show the very differing perspectives both have and John Scalzi’s followup went far to try and illustrate that. I’d rather see Henderson continue to blog and share his point of view because while you or I may vehemently disagree (I do), we are richer to have it in the public sphere.

Shozan Jack Haubner: “Mark my words, times are tough and the ground is fertile. That seed will grow.”

Utne: “The Angry Monk”:

Through each other we discover that if we have the heart–the willingness, the strength, the courage–we have the capacity to plant the seeds of kindness, compassion, forgiveness; seeds of a laid-back humor, a sense of letting go. But your heart must be quicker than your mind. Trust me, that organ between your ears is always spoiling for a fight. Its job is to divide and conquer. But the real fight is taking place inside you, within the “dharma organ,” the heart, where the challenge is to unify and understand; where the seeds of love and compassion are struggling to lay roots.

Lend this struggle an ear. Just pause for three seconds. One banana . . . two banana . . . three banana . . . . Pause and listen. Pause and breathe. Pause and gather your scattered, wild energies, your shattered soul . . . before you fling that seed of hate into the wind.

Mark my words, times are tough and the ground is fertile. That seed will grow.

Data Journalism and Visualization with an Example

Guardian: Paul Bradshaw: “How to be a data journalist”

ProPublica: Jeff Larson: “The Rainbow Connection: How We Made Our CDO Connections Graphic” (tools mentioned: google-refine (formerly Gridworks), Raphaël, JSON)