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Water Cooler Talk Is Toxic

An often-heard counter-argument against remote work is that those working remotely will miss out on so-called water cool talk, i.e. communication that happens casually and outside of scheduled meetings and discussions. In my opinion that kind of talk can be considered toxic. If it's merely about socialising and getting to know your co-workers better that's certainly fine and conducive to a positive work environment. However, often water cooler talk involves bandying about rumours as well as creating information silos between those who happen ... Read more

Kim Crayton @ RuhrJS 2017 – What is Community Engineering?

At RuhrJS 2017 Kim Crayton gave this energetic and hopeful as well as insightful talk on community engineering in terms of diversity and how diversity benefits both communities and companies from an economic point of view: Read more

Work Culture and Enabling Software Developers to Contribute

This article by Marcus Blankenship tries to answer the question why programmers become disaffected with a company and its goals and ultimately turn to just wanting to code. As I wrote in an earlier article about paying for developer tools with developers, particularly in larger organisations, I frequently encounter a feeling of powerlessness and not having significant say in that organisation’s direction. Marcus is spot on in that he attributes this far too common attitude to an often dysfunctional work culture that doesn't ... Read more

Paying for Developer Tools

Recently, a user named amerkhalid wrote this on Hacker News (commenting on a question about the market for developer tools): Agreed. Developers are hard bunch to sell to. We go out of our way to find free tools and almost look down on people who use decent IDEs or other tools. One example, when I finally got legit license for Sublime Text, all of my friends made fun of me for paying for a free software. I replied by criticising this attitude (that ... Read more

Agile Med Dev: Software Testing for Medical Devices

Medical devices software engineer Julien Zaegel wrote an interesting series of articles on medical devices software testing. These articles provide an overview of as well as several useful insights on the specifics of testing medical devices software and software in general. When it comes to automated and manual software testing for medical devices there are several aspects you don't usually have to deal with when testing more common kinds of web or business applications: With medical systems human lives are at stake. Medical devices ... Read more

Front-end / back-end isn’t a useful distinction

Answering a Hacker News Ask HN titled "Why companies look for “full stack” developers instead of specialists?" I wrote this: Front-end / back-end isn't a particularly useful distinction in my opinion. Differentiating between those 2 is just another way of creating information silos. I'm old enough to have experienced at least 2 full thin-client-fat-client cycles and I'm certain the current one won't be the last (at least it seems to have been a recurring pattern since the beginning of modern computer science). While ... Read more

Espen Brunborg @ beyond tellerrand 2017 – The Secret Life of Comedy

Espen Brunborg @ beyond tellerrand 2017: The Secret Life of Comedy – Espen Brunborg – btconfDUS2017 from beyond tellerrand on Vimeo. Read more

‘Agile’ isn’t a new way of doing software development, it’s the normal way

Recently, during a conversation on software development "methodologies" (just the word "methodology" makes me cringe because it's a needlessly convoluted and complicated notion) one of the participants said something along the lines of "'Agile' isn't for everyone. Most people just aren't cut out for doing software development that way.". I strongly contest that notion. 'Agile' has become some bullshit bingo term that's slung around in order to perpetuate precisely those misconceptions the Agile Manifesto intended to upend. 'Agile' unfortunately is often seen ... Read more

The Blockchain’s Potential to Change Business And Society

I'm fascinated by the blockchain and in particular the potential it holds for decentralising and disintermediating business processes. Though certainly intriguing as well I'm not so much interested in the implications the blockchain and Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that's built on the blockchain, have for payment and financial systems. My area of interest rather is with how the blockchain enables us to rethink business processes that until now required some sort of third-party intermediary to establish trust between parties. Think of transactions in ... Read more

Anti-patterns: Rewriting Software

It's one of those fallacious patterns in software development that though well-known to cause trouble without creating any significant benefit unfortunately ever seems to truly go away: The Software Rewrite. In general, software developers tend to not particularly like working on old - or legacy - code, especially if it's not been written by themselves or if they feel that due to aspects like time and budget constraints they didn't have the opportunity to get the software architecture right from the get-go. ... Read more
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