Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Link: Rough Estimation Oath

OMG how much do I love this oath!!!

I might put it in my standard contract going forward :)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Project Euler Upgrade

Just a quick post as a follow-on to my project Euler post a while back.

Project Euler have had a site revamp. A bit of a nicer UI prettier progress-tracking and addition of merit-badges to mark some interesting milestones along the way.

The fun is still in solving mind-twisting math-puzzles... but it's at least nicer to look at now ;)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Link: The hungry programmer

The hungry programmer compares healthy eating to healthy code-practices, discussing the code-quality equivalent of the "healthy eating continuum". In brief:

If you take the McDonald's approach and ship shit then you satisfy that need in the short-term. But you'll feel the effects in the long-term. Your code will be harder to maintain and need more attention later. It won't have a long and healthy life.

I know there have been several times when we just *had* to ship *something*... no matter the guilt I felt at the poor quality that was going out the door. I much prefer to spend some time *now* and work at the better-quality result - even if it means "going hungry" for just that little bit longer. Still, I also understand that a business has to ship to remain a viable business... It's one of those universal dilemmas.

What experiences have you had? Any spectacularly difficult trade-offs you had to make?

Friday, 13 January 2012

Link: link-building and SEO

It's fairly old, but this is still a good basic reference to SEO and link-building

Just be aware that IPL2 is no longer accepting link submissions. You have to register as an editor for joeant to be able to submit to them (which is free, and you don't have to submit any other links, though it helps).

This one also has some good ideas: How to build links fast
...and some hilariously dumb ones at the end (including "sue google" and the RIAA technique). :)

Anybody have any more recent good tutorials on link-building?

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Everybody thinks they're above average...

A post inspired by 1.00 FTE:

This is a bit of an aha moment - I'd especially recommend reading the comments about what happens when the perceived capabilities clash.

I have left a job where my perceived capability was well below what I later found out to be reality. I definitely experienced a chafing-at-the-bit (or perhaps "crushed-beneath-the-boot") sensation at that workplace. I was constantly irritated that the mid-level manager didn't seem to trust me to do my job.... even when I tried valiantly to prove my capability, eventually bringing about a revolution to their help-desk system for which I still occasionally receive praise (six years after I've left).

Perhaps the manager was right - perhaps I wasn't as good as I thought I was... but given that I literally doubled my income when I walked out the door (and haven't looked back since), I doubt it.

I recognise it's difficult for non-IT-front-line bosses to accurately gauge the skill of their techies (see my old article on The economics of IT salaries for a discussion) but it's still not good when this sort of thing happens.
That being said - there is absolutely a real need to provide direction for those that need it, and to make sure that everybody's on the same page. So... what to do?

Is it better to downgrade everybody's skill level to make sure nobody incompetent accidentally gets through and influences strategy until they've "proven" they are capable? Or is it better to trust first?

I'd go for the latter... mainly because I agree with the old adage of "people will meet your expectations whatever they are"... but then I don't have to pay the bills. Opinions?