The Four Species of Agile

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I’ve been a professional software developer since 2002 and worked for several software companies over the years – some practiced SCRUM, some used Kanban, some had a tailored made methodology and some didn’t have any methodology in place.

When starting with Agile a few years ago I found out that

“All waterfall companies are alike; each agile company is agile in its own way.”

Dumb and Dumber Is Better than The Next Big Thing

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The software world is a strange beast. It is the only industry that has one million solutions and no paying customer problems. The other industries are the other way around. There is a tendency to open source and commoditise more and more solutions. The reason is that companies always migrate upwards in the value chain, meaning that the hardware, the operating system, etc. are now commodity…

Team Competition is Not Friendly

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I once worked in an organization where the senior managers thought they should motivate us, the team members. They decided to have a team competition, complete with prizes.

I was working on a difficult software problem with a colleague on another team. We both needed to jointly design our pieces of the product to make the entire product work.
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Why Programmers Should Have a Blog

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Recently a few people were asking me why I have a blog. Some of them were not programmers. It reminded me about a draft of this post, which I have had for more than a year now. I planned to extend it, but I think keeping it short, and maybe edit in the future would be a better solution.

Here are the reasons why I have a blog:
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If You Can’t Do It with Power, You Can Do It with MORE Power

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IBM has released their Power8 CPU and with that a bunch of servers and also some other news around this, like the OpenPower consortium that has been around for a year or so now. Besides IBM, Tyan and Google have announced that they are building systems around the Power8 CPU, with the a Tyan server being on sale for some $2800, but this is not a server with a high-end configuration, but it is in a…

R: Time to/from the Weekend

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In my last post I showed some examples using R’s lubridate package and another problem it made really easy to solve was working out how close a particular date time was to the weekend.

I wanted to write a function which would return the previous Sunday or upcoming Saturday depending on which was closer.

lubridate’s floor_date and ceiling_date functions make this quite simple.

Gossip Much? The Gossip Epidemic and Other Issues in Polite Society

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In my previous post, I talked about the Hybrid Partial View protocol, and showed a visualization about how it actually works. Something that is important to note about this protocol is that it is mostly meant to create a gossip topology that is resilient to failure. It is not meant to actually send messages, it is meant to serve as the backbone topology (the peer sampling service) for figuring…

The New Agile: Certifications

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Last time we looked at how things came to be. How things converged around a group of software developers in a ski resort: There were actual experiments in the field with reported successes. There was a funnel for communication to spread those ideas. And now there was a joint vision and a name.
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We can say what we want about…

Improving Speaker Diversity

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Last month at Devoxx I was in a session discussing what we can do to encourage more diversity in our speakers (specifically, although not limited to, increasing the number of women speakers).

I’m going to outline the things I remember being discussed, although as usual we did not find the answer to the problem, only identify some issues and explore some options.

This is a very chaotic blog…

I was on call for a week… and it didn’t entirely suck!

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Yup, it didn’t suck. In fact it was actually pretty good — I’d go so far as to call it kind of exciting and certainly educational. If you’ve been (or imagined being) on 24/7 call for a week for a high traffic internet service and think I sound insane, allow me to explain…

Earlier this year I started a new job as a software engineer at Sovrn in Boulder, CO.

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If you could only do one thing to make better software, what would it be?

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Good technical practices are what we have to do to make good software – this is the engineering part of software engineering. Design. Coding. Testing and Reviews.

If you could do only one thing to make better software, what would it be? Where would you get the most bang for your buck?
Continuous Integration – Making Code Run

Continuous Integration is an obvious place to start. You need…

Preparing for Your First Tech Interview: Part I

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It’s a busy time for many computer science students: it’s interview season. After attending career fairs and info sessions you have picked out a number of great companies, both big and small, where you will start your career. This is a very exciting time for you! You’re graduating from college and moving on a new stage. But before you get excited, it’s time to get ready for the interview!…

The QA Department Mindset

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From this post by Rands, titled “The QA Mindset”:

At the current gig, there’s no QA department. […]
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At my current job, we don’t have a QA department. I wasn’t comfortable at first. I’ve worked on teams without QA, but an entire company without a QA Department? I’ve certainly had questions about the use of a QA…

The Rise of Version Control

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I’m wishing for a rise in the use of formal source/version control for non source-code usages, and I see signs that it is happening slowly.
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I’m wishing for a rise in the use of formal source/version control for non source-code usages, and I see signs that it is happening slowly.

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R: Dplyr – Mutate with strptime (Incompatible Size/Wrong Result Size)

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Having worked out how to translate a string into a date or NA if it wasn’t the appropriate format the next thing I wanted to do was store the result of the transformation in my data frame.

I started off with this:

data = data.frame(x = c(“2014-01-01”, “2014-02-01”, “foo”))
> data
x
1 2014-01-01
2 2014-02-01
3 foo

And when I tried to do the date translation ran into…

R: String to Date or NA

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I’ve been trying to clean up a CSV file which contains some rows with dates and some not – I only want to keep the cells which do have dates so I’ve been trying to work out how to do that.

My first thought was that I’d try and find a function which would convert the contents of the cell into a date if it was in date format and NA if not. I could then filter out the NA values using the…

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