Friday, April 19, 2013

Sometimes You've Just Gotta Draw a Line

I needed a short line in my HTML UI.  Turns out, you can do it with CSS. Here's the code that draws the specific line I needed:

  style="height: 14px;
  color:white; background:white;
  position:absolute; left:77px; top:8px;
  -ms-transform:rotate(27deg); /* IE 9 */
  -webkit-transform:rotate(27deg); /* Safari and Chrome */

And here's a general-purpose kit for drawing lines a lot, which provided the clues I needed:

So now you know.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

An Unreasonable Man

I was having a frank discussion with my boss this evening, trying to work out what's keeping our tiny development team from performing better.  He, nice man that he is, pointed out that "you are a reasonable man, he is a reasonable man, (the third member of the team) is a reasonable man--what is it that keeps you three from being an effective team?"

It wasn't until about 3 hours later that I realized what at least part of the answer is, and it's the root of what's been "wrong" with this team, and indeed, what's "wrong" with many development teams.  I am emphatically not a reasonable man. Where making software is concerned, I'm a distinctly unreasonable man. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm a complete son-of-a-bitch. And the people I have loved working with the most are, themselves, unreasonable people. As you might imagine, this can cause a lot of friction in a development team, if the rest of the team is full of reasonable people who expect reasonable behavior.

In my defense, I'm pretty sure you can't make adequate software by being reasonable.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Scout is Trustworthy

I was an Eagle scout.  I also held all the posts a troop of Boy Scouts of America could have, up to and including Scoutmaster. My folks made sure there was a Scout troop I could join wherever we lived; I believe (my memory is fuzzy, and I haven't asked) that they started my cub pack.

They say once and Eagle, always an Eagle.  I always believed that.  The latest overt action by the BSA has caused me to rescind that belief.  I'm sending my badge back, and I'm explaining my reasoning here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

OO, Ward, and Creole

Some interesting reading if you care about code:

Some solid reading on what OO means, and how to test it:

Ward Cunningham on wiki, languages, and doing the smallest possible thing that works:

and finally: how to make your wiki talk to others' wikis:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Software Fragility

I've been working on the same medium-sized application since March--about 6 months. It's been frustrating. The app is built in JBoss Seam, which I didn't (and mostly don't) know, it has several configuration errors and one serious coding error that has pervasive influence and will be extremely hard to undo, and unbeknownst to me, it has been locking up daily for over a year.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

RIP, Steve

Steve. Bill. Larry. If you're about my age, and in the "computer" business, you know who these people are. They're iconic. These three, more than anyone, created the on-line, desktop, hiptop, and palmtop world in which we live. They led the rest of us into a connected world. A world where we're instantly available to our friends and they to us, changing the way we stay in touch. A world where information flows almost effortlessly to wherever we are, changing the nature of discussion and debate, art and science. A world where governments can't hide their oppression, news can't be controlled by those who own the presses,  people can't be told there's no hope for a better life.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Moving away from Google

Recent and not-so-recent posts by a number of bloggers (e.g. 1, 2; just 2 of the 6 or 8 I've read in the past few days) regarding getting locked out of their Google accounts have reminded me why personal computers boomed in the workplace so quickly.

In the early days, PCs (well, except for Macs) were hard to use, had horrible interfaces, minimal software choices (WordStar, VisiCalc, dBase II, and AutoCAD were the exceptions), and were in huge demand everywhere. Why? I think it was largely because they allowed us to control our work. We had word processing, databases, and CAD systems before PCs. They were controlled by others--we could be locked out, inconvenienced, our work confiscated and our access revoked by those in control, without appeal and without warning.

Sound familiar?