Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Coder to Developer

This book arrived in the post for me today.
It looks interesting. I will (of course) post a review when I have finished reading it.
I have a lot of reading to do and also much writing now. That will keep me out of trouble for a while.

Toshiba M200 Tablet PC - Toshiba

I got a new toy, sorry business productivity tool, today! I am now the proud owner of a Toshiba M200 Tablet PC. It rocks! Theres a few extra things I want to get for it like Bluetooth, some more memory and a spare battery for those long plane flights. It will take some time to set it up just how I like but I am certainly a very happy person this evening.

Steve Jobs shows Tiger

The new OS coming from Apple codenamedTiger is looking very cool. Jobs went through a demo yesterday at WWDC I would have liked to have seen that. Jobs is a great speaker.

Another cool looking Windows Mobile Device

This looks pretty cool for those of you that like the large form factor devices.
T-Mobile unveils Wi-Fi PDA-phone | The Register Personally I'll be sticking with the Smartphone as I prefer something smaller.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

I've been noticed

I've been noticed by the ever popular Datagrid Girl as newcomer to the world of blogging.
Thanks Marcie, looks like a few people have picked up on your blog and followed on Will and LazyCoder have also noticed my entry to this little club.

TechEd Europe

TechEd Europe starts today (tomorrow depending where you are). I know a number of the folks presenting there, so good luck to you all.
Chandu is there talking about all things MapPoint related. Jim Newkirk will be presenting the testing tools in Team System. I know James Pratt is there somewhere getting ready to impress the mobile developers.
I expect it will be a great event. Amsterdam is a good place to be this time of year.

Just like a real phone but smaller

Neonode have been making a small noise about their small phone for a while now but we still haven't seen any. The Register reports that are starting to ship prerelease units. They run Microsoft Windows Mobile but with a custom interface. It would be great to see how useable they really are.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Another perfect sunset

This was the sunset this evening where I am staying. What a perfect place to live. What a great place to be able to sit and write.

Smoke and Mirrors

I just finished reading this collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman.
I would give it a nine out of ten.
What I liked about it:
Neil Gaiman is a terrific author. The stories were mostly crisp and kept me interested.
I enjoyed the change of pace between the tales.
The different ideas and possible universes presented were great.
In order to get a ten:
A couple of the stories should have been left out. They were not the same caliber as the others in the book.

My other office

Yesterday I discussed the set up I have for writing. I forgot to mention then when the weather permits my other office is outside.
In the last ten days the weather has been good so I've been enjoying the freedom of wireless networking.
I do have to sit in the shade though because otherwise I can't see the screen. I am waiting for the transflective screens to become more widely available.

Updating Tablet Site

As I'm going to be doing some more Tablet PC develpoment in the next few weeks I felt it was time I updated my site. I've added more information on the training course I've been running for the last 18 months. There is also now a page dedicated to the very popular E-Book.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Experiments in music

My good friend in Japan Alex has just created his first blog after chatting about my new blog. I am looking forward to seeing some of his creative works appear in his blog.

Two guys with something to say

Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt are interviewed here. After their book The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master I've always had time to listen what these guys have to say.
The interview is well worth reading, as is the book.

Using my Tablet for writing

I am doing a lot of writing at the moment. Getting my book finished and articles and papers along with blogging and get my website updated. I have adopted a new way of working with my Tablet PC. I have the screen swiveled around and an external keyboard plugged into the USB port. But I am not using a mouse. I use the pen instead. I am finding this much faster and less stress on the wrist, I used to get bad aches from prolonged usage of the mouse.
Picture of writing setup
I wonder if we will see the demise of the mouse if digitizer screens get cheaper and become more avaiable? I know a lot of new users still have trouble coordinating the mouse. I would have thought pointing at the screen with a pen is far more intuitive.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Good ideas won't go away

Just over ten years ago Jim McCarthy starting talking about his 21 rules of thumb for software development. These rules still hold true and it is great to see they are being talked about here -
How Microsoft develops its Software
The McCarthy's have gone on to do much more work on helping teams deliver great products on time and Software For Your Head documents many of their findings. This is a recomended read for anyone trying to work in a team.

Trying to blog again

I had lunch with Robert Scoble today and he is one of the most prolific bloggers out there. I guess he kind of inspired me to try blogging again.
I've not got into blogging in the past as I seem to get involved in all sorts of other projects and never seem to blog enough to make it seem worth while.
So lets see how this goes.

Why Refactor

Refactoring is changing the structure of existing code without changing the behavior of that code.

I often get asked why we (developers) need to refactor. Here are some reasons.

The ability to refactor your code takes the pressure off the design phase of software development. Refactoring gives you the ability to change the design of the code at a later stage. This means that you don’t have to get the design absolutely right before you write any code. You can get a rough design worked out, code it up and then if (when) you spot a better design you can refactor your code towards the better design. This allows you to get started on the coding earlier than you may have done otherwise and therefore get feedback on the progress from other coders and even customers at an earlier time. This is valuable because this feedback may also force you to rethink the original design and the earlier you can do this the higher your chances are of getting the final result that the customer wants.

It is very rare for any piece of software to be developed ‘right the first time’. I should qualify that by adding that every programmer I have ever spoken to has said they if given a second opportunity to code a solution they would do it differently from the way they did it the first time. I have met a few arrogant individuals who claim they are so smart they always code the correct solution first time. Personally I don’t believe they can always be right and even if they are, they are in a very small minority. Most of us (programmers) need to use all the help we can get to ensure we get a good piece of software written. Refactoring is some of that help; it allows us to admit that we are less than perfect and provides us with a tool to enable us to work towards perfection over time.

The changes are made to the code in order to improve the design, with the aim of making the code easier to read, simpler to understand and cheaper to change.