Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-29

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-22

  • IMF to review Pakistan's budget and economic prospects after flooding – #shock #doctrine, anyone? #fb #
  • Morning from the House of Pritchard..where plumbers are expected with big cylinders! #
  • RT @TheSpiderplant If Labour had a leader and a decent argument they would be worth talking to. All I hear right now is whining #
  • What a surprise…train home 15 minutes late…again…:-( #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-15

  • SO…apparently BTCare have admitted prioritisng their video traffic over other providers this week…anyone noticed? #
  • Re. #Milburn move – yet another kick up the arse for #Labour to stop navel-gazing and get on the fracking ball! #
  • Not good. Not good at all. RT @bilbobaggins2k: Plan to sell off UK nature reserves #
  • Very busy day ahead – lots of work on the books at the moment and need to get it done! #
  • Babysitting god-daughter and her baby brother – they're asleep. Dogs are asleep. Cats are asleep. I feel I'm supernumary… #
  • These boots are made for Walkley #sysongs #
  • Defence Secretary suggests cuts in number of senior officers…can we say 'Military Coup'? 😉 #
  • Is it just me or is SQL Management Studio 2008 significantly slower than SMS 2005? #
  • Spottyface – #inadequatemovies #
  • Jimmy Reid, Clydeside radical, dies – interesting obituary here – very relevant. #
  • Woohoo! On train home to Sheffield – have seat as well! #
  • In Leeds waiting for train to Sheffield! Busy but productive day! #
  • Credit agencies to monitor benefit 'cheats' – free advice from me would be 'use cash'. 🙂 #
  • On my way to Harrogate! #
  • This morning I had time to stand and stare…and it's a beautiful day! #fb #
  • I'm going to spend this morning pushing paper. There. Said it. Not bytes or pixels but paper…and envelopes…and stamps! #
  • And they still don't get it…. RT @TweetSmarter: Big business now cares more about Twitter than blogs: #
  • Good weekend and now Monday arrives – and I'm having some yuk side effects from the antibiotics I'm taking for an abcess… 🙁 #
  • Enjoyed #sherlock tonight – even if Moriarty did rather remind me of Graham Norton as Father Furlong in 'Father Ted'…. #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-08

  • Off to Church! #
  • Anyone know any good free #Flash editors/designers/IDE – friend wants to create a short cartoon. Thanks in advance! #
  • Great…mention iPhone in a deprecatory manner and spammed to buy an iPad… #
  • Weekly shopping expedition completed with minimal stress! #
  • Ahhh….joy….start the day spending time handling the weapons grade waste created by the cats…. #
  • Writing c# at 1-30am is not normal for me….time to shut the old brain down! #
  • OK…I've received the same phishing mail to the same email account 12 times today – phishers sure are dumb… #
  • Aye caramba – busy day bouncing between projects – surprisingly productive, though! #
  • Right…having finished off one piece of coding…eaten…mooched on a forum…better get working again! #
  • Note to Currys marketing people – yes, the iPad is available at an unbelievable price – you cannot possibly believe I'd pay that much? #
  • Oh dear…. 🙂 RT @davidtheprguy: Study Paints iPhone Owners as Materialistic, Fickle Egomaniacs #
  • Good session at #gistlab social media surgery. Met old friends, worked with Sheffield Cathedral Archer Project #
  • Installed at #gistlab social media surgery #
  • I LOVE these democracies we support…pah. RT @MyEbisu: It's official: Saudi Arabia bans BlackBerries #
  • The only day this week I HAVE to leave the house….and look at the weather! #
  • RT @johntmarohn: We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof –Edward R. Murrow #
  • RT @RobMcNealy: Our biggest enemies are the Federal Reserve and International Bankers, not Muslims and Immigrants. #Libertarian #VoteMcNealy #
  • A lot to do today, better crack on and stop faffing about here! 🙂 #
  • Young woman opposite is playing Girls aloud on iPod so loudly I can hear though MY earphones! Aaaargh! #
  • Ahhhh Britain. Third World Railway network at First World prices. Love it! #
  • On the way to Harrogate, train delayed… #
  • This week's #sherlock benefited from less manic running around – worked well – much more 'traditional' Holmes about it. #
  • #sherlock – much better this evening than last week – more watchable, less preachy – the dead hand of Moffat was absent! #

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I write software…to solve problems

Well, it’s a while since I wrote a blog post so why not kick off with a slight bit of professional heresy.  I write software for a living; have done for over 30 years, starting with SCMP microprocessors in my teens (yes, I was THAT sort of teenager…) and working through everything in between until now when I spend my time split between .NET, JavaScript and PHP.

Now, why do I write code?  Well, occasionally I do it for fun, but mostly I do it for profit – my clients pay me to do it.  Actually, that’s not right.  My clients pay me to solve their problems for them using software. 

I’ve never been one of the great ‘geeks / hackers’ in life; I’m a radio amateur and electronics whizz, and the closest I ever came was in my teens and early twenties when I was fiddling with low level stuff like analogue to digital converters and the like; but pure software geekery has never been me.  I used to say to people that I was a reasonable programmer but an excellent developer; now I’m more likely to say I’m an excellent problem solver.

Don’t get me wrong; I have an active interest in my profession, from the perspective of how I can deliver better service to my clients in delivering what they want from me.  And I like to think that I write sound, efficient and effective code.  I create data structures, create objects to model those structures and business processes, create code to implement these abstracts and put something on my client’s desktop or web server that allows them, bottom line, to make more money or save more money.  I also write code that is easy to follow and maintain, that has sensible variable names, that I document and leave a pile of useful information with my client.  And I’m there for them when needed.  I love it when I get a call from a client who tells me ‘We needed to add a new feature, so we took a look at the code and documentation and we think we’ve done it right, but next time you’re in, could you give it a quick look?’ – the ultimate accolade for me – I’ve delivered code that others can pick up and run with.

I’m methodical, but don’t have what you could call a methodology; I was recently asked whether I was agile; I almost replied that I used to be but since I tore my knee cartilage a few years back I’m not as nimble as I once was.  Do I practice Extreme programming; not really, I’m more Church of England, middle of the road, myself….

I’ve started to notice that there are two broad categories of software developers; those who work for software houses or in large development teams where words like Agile, Extreme, kanzen, dojos, user stories, sensei are the common parlance, and those who work very close with business and organisational problems, where the usual words that define a day at the coalface are fix, solution, feature, document, debug, budget, timescale.

I like to talk to my clients in their language; I’m afraid I still work in a world where businesses have processes, not user stories; where they don’t particularly care what technique I use behind the scenes as long as I deliver working, maintainable and efficient code, to budget and on time.  I’m sure that the software house methodologies work effectively but do they provide yet another layer of obfuscation, bureaucracy and abstraction between what we do and what our clients and customers want us to do – solve their problems?

No matter how much we dress things up with Japanese words (and I speak with some knowledge and experience of Japanese culture and management) we must not lose track of what we do and why we do it; we solve problems by developing effective software systems delivered on time and to budget.  That is all our clients care about; we’re not ninjas or ronin; we’re professional programmers and problem solvers.

I guess what I’m saying to developers is don’t fetishise what you do to the point where the process becomes more important than the product.  It’s rare I have much good to say about Steve Jobs and the slavering behemnoth that is Apple, but he did once say ‘Great artists deliver’.  And that’s what it’s all about.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-01

  • Off to Church! #
  • Clare Short – nothing more depressing than a has-been saying 'I told you so.' #
  • Synchronicity! 🙂 Going anywhere nice in Nottingham? Family visit? #
  • sky news debate on British Film Council scrapping – reinforcing my original belief that the sooner it goes the better… #bfc #
  • #yorkshirefilms High Green Drifter #
  • RT @CSLewisDaily: The measure of a life, after all, is not it's duration, but it's donation – C.S.Lewis #
  • RT @guidofawkes: Big Green Government: How do bureaucrats save their jobs? They re-invent themselves as green advocates #
  • Crazy – UN only NOW recognises water and sanitation as a human right – – astonishing it's taken this long! #
  • Spending the working part of my day playing catch up! #
  • Dear America, I love you to bit. I have lots of US friends. However…would you please stay out of our internal affairs, Love, Joe. #
  • #bsitnorth – how was this publicised – I'm on the Big Society Mailing list and hadn't heard a sausage! #
  • Just leaving Harrogate with new business in pocket! #
  • Now on train to Harrogate #
  • On the way to Leeds and writing next Joe's Jotting blogpost #
  • Ahhhhh…I see Sheffield First buses are their usual ineffective selves! #
  • A day in Harrogate awaits me! #
  • #Wikileaks – could these leaked documents be part of a dis-information campaign? Just wondering….. #
  • RT @DCPlod US military must find out who's leaking classified docs. This is borderline if not outright treasonous behaviour #wikileaks #
  • Is #Wikileaks becoming the modern version of 'The Trust'? #
  • re. Wikileaks / focus on Afghan war….don't be blinded by what is happening on the 'home front' by this sort of thing. #
  • I feel grumpiness coming on – I think I need to turn of social networking for the day! #
  • Right…dull start to day here in Sheffield but work is calling! #
  • X-Factor hopefuls FINALLY go 'rock and roll'! #
  • A better use for the twine would be to string this moron up… – Cameron – sort these eejits out! #
  • The public safety nutters afflict the US more than the UK… #
  • #sherlock also makes me look with greater sympathy at the possible reduction of the BBC License fee… 🙂 #
  • Re. #sherlock – weak relationship to 'A study in scarlet' – only Rache and the tablets remain. Would have been better with original story. #
  • Oh Lord…#Sherlock's writing has jumped the shark. Moffat – write to suit new material, not rehash Dr Who's worse moments. #fb #
  • Oh Lord…mephones rather than iphones in #sherlock – cue Apple Fanboi Dr Who fans having apoplexy….now. #
  • Holmes / Watson fan stories finally gets it's screen debut in #sherlock Depressing, but I guess inevitable. #
  • Ooohhh…. #sherlock is reminding me, for some weird reason, of the ITV show 'Demons'. And that's not a good reminder….. #
  • It may well be that 3 episodes of #sherlock is more than enough at this rate – potentially good concept ruined by writing style. Again. #
  • #sherlock – ARGH! It's making me cringe. Too knowing, the usual metrosexual / gay agenda. Iconoclasm for the Hell of it! #
  • #sherlock – Oh good Lord – it's the worst aspects of Dr-fracking-Who – FFS, Moffat, write without being so damn knowing! #
  • O…K….a 21st Century re-jigging of #Sherlock Holmes – why are my innards already quaking with terror…. #
  • Hmmm…exit package for #tony #hayward of #bp being negotiated…Might I suggest a useful role in bunging up that well? 😉 #

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