Loud Thinking: Broadcasting Brain
Friday, February 22, 2002 @ 21:30 |

Encapsulation aligns minds beyond coding

The power of encapsulation is wasted, if it's only veiled at the inner workings of object-oriented programs. Its complexity reducing delights are at least as wonderful, maybe even more so, on the soft side of technical projects in specification documents and feature discussions.

Thought alignment between managers, sales people, writers, and programmers slays a multitude of evils—all commanded by the lord of confusion.

Instead of thinking up a new word every time you want to describe a user writing and then mailing a new document to be authorized, encapsulate the concept in proposer. Make this encapsulations explicit in a project dictionary.

Diagrams can now refer to the proposer without need of further explanations. Once enough concepts has been encapsulated, you can communicate many new features as single sentences, such as "proposer gets notification from judge on verdict". Ambiguity is eliminated, and programmers will have a complete mental model to develop from.

I started a project vocabulary at work today, and produced the first specifiction for a new feature from it. I saw that is was good.

Friday, February 22, 2002 @ 20:21 |

Memorable Emotions

Michael Barrish describes emotional situations like no other blogger on my daily route. The writing flows naturally, and you get the post-rationalism real time. Like this from the piece called Container:

However with her, my god, the feelings were so intense, if we weren’t fighting we were fucking, or were about to start fighting, or fucking, sometimes it didn’t matter which, although no, I guess it did matter, it did, but anyway, there seemed no way to contain it.

Monday, February 18, 2002 @ 19:45 |

Open Sorcerers with attitudes

JBoss is a Open Source implementation of the hugely complex J2EE standard (IMHO) for developing all things Java server-side. They're competing against players like IBM (with WebSphere) and BEA (with WebLogic) that are charging thousands of dollars for software that does the same, JBoss even claims does less, than the Open Source fellows.

But the best part is they come out guns blazing. Gone is your normal humble attitude of Open Source projects. Marc Fleury, founder and lead developer, has the kind of cowboy attitude you just have to love. He's running a project that he feels in technical superior and delivering it free of charge.

For a nice taste of Open Source attitude read the JBoss mission statement. It may get a bit technical at times, but you don't need to be a J2EE-wizz to have a smile on your face after reading it.

Like a J2EE friend of mine from London said, when I asked if his shop was checking out JBoss: "Yup don't know much about jboss to be honest, but I'm all in favour of not giving money to big companies". Yearh!

First they ignore you, Then they laugh at you, Then they fight you, And then you win. -- Ghandi (seeing the Open Source future)

Monday, February 18, 2002 @ 18:33 |

Blindly trusting the cloud

They lure you in. "Place your data with us", they say, "we'll keep it safe and available for ever and ever and ever..." Until they don't.

Like this Saturday, when the study group drove 30 minutes north of Copenhagen to write all about development of income in the 90'ies. Just to discover that Yahoo Groups for some unknown reason had decided for some unknown period of time to offline all of our work. "Problems with the database server". You don't say?

So we made the 30 minutes ride back to Copenhagen, where a copy of the assignment was safe from the cloud on a hard drive. Yahoo Groups was back up. Grrrr... Wasted an hour. Didn't get to eat delious Chinese lunch. Felt like a fool.

Be wary of the clouds. Always store your data locally.

Monday, February 18, 2002 @ 00:43 |

Windows marks the villain

PCs Are Incorrect on TV: "In Fox's hit TV show, 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland, the villains use PCs running Microsoft Windows. The good guys, of course, use Macs." -- JD Lasica notes that the same is true for Felicity, Alias, and other shows.

On a related note, my household of three XP machines (laptop, desktop, server) will loose one to the side of free software tomorrow. By way of a good friend and FreeBSD zealot, who claims a running FreeBSD 4.x in 15 minutes flat, I'll be converting the server over. About time too. Developing PHP for use on Apache and MySQL was always going to be second best on a Windows box.

Thursday, February 14, 2002 @ 11:33 |

Fear of conflict and confusion of inconsistency

Most people don't like to disagree. At least not for more than a few minutes at the time. Hence, resolution has a tiny window of opportunity to be reached. Once that window closes, the person will loose the capability to accept a new position. Regardless of the arguments.

I don't mind resolving a difference of opinion over a longer period of time, so this is always a disappointing, occasionally infuriating, discovery of character.

People tie identity to opinions and the consistency of these. Inconsistency is frowned upon. Some times with good reason, mostly without. The inability to distinguish the willingness to accept a new point of view, positive "inconsistency", with the failure to make up your mind on a fixed set of information, negative inconsistency.

In face of the difficulties in seperating the two kinds of inconsistency, most people take the pessimistic route and brands all in the negative category.

This is primarily a problem of self-perception. We don't want others perceiving us as inconsistent. When ever we're approaching the border of inconsistancy, the fangs of aggression come out to vigorously defend the self-image.

The trade, however, is rarely worth it. If the arguments are clear and strong enough, the sense of inconsistency can't be shaken. And now on top of inconsistency, you add a layer of aggression and retraction. Combination: Jerk.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002 @ 12:19 |

Blogging student politics

Loud Thinking has been put on the back burner while I make the case for improving the Intranet at the Copenhagen Business School. You're welcome to follow the development, if Danish is a language you master and the issue one you care for.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002 @ 12:15 |

The crime of sharing

The Crime of Sharing:

They also ruled that it was legally appropriate to prevent a scientist from presenting a paper that explores the inner workings of the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) music encryption system. Suddenly, it's as though there is no difference between discussing murder and committing it.
Given the opportunity, preach Mr. Barlows words to your friends and family. Make them understand the issues and care for the erosion of rights happening in the US with the world to follow.

Thursday, February 7, 2002 @ 10:36 |

Wall of Sony goes silent

Following up on Customer service horror story #9456434: Going on the second week now, the email below has been left unanswered by Sony representatives. I tried hard to convince the utter foolishment of their customer hostile position to Sony, but finally gave up a couple of days ago and ordered a new Fujitsu harddisk. I don't expect an answer ever to arrive.

Sony's best offer:

What we would suggest is that you arrange for the unit to be collected and diagnosed, to determine whether a repair to the unit is necessary. If no repair is needed, we will then review the case to decide whether the flat fee can be waived.

Unimpressed reply by me:

That brings me exactly no closer to avoid gambling the price of a new harddrive on your definition of what constitues a loud noise. I'm willing to do much but take this gamble.

Have your technicians describe your definition of loud in a measurable format, such as dBa. It would be fairly easy, and without risk, to compare the noise of my noise to that of a known source (such as the
cooler in my desktop machine, which runs at 21 dBa).

Or I could record the noise in a digital format (.wav or .mp3) along with normal speech to give you an idea.

For the record, I find this situation very unfortunate and unreasonable cumbersome. I've always been a big Sony fan, refusing to buy anything else in TVs, game consoles, or laptops. This affair is rapidly changing that attitude. You're well into the process of turning a long-time Sony advocate into the opposite. This is not meant as snide or wise-guy influencing, but statements of fact.

The total support cost, involving four phone calls to your customer service center, and your time dealing with this issue has already surpassed any cost a pick-up. Factor in my newly minted negative
perception of Sony, and followed reduced inventive to chose a Sony branded product in the future, and this conversation is starting to look very silly indeed.

"A satisfied customer, on the average, tells three people about a good experience, while a dissatisfied one gripes to eleven.", AMA quote from Business Week

Bed-time reading: Information is Power (on customer satisfaction), http://www.prsa.org/prc/BPCCCustomer.html

Tuesday, February 5, 2002 @ 20:46 |

Multi-thinking (or why I can't count sheeps)

By the count of ten, at least one yawn will have left my skull. I'm not counting sheep, though. The temptation to add other characters and a vivid scenarie is too great. I'm counting large bold white numbers on a black backdrop.

By the count of fourty, I'll be wondering why I didn't finish my paper for school that day or how to best structure the objects in my coding project. The counting continues in the background.

By the count of sixty, the futility of continued counting sets in. I'll wrap up my current thoughts and irradicate any seeds of new thoughts. Then I'll reset the counter and start over.

This scenario is easily repeated three times before sleep librates me.

Saturday, February 2, 2002 @ 21:51 |

Differentiating in the PC market

Avoiding Commodity Status by Jakob Nielsen talks about using easy-to-use software, quality hardware, and helpful support as differentiators in the PC market. Spot on! Spot on, I say!

My experiences with Sony and IBM the last couple of weeks have left me craving for companies to love. I have money to spend. Serve me well and I will love you.

Saturday, February 2, 2002 @ 18:00 |

No real Cocoa for Python just yet

O'Reilly reports the state of affairs for making Cocoa work with Python. So far the snazzy user interface framework on the Mac isn't really useful for Python wrestlers. Too much bridge jumping from Python to Java to Objective-C and back again.

I'd really like to have a Mac by the time Python gets the full handle on Cocoa. Preferably one of those dual 1 Ghz machines with a 22" Apple flat-screen. Donations much welcome.

Saturday, February 2, 2002 @ 17:28 |

Microsoft quadrupling revenues on 75% price cut?

"If only software were cheaper, there would be no piracy". A nugget of hard-lived myth that has been thriving since Commodore 64 games were 10 bucks a piece. And Mark Minasi of the Windows & .NET Magazine keeps it breathing as point number 4 on his list of Top 10 Software-Installation Pet Peeves:

Software companies need to drastically reduce their prices if they want to force everyone to pay for every copy of their software
Microsoft Office is about $1000. So is Adobe Photoshop. Drasticly reducing prices on those packages might mean a 75% reduction to $250. What kind of empiric evidence does Minasi hold that garantees Microsoft and Adobe a four-fold increase in purchases to make up for slashing prices?

$250 for a software package like Office or Photoshop is still a lot of money—when you're accustomed to zero, as 75% of private consumers and small business owners are.

Microsoft, Adobe, and other major software vendors has business people to estimate demand at certain price points. The sticker price on their products are where demand times price provides maximum profits. And contrary to Minasi, these people base their strategy on facts, trends, and calculations.

Bury the myth.

Friday, February 1, 2002 @ 15:27 |

When free means 300 kroners

Two Danish newspapers are currently offering free trial subscriptions to fight declaining sales. Information makes all the right moves, Jyllands-Posten makes all the wrong moves:

  • Information got to me first, Jyllands-Posten came two weeks late.

  • Jyllands-Posten disturbed me in the middle of a movie with a over-zealous sales woman from Jutland. Infomation send me a pamphlet.

  • Information meant 0 kr. when they said free. Jyllands-Posten meant 300 kr. in "administration costs" (half the price of a real subscription).

  • Jyllands-Posten pitched me sales ratings ("we're oh so big"). Information pitched me content.

  • Information trusted me to read the paper if I requested a trial subscription. Jyllands-Posten wanted me to sign an explicit psychological agreement.
Result: I read my first paper in months today. It said Information. It will never say Jyllands-Posten.

Friday, February 1, 2002 @ 15:03 |

Software updates that matters

Three important new releases for higher Windows productivity:

  • UltraEdit 9.00: Terrific text editor. New is better syntax highlighting (including native PHP support), multiple selected directories for find/replacement in files, folding (hiding a block for better overview) without bugs, pretty icons.

  • NetCaptor 7.0 b1: Internet Explorer power-up (ripping all the cool Opera stuff). New is XP'ified UI, auto-hiding favorites bar, favicon support on tabs, easy whois look-ups.

  • Becky 2.008: Whopping Outlook, Eudora, and the rest. Better virus and evil script protection. Bugfixes.
This message was brought to you by the "Buy Reasonable Priced Shareware" foundation. Have a nice day!

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