Can I Get Some Support Here?

I’ve been chasing my development comrades around for a year or so, convincing them that test-driven development is a good thing.  That continuous integration is a great way to show what  a great job we’re doing by being transparent – posting our success and coverage numbers for everyone to see.

All the developers I can get to try it come back saying, “You know, I wouldn’t have caught this bug before it went to production without TDD.”

Score!  A convert!

We set up a CI server running JetBrains’ TeamCity.  Dead easy and it’s been working great.  We have about four development teams using CI this way now – we’re still working on the testing – and even the configuration management group likes what they’re seeing.

So what’s the problem?

Memo from the standards group.  “Uh, we don’t have TeamCity on our list.  Your choices are, CruiseControl, Rational Buildforge, or Team Foundation Team Build.”

My response was, “Okay, but we’re in the middle of a transition here.  Do you suppose we could just go ahead and change over later (once the habit is good and engrained)?”

Their answer?  “We’re not comfortable with that”

I am getting a lot of support from the local management, so hopefully things will brighten in the next day or so.

Next.. Can I get you guys to estimate in some TDD time?

Refactoring this site..

Just to separate things, I’ve decided to start a second weblog for my Life in America entries; that way I won’t be wasting your time when you come looking..

If you care, you’ll find those entries here

I’ve also started a separate blog for the Repellicans ‘cause they’re a mess and I like to isolate messes like that.. as in refactoring.

You can find the mess, and the fun over here

Two More Repellicans

Anne Coulter – Noteworthy only for her capacity to say outrageously false things with conviction.  Nomination accepted.

John Boehner (R) – Minority House Leader, who believe that the government stimulus package should give more money to people to pay down debts or invest somewhere instead of having the government actually spend it in the country thereby stimulating the economy.

The Democrats have a majority in both houses.  Why is this an issue?  There are ways to stop a filibuster in the Senate too, so that shouldn’t be an excuse.

Looks like the Democrats’ Leadership needs to get some backbone.  Still.

Charter Members of the Repellican Party:

  • Chris Wallace
  • Senator John Cornyn (R)
  • Anne Coulter
  • Representative John Boehner (R)

Unfortunately, the membership committee is still accepting nominations

New Name: Repellicans

My wife came up with a new name for the Obama naysayers:  Repellicans.

These folks are not necessarily Republicans because there are a large number of Republicans who are openly supportive of the new president, including, but not limited to, Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina.

Her first nominee for this ‘party’ is Chris Wallace of Fox News (what else?) who apparently was the first to call into question whether President Obama was legitimately sworn in yesterday.

(Note: I said, as soon as Chief Justice Roberts flubbed the lines, “The right wingers are gonna be all over that!”  And, sadly, I was correct.)

I think I’d have to add the senator from Texas, John Cornyn who is holding back on the confirmation of the nominee for Attorney General, Eric Holder. 

Repellican Party Charter Members:

  • Chris Wallace, Esq
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R) Texas

What? A Post About Software Development?

When I started this blog, my intention was to regale the reader with pithy and insightful pronouncements on the state of software development. 

Since I didn’t want to maintain multiple blogs, I thought I’d put the odd stray commentary about life or books or politics on here too.

Naturally, what happened was that I didn’t do as much of the software stuff, and a lot more of the commentary stuff.  Software topics became the stray..  Astray to be honest.

So, for once in a long while I thought I should do a post on software.

It should be plain to my readers (the two of you out there) that the company I joined in late 2007, was bought out by the Bank of America.  Nice, right?

Absolutely!

For a bank, it is surprisingly flexible about things like open source (there’s an official FOSS group in the bank) , agile development (we have two standard and supported SDLCs — one is agile; guess the other) and personal involvement (we have an internal open source-style repository and user groups).

Great!

The one thing that irks is that we aren’t allowed to have mini test databases on our individual machines, whether laptop or desktop.   Security is the thing, and not unwarranted.  We don’t need some goof leaving a laptop in his car with a few hundred thousand customers’ data on it.

What we need is a way to sanitize the data so that it’s useful for testing, but useless for outsiders — or even larcenous insiders.

Gerard Meszaros’ book, xUnit Test Patterns lists using a centralized testing database as an anti-pattern.  Agreed.

So, how to go forward?

The database can help if it is aware of the relationships between tables.  A semi-sophisticated script can replace any identifiable information with bogus but readable chaff.  The keys used can be replaced with matching but unuseful values.

These exist, right?  I mean, why don’t we hear about them more?

Is this another open source project waiting to be started?  I haven’t looked, but maybe I will tonight…

Possible Air Travel Problems Call for More New Reading

So, I’m traveling to Toronto for the annual pilgrimage to the homeland for the holidays.  This time, for the first time in probably 6-7 years, my travel plans are threatened by winter weather.

The forecast is for snow.  Again.  But I think that the folks at Lester Pearson International know how to handle snow.  Since I’m flying direct, I’m hoping that’s enough to insure safe passage.

Just in case, I have three pieces of reading material to keep me company.  A novel, a magazine and a non-fiction tome.

The novel is “Next”, by the lamentably late Michael Crichton. I’m sad to see a Renaissance man’s untimely departure.  Just started.  Review to follow.

The magazine is Wired, January 2009.  An article on whether we should actually look for a cure for cancer, or simply look for ways to find it faster, caught my eye.  There’s an article about an individual aircraft too; the Icon A5.  Looking forward to relative fluff there..

The non-fiction tome is, “Spin-Free Economics“, by Nariman Behravesh.  So far, a partisan-free look at economic issues with a forward that chides both sides for perpetrating myths to their own ends.  Looking forward to delving further.

More to follow..

If my eyes tire, and the trip wears on, I have my trusty iPod loaded with NPR shows to keep me stimulated.

Yeah, I have music too.

Possible Air Travel Problems Call for More New Reading

So, I’m traveling to Toronto for the annual pilgrimage to the homeland for the holidays.  This time, for the first time in probably 6-7 years, my travel plans are threatened by winter weather.

The forecast is for snow.  Again.  But I think that the folks at Lester Pearson International know how to handle snow.  Since I’m flying direct, I’m hoping that’s enough to insure safe passage.

Just in case, I have three pieces of reading material to keep me company.  A novel, a magazine and a non-fiction tome.

The novel is “Next”, by the lamentably late Michael Crichton. I’m sad to see a Renaissance man’s untimely departure.  Just started.  Review to follow.

The magazine is Wired, January 2009.  An article on whether we should actually look for a cure for cancer, or simply look for ways to find it faster, caught my eye.  There’s an article about an individual aircraft too; the Icon A5.  Looking forward to relative fluff there..

The non-fiction tome is, “Spin-Free Economics“, by Nariman Behravesh.  So far, a partisan-free look at economic issues with a forward that chides both sides for perpetrating myths to their own ends.  Looking forward to delving further.

More to follow..

If my eyes tire, and the trip wears on, I have my trusty iPod loaded with NPR shows to keep me stimulated.

Yeah, I have music too.

What I Have Been Reading Lately..

Since the last update, I have been paying attention to the career side of things.

Pragmatic Thinking & Learning: Refactor Your Wetware, by Andy Hunt.   I really enjoyed Andy’s approach to this book.  It is full of tidbits and insights that lay the groundwork for ‘refactoring you wetware’.  I am about to embark on a ‘Pragmatic Investment Plan’ to learn Python and I will be SMART about it..

After that I read, Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management, by Johanna Rothman and Esther Derby.  This was definitely an interesting read.  These are things that I know from my practice as a consultant, watching good managers and bad, but I wouldn’t have had the insight to write them down.  I have implemented a few of the techniques now that I am a manager.

Just in general, I am always pleased by the books from The Pragmatic Bookshelf, they are relevant and always written in an accessible style.  For me, that title used to belong to APress; No longer.  And not for a while really.  If I could afford to, I’d probably buy one of each of Andy and Dave’s titles; maybe more as gifts.

The last book that I picked up recently, and I’m halfway through, is Malcolm Gladwell’s latest, Outliers: The Story of Success.  It will make you think about all those “picked myself up by my own bootstraps” biographies you’ve read over the years.  Recommended.

Voter Registration Fraud is Not Equal to Voter Fraud

The current mountain out a molehill from the McCain Campaign is that somehow, ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is perpetrating massive voter fraud that “threatens the very fabric of democracy”.

Baloney.

What is happening is that ACORN hires people, sometimes lazy people, who sometimes make up names instead of actually registering voters.  The law requires that ACORN turn over all the voter registration forms, including the fraudulent ones (which are typically marked as suspect),so they can’t keep them out of the process even if they want to.

The key concept here is that this is voter registration fraud, not voter fraud.  And the fraud is on ACORN because they paid for the bogus registrations.

By the way, even if any of these bogus registrations made it through to the voter roles how many of the non-existent voters would turn up to vote anyway?

Oh No She Di’int!

I was watching the Vice Presidential Debate this evening and I was immediately struck by Governor Palin’s illiterate use of “nu-kew-ler” –the way W says it — instead of the real word, nuclear — as in \ˈnü-klē-ər.

To me, she didn’t have an impressive performance because it was obvious that she was avoiding real, non-scripted answers in favor of those she was able to memorize.

She didn’t completely drown, as she did with Katie Couric last week but by changing the subject away from the questions she was unable to answer she tried to segue into sections of her standard stump speech lines. 

But my biggest problem with the governor’s performance came when she answered the question about the powers of the vice-president’s office.

She said, paraphrasing, that she believes in the expanded power of the vice-president’s office.  From the New York Times transcript:

PALIN: Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president’s agenda in that position

‘Supportive and cooperative with the president’s agenda’??

So the vice president is a separate branch of government after all.  Off the books; do what s/he wants?

This kind of interpretation of the constitution is what has brought us to our current predicament.

Watch out.  Vote wisely.