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2006 September


Dom Reed

Vaporising users

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Developing a usable application requires that you pay particular attention to who you’re designing for.  That statement isn’t exactly rocket surgery, but it becomes rocket surgery when you begin to realise that everyone has their own ideas of who their users are.  Faced with broad labels, such as ‘ software developer’ or ‘dba‘, it can […]

28 September 2006 5:48 am by
Damon Armstrong

Free eBooks from Apress

1 comment

Apress is offering a few eBooks free of charge on their website.  Just go to their free eBook page, enter your email address, and it’s yours.  The titles they are currently offering include: Programming VB .NET: A Guide For Experienced Programmers Dissecting a C# Application: Inside SharpDevelop COM and .NET Interoperability Google, Amazon, and Beyond: […]

25 September 2006 10:24 am by
Phil Factor

The Fireside Fun of Word Squares

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Here is another SQL puzzle, based on an old idea. I must confess that my investigations into ‘Fireside Fun’, are motivated by an urge to explore ways of whiling away the time during boring meetings and seminars. It is, I fear, considered rude to plug in the noise-cancelling headphones, lean back in your seat with your eyes […]

22 September 2006 4:23 am by
Phil Factor

The Fireside Fun of Decapitations

6 comments

You will be surprised to learn that, in the nineteenth century, they got on perfectly well without television or computer games. Actually, in the evenings they were accustomed to organise all sorts of entertainments we have since forgotten about, all of which required the art of human interaction. After their evening meal in any affluent household, […]

19 September 2006 2:53 pm by
Tony Davis

The Joy of Simple-Talk Editorial Meetings

2 comments

Phil Factor’s recent blog on The Joy of IT Meetings contains a lot of good advice, but if you really want your meetings to be productive, I can only suggest you adopt the Simple-Talk approach. All you need are some good people, a traditional local hostelry, some lovingly-brewed real ale and about 2 hours. Here’s […]

19 September 2006 7:40 am by
Damon Armstrong

How Do You Find a Hit Man?

9 comments

A while back, I was reading the story of Susan Kuhnhausen, a nurse who came home one day to find a burglar in her home.  After she came in, the burglar attacked her with a hammer.  Apparently he got in at least one blow to her head, though it wasn’t enough to knock her out, […]

17 September 2006 2:18 am by
Tony Davis

This Web 2.0 thing

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Browsing around Dr Dobb’s, I read Mike Elgin’s take on the Web 2.0 malarkey. I liked his simple definition of Web 2.0 as “all the Web sites out there that get their value from the actions of users”. He also makes the interesting contrast between Yahoo’s “top news” page (stories selected by professional editors) and […]

16 September 2006 5:34 am by
Phil Factor

The Acronym Playpen

3 comments

Sometimes, one of the most relevant skills that a developer needs to have, when working in the corporate environment, is to know how and when to bend the rules. A major high-street bank once offered me a completely impossible design brief. As I was being paid by the hour I took it gladly. The brief […]

13 September 2006 4:46 am by
Damon Armstrong

Kwitcherbitchin: Personal Phone Calls at Work

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I’m amazed at some of the things people have to put up with at work, especially when it comes to misguided policies designed to boost productivity when in fact all they really do is hurt morale.  Too often, people are resigned to accepting these policies as a fact of life and mindlessly obey them for […]

12 September 2006 2:43 pm by
Phil Factor

The Sticking Page-Down-Key Incident

4 comments

Most software projects seem to go on an emotional roller-coaster voyage. Initial euphoria soon fades into confusion, followed by despair. If a project is going to succeed in reaching port, despair is followed by a consensus decision to save as much as possible from the wreckage of the initial ‘vision’. Maybe I’m unlucky, but I’ve […]

1 September 2006 10:43 am by