Working in the Cloud
Note: this is (most of) the content from the first post to my Working in the Cloud email list - more are prepared and will go out soon, so if you don’t want to miss the rest you can still join the list here. About a week after I published the iPad + Linode: One Year Later post, my employer decided to buy me a shiny new laptop for CUDA (GPU) development - a Dell XPS 15 with 8GB RAM, a...
iPad + Linode, 1 Year Later
A year ago I said goodbye to my trusty MacBook Pro and started working exclusively on an iPad + Linode 512. It was an experiment at first - one that I never thought would last. Twelve months later and I find I’m still working like this. A combination of Vim and GNU Screen for development, Pages for writing, Keynote for presentations, Jump and VNC for unavoidable X windows work, Mobile...
The Other 3 Reasons Light Table is Exciting
Today the visionary Light Table IDE from Chris Granger reached its $200k funding goal. We’re all excited about using it as an IDE, yet there are three things about the project that excite me even more! Light Table can: 1. Give New Programmers a Reason to Learn Clojure Chris’ first concept video was met with some criticism that its values are ill-suited to real programming - say, Java...
Why I'd be happy if Light Table isn't funded
Update: Light Table reached its funding goal, and Chris promises to release the source as soon as is practical (see the comments) - everybody wins! I love the principles behind Light Table, Chris Granger’s excellent IDE concept based on Bret Victor’s incredible vision. It’s up for funding on Kickstarter now, but it might not make it’s $200k goal: Honestly? I’ll be...
Fight the Dragon
Teamwork is a tricky business. I write software for a living and teamwork amongst programmers tends to be defined as splitting up the work such as to minimize the need for any actual teamwork or, indeed, communication of any sort for the remainder of the task. As a direct result of this, there’s often a short, socially-charged moment in any meeting in which the ‘team’ work is...
Setting up an iPad+Linode
Last week I promised to share all the details about my cloud development setup - this is how I did it, in ten soul-crushing liberating steps: Step 1: Get a Linode I chose a Linode 512, which has been perfect for my needs. You get all phenomenal CPU power and an itty-bitty RAM. Surprisingly, this is enough as we’ll be doing most of our work on the command-line; you can always upgrade it...
thelongbreak asked: What auto-plugin do you use for vim? Something that can read referred libraries and not just Language standard libraries (boost et al.) perhaps?
I swapped my MacBook for an iPad+Linode
Update: I’m still using this setup a year later - you can read on at iPad+Linode: 1 Year Later On September 19th, I said goodbye to my trusty MacBook Pro and started developing exclusively on an iPad + Linode 512. This is the surprising story of a month spent working in the cloud. It all started when I bought my first MacBook a couple of years ago. Frustrated by the inconsistent usage of...
Metagame Productivity Boost: Stats and Charts
Recently I started optimizing my workflow with various scripts and tools. I measured my performance and found it increased a lot. Some people asked to see stats behind the story so here they are, calculated retrospectively from log files for 5 months before the change and 5 months after it. 4x more productive overnight I’ve been tracking 3 easy-to-measure metrics: Bugs fixed Change sets...
Work Is Fascinating: The Metagame
I’ve been bored at work for many reasons at many different times, but three things stand out as real killers: working on the same project with the same people for years and years, using the same old languages and tools (statically-typed: yuk!) instead of the new hotness, being forced to work on maintenance instead of new features, or on small parts of an existing product instead of...
You're On The News
While visiting BuddyCloud Towers over the Christmas break I finally sat down and started something I’ve wanted for a while: up-to-the-minute notifications when one of my posts is submitted to Hacker News: Timing is everything: the HN newest page is a cruel and capricious master; there are lots of posts being submitted and not a lot to distinguish between them. If you take the time to...
Endlich auf Deutsch: Find A New Game
I’ve made a first attempt at internationalizing http://www.findanewgame.com/ - if any of you are based in Germany or speak the language, I’d appreciate your feedback! Ich habe (endlich) http://www.findanewgame.com/ auf Deutsch umgeschrieben - falls ihr Zeit und Lust habt, würde ich mich über Kritik und Anregungen sehr freuen!
$37.91 from frontpaging HN and Reddit - what now?
A fortnight ago I wrote 10 Embarrassing Flaws That Made My ‘Weekend’ App Possible, which was about my two-week project to recommend new board games. As it turns out, that post was picked up by Reddit and HN a couple of days later in a big way, bringing in over 50,000 hits in a matter of hours. This is what that looks like: At peak around 4,000 hits per hour were coming in, or just over 1 per...
Users Who Can't Buy, Customers Who Don't Use
Patrick’s recent business of software roundup included a fascinating paragraph about classifying founders (and hence the applicability of their advice). Apparently Jason Cohen partitioned people like this: Patrick explains it better than I can: There are two competing motivations for people who start software companies: wanting to maximize one’s financial outcome as quickly as possible...
What, more tests are always the best way to...
Increased code coverage through unit testing can decrease the number of flaws in the final product, but that doesn’t come for free. Development time is spent working on and maintaining those extra tests. Sometimes the product would have been better for the users if that time had been spent on: Design Features Releasing earlier and more often More time spent writing unit tests...
Dear TDD Kool-Aid Drinkers
Show me just one shred of empirical evidence that developing with TDD results in better products. Yes, I’m looking at you. Seriously, though. Is there any evidence? If not, why not? Update: shreds of evidence John Goering provided links to some studies - thanks, John! The preferred study seems to be this one by Microsoft. IBM summed it up like this: There was a meta-study done in 2006...
dbstraight-deactivated20111222 asked: Where did you move to Germany from? Was it hard to move?
10 Embarrassing Flaws That Made My 'Weekend' App...
Every few days on Hacker News there’s a popular “Ask HN: Review my weekend project” post. Without fail the apps look polished and complete and are almost always interesting. I used to feel humbled by the awesomeness of someone who turned out an entire project in a weekend. I shouldn’t have - and neither should you. 48 hours is an eternity. What could you do with 2 hours an...
Newspapers: How To Save Your Doomed Businesses
Every day a big fat newspaper lands in my letter box. I don’t even know why; I think a friend had their trial subscription moved to our address while they were on holiday and are having trouble canceling it. Anyway, every day I lift it out and dump it in the lobby for or someone else to read. Most days I don’t even read the 72pt headline. It’s not that I dislike reading. I...
What Do Bingo Card Creator And Google Have In...
A serious point underlies the flippancy in Single- vs Co-Founder: It’s Like Star Wars - we use the word ‘startup’ to refer to a wide range of different businesses, yet treat them as if they were basically the same thing. Advice for one doesn’t necessarily apply to the other, so we should ask: what do we mean when we talk about a startup? Not so long ago, the definition of...
Single- vs Co-Founder: It's Like Star Wars
Does a startup benefit from two or three co-founders? Can single founders compete? Every so often this topic bubbles up into my consciousness rss feed. Lots of single founders say “It works fine for me” and lots of co-founders say “We probably wouldn’t have made it alone”. These discussions are often had completely at cross-purposes: people persist in talking about...
Unexpected Good News
Configuring ‘expect’ on linux today: checking for stdint.h… yes checking for unistd.h… yes checking if the compiler understands -pipe… yes checking whether byte ordering is bigendian… yes … checking for sin… no Well, that’s a bit of good news ;-) I wasn’t aware I’d granted OAuth credentials for my eternal soul, though....
A Time For All Things
A while ago Jason Sage suggested the wisdom and beauty of this poem apply quite naturally to programming. He was very, very right - so with apologies to the unknown original author: 3ccl35145735: 3 1 There is a time for all things; a season for every activity under heaven: 2 a time to hack it together and a time to refactor the mess; a time to be clever and a time to be featured on...
20 Older Posts
You can find the first 20 posts of the Yield Thought blog, including Criminal Overengineering, Is That All, Start In The Middle and 5 Stages of Programmer Incompetence on the old wordpress blog. Maybe I’ll import them here someday, but right now that’s a big waste of time versus adding new posts, right?