How Good of an Estimator Are You?

by Nick Monday, November 26, 2007 9:25 AM

Don't be ashamed to admit that you aren't a good one.  Many people are not, and I'm definitely not as good as I should be, given my profession.  But then again, in my profession, most people are terrible estimators.  That's why I picked up the latest book from Steve McConnell, called Software Estimation - Demystifying the Black Art.  This is the same guy who wrote Code Complete, which is considered by many (including me) to be the ultimate manual on practical software engineering.  I have a review of his new book on BlogCritics.  Check it out.  This should be on your book shelf, right next to The Mythical Man Month.

A Scary Realization

by Nick Tuesday, October 30, 2007 4:36 PM

I've gone from being Peter Gibbons, to being Bob Slydell.

God help me.

Always Be Wary...

by Nick Monday, October 22, 2007 3:10 PM

... when a tester asks you, "Hey, do you want to see you something cool?"

Cool for a tester usually means broken for you.

Bar Camp Milwaukee 2

by Nick Thursday, October 11, 2007 11:00 AM

It's this weekend at the Schlitz Park Center if you're interested.  It's an unconference where people get together to talk about technology for an entire weekend, straight.  Camp out at the site so you don't miss a thing.  I'm busy on Saturday, but might be able to make it Sunday.  Check out the site for more information on how to participate.

Happy Programmer's Day!

by Nick Thursday, September 13, 2007 4:18 PM

Since today is the 256th day of the year (the largest binary multiple possible in a year), it has been officially declared Programmer's Day.  So give a hug to a programmer you care about.

It's About Time

by Nick Thursday, September 06, 2007 10:11 AM

I suggested this a while ago, and it looks like they finally took my advice and added search to Google Reader.  This is a most welcome addition.  I also love the ability to shrink the left side bar and get a larger reading area.  Keep it up guys!

Workspace Organization

by Nick Wednesday, August 29, 2007 9:29 AM

Some people may not understand how I organize my desk.  For those of you who don't, here is a brief run down.  I have one area that is the "heap", and another that is the "stack" (which has the most recently used items on top).  Approximately twice a year I clear my desk in a ritual known as a "core dump".  I'm still trying to find someone who will be my garbage collector.

Make The Box Easy To Open

by Nick Monday, August 20, 2007 1:08 PM

Joel on Software is lamenting about Office 2007, and even complains about the box it comes in:

I bought a retail copy of Office 2007 today (I'm loading up the new laptop I got for the world tour, which is a Thinkpad X61s), and I must be a complete spaz, but I simply could not figure out how to open the bizarre new packaging.

It's a hard plastic case, sealed in two different places by plastic stickies. It represents a complete failure of industrial design; an utter F in the school of Donald Norman's Design of Everyday Things. To be technical about it, it has no true affordances and actually has some false affordances: visual clues as to how to open it that turn out to be wrong.

My version of Office 2007 came as a download, so I never had the same experience.  I can say that I had a similar experience with Apple's iPod Nano, when I bought one for my mom for Mother's Day.  I was going to open up the clear plastic case that it came in, so I could load her music on it for her.  It took me about 5 minutes to open it, and I almost cracked the plastic because I was trying to do it the wrong way.  It was not intuitive at all.

Your very first impression of anything is the packaging.  It's not a good sign when that impression is bad.  Don't get me wrong... the case was beautiful, and exactly the look and type of design I'd expect from Apple.  But looks should never override easy of use.  I think Apple forgets that sometimes.

More Reasons Not to Like DRM

by Nick Monday, August 13, 2007 9:18 AM

I've talked many times before about how I don't like Digital Rights Management schemes, mostly because it makes it too hard for me to use what I purchased and now own.  It feels too much like a rental scheme, where one day I'll find that my hardware won't play my music one day, or the company that created the DRM will suddenly disappear, taking my music with it.  Here is a perfect example of this:

Google Inc. is shutting down a service that sold and rented online video, ending a 19-month experiment doomed by the proliferation of free clips on other websites like the Internet search leader's YouTube subsidiary.
Google has been selling the right to watch a wide range of video, including sports, music and news, since January 2006. Most of the video sold for anywhere from a couple US dollars to $20. Customers could pay less to "rent" the right to watch a selected video for a day or buy the show so it would be available to watch indefinitely.
Google spokesman Gabriel Strickler said the refunds won't materially affect the company, which has $12.5 billion in cash. Strickler declined to reveal how many people bought video through Google.

Basically Google is going to give "store credit", and hopefully you'll like something else at their store which you can then buy.  Seems like a raw deal to me, which is why I still stick to DVD's and MP3's for my video and music needs.

Via Slashdot.

Has It Changed Your Life Yet?

by Nick Thursday, August 02, 2007 10:27 AM

I'm kind of curious.  There was so much iPhone hype... and then people rushed out to get them... and I saw a flurry of "I'm posting from my iPhone posts" and "I'm taking a picture from my iPhone pictures"... but now not so much.  So now that the new toy feel has begun to fade... was it worth the money?

About Me

Nick Schweitzer Nick Schweitzer
Wauwatosa, WI

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I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit. ... Full Bio

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