my recent reads..

Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters; From the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima
Power Sources and Supplies: World Class Designs
Red Storm Rising
Locked On
Analog Circuits Cookbook
The Teeth Of The Tiger
Sharpe's Gold
Without Remorse
Practical Oscillator Handbook
Red Rabbit

Friday, February 27, 2009

Like you scroll wheel? You want KatMouse!

I just heard about KatMouse on Security Now! #182.

I type fast, but love my mouse ( ... and there has been lot's of controversy about the numeric keyboard getting in the way too).

That means I'm a scroll-wheel addict. Till now, I just accepted the fact that it doesn't kick in all the times I would naturally expect it to work, like old applications, or in controls or windows that don;t have focus.

As soon as I heard Steve talk about KatMouse I knew I just had to get it. Two minutes later, it is installed and I'm loving it!

Best feature: when I have overlapping windows, I can scroll whichever window the mouse is over. Doesn't have to be in focus. Beautiful! This is how the scroll wheel should have worked all along;-)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wordling your twitter flock (and an aside on sniffing out bad proposals)

Twitter just keeps on attracting people who glob on new and interesting innovations; the latest I've seen is TwitterSheep which does a neat wordle of your followers.

Twitter has got to be the poster-child for YAGNI. By keeping things real minimalist, it not only creates the space but also the yearning for innovation - and we're seeing that in bucketloads (see also MrTweet; proud to say, Singapore compatriots!).

Wordles are simple but interesting semantic analysis toys. How useful can a word frequency count be? You may see a bit of noise, but I read them as a measure of obsession.

I've been using for a while to do proposal analysis. It's become a "must-do" step before submission, as the insights can be invaluable. Simply paste in the full text of your proposal, and reflect on the resulting wordle. It's better than therapy!

What should be prominent of course are the concerns and issues that you know your client highly values. But what you will often see in your first drafts are a whole lot of words that are basically synonyms for ME! As in: my company, our product names, our partners, our technology etc etc.

All very well (it is a proposal after all), but just like a good conversationalist, shouldn't good proposals be at least equally weighted towards your listener's needs and desires? I think so, and wordles are quick and easy tools for sniffing out the boilerplate proposal that doesn't give a flying fig for the customer!

Still not convinced? Well, see the wordles that Billy Cripe did of Obama and McCain's convention speeches. Thank god you voted in Obama is all I can say!

What scares me is a seeing an obsession with "Country" "Americans", "fight", "war", "God" and even friggin' "nuclear", "attack" in the one wordle!!!!

So here's my twitter flock. Hmm, we're a pretty boring bunch!

Props to Daryl Tay for the TwitterSheep link.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Best Practices in Web Form Design

I'm humming and hahing over some form designs at the moment. These days you have so many options, especially when you are getting smart with ajax and scriptaculous tricks.

Having options is always a double-edged sword. Yes, they allow you to do amazing things. But they provide a great recipe for procrastination.

.. just the situation where some thoughtful, concise guidance on leading practices from someone who knows their stuff can be a goldmine.

Thankfully I stumbled upon this great presentation on web form design by Luke Wroblewksi. It's a classic, and now I see he has a book out on the topic which instantly went on my "must read" list.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

SOA is dead! Was it ever alive?

There's nothing like a "financial correction" to make people wake up and start sniffing the crap that has been shoveled their way.

Waddya know? SOA is dead says Burton.

If I was paying for Burton services, I would be asking for a refund and an explanation as to why it took so long to identify the bleedin' obvious

The irony may have been a bit thick for anyone to realise that my story of Eric the Architect was little more than a lampoon on the generations of IT attempting to find a home within business (true friend - true story - honest!!!).

Guys - pragmatism rules. SOA never had anything to do with the bottom-line. Directly. And the indirect contributions lacked evidence and credibility.

In an excess of pragmatism, Miko Matsumura shut down the SOA center blog on the back of the Burton article. The new blog will be called the Whatever Center. Love the name, but will the dns changes ever propagate? I hope so, for Matsumura-san's integrity. Unlike WFTs transition to WTH, this is not a joke.

Personally, I'm with Justin Kestelyn:
The problems remain with us, whatever we choose to call the solution.