Jim Shore’s Agile Talk

October 28, 2007

The talk was mostly non-technical , but interesting nonetheless. Jim has a book out with O”Reilly and this talk seems like part of a book tour.

He started off saying that contrary to what you might expect, increased testing results in more bugs. So you got to look at the data and not go with you feelings. How is this seeming contradiction explained? Well, if you have a very strong testing group and a lot of pressure on developers, the developers tend then to get fast but sloppy, believing that the testing group will find their errors. This is no the way to run a team.

Rather he believes testers should work with developers to come up with methods that minimize the occurrence of bugs.

Qestions form the audience on who management views this. Why do developers always seem to think management is benighted? Oh, if we have no bugs or fewer bugs, our managers will lay off testers. Yes, the benighted ones will. They’re probably the same people that cancel their home insurance when they go a year or two without a fire.

Diana said that one should think of the team as a team that works together. The balance is right so don’t mess with it. Agile people talk about self-organizing. This does maake it difficult to maintain competition among co-workers and team members. Yes, there are organizations where team members compete angainst other team members. Think of a sports team as an analogy.

Interesting concept called technical debt was discussed. This concept is due to Ward Cunningham. You know, you’re in a hurry, so you do something that is quick but you know is not the right way to do it. You say you’ll go back and fix it. The more you do this the more you have to go back and fix. Not that you should’t have any technical debt, but it’s something to watch.

A good talk, good pizza, a chance to touch base with the technical community.

Proposed new IEEE floating point standard

October 14, 2007

Anyone interested in going over the new IEEE P754 Floating Point Standard? I’m on the ballot committe and the votes are due 11/10/07.

If you’re not on the Draft Committee (that is, the group that put together the draft), it’s OK to discuss it. The people who wrote it are cautioned not to lobby for a particular viewpoint, but if you’re not one of the writers, then it’s certainly OK to discuss its good (or bad) points. It’s a really nice new standard with lots of new stuff … the standard for computer representation of decimal numbers is neat.

OSHU Tramway Tour

October 9, 2007

Meet at 6PM 10/17/2007
Corner of SW Bond and SW Curry

The OHSU Portland Aerial Tramway carries commuters between the city’s South Waterfront district and OHSU and the Marquam Hill neighborhood. It is the second commuter aerial tramway in the United States (after New York City’s Roosevelt Island Tramway). The tram travels a horizontal distance of 3,300 feet and rises 500 feet in a ride that lasts three and one-half minutes. Its upper terminal is 140 feet above grade, and connected to the ninth floor of a new patient care facility on the university’s campus. Its lower terminal in the rapidly growing South Waterfront connects to the Portland Streetcar for direct service downtown. A
single intermediate tower supports the tram’s cables between the two terminals, allowing the tram to rise nearly 200 feet over Interstate 5. Almost all of the journey is near its upper elevation, making the tram easily visible for some distance, and providing good views of the eastern metropolitan area and the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington. The number of commuters to date is almost 1 million after opening to the general public in January 2007.

The tram uses track ropes, a single haul rope, a counterweight, a drive system and other equipment to support and move the tram cabins from the riverfront to OHSU and back. The drive system consists of 3 different types of drives; the main drive which is a variable frequency drive powering a 450kW motor, a standby drive which is a diesel hydrostatic and an evacuation drive which is similar to the standby drive. The control systems are PLC driven and include rope and drive monitors, safety systems, environmental monitors, communications between the tram cabins and the control room and other systems to safely move the commuters.

Mike Commissaris is the Portland Area Tram General Manager and has extensive experience in electronics, communications and tramway operations. He spent 10 years designing high frequency radio and telephone equipment with Stoner Communications. Mike designed failsafe railroad automation systems for Harmon Electronics for 10 years and spent 15 years as the Assistant General Manager of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Web Statistics for Last Month

October 8, 2007

Now, I’m trying to understand what these statistics mean, so please feel free to jump in and correct what I’m saying.

Note that the range I chose was from our last Executive Committee meeting.

We have 656 sessions. What does that mean? A session is defined as hits by a single user. We got 53 174 hits. So I think this means that we got 656 visitors with a total of 53 174 hits, meaning that each visitor averaged about 80 hits. This is a lot for one user. I’m administering the web site and I’m not sure I hit it more 80 times/month. So are we interpreting these statistics correctly.

And here are statistics for our blog. These statistics do not include my (tkubaska) accesses. Clearly, we don’t have a lot of activity here.

Using Word to Post Blog Entries

October 8, 2007

I usually just log into the blog and use the wordpress facilities to post. But for the last post I tried out Microsoft Word 2007. You can use its blog post feature. From within Word, you register your blog (it’s interesting that the registration form refers to a PHP program!). Then you type the entry and select Publish from a dropdown menu.

One unfortunate thing is that when you publish, you get a message that says your username and password may be visible on the net. I’m not sure what that means in terms of security. Does anyone know?

Executive Committee Meeting

October 8, 2007

Tuesday, October 9, 2007.
PSU, 4th Ave Building

Code Sprint

October 2, 2007

There’s a Code Sprint this week that conflicts with WikiWednesday (10/3) Ever been to a Code Sprint? Check out the wiki