March 2010

We Can’t Keep Starting Over

March 31, 2010 0 comments

Back 25 years ago the way we started to write a new version of a successful product was that we deleted the previous version and started with a clean slate. Virtually all the code we wrote was thrown away and many new versions were started from scratch. But we can’t do that today. The systems […]

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The Limiting Factor

March 24, 2010 2 comments

I’ve been a software developer for over a quarter of a century and I’ve seen software development change quite a lot in that time. When I started out writing code the main concern that I had was to make my software work. It was challenging to make software do what we wanted back then because […]

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Dolphins and Developers

March 18, 2010 0 comments

In feedback learning timing is everything. I’ve had the good fortune of working with dolphins in research projects a few times in my life. When we train dolphins to learn a new behavior we use a “bridge”, which is a high pitched whistle that we sound at the moment they do the behavior we want. […]

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Software is Too Forgiving

March 10, 2010 0 comments

I have a friend who is a hardware engineer. He says he hates software because it is too forgiving. When he designs electronics he has to follow strict engineering practices. One little mistake will likely make his whole design fail and cost his company over a $250,000 to “re-fab” the chip. He has to be […]

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The Habit of Quality

March 3, 2010 0 comments

Most everything in writing software is about finding balance and making the right tradeoffs. We must understand the impact of our decisions on our work and seek to minimize cost while maximizing value. Sometimes we have to write a crappy implementation to get it to our customers but let’s acknowledge that we are doing it […]

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