Blog Updates

If all goes according to plan this week I’ll be doing some long awaited blog improvements.  A few notable additions that I’ll be focusing on are including quotes in the about me section that were given by my colleagues.  These quotes mean a lot to me as I’ve become increasingly aware of how important it is to give your colleagues the same amount of courteousness as you would your very own clients.  The other improvement that I’ll be thinking over is changing the downloads page name to “my work” instead and then even branch that off further into professional and hobby work types.

Now if I could only solve the problem with lack of blog posts..

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Martian Marathon 2010

On Saturday I took part in half of the Martian Marathon, totaling 13.1 miles through the streets of Dearborn. The weather was a crisp 38 degrees at the start and gradually got nicer as the race drew on. This wasn’t the longest I’ve ran before but it was definitely the toughest run as not only were there people to run around but there were many hills to dredge up which takes a lot out of you! Overall it was a great experience and I had lots of fun cheering on the running sensation also known as Sam.

Official Results
Total Time: 1:52:18.0 Pace: 8:34/mi

Martian Marathon 2010

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Mix 10K Competition

My entry into this years Mix 10K competition is a blackjack game made with Silverlight. It seems appropriate as the conference returns to Las Vegas this year. This will sure to be of use as we tend to end up at the tables at some point in the day.

The point of the competition is to write a Silverlight/HTML5 application in under 10k of code. While developing my submission I had to combine classes, remove plenty of white space and refactor many objects into shorter names to pull it off. In the end it almost reminded me of coding a strongly typed JavaScript (one could only wish).

To show appreciation for my efforts I received a t-shirt in the mail with the Mix 10k logo. To be honest it was all I was expecting out of it.. guess I’m just a sucker for free swag!

View My Blackjack10k Entry

Blackback10k Game
Mix10kShirtFront Mix10kShirtBack
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Agile Development Practices

This past Wednesday at the Great Lakes Area .NET User Group I had an opportunity to listen to Brian Prince (Architech Evangelist from Microsoft) speak about agile development practices. The following are just a few of the concepts that were covered on the topic.

Stand Up Meetings

Every day at a set time get together with your team and meet for anywhere from 10-15 minutes. The time limit is important to adhere to no matter how large or small your team is and keeps the meeting flowing and on topic. Take long discussions offline after the meeting so that you won’t be taking up other people’s time. Use some type of object as your speaking token and only the person with the token gets to talk. This token can be anything you want and gets passed around the entire team. It’s encouraged that everyone is standing during this time, which besides the fact that its called a “stand up” meeting, I would imagine that it also keeps people from getting too comfortable and extending the meeting time longer than it should be.

Usually the stand up meetings covered these three things:


  1. Talk about what you did yesterday.
  2. What you plan on doing today.
  3. Anything holding you up

The “Moscow” rule

Moscow, which stands for Must O Should Could O Wont, is used to give your tasks prioritization. The client plays a big role in this as they will be constantly prioritizing the tasks regularly based on their needs. Try to think of the Moscow rule as a series of containers. The rule of thumb here is to have your client put as many tasks in the “won’t” section as they want and then divide the rest of the tasks evenly into “must”, “should” and “could”. By practicing this you have a clearer picture of what types of things that people should be working on for each given iteration without allowing the client to have every feature assigned to the “must” container.

The Iron Triangle

The Iron Triangle is a way to visualize each aspect of a project and how it affects the other. By emphasizing any two areas from the triangle you will be taking away from the one remaining piece. Interestingly enough, where is the “Quality” piece of the triangle?

Iron Triangle

Not all rules of agile must be adhered to, use what works and forget what doesn’t. It can take upwards to a year or two in some cases for your team to fully embrace and acquire the benefits of practicing agile development.

Source:
http://businessagile.blogspot.com/2005/02/breaking-iron-triangle-project-manager.html

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Amazon Release Date Delivery

Amazon just keeps getting better.  I’ve recently discovered that they are now offering release date delivery of certain Video Games.  You pay around $5.95 or a buck more than standard shipping to get it sooner, but the deal gets even sweeter if you have a Prime subscription where your release date shipping is absolutely free!  This is especially good news since I cringe stepping foot into any more Gamestops and tolerating their pre-order pressure tactics and other brain numbing suggestive selling measures they partake in.

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