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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Visual Voicemail and Sprint

I’ve been a Sprint customer for over 4 years and even with sometimes spotty coverage I’ve been pleased with the service for the price. So today I receive a voice mail from a contractor coming out to do some work on the house and thought that I’d save this message and refer back to it at a later date. So I mistakenly pressed the wrong key and to my amazement managed to delete the voice mail from my account. D’oh! Which by the way, there should really be a confirmation or undo prompt afterwords, but I digress.

After doing a little searching I found an excellent (and FREE) visual voice mail service called YouMail. Upon signing up I discover that my beloved carrier wants to charge a fee of 20 cents a minute to forward unanswered calls to another number (including YouMail). This is something that other carriers offer at no change! Whats the deal Sprint??

Now I don’t get a tremendous amount of voice mails so its something I can live without, but I can’t fathom why it would mean charging for the service given that other carriers do not.

</end rant>

[UPDATE]

I’ve just sent a request to be invited to the Google Voice phone service. An update will surely follow about my experiences.

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Using Scrum to control complex software

Everything in Scrum…

  • is a time box (aka sprint), so things don’t go on forever
  • is done with cross functional teams who don’t need to be managed
  • has a constrained team size ( under 8 people )
  • has to achieve some form of a shippable product at the end of each time box / sprint
  • assumes that you are intelligent enough to come up with a solution to the problem at hand
  • requires minimal or no interruptions while sprinting

Additional points

  • Scrum goes hand in hand with Extreme Programming practices.
  • Working more hours does not equal better code quality. Code will likely become exponentially worse as a result of quick fixes and ideas that haven’t been adequately thought through. The cost to fix these issues even outweigh the cost that would have been saved by keeping normal work hours. As a result, overworking is not a good way to increase project velocity.
  • Unexpected features can harm project velocity in such a way that if not adjusted in time for quality control will cause future iterations to gradually worsen as you build upon a flawed code base. This continues until eventually you have a “design dead” product.
  • Over 65% of all functionality that is delivered (which must be maintained) is rarely or never used.
  • 35% of all requirements change during the life of a project.
  • Using a prioritized list of features, overtime the items will begin to loose value and at some point the time may be better spent elsewhere.

Resources

The Innovators Delima
Scrumalliance.org

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PDC 2008 Silverlight Videos

Microsoft Expression Blend: Tips & Tricks
http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/PC47/

Microsoft Silverlight 2: Control Model
http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/PC29/

Styling a Silverlight based Twitter application with Expression Blend 2
http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/Dan/Celso-Gomes-Styling-a-Silverlight-based-Twitter-application-with-Expression-Blend-2/

Helpful Links:

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PDC 2008 Web Related Videos

I’ve compiled a list of PDC sessions that cover topics related to the new features of ASP.NET and Visual Studio.

“Since 1991, the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) has been Microsoft’s premier gathering of leading-edge developers and architects. Attend the PDC to understand the future of the Microsoft platform and to exchange ideas with fellow professionals. You’ll learn about upcoming products, meet Microsoft’s leaders and top engineers, write some code, and be inspired! Unplug for a few days and think about the future.”

ASP.NET 4.0 Roadmap
http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/PC20/

ASP.NET and JQuery
http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/PC31/

Microsoft Visual Studio: Web Development Futures
http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/TL48/

ASP.NET MVC: A New Framework for Building Web Applications
http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/PC21/

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