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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Google Chrome Browser Thoughts


For years we have been accustomed to the tabbed browser interface and how helpful this is to manage your browsing sessions. This trend in software has been so successful that its hard to imagine a browser without these tabs. There is no doubt that while viewing a large collection the potential it has to start tying up your computers resources and may not entirely give them back when you’ve closed the tab either. Another concern is that when one tab has a problem processing a request, your browser will likely crash and take all of your other tabs with it if you’re not careful!

Its almost been a week now since Google’s new Chrome browser has been released to the public and from what I’ve been seeing, the response has been overwhelmingly good. While its too soon to tell how much adoption the new browser will have especially to your average web user, if this past week is any indication of this then we may have one serious contender on our hands.

The idea behind the new browser was Google’s acknowledgment of how much time we spend online conducting our daily business, whether it be online banking or sending email. Sites are being developed now that are capable of performing much more complex tasks than we would have ever imagined 15 years ago when web browser were first introduced. This realization has given way to finding a better browser architecture capable of dealing with the high demands of sites such as online word processors, airfare booking, maps and many other types rich internet applications.

So I guess the more important question is should you be using Chrome in its current development state? Do you like to jump in feet first and test the waters with a whole new experience? Are you not concerned with bugs, incompatibilities or worse.. potential security holes? Then by all means, this is your browser. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t trying to imply that there is anything wrong with treading new ground and pushing new technology. For myself though, I’ll be mostly using Chrome as a fun new toy to experiment with rather than migrating over entirely. What I’m really interested in seeing is what will come out of the open source community that is actively working on the browsers core which I believe in time that we will see great things come out of the chromium project which powers Chrome. While there is no certainty that Google Chrome itself will come out on top when its all said and done, but there is no denying that it will be known as the browser that was at the forefront of a new undertaking in how we think about today’s web applications.

Pros:
Introduces a new way of thinking about how browsers work
Innovate way of handling complex websites with V8 JavaScript rendering engine (complied)
The UI is simplistic (the browser should be transparent)
Everything is open source!

Cons:
Google is a company that is best known for it’s services NOT it’s software.
The UI is simplistic (I miss having my firefox plugins at my disposal)
As if web developers need one more browser to test on
Too early to tell its adoption rate

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