Geeks With Blogs
Jonathan Starr's Blog Thoughts on C#, Ajax, WCF, LINQ, Agile et al. Personal
Scrum / Agile Development and Team Consciousness
improve my => 'code' One of the interesting features of Agile development is the regular feedback created by the methodology. Continuous builds, especially when they show graphically when they are broken or have failing unit tests, give Agile teams a sort of self awareness about the health of their project. Many Agile projects even give visual cues regarding the health of the project for instance showing the health of the build through the use of traffic lights (green for good, red for broken). ......

Posted On Friday, August 1, 2008 10:53 PM

Flood
Some friends and relatives have been asking about the flood conditions in Fenton, MO (outside Saint Louis) so I thought I should post some pics of the affected areas. My home has not been harmed (knock on wood!), but the area around me certainly has been. I think this is a pic of a trailer park about three miles from my house. Another pic.. There are a few bars, a public swimming pool and a soccer field affected by the rains as well. Tueday, Wednesday and Thursday we are expecting more rain as well ......

Posted On Monday, March 24, 2008 6:49 PM

Beauty.Equals(Truth) ?
improve my => 'code' I noticed an entry on Wikipedia that made me smile. SPL or the Shakespeare Programming Language is, in the words of Wikipedia, "designed to make programs appear to be something other than programs; in this case, Shakespearean plays. " Variables in code are treated like characters in a Shakespearean play. Variables must "enter" to be useable (allocated?) and "exit" to be declare out of scope... And variables speak their mind to output to the console. For instance, [Enter Juliet] ......

Posted On Tuesday, January 22, 2008 1:58 PM

The Sesame Street Presentation Rule - Not #1
I just read through Jeff Atwood's recent post - The Sesame Street Presentation Rule - and it warrants a reaction. The most important feature of a presentation is that it communicates how you can benefit your audience. People are not actively trying to fund cartoons or quips as much as they are looking out for their own very personal needs (whatever that is). So, it is vital that we analyze our audience for their needs - as needs differ. Employees are generally interested in security, and possibilities ......

Posted On Monday, January 21, 2008 2:53 PM

Thought Experiment: Reforming Meetings
I just read an excellent article posted on XKCD on how to create a better IRC chat. Basically, to keep chats interesting, the server boots out users who enter things already entered before. Wouldn't that be good for corporate meetings? The rule could be amended: If someone says anything said before (even using different words), the person cannot speak again for the duration of the meeting. Imagine how much shorter meetings would be with this rule. No more endless repetitions. No more wasted time. ......

Posted On Wednesday, January 16, 2008 5:31 PM

1st Instructional Video
I have been helping a friend finish a mobile web application for his new business (www.1CCN.com), and posted below are my first attempts for making instructional videos. Windows Movie Maker (which comes with Vista) was a blast - really easy to use. Any comments are appreciated - btw, we will be adding Ajax to the budget entries tomorrow. Thanks! Jonathan Adding a contact to the Contractors' Collaborative Network Creating a Project in the Contractors' Collaborative Network ......

Posted On Saturday, January 12, 2008 8:55 PM

Motivating Developers
I was just reading Jeff Atwood's post - The Magpie Developer - where he uses the metaphor of the magpie who collects shiny objects for his nest to explain why elite programmers go from one programming language to another. Perhaps it would be more useful to think about what really motivates programmers generally. After all, while the pay is okay in our profession, most of us work in relative isolation on problems not generally of interest to the public. Personally, I studied math as an undergrad - ......

Posted On Monday, January 7, 2008 5:26 PM

An Inalienable Right to Privacy - My Reaction
I was just reading through Jeff Atwood's excellent blog post, An Inalienable Right to Privacy, and I could not agree with him more. We as consumers must demand that our privacy be respected by (1) not providing information when it is not needed and (2) purchasing from vendors that respect our privacy. I will go further, however. We need to have laws on the books that allow us to sue corporations and individuals who abuse our private financial information and contact information. The Do-Not-Call list ......

Posted On Monday, December 31, 2007 4:50 PM

How can we help
improve my => 'spirit' My good friend, Michael Bittel, writes in his blog that it's All About Africa. I confess that I spend less than 1% of my time thinking about Africa. But I should be spending more time. Here are the best reasons I have to support Michael's statement. 1. The problems of poverty and health issues are most pronounced in Africa. Logically, the place where we can make the greatest difference is the place in which we should be concentrating our energies. 2. Our societies are getting ......

Posted On Wednesday, December 26, 2007 4:44 PM

Got some flak...
... on my religious thought experiment. I think South Park says it well.. Enjoy, Jonathan Starr ......

Posted On Tuesday, December 18, 2007 1:50 AM

Just how good are the Patriots
The Patriots are currently 15-0, and are looking to become the second team to ever have a perfect regular season. But, how good are the Patriots really? Perhaps they are just lucky? P(Winning Each Game) P(Going 15-0) 50% 0.003% 75% 1.336% 90% 20.589% 95.4842% 50.000% From the chart above, if the Patriots really had a 50% chance of winning each of the first 15 games, then they were certainly lucky. Not quite lottery winning lucky, but a team with a true 50% chance of winning each game should only ......

Posted On Thursday, December 27, 2007 4:46 PM

Size is Half the Enemy
improve my => 'code' I just read Jeff Atwood's post - Size is the Enemy - and I think his contention that Size => Complexity => Bad Application, is partly true. But not entirely true. How does an application become large in the first place? If an application is successful, and is widely adopted, there is a greater chance that the same application may be reused for more purposes than originally intended. To handle the new use cases, custom code is added and we get code bloat. This may be ......

Posted On Wednesday, December 26, 2007 1:49 PM

5 Hour Energy
I started to use this product to work on multiple projects at one time. It's done wonders for me so far... As the advertising goes, I get a couple more hours of focused concentration from using it, and I have not crashed afterwards, or gotten the shakes after using... but are there long term effects? Are any of you using 5 Hour Energy? Thanks for your comments and help- Jonathan Starr ......

Posted On Monday, December 24, 2007 8:58 PM

Concave Up Costs of Iraq War
I keep hearing from Republicans that the surge is working and that we are winning in Iraq. Then why are the monthly costs for this war always increasing (concave up) instead of decreasing (convex down)? The Russians destroyed Napoleon by bringing him into a costly war. Are we following his path? I know I will be getting flak for this post, Jonathan Starr ......

Posted On Monday, December 24, 2007 12:33 PM

Liquidity is Undervalued ...
.... but not as much as Ranjan Badhuri implies in his article in allaboutalpha.com Ranjan writes about a game where liquidity pays: The game consists of a hat that contains 6 black balls and 4 white balls. The player picks balls from the hat and gains $1 for each white ball, and loses $1 for each black ball. The selection is done without replacement. At the end of each pick, the player may choose to stop or continue. The player has the right to refuse to play (i.e. not pick any balls at all). Given ......

Posted On Sunday, December 23, 2007 4:58 PM

Doris Lessing and Why Literature is Overrated
So, I was recently referred to Doris Lessing's acceptance speech for a Nobel Prize in Literature, and on one hand it's a touching story of how people from impoverished areas in India and Africa continue to read literature and try to 'educate' themselves even under adverse conditions such as lack of potable water, or exterme poverty. But are all forms of knowledge useful when your basic needs are not being met? One of the women in her speech is pregnant "with two kids clutching at her legs', and a ......

Posted On Monday, December 17, 2007 8:54 PM

Belated Thought Experiment
I admit that I have been remiss updating this blog with thought experiments as promised. So, to make up for this I have a good one for you - especially those of you who are theologically minded. Let's start with the premise that God exists and that God created a perfect world for humankind. If that is the case, then it is no accident that the world's population has so many different belief systems. Is it possible that every major belief system has something to contribute to our spiritual welfare? ......

Posted On Monday, December 17, 2007 7:39 PM

Skydived into Skydrive...
I did a quick test of Microsoft's new Skydrive service last night. It appears that Microsoft provides about 1 GB of storage for each Live account, with a cap of 30 MB per file. Microsoft allows you to create your own custom link to your content ala http://xyzzy.spaces.live.com/ where xyzzy is a name you can choose. Only complaints? I could not upload more than one file at a time for some reason, and the site was slow (perhaps because there were a lot of users at time of launch?) Anyway, you may want ......

Posted On Thursday, November 8, 2007 8:58 AM

Ship of Theseus and Software Engineering
improve my => 'code' I have always found the essential idea behind the Ship of Theseus interesting. From Wikipedia.org According to Greek legend as reported by Plutarch, “ The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned [from Crete] had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their place, insomuch that this ship became a standing example among ......

Posted On Friday, December 7, 2007 5:38 PM

Top 12 Reasons Why Coding is Better Than Lawyering
12. Most of the time, a lawyer's job is to say no, but a coder's is to find out how. 11. Coders can go to work in t-shirts & jeans. 10. Coders get to create stuff everyday, not tear stuff down. 9. Coders learn every day how to write more powerful code. 8. There are never enough coders, but there are always too many lawyers. 7. Lawyers win arguments by getting on our nerves; coders win by building the prototype. 6. Programming books are expensive, but legal books are grand larceny. 5. Coders have ......

Posted On Sunday, December 2, 2007 10:43 PM

For all of you sleepy heads out there...

.. who are enjoying their winter sleep-ins...

Wakey-Wakey

Posted On Saturday, December 1, 2007 8:04 PM

Thought Experiment Sunday
I recently had lunch with a coworker who suggested that I pose a new physics thought experiment every week, and see what readers think of it. So, this is the first installment! The other day, I was looking at Einstein's special theory of relativity, especially the formula for length contraction that goes like this: where capital X is the original length for an object, v is its velocity, c is the speed of light, and lower case x is the resulting apparent length of the object due to special relativity. ......

Posted On Saturday, December 1, 2007 5:20 PM

Timothy Ferriss - Experiments in Lifestyle Design
I need to give a shout out to Timothy Ferris and his blog Experiments in Lifestyle Design. He recently posted about Tich Nhat Hanh - my favorite Buddhist writer. And he has posts on how to outsource your work, how to learn foreign languages quickly.... and generally how to incorporate more - travel, adventure, etc in to your life. He is certainly a terrific inspiration, and my goal is to implement 10% of his hints now... Hopefully, my life will vastly improve - and yours too - from his wisdom. Thanks ......

Posted On Sunday, November 25, 2007 5:47 PM

Kindle is not the next iPod... yet
With the success Apple has had rolling out the iPod, Amazon is trying to follow suit. They just released a new eBook device called the Kindle, and most reviewers are not taking kindly to it. They cite the high cost ($400) for the gadget as well as its limited web access (only to certain blogs, nytimes.com and amazon.com) as significant drawbacks. The glare reduction engineered in the product, and the fact that it saves trees are pluses. Generally I do not want to bring a laptop when I go on vacation ......

Posted On Saturday, November 24, 2007 12:59 PM

A Modest Mideast Proposal
I know that politics is a taboo subject for a blog devoted to technology. However, I have come across an interesting and, in my opinion, logical solution to the problems in the Mideast. My view is an American one, and perhaps I don't take into account all of the needs of other participants. However you may at least find my view provocative if not entertaining or feasible. There are a few points that I need to make first (like mathematical lemmas), and then I will combine these points to make my proposal. ......

Posted On Friday, November 23, 2007 8:30 PM

Check this out - Scott Guthrie posted on this blog!
So very cool... One of my favorite bloggers (and developer/manager extraordinaire), Scott Guthrie, posted a response on my blog. Looks like he really cares about the Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 Release (and it does not go unnoticed here.) Anyway, I will hold off writing about Silverlight until it becomes available. Thanks again, Scott. Jonathan ......

Posted On Monday, November 19, 2007 10:14 PM

Sex and Religion and Other Thoughts in 1984
I just finished listening to the audio version of George Orwell's dystopian book, 1984... While I first read this in seventh grade (MANY years ago), I was fascinated by how many more things I caught this time. 1. It looks to me that Winston was safe until he was corrupted by Julia - which harkens back memories of the Garden of Eden story where Eve convinces Adam to eat an apple from the Tree of Knowledge. (Remember that Winston's first secual episode with Julia is in the fields where Winston is reminded ......

Posted On Saturday, October 27, 2007 3:34 PM

New Links
Comic for the day There's no escape from this room... Music What's the matter with parents today Did you get my memo re: Your Brains More Music I Feel Fantastic! - Don't forget to take your steak-tastes-better-pill! Still More Music! The Future Soon Larry Craig has broken new ground Mark Fiore's Weekly Political Cartoon Enjoy ......

Posted On Friday, October 26, 2007 6:17 PM

Reaction to "Why Atheists Are Not Very Bright"
I just finished reading Dinesh D'Souza's essay Why Atheists are Not Very Bright which is also an excerpt from his book, What's So Great About Christianity. I am not an atheist, but I can certainly see atheism as a reasonable point of view. Consequently I am responding to his piece. Dinesh starts out parroting an argument from Kant that we cannot know everything about the world because we only come to know the world throught the filter of our senses. According to D'Souza, this implies that (1) we ......

Posted On Thursday, October 25, 2007 7:32 PM

New Links
I did not have much time to update the blog over the weekend. Went to the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Saint Louis Wine Festival (and had too much to drink?). But I thought you might enjoy some of these links... Promising web site - looks like a new site that allows users to submit code they want to be refactored... Refactor My Code Moebius Transformations Cool Video Good topology problem (I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Thurston, too.) Cool Video Flatland was made into a movie! Cool... Cool ......

Posted On Sunday, September 30, 2007 9:41 PM

Starting at Reuters - Very Excited
I noticed that Bill Evjen ( http://geekswithblogs.net/e... ) and Kevin Grossnicklaus ( http://geekswithblogs.net/k... ) had started blogs, and they are very prominent managers at Lipper (in Saint Louis, Missouri) which is a division of Reuters ... I thought some of the readers out there may be interested in contributions from someone more junior than these two titans of tech. First off, the interview process at Lipper was impressive. Bill Evjen and two other developers ......

Posted On Tuesday, September 25, 2007 7:39 PM

Copyright © Jonathan Starr | Powered by: GeeksWithBlogs.net