Monday, January 24, 2011

From Top Down to Agility

I am a Technical Team Leader.  I have some developers reporting to me.  So let me say this; Regulated, Regimented development.  That's what I try to use most of the time.  Yes, really.  It is extremely important to start a project with good specifications.  First, this means that I have had several conversations with my customers about what they are expecting to get out of the project, and how they expect to interact with it before anybody starts coding.

Requirements specifications make their way to Functional specifications.  This is where I admit that these are often done incorrectly, but they are still done.  Let me explain that.  The requirements are the high level things that management wants to accomplish.  The functional specs are supposed to be the things that define how the customer will interface with the product to meet the requirements.  However, more often, most of the interface decisions are stuffed into Requirements leaving the functional specification to double as a technical roadmap to how the project will be completed.

As long as all of the necessary information is there, it doesn't really bother me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Spreading the Word For Simon

Please help make 2011 Simon's year.

You know all those e-mails that get sent around with some heart-felt story about some child who is in dire need, and if you just forward the e-mail, you could help save that child's life?  Well, the overwhelming majority of those e-mails don't actually have a link that they want you to send along with that e-mail.  A link where people who actually have the means can drop a dollar, or twenty.  A link like this one here.

Like this, those e-mails usually talk about some heart-wrenching case where the doctors spent years trying to figure out exactly what was wrong.  In and out of hospitals.  Parents work vacation time gone by mid-February, every year.  Precious time was wasted, and meanwhile, that child's ability to just be a kid is not really complete.

Simon D is a real kid.  His parents are not rich and not terribly poor.  His father has a decent job.  Simon lives in a regular home with two loving parents.  It's just that he's sick, and the very real costs of needing a bone marrow transplant are overwhelming.  Sadly, there are not very many doctors and hospitals capable of performing this surgery on children.  So, Simon will have to go out of Florida, where he lives.  And his family will have to go too, because you can't just send a child alone on such a scary journey.  The loss of income, the hotels, the travel expenses, the eating at hospital cafeterias. The inevitable follow-up visits with the surgeons.  The estimated costs of this is 75,000 dollars (that's US money).

That is not an exaggeration, and honestly, deeply, even if this goal is made, it's still possible that it wouldn't be enough.  Chances are, this goal will not be reached and Simon's parents will be in debt for the rest of their lives.  Yes, this story is sad, and heart-breaking, but it's also very real.

Please help.  Please send this like you have seen forwarded e-mails like I talked about above.  Am I asking you to give money?  Yes, yes I am, I won't deny that.  I am ALSO asking you to forward this story to others.  The COTA page doesn't tell a story.  It's just a sentence, a picture and a donate button.  Forward this story, and maybe some people will listen and be able to help a little bit.

In case you were wondering, COTA is a Federally registered non-profit.  Donations are tax deductible in the US.  Also, for tax reasons, parents in this situation are NOT allowed to solicit donations themselves.  They must rely on others to do this for them.  Can you be someone who helps?


I have known Simon's father for over 19 years.  He is, in my opinion, good people.  I am just doing what I can.  Seriously, please... help me spread the word for Simon.

Thank you,
Gary Allen

Monday, January 3, 2011

Apple Admits iPhone Can't Compete, Targets Android with Patent Suits

Admitting that the iPhone can no longer feature compete with the fast moving open source platform, Android, Apple Inc dusts off some patents that could be stretched to cover some Android features and starts filing lawsuits.

Gone are the days when Apple could just tell people to use their phone and the difference in quality would be obvious.  These days, even the new Windows phones are better than iPhones, so to try to save it's market share, Apple has decided to sue instead of compete.