2008-12-22

Saeco Nina RIP

We loved our Saeco Nina, but after only four or five months, it's hardly usable. It can hardly pull an espresso any more. The pump can't force water through the filter, with or without the auto-pressure gasket, despite our cleaning regimen The pull is inconsistent, sometimes too weak, and other times too bitter. I have given up on it.

At home, I love our relatively new Gaggia Coffee Deluxe. At the office, I'll probably switch to the trusty old French press.

2008-12-17

Meetings suck

First he butters me up: "As one of my best managers, I thought I'd get some advice..."

Then he makes a genuine request for help: "... on how perhaps my company should structure one of their processes... in particular, team meetings"

I offer a snarky response: "Meetings suck. Avoid them."

And then I get interrupted and can't finish the IM conversation, so he thinks I'm a jerk.

This is what I would have said if I had thought it through.

The only meetings you need are the ones that help you meet your business goals. Your only true business goal is to make money. Your software engineering team is a constraint on your ability to meet your business goals; you need to do things to make your team efficient. The only meetings you need are the ones that address your software engineering team as a constraint on your organization's ability to make money, the meetings that make your team more efficient.

Here are the specific meetings you need:

Daily greeting
This isn't formal meeting, but it might be the most important meeting of the day. Be friendly! Make sure you talk to people when you don't have a problem or complaint, so they won't mind talking to you when you do bring trouble. If you train people that you talk to them only when you have a complaint or there's a problem, then they'll avoid you. Everyone should offer a friendly daily greeting to everyone they work work, every day, for at least a few minutes each.

Initial project planning meeting
At the beginning of your project, hold a project planning meeting. Discuss project goals and non-goals. Understand the known requirements. Prioritize the product backlog. Outline a plan with timeboxed milestones (sprints) marking a path to the end. Attendees include all the project's stakeholders: the customer or a proxy, the product owner, the business team, the project manager or scrum master, and the project team members. Hold this meeting once, at the beginning of each project, for 2 to 8 hours, depending on your organization's norms.

Sprint review and planning meeting
At the beginning of each sprint, plan the sprint. At the end of each sprint, review the sprint. What did you get done? What did you deliver to your customer? Demo your delivery to the stakeholders and to each other. Discuss what worked well and didn't work well during the sprint. Review and amend your product backlog, and reprioritize it according to your business goals. Let the project team select and commit to completing a subset of the prioritized product backlog for the sprint backlog. Depending on your organization, sprint review and sprint planning can be two distinct meetings, each 2 to 8 hours long, or one combined meeting, 2 to 8 hours long.

Daily stand-up
You must talk to each other every day. The least efficient team members are the ones that never communicate with each other; the next least efficient team members are the ones that only send email to each other. Hold a regular meeting, at the same time, in the same place, every day, for 15 minutes or less. Call it a daily stand-up, a scrum, or whatever you want--my team currently calls it the Super Mega Stand Up. Review what you did since last time and what you plan to do until the next time. Talk about impediments to getting stuff done. Pay attention, and after the meeting, help each other remove the impediments. Don't solve problems here--save that for a follow-up ad hoc problem solving meeting. If this meetings lasts more than 15 minutes, you are wasting people's time, and your team isn't getting stuff done.

Ad hoc problem solving
Got a problem? Talk to each other and solve it now. That's right, talk to each other. Now. Don't send email, wait, and complain about not getting a response. Talk, together, in real time, now, face to face if you can. You made a commitment to your team to get stuff done. Remove the impediment now so you can keep your commitment.

Scrum of scrums
I have internal customers--my boss, his boss, the board of directors--and external customers--the people paying us to build app's for them. I hold regular scrums-of-scrums with them. I act as the scrum master for my teams, reporting what we did since last time, what we plan to do through next time, and our current impediments and plans for removing them. With my internal customers, this is a weekly one hour meeting. With my external customers, this is usually weekly, although it can be twice a week or daily, depending on the project. With external customers, the customer's project manager attends, and he sometimes brings his boss or his team members with him. External scrums-of-scrums usually last up to 30 minutes.

One-on-one meet-up
You need to speak privately with your team members to see how they feel, make sure they are motivated, and make sure they understand the team's short term and long term goals. How's the family? How's the dog? How is the project going? Is anything blocking you from getting stuff done? Are there any conflicts with other team members or stakeholders? Are you planning any vacation time? I hold a one-on-one meet-up with each team member for about 15 minutes, twice a month. Talk to each other in good times and in bad--if you only talk when something is going wrong, you're the bad guy.

2008-12-12

G1 please insert disk

Jake attached the G1 to his Windows XP PC via the USB cable. Drive E: appeared in My Computer. He double-clicked E: and saw this message:
Please insert disk into E:
How could he copy files to or from the G1 if Windows wouldn't recognize the file system?

jedman has the answer:
Plug in the USB cable to your G1. USB connected notification is on top of your G1 home screen, scroll it down. Click on the "USB connected" notification. Click "Mount." Go to your computer and select "Removable Disk (G:)" to access your G1 SD card. :)

2008-12-10

Firefox tabs broken

Lately, my Firefox 3.0.4 has been misbehaving. Whenever I press Ctrl-t to open a new tab, a window pops up in the bottom right corner, displaying this text:
Ubiquity Notification
An exception occurred while running (). TypeError: window.content is null
Here's a screen shot:



When I type a URL in the new tab's URL text box, the web page open's in the previous tab. When I Crtl-click to open a URL in a new tab, the new web page loads in the current tab.

Craziness!

My best fix is to completely uninstalled Firefox, delete my Firefox settings (folder C:\Documents and Settings\my-user-name\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox), and reinstall Firefox. After that, everything is back to normal.

2008-12-08

Activate G1 without G1 data plan

Update 2009-12-10: Read Activate G1 without Android data plan, redux for fresh information.

The problem: You got your new T-Mobile G1, you already have a $19.99/month Total Internet data plan for yourself and a Family Time Unlimited Messages plan for the family. You don't need or want the new $24.99/month T-Mobile G1 Unlimited Web data plan, but it seems like you can't activate your new G1 without the special G1 data plan.

The solution: With one settings change, you can activate your G1 with the Total Internet data plan. Here's how.

Remove the battery cover and insert your SIM. Snap everything back together and power the phone on. Wait for the boot screens to disappear, and "touch the android to begin." Wait a moment, and the carrier connection signal bars appear; I see 3 of 4 or 4 of 4 bars in my house. Wait another moment, and EDGE data connection icon appears. Wait another moment, and the 3G icon appears, obscuring the EDGE icon. We are up and running with a good data connection, looking at the Setting up your T-Mobile G1 screen.

Press the MENU button, and the APN settings button appears. Tap it, and the APNs screen appears. Scroll to T-Mobile US and tap it. On the Edit access point screen, tap APN. Change the APN from epc.tmobile.com to internet2.voicestream.com wap.voicestream.com [updated 2009-04-24, thanks to the comment from chris]. Click the back button twice to return to the Setting up your T-Mobile G1 screen.

Tap Next. Scroll down to the Already have an account? section and tap Sign in. On the Welcome to T-Mobile G1 screen, type your Google username and password and tap Sign in. Wait a moment, and the next screen appears: Your Google account is now linked to this phone. Success! Tap Finish setup, and you're done. (Thanks to cash743 at modmyGphone for the clues.)

How fast is T-Mobile's 3G network on the G1? Let's find out. On the home screen, tap the browser. Type http://www.dslreports.com/mspeed into the address box and press the Enter key. Tap 100k and wait. The speed test reports that the download was too fast to take a measurement. Tap choose a larger file, and then 1MB. My result: 589 kbit/sec, 0.71s latency, 14.399s d/l time. Wow, that's fast!

Now configure your WiFi connection. Press the MENU button. Tap Settings, Wireless controls, Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi check box turns green. Tap Wi-Fi settings, and the list of Wi-Fi networks appears. Tap your network. Type your key and tap Connect. Press the Home button, and you're done.

Have fun with your new G1.

2008-12-01

Qué tipo

What's your type? Are you a thinker or a feeler? Practical or idealist? A sensor or an intuitor? Typealyzer lets you know.

Typealizer scans your blog and infers a subset of your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Typealizer says I am on the ST side of things--a practical, Sensing, Thinking kind of person. I say he's right on.

Thanks to gHacks for the pointer.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails