muse

More on Small Steps

Folks, I’ve been pretty quiet about geekery lately. I wrote about using my geekery content as a small dose of comfort food. I’m going to offer a little more, today. We can geek out a little, for relief, because you gotta care for yourself to care for others. But this is not any kind of "return to normal". We don’t want to return to normal, we want to press forward. Stay safe, stay strong, stay kind, stay angry. Black lives …

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Pull & Swarm

Sooooooo. I’m gonna write a little bit about geekery. But I do want to frame it for you a little. Geekery is not very important right now. My country is in the throes of facing down a violent uprising by uniformed militia, spurred on by parts of the government. So, geekery, no. Not important. But, to me, and to many of my followers, thinking and talking about geekery is a kind of comfort food. Comfort doesn’t eliminate problems. But the …

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Microtest TDD: Economics

The economic aspects of microtest TDD are inextricably tied to the operational aspects of it. If we concentrate only on the artifacts involved, we will lose the picture and misunderstand the value proposition. As a professional geek, the heart of my job is changing rigidly structured imperative text in collaboration with other humans, in order to meet a variety of locally or temporally aligned goals. That’s fancy talk for "I change code, in community, for money." The central event is …

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Hitting on Speakers (Rant-y)

I want to talk about this thing where you see someone on stage/screen presenting material about geekery, you decide you’re attracted, and you send them mail or dm hitting on them. You must not do this. It is rude, unprofessional, and hurtful to many people. Stop it. There are a lot of arguments that sound like they’re either neutral to or in favor of this behavior. They are wrong, in detail, in logic, and in toto. Let’s take a look. …

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Microtest TDD: More Definition

What’s a microtest, anyway? I write a ton of tests as I’m building code, and the majority of these are a particular kind or style of test, the microtest kind. Let’s talk about what I mean by that, today, then we’ll talk later about how that turns out to help me so much. A microtest is a small, fast, precise, easy-to-invoke/read/write/debug chunk of code that exercises a single particular path through another chunk of code containing the branching logic from …

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Microtest TDD: The Big Picture

I think of my style of coding as "microtest TDD". That can be misleading for folks, so let’s take a walk over a few of the ideas, implicit and explicit, that make up the approach. First things first, bear the money premise in mind in all that follows, to wit: "I’m in this for the money." In the software trade, we make money by shipping more value faster. This is why I adopt these practices, because when I do them, …

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The Jump to Microservices

More seriously, the first piece of advice I’d give a monolith-owner about converting to microservices would be to work very hard to factor their monolith well. Interestingly, across dozens of cases, I’ve never seen that advice taken. There’s always a well-dressed person with excellent powerpoint who is happy to give a compelling case for a technical solution to a problem that isn’t technical. If you can’t factor the monolith, you won’t be able to factor your microservices. All of the …

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An Intro to Spikes

I use spikes, periods of code-changing activity that end with no pushes, all the time, at small scale and large, as a way to develop my path. It’s a vital technique, and it’s often underplayed, so let’s spend some time with it. What’s are spikes? A spike is a stretch of time I spend mucking about in code, and that stretch of time has one rule: "Do anything you want, because you can’t keep it." We originally used the term …

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Steps, Value, and Change-Harvesting

Let’s talk about steps and value. Out in the world, folks make a lot of decisions involving these ideas, they reason about them. We want to make sure our reasoning is based on a thorough understanding of the implicit premises. What’s a step? A step is a gap or space, in time and activity, in between two points, a Before point and an After point. At the Before point, a system is "ready". At the After point, a system is …

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My Best Bug

I shipped a word processor that formatted the hard drive every 1024 saves. Must have been ’84 or ’85. I was a bright 25-year-old with about five years in the game. I was one of two programmers who wrote & maintained a suite of apps kinda like Office: spreadsheet, wp, database, plotter, such like. We customized everything for three or four vertical markets. So I wrote most of the wp. This was in Forth, on a variety of OS/CPU combinations. …

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