Monthly Archives: March 2004

Virtual water cooler

Here are some interesting comments I’ve read in the past couple of months in technical trade magazines:

  • Some users hate choice and flexibility, and by giving it to them, you are simply increasing the amount of mistakes they will make and the IT time and resources they will consume. -eWeek
  • If given a choice, our end users will always choose ease of use over better security. -VeriSign chairman & CEO
  • Ease of Use Equals Use -Software Development
  • In the world of Google, blogs, e-mail and IM, identity is the collection of places you go. Opportunity flag: Currently, managing these identity trails is a difficult, often-ignored task. -eWeek (both)
  • RSS is well-suited to replace e-mail in workgroups whose members must communicate frequently. -Brian Livingston
  • The key to a successful development project is to manage your own expectations. -Chad Dickerson
  • We all lose more brilliant ideas than we express. Our minds are too busy coping with constant sensory bombardment. -Tom Yager
  • Quite simply, the Google philosophy can be expressed in five general principles: Work on things that matter, affect everyone in the world, solve problems with algorithms if possible [i.e. automate what you can], hire bright people and give them lots of freedom, and don’t be afraid to try new things. As a general practice, Google also requires that its engineers spend 20 percent of their time working on personal technology projects unrelated to their primary projects. -InfoWorld
  • Visualization, annotation and socialization are becoming must-have features in applications. If they’re missing from yours, you could be producing a non-starter. -Collaboration’ new age
  • FC81: It’s a blog world after all, If it’ urgent, ignore it and Things leaders do

Deliver us from evil

I just finished reading Sean Hannity‘s latest book, Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism, and while it is certainly focused on politics and foreign policy, past and present, it offered a number of insights I find applicable more generally:

  • I also wonder, why we as a nation have grown so resistant to the very idea of absolute evil. Evil is not a matter of opinion. Evil exists. It is real, and it means to harm us. Thesis: It is our responsibility to recognize and confront evil in the world…if we fail in that mission it will lead us to disaster. You remove evil; you don’t reason with it. Edmund Burke: The only necessary thing for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
  • Moral relativists undermine our moral vision and our moral authority.
  • As observed by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, historically a decline in courage has been the first symptom of the end.
  • It is important to remember, …that throughout history the world’s greatest powers have rarely been conquered from outside without first collapsing from within.
  • Intent vs. interpretation; perception vs. reality
  • Our vision seems to have been blurred by the pervasive cloudiness of morality in our culture. But sometimes, it’s important that we step back, stop overcomplicating things, and see clearly the truth in the experiences we share.
  • Sometimes the actions you take today won’t be understood or appreciated until much later.
  • Unilateralism is itself no crime. Even when others’ counsel is sought, you are responsible for your selection of counselors.
  • Leadership demands responsibility; so, if you don’t make to be held responsible, please don’t lead.
  • I’ve been reawakened to the use of language to conceal meaning (e.g. war vs. crime; outrage vs. tragedy).
  • The lessons of modern history are clear: Accommodation only leads to escalation. The price of indifference can be catastrophic.
  • A policy of preemption (anticipatory self-defense) based on overwhelming proof of intent vs. evidence of capability is a difficult path to travel, but a necessary one at times. For example, today I go to the gym not just for myself, but also for the benefit of my growing son. I want to be able to play ball and to wrestle with him as long as he will have me. I don’t want to make up one morning to the reality that I’ve prematurely removed myself from the game of life. And I’m just talking about a pleasant encounter in the family room, not a bout with a bully
    on the playground or a professional or geographical antagonistic.
  • Accepting the idea of serious restraint is just like the notion that green, yellow and red lights on the road mean go, go faster and stop, if you must. It sounds like a masked acceleration of the status quo. Create a buffer of perceived action, only to continue doing what you’ve been doing. I just hadn’t thought of such color language for my driving habits.
  • Playing Politics at the Water’s Edge (chapter eight) was an especially disturbing read as it revealed a fundamental erosion of trust within the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), within those who appear before the SSCI and within other countries considering the consequences of sharing sensitive information to collaborate on matters of international peace and security. I am reminded how far-reaching my own actions and motives can become–for better or for worse. Trust is not a commodity; it is a precious resource–today more than ever.
  • Back of book jacket: We cannot prevail tomorrow without courageous leadership today. Leadership is my responsibility, too, not just the responsibility of those in political office. It begins with my vote, but must not end there.

Aside: Am I the only the one that actually doesn’t care for either of the following terms: liberal and conservative? Both words have lost their original, intended meaning. Each is now more a pejorative label, a proverbial box to stick, a human brand. I wish that we could all spend more time in honest debate and less time in name calling. As my wife and I like to say, when you assume, you (u) make an ass of yourself (me). It’s so easy to do, though, but the hard work of really understanding another’s views and beliefs–even if you don’t agree with them–is critical, civilized work that must be done.

Update 12/1/2008: For more of my book reviews and to see what else is in my book library (i.e. just the business-related or software-related non-fiction therein), please visit my Books page.

Face lift

Winter is over and spring is finally here to stay. So, I thought it was time to drop the use of cool colors for something a bit sunnier. So I turned to Color Wheel Pro for my new color palette. I actually like its Sunny palette; so, that’s what I based my new color scheme upon. Does it work for you? I also played around with how I handle links. My goal is to be more subtle while still informing you of potential actions while you’re here. Does it work for you? As with any change of this sort, some will like it while others won’t. Feedback from both perspectives is always welcome. What would you do differently and why? Thanks in advance.

More wrong doesn’t make less wrong right

The following logic seems to be more prevalent these days: if something is wrong but someone else does something worse, then what I’m doing isn’t so bad. The actions of others don’t excuse my own. My environment doesn’t prevent me from making the right choices either–granted some environments are more difficult than others. Choice is not free; it always has a cost–not that cost has to be bad. If choice were free, what would be the point of choosing? Need some practical examples? I only downloaded one song, one album, one… I was only driving five miles over the speed limit… I was only in the car pool lane for five minutes…

Following up on my flagged items – Part 5

(Part 4, Part 3, Part 2, Part 1)

Potential issues/challenges/opportunities to be aware in developing a managed add-in for Office:

From the aggregator mailbag:

  • Chris Anderson finds that MVC often leads to over-architected applications.
  • Hopefully we’ll see continued enhancement to Adam Natha’s CLR SPY tool. As someone who already relies on FxCop‘s static analysis, I’m interested in CLR SPY’s dynamic analysis support. Speaking of revisions to software, FxCop is due for one.
  • Dare posts his RSS Bandit TODO list.
  • Jason Bock’s reusable .NET Error Dialog received some discussion.
  • Chris Pratley talks about the Watson approach to software quality (i.e. let’s measure it). More importantly, Microsoft offers Watson data freely for anyone writing applications on Windows. Chris continues to explore the following counter-intuitive concept, here: The goal is to ship a product with the highest known quality, not necessarily with fewer bugs.
  • John Lam reminds us that code coverage tells us only about faults of commission, not faults of omission. He’s also been having fun with the Shadows & Highlights feature in Photoshop CS.