Five for Friday – July 20, 2018

Another Friday list to share:

  • I finished off a few books while flying this week, including Lean Change Management, which is one of those books that makes you want to read a bunch more books. It’s full of models and references, and, given that so much of my role is about leading change and helping others lead change, is probably something I’ll keep close at hand.
  • Ronan Mehigan sent me a link to an article on Specialists vs. Generalists. I like the article, but it also reminds me why I like the notion of Generalizing Specialists and Specializing Generalists so much.
  • Maybe I’m late to the party, but I just discovered I’ve found a nice handful of articles there, including the following bullet…
  • I’m relatively new (just a few years) to Mac, and very new (a few months) to using Ubuntu as my daily machine, so I really appreciated The Shell Introduction I Wish I Had.
  • Given the state of US politics and media, I generally defer to or for a (hopefully) more neutral view, but part of my daily reading continues to be the wonderful daily summary on What The Fuck Just Happened Today

Five for Friday – July 13, 2018

  • I try to remember that a big part of my job is growing leaders – and that I need to always try to improve as a leader myself. Most times when I need a little inspiration for reflection, I turn to Simon Sinek, and re-read Together is Better. Here’s one of the quotes that caught my eye this week.
    When we tell people to do their jobs, we get workers. WHen we trust people to get the job done, we get leaders.
  • It’s double-quote Friday. Harlan Ellison passed away earlier this month. He was a fantastic, and creative writer, with a lot of passion. One quote of his that has entered my mind a lot as I watch various bits of US politics is this one.
    “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”
  • This article on moving from scrum to kanban captures a lot of my own feelings on the subject.
  • Just when you thought it was safe to love open source, this happens (Compromise in ESLint)
  • In addition to these weekly posts, I write a lot. Internal newsletters, articles for others (and in the past, books and book contributions). Writing has been a big part of my growth, and this article on why writing is important is worth a read for any lifelong learner.

Five for Friday – July 6, 2018

Summer’s here, but good stuff keeps on happening. Here are 5 things I found interesting this week:

  • Chris George wrote a great article on how he’s applying Modern Testing at his job.
  • Not a new article, but new to me. Why being right doesn’t matter.
  • Also not new, but something I watched this week and recommend is this Ted Talk from Atul Gawande (author of the Checklist Manifesto and more) on why you should get a coach.
  • This. Is. So. Bad. Mining public passwords.
  • Finally, the FIFA World Cup has been hugely entertaining this year, and barring a continued run of form for France (I’m cheering for France, so they’re bound to lose), we may have a first time champion. Even more interesting, this is the first time EVER where one of Germany, Brazil, or Argentina are not in the semi-final. (Wikipedia link)

Five for Friday – June 29, 2018

Here’s what I found interesting this week:

  • I’ve been thinking a lot about change recently – and I’m reminded of this quote from Peter Drucker:
    The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic 
  • I’m big on change models – and while I’ve known about it for some time, I’ve been finding a lot of value in the ADKAR model from Prosci a lot recently.
  • Not sure why I didn’t know about this before, but this model on agile fluency hits a lot of the right buttons for me.
  • Yet another article on manager readmes with even more readmes!
  • I absolutely love the world cup. My prediction (as mentioned last time) is blown, as Germany failed to advance. But – I’m quite happy to see Japan advance. Especially interesting is that they are the first team ever to advance on the fair play rule.

Five for Friday – June 22, 2018

Once again, here are five things I found interesting this week.

Five for Friday – June 15, 2018

A few points of interest from my week.

  • My quote to ponder is from Jerry Weinberg – “Unless and until all members of a team have a common understanding of the problem, attempts to solve the problem are just so much wasted energy.”
    Take a moment to reflect how often you’ve seen this yourself firsthand.
  • I’ll also share five-quotes-in-one from this Forbes article on 5 Quotes That Teach You Everything You Need To Know About Leadership Storytelling.
  • For a variety of reasons, I’ve been revisiting the posts from Roy Osherove on – most of the posts are years old, but most are also still relevant and worth reading.
  • Apparently, it’s webinar season.
  • I had a chance to talk with the CTO of Wevo this week – I think the concept of the company is fantastic (using ML to predict better design), and I think they’re a company to watch.

Five for Friday – June 8, 2018

I’m back from a quick trip to New York City where I managed to give two workshops and a keynote without boring anyone to death. Here are five of the things I found interesting between talking, working, and learning.

  • A lot of news recently about depression and its long impact has put this quote from Henry Rollins in my head. “I’ll never forget how the depression and loneliness felt good and bad at the same time. Still does.”
  • To me, good retrospectives and learning are critical to software (and team) success. I found Retromat this week – a site that gives you random activities to help you get more from your retrospectives.
  • The Engineering Manager has an alternate view on The Manager Readme. I admit that I like the directness and brevity of the readme he eventually came up with, but also feel that the author missed a large part of the point.
  • This list of Falsehood Programmers Believe About Hiring is painfully true, and something to ponder for any of us in charge of hiring.
  • For the first time in quite a while, I’m reading fiction – science fiction to be exact. I’m reading Leviathan Wakes – the first book in the Expanse series. I watched the first season of the TV series, and liked it a lot – but I’m enjoying the book even more.

Five For Friday – June 1, 2018

Some interesting bits from the week

  • I took a pause on reading Why We Sleep (great content, not my favorite writing), but will continue to plow through it between more readable books.
    I’ve moved on to something I bought a while back, but finally just started – Accelerate, by Forsgren, Humble, and Kim. I’m fifty pages in, and enjoying it a lot. It ties into the Modern Testing Principle #2 pretty well so far.
  • A bit related to sleep – but a whole lot more, is this article on Killing the Eight Hour Workday.
  • Amber Race did a wonderful thing and combined The Big List of Naughty Strings with Postman tests (and wrote about it)
  • I met Constance Armitage in Brighton earlier this year, where she taught me a bit about drawing. She drew a wonderful comic describing her experience at Testbash
  • Finally, in case you missed it, you should know about the I’m a Teapot error on npm last week.

My Latest Experiment

I thought it would be worth writing this up and sharing.

Last week was, for me, at least, time for another Windows update. With this one, my mouse stopped working – or to be clear, it started becoming unusable. The x coordinate speed was 1/3 of what it should be. With three monitors, it was pretty painful. I was also frustrated that the update reset some of my settings, pinned items to my taskbar without asking me, re-enabled disabled services, and basically did too much stuff that I thought it shouldn’t do.

So I gave up.

Most of my work is / can be done in a web browser. There are a few exceptions (more on these later), but I was willing to try something new. So, I installed Ubuntu 18.04, and for the past week, have been using it as my main home machine (also note I’ve been working from home 4-6 hours a day since then).

So far, it’s been nearly perfect. Of course, all of the browser apps I use daily (jira, gmail, google suite, etc.) work perfectly. I was also quite happy to see that just about all of the native apps I use have versions that run on Ubuntu (like Audacity, Slack, Spotify, and Zoom). With a bit of finagling, I was even able to get Open VPN working so I can access Unity resources. Overall, the app experience has been perfect for me.

Hardware support is also good (or great, with one exception noted below). I believe the Ubuntu installation queries my windows installation for some hardware, as it detected the wacom tablet I have that is not currently plugged in – but everything that I do use (bluetooth headphones, audio, logitech camera) work perfectly.

The ONE annoyance remaining is that once a day or so, I’ll lose a monitor. I have a Geforce 1060 driving three 24″ monitors. The card is (obviously) capable of driving all three, but once a day, one will drop, and no longer be detected by the OS. I’ve tried forcing it via tools (xrandr), but nothing short of a reboot brings it back. This behavior happened with both the nouveau drivers, and the latest generic drivers from nvidia. I’ll see over time how much this happens and how much this bothers me.

I built this machine for games, but I’ve drifted back to doing most of my gaming on Xbox, so I think it will continue to work out, but will be interesting to see if Ubuntu works out as a daily machine for the long term.


Five for Friday – May 25, 2018

Wow – where did that week go? Here are few things I found worth pondering this week.

  • There will be a full blog post with details, but I had one too many pieces of hardware fail after an ill-timed Windows update, and a few too many settings changes after the same, and I flipped out a bit.
    The good news is that I was able to get everything I needed to run in order to do my job running on Ubuntu in only a few hours.
  • I’m giving a presentation to a small group of peers next week on data analysis, and I’m reminded of this quote by Josh Wills at Slack.
    “Data Scientist (n.): Person who is better at statistics than any software engineer and better at software engineering than any statistician.”
  • Yet another great post from Michael Lopp on professional growth – Your Professional Growth Questionnaire
  • I’ve mentioned Radical Candor here before, but this is a great post on giving feedback – A Manager’s Guide for Effectively Giving Feedback
  • It’s GDPR day. I won’t hyperlink GDPR, but I will give you a link to The GDPR Hall of Shame