Stacey on Software

Welcome to my personal blog. Writing that I've done is collected here, some is technical, some is business oriented, some is trans related.
Agile

London and Chicago Style TDD, A Design Perspective

June 23, 2024

London and Chicago Style TDD, A Design Perspective In the field of TDD, two primary schools of thought have emerged, that are often used in…

Structured Semantics

November 22, 2023

Back in June, I was playing with structured semantics as a way to interact with an LLM for applications. Today, I watched a video that made…

The Bionic Coach

November 19, 2023

Introduction Being extraordinary, it's a good feeling. My first electronic enhancement was a calculator. Forget long arithmetic, this was…

Systemic Oppression and Machine Learning

November 15, 2023

Many words have been written about the biases in "AI" training datasets. I last blogged publicly on this topic about 6 years ago, and it…

Leveraging Iteration and Decoupling

July 18, 2023

You gotta love the "AI" newsfeed these days, fast and furious. So, along the path of writing this 6th instalment, a number of things emerged…

Diversion #1: Agents

June 11, 2023

The idea of an Agent is something that has developed over the course of applying Large Language Models (LLMs) to problem solving. You can…

Diversion #2: LangChain & Pydantic

June 11, 2023

I've been doing a lot of my ML coding in Python. Honestly, for a long time I resisted it, but the tooling moves so fast and is so simple to…

Complex Example

June 02, 2023

Stepping Up the Complexity Up to this point in the blog series, we've laid a little groundwork, and demonstrated a very simplistic example…

Simplistic Example

May 27, 2023

A Simplistic Example Let's start from a simplistic example so that you can get a sense of where I'm thinking. The way I work as a developer…

Thinking over Typing 2.0

May 27, 2023

Thinking over Typing 2.0 As a developer, I've found it possible to describe to ChatGPT my general programming style and have it generate a…

The Work

March 19, 2022

When disciplines in software development are so segregated, those outside a discipline may think only of the final result. Developers type…

Agile Enough

March 17, 2022

When I look back at my career, I’ve been gathering ideas about agile from others since the manifesto. Testing versus checking. Last…

The Spaces Between

February 11, 2022

The Spaces Between On teams that are newly cross-functional, or in places with waterfallish reflexes, the coaching opportunities lie in…

Making a Small Pencil Tray

December 12, 2021

Making a Small Pencil Tray I wanted to write this detailed walk-through to try and lay out visually some of the workflow I use on my…

Scientific Management

July 29, 2021

In 1909, Frederick Taylor published a paper entitled The Principles of Scientific Management. At this time in history, things got made by…

Diversity is Critical

October 17, 2020

Diversity is critical. Look around you, your management, your board, your government, your colleagues. If all you see are white men in…

The Cloud Native Virus

September 08, 2019

Think about good application design. You have good cohesion at different layers of abstraction, your code is flexible and adaptive. At the…

Group Kata Facilitation

October 01, 2017

This is my fall-back group format when facilitating kata. Timeframe: 60m total - 45-50m exercise, 10-15m retrospective Group Size: 6-1…

Pair Chain Exercise

October 01, 2017

When I facilitate a kata session with a group of developers, sometimes I like to mix it up a little. If the room feels like it’s getting a…

The Thing You Need On Your Radar

September 02, 2017

I was talking to a colleague yesterday, smart guy, basically been focusing on systems level architecture and is maneuvering his employer in…

Four Things Impeding Your Software Teams

August 21, 2017

In the beginning, teams tend to be able to deliver working software with little friction. In fact, developers tend to love “green field…

Coding Is Social

August 07, 2017

This past weekend, I took part in the PTBOGameJam03 event in Peterborough, Ontario, an event that has steadily grown since August 2016. In…

A Nurturing Culture

July 29, 2017

I drew this picture to illustrate a few ideas, and it’s long overdue for an explanation beyond the few folks at whom I’ve stood in front of…

Lenses

July 18, 2017

I started wearing glasses a few years ago, entering in to that cycle of a new prescription every few years to renew my focus. Thinking about…

Who are you?

July 14, 2017

What’s your job title? What does it say about you? What doesn’t it say about you? We are human beings, doing what we can with the tools we…

Oppression in Machine Learning

July 11, 2017

Popular media loves to talk about "artificial intelligence" these days. It is a hot topic, one riddled with misunderstanding. Artificial…

Coaching for “likability”

June 03, 2017

Lately, I’ve been exposed to some commercial coaching practices that push the idea of “likability”, they seem to imply that if you develop…

Revolution

May 15, 2017

We have built, unwittingly, a fundamentally flawed environment for delivering software. Incapable of dealing with bugs and viruses…

The Worthiness of the Fizzbuzz Kata

May 13, 2017

I see a lot of misunderstanding around doing code kata in the work that I do. Just this week, I had a conversation with my apprentice about…

A Leaf on the Wind

April 25, 2017

I've been coaching other teams for over a year now (I spent 15 years coaching my own teams), but I still have a small software development…

What is a Hacker?

March 26, 2017

This weekend I attended a "hackathon" and was surrounded by folks who didn't really understand the word hacker. They struggled to get…

[DRAFT] Holding Hands

March 05, 2017

Oh the tears. When holding hands with my love went from a simple thing we thought nothing of, to an act of defiance, playing hide and seek…

AI Programmers Will Take Our Jobs!

February 25, 2017

So, this hit my newswires today: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23331144-500-ai-learns-to-write-its-own-code-by-stealing-from-other…

[DRAFT] Labels

February 25, 2017

I believe we are experiencing a diversity crisis in this field. Too few voices and life perspectives shaping the devices and software we use…

The Long Road

February 20, 2017

More than occasionally, I get asked, "How can I learn programming as a beginner?" I have many thoughts on this, and here is just one of them…

In Memory of Nancy Diamond

February 12, 2017

When I was growing up, I didn't have a lot of friends. I had a small circle of friends in high school, and through this small circle of…

Act on Fact, Not Conjecture

February 04, 2017

So, how much of a part do your feelings play in how you write software? Feelings are important. Feelings are your "spidey sense", your…

Testing Against The Edges

January 25, 2017

I have found a new thing. A test culture so pervasive and intrinsic that they want to test  everything . So much so that they have chosen an…

2016 Big Steps Forward

December 30, 2016

Lots of folks have been complaining lately about 2016. Certainly, as one friend of mine pointed out, as movies and celebrities have become…

The Fable

December 03, 2016

There was once a family of beavers who lived in the forest in a quiet valley. They had found a stream and made their home there, a lovely…

[DRAFT] Specialize or Generalize?

September 01, 2016

I've seen some thoughts floating around today around what kind of mix of generalists or specialists should you have on an agile team. It…

Why Kata?

April 15, 2016

In 2011, Daniel Kahneman launched a book called Thinking Fast and Slow. It summarized decades of research and presented one core thesis…

[DRAFT] Scoping and Estimating Projects

March 17, 2016

    I had an exchange with a colleague last night, and it really pushed me back into this gear. Realizing I haven't published these kinds of…

Retrospective on 2015

December 28, 2015

The past year has been exhausting. I've never felt so much like a hamster on a wheel. This year will mark 8 years into my transition,…

Lightweight Accountability

December 22, 2015

If you require project accountability to funders, for grants or tax refunds, you need lightweight processes that integrate with your…

Avoid Technical Debt with Planning

July 18, 2015

So, you get it. Technical debt is bad. So what do you do about it when you have it? First step is probably to try and avoid digging yourself…

Technical Debt and The Big Rewrite

July 17, 2015

It is so easy to sweep things under the rug. I’ll fix that comment later. One day, I’ll need to refactor this. Oooo this code is stinky, no…

[DRAFT] The 'No Code' Constraint

April 17, 2015

When you've done a code kata many times, it helps to find new ways to increase the level of difficulty of the kata. We often introduce…

Wicked Code

March 19, 2015

There is a particular class of problem, a Wicked Problem , that denies solution. These problems are difficult or impossible to solve due to…

Signed and Encrypted Email on OSX and iOS

February 08, 2015

I'm writing this as much for me as I am for you, my fellow netizen. Signing and encrypting email on iOS is a black art. Get your incense and…

Lies, Damned Lies, and Code Comments

February 03, 2015

Your project is lying to you. That comment that someone wrote way back over that block of code? Yeah, it was relevant a year ago. Today, it…

Why a Worker's Cooperative

November 12, 2013

This past weekend I was at the Software Craftsmanship North America conference (SCNA) hosted by 8th Light in Chicago. This is a wonderful…

The Chaos in the Matryoshka

August 24, 2011

Those that know me know that I'm not afraid of change. I'm a big proponent of "strong opinions loosely held". When something makes sense…

Changes

July 22, 2011

I’m writing today with some important personal news. Over the past several years, I have made a number of very positive changes in my life…

Decisions In The Dark

November 24, 2010

We write software today , it's important to always remember this. Often when we are asked to write software, we are typically provided with…

Software Development Is About People

May 24, 2010

We as an industry forgot this for a long time, and I am proud to be part of the movement to bring it back. I hear all the time from people…

An American iPad in Canada

April 24, 2010

My sister was so proud, she knew I wanted an iPad and she really did too, so on her recent trip to the US, she got one and texted me right…

Apple: Thank You for Leaving Flash Out

January 29, 2010

Something has been weighing heavy on my mind for a while now. Years, in fact. I didn't realize it however until the past few weeks while…

Java EE 6 Mess, Continued

December 28, 2009

OK, found another brick wall :) So if you recall, I have a Maven 2 build. I now have discreet API jars isolated for JPA 2, Servlet 3, and…

Testable Java EE 6

December 27, 2009

OK, so some progress has been made. I've abandoned using the Maven dependency indicated by Netbeans 6.8 and the org.codehaus.mojo.archetypes…

Java EE 6, Untestable?

December 26, 2009

Trying to work something out and it just doesn't look possible right now. Since Java EE 6 was officially released earlier this month, I've…

Using Java EE 6, Without Java

December 17, 2009

So this month, Java EE 6 was released. So many new capabilities are now part of the baseline stack, it's very cool. After tweeting about how…

Java EE 6 and Netbeans 6.8 Released

December 14, 2009

It's finally here, Java EE 6 represents another serious step forward in the core Java server technology stack. It's kind of anti-climactic…

CRTC, Hear Our Plea

June 14, 2009

Canadian ISPs are trying to make a point to the CRTC. Here's a Boing Boing article , and the CRTC feedback page so that you to can make a…

The Concept of Millitasks

April 03, 2009

Since I've been back at TWM and getting involved in the day to day operations again, and I'm back on task to formalize our procedures…

What You Want vs. What You Need

March 27, 2009

People are inherently bad at making this distinction. We want lots. We don't need so much. I want a chocolate bar. I really don't need it. I…

Outsource? Yes! Offshore? NO!!!

March 19, 2009

I read an article (well, it's more of a slide-show) this morning that just set my hair on fire. Now I understand that to many folks in I.T…

Doctors are people too

March 16, 2009

In following up my "novel" I posted the other day, I found a neat article from Dalhousie magazine published last year that talks about my…

Doing Waterfall Badly

January 13, 2009

You know, as much as Agile gets a bad rap for companies that poorly or inconsistently implement it, I absolutely hate to see Waterfall…

Today

October 23, 2008

Today. Today we are better than yesterday, but not as good as we will be tomorrow. Today our tools are better than they were yesterday, but…

Off To Find My Shoes

September 06, 2008

So, I recently blogged about my new "No Quotes" policy at Three Wise Men, and I've blogged in the past about the perils of software…

Integrity, Transparency and Trust

August 19, 2008

At Three Wise Men we've just finished off a reasonably large project, and a few things really struck me in the end about the way we operated…

Dissapointed In Dell

July 23, 2008

I leased a nice Dell server this year to help stabilize our IT infrastructure at Three Wise Men. With it I purchased "next business day…

VMware ESXi At Long Last

July 23, 2008

Today we finally got our Dell VM server going again. We had lost 2 disks from our 4 disk RAID5 so we needed to reinstall. So I decided to…

iPhone Blogging 2.0

July 22, 2008

I just got the native iPhone app for Wordpress. Wow. I take everything back I said - mobile blogging is now a dream. Even offline drafts. I…

iPhone Blogging

July 20, 2008

I think blogging from a portable device will have to fall under the category of microblogging,.. Suffice to say this is my first iPhone blog…

Living with Maven2

January 29, 2008

I often see a lot of complaining about the Apache Maven build tool. In fact, sometimes I do a lot of complaining about it myself. The fact…

Keeping A Lid On It

January 09, 2008

So I went to the TSOT Rails Project night last night, it was good to see some familiar faces and I enjoyed the presentations. There was some…

Learn Your Tools, Learn Others Too

December 27, 2007

I've always lived at the fringe of computing, with a foot in the popular and a foot in the obscure. When I was a kid, I had a Tandy TRS-8…

Software Development Estimates

December 27, 2007

I've blogged before on the fallacies of software development estimates. I found this posting particularly well thought-out and…

Property Binding in UIs

October 31, 2007

So my ranting continues. My friend is adamantly refusing to change his Servlet/JSP habits and I'm afraid I have to take it out on everyone…

Disappointed.

October 26, 2007

Apple didn't ship Java 1.6 with OS-X Leopard. I've been hoping for this for months. At least they updated Ruby to 1.8.6.

Keep It Simple, (Not So) Stupid

September 23, 2007

Have you tried this? I mean really, sat down, tried to make something simple. Not simple for you, simple for others. People always say they…

Using 'Open Source' Commercially

September 14, 2007

I've been writing recently, mostly because our ThreeWiseMen.ca website needs an overhaul for content. Three Wise Men is my software…

Unit Testing: It's About Confidence

September 07, 2007

I was reading this post , which raises some interesting points, but it sidesteps what I believe is the absolutely most important reason…

Speak Clearly from Experience

September 05, 2007

So today I'm working through some more content management challenges - and hating JavaScript-based WYSIWYG editors. They really really suck…

Software Developers

August 28, 2007

I was reading this post the other day and thinking about my particular challenges with software developers. Which I believe I have some…

Communicate on Their Terms

August 23, 2007

Why are there so many form letters in the world? Pointless advertising inserts? Communicating with customers with a form letter is like…

Hello again!

August 22, 2007

Again, I'm looking at starting a blog. This is number 3 for me over the past 5 years or so. Typically I end up losing focus, forgetting to…

How to answer 'What's wrong with PHP?'

August 22, 2007

I spec'd a new project the other day. Nothing new, we do this all the time, probably a few dozen times a year. We went through the usual…