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Driving me to Mac? March 14, 2012

Posted by Hank Wallace in Uncategorized.
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Microsoft recently released their Windows 8 Consumer Preview. I installed it to a virtual machine using VMware and spent all of 10 minutes looking at it, but something just doesn’t feel right about it. I’m a developer (most of the time) and don’t want any part of their touch-based startup screen. I dismissed the thought and went back to real work.

Today I saw How Real People Will Use Windows 8. My first reaction was to laugh, but this points to a real problem that Microsoft needs to address. In my opinion, there is a real difference between the user experience of a desktop OS and a tablet/smartphone OS. While touch is a nice addition, I doubt that many users will use touch on their desktops. This “mode” switch required in Windows 8, if not changed, will result in their newest OS being a failure for most users.

Microsoft is in real trouble. Are they trying to drive me to a Mac?


Interesting Finds: April 17, 2010 April 17, 2010

Posted by Hank Wallace in Uncategorized.
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Samples and Demo on Parallel Extensions, MEF and WCF Data Services/OData, Ingo Rammer
Book: Confessions of a Public Speaker: Scott Berkun, Greg Low
Reusing Control Templates in Resource Dictionaries, Wayne Delport
A simple WCF service with username password authentication: the things you told me, pvanooijen
Free Silverlight 4 Online Training Course, Richard Hundhausen
Do You Know the Difference Between Leadership and Management?, Mike Figliuolo
Are You a Great Leader?, Holly Green

Execution, not Ideas February 26, 2010

Posted by Hank Wallace in Uncategorized.
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I came across this post by Jeff Atwood today, which reminds me just how wrong the following phrase is: Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. While working at my first startup company, I would often wake up in the middle of the night with great ideas (what, you don’t believe that they were great?). At the time I thought many of them could be the basis of the next startup.

They weren’t. Don’t get me wrong. Some of the ideas were good and many of them are now successful products, but I am not the one responsible for building them. I didn’t have a team in place to execute them, so someone else did.

Ideas are a dime a dozen. Execution is what matters!

An Agile Conversation (should be Where are the Simple Tools?) October 16, 2009

Posted by Hank Wallace in Uncategorized.
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Ted Neward wrote "Agile is treading the symptoms, not the disease" and talks about the need for a simpler development tools. I don’t understand why he is mixing Agile and the complexity of the current technology stack together – they seem like separate issues to me. Regardless, it is a thought provoking read.

Phil Haack wrote "Software Externalities" as a response and Ted follows up with a response to his response (who’s on first?).

Phil makes an interesting point: Agile is less about managing the complexity of an application itself and more about managing the complexity of building an application.

Ted’s response to Phil is great.

End users will always use a simple tool to build what they need. How many Excel “applications” have you seen? They used Excel because that is what they knew, not what they thought would be the best tool. You can’t expect them to start with .NET, VS2008, nHibernate, etc.

Interviewing Skills: Communication is #1 July 31, 2009

Posted by Hank Wallace in Uncategorized.
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I re-read The Hardest Interview Puzzle Question Ever by Jeff Atwood today. I have interviewed many, many programmers (and non-programmers) over the years and have always felt that it is, by far, more difficult than any of my daily responsibilities. Hiring good people is a critical factor to a company’s success, yet many people are really bad at evaluating others.

Jeff’s post made me think about the types of questions I usually ask and what I am looking for in a candidate. The questions differ based on the skills of the candidate, but here is what I am usually looking for:

  • Is the person passionate about something? I don’t care if it’s work related or not. I just want to know that they can get excited about something.
  • Do they have a need for continuous self-improvement?
  • Can they admit when they don’t know something? Nobody knows everything, so don’t guess or BS me. I would rather they admit they don’t know and then tell me how they will find the right answer.
  • Would the team enjoy working with this person?

What I was missing is a concentration on their communication skills. No matter how smart they are, they will not work well with other members of the team if they don’t communicate well!

Interesting Finds Format? April 22, 2009

Posted by Hank Wallace in Uncategorized.
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I have been thinking about the format that I post items to Interesting Finds. In addition to being my own personal “what I find useful” list, I hope that they are also useful to others. If you are reading them, please take a minute to comment.

Is the author more important than the title? I currently show author first.

Are tags important? I used to put Technorati tags at the bottom of my posts, but have questioned their usefulness.

Anything you would like to see more of? Less of?

Where’s Hank? April 22, 2009

Posted by Hank Wallace in Uncategorized.
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You might have been wondering why my posts have been very few and far between lately.. I joined a startup at the end of January and have been very, very busy. I will try to get back to posting Interesting Finds at least a few times per week.

WPF Book Comparison May 2, 2007

Posted by Hank Wallace in Uncategorized.
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Don Box writes about the coding horror comparison of Charles Petzold and Adam Nathan’s books on WPF. He expresses an opinion similar to mine regarding technical books in general and Charles Petzold’s book specifically.

I purchased the Petzold book and the Chris Sells and Ian Griffiths book and prefer the latter by a large margin. It’s not due to color or anything Charles refers to as PowerPoint-like. It’s because of the early emphasis on XAML and the way it describes the core concepts. I, like Don, want to read the shortest book that introduces the technology and is more “to the point”.

Many years ago, I was asked if I had interest in writing a book by one of the well-known publishers. I wanted to write a book that could have been called “Effective Visual Basic” (yes, this was a while ago..). I started discussions about the content, but decided not to continue when they asked me to increase the number of expected pages from 250 to 500+. They didn’t think anyone would buy a $25 book (that was the norm at the time) that was shorter than 500 pages. I wanted “to the point” and they wanted WEIGHT. Is this still an issue that authors have to fight?

Saving money when moving to new hardware November 22, 2006

Posted by Hank Wallace in Uncategorized.
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The BBS has this entry about getting money back on your new PC. Dave Mitchell got a refund from Dell for £55.23 (over $100) because he had no need for the copy of Windows XP Home that was pre-installed on his Dell.

This is good news. I have been thinking about replacing one of my desktop machines in my home office and didn’t want to waste the operating system license on the old machine. I should be able to purchase a new machine, decline the license agreement when I start it for the first time, and then move the old license. A new Dell just got cheaper!

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Windows Vista and Office 2007 Availability November 12, 2006

Posted by Hank Wallace in Uncategorized.
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Now that Microsoft has RTM’d these, many will be watching MSDN to see when they are available. Many sites are reporting the following dates:

Office 2007 will be available on Nov 12, 2006.
Windows Vista will be available on Nov 17, 2006.

The wait is almost over..

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