codeRambler Ramblings on code, the web, and technology

Don’t laugh at politicians in New Zealand
Tuesday July 31st 2007, 12:26 pm
Filed under: Ramblings

New Zealand reporter Anthony Hubbard recently wrote in the Sunday Star Times (a New Zealand newspaper) an article titled The last laugh: banning MP satire about the recent vote by MPs to:

…ban the satirical use of TV footage of parliamentary debates

To summarise the situation, Hubbard writes that “photos or TV footage of the House may not be used for ’satire, ridicule or denigration’. Those who disobey the new rule will be guilty of committing contempt of parliament”.

This is no different from the British and Australian paliaments who both ban use of parliamentary images and footage for satirical purposes, where breaches are “rare” and usually result in a letter being sent to the guilty party.

I think it’s a waste of time and public monies for MPs to be even discussing this issue, let alone debating it and passing a law change to bring it into force. If we can’t poke a bit of fun at each other from time to time, then we’re in a pretty sad state. I certainly think those driving the ship are doing a poor job of steering.

Predictably journalists are not happy with this change to the law and are vocal in their call that this new rule is a breach of the right of free speech and contravenes New Zealand’s Bill of Rights Act 1990. MPs seem to be worried that video clips on YouTube will show images “out of context” and ultimately mis-represent them to a wide audience.

Why can’t we all just get along and play nicely?

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When is a task considered to be Done?
Tuesday July 31st 2007, 9:57 am
Filed under: Agile, Javascript, Web development

In recent Agile projects I have been involved with, we often talk about the word “Done”. Specifically we are talking about when a task/story that you are working on is finished.

I heard someone in my team say that “it isn’t Done until it’s in the green column” – referring to the colour-coded columns we move story/task card through as we take them from the “holding pen” through “development” (red), “ui review” (black), “customer preview” (orange) and “qa” (blue) to “done” (green).

So when is something considered to be Done? Is it Done when you have finished writing the code? When you have finished testing the code? What has to happen to a story/task before it is allowed to make the green column and be called Done?

My definition of Done:

  • All code has been developed using Pair Programming or Peer Review
  • The acceptance criteria for the story/task have all been met to the customer’s satisfaction
  • Unit tests have been written that test the code and document it’s functionality
  • Supporting acceptance tests that support the acceptance criteria
  • The code is checked in to the build server – and all the tests continue to pass
  • Any QA issues are resolved (which may necessitate returning the story/task to development again)

Of course each story/task will have a different path to Done, and some will take a shorter route than others – but the definition criteria above should remain constant for all. If you make sure your stories/tasks follow this prescribed course to Done, you will have less “returns” later on and produce better quality code from day one.

You will! Try it and see.



Phone calls on the train
Thursday July 26th 2007, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Ramblings

I take a train every morning into London as my daily commute begins. Most mornings I travel in the same carriage and so I have begun to recognise some of my fellow travellers. I recognise the tall guy with frizzy hair who always tries to push to the front of the queue, I recognise the fat scowling woman who spends all her time sighing dramatically… and I recognise the chav teenager with the short tie on her way to school somewhere.

All these people, and most of the others who board the train, share one thing in common… they never smile – they all appear sullen and grumpy… and they don’t like it when you attempt to communicate with them about anything. The only time I’ve seen people smile and communicate with others is on the last train home on a Thursday/Friday/Saturday – when they have had a few drinks.

So why do they have no problem holding loud telephone conversations whilst on the train? If there was ever a need for mobile phone signal disrupters to be introduced, this would be it. I blame the mobile phone companies – if they made it more expensive for people to make phone calls, maybe people would use them less frequently.

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Four Seasons in One Day
Tuesday July 17th 2007, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Ramblings

The weather in London this summer has been miserable (I know complaining about the weather is a waste of time – and a very English thing to do). Today it was sunny, windy, rainy and decidedly “stormy” at times – very much “four seasons in one day”.

Neil and Tim Finn wrote “Four Seasons in One Day” and released it on the Woodface album in 1991. It’s just as relevant now as it was then.

Even when you’re feeling warm
The temperature could drop away
Like four seasons in one day

Neil and Tim’s words remind us that even when everything is going well, there is a chance it could all go horribly “pear-shaped” at the drop of a hat.

So, dear readers… prepare for all four seasons. Work hard for autumn, save for winter, plan for spring and celebrate for summer. Don’t neglect one for the other.

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