codeRambler Ramblings on code, the web, and technology

Agile Merit Badges
Thursday September 06th 2007, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Agile, Ramblings

When I was growing up, I was part of a Scout Troop. In fact, in 1982 I was in the annual Gang Show celebrating 75 years of the Scouting Movement. This year they celebrated 100 years… which makes me feel old.

I really enjoyed Scouts. We did things together as a group – mostly outdoors tasks that involved a lot of running, shouting and general fun times. These tasks accumulated and once completed, allowed the Scout to get a badge that was then sewn on to the Scout uniform. There were badges for many things including First Aid, Camping, and even Helping Others (and Sewing – the badges don’t sew themselves on!).

There are some parallels between the Souting Movement and Agile. We work as a team to do things together – and we have fun doing it. So what about merit badges for Agile?

How about a special Agile scarf (where you can sew the badges on to) and even a woggle (different colours to reflect your Agility)? Maybe you could get a Bronze, Silver or Gold TDD badge to reflect the test driven development experience of a developer! How about a badge for Pair Programming? You can even have one just for regular attendance at the daily stand-up.

It’s all a little bit silly, of course… but it would be so much fun to do!

Happy 25th birthday to the Compact Disc
Friday August 17th 2007, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Ramblings

Today the CD turns 25 years old! On 17 August 1982 the first CD rolled off the production line in Hanover, Germany and began our love affair with this forefather of optical technology.

Here are a list of useful factoids about the humble CD and it’s 25 year history to date:

  • The first CD to be manufactured was “The Visitors” by ABBA.
  • The original target capacity for a CD was one hour. However, this was extended to 74 minutes to accommodate a complete performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
  • In 1985 Dire Straits album “Brothers in Arms” became one of the first fully-digital recordings (DDD) to be brought to market and became the first album to sell more than one million copies (in CD format).
  • Since the first CD was pressed, Phillips estimates more than 200 billion CDs have been sold worldwide.

The introduction of the CD started a revolution in the music industry. In the early 80’s tapes were being demonized as destroying Vinyl – but clearly the CD was more of a threat to both. Now we are about to embrace Blu-Ray as an optical media standard for storing large amounts of data (hi definition video and data). How long before we shelve the CD in favour of something with more “punch”?

Thank you, Phillips and Sony, for the Compact Disc.

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How much is too much caffiene?
Wednesday August 15th 2007, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Ramblings

A news report recently surfaced on the BBC news website about a 17 year old girl who reportedly overdosed on caffiene.

After downing 7 double espressos in her family-run sandwich shop, she started to suffer side effects including laughing and crying before being sent to hospital for observation (she was later discharged home after a few hours).

Regardless of whether she thought they were single or double shots of espresso (the article indicates she thought they were singles)… why was a 17 year old drinking 7 cups of espresso in the first place?!

I love espresso but I never managed to get such an extreme reaction from over indulging (although I did have a fun morning after drinking 4 doubles once).

So I listed my top 5 beverages and found out just how much caffiene is in each of them:

Name Amount
Coca-Cola Zero 355 34.5 10
Diet Coke 355 45.0 13
Coffee (Instant) 237 57.0 24
Starbucks Grande Latte 473 116.0 25
Coffee (Espresso) 44 77.0 175

So 7 cups of single shot espresso would be about 540 mg of caffiene. Double that (she was drinking double shots of espresso) and you’re talking about 1000 mg of caffiene. The same as scoffing 5 double-strength No-Doz pills!

I’m off for a coffee.

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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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