Your target feature

Many a moon ago I twittered:

Just had the surreal idea of a “Celebrity Fit Club” for little projects. “Your target feature for next week is tagging.”

Courtney’s affection for VH1’s celeb-sploitation isn’t without its perks. Before Celebrity Fit Club went all sensational, it had some really optimistic moments. Seeing a person, celebrity or not, start to conquer their struggles with exercise and/or eating is really inspirational.

After each person weighs in to see how much they lost in a given week, the panel of judges gives them a weight-loss goal. Usually they are pretty small numbers, fairly easily achieved. Every once in a while they stretch it and challenge the contestant. Its never an unhealthy goal.

I think every project could benefit from this sort of goal setting. In particular, the part about stringing together some small achievable goals and bridging them with larger, riskier goals sounds particularly helpful. See also what the WuFoo guys said about The Importance of Deadlines:

We’ve recently gone back to a system with long-term and short-term deadlines, and we’ve already seen improvements in both focus and productivity.

I’ve yet to intentionally practice this. But, looking back at what I’ve accomplished over the past few months, I think some of the times I felt “in the groove” were after putting together a few small releases following a much bigger one. Any pithy phrase that gets me closer to said groove is one I’m willing to take to heart.

Rejiggering meets build versus buy

You’re here! That means I’ve managed to convert my site (back) over to WordPress. In the interest of making progress, I had to cut some corners. Currently, that manifests itself as taking my old weblogs Man vs. Machine and Punchline Labs offline while I figure out how to rejigger the content into WordPress. But if I’ve broken something, please tell me!

Wait, don’t stop reading! This isn’t “Yet Another Boy-Have-I-Been-Busy But Now I Promise To Post More” post!

The decision to switch (back) to WordPress is a somewhat bittersweet one. I’d originally switched away to Typo, but that didn’t work out too well. On the one hand, Typo went a little sideways on me, requiring me to poke the database a little before I could post. On the other hand, running a big Rails app like Typo on shared hosting like TextDrive isn’t a recipe for reliability. So a change was necessary.

This memory isn't going to manage itself

On a whim, I took a shallow dive into the world of C this weekend. Its been a long time since I delved into C. I ended up spending nearly as much time tweaking a build script with the ever-amusing Rake as I did remembering my C skillz[1]. In the end, my goal was to write a simple program that just reads a file and writes it back out. Nothing @cat@ couldn’t handle, sure, but you gotta start somewhere.

Check your head

Paul Graham’s latest essay returns to the ground that first made me notice and hold him in high regard. Holding a Program in One’s Head delves into what kind of intellectual exercise software development is (one that requires focused and uninterrupted thinking) and then goes on to provide a bunch of guidelines for effective programmer working spaces (small teams, distraction-free workspaces). See also: Test #8 on the 12 Steps to Better Code.

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Categorized as Code