Events for Software Developers in Blacksburg

It is sometimes hard to find out what events/activities are occurring for software developers in Blacksburg. This is a super small, non-complete list of things to do. Virginia Tech CS Distinguised lectures NCTC Software Developers Forum (also check out NCTC events) RVNUG (Roanoke Valley .NET Users Group) For VT students, there are a few more. VTLUUG ACM Association for Women in Computing CS^2 VT Gaming Project VT Free Culture Let me know if there are other groups I can add to my list. »

The Rule of Doubling

A long time ago when I was a team lead, we were in a planning session and I made up the rule of doubling. Jokingly, I said we should just double the estimates of all our developers (at the time estimates were in hours or days, not story points). The reason behind it was the fact that doubling would make the outcome more realistic, as I knew the developers were vastly underestimating tasks. »

Three types of Defects

Since the first piece of computer software was created, there have been defects. We have came a long way since those days, but defects are still prevalent throughout every application. They are reported by testers or end users, and eventually make their way back to the software developers that created them. Or did they? One thing I have observed over the past few years is the fact that almost all defects make their way back to software developers, but developers aren’t always the culprits. »

Business of Software 2009 - You should be here

Right now, I am sitting in a huge room with hundreds of amazing entrepreneurs, developers, founders, etc. I am at the Business of Software conference in San Francisco. In the next few day’s, I hope to have a few posts up about the conference and specific presentations I really liked. Stay tuned. »

My gotta-have software

It’s been a little over a week since I installed Windows 7. I tried the upgrade route, failed, and re-formatted the whole machine (every now and again you need to give your PC a good scrubbing). The real question is, what software did I put on the machine? Chrome - Chrome is the new Firefox. It is fast, and the UI is just phenomenal. What sucks about it? Extensibility, which leads to… Firefox - Developers still need Firefox. »

Is quality really a business decision?

A couple weeks ago, I posted my response to Joel’s Duct Tape programmer article. In that post, I linked and quoted an article by Casey Charlton which said that quality was a business decision. I started thinking a lot about that statement, and asking myself the question, is quality really a business decision? If you are a developer, has the business ever asked you to create a 50% quality product? Has the business mandated that functionality not work 10% of the time? »

What are your developers talking about?

I found myself in the middle of an argument over the differences between static and global variables today. I started to give my input, and stopped dead in my tracks. I don’t care what the answer is. I love the fact that my developers enjoy programming enough to argue about the semantics of it. I love that they take software development so seriously. I love that they want to know the answer. »


Yesterday, I ordered a sandwich at Panera, and saw something quite unexpected. As they were cooking my sandwich, half the sandwich looked delicious, and the other half was starting to falling apart. The cook threw the ugly half in the trash, and cooked another one. Even though the bad half would have tasted the same, the presentation was important enough to throw it away. How many other fast-food restaurants would have done that? »

Using Snagit to create rich posts

“A picture is worth 1000 words” Most blogs that I read integrate media, specifically pictures, into their posts. A video can be avoided. Text can be skimmed. But pictures can’t be overlooked. Good pictures draw you into an article, or website, and add to the story the author is trying to tell you. Last week, I posted a setup guide for NHaml with nearly 25 screen shots. Surprisingly, I was able to grab all the screenshots, cropped and everything, in about 15 minutes. »

Stop pulling your hair out, use Process Explorer

How many times have you tried to open a file in Windows, only to see it is already in use by some another program? Thus begins the witch hunt of process destruction, until you can open the file. Process Explorer gets rid of this problem. Just search for a file name, and it tells you which process has a hold of it. This is only a small piece of its functionality, but a huge piece of my sanity. »