Marc McNeill makes some interesting observations on how you can judge a company by the coffee facilities it provides its employees. He lists, in order of decreasing clue:
- Vending machine that serves [quality] coffee on free vend.
- Kettle and filter coffee / Cafetiere to make my own.
- Kettle. I buy my own instant coffee.
- Vending machine that serves [quality] coffee that I have to pay for.
- Vending machine that serves [tasteless] cofee that I insert coins into.
- Vending machine that serves [tasteless] coffee that I insert a vending card into.
Where I work, we have a choice of options three or six. We also have another, that slots in one side or the other of number four:
- Coffee bar that serves [quality[ish]] coffee that I have to pay [through the nose] for.
At the training centre where I’ll be on Wednesday (formerly a BT site, now run by Accenture), they’ve managed to find another option, which I guess ranks (and having tasted the coffee, I choose the word rank advisedly) at around 4.5:
- Vending machine that serves [tasteless] coffee on free vend.
I was having a discussion last night about the value of learning new programming languages. I said I still felt I ought to learn Lisp, even if I was never likely to use it in anger, because it would hopefully give me a new way of thinking about problems which would be transferrable to other languages (especially ones like Ruby). Alkesh (come on, get a blog so I can link to it!) felt that Lisp was a dead language, and would be no more useful than learning Fortran or COBOL.
AS I mentioned at the end of this post, I’ve been convinced by Dan North’s case for using the “given when then” pattern for specifying scenarios during behaviour- or test-driven development, and while I wait for JBehave to be released, I’ve been playing around trying to come up with a way of using the pattern to clarify intent in (Java) unit/acceptance tests.
A slightly cynical post from Kevin Barnes today – bizarrely entitled Agile processes, are they killing our children? – contains the following line:
Managers like the waterfall model for the same reasons that tourists like real waterfalls, they are simple and powerful and beautiful to look at. They are much less fun when you go down one.
I didn’t think he’d be able to top that, until I read down a little and laughed out loud:
The one group that always had mixed feelings about the waterfall model was consultants. Consultants canâ€™t afford to show up, work for months at a time and produce no real results (unless theyâ€™re Accenture).
It’s quite common these days for organisations to allow external access to their intranets using an SSL VPN, but it can be a bit of a pain if you’re trying to follow a ‘normal’ intranet hyperlink (eg from an e-mail) – you have to paste the URL into a box on the VPN homepage and have it converted.
To make it easier I’ve created a bookmarklet to do the conversion. It may not work for all sites, as I’m only constructing the new URI based on a simple inspection of a couple of pages.
There’s an excellent article about the Toyota process on fastcompany.com. Most of the behaviours described are also desirable or necessary in teams or organisations trying to be[come] agile, but the key point is in the conclusion: