DaedTech

Stories about Software

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Happy New Year, 2016

Much like last week’s Friday post, I think a seasonal greeting will suffice.  Thanks very much for reading the blog and all of your feedback and support.  Here’s to a good 2015 in the books and, hopefully, an even better 2016.  Happy New Years to everyone reading!  To celebrate, please enjoy this worried owl.

WorriedOwl

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Merry Christmas, 2015

Big chunks of the world take the day off on Christmas, and I see no reason that DaedTech should buck the trend. So, instead of your usually scheduled Friday post, please enjoy this festive, non-sequitur drawing of a bunny farm.

And, of course, for all Christians reading, have a Merry Christmas! (And to everyone else, hopefully you get to enjoy a relaxing day off).

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Happy Thanksgiving, 2015!

For me and for readers in the US, today is Thanksgiving.  So instead of working and writing a DaedTech post, I’m going to be watching football, eating, and relaxing with family.  I suppose I could publish one of my drafts that was written for another blog, but a significant chunk of my audience is going to be spending the weekend with family and not reading technical blogs.  So, I’ll just hold off on a post until next Monday.

For those not in the US, have a good weekend.  For those in the US, have a happy Thanksgiving, and a good long weekend.  Try not to eat too much or kill anyone while shopping on Friday morning.  (Better yet, stay home on Friday morning).  For everyone’s enjoyment, here is a picture of a turkey that my wife drew.

Turkey

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My New Project and Dignity in Hiring

I saw this tweet tonight and thought of dignity in hiring.

I admittedly didn’t read through the site in a ton of detail, but notwithstanding that, I found myself feeling a little giddy. Apologies in advance for the spoiler, but one of the main things for which I’ll be advocating in my in-progress book, Developer Hegemony, is that software developers stop commoditizing their labor at pennies on the dollar. Instead, I think they/we should form organizational structures akin to law firms, and sell software expertise as a professional service. With this model, a rising tide will lift all boats. Even the odd staff developer at some non-software company will be paid more like staff counsel than like someone with 4 layers of middle management between them and people that make decisions.

But, I digress. I mention seeing this site because it was a hopeful reminder that better ways of marrying developers with automation needs are on the way.  And, for my part, I’ve been thinking about how to get there, and not just for the purpose of my book.

A bit under 2 years ago, I realized that I’d completely burned out on salaried, exempt (i.e. full time) employment.  At the core of this was the feeling that exclusive employment cedes entirely too much control over one’s circumstances to another entity.  On a long enough timeline, you’ll find yourself in a situation you don’t like, doing things that you think are stupid, and hoping for reprieve before you have to make the life-disrupting decision to go job hunting on the sly.

OppenheimerShady

So, I followed the advice that brings you continuous integration: if it hurts, do it more and more, until it’s painless.  I decided that, whether it be with employers, clients, or anything else, I’d never be completely able to prevent a situation from going sideways.  But what I can control is how easy it is for me to hit the eject button when it does.  And having a bunch of different clients and a whole ton of connections makes any single depression of the eject button relatively painless for me.  I was done putting all of my eggs in one basket.

That’s gone quite well.  These days I have more offers for work than I can take on, and a lot of different connections, contacts, and clients.  Life is good.  Maintaining my own pipeline is not without its drawbacks.  When you’re taking a break from your 9 to 5 gig on weekends, you might well find me invoicing or following up on prospective contracts.  But, I wouldn’t trade the relative freedom when it comes to controlling my working destiny.  I work more hours than most, but none of those hours are spent doing things that I think are stupid, at the behest of some megalomaniacal expert beginner.  And that has made all the difference. Read More

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Ask Me Questions, Help Me Be a Scientist

If you visit my site and ever pay attention to the side gutter, you may have noticed this.

AskErik

 

I get a fair number of questions via various media: Twitter, Twitter DM, email, etc.  A lot of the answers to these questions wind up being blog posts or even series.  The Chess TDD series actually got started this way.

But something occurred to me recently.  I formed a hypothesis.  It’s probably only the most outgoing folks or those with whom I already have a relationship that will engage me in this way, meaning that a good chunk of the readership may want to ask questions but not have a comfortable venue for it.

As such, I’m drawing on the lessons of science classes growing up and running an experiment: I’m introducing this form.  It seems like a lower barrier entry way to submit a question, at least to me.  If I were reading a blog and wanted to ask the author a question, I might hesitate to email her since it’s not clear that she actually wants such questions.  But if she had a form on her blog saying, “ask me questions,” I wouldn’t feel any such reservations.

So, the experiment works if I wind up with more submissions to the form than I get email questions. Read More