Quickies

Catching up on all the stuff I’ve marked as Keep New in Bloglines before I go away for a week (how will you all cope?) to find ghosts in Cumbria.

  • Tom Coates asks where all the UK technology startups are. It’s not a bad point; there’s innovation going on but few companies being formed. Maybe this is just a symptom of the British character; setting up a company to do your idea seems slightly brash and over-self-confident. My big worry is that as soon as you set up a startup you’ll spend 10% of your time doing what you actually want to do and 90% of your time doing things that mean “running a business“.
  • Malarkey pimps Extreme Programming. I’ve always liked the concepts in XP, and here’s another example of people actually doing it in practice. Is there a problem in pair programming if the skill levels of the two programmers are unbalanced?
  • Ian Bicking talks about how WSGI and Python Paste aren’t just ‘another damn framework’. I still don’t get WSGI properly, and I need to, I think, especially if I get into the whole wonderful world of Django. Simon WIllison gave me a kicking about not having used it enough at OpenTech, which is particularly apposite given that it’s already creating jobs.
  • If you’ve got a form with only radio buttons on it, should double-clicking one of the radio buttons select that button and submit the form? Raymond Chen talks about how to implement that under Windows and how the Office team do it. Interesting little usability tweak, I think.
  • A couple of good Joel Spolsky pieces on usability testing and how there really are ‘the best programmers’. That last point ties in, sort of, with another excellent Paul Graham essay on What Business Can Learn from Open Source. That essay contains many fabulously quotable bits, including numerous bits about the spectre of “professionalism“, a code word for “it’s more important that you wear a suit and spout the company line than that you actually do good work“. There’s lots more on this over at lesscode.org including an excellent essay, Motherhood and Apple Pie.
  • Ned points out the perfectly constructed joke that is the Collier Classification System for Very Small Objects. I love science jokes, although none of them are as good as the IDEAL Scientific Equipment Company which is hilarious if you have done a bit of physics and probably incomprehensible otherwise. “If you didn’t get it from us, it’s not IDEAL!”
  • Jeremy Keith stands up against Apple making use of Trusted Computing hardware on their new Intel machines and says “I’m with Cory on this one. If this turns out to be true, I’m switching to Linux.” Jeremy, we salute you; your freedom is more important than perceived benefits. That’s a big part of what we’ve been fighting for all these years, and a big respect goes out to you. You can grab and try out an Ubuntu PowerPC LiveCD on your Mac right now to see what you think of it without actually touching the hard disc.
  • Mark Pilgrim unleashes his mighty coding power once again and produces MagicLine , your personal search command line for a GreaseMonkeyed Firefox.

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