The Launch of a Secret Product

October 14, 2009 | personal, programming, technology
For the past year, an odd thing has happened, if you’ve followed my doings. My work on Fog Creek Copilot seemed to dwindle, I became tight-lipped about what I was working on, and I started getting really excited about an upcoming product release. Also around this time, my knowledge of Mercurial, Python, C#, and ASP.NET MVC all seemed to dramatically increase, even though my free-time code output shrank to nothing. What was going on? Oh, the usual. I was working on a top-secret brand-new project....

hg log -R tips_and_tricks

October 9, 2009 | programming, technology
I was delighted to find that Steve Losh has begun making a website called hg tip—a site updated on a regular basis with Mercurial tips for both beginner and expert users. The site’s beautifully designed and a pleasure to read. If you use Mercurial, do yourself a favor and go take a look. (My favorite tip, incidentally, is definitely the tutorial on making a command called nudge, which allows you to push only the current head by default, rather than all of them. I’ve been using a variant of that,...

Finally, a Phone I Can Code For

October 6, 2009 | programming, technology
Finally, a phone whose dev program doesn’t make me want to vomit. Now if only Palm would get the Pre out on Verizon faster, I might actually do so…

The One in Which I Call Out Hacker News

July 1, 2009 | programming, technology
“Implementing caching would take thirty hours. Do you have thirty extra hours? No, you don’t. I actually have no idea how long it would take. Maybe it would take five minutes. Do you have five minutes? No. Why? Because I’m lying. It would take much longer than five minutes. That’s the eternal optimism of programmers.” — Professor Owen Astrachan during 23 Feb 2004 lecture for CPS 108 Accusing open-source software of being a royal pain to use is not a new argument; it’s been said before, by those...

The One in Which I Say That Open-Source Software Sucks

June 30, 2009 | programming, technology
These days, arguing that open-source software is crap seems dumb. How many websites are powered by a combination of MySQL, PHP, and Apache? How many IT applications, written in Eclipse, run on Java, using SWT widgets? How many design studios rely heavily on The GIMP and Inkscape for their everyday photo-retouching and page layout needs? Er, wait. That last one. Doesn’t quite ring true. In fact, as good as most people seem to insist that Inkscape and The GIMP are, I’ve yet to see a major shop...

Google Calendar: Now With Stardates

May 8, 2009 | technology
To make it easier to follow the goings-on of Star Trek, Google Calendar now helpfully lets you know which Stardate things occur on: I eagerly look forward to not using this feature as soon as possible.

FogBugz 7 Goes Beta

April 20, 2009 | programming, technology
I’m thrilled to say that, after two years of heavy development, my colleagues have released FogBugz 7 Beta. If you’re interested in joining, head on over to the signup page to request to have your license or FogBugz On Demand account upgraded. The existing beta already adds a heavily revamped interface and tons of new features, but I have a hunch that there may be even bigger surprises in store. Keep an eye on the FogBugz team in the weeks to come.

The Palm Pre’s IP

January 29, 2009 | technology
When I first saw Palm demo the Palm Pre, I was very excited: for the first time, I saw a phone that looked as if it would be a genuine competitor to the Apple iPhone. Palm has clearly put lot of thought put into its design: the interface is intuitive and fluid, basically invents a reasonable way to do multitasking on a portable device, and still seems to adhere closely to Palm’s historical emphasis on simple, clean UIs—something that my nine-year-old Handspring still does better than my...

Outsourcing is Dangerous

January 2, 2009 | technology
Not outsourcing to India; outsourcing to third parties. The Wall Street Journal details how Sony’s R&D budget paid for the CPU in Microsoft’s Xbox360, and how that ended up being part of the reason for the 360’s success against the PS3. Joel’s defense of NIH syndrome for core functionality in your product makes more and more sense the longer I spend in the industry.

Adam Savage on Obsession

December 21, 2008 | personal, technology
I normally avoid reposting news I find on other news aggregators, but sometimes I come across an item sufficiently singular and unique that I feel I have no choice. In this case, Adam Savage of MythBusters recounts his attempt to sculpt a perfect recreation of the Maltese Falcon as a way to explore the nature of obsession. The talk is at once highly entertaining and deeply moving. In a way I never fully grokked when watching MythBusters, Adam is a true geek.