Walled Gardens, Walled Ghettos

February 13, 2014 | technology
I’ve seen a lot of posts recently about how Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8, are failures. These posts inevitably talk about how the new user interface is a complete mess, or how, no matter how great Windows Phone 8 may be, the app situation is so bad that Microsoft should simply give up on the platform. I actually disagree with these arguments as such. While OS X and iOS are my daily operating systems, Metro is, in my opinion, a great touch interface, and will make a wonderful tablet...

But that’s impossible!

March 18, 2013 | personal, programming
For the past week, I have felt a wave of relief that we shipped Kiln Harmony, the first DVCS-agnostic source control system. Kiln Harmony’s translation engine ruled my life for the better part of a year, and, as the technical blog series is revealing, probably took some of my sanity with it. But we’ve received nearly universally positive feedback, and built a product that I myself love to use, so I can’t help but feel the project was an incredible success. A success that started with me...

Stepping back and being quiet

October 31, 2012 | personal, technology
I always travel ready to get stuck and be forced to work remotely. My tool of choice for that varies, but has recently been a third-generation iPad armed with my Nokia 800’s old folding keyboard, PocketCloud, and Prompt. With these four simple tools, plus Azure and AWS in a pinch, I can pretty easily get a good day’s work done anywhere. So when I got stuck in Los Angeles this past Saturday, I wasn’t worried: I knew I’d still be able to help Fog Creek get stuff done. You know what an iPad,...

Using Trello to organize your summer job search

October 11, 2012 | personal, technology
I remember when I was back in college looking for summer internships. It stank. No one gave me any meaningful guidance (very much including the college employment office). I had no idea how to organize the process. I had no central location to store contact information, or to easily make sure I’d done the next step. I just kind of had a stack of brochures and business cards on my desk that I tried to follow up on, and an Entourage calendar of any upcoming interviews I had. Basically, I was a...

Seriously?

October 2, 2012 | personal, programming, technology
Business of Software has long stood as a unique conference for me: while nearly every tech conference I attend focuses on the technological side of delivering a solution, Business of Software focuses on actually delivering the goods. How do you reach people? How do you know you’ve reached people? How, if you’ve reached people, do you turn that into profit so that you can keep making people’s lives better? These are insanely important questions, and ones that are far too easily glossed over in...

Cargo-cult debugging

May 11, 2012 | programming
I’ve been coding full-time for only a few weeks, and already I’m going somewhat insane by people engaging in what I’d call cargo-cult debugging. Cargo cults were religions that developed when primitive societies, who’d had little exposure to any technology, were suddenly confronted with top-of-the-line modernism in the form of World War II military machines. When the armies disappeared at the conclusion of festivities, they took all of their modern marvels with them. The locals, believing that...

Coding is priority number five

April 13, 2012 | personal, programming, technology
Let’s set the scene. It’s the summer of 2010. Kiln had been launched into the wild for all of six months, after a grueling year-long, no-revenue sprint to turn my dinky prototype that ran only on my personal laptop into a shipping application that worked both in Fog Creek’s hosted environment and in a gazillion ever-so-slightly-different on-site installations. We’d had all of a few months actually charging people, and were only just barely making a month-to-month profit, let alone having a...

Learning coding from boredom

February 27, 2012 | personal, politics, programming, technology
I think the point of math class is probably to teach people math, but what many of the best developers I know actually learned in math class was how to program. Nearly every high school math class I took was really, really boring. Not through the fault of the teachers; they were actually awesome. But I consistently knew just enough to be bored, yet not enough to actually skip the class. At first, I tried to act like I was paying attention, which meant that my face had to be vaguely directed at...

Enslaving your interns for evil and profit

October 7, 2011 | personal, programming, technology
I should be in the middle of an interview right now. About fifteen minutes into it, in fact. About the part of my interview where we stop talking about awesome stuff the candidate has worked on in the past and start diving into writing some actual code. A stack with O(1) data access that also always knows its maximum, for example. Or perhaps a rudimentary mark-and-sweep garbage collector. It’s usually my favorite part of the interview: I get to see how the candidate thinks, how they process...

Make Love, Not Flamewars

June 28, 2011 | programming
I sincerely doubt that the statement “I like Mercurial” will catch anyone who reads this blog by surprise. I brought it to Fog Creek. I evangelized for it on the Fog Creek World Tour. I helped build a whole product around it. I’ve gone to a Mercurial coding sprint, I’ve sent a whizkid to a Mercurial coding sprint, and I’ve even written a few patches (mostly trivial) for Mercurial. So let’s agree that I like Mercurial an awful lot. Reading crap like this pisses me off. The question seems...