Month: July 2007

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At the end of each sprint, it is important to keep the following in mind:

"When determining velocity count only finished stories, that is, stories that pass their acceptance tests. Do not count stories the team partially completed during the iteration."

It is too easy to just pretend that things are going better than they are, so the important thing is to remain realistic and just tell the truth.

Otherwise you are bound to accept a technical debt which will only add up and confuse things before you realize it. No use struggling at the last minute when it can be avoided far in advance.

Be careful, be brave, and report correct information, despite the deadlines.

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Kids nowadays have it much better than when I was that age. Take for example my youngest son Maarten, who is having a fantastic summer vacation.

Last week we took him and his friend to the Efteling, next week he goes with the same friend to Croatia for ten days, the week he gets back we all fly to Rhodes for a couple weeks, and then a week after that we take him and the same friend to Eurodisney.

Perhaps kids deserve it and that is why we the proud parents offer them this wonderful variation.

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When I looked under my seat I was surprised to find a wadded piece of paper with what appeared to be someone's handwriting on it. When I unwadded the whitish ball, I realized upon closer inspection that it was a short story. This is how it went:

"He was very surprised to discover the wad of paper under his seat, and out of curiosity he decided to unwad it and have a look. Someone else's handwriting revealed a short story, and it went like this:

'For the last week or so he had been having this annoying crick in his neck which irritated him so much that he became aggressive and angry. There seemed to be no easy way to shake it off. Solidified neck vertebrae sealed together like some secret conspiracy to take over, unwilling to give in and accept the inevitable. Glued together and then what? As if the pain were not restrictive enough, it was indeed the lack of or the restricted angle of lateral motion which made things a hundred times worse than it should have been. As a distraction in order to reduce the crick he found a piece of paper and recorded his observations, on second though felt what he had written useless, thereby wadded the piece of paper up and dropped it below his seat. The slight draft along the floor when the doors opened blew the wad of paper backwards under his seat and he never saw it again.'

He decided that it wasn't worthwhile, wadded it up again, tossed it back under the seat for the next unknowing person to discover, if ever that would be."

Interesting, but not interesting enough, so I wadded up the paper again and tossed it back between my legs and underneath the seat where it belonged.

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I just discovered this interesting insight when I woke up this morning and gazed at the reflection of a pile of computer books in the mirror.

When reflected XML looks like JMX.

At first I felt like it was a dream, but as my mind slowly became more aware I realized that this was quite real.

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So it is now official. We will be spending the second half of August basking in the hot sun on the Greek Island of Rhodes, about eight kilometers to the west of the city of Rhodes at a place called the Terinikos Hotel.

The island is the second largest of Greece, shaped like a spearhead, and is located just off the south-western Turkish coast.

The really great thing about this vacation is that the whole family (two parents plus four kids) will be enjoying this together. Perhaps it may be the last fun summer vacation we spend together, so we will be sure to make the best of it while it lasts.

Checked out the Internet and the place scored pretty high reviews from the people who'd stayed there.

I guess Lindos is the place to see while you are there.

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Not so sure I can appreciate someone sitting right next to me endlessly filing her finger nails ever so enthusiastically. No matter how good looking or naive she may appear or actually be. After all, she is just some innocent teenager trying her best not to be too nervous, looking permanently beautiful for the sake of what society has defined what she should pursue to be. Tough luck this world in which we live. Life as a middle-aged, frustrated male is not that easy either.

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And I know she's living there
And she loves me to this day
I still can't remember when
Or how I lost my way.

-- Neil Young, Cortez the Killer.

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It's nearly impossible nowadays to get anything done downstairs without having Luca jump all over you.

In fact, it's been getting worse by the day and has reached a hopeless stage by now. She's now big enough to jump up on her hind legs and latch her front paws on the top of the table, which bugs the heck out of me.

No matter how often I tell her with a stern voice not to do that, she'll wait a couple minutes before repeating the same stout performance over and over again.

Bad dog. Bad, bad dog!

Everyone says she can't help it. Poor thing is going through an early adolescence during which she needs continuous and immediate attention, doing anything to get it her way.

I'm a bit worried that there's something wrong in her head.

I was feeling so relieved with the four kids finally growing out of this stage, and now this. To be honest, I wouldn't mind selling her, but no one would ever forgive me.

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In Dutch it's pretty easy to remember. Even is 'even' (ay-fun) and odd is 'oneven' (own-ay-fun).

However, in English uneven means something subtly different, e.g. slightly lopsided, unequal, rugged. For example: her breasts were uneven.

So when I got confused today and started referring over and over to odd numbers as 'uneven' numbers, some Dutch person got brave and decided to question my inaccurate use by saying in front of everyone:

"Hey, I didn't know they were called uneven numbers, I thought it was called odd."

I was so convinced that this use of uneven was correct, that I told everyone in the room:

"No, you can also say uneven which is the same thing as odd."

Coming originally from American, my expertise in this area was not challenged and everyone accepted my observation.

Unconsciously though this started eating away at me until I came home and had the urge to look it up. I guess I was wrong, so please accept my apologies here as is.

(Actually, according to the dictionary, odd is indeed an archaic meaning of uneven, but that's another story for another blog entry)

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Trying to get OpenVPN to work properly under FreeBSD is turning out to become quite a bear, e.g. a much bigger bummer than I had originally expected it to be.

Up to now all this effort has become almost a complete waste of time, because I haven't accomplished anything (though of course I've learned an awful lot).

What's funny is that according to the installation instructions it should be a piece of cake, but it isn't.

This is yet another ongoing goal in life which hopefully someday I will be able to resolve in my spare time, depending on how sharp my technical acumen remains.

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A natural tendency for software engineers nowadays is to divide large functional territories into digestible plots of land. Although blinded by their natural ideas of what technical activities are required to conquer the ever smaller acreage, one must avoid this urge of tasks splitting with all one's might.

Don't split a large story into tasks. Instead, try to find a way to fire a tracer bullet through the story.

Delivering a consistent and cohesive subset of all layers of a feature is better than delivering all of a single layer. By definition, a tracer bullet travels through all layers of a feature, taking with it a small piece of each layer.

For more information please have a look at Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohen.

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"Geocoding is the process of assigning geographic identifiers (e.g., codes or geographic coordinates expressed as latitude-longitude) to map features and other data records, such as street addresses. You can also geocode media, for example where a picture was taken, IP addresses, and anything that has a geographic component. With geographic coordinates the features can be mapped and entered into Geographic Information Systems."

from Wikipedia/Geocoding

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For quite some time now my APCUPSD daemon has been broken, and such an aggravation is something one typically postpones fixing forever. I'd expected the worst.

However, just a quick look and I figured it out fairly quickly. In the newer versions of apcupsd, the syntax of two parameters in the configuration file /usr/local/etc/apcupsd/apcupsd.conf have changed to:

UPSCLASS standalone
UPSMODE disable

Check it out for yourself by having your own look at my APCUPSD UPS Network Monitor on the kiffingish.com webserver.

Didn't realize it would be so trivial, should have checked it out earlier.

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We have this wonderful Labrador Retriever and her name is Luca. Quite an unpredictable and wild beast, but that is alright.

This evening when I took her out for a walk, she was pulling against the leash trying to go this way and that, me trying to control the wildness of the situation but to no avail.

The worst part was when she spotted two ducks waddling over there in the distance, and for the life of me I could barely control her by holding the leash. I felt as if I were holding back a bulldozer, there she was standing on her two hind legs ready to jump and attack those poor creatures.

Pulled into the edge of the water, I reacted just in time so as not fall into the pond, the innocent ducks flying away, and Luca finally realizing that all her efforts were in vain. I am the boss, and she has to realize this. Much to learn and adapt to.

On the final stretch back home, we walked next to each other calmly, like the perfect master and slave. Made our way to the front door, went back inside to the living room.

Now our sweet Luca is sitting quietly on her fancy cushion, reminiscing about all the fine adventures she had experienced today and wondering about all the new adventures to be lived tomorrow.

Life with a dog is not easy, but it is worth it I guess.

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Let's take the average complex development project nowadays.

Think about the best way to figure out what it is exactly that the customer 'really' wants us to implement.

His mind, his perceptions and expectations, all those technical documents, the actual reality of the situation. That which is promoted at the end of the first release. The so-called roadmap to the final release.

You have to be a psychologist, philosopher, technologist, information analyst, paranormal guru and expert on general relativity at the same time in order to understand these things.

I'm sure glad I fit this demanding profile.

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Although the agile project team knows when they will finish the next development iteration, they do not know exactly what they will deliver.

By having the courage and wisdom to admit that the result is kind of vague and unknowable in advance, good planning practices dictate a more straight-forward process of setting and revising goals that more importantly lead to a longer-term objective.

Embrace change, be flexible and go for it with everything you've got.

For an entertaining and well-written book covering this concept (and from which I paraphrased the words of wisdom above), please have a look at Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohen.

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How come when I go to make an urgent phone call, I pick up the remote control instead and start punching the TV channel buttons as if I am dialing the phone? The funny thing is that because my mind is wandering I do not realize this embarrassing mistake until nothing happens after dialing (I mean punching) the complete number and waiting a few seconds for the dial tone.

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Information

This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2291 entries and as many as 1876 comments.

Important events

Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.