Spherical Phoke

I’m finally putting into place the beginnings of an idea, that I call … Spherical Phoke. Some kind of clever play with words, maybe not so clever. Developers are supposed to think outside of the square … so, we are Spherical Phoke. Aww, c’mon, that makes perfect sense.

Anyway, it’s going to begin with Interviews of Developers/Techo-Bloggers/… from across the globe.

One interesting thing is that I’m trying to implement the initial part of the funcitonality using Jalenack’s Wordspew, for the interview. I like the idea of having a bit of flexibility in the interviewing, rather than a form to fill out, or an email to respond to. Of course, if this doesn’t work, I’ll most probably be doing something like that :).

I have a report to code now, but hopefully I’ll be done in time to get Wordspew running the way I want.

Till Later We Meet

Spherical Phoke Questions

  • What are the three most exciting developments in your brain at this very second?
  • What’s going to be the next catch-phrase/idea/… to sweep the Web Community?
  • What aspects of development do you like?
  • What aspects drive you up the wall (hate is too strong a word, dislike is more appropriate)?
  • What’s your dream project?
  • If you could own a single domain name, what would it be?
  • Favourite current computer game?
  • Favourite all-time computer game?
  • Favourite board-game?
  • Favourite movie?
  • Worst project ever worked on?
  • Dumbest thing you’ve ever said
  • Dumbest thing you’ve ever thought
  • Smartest move you’ve ever made
  • Toughest project you’ve ever worked on?
  • Best bit of functionality you’ve come up with?
  • Favourite working environment
  • What do you see the main purpose of blogging as?
  • If you blog, what purpose(s) do you have?
  • What are your favourite work tools?
  • Freestyling conversation

Being Sociable, It’s a Nice Thing

Have finally thrown down the gauntlet, to myself, and gotten into some of the code that drives the blog.

So the site has undergone some "improvements". We’ll take some time to see if they really do enhance the site, or detract.

In my browsing of blogs, I found a post on Paul’s blog about Sociable, which led me to … Sociable. It’s a pretty simple, but very sweet, plugin. Satisfies, to me, the basic goodness of what plugins do. Enables me to have cool functionality without me having to create that functionality from scratch (no matter to what degree I understand said functionality).

Anyway, as soon as you click on an article, you’ll see it in action. Gives you the opportunity to bookmark the article/post in a few of the different Social Bookmarking (for want of a better description) sites around.

Also, there are a couple of cosmetic changes to the layout. I am falling particularly in love, lately, with big headings. Not sure how this came about, I thought I was pretty minimalist at my design heart, but apparently not at the moment.

Anyway, more coming. In lots of different directions.

p.s. Sorry for anyone who visited hoping for a repeat of last Friday night’s actions. I was very very excited about doing another Quick Dev … but a number of factors cancelled that out.

Suffice to say, I’ve almost finished the initial touches on a sub-domain that will be the hub for my Quick Dev stuff. Not sure on that name though … it’s more about becoming a better developer, by practicing the art. The more you push yourself, the more you learn.

Anyway, enough for the moment.

File Systems .. Some Lite Reading

Okay. So I haven’t pimped any Slashdot articles in a while.

This one led me to File System Design part 1: XFS. It’s a pretty interesting read, especially for someone who didn’t really have a clue about how the insides worked. Hardware and software -wise.

The writer’s (Narayan Newton) infectious verve, his excitement, actually helps me to get through the article. My brain doesn’t take well to hardcore stuff like this, but I think I understood most of it. The trees harked back to uni, and the discussion on hard-drives, sectors, etc etc was pretty cool.

What got me most, was the big theoretical differences in scalability between NTFS and this particular file system, XFS. 2 TB as opposed to 18-19 million TB. That’s some scalability.

A nice little cache of information to store somewhere in the inner regions of my brain.

The Attitudinal Rabbit

As the kids and I were driving home from the video store tonight, the tale of the Tortoise and the Hare popped into my head. Not sure exactly why, perhaps it came from something the kids were talking to me about.


It’s got a good lesson for development, buried at the surface.

The moral of that particular fable is not about speed. It’s about … attitude. Aesop took two extremes to illustrate his point, but it could have equally been two hares, or two tortoises. The difference between the two was attitude.

It is the same with development. You can have two gurus, one who will continue to work at something long after the other is in the dust. It is even more true when you have the guru and the not-so-guru. The temptation to have a lazy/bad attitude to development are far greater when it comes as natural as breathing. When you have to work long and hard to break through, it’s easier to be more aware.

But whatever you are, however your brain works, it boils down to the same thing. Somewhere along the line, and probably for most of said line, it’s gonna be tough. The coding, the selling/marketing, the support/install/training, the "humility" when dealing with clients afterwards. All these things are going to have a fair percentage of hard work attached to them. Slog work.

This afternoon I was faced with this head on. I found a particular problem within the functionality. It could have lain anywhere within about 4 levels of procedures. Intimidating to my caffiene-slowed brain, to say the least. But slowly I pursued the goal. Like a hound, chasing down it’s prey. A slow, slow hound, who wanted a diet coke badly.

Eventually, after fixing an incidental problem that confused the initial issue somewhat, I discovered the cause, fixed it … and BOOM, the sums added up.

Oh happy day!

Anyway. Attitude. Apart from anything, you aren’t going to get anywhere in the complete picture with a bad attitude. You might succeed in some areas, but the more clients you get, the more people you meet, the more chance there is that bad attitude will turn them away.

So I’m turning around towards something Bill and I were discussing today, mentioned briefly above. Sorry Bill, wasn’t stealing your IP … heh heh. That another step in the development cycle, the complete cycle, is to be able to suck it in and take humility by the horns. Or rather, meekly submit, especially when you’ve got clients getting antsy.

Meekness doesn’t mean weakness. It means you’re okay with not being right in other people’s eyes all the time. It’s okay for them to think that they are right. After all, they just might be. But whether they are or not doesn’t matter. If it’s just a "mine is bigger than yours" argument, then it should never be an issue. It doesn’t make you any less of a developer, and most of the time, people respect strength of character and true humility far better than arrogance and meglomania.

Anyway … ‘Nuff said. Babbled on a little longer than I meant to.

The Trouble With Toil

So I’ve got a few inklings as to why my recent activities didn’t raise any kind of excitement at all. Not even a comment. But that’s cool …

  • The idea is still not fully-formed. I don’t have a name for what i’m doing yet.
  • There was no single idea for people to immediately grasp and say, hey, I like what he’s on about.
  • There were about 5 posts in the span of a couple of hours, too hodge-podge.

So I have to resolve the idea behind Sibisy, and all the other projects I will hopefully be doing. Get a name, create some guidelines, have a set format, make a mission statement … stuff like that. I’ll also put up a subdomain of DevDawn to give it a better singlular purpose.

‘Nuff said for the moment.

Sibisy, Issue the First

Well, I was cleaning up, and discovered that I didn’t put any Uninstall options into the installer. Bit of a problem that. I’ll update this in the morning.