Genotrance

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Random thoughts, ideas and experiences

Software Engineering and the Common Cold

Just as I was blowing my nose for the nth time, after having picked up yet another cold, I had a revelation: the common cold is the same as the unavoidable pains associated with Software Engineering. Let me explain.

Fred Brooks wrote The Mythical Man Month over 35 years ago where he spoke about the problems associated with large scale software development. A decade later, he wrote an essay (which later became a chapter in the book) about how there’s No Silver Bullet that will cure an essential subset of that pain because of software’s inherent complexity. The book is awesome and per Brooks himself, “everybody quotes it, some people read it, and a few people go by it.

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Filed under: Programming

Seven Lessons

Every time you smile at me,
I’m bathed like a leaf in morning dew,
My fortune is hence to reflect,
That same expression back to you,
My first lesson is to practice this,
When I look at you, at you and You.

I’m dazzled by your speckless slate,
That makes the plainest burst in bloom,
Marvel in the most mundane,
From the noisy spoon to a lazy noon,
My second lesson is to live life such,
That every thing is a priceless boon.

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Filed under: Poetry

Phone Wars – Achieving Locomotion

I recently spent an inordinate number of hours trying to figure out which mobile phone camp to join. Having no commitment or loyalty to any particular provider meant I had complete freedom of choice. Given that platform, it was a question of figuring out the pros and cons of the devices, operating systems and service providers and lining those with our particular needs.

Figuring out what is available out there is a time consuming affair. Making a list of all criteria and collecting data is boring. I spent most of my time in this department. “What exactly do I need from a smartphone?” is the question I should have been asking myself all along. In the end, focusing on this question made the decision more palpable.

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Filed under: Review

AutoHotKey script for PasteFire

PasteFire is a really cool service to send information from your desktop to your iPhone really quickly. I found it courtesy LifeHacker. A very simple concept but implemented very well, and all for a great price of free. They have a web form, a bookmarklet  and a standalone application for Windows that can be used on the desktop side.

Here’s a really simple AutoHotKey script that does the same thing as requested by AppsFire. If you are like me and have a running AutoHotKey instance all the time, you can add this snippet to your code and integrate PasteFire to your workflow. You will need a Curl executable that supports SSL.

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Filed under: Programming

Short and Sweet

It is about time I post something to this blog, its been two years now. Twitter has almost made this place into an archive, will have to inject some new life here. There is surely short and sweet things to share that are not quite short enough for Twitter.

Lots of stuff to post about, I have done quite a bit in the last two years. I will start by cataloging the more useful items.

Filed under: Blog Update

Twitter – I finally get it

Some of you may have noticed the Twitter feed on the right. This is a brand new, albeit late in early adopter terms, addition to my online life. For the longest time, I really wondered what the whole point of Twitter was. People just went on and on about the phenomenon and I never quite got it. Why on earth would anyone be interested in being notified about what I am up to, every moment of my life?

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Filed under: Blog Update

My Vim customization

In my previous post, I mentioned how I migrated back to Vim for my development environment. Vim is fantastic but the default settings may not suit your needs. Given that Vim does not provide a GUI based configuration mechanism, getting it to fit your needs will take a bit of tweaking .VIM files and scavenging Google for tips. This was part of the reason why I stuck to Eclipse for so long.

Anyway, I have finally customized Vim enough to use it full time. Below is a list of my customizations; perhaps it will be of use to you.

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Filed under: Tips

TortoiseSVN directory diff

Recently, I tossed out Eclipse for a simpler Vim + TortoiseSVN development environment. I’ve used Eclipse for several years and love the integration. However, the 30 second startup time has always discouraged me from starting it up too often. Not to mention the 100+ MB installation size, excessive memory usage and tedious setup and update process. Eclipse rocks and I miss the environment every day, but I need something faster and more nimble that can adapt to my 10 minute coding sessions.

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Filed under: Tips

Move to WordPress.com

Some of you may have noticed that this blog, and my wife’s blog, are now hosted on WordPress.com. I moved since I want to stop depending on my server at home for my web hosting needs. The migration was not too difficult since I was using WordPress for the blogs anyway, but was not as smooth as I hoped.

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Filed under: Blog Update

Turning to Akismet

We live in a world of wasted effort. I get my daily dose of email spam despite some pretty decent filtering. And ever since I started this blog a few months back, I gotten to experience the joys of comment spam first hand.

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Filed under: Tips

Twitter Updates