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David Kramer’s high-entropy blog

Two Upcoming Agile Events In Boston

I am a Team Leader in Agile Bazaar, a member of both the Agile Alliance and the ACM.  We have two events coming up in a few days.  Please go to Agile Bazaar for more information on either event.

Nanette Brown: Agile and Architecture: Crossing the Great Divide 

May 6, 2010 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm at the IBM Innovation Center, 404 Wyman Street, North Entrance, Waltham, MA

Agile development and software architecture are frequently seen as two divergent schools of thought or camps. Agile developers often refer to architecture as Big Design Upfront (BDUF) and may regard the architects major output as merely shelf-ware. Proponents of architecture-centric software development may see Agilists as undisciplined or short-sighted, engaged in endless rounds of refactoring which architectural foresight could have forestalled.

In reality, Agile development and software architecture practices are complementary. Focused attention on architectural concerns becomes critical as Agile development scales-up to handle larger and more complex systems. Agile developments focus on customer value, rapid feedback and response to change can provide practices that assist Architects in dealing with ever more volatile environments and increasingly compressed delivery cycles.

In this presentation, we will take a journey to each camp to dispel misconceptions and discuss how Agilists and Architects can learn from and benefit each other.

Deep Agile 2010: Empowering Teams with Agile Games

May 15-16, 2010 at Microsoft New England Research & Development Center, One Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02142

Agile development teams are like emergency response teams – they need to be ready to act quickly to new challenges and changing competition.

At the Deep Agile 2010: Empowering Teams with Agile Games seminar, you will experience techniques that teach agile teams how to work together effectively and adapt to changing conditions.

I say “experience” because, rather than hearing lectures, you will be learning actively through observation and situational experiences, led by professional coaches and engaged facilitators.

The seminar includes structured sessions along three tracks: games to learn, games to change, and games to do work. You can move between tracks to select the blend of exercises that best suits your needs. Sessions range from introductory Agile concepts, to the theory of constraints (via the “bottleneck” game), to innovative topics such as using the art of improvisation to facilitate teamwork and exploring emergent design.

The second day will feature an “Open Space” meeting session, in which participants decide the agenda, then meet in breakout groups to explore the topics of greatest interest and share ideas for solutions. Open Space sessions are exceptionally stimulating and productive, because the discussions focus on the questions, problems and successes of you and your peers (See: the Agile Bazaar website for more information).

Of course the only way to gain all these advantages is to attend Deep Agile 2010: Empowering Teams with Agile Games in Cambridge, MA on May 15-16, so register today!

For more information and to register please go to http://games.agilebazaar.org/.

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Evil Foods

Today I’m trying to fix a friend’s Windows Vista laptop that BSODed because we had the audacity to hook up a Bluetooth dongle to it to use Bluetooth headsets with. Now it won’t run for more than a minute or so before it crashes again. My usual mantra of “Install Linux” is not an option in this case, because it needs to run iTunes. So far, the computer is winning. CHKDSK is running, and the percentage done on stage 5 is stuck at 11% , even though it continues to count how many files it’s processed, so I can see it’s about 80% done.  Learn to count, and maybe I’ll think about buying your OS.

As a form of therapy, we went to Jake’s Dixie Roadhouse (yes, their food is much better than their website), to help them celebrate Hogtoberfest.  For an appetizer, we shared Death By Bacon, which is chicken-fried bacon with southern gravy.  I am afraid it was insanely good.  Dangerously good.  I’m glad this is a temporary special, or my Doctor would probably have me banned from the joint.  Memphis dry rub ribs for the main course, natch.  I’m not a big fan of BBQ sauce.  It takes away from the flavor of the meat too much.  Dry rubs tend to complement the taste instead of hiding it.  I washed it down with a Three Philosophers, which is a Belgian beer.

For dessert, we had bacon drizzled in chocolate with spinkles.  Again, I was pleasantly surprised how good this was.  The bacon had a heavy maple component, which made it pair with the chocolate very well.  The extra sugar in the sprinkles tempered the salt in the bacon nicely.  Note that this bacon was cooked to the point that it was still moist and chewy, not hard.

Evil foods, truly.  And I would do it again.

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I Was Out Of Paper Clips Anyway

On 09/30, I was part of a layoff at my employer. I am on the hunt again.

I am looking for a full-time hands-on Team Lead/Manager, Architect, or Principal Software Engineer position in the Greater Boston area. I prefer to work in Java and other cross-platform technologies, but I’m fluent in many others. I would also prefer an Agile/Scrum environment, but that’s not a requirement.

If you hear of anything, my resume and portfolio are available here.

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Event: Boston Linux and UNIX Meeting: Rooftop Mesh Networks

I’m an officer in the Boston Linux and UNIX group, and have been a member for over a decade.  Here are the details of the Wednesday, 06/17 meeting:

Date and Time: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Location: MIT Building E51, Room 315

Presenters: Kurt Keville, SDC Coordinator, MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (kkeville alum mit edu) and Brian DeLacey, (bdelacey gmail com)

Kurt Keville, Brian DeLacey and others discuss the 802.11s (Mesh) standard and what it means for embedded Linux distros such as OpenWRT and Robix, the distros of choice for the upcoming local Muniwireless rollouts. Kurt gave earlier talks on Muniwireless at our February 2008 and August 2006 meetings

Note that Brian and Kurt will be holding an all-afternoon pre-meeting, beginning at noon in E51-063. This afternoon session will build a multi-node solar-powered super computer as a clustered web-server using fast flash and Marvell’s SheevaPlugs. Rabeeh Khoury of Marvell will be onsite for lots of Linux and SheevaPlug Q&A. Sage Radachowsky will be showcasing his latest solar circuitry. The working SWARM system will be demonstrated at the main meeting, but anyone is welcome to drop by and pick up a soldering iron or keyboard to work with earlier in the day.

Also, this month is BLU’s 15-year anniversary, and we will be celebrating with a cake at 7:00 PM.

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Failure Is Essential

Scientists understand this.  If you don’t fail, you don’t learn.  But you have to be careful how you define failure.  To a Scientist, not getting the results you want is not failure, it’s success.  That is, as long as you get reliable, consistent results.

One of my family’s favorite TV shows is MythBusters. Of course, much of what they do is horrible science in the name of entertainment.  I’m OK with that.  But it certainly gets fun science out there.  Adam Savage, one of the two main hosts, recently appeared at Maker Faire (run by Make), where he gave a wonderful talk (video from fora.tv can be found here), mostly on this topic.

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Server rebuilds suck!

I just moved my server from Fedora 8 (way discontinued) to Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope.  Many networking problems and other wildly different config files. Much sleep lost.  But now I have the website back up, webmail working, the Wiki is working, mail with IMAP working, and MythTV working.

Yes, indeed, much sleep lost.

Update

Last night was another night of going to bed after 2AM, but I finally got all the critical set up and working.  This is a very multipurpose box.  Off the top of my head, it hosts mail in (SMTP), mail out (IMAP), this blog, my Wiki, mailman, subversion, home automation software, and database.  I still have a lot to do, but nothing that’s going to keep me up late again.

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