David Kramer's high-entropy blog

The Importance Of Team Composition

I think a lot about process, process improvement, productivity, and efficiency vs effectiveness (believe it or not the difference is not universally understood).  Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about team composition and how it affects the productivity of the team.  In part I’ve been thinking about it because of the teams I’ve had in the past; in part because I’m currently hiring and having to make trade-offs like salary level vs skill level and overlapping skill sets, but also because I’ve been playing the game Overwatch a lot, where team composition essential.

Read on…


13 Things Horror Movies Taught Us

From the wonderful folks at the Boston Sci-Fi Marathon, I present 13 Things Horror Movies Taught Us.  These people run other movie marathons, like HorrorThon (which I attended), but the Sci Fi marathon is their biggie.  It’s a 10 day event (starting 02/05/10), ending in the 24-hour marathon (which I hope to go to). I just wish their website was in better shape.


How Agile Is Your Company?

First, a little fun. I found this survey asking just that question, but in a humorous way.  Here are the results, which were presented at the Agile 2008 conference in Toronto.  I also found (through LinkedIn) a post on Peter DeYoe’s blog with a humorous job posting for a Scrum Master.

Now for a real live case study.  In my job hunting, I discovered this article by Damon Pool on Litle & Co.  The reason I like this story so much is that not only did the push for Agile come from the top, but they started out that way.  They didn’t adopt Agile, they were born with it.  That eliminates a lot of problems that come along with trying to adopt Agile later on:
Read on…


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.


For Those Truly Type A People

How about a toaster… with a countdown timer?  This toaster counts down the time as your slices of bread are gently transmogrified into toast.

Finally, a toaster that tells you exactly how much time is left before your toast will be ready. No more guessing when it will be done—and coming back to find it cold.Hectic mornings? This is the toaster for you! Unique digital toaster counts down the time until your toast is done on a backlit LCD screen, eliminating guesswork and making it easier to multitask amidst the morning hustle and bustle.

Large capacity and special features make this the ultimate household toaster.Four-slice toaster has 3 indicator lights and easy-touch control buttons that let you toast frozen goods like waffles, stop toasting mid-cycle, and reheat cold toast without overbrowning. Plus, the bagel function with “set and forget” slide control toasts the cut side of the bagel and warms the outer crust. Electronic sensor ensures consistent browning, every time.

This toaster is also perfect for people with CDO, which is a very serious condition.  CDO is
OCD, but with the letters in alphabetical order, the way they should be.

For the type B people out there, how about a hammer with a built-in bottle opener?


Favorite StackOverflow Threads

I’ve mentioned StackOverflow before.  It’s a place you can ask and answer questions about software development.  It’s got a strong reputation system that keeps the nut jobs and spammers at bay, and I’ve found it very useful.  Not all the posts are about slaving away over a hot keyboard, though.

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