It's All Just Software

I had a meeting with a customer (let's call her Kate) last week, and she wanted some changes to a web-based messaging application that my group owns and manages. That meeting didn't exactly go as planned. Blame Tennis Here's how the conversation between myself and Kate went: Matthew: OK, so the request you submitted said you wanted the icon on the task bar to flash orange whenever a message comes in from the messaging application, right? Kate: Right. Matthew: Unfortunately,... Read more >

Learn or Die: Warding Off My Coding Career's Eventual Obsolescence

I often give technical demos at my work about various topics, and the most recent one was an introduction to ASP.NET Core 1.0 that spawned a lot of blog posts. Overall, this class was well-received (at least I believe so, given that people keep showing up) so hopefully I'll get to continue doing these kinds of presentations. At the end of these sessions, I generally "open the floor" for comments, questions, concerns, extended discussion and the... Read more >

You Are Not Your Code

What gives code value? Does your code need to have meaning, a purpose, for you to have the necessary involvement to give your best effort? To what extent should we care about the usage for the code that we write? A lunch conversation with three of my coworkers prompted these sorts of questions. Value, Purpose, and Programming Let's call them Zach, Flora, and Jamie. They're my regular lunch group, inasmuch as whenever I'm eating lunch at the same time that... Read more >

I Don't Care If I Suck, As Long As I'm Learning

I am an enormously self-critical person. If I'm going out to a party, or having dinner, or even just giving a presentation, I'm constantly playing back my speech and my actions in my head to see where I went wrong. It sounds like two awful television sports announcers who follow me around only to trash whatever I think or do or say. DICK: And here comes Matthew, shuffling into the presentation arena, sporting a wrinkled button-down and black slacks with... Read more >

Explain Yourself!

A few days ago I was summoned to a meeting where one of the most basic ideas a web programmer can have wasn't obvious to our non-technical customers. Something had gotten lost in translation, and now I had to try to explain myself. Our customers (let's call them Kate and Harold) wanted us to develop a web site that would allow users to type some answers into a questionnaire on a webpage, then take those answers and insert them into... Read more >

Are programmers afraid of losing control over their code?

In our organization, like a lot of others, we have three levels of programmers: developers, senior developers, and lead developers. I am one of the lead developers, and in that capacity I am responsible for divvying up tasks amongst my team of eight developers, conducting code reviews, implementing team standards, etc. I do not do any hiring or firing and I can't help you if you need a day off; you need to go to my boss for that. My... Read more >