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BOOKS i'm reading

Napoleon Hill Keys to Success: The 17 Principles of Personal Achievement, Napoleon Hill, ISBN: 978-0452272811
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated), Timothy Ferriss, ISBN: 978-0307465351
The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand, ISBN: 0452273331
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Archives for: January 2008

01/21/08

Permalink 08:29:01 pm, by lano1106, 149 words, 642 views   English (CA)
Categories: Book reviews

AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis

AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and Projects in Crisis, William J. Brown, Raphael C. Malveau, Thomas J. Mowbray, ISBN: 0471197130

It could have been a good book since the topic is interesting. All developers know what spaghetti code is or how adding features quickly on top of a prototype without modifying the software architecture can lead to a big blob of unmaintainable code. I took this book in hope to learn other bad software development habits in order to avoid them. Despite the potential, this book does not deliver it. It start with a lengthy and half comprehensible 60 pages introduction followed by a catalog of antipatterns where most of them are empty of value. Out of around 30 antipatterns, I would estimate to less than 5 the number of antipattern descriptions interesting. Examples of useless antipatterns are:

Bad management; proposed solution: The manager must become aware of his problem in order to change.
e-mail arguments; proposed solution: Call a meeting to come to an agreement instead of wasting time writing e-mails.

01/16/08

Permalink 07:15:09 pm, by lano1106, 50 words, 757 views   English (CA)
Categories: General

A serious bug found in the MySQL C library!

After having reported the bug to MySQL and after a lot of patience trying to explain it to the MySQL developers, they have finally verified the validity of my bug discovery and have classified it as serious!!

For the gory details of my discovery, you can consult the bug report.

01/14/08

Permalink 09:13:44 pm, by lano1106, 98 words, 645 views   English (CA)
Categories: Book reviews

Software Project Survival guide

Software Project Survival Guide, Steve C McConnell, ISBN: 1572316217

I have not found this book very fun to read because of its very structured and academic format. I have not learned much from it as much of its content is general wisdom that anyone with many years of experience in the industry has probably seen around before. Something positive I can say about the book is that I totally adhere to the methodology explained in the book. In my software development career, I have experienced myself the benefits of applying similar software development management methodology and I have also seen the negative consequences of not following it.

01/10/08

Permalink 09:09:14 pm, by lano1106, 518 words, 645 views   English (CA)
Categories: Book reviews

Dynamics of Software Development

Dynamics of Software Development, Jim McCarthy, ISBN: 1556158238


I have not found this book as interesting as the type of books that I usually read. I prefer books dealing with the more technical aspects of software development. I have read this book because I need to acquire a solid base of knowledge on software project management and not because the topics covered in the book seemed fun and interesting to me. Even if I was not very enthusiast to read it, I must confess that the author made a great job making his book interesting to read by interleaving important concepts with anecdotes from his work experience.

This book is divided into 54 short advices each taking 1 to few pages to expand the rational behind the advice. This is a format that I like and the advices that I have preferred were the ones dealing with the psychological aspect of software development. An example of such rule is that software quality is the mirror of the state of mind of the team. For some this might be obvious but considering the book intended readers which consist of engineers and software professionals, the author has been wise to be explicit on this topic in my opinion as from experience, human interactions is usually not the strongest skill among developers.

The part that seems to me to be outdated is the whole proposed economical model to market software. The author advocates that to make money from software, you must release often like every year and by doing so, your customers will be so happy that they will gladly hand you more money year after year. I think this model used to be true when the software industry was still young 20 years ago but in 2008, the software products are so mature that no matter how hard you try to squeeze more new features, it will not be enough to justify for people to purchase the new version when that last one does everything you want. You just have to think about the sales of Windows Vista or Microsoft Office 2007 to see what I mean. Changing just for the sake of changing does not sell.

In my opinion this model should be changed to one where incremental small evolutions are proposed to customers. I would be willing to pay a small amount of money every year for an OS that is smaller, better and faster at each version. I do not get it how software companies can expect people to be interested in slower and more bloated products than the previous version. Add the possibility to purchase inexpensive add-ons to fill very specific needs to the model and you have a very attractive model. I am not sure if what I would like to see is representative to what the typical customer expects or if my proposal is viable in real life but one thing is sure. The model proposed in the book does not seem to work anymore for many mature businesses.

There is a 2006 edition of this book. I might take a look in it to find out if the advices that I have found outdated have been reworked.

Olivier Langlois's blog

I want you to find in this blog informations about C++ programming that I had a hard time to find in the first place on the web.

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