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The Application of Pareto's Principle to the Adoption of Agile Practices - Part 1 of N

Starting this evening, I will be attending the Agile Coach Camp in Durham, NC. As the only registration fee for attending the ACC is to submit a position paper on a topic of interest to you, I submitted the following abstract.
The Application of Pareto's Principle to the Adoption of Agile Practices
If you believe in Pareto's Principle (otherwise known as the 80-20 Rule), then you believe that it can be applied literally everywhere. At its heart, Agile practices are about doing what works and ignoring the rest (at least until the time is right). In a world where people are constantly searching for silver bullets, getting distracted by zealot turf wars, and feeling the crunch of deadlines, novice adopters of Agile practices need to learn what out of"agile" is immediately important for their situation, and what they can safely ignore until a latter point in time.So I figure why not put some more concrete thoughts together before the ACC starts. This post is the …
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Apple iPad and Text Books

I'm probably not going to be the first one to mention this, but I want to go on record as early as possible that the single "killer app" for the newly released iPad is college text books.

I've been an iPhone 3GS owner since the day it was released and have loved every second of it. That is in stark contrast to the prior years of owning Palm and Windows Mobile phones, of which to say were terrible is in understatement. I've also been a huge iPod supporter for years now too, having recently bought my third one.

That said, I personally don't see any use for the new iPad. I currently use my iPhone for email and web surfing, and could see where using an iPad would be nicer, given its bigger screen. But I would never take the iPad anywhere other than the living room couch with me, as the form factor is simply too big (compared to the iPhone which nicely fits in my pants or jacket pocket). And since I can type on a regular keyboard at over 60 words per minute, I …

Review of NDepend

DISCLAIMER

Patrick Smacchia, the creator of NDepend, offered me a free license for NDepend Pro if I took the time to review the product and write this review on my blog. While I have not used NDepend prior to doing this review, given the fact that I have been reading Patrick's blog for quite some time now, along with the fact that I'm a big fan of static code analysis (for the regular identification of problematic areas in your source code), I happily agreed to his offer.

THE REVIEW

Installation
The installation of NDepend is a simple unzip and xcopy to your desired location. Seriously as simple as it gets. Once it's there, fire up the VisualNDepend executable and point it at some .NET/C# assemblies you have.

Analysis
I decided to run NDepend against a code base that had been handed down to me from a number of prior developers. While the customer is happy and the application has been running in a production environment for a couple of years now, the application is also a ser…

Developing Temporal/Time-Based Database Solutions

Since I've already gotten a couple of requests for this information, I guess it's time for another blog post.

The following is based on my research on the subject, after having developed a temporal/append-only solution a couple of years ago (before knowing what it was called by academics). Considering that Professor Richard Snodgrass of the University of Arizona is THE person that I've come across that has written the most on the subject, you should check out his list of publications on the subject here first:

http://www.cs.arizona.edu/people/rts/publications.html

The key one from what I've read so far is "Developing Time-Oriented Database Applications in SQL". Most, including this one, are available as electronic downloads.

I've also noticed that Joe Celko (http://www.celko.com/books.htm) has written on the topic in his book titled "Joe Celko's Thinking In Sets - Auxiliary, Temporal, and Virtual Tables in SQL".

Now that I've apparently go…

Temporal Database Design, Soft Deletes, and Ayende's Razor

This is a formal follow-up to a post on Ayende's blog on "Avoiding Soft Delete's" in your database where I question the lack of temporal database solutions being applied to these types of problems.

After Oren claimed the following, I felt it necessary to expand on it in a blog post of my own, rather than continuing to clutter his comments, and hopefully finally bring some traffic to my own blog :-)
Ayende’s RazorThis is a response to a comment on another post:Oren, in all seriousness, I thought that problems that were "(a) complex, (b) hard to understand (c) hard to optimize" were the kinds that folks like you and I get paid to solve...Given two solutions the match the requirements of the problem, the simpler one is the better.I could just as well call that statement "Jim's Razor", as I believe in it as much as you do Oren, so no arguments there.

But in the same vane, "wise" (i.e., experienced) software architects/developers strategical…

MS SQL Server Named Instances and Aliases For Heterogeneous Developer Environments

On the team that I'm working with, we're supporting MS SQL Server 2000, 2005, and 2008. Depending on when the particular developer joined the team, and thus when they installed the various pieces of software on their development workstation, any of the above listed versions might be the default instance (i.e., "(local)"), while the others might be installed as named instances (i.e., "(local)\SQL2008" or "(local)\SQL2K5").

Every once in a while, a developer has to work on a project with a database installed to a local database server that is on a named instance other than the rest of the development team. With the database server name stored in .config files, altering this for each developer just doesn't make much sense. Thankfully, MS SQL Server has a very simple and straightforward solution for this - aliases.

By using aliases, an application under development can be configured to use an alias in the .config file, and each developer simply ne…

Hotmail.com and Live.com email access to your iPhone

So being the proud new owner of an iPhone 3GS after years of dealing with the inferior Windows Mobile and Palm platforms, I'm also learning the ins and outs of "things that should be easy".

Take for instance the fact that MSFT only offers crippled POP3 access to Hotmail/Live.com, thus making those nearly worthless on the iPhone. Thankfully the fine folks at FluentFactory make just the thing to make Hotmail/Live.com mail on the iPhone nearly what it should be (for those of us with a many, many year history with our Hotmail accounts).

http://fluentfactory.com/mboxmail/

But that said, looking at what Google has to offer for synching to the iPhone, I can't help myself from laughing!

http://www.google.com/mobile/apple/sync.html

The following paragraph copied from that page is the key:
Important! Google Sync uses the Microsoft© Exchange ActiveSync© protocol. When setting up a new Exchange ActiveSync account on your iPhone, all existing Contacts and Calendar events will be remov…