somewhat daily mutterings

/Programming An Interesting Reference to The Costanza Principle

In my Strangling Legacy Code presentation and article (Better Software, Oct 2005), I coined the term: "The Costanza Principle" (TCP). TCP It refers to the Seinfeld character George Costanza, and is basically a funny way of saying "learn from past mistakes". Anyway, I was doing some "strangling" research, and came across this interesting reference to TCP on Villane Bardak's site. Although he's a Java developer, the post has nothing in particular to do with software:

"Secondly, Seinfeld is way above Not Too Shabby. You can simply tell that from the various contexts it is often referenced in. The jokes are often quite unique, compared to other sit-coms. Or even if they aren't, they sure fooled me. For example, google for "Costanza principle" and download the powerpoint file "Strangling Legacy Code", then search for "Costanza" in the file again. It shows how a joke from one the episodes can apply to solving a real-life software engineering problem."


Correction: I thought I had uniquely coined the term for my presentation, but when I run the Google search he suggests, I come up with a million (OK, actually 109) similar "coinages". Bummer. Well, I can honestly say that I independently coined it, but not that it was a unique.

Posted: Fri Sep 30 07:10:36 -0700 2005

/Programming/Java A Napkin-sketch Look and Feel

In a stroke of pure genius, Ken Arnold introduces his "napkin look and feel". The purpose behind it is to keep stakeholders reviewing the design from considering it "done". I think this has two dimensions: 1) it makes it seem easier to change, and 2) it doesn't look as though it can be shipped.

If only we were developing a Swing app at my shop, we'd definitely be using this technique. Instead, we build static HTML prototypes that our UI guy always polishes to perfection (even though I've repeatedly mentioned that we should not try to make it look to pretty). Maybe we should attach an "ugly" stylesheet to the prototype, although we could never get the same great hand-drawn effect.

Posted: Fri Sep 30 06:50:34 -0700 2005

/Issues_and_Commentary Only an Intelligent Designer Could Have Wrought This

OK, I admit it: the tongue-eating bug could never have evolved into existence. This nightmare creature must have been designed by some truly twisted intelligence, that's for sure. I can hear the ID now: "OK, I have fish, now what? Oh ... I know! A bug that eats a fish's tongue, and takes the tongue's place! Brilliant!

Posted: Fri Sep 16 12:20:59 -0700 2005

/Personal_Mythology My Top Ten Albums, 1984

Now, this is a blast from the past. I used to work for a record store (Recordsmith) in Richmond when I was in school at EKU. It was the coolest job ever (although programming pays a lot better), and I was the only employee while I was there. Anyway, in the winter of '84 Darrell (the owner) decided it would be cool to do "top ten album" lists from ourselves and the store regulars and post them in the store. I, of course, went a bit overboard, and whipped out the card stock, watercolors, and Letraset (how quaint):

Top Ten Albums, 1984

You know, Porcupine is still one of my favorite albums. I'd still look forward to listening to any of the stuff on the list, except for maybe the Icicle Works album, and I'm not quite sure about the Ramsey Lewis. I cut my "jazz teeth" on Ramsey Louis, but after nearly 20 years of listening to bebop and spacey ECM jazz, I'm not sure I could still appreciate his particular brand of fusion-lite.

Posted: Mon Sep 12 19:36:23 -0700 2005

/Motorcycling A Motorcycle Airbag?

From the "who woulda thunk it?" department: webBikeWorld reports the development of the Honda Motorcycle Airbag. No mention of a three-point seatbelt or passenger airbag (although I suppose the driver could play that role, har har).

Posted: Fri Sep 09 08:30:35 -0700 2005

/Miscellany I Slay Me

I was going through my archives, and tripped across this classic that I'd totally forgotten about. It made me smile, so here it is again: Pop-Tart Complaint. I can imagine his/her puzzled expression at the closing "Ha-ha only serious."

Posted: Sat Sep 03 16:55:04 -0700 2005

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