Scraping 80's Television for Project Management Methodologies

So, basically, I watched way too much television as a kid. I've since remedied this and am now television set free (and would be tv show free if it weren't for Hulu ... damn you accessible, advertiser-driven premium content), however, my mind is indelibly stained with seemingly innumerable hours of 80's television programming (and 70's shows through reruns).

All of that is to relay why it ought not to be terribly surprising that it suddenly occurred to me, while detailing some project or another on a white board that Charlie's Angels may have been incredibly ahead of its time in presenting a model for project development. That spark sent my mind racing for other shows that might offer glimpses of insights into this crazy world of programming. The result was the discovery of three models that I think are representative of freelance software contracting. Definitely not exhaustive, just three that struct may as worth considering.

I latched onto investigation shows as they really fit the model of independent development: Presentation of a problem, exploration of a solution, execution of the solution and finally, payment, though sometimes not. I skipped police shows (Hawaii Five-0, Hill Street Blues, etc), family investigation firms (Hart to Hart, Simon & Simon, etc) and the inane (Scooby Doo, The Fall Guy).

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Thank You Hal Helms

As many might remember, Hal Helms backed out of his speaking engagement at CFUnited 2009, but offered to make it up for free. Understandably, that caused comments by many, but, hey, Sarasota is just an hour-or-so away, so I was happy to hear it.

Having trekked over the Skyway bridge and back a couple of times now with Alex, I can say that I am really glad things worked out the way that they did. In total, eight of us converged upon the office of CityMind to meet with Hal and bask in his wisdom.

Ben Nadel is a better source to learn about Hal's commercial Real World OO classes, but this weekend was somewhat informal and focused a good deal on philosophy and business practices - with some CF Object Oriented Programming and jQuery examples and discussion thrown in for good measure. For me, this was very timely, as I have just finished reading The Passionate Programmer and have been contemplating some of the non-technical details of my career.

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The Wisdom of a Hardcore Quaker Extremist

There are lots of good resources for developers, but they all aren't technical in nature. Today, I came across a tremendous resource for those that, in addition to improving the skills of their craft, are also trying to best position ourselves in a time of uncertainty (and imminent economic doom, depending on whose counsel you listen). Best of all this resource is free if you don't mind screen reading or relatively cheap if you want the printed version.

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Free Business Cards

Just a quick heads up. My employer, imageMEDIA (a great source for postcard printing and more) is launching an improved version of our flash-based business card designer (Alex did the work on improving this one) and are offering 100 free business cards to the first 100 users. If you need business cards, this ought to be pretty handy.

Just go to the promotional landing page for the details or go straight to the template selector for the Business Card Designer and use promo code FreeBizCard09.

Support Your Local Actionscript User/Developer Group.

I attended the second meeting of the Tampa Flash, Flex and Air Developers Group this evening and, like the first, found it worthwhile. It helps that, in addition to our local Adobe Evangelist Greg Wilson, we also were graced by the presence of Ben Forta and Kevin Hoyt. The connectivity of the Flash Platform and Coldfusion is such that this meeting included the local Tampa Coldfusion Group (though the link has not been working for me this week) so it with something of a blend of Coldfusion and Flash developers which fits me like a glove.

Ben regaled us with live demonstrations of an alpha of the upcoming Coldfusion Bolt as well as a bit of discussion of the advantages of the CF9 with integrated hibernate. It seems like Adobe has set their mark on two Marks - I had this disturbing image of the Centaur Forta trotting around the fallen, arrow pierced bodies of Mark Mandel and Mark Drew. Of course, it is premature to announce the death of Transfer or CFEclipse, my prefered IDE, as we have yet to even begin playing with what Adobe has in store. And all the adobe evangelistas were pointed in their inability/refusal to reveal what business models Adobe will use to monetize their efforts.

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Mini-rant & Reason.tv

I have a libertarian bent and an affection for the framers of the United States of America. Alexander Hamilton is tremendous and deserves a memorial greater in scale than the Jefferson or Lincoln memorials - oh wait, he has one, it's called the Constitution. And, if we would stop amending it, it would remain a great thing (the 1st 10 amendments are good, the next 5 ok, hate the 16th, 17th, 18th & 22nd, ambivalent on the rest).

I think Atlas Shrugged is a phenomenal book and that most, probably all, of the world's ills can be solved through motivated self-interest. Capitalism is the greatest force for good in the world because through it we discover the motivation to accomplish all the things we generally regard as good: nutrition, shelter, transportation, energy, health care, environmentalism, education, technology, most anything you can conceive. Of course, about that communication thing, I did abandon television. It had such great promise, but it just wasn't worth it anymore when I had hundreds of channels and nothing to watch (even How It's Made gets old after you've seen most of them several times - plus some were seemingly purposefully incorrect - btw, don't get me started on MythBusters). If you are some form of anti-industrialist, neo-Luddite .. well, actually, I won't be hearing from you because you won't be using a computer.

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Flash at South Park Studios

Sort of related to my professional endeavors ... thought probably not ... I noticed at South Park Studios they have a nifty flash that allows one to build south park character avatars. This has probably been there for awhile, but, admittedly, I usually just bounce to the Studios to get a fix of South Park and then quickly move on. Tonight I treated myself to "Red Sleigh Down" (617) and "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce" (1009). Not feeling like doing much (except set up VisualSVN Server so I can remotely access my repositories), I decided to look around.

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Welcome 2009, You Look Painful Already

It's the time of year when we lack any more time in the year and the habit of many is to look forward with various resolutions for personal improvement. Whom am I to buck such an estimable tradition? In this case, this post is for myself. I am throwing the gauntlet down and challenging myself to focus on the areas of improvement I know exist; an easy surveying job it seems. So the balance of this post will sort of define why I am suddenly called to stop procrastinating and what my goals are in addressing my ambitions.

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The Engineering Requirements of My Wedding

I meant to blog on this a month or so ago , but got a bit distracted. My wedding last year was preceded by lots of distractions, including a work project that ran long. Actually it ran right up to the day before my wedding and was completed only because I opted to forgo sleeping the last few days. Unfortunately, that left some things wedding-related unattended. If you have the opportunity to sustain the week before your wedding with 10 hours of erratic, non-contiguous sleep, I'd recommend against it. But, hey, that's just my opinion.

So, somehow I volunteered myself, and hence my brother, into making a stage for the wedding as well as a backdrop and the seating specs. The seating specs were done with Google Sketchup. And, amazingly, the good folks at our venue managed to follow the directions perfectly (I didn't bust out a rope and check the radius throughout the rows, but it seemed close enough)

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Version Cue & Office Christmas Gifts

In a sleep deprived, oddly written, earlier post, I extolled the virtues of Version Cue while lamenting virus scanner induced latencies. I want to revisit Version Cue again and show how helpful it can be for a project.

Leading into the holidays,I had this really odd idea for a set of gifts for the big bosses where I work. They both have odd catch phrases that they like to use (I think this may be a wide spread phenomena and I might be guilty of thinking that way too many things are "tremendous") while one has this thing for eating cereal at random times of the day. We'll skip the project for our cereal eater as I managed to unload that task onto others. Instead we'll focus on a perpetual, eternal and always present desire to take our organization "To The Next Level!"

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