Googling for Fun and Profit

Do you feel embarrassed about Googling answers to problems instead of working them out for yourself? Well don’t: if you’re a working programmer who has to answer for time spent, you’ve got to make use of other people’s work. As long as you don’t believe everything you read, it’s simple efficiency. Continue reading

Developer! Get a grip on your Information Information!

Good luck to anyone who can conjure up a TED lecture out of telling people that it’s impossible to keep up with all the changes these days. You and I knew that already, didn’t we?

Agile methods help organisations adapt to change. If successfully applied they increase the rate of change. There was an interesting podcast about Agile on .NET Rocks recently called The Economics, Psychology and Science of Agile. The very intelligent guest (listening at double speed was a wild ride) helps corporations improve their agility.

Individuals and teams act and react in a complicated way, so managing change and the information associated with it is hard for organisations. As a developer you are responsible for moving your knowledge forward in tandem. It’s a simpler task but not easy because you can’t call on other people to do it for you. Continue reading

Hitchbot and the Fluffy-Minded Herd

Your thoughts on that Hitchbot story this summer? Over the holidays I decided I would blog mine, even though it means straying from the strictly tech focus of this blog. If I insult your intelligence below, I just wish that more of your common sense was out there on the web – most of what I found was fluffy-minded outrage at the “killing” of a “friendly” childbot. Anyway: Continue reading

Just Say No… to Day Number Functions

In a Mental Status Examination a psychiatrist will assess the patient, often to decide whether they should be admitted to hospital. Quoting the article linked above, “Orientation is assessed by asking the patient … what time it is (time, day, date)”. So the patient is asked what day of the week it is.

What if the psychiatrist were to ask instead, “What is the number of today, based upon where it falls among the days of the week”? That might indicate that the doctor himself was under too much pressure and needed to take some time off, and it would also be quite unfair to the patient. We need to know what day it is, we often need to know when the week starts or finishes, but we don’t usually ask ourselves what number the day is.

There are database functions that provide the day number: in Sql Server it’s: SELECT DATEPART(weekday, SYSDATETIME()), and in Oracle it would be TO_CHAR('d', SYSDATE), which you can cast to a number of course. Do we ever need to know it? Continue reading