Thursday, March 11, 2010

Professional Development Plan 2010

Being someone who constantly reads has been great for my career in developing new skills and learning new technologies. I believe that "Continuous Learning" is very important for any software developer especially considering the rapid change in the advances of technology as well as the maturation and evolution of the software development profession.

In January, I read James Marcus Bach's Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar, and really identified with it. Bach is someone who is a huge proponent of self-study. I consider myself largely self-taught, yet someone who has learned at the feet of the most respected men in the software development profession by reading their works.

The two books which really had a dramatic and immediate impact on how I not only developed software but thought about developing software were Martin Fowler's Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code and Steve McConnell's Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction (the first version). These books opened doors for me and my voraciousness for reading technical books spiraled out of control from there. How I have chosen which books to read in the past could be described as random at best.

In Bach's book, he had mapped out areas of study which he focuses on. As I thought more about that, I realized that there are a few areas of study that I want to focus on and further develop my own skills in this year. So I decided to pick 6 areas to focus on:

  • Planning and Estimation
  • Analysis and Design
  • Testing
  • Leadership Strategy
  • Presentation
  • Business
Within each of these 6 areas, I decided to pick two books which I would like to read. Some of these books I have owned for years but not read, some I had bought recently but not read, and some are available on O'Reilly's Safari Books Online, to which I have a full subscription. I then set a goal for myself to read all twelve books by the end of this year. Some of them I have not started, some of them I am partially through, and some of them I have completed:

Planning and Estimation
Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn (2005) (0% Completed)
Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art by Steve McConnell (2006) (24% Completed)

Analysis and Design
Emergent Design: The Evolutionary Nature of Professional Software Development by Scott Bain (2008) (32% Completed)
Analysis Patterns: Reusable Object Models by Martin Fowler (1996) (6% Completed)

Testing Computer Software, 2nd Edition by Cem Kaner et. al. (1999) (6% Completed)
Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams by Lisa Crispin et. al. (2009) (0% Completed)

Leadership Strategy
Leading Lean Software Development: Results are not the Point by Mary Poppendieck et. al. (2009) (0% Completed)
One Strategy: Organizing, Planning, and Decision Making by Steven Sinofsky et. al. (2009) (60% Completed)

Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun (2009) (100% Completed)
Speak to Win: How to Present with Power in Any Situation by Brian Tracy (2008) (18% Completed)

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter Drucker (1967) (100% Completed)
The Ten-Day MBA 3rd Ed.: A Step-By-Step Guide To Mastering The Skills Taught In America's Top Business Schools by Steven Silbiger (2005) (17% Completed)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Quick Hitter: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Champion versus challenger. The perennial winner versus the lovable loser. The guy people love to hate versus the guy people love to cheer. The same qualities that make a heated sports rivalry so spectacular are in full effect in Seth Gordon's amazing documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. Gordon's story details the battle between challenger Steve Wiebe and champion Billy Mitchell as they vie for the Donkey Kong world record. Wiebe, with a wife, two kids, no job, and a penchant for crying, fights for integrity and respectability. Mitchell, the 1980's arcade master with the 1970's haircut, fights for video game supremacy. Colorful characters are plentiful throughout which only adds to the narrative. A highly gripping and entertaining picture.

What is a movie review doing on a blog about mobile and embedded technology?

Well, the main CPU for the Donkey Kong arcade game machine was a Zilog Z80.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Quick Hitter: Installing Windows Embedded CE 6

During the installation of Windows Embedded CE 6, sometimes the installer displays a dialog box stating that it "Could not access network location [url]." An example of this is displayed in Image 1. Hitting the Retry button on the dialog may not have any effect at first. What appears to work when this occurs is to open Internet Explorer, type the url in the location bar and hit Enter. Hit the Cancel button on the File Download dialog. Then, go back to the installer dialog and hit the Retry button again. This time it should work fine.

Image 1 - Error Dialog