Perry Rhodan

29. September, 2011

For the next four days, I’ll be in Mannheim, Germany at the PERRY RHODAN-WeltCon 2011 (their caps).

If you didn’t know, Perry Rhodan is the “most successful science fiction book series ever written” (Wikipedia) with over one billion copies sold in Germany alone.

Make you wonder why it isn’t as famous as StarTrek or Star Wars or Babylon 5. Well, there was never a TV series.


The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls

26. September, 2011

Another study by James E. Bessen: “The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls

Patent trolls did cost society over $500 billion in the past 20 years. That’s not the money they sued for – that’s the money shareholders lost because of diving quotes because of a lawsuit. It’s money that was converted to nothing. No one, not even the trolls, had any advantage from it.

The study also shows that patent trolls only sue big companies. This is an indication of a weakness in the current patent system (the one after the “huge” reform).


Sonar

22. September, 2011

I just attended the Sonar presentation given by Olivier Gaudin of sonarsource. Some impressions.

A good definition of quality:

A well-written program is a program where the cost of implementing a feature is constant throughout the program’s lifetime

— Itay Maman

In Martin Fowler’s “Technical Debt Quadrant“, Sonar is in the upper right corner: It doesn’t solve your problems, it just helps you know what they are. Or as the guys at sonarsource put it: Sonar puts  your technical debt under control.

A good book which you may want to read in this area is “Clean Code – A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship” by Robert C. Martin.

List of the 7 Deadly Sins:

  • Code duplication (cut&paste)
  • Bad distribution of complexity
  • Spaghetti design
  • Lack of unit tests
  • No coding standards
  • Potential bugs
  • Not enough or too many comments

Remote Controlled Cows

20. September, 2011

You could use a dog or a horse but an RC so much more fun!


Samsung vs Apple

19. September, 2011

Happy suing everywhere.

My only comment: This litigation is going to cost millions of dollars. Many millions. I’m thinking hundreds.

Of course, both companies are rich, so they can afford it.

Sadly, that was once our money, your and mine. So in a way, they are wasting perfectly fine money. Money which could have been invested in, say, R&D, making better products, sell their products cheaper, world peace.

You could argue that any fines aren’t wasted. But I wonder: If Samsung has to pay, say, $100 million in fines to Apple (I actually wrote Sony here – no idea why), how much of that money actually goes to attorneys?

And what about customers who are no longer allowed to buy certain products while the lawsuit lasts?

I imagine this: We all built a sandbox for all of us to play in. We spent time and effort and passion. And now, the bullies are taking over the place, driving us out. For perfectly legal reasons of course. No doubt. Not a one.

Does that make you feel better?


Futuristic Fountain

14. September, 2011

Here is an amazing example of a 21st century fountain:

Makes me feel like someone during the age when fountains were invented.

Source: Water Screen WIN


Why Writing Software is Not Like Engineering

12. September, 2011

Excellent article by Terence ParrWhy writing software is not like engineering

Main points:

  • “Congress does not go to NASA halfway through a moonshot and ask them to go to Mars instead.”
  • When building a house, it’s pretty hard to make the toilet flush when you ring the doorbell. In languages like C++, it’s very hard to make 100% sure this can’t happen.
  • Is it science? No, science is about conducting experiments and accumulating knowledge.

I don’t agree with software == art. Art is meant to make emotions available to a larger audience. Maybe writing error messages at M$ is an art form but general coding isn’t.

Conclusion: Software development is a craft just like carpentry or masonry.

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