Logtar’s Friday’s Feast

The cook is taking a break so I am going to cook up a meal for you guys :) (link them and link me :) )

Appetizer
Lets start with a trio sampler of word association… I say,

Tear ::
Hawk ::
Alien ::

Soup
If you had to pick a body of water that you have visited in your life to build a house next to, which one would it be… describe the scenary.

Salad

Everyone is being green now-a-days, what is your favorite green initiative?

Main Course
Mexican is one of my favorite foods, share the name of your favorite Mexican dish with all of us (and where to find it) … even if it is just a Taco Bell chalupa?

Dessert
What was the color of your first bicycle, or the oldest toy that you remember and what fruit do you associate with that color?

…that is it, its a replacement meal so like Slim Fast it does not really count as food but it fills up! enjoy

The Dirty Truth Behind Software Development

One of the blogs that I enjoy reading the most is HitCoffee, partly because it is very well written by a fellow geek, but mostly because I can get several topics sparked by just one of the posts there. A recent post about the tango that developers, QA and project managers dance, made me think about what I have learned about software development during my career and I commented…

Every programmer that I have met thinks that they are awesome software designers, however I would venture to say that only about 10% are truly good at it.

Will replied…

Software developers have an amazing capacity for arrogance in general. They really seem to believe that everything would be better if they were running the company. I’ve met MBAs with more humility than a lot of programmers… and I’m thinking of some programmers around here that I really like!

I wrote my first line of code when I was about nine years old. Now it is probably pretty common that a kid that young will customize their myspace or even write a full html page, but back then it was not that common. I was lucky that I went to a school that had IBM clones that we were taught how to use. One of the surprising things about the U.S. education system to me was that even though they had the resources, the computer classes I took here were actually way behind from what I learned in Colombia at a high school level. I will some day write more about that disparity, but I just wanted to give myself some credibility here, when it comes to computers and writing code, I have been around it for quite some time.

We all think of doctors and lawyers as the ultimate arrogant professions, and while some of them probably are, a lot of people in the IT field have a god complex. I have met several programmers that like to use the term programming god. Some of them truly think of themselves as better than others simply because they can read computer code, or have memorized every single intricacy and function of a programming language.

I have no idea why I was spared that faith of becoming arrogant about programming. I do think I am above average when it comes to programming and I am also excellent at bug tracking and solving. That does not make me a better person, just someone that has patience and good logic. I however respect people in other professions inside and outside of my field.

The challenge that companies face is that communication breaks down as soon as their departments stop talking to one another. I was hired at one company because I could potentially bridge a broken relationship between marketing and development, and while I was able to facilitate the running of the projects I was involved in the relationship never seemed to get better. You had web developers trying to be designers and vice versa.

The good software architects that I have met were actually poor programmers. Big picture people tend to either forget about the details or the users. Teams of people seem to make this issue less painful, but all parties need to be truly involved and willing to comprimise.

I learned early in my career that the more I simplified the software I wrote, the more people like the features I implemented. Color coding things has always been something people respond to because it gives them another way to memorize things. I also try to apply a the little principle that computers are better at remembering things, but humans are still superior at make decisions. When I have to leave something up to the user I balance it on that scale.

Almost every programmer that has been in a company for a while thinks they understand the business side of things. However, the business side of any company is a living entity that constantly changes, the bigger the company the bigger the changes. Users are very clever and will use features in ways that they were not intended… do developers then adapt them to do the right thing or remove them?

That is when I think some of the disconnect happens. In situations like this it should be a consensus between the development team and the business that ultimately dictates the direction. Most of the times it is only one of the sides that dictates the direction and that leads in the best scenario to friction and in the worst it least to lost company productivity.

Software development is a lot of times like single life, you date different companies and try to do your best for a while but eventually you want to move on. You feel like you have so much to offer, but you are not appreciated, listened to and could do so much better. The good relations come when you have commitment and truly want to marry a company, truly start to think about what would be best for the company and not what is going to make you seem smart and clever. A programmer can be revered as a genius, but if the software they write is not usable or does not solve the problem it the end its a failure.

What a Smile Can Hide

A smile is a very powerful expression. At times it can be a very disarming way out of a tough situation. I have in the past seen a smile hide a multitude of feelings, but I had not realized how much some people use it until someone else pointed it out to me.

There is nothing wrong with being shy, however in some cases it is the result of something else entirely. While anyone that has meet me in person would probably laugh if they told you I was shy, there was a period in my life that if you met me you would have thought differently.

I can speak from personal experience and it was probably one of the most painful chapters in my life where I smile the most. I probably never laughed, but I did smile a lot. I had learned that if you smile, people are not going to ask you what’s wrong. It takes someone that truly knows you to see through a fake smile, most people don’t go that deep.

A smile is supposed to convey happiness, but sometimes it carries another message entirely. Recently I have started to notice these in a couple of people from my past. They always smiled, but I knew there was something wrong inside of their world. One of them actually got out of a relationship that was somewhat abusive and it is now a totally different person. If you knew this person before you would be amazed at just how much everything about their demeanor has changed. The other one I don’t think realizes they are in trouble, but I have come to realize how fake some of the smiles are.

I recently heard some very mafia like advice that a friend had received from her father. He said, don’t ever show people they have gotten the best of you, smile and then get them later on. While this was maybe just his way to get a kid to stop fussing over something, it is also something that many people practice. In the poker of life, showing your emotions is like letting others know your tell.

I love to make people laugh, but one of the things that is most annoying is a fake laugh. If you think a joke is not funny, or you don’t get it… don’t laugh, its a perfectly ok response. A fake laugh is a little easier to spot than a fake smile if you have heard the person laugh before. I guess we all use the tools we have, and it seems that with emotions the “modus operandi” of most people is to hide them.

Building a friendship

Being a positive person can be a bad thing sometimes. Expecting the best out of every situation also has to come with a spoonful of reality. Not everyone is the best they can be, not everyone wants to be the best they can be. This also applies to relationships specially friendships.

One of the hardest things about growing up was realizing that not everyone had the same values as me and it was actually quite complicated. As kids we have this tunnel vision that is comprised of our family, our neighborhood and our school. I had some really close friends that now I realize were just takers, and at times I was even one of them. The first kid around me to have a Nintendo was quite popular until other kids around got one and we went to play at our “real friends” house.

During high school it was also just as hard to find true friendship. One of my best friends during high school and I have not spoken in years even though once in a while I do talk to his family. We both had a similar built, and had light eyes. A lot of people actually thought we were related. Our lives went two different directions after school, I went to college and he kind of jumped around community colleges eventually getting a job at a warehouse. He actually dated a girl we both really like for years to the point that I thought they would be married by now. I found out through his parents that he cheated on the girl with some other woman that he was now dating. I used to spend hours playing basketball with this kid and now my only updates came from his parents.

I also had a similar experience during college. I became close with a lot of people that I now don’t even talk to. However, there I met some of the people that I now call some of my true friends. I started to learn true friends are the ones that you can pick back up as soon as life gives you a chance and with them time feels like it has not stopped.

I have to admit that I was lot older than I should have been when I realized that people have agendas. Some people will do anything to get ahead, some others see relationships as transactions. Even though I did not think that way, I had to get used to that some others do. I also had to learn that building friendships takes work and I like reciprocal relationships. I cannot sustain a one sided relationship because I invest myself too much emotionally.

Since moving to KC I have built some excellent relationships. Some of them if not most are going to be relationships that will hopefully last for the rest of my life. Also recently I came to realize that one of my best friends I have never even shaken hands with. Daniel and I have known each other through our blogs for years now, and we talk and interact more than some of that I do with some of my local friends. I trust and value his opinion and he has already been there for me in some tough moments.

Recently I have started several new friendships. They are all growing at their own pace. I enjoy getting to know people and finding things in common with them. I like my friends to eventually become like my family, relationships are what makes this ride called life worth it… its not about the ride but who you have around you when you take it.

First Again :) and it is First Friday too

If you don’t know what the Friday Feast is, click… same for First Friday :)

Appetizer
Invent a new flower; give it a name and describe it.
I think nature has done a good enough job, just look at any orchid…

Soup
Name someone whom you think has a wonderful voice.
I think Nora Jones has a very cool voice.

Salad

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how clean do you keep your car?
I try to keep it at 10… it stays around 8 in the outside and 7 in the inside.

Main Course
How do you feel about poetry?
Love it, wish I was better at writing it.

Dessert
What was the last person/place/thing you took a picture of?
I believe my Cubs shirt… check out my flickr.

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