Andy Hunt's Agile Carolinas Talk

§ April 28, 2009 14:11 by beefarino |

I just got back from hearing Andy Hunt discuss his new book, Pragmatic Thinking and Learning.  I hadn't heard him speak before, and I have to admit I was not sure what to expect.

On the one hand, I hold many of this books in very high regard.  In particular, the following books were career-altering reads for me:

And his keystone role in the Agile movement has earned my utmost respect.  However, when I saw the title of this latest book I was a bit worried.  I have a master's degree in cognitive psychology, and I know a lot about learning, memory, and perception.  Most learning books outside of the field are crap, so honestly my first instinct was that this was going to be a cash-grab treatise of self-help porch psychology fuzzy-feel-goods for software developers.

After listening to Andy's presentation, I am happy to say my instincts were way off the mark.

First of all, the book (and Andy's presentation) remains true to the pragmatic banner.  His recommendations are both practical and effective.  For example, a recurring theme during this talk was to write things down.  Carry around a small notebook and jot down every idea that pops into your head.  Maintain a personal wiki.  Mindmap as you read or think.  Solidify your thoughts into something concrete.  The point is not to be able to refer back to them later, but instead to force your brain to keep working, keep producing, keep processing.  To summarize one of his points, that's the first step to an accomplishment.

Second, a lot of what he was saying is supported by academic research.  Granted, Andy takes some license with his metaphors but his points hold water.   E.g., what Andy refers to as the "memory bus" being shared between "dual cores" of the brain is probably more of an attention effect; however, the behavioral effect cannot be denied - the serial and holistic parts of your mind compete when trying to solve a problem.

Based on the presentation tonight, I wouldn't recommend the book to my former psychology colleges - it's too macro to be useful to them.  However, for my fellow geeks, this is actually a useful introduction to becoming a more effective learner.

It was a great talk, a fun evening, and I plan to pick up the book next time I'm at the bookstore.  Oh, and I had a short chat with Andy just before the talk, and I have to say how awesome it is to meet someone you hold as a guru and detect no ego.  Awesome.

dotnetkicks counter image service

§ December 7, 2008 13:56 by beefarino |

I noticed late last week that the dotnetkicks image service is failing to respond to requests containing URLs for unkicked stories.  Not sure when this behavior started, or if it's newly defined behavior, but I've submitted issue 233 through the dotnetkicks google code bug tracking system.

If you're noticing this issue as well, please star the bug (and kick this story).


thanx to gavinjoyce, this issue appears to be fixed as of 2008 Dec 08, 19:30 UTC.

what my words say about me

§ December 3, 2008 10:35 by beefarino |

I stumbled on an interesting service called Typealyzer that attempts to fit a person into one of the Myers-Briggs profiles based on the writing in their blog.  Based on my blog, it reports me as INTJ - Scientist, or:

  • Introverted (vs extroverted)
  • iNtuitive (vs sensing)
  • Thinking (vs feeling)
  • Judging (vs perceiving)

From my Typealyzer result:

"The long-range thinking and individualistic type. They are especially good at looking at almost anything and figuring out a way of improving it - often with a highly creative and imaginative touch. They are intellectually curious and daring, but might be pshysically[sic] hesitant to try new things.

The Scientists enjoy theoretical work that allows them to use their strong minds and bold creativity. Since they tend to be so abstract and theoretical in their communication they often have a problem communcating their visions to other people and need to learn patience and use conrete examples. Since they are extremly good at concentrating they often have no trouble working alone."

This seems accurate with how I would assess myself; I found more detail on being INTJ here, along with details on the other 15 profiles. 

I thought it would be interesting to see what types of writing I'm drawn to.  So on a larf I ran through a short list of my favorite blogs and found the service to hit the mark rather well: not as many INTJs as I would have thought, a few ENTJs and even one ESTP, but not a single F in the bunch.  Not sure what THAT says about me ....

So, what profile are you?