Month: January 2016

Usability: On creating password rules

These days, everyone wants to make it clear that they’re taking security seriously. So they make each user create a password which contains at least eight characters including a lowercase letter, an uppercase letter, a number, a symbol, and some other rule that’s completely different from every other website. Then when you can’t remember your password (I know, I know, we should be using password managers and just remembering a master password) they show you the rules and make you set a new password, which can’t be the same as a previous password. Which means that next time you actually...

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Project management and consistency in coding

Whenever a team leader position has opened up at work, I’ve been very clear that I’m not interested. While I have no problem with managing people – many of my jobs have involved this – I’m currently focused on improving my development skills. However, running a project I have no issues with, and for the last few months I’ve been in charge of my team’s web migration project. This has largely consisted of planning out our timelines and helping our newer developers get up to speed on our team’s standards for web development. I ended up sending one development log...

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Paying for Quality

Back in September, I listened to the Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual audiobook, from John Sonmez of, and really enjoyed it. Except for one part, which ticked me off. In chapter 17, Resumes are BORING, John recommends hiring a professional resume writer to do your resume, under the assumption that this is a skill that you probably have never developed and it’s worth paying a few hundred dollars to get someone who really knows what they’re doing. So far, so good. Then a few minutes later, when he’s talking about branding, he recommends going to Fiverr and having someone do your logo – the image that’s going to represent you for the foreseeable future – for $5. See the disconnect here? Now, I have to admit to a bias – my wife is a multimedia designer, and the challenge she faces in finding new clients is exactly this: people who don’t appreciate the difference in quality between a professional designer and the type of person you can hire for $5 off fiverr or craigslist. It’s even worse for websites: too many business owners would rather buy a crappy template site for $100 from someone off craigslist than spend $1000+ for a professional site, even if the cheap site will end up turning away customers in the long run. I wouldn’t describe myself as cheap, but I don’t like paying...

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Settings Goals in the New Year

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. It’s almost a cliché that these resolutions never work. We start off with good intentions, and maybe even keep them going for the entire month of January. Then something happens and we miss a day. We get frustrated. Having missed one day, it’s easier to miss another. And soon, the whole resolution is out the window and we’re mad at ourselves for again failing to meet our self-imposed obligations. What I do believe in is small goals with deadlines, and systems. The goal “I’m going to finish writing my next book by...

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