Archive for January 2004

08 08 Jan

Joel on Software Dinners

Montréal, CA: January 15th. If you can come, please RSVP by posting one message here so we can get a rough count.

Berkeley, the other CA: January 30th. If you can come, please RSVP by posting one message here so we can get a rough count.

We did this in Oslo with great success. Basically we'll take over a room in a restaurant, eat, drink, be merry, and talk about software development.

Other Upcoming Events

I'll be speaking at CUSEC 2004 (Canadian Undergraduate Software Engineering Conference) in Montréal on January 15th.

Playlist

It's top secret. The only thing I'll admit to was Vince Guaraldi "Linus and Lucy." And Auld Lang Syne.

FogBUGZ for Unix and FogBUGZ for Macintosh

... will ship, I think, on Monday, subject to reality sticking its big ugly face in the way.

12 12 Jan

The Montréal Dinner will be held at Marché Mövenpick, 1 Place Ville-Marie, near St. Catherine & University, downtown, on Thursday, January 15th, 2004, at 7:30 PM.

The Berkeley Dinner will be at 7:30, on January 30th, 2004. Tentatively scheduled at Au Coquelet Cafe, 2000 University Ave. at Milvia.

13 13 Jan

Whoo hoo! There's nothing better than shipping a new product.

Fog Creek Software is proud to announce: FogBUGZ for Unix and FogBUGZ for Macintosh.

All About FogBUGZ
System Requirements: Unix | Macintosh | Windows

Today is Monday, right?

17 17 Jan

Joel on Software MeetupMeetup.com organizes regularly scheduled Joel on Software reader meetings in 640 cities around the world on the third Wednesday of every month. The next one is coming up on January 21st.

I'm not sure exactly how it works... I think that as soon as they get 5 members confirmed in a particular city, the meetup is officially on, otherwise it's automatically cancelled.

Meetup.com was created by my fellow New Yorker, Scott "Fries With That?" Heiferman, who also founded i-traffic.com (now a part of agency.com).

19 19 Jan

SysAdmin Week

After a bit of a scare discovering that a few of our critical files were not getting backed up, and with various system administration things starting to cross from annoying into the category of downright emergencies, I am going to spend a few days focused on improving our network infrastructure.

All of our backups are done to hard drives, not tapes. It's not that much more expensive than tape, and it's a lot more convenient. For example all our workstations and laptops are backed up using Veritas NetBackup Pro which creates hard-drive based backups on a server. Anyone can browse the last 5 versions of any file on their hard drive and instantly restore it; if a complete system is lost NetBackup does "bare metal restore", and, the part I like best -- if two people have the same file it is only stored once. This saves gigs and gigs of space because almost every machine here has the same OS files, the same development environment, the same full text of MSDN, etc. Servers are backed up over the Internet using Dantz Retrospect, also to a hard drive at a different location. Retrospect has the advantage of supporting "open file backup" on SQL Server databases, backing them up while they're running. As far as I can tell, this relies on an underlying feature of Windows 2000 which allows you to make virtually instantaneous, atomic copies of any open file (Windows does this using "Copy on Write," where the file is simply marked as being "copied," the copy itself doesn't take place until one copy is written to, and then only on a sector-by-sector basis). Dantz has the disadvantage of some architectural decisions that reflect its Macintosh heritage which do not really make sense... for example, rather than the traditional Windows server model of having two apps -- an invisible service and a management console which controls that service -- there's just one app. This means you can only run one management console and if you lose it (e.g. someone else is running it in a different session) you can't get in, requiring drastic process killing or rebooting. And the number of new concepts you need to learn to set up simple server backups is astonishing... it took me way too long to get things set up and then it took several weeks of occasional tinkering to get it to work, and even then it seems to get flaky and decide it doesn't want to backup and doesn't want to tell anyone that it doesn't want to backup, so I have a weekly scheduled task to kick the sucker. Somewhat frustrating but I have no experience with other server backup products and suspect the others are just as bad.

I just woke up to the fact that we were paying about $6/GB for disk storage on Dell SCSI RAID arrays, and for backup media I don't need SCSI and I don't need RAID, so I'm going to try a LaCie Big Disk Drive connected to the backup server over USB 2.0 which is about $1.20/GB.

Meetup

So far there are 136 people registered at Meetup.com. London, Toronto, and Dublin have passed the threshold of 5 members for meetings to actually be held. I was thinking it might be fun to pick the city with the most people on this list for my next vacation.

 

20 20 Jan

I will be speaking on the subject of Designing Applications with the User in Mind at UC Davis on January 29th. The speech is free and open to the public so if you're in the Davis/Sacramento area please come.

UC Davis
Thursday, January 29, 2004
10 - 11:30am
at the University Club (map)

 

26 26 Jan

“Please do not use cover letters that you copied out of a book. If you write ‘I understand the position also requires a candidate who is team- and detail-oriented, works well under pressure, and is able to deal with people in departments throughout the firm’ then at best people will think you're a bullshit artist and at worst they will think that you were not born with the part of the brain that allows you to form your own thoughts and ideas.”

Getting Your Résumé Read

PS. This article got two kinds of feedback:

Ok Joel, I've been getting you newsletter for a while now. Mostly I was glad to. I'm a twenty year vet myself and I agreed with most of what you had to say. You were always a little pompous, but the resume "thing" takes the cake. PLease take me off you maliing list.

And:

It's absolutely perfect. Please make sure that this article stays on your site for a very long time. I want to maintain a link to it and recommend it to everybody who is looking for a job. Thank you!

Why the disparity?

Attention, All Gay Men on the Planet: OK, I can understand you don't want to dress up for the interview, but at least pick out a handbag that matches your outfit!

27 27 Jan

Reminders:

  • Thursday morning I'll be giving a free lecture at UC Davis
  • Friday evening,  7:30 PM, I'll be meeting up with a huge group of Joel on Software folks at Au Coquelet Cafe, 2000 University Ave. at Milvia, in Berkeley, California. Tell them you're with the "Joel" group.
  • Not in California? I'm working on a Fog Creek open house in New York Real Soon Now.
  • Anywhere else? Join our Meetup group and hang out with other Joel on Software readers in your city on Wednesday, February 18th. So far 28 cities in the world have hit critical mass (5). The London group is already up to 29 members!

In the meantime entertain yourself with some of Rory Blyth's inspired comix.

This one's a riot: "Ooooooh! I know! We could print out the data, scan it in, and then paste the image into Excel!".

And some disclaimers:

  • The remark yesterday in tiny print could not possibly be homophobic, because I'm gay and thus granted automatic diplomatic immunity from all charges of homophobia.
  • Putting spaces in front of commas is really not that bad, but I stand by my claim that it's not very professional looking, and, merely as a point of information, at least on the resumes I get, this particular error occurs on 37% of cover letters from people with Indian names and 0% of the cover letters of people without Indian names.
  • Anyway talking about punctuation is really, really boring, so please let's stop.
  • There's nothing like 100,000 incoming links from Slashdot to uncover those rare people without a sense of humor... but you can't tell people, "no, it's a joke, you just didn't get it" because the one thing common among all people without a sense of humor is that they inevitably think they have a very good sense of humor; your joke just wasn't funny.

In the spirit of the escalator

The number one best way to get someone to look at your resume closely: come across as a human being, not a list of jobs and programming languages. Tell me a little story. "I've spent the last three weeks looking for a job at a real software company, but all I can find are cheezy web design shops looking for slave labor." Or, "We yanked our son out of high school and brought him to Virginia. I am not going to move again until he is out of high school, even if I have to go work at Radio Shack or become a Wal*Mart greeter." (These are slightly modified quotes from two real people.)

These are both great. You know why? Because I can't read them without thinking of these people as human beings. And now the dynamic has changed. I like you. I care about you. I like the fact that you want to work in a real software company. I wanted to work in a real software company so much I started one. I like the fact that you care more about your teenage son than your career.

I just can't care about "C/C++/Perl/ASP" in the same way.

So, maybe you won't be qualified for the job, but it's just a lot harder for me to dismiss you out of hand.

28 28 Jan

For some reason, Microsoft's brilliant and cutting-edge .NET development environment left out one crucial tool... a tool that has been common in software development environments since, oh, about 1950, and taken so much for granted that it's incredibly strange that nobody noticed that .NET doesn't really have one.

Please Sir May I Have a Linker?

** Heute verwende ich die deutsche Version von CityDesk um mein Weblog zu erstellen. No, I don't speak German, but I know CityDesk well enough to find my way around!

30 30 Jan

Ted reviews my speech.

Scoble: “I hate to play the ‘it'll be fixed in Longhorn’ card, but I'm going to.” OK, you tell me when my customers have Longhorn and I'll think about using .NET then, mm-kay? My money is on 2008.

The Salamander .NET Linker and Mini-Deployment Tool might be a solution. Has anyone evaluated it in depth?

31 31 Jan

Geodog: “So I walked into the cafe tonight and looked around for the Joel group -- like any other geek, I was too shy to ask anyone, but when I spotted a big table lined entirely with males, mostly in their mid-twenties to early forties, not too well dressed, predominantly European-American, I knew that I had found the geek gathering.”

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