[A picture of private offices at Fog Creek Software] Alert! This ancient trifle retrieved from the Joel on Software archive is well-past its expiration date. Proceed with care.

Joel on Software


by Joel Spolsky
Monday, May 28, 2001

I've been watching videos from Reboot, a web conference in Denmark. Mark Hurst tells some interesting stories about usability lessons from the web. My favorite: when your checkout screen prompts for a username and password, some newbie users will type in their AOL username and password. Why? They're not reading the text that says "returning customers, type your username and password." More proof that people don't read, but also evidence that people will assume the simplest possible program model -- i.e., that their new AOL password works everywhere -- until they learn otherwise.

(Feel free to fast-forward over the pompous negroponteisms like his slide titled "This is the Age of Bits.") The video is here.

Techinterview: How does one find a loop in a singly linked list in O(n) time using constant memory? You cannot modify the list in any way (and constant memory means the amount of memory required for the solution cannot be a function of n.)

Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

Want to know more?

You’re reading Joel on Software, stuffed with years and years of completely raving mad articles about software development, managing software teams, designing user interfaces, running successful software companies, and rubber duckies.

About the author.

I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, which lets you organize anything, together, FogBugz, enlightened issue tracking software for bug tracking, and Kiln, which provides distributed version control and code reviews. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.

© 2000-2014 Joel Spolsky