Stories by Bryan Dollery

Programmers are not pluggable units

IT staff are expensive, especially software developers. If you’re a financial stakeholder in a software development team –- this includes CIOs, accountants and personnel managers –- you may believe you have a duty to pay these people as little as possible.

Year in Review: And the winners are

Time of year again; gone quickly; seasonal greetings; good wishes; time to reflect; other clichés. Right, now that that’s over we can get on to the good stuff: The Third Annual Dollery Awards.

JBuilder 9 fails to impress

I have to come clean at the beginning by stating that I had low expectations of JBuilder 9. I’m an extreme programming coach and J2EE developer, and I have a powerful preference for state-of-the-art tools like IntelliJ IDEA.

Wake up to the passing revolution

The second annual Agile Development Conference (ADC) was in Auckland last week and, to be honest, it’s all getting a bit old now. Using classical processes is akin to using an abacus to calculate your company accounts.

In the firing line

Microsoft has just settled yet another antitrust case out of court. This time it was with Be, the authors of BeOS, to which it paid $US23,250,000 without ever having to admit it was guilty of the 16 pages of complaints laid against it.

Met Service goes to weather extremes

It’s nearly 7pm on a Friday night, and you’re blobbing out in front of the TV waiting for Jim Hickey to tell you what the weather is going to be like for the weekend. As he does so beautiful 3D graphics fill the screen as a camera flies over the country, showing a terrain map with accurate texturing, animated clouds and rain, and city names with temperatures.

Economics 101

Why does the government source most of its consultants, and outsource a large portion of its software development and hardware purchases, from overseas companies?

Controlling without killing completely off

Control and governance are becoming big issues in IT, but how does one control an extreme programming project? The problem is that XP is a complex adaptive system -- it relies on a small set of simple rules which encourage useful behaviour to emerge from potential chaos. Too few rules (or the wrong ones) and you have total chaos. Too many and you have a classical unagile command-and-control process.

Phantastic phones

It’d be really cool, like, if a bunch of inarticulate, computer-illiterate 30-something dweebs pretending to be teenagers could play 10-year-old games on a 2in square screen and pay $90 an hour to do so.

A cure for spam, but do we want one?

The best thing about writing an opinion column is that I get to write pretty much whatever I want without getting prosecuted. Right or wrong, I’m allowed my opinion.

The art of good conversation

How can I, or you, ensure that we only have good people on our teams? The criteria are simple: I want people who are very bright, highly skilled (preferably multi-skilled), experienced, good communicators, and who are team players.

Shake and bake

A "bake-off" experiment was held at this year’s SoftEd software development conference. My hypothesis was that J2EE development is faster than .Net development, and the experiment was designed to test this and resolve the issue.

The goodness of open government

The government wants to provide services online. This is a good thing. Before you use a service the government wants to be able to identify you. This is a good thing.