Category Archives: Craftsmanship

Cargo-culting to success and understanding

In doing my part to further the fortune-cookie bullshit cycle that is Twitter, I tossed out this nugget yesterday: “Cargo-culting” isn’t always bad. All things being equal, following the lead of smart, thoughtful people can be a good first approximation. … Continue reading

Posted in Craftsmanship | 7 Comments

On the stewardship of mature software

I just flipped the switch on v2.5.0 of PDFTextStream.  It’s a fairly significant release, representing hundreds of distinct improvements and bugfixes, most in response to feedback and experiences reported by Snowtide customers.  If you find yourself needing to get data … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Craftsmanship, PDFTextStream | Leave a comment

Clojure Atlas (Preview!)

Today, I’m opening up a “preview” site for Clojure Atlas, a new side project of mine that I’m particularly excited about. Clojure Atlas is an experiment in visualizing a programming language and its standard library.  I’ve long been frustrated with … Continue reading

Posted in Clojure, Clojure Atlas, Craftsmanship, Random Software Geekery | 4 Comments

…wherein I feel the pain of being a generalist

I’ve lately been in a position of offering occasional advice to Lee Spector, a former professor of mine, on various topics related to Clojure, which he’d recently discovered and (as far as I can tell) adopted with some enthusiasm.  I … Continue reading

Posted in Clojure, Craftsmanship, geek, Maven, Random Software Geekery | 4 Comments

The placebo effect is what makes the software world go ’round

I’ve been of the opinion for some time now that software development, regardless of the methodology followed or the tools used, is not an engineering discipline (unfortunately), but rather is a craft.  I recently laid out that opinion in some … Continue reading

Posted in Craftsmanship, geek | 1 Comment

Programming and software development, medium-rare

Both of my grandfathers were involved in engineering; knowing something of what they did makes me even more sure that what I do is not related to engineering. Continue reading

Posted in Craftsmanship, geek | Tagged | 6 Comments

The beauty of letterpress and craft and old arts faithfully renewed

Having worked primarily with PDF documents and all the minutiae of their fonts and such over the years, I’ve come to have a great appreciation for typography and the now-ancient crafts that gave birth to it. I draw a tenuous connection from there to my own work. Continue reading

Posted in Clojure, Craftsmanship, lisp | Leave a comment

Activity is not Progress (or, ‘Did you really need to shave that yak’)

Anyone who is accountable for any sufficiently-complex objective is constantly having their focus being pulled away from that larger goal by a thousand different fiddly tasks. Christened as yak shaving some time ago by a fellow at the MIT media … Continue reading

Posted in Craftsmanship, PDFTextStream | 1 Comment

Automated Quality Control, Part II

In my last post about quality control, I detailed the challenges we face in testing PDFTextStream in order to minimize hard faults, and some of the patchwork testing ’strategy’ that we employed in the early days. Now, I’d like to … Continue reading

Posted in Craftsmanship, geek, PDFTextStream, Random Software Geekery | 1 Comment

Automated Quality Control, Part I

Quality control is critical to the success of a business, and in turn, to the success of its customers as well. This is doubly true in the case of software businesses and products, where problems and defects are rarely obvious. … Continue reading

Posted in Craftsmanship, geek, PDFTextStream, Random Software Geekery | 1 Comment