Sunday, September 18, 2011


I'm angry. I know I'm angry because I had to get this out of my system. Had to.

I'm a programmer, a developer, a nerd, a geek. I love technology. I get excited about the latest thingemybob that's just come out, the newest way to code something, a new language, a new framework, new ideas. It's the future I love, pushing the boundaries, moving forward, progressing. It's a positive thing. Positive. You get that word? Positive.

I love writing code. It's challenging, difficult, creative. Its an art form. Rewarding. Positive and rewarding. That's how I see it, and if you ask me all programmers should be like this. Technology changes fast and we have to keep up, move forward, be positive.

But not all programmers are like this, there is another type, and they are anything but positive. The are completely negative, about everything. The Negdevs.

Negdevs are full of petty prejudices and will do anything to belittle and undermine something that makes them feel threatened, be it a new technology or language, that usually, but not always, comes in the form of something from Apple, Google or heaven help us, Microsoft. They cling to, protect and worship their languages and technologies of choice.

This is the type of developer that has a bad image. They are the kind that are socially awkward and inept, shy, who can't communicate with other human beings on any normal level, who have turned to machines to be their friends. The bit, byte, condition, loop and thread become their social circle. Computers are their friends because computers don't answer back. Computers don't have opinions. Computers can be completely controlled. They are happiest at the command line, or in the debugger. They love assembly language and garbage collection, pointers, semaphores and indeterminstic finalisation more than they love people. You'd think they'd be happy, wouldn't you?

They're not. They're Negdevs.

If their technological beliefs are questioned, by some new whatsit, widgit or whojamaflip, their natural nasty human traits rise to the surface and they defend, with all their might. More often than not by attacking. A new technology is announced and they see it as a threat to their very existence. They fire off their defensive weapons of belittlement and sarcasm to undermine, denigrate and dismiss. They turn into petulant children. No, that's not fair on children, they don't know any better. These 'grown ups' are supposed to, but they don't. They're Negdevs.

There are hundreds of programming languages and technologies out there, and all are capable of doing particular things, some are strong on performance, some are more productive, some are scientific, some are mathematic, same are managed, some are native, some are hard to debug, some are easy, some have great toolsets, some don't. You choose the appropriate one for the job. You don't base choices on petty immature insecurities and prejudices. Negdevs do, these technology fascists, language bullies and syntactic browbeaters. Negdevs.

Why do they do it? They loved technology once. They must have, or they wouldn't have formed these opinions in the first place. I don't get it.

I'm sure there are parallels in any other industry. In fact, this is probably just human nature, politics. But that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. It doesn't make it
any bloody less annoying.

But so what? Why should this matter? It's kind of natural, isn't it?

Well, the problem is that once you get an established culture like this in any development team, the purveyors of all things negative (the Negdevs) subvert and undermine the
culture of the whole team. Nothing gets done. Nothing. Forget team spirit. Forget productivity. Forget release dates. It's the end of the line. You're going nowhere. The team
becomes obsessed with attacking, defending, belittling and arguing about which technology is best. Productivity dies, nothing moves forward, decisions are rarely made, and if they are the team will spend the rest of time questioning it. This becomes more apparent the bigger teams get, with more opinions being thrown into the mix.

Is there a solution? I dunno, there might be. I'm exasperated thinking about it. Companies need to nip this in the bud as soon as possible. Avoid it at all cost. How?

Focus. Give the team focus. Don't encourage these petty opinions by doing everything by large committee. Just make decisions. Choose a technology, and do it. It may not be the perfect choice, but at least decisions have been made. Something will be done. You have a way forward. At worst you'll learn something.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Google need to take control of Android updates away from the Mobile Operators

I've had an Android phone for a few months now. I love it, it does everything I need and more, but the next phone I get won't be running Android, it'll be running iOS. This makes me sad (as in unhappy!) and here's why.

My Android phone is a fantastic cutting edge piece of technology, but it's already falling behind the times.


Because Google rely on the mobile operators to release bastardised versions of Android updates instead of doing it themselves. My phone operator hasn't released any update for my phone, and it doesn't look like they are likely to. It's currently running Android 2.1; 2.2 has been out a while and 2.3 is due soon. No sign of it for me (and many others).

Not a real problem you might think, I've got all the apps I need. The problem is that apps are now being released and updated that are only for v2.2 and soon I imagine v2.3.

I read about a new enhancement (the one I've just read about is Google Docs editing on mobiles) but I can't use it because I have v2.1. This is very frustrating and devalues the great job Google have done with Android.

Google need to take back control of Android and manage the release of updates like Apple do, so everyone gets the updates at once, instead of this silly trickle down approach that relies on operators to 1) care and 2) be on the ball and release the updates quickly. Neither seems to be the case and I suspect its not going to change.

This may be down to my operator, but I can't see the situation improving, it'll just get worst. So for me, and probably many others, Android will be a thing of the past when my phone contract comes up for renewal.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nouvelle Vague

Thanks to a generous soul at work who sent me an invite I am now using the early build of Google Wave. First impressions? Well, I can see how good this would be straight away, but it immediately hits you that you can't communicate with the people you want to because they are not using Wave.

I realise its early days but maybe some simple integration with standard email would be a good idea, where if someone wasn't using wave, an entry would be emailed to them, and their replies would appear in the wave.

Still, its shiny and new, and very interesting stuff. Time will tell I suppose.

Friday, January 09, 2009


I’ve started publishing some of my photos on to Picasa.  You can view them here:

First Impressions of Windows 7 Beta 1 – Wow!

I’ve read a lot of stuff about the new Windows 7 beta, especially the changes to the task bar and the fancy Aero effects, but there hasn’t been a lot said about its performance. 

So about 2 hours ago I installed Windows 7 Beta 1 on my ageing VAIO FS115S laptop that only has a tired old Pentium M740 and 768mb RAM (bless it).

When I did this with the Vista release a year or so ago, my patience lasted about the time it takes the average kettle to boil.  I soon gave up and re-instated XP. Vista was dog slow and it wouldn’t even entertain the idea of letting me enjoy Aero, which I suppose would only have made things worse in any case.

Now I’m not a Vista hater. There are some things I really like about it, its just that it took me to purchase a new desktop with an i7 920 processor inside and a beefy graphics card to appreciate it. 

When Vista runs well its a perfectly nice place to be, its just that Windows 7 proves that MS got one major aspect of it so wrong.  Vista’s lack of performance was shocking, and that was the main problem for me, not UAC, not the re-designed explorer, not the streamlined backup process, or any of the hundreds of things that people have complained about.  Nope, I thought most of that was perfectly ok.  It was the dreadful performance that got my goat. I hate listening to hard disks thrashing, hate it, like I hate pomegranates or people eating in Cinemas or the music of Chesney Hawks. The dreadful speed that Vista runs at on an average pc ruins the whole experience. The worst example for me being the (lack of) speed when copying and moving files around, it was like watching Mamma Mia on repeat for eternity (sorry Dr. Kermode, have to disagree with you on that one).

So now I’m sitting here with almost what could be described as a smile on my big fat face.  There is no sign of Pierce Brosnan’s singing and Windows 7 is still running on my lowly VAIO laptop. Compared to Vista, Windows 7 flies!  It’s completely usable, no problem at all, and I have all of the graphical bells and whistles running too, I’m almost stunned!

Not to say that Windows 7 is perfect of course.  After the install was complete I had no wireless, no audio and only standard VGA graphics, here we go again I thought.  But after a little scramble around to get the appropriate Vista drivers, which wasn’t too tricky, everything is great.

Honestly, it really is great. If Windows 7 carries on like this MS have a winner on their hands.  I’m actually looking forward to the release now.

You can give Windows 7 Beta 1 a try later today when Microsoft release it to the masses.  I honestly don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Blogging from Word 2007

So here we are blogging from Word 2007. I have to say I quite like the new Word 2007 UI. Being a long term user of Word I found it a little frustrating finding my way around at first, and it took me 30 seconds to work out how to open a file, which in the light of why the UI changed is ironic to say the least. So this is just a test entry really, to see if the new blogging feature in Word 2007 works, and I suppose if you are reading this…it does!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Really Useful Windows Vista Secrets!

Tim Sneath (a fancily titled Windows Vista Technical Evangelist) is blogging about useful features in Vista. I particularly like the entries on Command Prompt Here and Running Quick Launch Items, as well as Disablinb that annoying User Account Control feature of course!

Here is the current list:

Windows Vista Secret #1: Open Command Prompt Here
Windows Vista Secret #2: Copy as Path
Windows Vista Secret #3: Bringing Back Start/Run
Windows Vista Secret #4: Disabling UAC
Windows Vista Secret #5: Running Quick Launch Items