DNS Hack for Black Friday

by Tom Harrison Jr on November 25, 2014

Rockport sells shoes. I have some that have a problem; I need to get to their customer service. But can’t. rockport.com resolves to an IP address but www.rockport.com doesn’t, at least not from Google’s DNS servers. Unfortunately, Rockport’s servers properly canonicalize and redirect to www.rockport.com. So, the page errors out. Whoops. Maybe there’s a simple […]

Great Developers Are 10 Times Better; About the Others

by Tom Harrison Jr on November 22, 2014

“Great developers are ten times more productive than normal developers.” This is true but misses an important point. Bad developers are poison whose cost is incalculable. I have been a fan of Steve McConnell’s writing since reading Code Complete and Rapid Development back in the olden days. I think it was he from whom I […]

A Brilliant New UI Standard: Material Design. Not Apple.

November 2, 2014

Apple, of course. Google. Really … Google that makes GMail? Yup. Almost everything Apple does has great visual design. Almost everything Google does has great technical design. The converse is not often true. And to be fair, the new version of OS X and iOS are good in subtle and important ways, involving both visual […]

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You Are Not Your User

October 18, 2014

We’re working on project to help research scientists. It’s amazing how wrong our assumptions have been. It’s also surprising to us how tricky it is to talk to users and learn, probably for the same reasons. It’s not as though we don’t have the opportunity to understand the problem, or know our users. We have […]

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Do You Fight Fires, Prevent Fires, or Create Fires?

September 3, 2014

In my current company, I spent most of the first 9 months or so fighting fires. I joined the company in its fifth year, and sense that my 9 months of fighting was preceded by five years of fighting before it. My team enthusiastically supported this effort because I asserted, we were now, finally fighting […]

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It Has Already Happened, Have You Noticed?

September 1, 2014
Thumbnail image for It Has Already Happened, Have You Noticed?

Google Glass, iWatch, self-driving cars, WiMax. In the future these will be how we interact with our world. But before we get to the future, just wanted you to notice we’re already there. My son is doing his homework. With a friend over Skype on his laptop with headphones. They are talking, collaborating, learning from […]

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Code and Crop Monocultures Are Both at Risk

August 18, 2014

I have several blogs (for example this one) that I run on WordPress. There’s a rather unpleasant bot making its way around that is attempting a brute force attack on WP-driven sites by repeatedly hitting the login URL. So I fixed things up to inoculate against this latest annoyance. I read the recommendations on how […]

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The Prioritization Paradox

August 6, 2014

Which is more important, solving climate change or getting the car’s brakes repaired? Climate change is far more important. If we don’t address it a lot of cost, hardship and human lives will be lost. The car’s brakes need replacing — when they get wet or under hard braking they seize and that’s dangerous. Earlier […]

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Is Letting Go the Right Thing?

July 27, 2014

I have been leading a major change at the group I run at my current company. Parts of the technology I came to take over were so fundamentally defective that we had to abandon them. Other parts that are still in use were so broken we needed to replace them completely; part of this was […]

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The Only Constant In Nature Is Change

June 15, 2014

In 7th Grade Science I had to write a paper supporting or refuting an assertion that space — the absence of matter — was a constant. I remember taking the counterpoint. While space exists everywhere, even what’s between protons, electrons but even the absence of something can only be compared to what presence it surrounds. […]

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