Snogblog Informal Musings on Formal Things


My FOTB2010 Schedule

Hi all,

Yep, tis been months since my last post, but so be it. Life moves on at a relentless pace...

Anywho, as we are now just 2 weeks out from FOTB, I thought I would stay with tradition and post who I'll be catching at FOTB this year. As always it's a killer lineup, and incredibly difficult to choose (for example, would *love* to see Doug McCune, Hoss Gifford, Niqui Merret to name a few). However, choose we must, and I can't wait to hear what people have on offer. I've omitted the inspiration sessions because they are all must see, and I am really looking forward to each!

Day 1 (Monday):

Conrad Winchester - RobotLegs and Signals: Definitely something I haven't had enough time to dig into deeply, and I want to know more!

Rich Shupe - Meet LoaderMax: I won't lie, I still have trouble/get annoyed by loading frameworks. I've heard great things about LoaderMax, and Rich always finds a way to make things that I don't get, crystal clear.

Tink - Spot the Difference: Flex 4: I haven't seen Tink speak in a bit, so this will certainly be worth catching!

Stacey Mulcahy - Developing for the Social Media Douchebag: Luckily I saw Hoss's preso in Amsterdam earlier this year, so he won't feel like I'm ignoring him by catching one of my favorite speakers on the circuit

Day 2 (Tuesday):

Branden Hall - Hype: This is one of those sessions I'm an idiot for never making it to, but this time I gotta make it as it fits perfectly with a side project I'm kicking off this fall...

(My session is, of course, a must see. 13:30 in the Pavilion!)

Veronique Brossier - Adobe Air for Mobile Development: It's been seven years since I last saw Veronique, and I'm really keen to learn from her experiences hitting it hard in NYC!

Day 3 (Wedenesday):

Hugh Elliott - The Art of (Mis)Communication: His session last year (paired with Stacey Mulcahy's) was one of the highlights of FOTB09. I can't wait to see what he has on offer this year...

Cyriak Harris - Animated Mental Malfunctions: If you haven't seen his work on YouTube, find it. That'll explain why this is a must see!

Joshua Hirsch - Summer Fridays: Always killing with his sessions, Josh has so much to offer those trying to make their work and work environments better.

Along the way, I look forward to seeing stacks of old friends, making new ones, and stealing chocolate from Robin at the Adobe stand.

Look out Brighton, here I come!

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FFK10 Recap

Two weeks after my rather epic journey home from Germany (thanks Iceland...), and I am finally sitting down and writing my recap. FFK was an exceptionally good event, and I am massively impressed with the FlashForum community in Germany. Cologne (Köln) is a fantastic town, and I recommend it highly. I want to thank Marc Thiele and Sascha Wolter for having me come down for the week. And most importantly, thank you to everyone who came to my session. It's always great to have a full room. :)

My session, titled "Work:Flow" was a variant of the talk I had originally planned on giving. I ended up focusing a bit more on the interpersonal aspects of an organization and how they can aid or inhibit work. To those expecting a more detailed rundown of popular methodologies, I apologize.

Download slides (PDF)

I also promised a reading list, so here ya go!

Apprenticeship Patterns by Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye

Making Things Happen by Scott Berkun

Design Thinking by Tim Brown (IDEO)

IDEO HCD (Human Centered Design) Toolkit

NASA Systems Engineering Handbook

IDEO Method Cards

Getting Real by 37Signals

Rework by 37Signals

Managing Humans by Michael Lopp

The Art of Agile Development by James Shore

That should be more than enough to keep you busy through the summer. If you have a book that I missed that you think fits well here, please post in the comments!


Why I Don’t Care About The HTML5 vs. Other Technologies Argument

So I was chatting with Seb Lee-Delisle this morning about the ongoing "HTML5 is better", "No, Flash is better", "No, my proprietary language I wrote in 3rd year CS at MIT is better" discussion that seems to never end. Now, this discussion has always rubbed me the wrong way, but I had never really been able to articulate it in a more intelligent manner than "Pelsor ANGRY! Pelsor SMAAAASH!" It wasn't until this morning that it all clicked together:

1. We all claim to be moving to some sort of iterative processes

2. We all claim to make this shift in order to make mistakes early, reduce overall costs, and increase overall quality

3. Why can't the choice of technology be an acceptable mistake that we iterate through?

It's ok to scrap CMS's, databases, server-side languages, source control systems, pretty much any other type of technology used in our work. Why not UI technology? I say, get started on your project in whatever technology you are most comfortable with, be ok with throwing one away, or two, or eight. In doing this, we learn more about the logical, technical and experiential problems of the solution, and with each step, the solution becomes more elegant, refined, and beautiful. We don't waste time by attempting to solve the business problem.

Of course I know that we have to worry about market penetration, solution lifespan, organizational politics, not to mention the cost of development. However, the sooner you start building something, the sooner the conversation becomes constructive and focused on what you are working on, and not speculation on what might or might not be.



Finally, I can say something official about it. I have been asked to speak at FOTB2010 for its five year anniversary!

According to the web, the traditional gift for a 5th anniversary is wood.

I doubt I'll be giving John any wood. ;)

I spoke at the very first FOTB, and have attended each year. It's a completely different kind of conference, one of the few to start and survive in Europe (the other being FFK, which I am speaking at in a week). There are so many great people speaking this year that to start listing them would be silly. I just suggest you look at the list. All I know is that I fully intend to reclaim my throne as Indian Leg Wrestling champion from Josh "The Tower" Hirsch, and struggle to figure out what to give Stacey Mulcahy for a gift this year.

Tickets go on sale in 2 weeks, I hope to see you there!



FFK10 Speaker

So, with everything that has been happening in the first part of the year, I have been neglect in announcing that I will be speaking at FFK10 (April 14th and 15th) in Koln, Germany! This is the German Flash User Group's annual to-do, with a great range of speakers like Seb Lee-Desisle, Ralph Hauwert, Jesse Freeman, Mark Doherty, and more! I'll be presenting "DIY Workflow, or, How Being Agile Can Break Your Back". It's a quick overview of popular workflows in our industry, what makes them successful, what makes them fail, and how to take parts from each that apply to your work and build your own workflow. It's a bit of a strange topic for a Flash conference, but I think we need to talk more about productive ways of teams working together, organically, than the usual "he said, she said" that comes with multidisciplinary teams.

I hope to see you all there! Tickets are selling out fast!



NASA Systems Engineering Handbook

Yes, I will concede it's not the first title that comes to mind when you start putting together that Easter reading list, but I stumbled across it yesterday and flipped through it to see what it had to offer. For the most part, I doubt I will ever work on a project of such scale that spans years, if not decades, and depends upon such meticulous planning.

However, there was one section that jumped out at me, and I felt would be of value to anyone dealing with technical projects. Buried among the 20-odd appendices, lies this little gem: "Appendix C: How to Write a Good Requirement". In this appendix, you are taught what a requirement is, how it should be worded, all of the elements to think about when crafting a requirement. The best part, is that it is in checklist form, and is only two pages long. This makes it VERY easy to integrate into any existing workflow without feeling like you are making a massive overhaul in your process.

Check out the appendix here: Appendix C: How to Write a Good Requirement

And the whole book can be found here: NASA Systems Engineering Handbook

I'm sure there are other bits of value in there, but if you read it for nothing else, read it for Appendix C!