I miss my blog

If you are one of the few who actually regularly read my Todd Bradley’s Galaxy blog, you may think that after my trip to see the night time space shuttle launch I promptly died.  Well, that’s not true.  It’s just that I haven’t been in a very wordy mood, I guess.  What little blog style writing I’ve been doing got taken over by Facebook.

There’s pros and cons to Facebook, and I’ve been fighting over them in my mind.

On the plus side, way more of my real friends and family read my status updates on Facebook than have ever read my blog.  Most people don’t use a news reader and have no idea what RSS is, but Facebook makes it simple because they can get all that sort of social information in once place.

On the minus side, everyone I write on Facebook belongs to the Facebook corporation.  They can do whatever they want with it, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.  I sort of like to retain the copyright to the few interesting things I write online.  Plus, Facebook just isn’t suited for long articles.  Check out the blog post I wrote before this one about my trip to Florida to see the shuttle.  Facebook just doesn’t seem well designed for handling that sort of post.  Twitter seems to be for sharing thoughts that are about 3 words in length, Facebook seems to be for sharing thoughts that are about 30 words in length, and blogs seem to be for sharing thoughts that are about 300 to 3000 words in length.  (Anything longer than that and you should just write a magazine article or a book)

So I just upgraded WordPress to 3.0.1 and installed a plugin that will update my Facebook status whenever I post a new blog article.  That way, if I want to write something longer than comfortably fits in Facebook’s little box, I have my outlet and all my Facebook friends will hear about it at the same time.  Those that care can go read the whole thing, and those that don’t can just skip it like they would have done anyhow.

I’ll try this approach for a while and see how it goes.  Leave a comment with any thoughts you have on the topic.

DITCH THE HEADSET. He can barely pull it off and you are not him.

Today at the office, the receptionist, known only as JH, sent out an all-hands email:

Good morning Westminster! One of our employees has misplaced a Bluetooth headset. It is a Motorola and looks similar to the one pictured below. Has anyone seen or recovered this? Thanks!

Motorola  Headset  Looks similar to this:

(photo removed – Ed.)

JH

I couldn’t help but think maybe someone took the headset in the interests of good taste.  It reminded me of this Wired cover from a few months back.  Here’s an interesting commentary on it:

Marketing Actuary: Brad Pitt, Bluetooth Headsets and You
DITCH THE HEADSET. He can barely pull it off and you are not him.
— Wired, Issue 17.08

should I use Google Chrome?

I just got this email from Google:

It’s finally here: Google Chrome for Mac. Available today in beta!

Hi there,

Thanks for signing up to hear from us regarding Google Chrome for Mac! We’re excited to let you know that Google Chrome is now available in beta for Mac OS X.

Here are a few fun facts from us on the Google Chrome for Mac team:

  • 73,804 lines of Mac-specific code written
  • 29 developer builds
  • 1,177 Mac-specific bugs fixed
  • 12 external committers and bug editors to the Google Chrome for Mac code base, 48 external code contributors
  • 64 Mac Minis doing continuous builds and tests
  • 8,760 cups of soft drinks and coffee consumed
  • 4,380 frosted mini-wheats eaten

Thanks for waiting and we hope you’ll give Google Chrome for Mac a whirl.

Google Chrome Team
www.google.com/chrome

I’m glad that Chrome for Mac is finally available, even if it’s just a beta.  Of course, what software by Google isn’t “beta” anyhow?

But I’m even more concerned, as a software quality professional, by the numbers they posted.  They say they only wrote 73,804 lines of code and fixed 1177 bugs.  In the QA field, there’s a measurement we use to gauge the quality of source code for a product, and we call it “defect density.”  In short, it’s the number of bugs per thousand lines of source code.

Good software has a low defect density, and bad software has a high defect density.  Typically you see numbers in the range of 0.1 to 1.0 bugs per thousand lines of code.  One study of several open source software applications showed an average of 0.3.  But judging from Google’s own numbers, their Mac code has a defect density of 15.9.  That’s a higher defect density than I think I’ve ever measured at any company I’ve worked for.

So now I’m wondering if I really want to download and install Google Chrome for Mac.  With a defect density this bad, is it going to crash at every turn?  What’s your opinion?

Derek Powazek – Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

Derek Powazek – Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

Search Engine Optimization is not a legitimate form of marketing. It should not be undertaken by people with brains or souls. If someone charges you for SEO, you have been conned.

It’s hard for me to explain, but I’ve always felt like there’s something dirty and wrong about jobs where people make a living from “gaming the system.”  Let me give some examples that may help say what I mean.

To me, these jobs are “honest work”:

  • Making something of value, whether it’s a house or lunch or a shirt
  • Solving problems in the world, which includes things like medicine, diplomacy, and auto repair
  • Creating something that brings joy to another, like painting and music

On the other hand, these jobs don’t seem like “honest work”:

  • Stock trading, which is essentially legalized gambling with other people’s money
  • Government bureaucrats who oversee other government bureaucrats for the purpose of perpetuating government bureaucracy

The “not honest work” type of jobs are those where people don’t actually make a product or provide a service, but instead make money by talking about other people who make a product.  Or whose livelihood is based on some derivative of the actual work.

When I was a kid, I didn’t like peas.  I still don’t, really.  But when I was a kid, and I didn’t want to eat my peas, sometimes I’d just push them around the plate and try to mash them into other food bits.  Mom wasn’t fooled, of course.  She’d point out, “You’re not really eating your peas, you’re just pushing them around your plate.”  To me, the “honest work” jobs are like really eating the peas, and the “not honest work” jobs are like pushing them around the plate and hoping nobody notices that you’re not really eating them.

From what little I know about “search engine optimization” it seems like a “not honest work” type of job.  There are people who make good websites with useful information.  That seems like eating your peas.  But then there are others whose job is to “game the system” of search engines to get more people to visit a particular site in hopes those people buy something there.  To me, that’s just pushing the peas around the plate.

The article I linked to boils down to “make something cool and sell it.”  This is in contrast to trying to trick people into viewing things that aren’t really cool, in hopes they buy them instead of the stuff that is really cool.

Search engines nowadays, ever since the rise of Google, are very good at naturally ranking the “cool” stuff high on the page of search results.  Leave Google alone and it finds the cool stuff on its own.  So it feels most “honest” to focus effort on making cool stuff, and just let Google just do its job.

mental and physical housecleaning

And just like that, bits and pieces of the past 25 years of my life have been cleared away. Today we had an “Everything Is Free Garage Sale.” We went through every room of the house, collected up stuff that we really didn’t need, and gave it all away. I advertised the event in a couple local newspapers and on Craigslist.

It was scheduled to go from 8am to noon. But by the time I looked outside at 7am, there were already people arriving. Not seeing any free stuff, they went next door where our neighbors were having – by total coincidence – a more traditional yard sale.

By 7:30am, there was a line already forming at the edge of our driveway. The early birds organized themselves into a queue, anxiously waiting for us to bring stuff out for them to pounce on.

By 7:55am, the crowd had grown to between 20 and 30 people, all still lined up. Cars were double parked all over the cul-de-sac, creating total gridlock and blocking in our neighbor who needed to get out of his driveway to go make his Saturday morning tennis game.

But I didn’t want things to start until the lemonade stand was open. You see, a former coworker of mine heard about the event and asked if they could hold a lemonade stand, with the proceeds going to an anti-domestic violence charity. Sounded good to me! She and her kids live at the end of a mile long road, so her kids have never done a lemonade stand before, and they’d been wanting to. Perfect!

Finally, at 8am, we carried the tables of stuff out to the driveway from the garage and then arrayed the other stuff on the lawn, sidewalk, etc. A starting pistol would’ve been appropriate, because once I said it was OK for them to come get stuff, it was like a school of piranhas on a dead bird.

By 8:30am, probably 90% of the stuff had already been hauled off. People were taking it by the armload. They didn’t even look at what they were taking, but just scooping up the free stuff bushel by bushel. Clothes that may not fit. DVDs they’ll probably never watch. Speaker cable they may never use.

Once I was sure nobody was going to break down the front door and start taking the rest of our belongings, I took another pass through the whole house. I carried several more armloads of stuff up to the “sale” and most of the new stuff went just as quickly.

By 9am, the crowd was gone, and I sat down finally. By 10am, the lemonade stand was sold out of lemonade, donuts, and coffee, so they packed up and went home. By 11am, our piles of junk had been reduced to the point we just added them to the yard sale next door, and I declared our sale over.

Beth and I both gave away all our vinyl albums, and since we didn’t have any records anymore, I gave away my record player. I gave away every cassette tape I had except those from either my bands or my friends’ bands. I gave away all the paperback books and CDs that I’d been saving to trade away on PaperbackSwap.com and SwapACD.com. Some of those paperback books and vinyl records I’ve had since the 1980s, so it was quite the purge. But now every room in the house has more room, and it seems actually conceivable that we could downsize into a townhome or move everything into storage and go vagabonding in Europe, Australia, or India. It’s a good feeling.