Robert Baillie

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More than 2 decades of writing software, and still loving it...
Updated: 16 hours 26 min ago

Tab Complete in Windows

Tue, 2007-06-26 14:04
Another one of those things that I can never remember off the top of my head so find myself constantly looking it up whenever I get access to a new machine. I figure it may as well be my own site that I get the info from :-) To switch on 'Tab Complete' in Windows command line change the following registry keys to '09': HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor\CompletionCharHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor\PathCompletionChar


Fri, 2007-06-22 12:09
Saw a cracking Haiku on a t-shirt the other day: Haiku are easy But sometimes they don't make sense Refridgerator. Then my mind started dwelling on it: Got the release out But the testing's not finished It's falling over Or Database is slow Just can't see what's wrong with it Set autotrace on Or A quick refactor Turns into a bigger job Should have unit tests


Mon, 2007-05-28 12:02
And to follow on from the last post... my current personal bests: I figure if I keep them here, at least I'll always know where they are! 5km Run23:44 (Battersea Park, 'Beat the Baton' 28/05/07) 10km Run53:23 (Hyde Park, 'Run London' 08/10/06) Half Marathon2:17:49 (Redcar, 'Tees Valley Half Marathon' 12/03/06) Rubik's cube57 seconds


Mon, 2007-05-28 11:44
You've gotta have targets. The more I try to motivate myself to do things, the more I realise that if I don't have a target it's incredibly difficult. When I realised this it came as a big surprise to me. I'm really not the sort of person to have a 5 year plan or career goals, but it seems that if I don't set myself an only just achievable goal I find it very difficult to motivate myself to do much. I keep myself fit so that I get the most out of playing football. But just having that in mind isn't enough to get me out and running. If I didn't set myself a target time for a 5km or 10km run and then book a place at a running event, then I'd just sit on my fat arse every night watching TV. OK, so I may be exaggerating my self deprecation, but you get the idea. I find that this affects me in many different aspects of my life. To motivate myself to run I set a target (public) 5km or 10km time (this year it's 22:30 and 50:00 respectively). To motivate myself to learn to do the...


Wed, 2007-04-11 02:20
I'm pretty sure that most people that read this blog will also read The Daily WTF. But just in case you don't, there's a nice entry on 'soft-coding'. Overall the article makes sound sense, but there's a line right at the end that resonates with me, especially since I read it the day after someone told me that they needed a developer for a whole day (9 hours) to roll out their system... With the myriad of tools available today, there is no reason that your deployment process need be any more complicated than a simple, automated script that retrieves the code from source control, compiles it, copies/installs the executables, and then runs the relevant database scripts. It makes me feel like I'm not alone.


Fri, 2007-03-23 02:44
I've had this conversation a couple of time with people, and I've realised that I can't get to a satisfactory answer without some research. And I'm lazy. So I'm going to pose a question... and if I don't get a satisfactory answer here I might well send it to The New Scientist in the hope that they'll answer it. Assuming that the cost of setting up and maintaining the infrastructure is already taken care of, which is more energy efficient: an electric kettle or a stove top kettle?

I am still here...

Mon, 2007-03-19 17:27
Sorry people, I promise I'm still here and I WILL get round to finishing my text on estimating and answering the request for more info on the database patch runner. I will, I will, I will! The problem is, I've started reading again, and I've started playing on-line poker. Damn it :-) But I'm enjoying it, especially a Cohn book on Agile Estimation and Planning. It is an absolute MUST read. It takes off where the estimation chapter from User Stories Applied left off, and it really doesn't dissappoint. Unfortunately it seems to say an awful lot that I agree with, and was going to form the bulk of my next couple of posts. So if you like what I have to say on the topic, then Mike Cohn is definately worth a read... he goes into a lot more detail than I ever will here! Obviously I'm reading an awful lot on Texas Hold 'em as well... but I'm not going to tell you what 'cause that might take away my advantage ;-)

Producing Estimates

Mon, 2007-03-19 17:25
OK, so it's about time I got back into writing about software development, rather than software (or running, or travelling, or feeds) and the hot topic for me at the moment is the estimation process. This topic's probably a bit big to tackle in a single post, so it's post series time. Once all the posts are up I'll slap another up with all the text combined. So – Producing good medium term estimates... I'm not going to talk about the process for deriving a short term estimate for a small piece of work, that's already covered beautifully by Mike Cohn in User Stories Applied, and I blogged on that topic some time ago. Rather I'm going to talk about producing an overall estimate for a release iteration or module. I've read an awful lot on this topic over the last couple of years, so I'm sorry if all I'm doing is plagiarising things said by Kent Beck, Mike Cohn or Martin Fowler (OK, the book's Kent as well, but you get the point), or any of those many people out there that blog, and...