8/21/2012–News of the Day

Technical News

  • I was troubleshooting an issue with a SQL Server script that we use to upgrade the database of an application we develop.  I ran into the weird situation where if I renamed a column in a table and then tried to update that in the script I would get a script compile time error saying that the column didn’t exist.  If I created a temp table with one row in it and did a cross join in the update statement like below the script would compile and run just fine.  Most of the websites I looked at explained that you could also accomplish the same thing by using dynamic sql with the update statement.  Somehow the compilation step for this “hack” I did with the temp table must be forcing the sql statement to be compiled in a more dynamic sense.

select ‘1’ as SomeText
            into #dummytable

update q set q.ValueTXT = convert(varchar(255), q.ValueTXTTMP) from [dbo].[SomeImportantTable] q cross join #dummytable p

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8/7/2012–News of the Day

Leadership

  • How To Properly Define “Great Leader”–And Act Like One
    • A great leader helps a group of people identify what they want and how to get it, and then influences that group, free of coercion, to take coordinated action to achieve the desired outcomes. A great leader achieves results at a level far beyond what others achieve.
    • Leadership has three building blocks. We call these three modes of behavior the 3 As of Leadership.
      • Analyzing: Figuring out what outcomes are desired and how to achieve them.
      • Allocating: Establishing a plan to concentrate scarce resources, like money, time, and people, toward their highest and best uses, and away from areas of waste.
      • Aligning: Influencing people to behave in a coordinated way, according to the plan, to achieve the desired outcomes.

Business

  • Defend Your Sweet Spot
    • People who are great at something often don’t know exactly where their greatness comes from. They have a sense that it’s bigger than they are. And with that sense comes a fear that the magic is ephemeral and if they distract themselves it will disappear. That fear is legitimate.
  • Let Your Ideas Go
    • One such game is Fold It, which helps scientists advance their field by knowing how a protein should fold. A woman, an admin who has no bio science background, ends up being the best protein folder in the world. This is something that wouldn’t have happened if she had to first be picked, or vetted or in any other way been “allowed” to participate.
  • Have You Fallen Into The Busy Trap?
    • We are creating the Busy Trap ourselves. I think it’s a way of avoiding our fear of death. If we are in the Busy Trap, we don’t have to spend time alone, or thinking about ourselves, or thinking deeply about the stuff we are interested in. By always being tired and overworked, we get to claim that we are “productive” even if the things we are doing are pointless. We get to prove our worth by being able to declare how busy we are. But, in a lot of cases we aren’t really doing much.
    • 3 Ways To Break Out Of The “All Work” Or “No Work” Death Trap

Technical

  • 15 Ways to Split an Epic, a Team Exercise
      1. 1. Extract a smaller story by focusing on a particular user role or persona. (“Prioritize your users first, then your user stories.” — Jeff Patton) E.g.: “first time user,” “social networker,” “my mom,” etc.
      2. 2. Extract a smaller story by substituting basic utility for usability. (First make it work, then make it pretty.)
      3. 3. Extract a smaller story by splitting on CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) boundaries.
      4. 4. Extract a smaller story by focusing on distinct scenarios, such as the “happy path” (main success scenario) vs. alternate (exception) flows.
      5. 5. Extract a smaller story by focusing on a simplified data set.
      6. 6. Extract a smaller story by focusing on a simplified algorithm.
      7. 7. Extract a smaller story by buying some component(s) instead of building everything yourself.
      8. 8. Extract a smaller story by discarding technologies that increase hassle, dependency, and vendor lock.
      9. 9. Extract a smaller story by substituting some manual processes for full automation.
      10. 10. Extract a smaller story by substituting batch processing for online processing.
      11. 11. Extract a smaller story by substituting generic for custom.
      12. 12. Extract a smaller story by reducing supported hardware/OS/client platforms.
      13. 13. Extract a smaller story from the acceptance criteria of another story.
      14. 14. Extract a smaller story by substituting “1” for “all.” (NOTE: Look for impliedinstances of “all,” as the word often won’t be written explicitly.)
      15. 15. Extract a smaller story by scanning for keywords such as “and,” “or,” periods, and other kinds of separators.
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8/3/2012–News of the Day

Technical

image

Business

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7/30/2012–News of the Day

Technical News

    • Estimating the Unknown
      • Remember, the project is a system.
      • Determine your preconditions for estimation
      • Use Timeboxes, Better Your Estimate as You Proceed
      • Obtain Data First, Then Argue
      • Your Zeroth Best Bet: Wait to Estimate Until You Know How the Team Works
      • Your First Best Bet: Make Your Stories and Chunks Small
      • Your Second Best Bet: Guess and Refine
      •  

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7/24/2012 – News of the Day

Technical News

Leadership

  • Leadership Language from a Submarine Captain
    • Using I intend to… to encourage more decision making throughout the organization
  • Three wins for the week
    • One of the best ways to get everybody on the team firing on all cylinders is to go around the team and do a fast rundown of your three wins from last week, and your three wins for this week.  This helps the entire team stay connected to the goals, what’s on the radar, and what’s important, in a very simple and agile way.

Business

Not changing your strategy merely because you’re used to the one you have now is a lousy strategy.

General

  • Multitasking’s Real Victims
    • As we clock in more hours on smartphones and social networks, we’ve ushered in the “provisional conversation”: a face-to-face discussion that falls apart as one or more participants default to checking their phones, only to restart as the handsets are put back away. But why is it that when we talk about multitasking, we focus exclusively on how it hurts the multitasker?
  • Productivity and Happiness come from the right amount of sleep
  • THE 7 BENEFITS OF KEEPING A DAILY JOURNAL
  • The problem with college essays
    • Apologies for writing such a long letter, I didn’t have time to make it shorter.
  • The Most Common Causes of Preventable Suffering (and Their Simple Solutions)
    • Problem: Poor Diet Remedy: Cook at home
    • Problem: Sedentary Lifestyle Remedy: Simple changes to lifestyle that encourage moving (smaller water bottle that you have to fill up more or parking farther away so you have to walk)

    • Problem: Sugary Beverages Remedy: Alternate between water and and the sugary drink
    • Problem: Poor Diet Remedy: Cook at home
  • The positive aspects of boredom and procrastination
    • I found I was filling every moment of my day with something [so I had to learn to prioritize nothing]
    • Discusses what Active Procrastination is versus Passive Procrastination

    • Just take a breath. Take more pauses. Stare off into the distance.

    • The ideas in NY Magazine are backed up with research from the Journal of Neuroscience that suggests that daydreaming improves focus by creating long-range neural connections. In short, getting distracted and letting your mind wander can actually make you smarter and more focused in the long term. You shouldn’t stop in the middle of a productive moment and surf the internet, but if you catch yourself being distracted you don’t always have to fight it.

    • We can’t be inactive all the time, but it’s a task we’re losing touch with. Like all things, it’s about balance, but the next time you’re sitting at the bus stop, consider leaving your phone in your pocket. Take a walk without those headphones now and again. Procrastinate on your decisions for a couple of days. A lot of things in life happen at warp speed and you can’t do anything about it, but a few moments each day can help you better understand the world.

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7/23/2012 – News of the Day

Technical Articles

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Could not load type ‘%SystemRoot%\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v2.0.50727\aspnet_isapi.dll error when trying to access a WCF Service

image

This error came up in an install at a client and was a pain to run down.  We couldn’t find any clear fixes on the Internet.  There was some things a little fishy in the Handler mappings, but in the end they looked correct even when compared to a server that was working.  We ran aspnet_regiis and ServiceModelReg with no meaningful effect on the issue.  Finally the sys admin working with us had the site re-inherit the mappings from the parent and voila – 3 hours of troubleshooting were resolved.  What a pain!  Sometimes computers just will drive you crazy! 

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