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Web 3.0 at ActiveEngine Will Be About Devotion in 2008 December 30, 2007

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in ActiveEngine, Business Processes, Coaching, Mythology, Personal Development.
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Web 2.0 was all about relationships – the social network. Passion is also another term that is bantered about a lot in regards to the efforts of start ups and the new revolution that 2.0 was supposed to bring about. Has passion for social networks produced anything other than the ephemeral? After all, Facebook, too, will present you with ads.

All of that is shallow. No where was the term devotion used, or if it is, it’s not too prevalent. “Do things with passion” or “Love what you do” are the slogans that are not associated with an ActiveEngine. Mobs are crowds with passion running high. Devotion is passion’s filter, the drive for you to get up and go work when you have the flu, to review budgets when you rather be writing code. To constantly evaluate your tool kit and skills, add new techniques and discard bad habits when you are faced with your failures takes devotion. Passion may get you started, but devotion will help you cross the finish line, as it is the long burning fuel that steadily fires your engine.

In Budo, study of marshal arts centers on revelation through practice of basics. The higher or difficult routines are only achieved once the basics have become so ingrained they no longer have the same meaning, feel, or execution style when first introduced. This only arises from devotion. Study your craft, refine your ActiveEngine. Devotion with no .0, or .5.


Check out this article by Jaron Lanier“Long Live Closed-Source Software! There’s a reason the iPhone doesn’t come with Linux.” In it he refutes the idea that adopting Web 2.0 and Open Source methods would be good for scientific research. Good food for thought before you begin the New Year.

Seasons Greetings from Sensei December 24, 2007

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in ActiveEngine, Mythology, Personal Development.
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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all those of you who have read this blog. We’ll finish out the year with more great discussions and get ready for some surprises in store for us in 2008. Take this time to spend with family, friends and we’ll begin more training next year at the ActiveEngine Dojo.

Here’s what I’m doing today:

What Others Are Thinking December 21, 2007

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in ActiveEngine, Business Processes, Coaching, Mythology.
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Great post over at ProjectManagement411.com. For those of us who bemoan the fact that management doesn’t get IT, here is a glimmer of reprieve:

IT Systems Aren’t Evaluated by Takeover Artists? .

Management needs to understand that they are not drivers of a car; rather, they are airline pilots, where certain intricacies are vital for keeping the plane aloft. Ignore what the mechanics say, and you will crash and take many others with you – this includes shareholders as well.

Part of your preparation as a solution provider is to avoid conversations like the one’s that Al and Wu have. Communication tools have been discussed here in earlier posts here . Developers fall down in this area, and many retreat to the corner of the Agilistas and pretend Design Patterns are like physics, but in the end if the client doesn’t get you, you don’t get your check. Richard Feynman, a truly brilliant man, always came back to the practical. When he presented problems, it was in terms all could understand. Practitioners of the ActiveEngine embrace the communication challenge as he did, and help everyone involved grow.

TDD and Design Pattern Screencasts by Jean Paul Boodhoo December 21, 2007

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in .Net Development, ActiveEngine, Design Patterns, TDD, Test Driven Development.
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If you have read this blog, you’ll have noted that Jean Paul Boodhoo is a great resource to learn from. Below is a compilation of screencasts that he completed for DNR TV with Carl Franklin. You should take the time to review these, as you will see clearly that JP has dedicated himself to refining the art of programming. He himself freely admits that he has had to struggle to learn and develop his skills to the point where they are today. Watching him apply TDD with Resharper is utterly amazing.

You should take the time to view each of these and share them with your team members, as it will jump start your interest in enhancing your development discipline. Work on your core toolkit and improve your ActiveEngine!


Demystifying Design Patterns Part 1

Demystifying Design Patterns Part 2

Demystifying Design Patterns Part 3

Demystifying Design Patterns Part 4

Demystifying Design Patterns Part 5

The Clock is Ticking December 15, 2007

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in ActiveEngine, Coaching, Design Patterns, Mythology, Personal Development, Problem Solving.
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The forth coming documentary movie Two Million Minutes discusses the changing demographics of our global economy:

Meanwhile, both India and China have made dramatic leaps in educating their middle classes – each comparable in size to the entire U.S. population. Compared to the U.S., China now produces eight times more scientists and engineers, while India puts out up to three times as many as the U.S. Additionally, given the affordability of their wages, China and India are now preferred destinations for increasing numbers of multinational high-tech corporations.

The premise of the documentary is that from 8th grade to high school graduation, student has 2 million minutes to prepare to enter the work force, be productive, fight the good fight to win the prize, bring home the bacon and contribute to society.

How do we as developers, architects, project managers spend our time? Some may contend that expansion of knowledge is the best route, that continual acquisition of skill is the key to remaining on top. The way of Bushido is to constantly refine through the repetition of basics. The life of Josh Waitzkin supports the latter theory, as neural pathways of the grand masters are created through analysis and repetition. Can this be done in 1 million minutes? What ways are we learning? What are the essential components to good design, and are they emphasized enough?

Design patterns come to mind as a kata, or set of instructions that when practiced to a high degree lead to increased performance. Design patterns describe quickly how a problem has been solved, and set expectations as to what is in store for you when you open up the code and read what has been done. When done correctly, design patterns will gain back some of those precious minutes.

But back to China and India. Are we, the software and architect community, too cloistered in our blogs and Alt.Net enclaves to contribute to the reduction of the 2 million minutes? Are we even a part of that 2 million minutes? Think about it.

Food For Thought … December 8, 2007

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in .Net Development, ActiveEngine, C#, Mythology, Problem Solving.
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This post by Stevey discusses Java but could be easily applied to C#. For any of you old-time procedural coders that the Alt.Net bullies like to kick around, here may lie some vindication:

Execution in kingdom of nouns

ActiveEngine Sensei’s Mother Comes to Visit – Lessons in Design Patterns December 5, 2007

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in ActiveEngine, C#, Design Patterns, Mythology.
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For Thanksgiving Sensei’s mother came to visit the dojo, but this time she brought a new addition to the family, her dog. This puppy is lovable enough, and like all puppies needs training, which Sensei felt compelled to provide. When Sally got out of line and starting biting, Sensei held her down gently but firmly around the collar bone. This is an old trick that Cesar the Dog Whisperer practices with the smaller dogs – firm, gentle and consistent.

After two times, Sally stopped nipping at Sensei. “Wow, that really works quickly”, Sensei’s mother says.

“It’s easy to do, here’s how, ” and he showed her. The next time Sally started nipping, Sensei’s mother repeated the maneuver many times and lo and behold, Sally learned to not bite.

There are some lessons to be learned here for those who wish to practice Agile, Test Driven Development and implement design patterns: you must learn good technique from good practitioners, then repeat, repeat, repeat while seeking feedback. There’s no short cut to internalizing execution, and certainly no short cut to understanding when and why to apply design patterns. This begs the question for senior team members when do you make design decisions and what justification can you convey to junior team members concerning your choices?

Sometimes this can be very easy. The decorator pattern is a great example, as the justification answers the question of “I have many variations to accommodate in a billing process, and do not want a proliferation of classes or difficult logic to support all the exceptions.” To make this connection between technical implementation with business requirements takes practice, and the articulation of the justifications is a great way to obtain fluency. Repetition and review and those key ingredients that help create a powerful ActiveEngine toolkit.

New Blood in Deadwood December 4, 2007

Posted by ActiveEngine Sensei in .Net, ActiveEngine, C#, Problem Solving.
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Somehow this blog is taking on a real western theme, yet there are moments interspersed with Budo philosophy. Who knows, maybe we’ll even have Kung-fu. No jokes about Neo, so be warned.

Anyway, The Code Slinger has two great posts on some work he has been doing with dymanic object instantiation and MSIL. True to the philosophy of ActiveEngine, he is asking why 5 times and proving that his ideas work. Check out his posts:

Dynamic Object Instantiation Part I
Dynamic Object Instantiation Part II

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