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Software and web developer, husband, father, cat wrangler, writer, runner, coffee drinker, retro video games player. Pizza solves most things.

As the first party publications come to an end, what next for the great content publication experiment?

Earlier this week I read a story written by a journalist castigating Ev Williams for announcing that Medium are pivoting away from employing a team of journalists and editors to run a number of “first party” publications on the platform.

When Medium introduced the concept of publications, it seemed somewhat like the attaching of a rudder — to give a directionless ship a heading, and a purpose. The engineering team had built a wonderful publishing platform, but nobody quite knew how best to use it. …

Lunchtime thoughts about life, the past, the future, and the path we take along the way.

While sending messages back and forth with a friend this morning, it struck me that life can be compared to a “choose your own adventure” book.

If you’ve never seen a choose your own adventure book, they were all the rage about forty years ago. You would read a passage from the book, leading to a decision for the reader to make about what the protagonist does next. Each potential action is listed out, with the page number to turn to in order to read what happens next.

Once you start thinking about the adventure book, you start wondering about…

The magic of the internet reduces distance to a voice in our ear, a face in our hand, and hope in our heart.

I have been thinking this evening about the friends I have made around the internet during the time I have been writing an online journal. All sorts of people, from all over the world. Younger people, older people, different races, religions, cultures and backgrounds.

The written word is quite wonderful really — it has the ability to subtract physical appearance, wealth, and location — leaving the really important things on the table — thoughts, ideas, dreams, hopes and stories.

I’ve always been a sucker for a great story. When I have time to sit down and catch up with the…

Look for the quiet people on the periphery. They don’t get a chance in the sun because the ass-hats stole the sun-loungers.

Falling off the internet bike

Over the course of the last several months, after vanishing from the internet for entire days (I know, shocking!), on my return I have sheepishly remarked about having “fallen off the internet bike”.

Life has often conspired to drop me out of the whirling hurricane of tweets, instant messages, photos, blog posts, comments, likes, hearts, shares, re-blogs, and whatever else constitutes the “social internet” — leaving me in a metaphorical muddy puddle of my own making, wondering how best to get back on my feet and carry on pretending.

Here’s the thing — during the periods away from the internet…

It occurs to me that those cancelling others become the objectionable voices cancelled in turn.

Sometimes while browsing the social internet I notice names that have been absent from the algorithmic timeline for quite some time. Names that have cancelled me for daring to question — no matter how quietly — their soap-box tirades.

Obama’s words at the youth summit come to mind;

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically ‘woke’ and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly. The world is messy; there are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.”

There is a danger that if you filter out voices that don’t fall in…

Late night thoughts about the stories our shared words weave

It’s a strange thing, this mighty “internet of words”

I can sit in a darkened room in the early hours, tapping away on a small slab of silicon and plastic, emptying my thoughts into it’s keyboard. In the blink of an eye my words, thoughts, views and ideas will be transmitted throughout the world.

Machines will read the words and store them for tomorrow, for next year, and for countless decades to come.

Long after I am gone, future generations might look back on the traces I leave and piece together the parts of my jigsaw; who I was, the…

Exploring the origins, evolution, and fragmentation of the meaning of agile software development.

Let’s call everything Agile

Over the last twenty years I have worked on numerous software development projects that managers have labelled “agile” in some way. I think perhaps Scott Adams most accurately described the situation when his “Pointy Haired Boss” proclaimed:

“We’re going to try something called ‘Agile Programming’. That means no more planning and no more documentation. Just start writing code and complaining.”

Here’s the thing — project managers like to plan, and they like documentation. They might not read the documentation, but plans give them an opportunity to play with Gantt charts, and documentation is often billable. Hell — I can’t imagine…

An introduction to the people that invented the world we take so much for granted, and where to find out more about them.

Throughout the years I have worked with computers, I have been fascinated by the human story behind the technological breakthroughs — the people that changed the world. I have brought a few of the more prominent names together below, introducing their influence on the world we now take so much for granted.

J. C. R. Licklider

In October 1962, J.C.R. Licklider was appointed head of the “Information Processing Techniques Office” (IPTO) at ARPA — the “United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency”.

In 1963, he sent a memo to his colleagues outlining the early challenges presented in establishing a time-sharing network of…

The one where I stop drinking coffee, and brace for a self inflicted mental and physical rebellion.

An unhealthy relationship

I think it’s fair to say my relationship with caffeine has become somewhat unhealthy. After working as a software and web developer for decades, coffee became as much a part of the day as getting dressed on a morning. I get up, have a shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, and then put the kettle on for the first coffee of the day.

I began to suspect I might have a problem some time ago — when mentioning to friends that I often drink coffee late at night. Apparently, this should prevent me from sleeping. I can quite confidently recount…

How and why open source software development continues to change the world for the better

What is open source software?

Before launching into the various benefits of open source software, it’s perhaps worth defining what open source software actually is.

A visit to reveals the following:

“Open source software is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance”

Perhaps the most well known open source software development project is GNU Linux — closely followed by the various projects that make the Internet and World Wide Web possible.

Linux grew out of the commercialisation of Unix, built by a community of developers that valued transparency, cooperation, and sharing over commercial rights, licensing, and secrecy. Essays such as…

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