Trying out wearables

I got Garmin Forerunner 630 for Christmas and this little bad boy actually supports Android notifications. Whow knew how much fun you could have with a phone OS that is actually being actively developed. So anyway, when my Fitbit started coming apart I started using the Garmin full time just to try out the whole wearable thing for a little while.

So far it works pretty smoothly. The Bluetooth connection seems to be rock solid, and I get most of my notifications on the watch now.

However, I am not sure what to use these notifications for at the moment. Now it’s my watch that vibrates instead of my phone (not really, they both vibrate). I guess the benefit is that I can quickly see if it’s a notification I have to react to or not.

For now I don’t really see the point, but at the same time I am oddly interested in this, so I will keep the experiment going a little while longer.

Of things that could have been

Windows Phone died some time ago, and many of us have moved on to Android and iOS. I moved to Android but I still miss the fluidity of Windows Phone.

Although most people have moved on, there are still a few die hards left. One of these made the video below, which only makes the death of WP so much sadder.

Damn you Android

I have been rocking my Nexus 5X for a couple of months now, and so far I have been pretty satisfied with the experience overall. However, I have run into a new a very annoying problem. The damn thing freezes on my at least once a day. Now I know that we are not talking about a high end phone, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that the damn phone is actually running. In all honesty I a doubly disappointed, since I am running stock Android, which is supposedly the greatest experience Google has to offer. I think not.

Now that he snarky remarks are out of the way, I am somehow reminded of the good old Windows ME days, where things seemed to become quite unstable, unless you reinstalled the operating system every other month. I used to love that crap for some odd reason. I was young and in college, so I wasn’t really thinking straight I guess. However, these days I am not all that interested in resetting my phone all the time just to make it work.

That being said, I will try to turn lemons into lemonade. Before I reset my phone, I will try out some of the skinning options that are possible on Android. Therefore, I will give Arrow Launcher and Next lock screen a go just to see if those apps will make the user experience better.


I really want to quit Twitter

I have been enjoying Twitter for a couple years now. I prefer to it to the brain dead Facebook experience as I have always used it as a news reader. However, Twitter is quickly becoming a forum for “alternative facts” and racial slurs.

Now, I am not advocating censorship here, but we are experiencing serious abuse here, and Twitter has, in my opinion, not been able to create functionality that gives the user an idea about the validity of what they see. The latest incident also suggests that there might be a security problem.

Perhaps it’s time to return to Digg Reader.


Getting my SAFe on

One could argue that I work in a large organization. Granted, it is not large like Apple or Google is large, but by Danish standards it is pretty big. Much like our competitors in the financial sector we are moving towards an agile development setup. And to no one’s surprise, there are some challenges that seem to be somewhat pervasive in my neck of the woods.

Obviously I can’t really say anything about my current situation, but I should be able to give the broad strokes without violating anything or anybody.

Flow is key

When it comes to agile setups I have always been focused on the flow. Requirements and tasks must flow in a steady stream through our teams. The chain is only as strong as the weakest link, which means that not only do we need to fill all the positions (product owner, scrum master and team members), but we also have to ensure that work flows unhindered through our setup. of course, the problem arises when you have a lot of teams that work on the same system but also have responsibilities for the daily maintenance of existing systems. This is where the Product Owner really earns her money, as it is up to her and the other POs to prioritize and protect he teams from the uncertainty that always arises from situations like this.

Creating the funnel

Not surprisingly, in big organisations there has to be a clear funnel that holds all upcoming tasks and requirements in a prioritized manner. Now, I am not advocating anything fancy or a lot of spec work at this point, but product management (top management?) must have a clear idea of what they want and in which order. Furthermore, management must understand that not all requirements are created equal. As agile teams we are dependent on sensible prioritization in order to get our flow to work. We must know what is the most important thing in the word and what is not. If this is not clear we will decide what should be done, and we will always do what we think is the most fun 🙂

SAFe is a model that scales agile teams, and attempts to create a program level flow much akin to the my own idea of flow. This is where my blog post could become really interesting if I could refer to real life incidents, but of course I can’t. I want to say this though. When working on the program level one should adhere to the principles of agile as much as when one work on the team level. Communication, prioritization and trust is just as important at the program level as these things ensures flow and create a sensible and prioritized funnel.

Lost for words

It is no secret that I have been struggling with this blog for a couple of years. Most of the things I have wanted to write are inappropriate outside of work context, and everything else seems like uncritical regurgitation of already published news stories.

For a while there, I tried to only post how-to articles, or should I say, bug reports. Every time I ran into a problem, I would publish the solution if I found one. My post about fixing the OneDrive sync engine issues have received a lot of hits WordPress tells me.

It is a slightly depressing situation as I have always enjoyed blogging about whatever came to mind. However, perhaps there’s a reason for this blogging fatigue. As many other people have pointed out, the rise of Facebook, Twitter etc. have made it easier for people to create content in a more on-the-fly manner. The content is usually not very interesting as there’s little thought behind it. I would argue that a blog post reqiures more effort to produce, as it is longer and contains more information as opposed to a tweet which tends to be 140 characters worth of dopamine stimulating nothing.

In the immortal words of Denis Leary “have we turned into gerbils ladies and gentlemen?” I don’t know about you, but I certainly have. Everyday, I mindlessly scroll through status updates mixed with an unhealthy dose of advertisements in order to feel that I am up-to-date. Freeconomics have ruined my imagination. Thanks a lot Google.

Think for a moment about people like the late great Arron Swartz, who had serious visions for the Internet and compare that to how the it has now become nothing more than a vehicle for advertisement and privacy violations.

We as IT people should be focusing on making the world a better place. I sincerely believe that we have a lot of the tools required to do so, and here we are looking for new ways to enslave our users, making them dependent on their smartphones so we can come with new a creative ways of exposing the to advertising, making them want shit they don’t need to impress people they don’t like with thngs the cannot afford.

Anyway, enough complaining from an bitter guy. I will be attending Scrum kick off tomorrow with my new team. Hopefully that will spur some inspiration.