Java programmer == ‘maintenance’

Posted by Jesper on January 29, 2008

Pragmatic Dave on Passion, Skill and ‘Having A Blast’:

... you should be investigating your tools set and you should be trying different techniques and different ways of doing things. And maybe then, more and more it looks back into practices. And that’s not just to make you better at your job, it’s also to make you safer in your job. Because, at the speed things are changing, in 10 years the job description for Java programmer is going to be “maintenance.” And that’s just the case, just the way things work in this industry.

So, what are you waiting for? Get moving. Learn a new language. Today.

Ramsay’s Software Nightmares, anyone?

Posted by Jesper on July 10, 2007

Who wants to be the Gordon Ramsay of software development? Because we freakin need one—there’s absolutely no shortage of places to fix.

Having just watched Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares on TV tonight, I realized how much the kitchen nightmares portrayed in the series are like some of the software development nightmares I run into as a freelance consultant.

While most of the software development teams aren’t exactly failing completely and their companies about to file for bankruptcy, there’s a long list of striking resemblances with the restaurants in the TV series: People are running around utterly confused, not communicating properly, and the so-called managers are doing a terrible job of being in charge. The team members have either lost their love and passion for writing software or just don’t know their craft. And if they have a structured approach to software development, it’s more often than not using out of date methods and tools resulting in out of date productivity and results—they are serving fondue and cheesecake, when they could be practicing molecular gastronomy.

So why do these software shops still have customers? Well, my take on it is that the customers simply do not have the skills necessary to tell a good software development shop from a bad one. And the worst thing is, if they had the skills, there would be awfully few to choose from.

As they say in the TV series: It’s going to be hell! Are you going to answer the 911 call?

Off to Reboot

Posted by Jesper on May 31, 2006

I didn’t make it to the Preboot boat party this evening, but Thursday and Friday I’ll be at the conference. Unfortunately I’ll be without my new MacBook Pro—it’s in for repairs, but that’s another (sad) story. Luckily I’ve managed to loan an iBook, so I won’t be a complete outcast at the conference. Hope to see you there!

Skal opgaven i EU-udbud? (in Danish)

Posted by Jesper on January 26, 2006

Konkurrencestyrelsen skriver:

Nu er der hjælp at hente, når kommuner og andre offentlige myndigheder skal vurdere, om et indkøb skal sendes i EU-udbud. I en ny pjece sætter Konkurrencestyrelsen og Statens & Kommunernes Indkøbs Service (SKI) fokus på, hvordan udbydere skal beregne en kontraktværdi…

Læs hele pressemeddelsen eller download pjecen.

How to Do What You Love

Posted by Jesper on January 24, 2006

Yet another great Paul Graham essay. This time he’s writing about How to Do What You Love. From the essay:

I’m not saying we should let little kids do whatever they want. They may have to be made to work on certain things. But if we make kids work on dull stuff, it might be wise to tell them that tediousness is not the defining quality of work, and indeed that the reason they have to work on dull stuff now is so they can work on more interesting stuff later.

And about what not to do:

Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. That’s the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn’t suck, they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious.

I sure hope I’m on the right path here…

Productivity Arbitrage

Posted by Jesper on December 21, 2005

ThoughtWorker Obie Fernandez came up with the nifty new term Productivity Arbitrage:

Productivity Arbitrage is a strategy of statistical arbitrage which leverages innovative new technology to deliver solutions at the market price that is based on the historical price/value proposition of older, less-productive technology.

In software terms, it is the competitive advantage gained by delivering solutions at or slightly below market price, but incurring lower delivery cost due to early commercial use of a new, relatively unproven technology. Over time, the market’s price/value expectation aligns with reality to reflect a new status quo, in turn diminishing profitable opportunities for productivity arbitrage until innovation once again causes a productivity imbalance to arise.

Also a great story on how ThoughtWorks recently won a $800,000 bid with a Ruby on Rails powered system.

Tools for the self-employed: Time Tracking

Posted by Jesper on August 25, 2005

Whether you’re an independent consultant, a footloose technology contractor or a freelancer, keeping track of time is vital to your business, which is why I started looking for a good time tracking solution when I began working on my own this month. I found a few options that looked good on the surface, and decided to give a try. After using it for four weeks I can only say, that if you’re looking for an (online) application to keep track of your time, you should definitely try out For me it’s got just the right set of features. It did look a bit too simplistic to me in the beginning, but after using it for four weeks now, I’m very happy with the simple, non-bloated application and hope they’re going to keep it this way (adding a drop of AJAX wouldn’t hurt, though).

Finally, I just have to get this out: Boy am I happy not having to enter my time and expenses in some half-assed SAP implementation any more. What a relief it is!

Jesper as free agent!

Posted by Jesper on July 01, 2005

Yes, I’ve taken the plunge and decided to work as a free agent / freelancer / independent contractor / whatever you want to call it. As of today I’m officially registered to do business under the name

This will be my much needed escape from the corporate rat race and should (fingers crossed) allow me to keep a better balance between working life and family life. Tough as it was deciding to quit a well-paying consulting job, I’m much looking forward to once again enjoying and being passionate about the work I do.

My Adblock filters

Posted by Jesper on February 21, 2005

An export of my Firefox Adblock filters is available here.

Finally, Linux on my desktop

Posted by Jesper on August 10, 2004

After a quick shot at installing Debian from the seven (!) downloaded CD-images, I decided my time was too valuable to pretend being as geeky as Debian apparently requires. Let me just say, that installing Debian 3.0r2 had a very 1998-ish feeling too it. Instead I decided to give Fedora Core 2 a try, and what a difference. Everything installed without a hitch from the DVD-image, and so far I have been able to use all of my hardware, including the integrated Intel network adapter, Matrox G450 graphicscard (in DualHead mode), and my USB-mouse (all of which did not work with Debian, without downloading and compiling modules).