benhowell.net


Vigilantism: Vandalism and Ethics in Engineering

craft
On the 26th of August, FTDI, manufacturer of the world's most widely used USB serial chip, released their latest Windows driver (v 2.12.0.0) and its distribution via a recent Windows automatic update has been, at best a monumental error in...
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An image depicting a vandal and some broken stuff that wasn't his. A perfect metaphore for what FTDI have done of late

The Forgotten User

craft
We've all heard stories of projects gone wrong because somehow everyone forgot about the users, haven't we? I want to draw your attention to another user who is almost always forgotten in every other bit of coding we all do...
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An image depicting a forgotten grave as a metaphore for the forgotten future programmer who has decipher your code

Your Financial History. Your Business.

people
Recruitment, shady practices and unsavoury hiring advice has a habit of getting on my goat as is clear in my rant in a previous article about recruitment. Hiring employees for a given position with a salary that's fair. Of course...
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An image depicting one person pick pocketing another as some unscrupulous employers metaphorically do

Self Selection

people
Selection criteria. A buzzword shopping list of essential and desirable technologies, frameworks, languages, and more. Sometimes you have to wonder just how many people actually have this seemingly unique combination of buzzwords, or has the requisite number of years experience...
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An image depicting Job as a wordplay on, well, Job, as in employment

You're a Worthless, Insignificant Peasant

people
Condescension /ˌkɒndɪˈsɛnʃn/ An attitude of patronizing superiority; disdain. Being talked down to, completely ignored or having your contributions dismissed as if you are filthy scum and not worthy of recognition as a human being is not a pleasant experience. When...
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An image depicting some filthy peasants from the legendary Monty Python and the Holy Grail as a metaphore for how employees are treated by some superiors

Step Away From the Kool Aid

people
Bootstrapping. Building a business from scratch without external funding. A praiseworthy pursuit for any budding entrepreneur. In fact, if you have the excitement and drive to see your mission through to successful business then you deserve all the kudos that...
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An image depicting The Rev. Jim Jones as a stand-in for your usual brain washing, wage ripping CEO

Asleep at the Wheel

craft
Hamster Wheel /ˈhamstə wiːl/ A monotonous, repetitive, unfulfilling activity, especially one in which no progress is achieved.1 Like other rodents, hamsters are highly motivated to run in wheels. Likewise, as a programmer in the early stages of your career you...
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An image depicting a little hamster asleep at the bottom of his hamster wheel as a crude metaphore for programmer burnout

Code Incomplete

craft
Humility /hjʊˈmɪlɪti/ The quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance. Humility is the single character trait above all others, that will ensure you evolve as a programmer (or developer, engineer, title du jour). It is this...
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An image depicting a master craftman working some wood on a lathe as a somewhat loose metaphore for a master software engineer

Multithreaded Javascript using Nashorn

guide
Javascript has no native threading of its own, but it is possible to craft performant multithreaded code using Java threads inside javascript, in fact this has been possible since Java 6 with the initial release of the javax.scripting.ScriptEngine supporting the...
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An image depicting a multithreaded garlic plait for an article about multithreaded javascript

Scripted user interfaces with Nashorn and JavaFX

guide
Java 8 has introduced a bunch of great features and one of the gems amongst those new features is Nashorn. Nashorn is the replacement for the Rhino Javascript engine and could turn out to be a serious competitor for Google's...
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An image depicting a crudely drawn Nashorn tank and GUI mockup for an artcle about scriped user interfaces with Nashorn and JavaFX
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© Ben Howell 2014