Saturday night 30 min brain dump - Luck

by Tom 2. February 2013 13:34


Sometimes you get lucky, and find a way where you can truely do the things you like in work... But why does luck always seem to be distributed unevenly, and does it always land with the same people...

Here is a message for you: it does not! You can get lucky once by accident, but getting lucky multiple times seems to be quite impossible (not considering statistical anomylies).

So I decided to write a post with some lessons learned from my personal experience...

Be more receptive to luck

Let us begin with the first quote

“If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door” - Milton Berle

Simple, is it not; the reason some people are more lucky then others, is because they are willing to see the opportunities....

I will give you 3 more quotes to tickle your motivation on changing life, work, and all other things related to carbon-based lifeforms:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be”

- Lao Tzu

Here is the thing: people always want something, but are afraid to get out of their current comfort zone. If you really want it: stop making excuses and just do it! Ask yourself: what is the worst thing that could happen? Usually things are not that bad, and you can almost always find a plan B...

Millions of opportunities might fly by, but people tend to always find an excuse and somehow assume the worst-case scenario will happen so they talk themselves out of it...

This brings us to the next part... More...

Simplified Feature Branching - Source control done right

by Tom 1. December 2012 06:10


As one does typically develop features in parallel, and some features can not be released while others can, a lot of software teams seem to have problems with their source control.

In this post I will describe Simplified Feature Branching usable with git or any other DVCS.

This model is not rocket science, and is a further simplification of Adam Dymitruk's post on feature branching.

It assumes you use proper release cycles and versioning during the software development lifecycle.

Whenever I mention "feature" in this post, I actually mean "feature" or "bugfix", but I am a lazy b*d.

The main idea: simplification

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler - Albert Einstein

Whenever things start to get complicated, we should attempt to simplify them by breaking it up into smaller parts. This is exactly what Simplified Feature Branching does. We make the distinction between branching and integration.


How your personality type affects your development

by Tom 17. November 2012 00:08


During one of my more recent interviews I got an assesment from two different persons. While I still have no idea about the definitive outcome, the different types of questions they both asked triggered me to think about what kind of personality type they would be, so I started wondering how personality types are related to development....

First things first: MBTI

Before we can determine the effect of your personality on your development, we will start by defining MBTI, so let us begin with the wikipedia definition:

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.

They do this by categorizing your personality in four dimensions; your gradation in every dimension is not a boolean, but rather a range (i.e. -1 to +1).

I will describe each of the four dimensions in detail, and explain how they impact your development:

#1 Attitude: "Extraversion" versus "Intraversion" (E vs I)

Attitude is about the way evolve an idea and get inspired: some get inspired by doing and experimenting, while others get inspired by thinking about things.

  • Development by people with high "Extraversion" is driven by
    • experimenting with code
    • evolving ideas in small incremental steps by talking with other people
    • doing things right
  • Development by people with high "Intraversion" is driven by
    • an internal thought process
    • thinking ideas through before talking about it with other people
    • doing the right thing

On a sidenote, "extraversion" is not a typo; it is the way you spell this word in MBTI terms.


Fallacies of the tech recruitment process

by Tom 16. November 2012 08:49

Note: I would like to thank @gbarrs for reviewing my blog post almost instantly, and also the offer of @GraemeF, @MarkRendle, @swaggerdmangene and @moldyseaswimmer to be a reviewer. Without them, there would be a lot more Dunglish in this post...

Why I like my job.

I have been hooked into computers ever since I wrote my first few lines of Basic on my mothers' brand new TRS-80 Model 3 with 64Kb of ram and 2 - yes 2 !!! - diskdrives of a whopping 178Kb. (Actually, I did not write the code, but I copied it character by character from a textbook that might have looked like this, but in my defense, I was about 7 years old).

The first program probably looked like this:




Exciting, is it not? In the five years that followed, I learned almost every in and out of this machine, where to peek and poke in memory, how to set pixels on the screen (monochrome, 128x48 resolution, imagine that), which ASCII codes to send to my dot matrix printer to switch control modes, ...

When I was about twelve years old, I had written a drawing application, complete with circles, boxes, Bresenham lines, and even the possibility to print the graphics on the (very noisy) dot matrix printer (remember those printers which had to print on chained paper?).


Continuous thinking: Essay: Ease and simplicity in software architecture

by Tom 31. October 2012 10:21


“Almost all quality improvement comes via simplification of design, manufacturing... layout, processes, and procedures.” - Tom Peters

As I was tinkering around with Erlang/OTP and some other stuff, I suddenly experienced yet another "aha-erlebnis": there is a huge difference between something that is simple and something that is easy, but a lot of people tend to miss this rather important distinction.


Trading the Elliott Wave - Silver 24/10/2012

by Tom 24. October 2012 05:36

s I think we are currently in wave 3 on several levels and we have some MACD/RSI divergence on the 4h-chart, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and bought a few XAG/USD spot long sprinters with a leverage of about 80.

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Paycento Web Summit 2012 - Day two: Aaaaargh matie

by Tom 18. October 2012 17:18


This is a follow-up post to the post from yesterday. While the first day was really nice, the second day was completely different.

Meeting people

After a good night of sleep and some breakfast at our AirBnb host, Geert and I got back to the venue. As this was our second day, we seemed to have less challenges handling the Irish traffic in our "Fiat Cinquecento". As we arrived there, we met up with Pieter again we had a small chat about the event he had the night before, had some coffee and a small breakfast (I love the catering at Web Summit), finished some things I had to do on my laptop, and started socializing.


Paycento Web Summit 2012 - Day one: Is grá liom Éire

by Tom 17. October 2012 17:59


When Geert from Paycento asked me to join him and Pieter to Ireland for THE start-up convention in Ireland named Web Summit, I immediately agreed to join them for the following reasons:

  • Paycento is still very active, even though we do not blog about it currently.
  • Web Summit is probably the biggest conference for start-ups in Europe, so there is an interesting buzz here, with some really interesting speakers.
  • I love interacting with people I do not know yet, especially when we do share similar interests.
  • You get to see a whole new world out there, with opportunities you could not even imagine thinking about.
  • And, last but not least: "Is grá liom Éire" - that is Gaelic for "I love Ireland" - even though it has been over 10 years ago I spent a few days here, I really like the way Irish people interact and socialize.

Here is an overview of our first day!!!


Erlang 101: an attempt to implement CQRS

by Tom 5. October 2012 04:03


As you might have noticed in one of my previous posts, I am currently focussing on Erlang, because I assume that this platform might be the most efficient way to handle umphteen connections over the web for now (but that is the subject for another post).

After running my first experiments and getting everything up and running on Windows, I finally decided to stop fighting usage of windows combined with Erlang so I installed myself a virtualbox with Lubuntu LXDE (please note that you have to set the available memory on the virtual appliance to 512MB, or the installation will crash).

Before I start implementing what might be my next startup, I tried implementing one of the things that I consider to be my personal kata (I made numerous attempts in .Net): a CQRS implementation of a simple stock system.

Disclaimer: I am a complete newb in Erlang, so I presume I am still miles away from a more elegant implementation.


Trading the Elliott Wave - Silver 26/09/2012

by Tom 26. September 2012 03:53

No Elliott analysis yet, since I am a bit short on time, hence my quick and dirty analysis based on divergence... The trend looks strong, so I think we might be heading to the 261.8 retracement here... (i.e. 26.4299).

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About Tom

     Tom Janssens op LinkedIn    Tom Janssens op twitter   Core bvba RSS

I build software and help organisations to get better at building software.

If you would like to know more or meet up, just give me a call at
+32 478 336 376.

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