Enough With Autoplay Videos, Time For Browsers to Kill Them

Feb 8, 2017

I am so sick of going to a website and then seeing a video which loads and then autoplays. This means I have to sit there and wait for it to waste my bandwidth, then tap the pause button.

Even worse are the people who cleverly hide the controls, or move the damn thing around on the page. Often I switch to Safari reader mode but people break their document up so it doesn’t work. It’s bad enough when people clobber their own page with ads or requests for signups or other irritating crap. But the autoplay videos are the worst sin.

I like to read, I don’t care to sit there and watch anything unless I expressively push play. Previously when people used flash you could disable the flash plugin and the videos and especially the video ads just couldn’t play. Now with html5 you can’t stop them as simply. I know there are plugins and extensions and hacky things I can install but I don’t care.

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Strive For Simple In Everything

Feb 6, 2017

Having shipped software for more than 30 years now, in many different environments and industries and forms, the one thing I’ve found that distinguishes the best projects from the not so good ones is Simple.

Simple is not simplistic, it isn’t quick and dirty, it isn’t lazy, it usually takes longer and it’s not doable without imagination and creativity. Simple is also not just about writing code, it involves everything associated with building software, from people to processes, from how you make decisions to how you organize their implementations. Simple is an attitude, it has to pervade everything you do and how you think and you can never stop looking for it, because as soon as you allow complexity in it will take over everything and you won’t be able to remove it again.

Simple sounds like snake oil, it seems too easy a word, too primitive to possibly matter. After all modern software is itself complex, with so many demands on what it has to do, so many requirements, so many interactions with other software, and constant worries about security. How can such a simple idea make any difference? Isn’t this yet another ideal no one can ever match up with?

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How Might the Internet Change Without Net Neutrality?

Jan 20, 2017

Now that the new administration is in, it’s strange to me that no one is thinking about what might happen to the internet given the desire to kill net neutrality in the U.S.

For those not knowledgeable of what net neutrality means, it basically means you can connect from your device to any server that will accept you, and that any network packets in your connection will be routed by best effort no matter where they have to go. Every connection and every packet is treated the same by all participants. It is such a simple concept—and it has always been the basis of the entire idea of the internet.

At least in the US, there are only a handful of ISPs and mobile carriers which provide the bulk of internet access for everyone in the country. What could they do to take advantage of limited or no government restrictions?

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25 Ways To Make Your Software Development More Awesomely Crappy!

Jan 5, 2017
  1. Make everything as complicated as possible, if not more so

  2. Call everything Agile, especially the stuff that isn’t

  3. Plan everything in advance; make sure you get sign-offs from every layer of management, accept random deadlines, calculate the whole project’s story points long before you start anything and assume nothing will change

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The Story of My First Startup 30 Years Ago

Nov 21, 2016

This is a story of my first startup from 1985-1988; some of this will seem so familiar to people who have started companies today and some will seem completely alien as the world was much different back then. People haven’t changed much but technology, knowledge, the market and opportunities have. Failure is still the most common result even today.

Some of this I have never told anyone in detail before but it’s been so long now it hardly matters. In the end it’s a story of a great idea wrecked by poor decisions and the world’s worst marketing idea—competing with Microsoft head on.

It’s ultimately my idea and my fault, though I leave it to you to laugh, groan or nod in understanding.

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