Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Book: Helping People Win at Work

This book provides a useful framework for performance review. The main premise is that you give the individual the "test" at the start of the review process - meaning that you work out between you and them what their goals are for the quater in advance.

The book is divided into four sections.

The first section looks at the review structure - it's a little bit boring, but useful nonetheless. Reviews are quaterly and the review at the end of the quater is filled out by the team member (or "tribe member") only; the team leader ("tribe leader") looks at the review and may enter into a discussion where there is a difference in opinion as to how a member has progressed with a stated goal.

The second section talks about building a culture; assumptions, beliefs, vision and values. How to develop a learning culture and how to cultivate a strong vision and set of shared values. Some really useful learning in this section.

The third discusses/reviews the leadership style of Garry Ridge, president of the WD-40 Company. This is and interesting one, as Garry goes into his background and how he's ended up being the influential and thoughtful leader he clearly is. Garry promotes the idea of looking to your background to help you define yourself as a leader and your leadership style.

Finally, Ken Blanchard finishes off with the fourth section by providing a series of "simple truths" about how to help people win at work. For example; "servant leadership is the only way to go", "celebrate success", etc. Again all invaluable insights. I like the concept of Servant Leadership.

There's a section at the end of the book that gives a set of tables which can be used to build up a performance review framework as is described in section one.

Overall, really useful book. Would certainly recommend it. A very quick read in-fact, probably a fast reader could knock it off in a day or a couple of hours even.

Title: Helping People Win at Work "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get An A"
Author: Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge
Tags: Business, Leadership

Thursday, 4 November 2010

"Androids in Auckland" Meetup group

Really useful meeting this-evening at the "Androids in Auckland" Meetup group. Met some like minded droid-velopers (let's see if that catches on) and gained a few useful pointers, particularly around unit testing with Android software development.

Here's a link to the presentation that I did at tonight's meeting. It's effectively an "enhanced" version of the post that I made on the same subject earlier in October. There are a couple of errors/typos - if you're keen enough to read it, then you may feel free ask me what they are ;)

Friday, 15 October 2010

Programming the Droid...

Over the past few months I have become an Android enthusiast, user (HTC Magic 32b), and "emerging" applications developer.

So, here’s what I have discovered around Android programming so-far…
The fundamental component if you’re interested in applications development (as opposed to platform/OS development) is Eclipse IDE for Java. Previously I've used Netbeans for J2ME development, but it seems Eclipse is "the one" for Android. mobile Eclipse is a fantastic IDE, that I have used in the past for all sorts of other stuff – comparable to Microsoft Visual Studio in every manner, with some advantages over it, including the fact that it’s free!

Also, once you get into user interface design, you’ll find that one of the few areas where Eclipse is lacking is that it does not have an Android UI designer. The “Droid Draw” program is ideal for putting user interfaces together for the Java Android API. Again, it’s free. It can be used on the web or you can download an EXE. Basically you use it to put the UI together the way you want it, then copy the XML output code into Eclipse, attach event listeners to the controls, and away you go.

The following is an annotated series of links that I’ve cobbled together that have helped me get to the stage where I can develop web-services connection Android applications…
These links provide the basic details to help you get your Eclipse IDE setup for Android development:
This is an end-to-end application development scenario – a basic calculator, with user interface:
This link tells you how to arrange security settings for your application if you want to (for example) connect it to a web-service on the internet:
This link is a project that some kind soul has put on the web which shows us how to connect to and consume a JSON web-service. The code provided can easily be extended and adapted to become a fully fledged RESTful client (leveraging other HTTP commands, rather than just GET):
This link provides a bit deeper detail on how to attach those GSON jar files (that Jose C Gomez describes in the above article) to your Eclipse IDE project, and consume them for your own use:

Connect with your peers...
Finally, it is always useful to talk face-to-face with people, user group meetings are great for that. I joined the "Androids in Auckland" Meetup group yesterday.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Telecom New Zealand Exchange Tour - Mayoral Drive and Airedale Street...

Believe it not, we were welcome to take photos! So here are a few...

Carrier X’s “Unbundled Copper Local Loop” (UCLL) gear:

Carrier Y’s UCLL gear:

The Airedale “Main Distribution Frame” (MDF):

The Mayoral Drive “Cable Well” (where all the cabling for the entire exchange enters the site – in the basement) – copper below and fibre above. The clear tubes are pumping pressurised super-dry air down the pipes containing copper:

Mayoral Drive Cable Well again; this is where the incoming cables start to get split up, before they are channelled through the floor into the MDF:

Mayoral Drive; the upper level of the Cable Well, you can see further splitting going on there and juuust visible are some fibre splitters in black casing – I think they called them “FOTS" (20101129 - EDIT: they did - Fibre Optic Transmission System).

The MDR MDF; fibre on the right, copper on the left:

MDR; a fibre patch tray that a tech had been (accidentally?) left open. Interestingly I was asked mot to use a flash here (not that my camera had one), as that would wreck havoc with the fibre optics. Each plastic bag there contains a splice:

Monday, 8 February 2010

Code to Search SQL Server Objects for a Text String...

declare @SearchFor varchar(100);
set @SearchFor = 'blah blah blah';

if left(@SearchFor, 1) != '%' set @SearchFor = '%' + @SearchFor;
if right(@SearchFor, 1) != '%' set @SearchFor = @SearchFor + '%';

s.name as SchemaName
o.name as ObjectName
,o.type_desc as ObjectTypeDesc
,o.is_ms_shipped as IsMSShipped
,'exec sp_helptext ''[' +
s.name + '].[' + o.name + ']'';' as GetCode
sys.sql_modules sm
inner join sys.objects o
on sm.object_id = o.object_id
inner join sys.schemas s
on o.schema_id = s.schema_id
definition like @SearchFor -- What we are looking for
and o.is_ms_shipped = 0 -- Not a Microsoft bit of code
order by

Edit - 20101015: It's worth nothing that this is not the most efficient piece of code, and that there is a free RedGate product out there that will search your SQL instance for you (SSMS integrated):


Saturday, 23 January 2010

Merging Changes Made to a Rogue SVN Project...

Today I discovered that a project I have been working with is not able to sync with my SVN repository. This is because I moved disk partitions of both the repository and the project recently. I should have known.

Anyway, for future reference - here's the solution (using TortiseSVN):

  1. Rename the root directory of the project.
  2. Checkout your project to the same directory that the 'rogue' project is in.
  3. Open 2x explorer windows side-by-side and go into each respective project folder - so your seeing the contents of each of the project folders, one in each window.
  4. Select everything in the rogue folder, RIGHT click and drag to the window with the legit checked-out project in it.
  5. Select the "SVN Export all items here" option. You can safely overwrite everything when prompted, because it's all unmodified stuff straight out of your repository.

Now you can check everything in and your SVN repository is happy again!

Migrating (and Open-Sourcing) an Historical Codebase: SVN-to-Git

I have a SVN repo on my local machine that I have been shoving stuff into since before I knew how to use revision control systems properly (...