Hedvig Mollestad

Two words – Hedvig Mollestad. No, three words – Hedvig Mollestad Trio.

Listen to the chords in “Pity The Children”

And watch them rock out:

This is the best musicianship, from all of the trio, and some of the most creative guitar playing I’ve heard in many years. Absolutely stunning. I am inspired.

Change the Way You Speak to Your Customer

…it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Shakespeare, Macbeth

I’m sure some companies must hate their customers. Why else would they insult them with business gobbledygook? You know the type of thing I’m talking about – advertorials posing as “white papers”, blog posts full of vacuous statements strung together that leave the reader asking “so what?”

The basic formula for this puffery consists of reaching into the word bag of buzz words (“adapt”, “transformation”, “challenges”, and so on) arranging them into sentences and passing the result on to the marketing department.

Here’s one I knocked together with the help of the Gobbledygook Generator:

In today’s fast-moving world, forward-looking organizations are investing in functional asset paradigm shifts. They need to adapt to change in order to stay relevant, but change is forever changing in a changing world. The solution is to adopt speedy transformation in order to achieve quality logistical alignment, and align one’s targets with increased flux capacity. Here are some of the issues organizations face today:

  • People are doing things with stuff
  • Customers want what they need
  • Social media is adding the social dimension to media
  • Dogs hate cats
  • Rain is wet

As we increase our exponential understanding…blah…blah…

It’s meaningless, isn’t it? Just as meaningless and as stupid as some companies’ business blogs.

Here’s a real example of a company’s strapline which must surely take first prize for the biggest steaming turd of a sentence ever:

[This software] is the collaborative business change platform which provides indispensable insights in strategic business initiatives and triggers change across all key disciplines. [It] is appreciated for accelerating the pace of change for teams and individuals.

Please stop. You know who you are. There’s enough harm in the world already. The world doesn’t need any more bullshit. We need honest, plain speaking and openness.

Take advice from Rework:

Sound like you

What is it with businesspeople trying to sound big? The stiff language, the formal announcements, the artificial friendliness, the legalese, etc. You read this stuff and it sounds like a robot wrote it. These companies talk at you, not to you.

This mask of professionalism is a joke. We all know this. Yet small companies still try to emulate it. They think sounding big makes them appear bigger and more “professional.” But it really just makes them sound ridiculous. Plus, you sacrifice one of a small company’s greatest assets: the ability to communicate simply and directly, without running every last word through a legal-and PR-department sieve.

There’s nothing wrong with sounding your own size. Being honest about who you are is smart business, too. Language is often your first impression–why start it off with a lie? Don’t be afraid to be you.

I receive quite a few emails from professional Archi users working in a variety of business domains praising the lack of corporate bullshit in the Archi Philosophy. They love our no-nonsense approach and openness. Perhaps this is the real threat to the dying dinosaur companies?

Making friends with the Command Line

Get to know your terminal.

Linux users need not read this, this is for Mac users.

Don’t use the default Basic Terminal.

Make a nice terminal, in Prefs, make it something inviting, something you want to spend time with.

Make a .bash_profile file – add PS1 for the prompt

Node

I’m looking for a new toy to play with. Something bold and new, some great new ‘THING’ to identify with. A change from the desktop world of Eclipse + Java. I guess it has to be web-based.

I put together this list of thrilling new (and not so new) trends:

  • Ruby on Rails
  • Node.js
  • Angular.js
  • Go
  • Rust
  • Julia
  • Meteor
  • Elixir

Sounds exciting, but what do all these languages and frameworks boil down to? JAFW Just Another Fucking Website. Phooey.

As I’ve spent so many years developing apps for the desktop and on mobile (C, Java, Swing, Eclipse, SWT, EMF, XML, iOS, Objective-C, Swift) I thought I better take a look at developing for this new-fangled “web” thingy.

At first I took a look at Ruby on Rails, and found a nice tutorial. I was initially attracted to Ruby because of its colour, and it’s a jewel and a girl’s name. I also like the writings of DHH, the creator of Rails. I like it that it’s “opinionated”, like me. That means that the framework imposes a certain way of working, things have to be in the right place. It uses “convention over configuration”, meaning that I make less decisions and everything is in its proper place. I like everything in its proper place. But I don’t want to learn Ruby. In fact, I really don’t want to make JAFW, either. So I thought about it and dumped it. At least the tutorial taught me how to deploy to Heroku.

So Node.js.

It means using…JavaScript. Phooey and big :stench:

An untyped language.

CoffeeScript on top of it? Nope, too far away from the metal. A meta-language on top of a scripting language? Double :stench: Looks like I’ll have to bite the bullet and hold my nose…JavaScript it is. JavaScript is useful, right?

So far the story consists of Node, NPM, WebStorm and a JS book…

…I’ll be back. Meanwhile, here’s that prince of TrendMongers, Greggery Peccary:

Greggery_Peccary__s_Invention_by_fig13

With his eyes rolled heaven-ward, and his little shiny pig-hoofs on the desk, Greggery ponders the question of ETERNITY (and fractional divisions thereof), as mysterious angelic voice sing to him from a great distance, providing the necessary clues for the construction of this thrilling new TREND…

Licensing Pedantry

Such a shame to see a website lovingly crafted only to be ruined by this nonsense plastered everywhere:

cc-by
This web site and its contents is licensed using the Creative Commons Attribution Licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Who cares?

cc licence

Senseless Figures in Front of a Mirror

My observations of some individuals in the world of software modelling and, previously, in the misnamed “academic” sector, remind me of a story by Carlos Castaneda in his book, “The Active Side of Infinity”. Castanada’s friend recommends that he visits a prostitute called Madame Ludmilla. Castanada relates that Madame Ludmilla’s speciality is dancing in front of a mirror, where she twirls round and round to a “haunting melody”:

She dropped her red robe, kicked off her slippers, and opened the double doors of two armoires standing side by side against the wall. Attached to the inside of each door was a full-length mirror. “And now the music, my boy” Madame Ludmilla said, then cranked a Victrola that appeared to be in mint condition, shiny, like new. She put on a record. The music was a haunting melody that reminded me of a circus march.

“And now my show” she said, and began to twirl around to the accompaniment of the haunting melody…

“And now, figures in front of a mirror!” Madame Ludmilla announced while the music continued.

“Leg, leg, leg!” she said, kicking one leg up in the air, and then the other, in time with the music. She had her right hand on top of her head, like a little girl who is not sure that she can perform the movements.

“Turn, turn, turn!” she said, turning like a top.

“Butt, butt, butt!” she said then, showing me her bare behind like a cancan dancer.

She repeated the sequence over and over until the music began to fade when the Victrola’s spring wound down. I had the feeling that Madame Ludmilla was twirling away into the distance, becoming smaller and smaller as the music faded.

Castaneda relates this story to his teacher, the shaman and sorcerer, Don Juan, who remarks that this story must be included in Castanada’s collection of stories, because “it touches every one of us human beings.” Don Juan explains:

“You see, like Madame Ludmilla, every one of us, young and old alike, is making figures in front of a mirror in one way or another. Tally what you know about people. Think of any human being on this earth, and you will know, without the shadow of a doubt, that no matter who they are, or what they think of themselves, or what they do, the result of their actions is always the same: senseless figures in front of a mirror.”

And that’s exactly what I see in both the “academic” world and the world of software modelling – senseless figures in front of a mirror.