Software Quality

January 19, 2015

SSD Drives really are fast – and Ideal for Hyper-V storage

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Allen @ 3:52 pm

I just bought a new SSD (Solid State Drive). It’s a Samsung 850 EVO – 500 GB from MicroCenter.

OMG! I had no idea how fast it could be.

(more…)

January 3, 2015

Nice large monitor for productivity work

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Allen @ 8:08 am

If you are an office worker who needs lots of screen space, then I can recommend the LG 34″ Curved Widescreen IPS LCD Monitor. I just got one and it is amazing. It has a nice crisp resolution, and the width is great for a software developer. But it would be equally useful for someone who needed to see several documents side-by-side or someone who deals with large Excel spreadsheets.

The curved screen is kind of nice. It’s a mild curve. Not radical. And it does seem to make it easier to view. (more…)

January 2, 2015

Developers Dream Machine

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Allen @ 12:35 am

I finally fulfilled a long-time dream. I got a computer that’s fast for a software developer. It loads Visual Studio 15 Preview and my sample web application, all in 15 seconds. And builds it in 5 seconds.  If most of your day consists of loading visual studio, loading solutions, and building them, you want those things to happen fast.

I am finally content with the performance of my development machine … for now :)

Here is how I did it. (more…)

October 16, 2014

Why I love Microsoft OneNote – it helps me be more effective

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Allen @ 12:16 pm

Why I love Microsoft OneNote

1. It works well for a person on the go (mobile traveler or a Work-From-Home employee)

I can take it on my laptop, access lots of info while offline (perhaps on the plane or in a restaurant without WiFi), and then when I am connected to my network, it synchs up reliably and quickly, without drama.

2. It has quick and effective search tools

3. It works well for taking notes during a meeting.

You can easily flag things that need attention elsewhere later without losing your engagement from the meeting. I  find it very annoying when others are taking notes and are so distracted by their program (Word, Excel, whatever) that they become disengaged from the conversation. Though you can still be distracted while using OneNote, I find it is the easiest program so far for taking notes and doing research during a meeting with the least amount of distraction penalty.

4. It has ways to easily organize large amounts of data (notebooks, section groups, sections, pages, sub-pages)

5. It runs on all my platforms (PC at work, PC at home, iPhone)

I especially enjoy being able to get o OneNote on my iPhone.

And here are some of my favorite features

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How to hire good talent

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Allen @ 12:02 pm

I love this article on How to hire good talent. I’ve worked has a hiring manager for several years. In those roles, I have observed that the best people for the job are not necessarily those who have the exact skills. In our technical field, where technology changes so swiftly, and where technology is so diverse, it is difficult to find someone who is an expert in the particular toy you happen to own. If that is your main critierion, then you may be disappointed with whom you hire. I love simply being transparent with them, posing the problems we face, and asking them how they will tackle them. It gives me an idea whether they have a clue, and it gives them a clue about what they will face.

May 11, 2013

Process Conflict – a Manager’s role to resolve

Filed under: Management — David Allen @ 9:21 pm

In a workplace, conflict between people arises for many reasons.  It results in frustration and unhappiness for the people and poor performance for the organization.  In many cases, we expect employees to avoid and resolve conflict on their own. In those cases, managers are responsible for identifying when employees have trouble managing conflict and helping staff learn to resolve conflicts.

However, there are several cases in which the employees cannot reasonably be expect to resolve the conflict on their own. These are cases in which the manager must take an active part in the solution.  This article discusses one such source of conflict and how it can be easily remedied and prevented.  The source of human conflict described here is due to process conflicts. It has many possible causal factors and many possible solutions. A problem map of these factors is shown below.

For those unfamiliar with such diagrams, see the original problem map which includes tips on how to read one:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-lAxnXkcf3o2YnSL-clXo6xBmSW4b7UY4KClxq-He-o/edit?usp=sharing

In the cases shown in the problem map, the manager is often required to provide training or process changes in order to create an environment in which workers can work with less conflict. Without manager intervention, the conflicts become frustrating for the workers and may recur again and again.  It is not uncommon for employees to make unfair assumptions and think their colleague just has a “bad attitude” when in fact, they are simply operating by another process and those processes are in tension.

Managers who understand these problems and apply the solutions can continually adjust the policies to reduce conflict and make it easier for staff to work together.  Managers can go even further and teach these ideas to their staff so the staff can understand when a conflict is a process conflict. In such cases, they get less frustrated because they know that they can escalate the problem to their manager who will work with other managers to resolve the process tension.  Short-term solutions may be negotiating exceptions. Long-term solutions may involve  collaboration across departments. Such cross-departmental collaborations naturally require more effort and time than localized process changes that can be unilaterally decreed by a single manager.  In any case, it is unlikely that an organization will accidentally work in harmony without managers who continually and deliberately tune the processes for harmony.

Sources of interpersonal conflict at work

And of course, there is a rich body of literature on how to manage conflict among people in the general case. That is the first node in the diagram and you can seek out those resources for those issues. This brief article simply clarifies when process is the problem, a manager can solve it.

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