How to Refocus: Getting Back in the Groove

Identifying when you need to refocus It happens to everyone at some point to varying degrees, for various reasons, and at different times in our lives--but it'll happen! You hit a period or a rut where you can't keep your focus on continuing to be successful (and I'm over-generalizing that for a good reason). Maybe this means you can't focus at work to perform at an optimal level. Maybe you're falling off the diet you've been working hard on. Maybe your training in the gym or for your sport is taking a hit because your head isn't in the game. Maybe you find yourself unable to hit the books studying or completing your projects in school. It can look different for everyone. There are a bunch of different little warning signs that things aren't quite on track and you need…

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What Makes Good Code? – Should Every Class Have An Interface? Pt 2

Should Every Class Have an Interface? This is part two in the sub-series of "Should Every Class Have an Interface?", and part of the bigger "What Makes Good Code?" series. Other Peoples' Code So in the last post, we made sure we could get an interface for every class we made. Okay, well that's all fine and dandy (I say half sarcastically). But you and I are smart programmers, so we like to re-use other peoples' code in our own projects. But wait just a second! It looks like Joe Shmoe didn't use interfaces in his API that he created! We refuse to pollute our beautiful interface-rich code with his! What can we do about it? Wrap it. That's right! If we add a little bit of code we can get all the benefits as the example we walked through originally. It's…

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Burn Out

Disclaimer I wanted to write this post to share my honest and personal experiences with burn out in the software and startup scene. I'm hoping that my experiences with getting to a stage of burn out can help someone identify if they're going through the same thing. Hopefully someone will be able to take preventative actions before things get too serious, like I've been able to do. I'd also like to point out that I absolutely love my job (you'll be reminded of that in my post) so my experience might be biased in some ways because of that. If I didn't love what I do, I'd be finding another job where I did. What is Burn Out? In my earlier days at the company I work for, I remember my HR manager talking to me about burning out. It's…

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ProjectXyz: Enforcing Interfaces (Part 2)

Enforcing Interfaces This is my second installment of the series related to my small side project that I started. I mentioned in the first post that one of the things I wanted to try out with this project is coding by interfaces. There's an article over at CodeProject that I once read (I'm struggling to dig it up now, arrrrrghh) that really gave me a different perspective about using interfaces when I program. Ever since then I've been a changed man. Seriously. The main message behind the article was along the lines of: Have your classes implement your interface, and to be certain nobody is going to come by and muck around with your class's API, make sure they can't knowingly make an instance of the class. One of the easiest ways to do this (and bear with me here, I'm…

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Continuous Improvement – One on One Tweaks

Continuous Improvement - Baby Steps! Our development team at Magnet Forensics focuses a lot on continuous improvement. It's one of the things baked into a retrospective often performed in agile software shops. It's all about acknowledging that no system or process is going to be perfect and that as your landscape changes, a lot of other things will too. The concept of continuous improvement isn't limited to just the software we make or the processes we put in place for doing so. You can apply it to anything that's repeated over time where you can measure positive and negative changes. I figured it was time to apply it to my leadership practices. The One on One I lead a team of software developers at Magnet, but I'm not the boss of any of them. They're all equally my peers and…

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Yield! Reconsidering APIs with Collections

Yield: A Little Background The yield keyword in C# is pretty cool. Being used within an iterator, yield lets a function return an item as well as control of execution to the caller and upon next iteration resume where it left off. Neat, right? MSDN documentation lists these limitations surrounding the use of the yield keyword: Unsafe blocks are not allowed. Parameters to the method, operator, or accessor cannot be ref or out. A yield return statement cannot be located anywhere inside a try-catch block. It can be located in a try block if the try block is followed by a finally block. A yield break statement may be located in a try block or a catch block but not a finally block. So what does this have to do with API specifications? A whole lot really, especially if you're dealing…

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