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Archive of posts filed under the Opinions and Observations category.

Social divides

Time for a quick tangential pre-election post. Personally I can completely understand the apathy felt by those that will not be voting on Thursday. However I do hope there is a large and diverse pool of voters regardless. The biggest issue I feel that faces us during the next 5 years of British government is […]

WildFly – the next generation JBoss

In contrast to my previous post I wanted to lighten things up with a bit of positivity and it just so happens that this is about a Java application server (of the sort I was moaning about earlier) that in its latest incarnation is actually really nice to work with. Some boring history The landscape […]

Working with Elasticsearch

Working with the new tech I’ve been working with Elasticsearch for a few different projects lately, and I thought I’d summarise some of my thoughts and experiences now I’ve come to know it reasonably well. I say reasonably because due to the potential complexity of the queries and infrastructural architecture you can use with Elasticsearch, calling yourself an expert […]

Pragmatism in software

One of the things that attracted me to programming as a hobby, and later a profession is the fact that you have the ability to create what you want and pick the best tools for the job to get you there. Technical excellence is easily identifiable in the ease of use of the resulting product […]

Programming languages you hear might more about in 2014

There is a lot of buzz at the moment in the front-end web technology world with frameworks such as AngularJS breaking into the mainstream of software departments around the world. However, bubbling under the surface there are some interesting developments going on in back-end technology, including new programming languages gaining some popularity and maturing. I […]

New frontiers in 2014 – Nator Designs, community contribution, and software sustainability

Having some time for reflection before the new year begins really helps to focus the mind. After some thought, here’s a summary of some things I will be working towards in 2014: Put more effort into blogging to give quality Java software development tips, tutorials and information (read: you’re going to see some changes round […]

Checks and balances

Next in the thrilling installments of ‘Rants By a Prematurely Aporetic Programmer’ is an indictment of the great power given to the average intrepid code monkey. I love to understand technology at a number of different levels – I think its great to be aware of how software works from the humble digital signal to […]

The why and how of measuring software quality

My last post was about what makes information retrieval software valuable, and one of the most important cross-cutting  factors in creating valuable software is quality. This is something I want to talk a bit more about because it one of the things that motivates me to do my job well and also frustrates me so […]

The value of search services

There are a huge number of online services, both paid-for and freely available, which provide users the ability to search for, retrieve and digest content. As is so often the case with online products and services, quantifying the economic value of these and pinning down from where the value arises is extremely difficult. It would […]

Agility – process improvement is part of what makes us human

So SCRUM / Kanban / Lean is the greatest project management methodology ‘invented’, and all these fantastic advances took place within the last few decades? That’s just plain silly, the greatest single thing that makes process improvement possible is our innate ability as a species to do a little thing called reflection. Please don’t focus too much […]

The value of communities in software

The computing industry has spawned many communities which have an influence that spans across different online and offline sectors of society. These communities reach and bring together people from around the world with common interests and purposes. This stimulates productiveness in developing and using software. I would also argue that another effect these communities have in […]

Search Technologies… Lucene, Solr and the importance of ‘Search’

Reflecting the nature of trends in web user experience, my work as a developer has led me to be quite involved in the field of ‘search’. It’s fair to say I never fully appreciated how important information retrieval / search theory would become in my career, and what ‘search’ is really all about. A few […]

Book review – Masters of Doom

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture By David Kushner I used to be a very avid gamer, and I would estimate I’ve spent thousands of hours of my youth playing the Doom and Quake games. They were fantastically immersive and exciting. But I haven’t seriously touched a game in years, […]

What do you want from life? – the question we should be asking post economic disaster

Its a heady, deep and widely avoided question – what do we really want from life? As the world is gradually recovering from economic disaster, I argue this question becomes increasingly more important to ask both yourself, those around you and ultimately force politicians to answer for themselves too. A healthy economy is too fluffy […]

The Future of Social Networking

This was an old post I vaguely remember starting aimlessly which quickly turned into an essay, I decided it was time to dust it off and see if some of my musings and gripes about social networking are still relevant over two years later! One could write a diatribe about social networking and the continued […]

Top 5 irritating UX trends

Time I think for an indulgent digression on user interface design. Firstly I should make it clear, I’m not a designer… but I have been responsible for implementing plenty of designs and using a bit of my own creative inspiration for user interfaces. Also this is pure personal opinion, though I’ve discussed these features with […]

It doesn’t have to be the cloud vs software

The word cloud used in the context of technology evokes a conflicted reaction from me. I am simultaneously both compelled and repelled by changes in the technology industry under the banner of ‘the cloud’. It’s important to be clear about what I am discussing here. In its rawest definition cloud computing means technology delivered over the internet. […]

Dennis Ritchie passes away… Paying tribute to the unsung heroes of technology

In recent days Steve Jobs’ sad death has been heavily covered by bloggers and the press, along with summaries of his life achievements. Another key figure in the development of the technology we all use everyday has also sadly passed away recently. Dennis Ritchie was best known for being the creator of the C programming […]

Moving on

Very soon I shall be joining a new company, Open Objects, in Cambridge and moving to the area. I am forever grateful for the experience gained at my previous employer and I wish them all the best for the future. I’ll be moving to the area with my lovely girlfriend whom I’m proud to say […]

Disoriented programming

Here’s a little something to chew over – what would happen if we removed the structure and constraints imposed on the working developer? Would everything descend into chaos and be wholly unproductive… or would great things emerge with natural order from the lack of burocracy and politics? There has always been much discussion of Google’s ’20% time’, […]