More Zen

Dave Shea and Molly Holzschlag have co-authored a book entitled “Zen of CSS” which should be out in December or early 2005, and it is already available for pre-order: Amazon.com: Books: The Zen of CSS Design : Visual Beauty for the Web

Anyone familiar with the CSS Zen Garden will know what this book is all about. And anyone familiar with me knows I’ve been downloading these sorts of books into my head at a fast pace, so inevitably I’ll be spending more of my pocket change on this latest volume.

Don’t Put This Guy On My Project

A friend just forwarded to me this hilarious analysis of Bush’s performance at the debates last night: George Bush as programming project leader

Last night, while watching the first of the Kerry/Bush debates, I was struck by what a terrible programming project leader President Bush would make.

He kept repeating the importance of staying on the course that was originally set out on, even in the face of things not going as planned: “the way to win this is to be steadfast and resolved and to follow through on the plan.” He also said that changing course would be demoralizing to the troops: “What kind of message does it say to our troops in harm’s way, ‘wrong war, wrong place, wrong time?'”

I certainly know that that approach doesn’t work on programming projects. If there’s one thing that seasoned programmers know, it’s that projects never go as planned, and course correction is critical. Even worse, the programmers in the trenches know how the project is going, and aren’t inspired when things carry on as if nothing is wrong. For a project leader to act as if there are no problems is insulting to those doing the work.

Indeed, this kind of thinking would make for a horrible project manager of any sort! This is certainly not the iterative procss that I came to learn from my Rational Unified Process training. When you have new information, new problems, and new requirements, you evaluate your current course of action and you adjust as required. To fail to do so is to ensure that your project will yield the wrong result.

Debate No.1 – Advantage

It was great fun watching the debate last night with all my Republican friends. I was definitely the odd man out, but as my grandmother always used to say, there’s nothing more dull than a conversation where everyone agrees all the time. Anyway, the especially fun part was to watch their faces contort in horror and disgust as Bush fumbled his way through, while Kerry soundly spanked him where it hurts the most.

I thought that for the most part, Kerry did an excellent job. He explained correctly how his opponents had spun his stances on issues were not simply the symptoms of a person who cannot make up one’s mind, but rather the logical courses of action when new information arises about a situation. Bush held on to the frightening stance that given the new information regarding Iraq and all, that he would have done things in exactly the same way. Amazing. Kerry showed poise, intelligence, and thoughtfulness, while Bush seemed desperate and even confused at times.

Going forward, if Kerry wants to really bring this game home, he needs to take the debate up one more notch. There were some really solid moments, but what I would like to see in the next debate is for him to deliver one timeless statement – something of historic proportion that is quotable for decades to come.

I hope everyone watches these debates. It is really important to be able to see what these guys are made of, and to not rely on the spinmasters to learn about the candidates and form your opinion. Every criticism, such as Kerry’s supposed indecisiveness, deserves an immediate and unfiltered rebuttal, so that the voter can evaluate the validity of such statements for themselves.