Console, a Windows console replacement

I’m not using Windows currently, but when I do use it and I need a command prompt, I’m suddenly reminded of the weakest link in the whole Windows user experience: the atrocious console window thing.

Many times I have searched for a replacement. It looks like there finally is such a thing, and its ultra creative name is Console. I haven’t tried it out, but if you need it, there it is.

(via Ben Kittrell)

Ad Hoc Software Planning with Graphviz

I’ve been playing around with Graphviz this weekend. I first used it a few years ago with a Perl script that sorta kinda knew Cold Fusion and JavaScript syntax and could output the Graphviz .dot file format, as a means of visualizing all the dependencies between source code files in a project with no compilation phase and no automated tests. It helped me answer a few questions that I had about the code: What should I write tests for first? What should I leave alone, because breaking it breaks a bunch of pages? What pages do I need to test in order to make sure that changes to a deeply-buried chunk of included code didn’t break anything? Having a simple tool that draws graphs of nodes in a fairly clean form can be really useful.
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Gray-hat business idea: MySpace integration hack vendor

With all of the zillions of companies building “widgets” for MySpace, Bebo, etc., it’s only a matter of time before the gray-hat crowd starts to see the dollar signs. Maybe they already have. But it seems like a large waste of effort for all of those strange little VC-funded startups playing remora to MySpace’s shark to have to keep figuring out new ways to get their code to embed in MySpace layouts.
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HTML Wireframes vs. Wireframe Drawings

Related to Rapid Application Development vs. Big Design Up Front is the question of what exact format the UI design work should be done in.

This is more important than user stories vs. use cases, class diagrams vs. ERDs and other such decisions, because UI design artifacts are the most user-accessible artifacts. That means they’re probably the only ones you’re actually going to be able to get users to look at. Try emailing a CFO a 100-page Word doc full of use cases sometime, if you don’t believe me. Then sit that same CFO down in front of Excel and ask for a rundown of their least favorite Excel features. Big difference!
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Regarding “Awaiting the Day When Everyone Writes Software”

To: pontin@nytimes.com

Regarding your article “Awaiting the Day When Everyone Writes Software”:

Your ignorance of the reality of software development would be excusable if not for the fact that your CV suggests that you should know better. Your defamatory description of programmers smears an entire industry of individuals with a single, pejorative stereotype.
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