Kurt's Blog

July 29, 2009

Software Development Videos

Filed under: Software Development, Uncategorized — Tags: , — Kurt Häusler @ 6:50 am

I had a chance on the weekend to catch up on some software development related videos, and thought I would share here what I watched and what I thought of what I watched.

Language Oriented Programming in F# – Roger Castillo

Up until now I had watched and enjoyed several F# related videos and screen casts, and played around with a few tutorials, and I checked this one out for some more deeper insight. It was interesting, but I think I would have gotten more out of it if I was actually working properly with F# rather than just playing around with it. I also don’t think I am such a fan of screen-casts unless I am really trying to learn something specific, and can go through it on my own machine while watching it.

On Being A Journeyman Software Craftsman: Road Thoughts – Visible Metrics

Next on my list was this Corey Haines video, unfortunately I haven’t been able to watch it yet, as I was only available as a streaming flash video. If I try and play any flash video in full screen, the quality is terrible, the CPU maxes out, overheats, and eventually crashes. I have a Firefox extension that can download and convert flash video, but it didn’t seem to work on this site. I do want to check it out, so I will leave it on my list, and see if I can work out some other way of downloading it.

WPF Videos

I still need to learn WPF properly, so I thought watching a few screen-casts might help. I watched one of the basic ones, but like I said above, I really need to go through and do it on my own machine at the same time to really learn anything from it. Also I think when it comes to specific technologies, I would prefer to learn things “just-in-time”, when I have a context in which to think about what I am learning. I think I am more interested in videos when it comes to learning more of the technology-independent fundamentals.

Virtual Alt.NET Videos

I try to attend most of the European VANs, but the classic VAN also has a lot of good guests that I mean to catch up on later. Looking at the Viddler page was quite surprising. Once you include the Aussie VANs and the Brown Bag meetings, there are a lot of videos there! Most of the ones that had guest names in the title I had seen, so I just picked a couple of random ones to skim through. There are definitely some good nuggets of information there, but it is not easy to find.

F# Webcast Series

I had seen part one of this series a while back, and made a note to watch the rest of it. I started to watch part two, but once again, for these technical how-to screen cast type things I think it really requires that we go through and do the exercise along with the screen cast to really learn anything.

But there are exceptions. Over a year ago, I remember watching the Hibernating Rhinos and Summer of NHibernate screen-cast series, and they were so good that I was able to learn a lot just by watching. I think the difference was that I was at the time actually working on a DDD .NET project at work, and was able to directly relate what I was seeing to how I could use it in that project.

I am sure if I was actually using F# or WPF at work I would be able to enjoy watching screen-casts on those topics without going through and doing it locally too.

Anyway, I have made a note to go back and look at these F# screen casts again while actually trying it out myself.

Project Natal

Not sure how this ended up on my list. I am not a gamer, and can’t imagine getting an xbox any time soon. Still its interesting seeing what new technologies are coming out. I remember hearing about it first on the Totally Rad Show, and thinking it was pretty much a gimmick.

The Myth of the Genius Programmer

Now this was great. This is the type of video I can actually sit there and enjoy. I think all developers should continually watch videos like these. It covered topics like working in a team, fear, dealing with mistakes etc. Definitely check this one out.

Artisanal Retro-Futurism crossed with Team-Scale Anarcho-Syndicalism

This video from Brian Marick was probably more entertaining than useful, but I enjoyed it immensely. On the surface it appears to be a plan for restoring the values in the agile world by using some crazy ideas from the past. Also worth checking out.

Videos from the Norwegian Developer’s Conference

I remember hearing a lot about the NDC, and wishing I was there. Now the videos are available. I checked out the The HaaHa Show, but ended up skimming through it as asp.net is not really my thing. I did watch Robert C. Martin – Clean Practice: Agility and Craftsmanship and enjoyed it a lot. He is really both an informative and entertaining speaker. I think I enjoyed his RailsConf “What Killed Smalltalk Could Kill Ruby, Too” talk a bit more. This NDC one seemed a bit rushed and tried to cover a little bit of too many things.

I intend to go back and check out more of the NDC videos.

Haskell and Erlang: growing up together

This keynote from Simon Peyton-Jones was great. Unfortunately the quality is not that good, you can’t really see what is on the screen at all. Simon Peyton-Jones is both very clever and also a pretty funny guy. This video gives a bit of background to how both Haskell and Erlang came to be, a quick overview of how their type systems differ, and the bulk of the talk is about how concurrency works in each language.

I think Erlang might be my language to learn in 2010.

Oh and while we are on the topic of Microsoft Research staff and Haskell, check out some Brian Beckman videos. His video Don’t fear the Monads really helped clear up some of the confusion I had (still have) related to monads.

Software development with Real Options

I have been hearing a lot about “Real Options” on some of the lean development lists lately, so I was curious to see if it was just another way of talking about the “last responsible moment”. Turns out it is, but Real Options takes it a bit further, and helps bring in some ideas from handling risk in finance, and adapt them for software development. This video is a good overview of how Real Options applies to software development.

Windows 7 videos

Somehow these advertisements for windows 7 ended up on my list. I watched one, thought it was stupid. I think it should be sufficient to just read a list of what’s new in 7 and try them out once I guess.

Bindings, Platforms, and Innovation

I found this video to be disappointing. It was an incoherent ramble. Something about stories, and how we all don’t understand something because stories are dangerous, and how stupid we all are for not knowing the difference between the web and arpanet or something. I think he was going for a spontaneous, stream-of-conscious style, but it just came across as unplanned. He would start a sentence, and then restart it several times before actually finishing a sentence, and still not manage to actually say anything. I looked up Bob Frankston afterwards, and he sounded like someone I should be impressed by, but this video did not achieve that.

DDD in a distributed world video

This one from Gojko Adzic was great. I cannot get enough information about DDD. This video really emphasized the importance of aggregates as a business concept, and provided some good technical hints related to handling aggregates in a distributed system.

Project Tuva

This is not actually anything to do with software development at all. It is a collection of Richard Feynman videos about physics. I watched the first one, and it was enjoyable to watch because of Feynman’s personality and the way he puts things across. A lot of people seem to concentrate more an the video player aspect than the content itself, calling it some profound new way to learn or something. Well, the video player does have a lot of extra interactivity features, which is cool, but hardly a new paradigm shift. For me it is more about the content than the player. If I am ever in the right mood I shall go back and watch some more of the videos.

And that is basically all I had time for last Sunday. I did not get through my entire list. I still intend to watch:

Maybe next Sunday…


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