Apple’s Public Mailing Lists

You may not be aware but Apple has a pretty extensive set of public e-mail discussion lists.


There are topics ranging from fundamental Objective-C issues through to development for their various desktop applications.  Some of the lists are quite chatty but you can subscribe in digest format to get a daily e-mail instead of each individual message.  This is a great way to reach engineers working on the piece you’re interested in and is a quite interesting place to lurk.


This is a pretty definite way of making me unsubscribe from your marketing emails.



How to Make Me Instantly Unsubscribe


Dark & Stormy Cocktail

Ever since I visited House of Shields downtown San Francisco, the cocktail called a Dark & Stormy has been one of my favorites.  HoS makes their own variation of it, one part using a ginger syrup that they make themselves.  I ended up finding a decent combination of ingredients locally that I prefer from HoS’ recipe.  Most Dark & Stormy recipes will indicate to use Gosling’s Black Seal rum which can be hard to obtain.  Gosling’s also makes a ginger beer which is the staple used in a Dark & Stormy.  I found a zippier ginger beer and a tasty alternative to Black Seal.

Aaron’s Dark & Stormy

Roughly 205cal per serving

There are technically formal methods to make the Dark & Stormy.  At House of Shields they have all the fancy bar equipment and hand tools.  I just dump all the ingredients on top of the ice in the pint glass and then stir with a straw.




Those Judgmental Baristas

I’ve noticed that when I’ve achieved a free drink at Starbucks, I tend to add on things I normally wouldn’t.  Sometimes the baristas like to make a special comment about it as well which makes me feel guilty about ordering literally “anything I want.”

You know what, f**k that.

I’ve purchased 12 drinks to get one free.  It’s one of the reasons I continue to patronize Starbucks because I feel like that 12th drink is nice to get.  I don’t go very often any more so when I do get the free one, I like to take advantage of their offer.  Hell, I’ve dropped probably $60 by then!

This past Friday I ordered a Venti Soy Green Tea Frappucino with Protein Powder.  I’ve ordered this before and like the consistency having both the soy and protein powder.  I get to the window to pay and I mention I have a free drink coming.  Before I can hand my phone over the barista makes a snarky comment:

Oh well that makes sense why you added all those extras on!

Immediately I tell him that the order isn’t that unusual for me.  His reply?

Wow that’s a really expensive drink.

No shit, Sherlock.  I tell him something like that’s why I don’t come to Starbucks often anymore.  I get my drink and go on my way.

As I’m driving home I realize his attempt at humorous banter was a complete fail and ended up making the customer feel uncomfortable.  I’ve recalled similar situations before when I get my free drink.  What the f**k do they expect that I’m going to get a tall drip coffee for my freebie?  If I ordered 20 espresso shots in a Venti cup, by all means point me out and call me a bitch in front of everyone.

That’s my rant.  Scan my damn phone, be polite and give me my goddamn free drink.


Agility Not Agile Development

Dave Thomas has a really excellent post about how it’s time to kill Agile.  It’s a very well thought out post and it embodies a lot of my concerns with the movement.  I have a few insights to add to his perspective.

I was a software engineer consultant for over five years.  The Java and open-source community had adopted Agile and implementations like Scrum and XP fairly quickly.  It made us find the way to get software that was good out the door in a timely fashion.  It made us not sit on our asses collecting requirements for months before any real work was done.  I worked on a very successful search project at a Fortune 500 company following Agile methods loosely based on Scrum.  I still believe to this day the level of success was due to the project being in “skunkworks” and therefore having a simplified budget and leaving us in control of the moving parts.  Once that project got into a normal budgeting process, innovation floundered.

Something happened to Agile.  Maybe it was Microsoft adopting Scrum, maybe it was some publication for management types convincing them Agile would save them oodles of money.  I’m not really sure what it was.  But at some point the word Agile because synonymous with “bring in consultants give them incredibly short deadlines and expect high quality for cheeeeeeeeeap” – and it lost its power.

I think I realized this shift was coming when a previous manager at a client thought they were being astute by terming their development lifecycle was “pwagile” – a combination of waterfall and Agile.  It was at that point I saw that the true value of Agile development had been muddied and it would be hard to come back from that.  The one thing I saw that made Scrum fail time and time again was budgeting by feature and not for an entire project.  Management couldn’t see the benefit of this change of perspective, so I lost hope.

There has also been this big rush to train companies to become Agile partners – to learn the ways of “doing it right”.  At some point we forgot that Agile was meant to be lean, easy to remember, something that is taught and then becomes reflex memory.  Adding so much process (and selling training & tools) around it defeats the purpose.  I found it interesting how many of these trainers no longer developed software themselves.  I really believe in dog-fooding your own stuff.

Dave’s plea to consider developing with agility instead of following “Agile” is dead on.  Get back to making software great and doing what people actually need.



I’m making  a pledge as a software developer to think of accessibility with every change I make.  My first step was to turn on iOS’ VoiceOver and test everything I’m working on with it.  In the first five minutes of using it, I’ve discovered so many necessary improvements to make the app even useful for someone who has trouble seeing.  There are many more accessibility tools than VoiceOver (like Dynamic Type) that should also be on your list to try.  Baby steps.

Developers: Spend some time with your apps without your eyes.  It’s not fair to place limits on sight-impaired people because you’re lazy.

I’m going to stop being lazy.

Stop Being Lazy with Accessibility