John Feathers' Post

Easter Eggs in Software: Our Fun Selection

It’s that chocolatey time of the year again! Bunnies are hopping, people are shopping, and the Easter egg hall of fame just keeps getting better and better.

If you’ve hung around this blog for longer than five seconds, though, you probably know we’re not talking about this classic display or even this other luxurious spectacle.

No, ever since Software Designer Warren Robinett cheekily credited himself in a room concealed within Atari’s Adventure game, the popular tradition of Easter egg hunting has grown to denote another favourite pastime — particularly among tech gurus and aficionados.

So to mark the start of our paschal festivities, let’s take a look at some of the best hidden surprises you can find skulking in your devices right now!

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Overcoming the Legacy Gravitational Pull

Contrary to popular belief, at the beginning of the second industrial revolution, electricity was largely seen as a dud. Though Thomas Edison first patented his famed light bulb in 1879, two decades later, the invention had made very little impact at home — only present in a mere 3 percent of American residences.

Flash forward to the 21st century and you will find that in many ways, this parallels our current digital era. Yes, the onslaught of information may sometimes give us the feeling that we have reached the tail end of the digital revolution, but in reality, there are many signs to suggest otherwise.

Legacy companies in particular are still miles off course. Despite the fact that most businesses have already launched their own website, mobile app or social media campaign, for many old-timers, truly reaping the benefits of the present age amounts to little more than a hazy pipe dream.

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Who Should Pay for Bug Fixes?

In a perfect world, every application would sit comfortably atop wholly stable, never-changing systems.

Unfortunately for utopians everywhere, however, the foundation upon which modern software is built is much more akin to a ticking time bomb.

While software solutions should always be delivered in working order, all it takes is a single Windows or Linux update failing to play well with a program for something somewhere to snap.

And just to make matters worse, these things are completely unavoidable!

But they also beg the inevitable, oft-awkward question: when so-called bugs eventually do make an appearance, who should be responsible for paying for them?

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Five Ways to Help Your Teams Meet Deadlines

While they may well be a leading cause of stress in the workplace, deadlines are something of a necessary evil, as without them — let the anarchists amongst us disagree — human productivity would all but certainly tumble into oblivion.

Yet all too often, strict schedules also give us the impression that the people within our organisations behave much like tireless machines, mechanically churning out their finished products at the mere push of a button.

This, of course, couldn’t be further from reality, and the Agile manifesto makes perfectly clear: companies should prioritise “individuals and interactions over process and tools.”

So with this thought as our guiding compass, here are five simple ways to help your employees meet their deadlines:

 

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Top Trends in the Healthcare Industry Today

Despite the fact that many businesses are still yet to fully embrace digital technology, we are living in the time of what is widely being hailed the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Rapid advancement in fields such as quantum computing, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology are causing disruptive change to virtually every industry, and healthcare is no exception.

In fact, as one of the world’s largest and most dynamic industries — annual investment soared by as much as 26 percent last year — the healthcare sector is in a prime position to bring us some of the most exciting and life-altering applications. So as 2018 begins, let’s take a look at the trends that are starting to cast light on the future of digital medicine.

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Artificial Intelligence: Finding Value in the Hype Haystack

From promises of bringing forth an imminent utopia to marking the end of the human race, artificial intelligence has often been the subject of much hype and very little substance.

Last year, however, with voice assistants and conversational UIs dominating homes and the media, the hype may have finally peaked at fever pitch.

But in the age of Siri and self-driving cars, how close are we really to a so-called singularity, and more importantly, is AI in its present form a worthy investment for your business?

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Should You Build or Buy Software?

Apples and oranges, chalk and cheese.

Comparing bespoke software to canned solutions is a lot harder than one would initially assume — and yet companies across the world face this challenge every day.

The trouble lies in achieving a proper and balanced understanding of one’s immediate needs on the one hand, and long-term goals and ambitions on the other.

So to make this decision as straightforward as is humanly possible, here are a few important points to consider:

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What Great Tech Leads Are Made Of

For developers interested in moving up the ranks, the idea of becoming a tech lead may be as appealing as it is intimidating.

After all, when leading development teams, only a small proportion of the skills acquired as a programmer will prepare you for the role.

Gone are the days of merely aiming to design and write quality code. Instead, developers must now learn to understand people, resolve conflict and effectively juggle an extraordinary amount of tasks.

Thankfully, here at SPG, we are all about keeping things simple.

So to make this transition as seamless as possible, here are some essential skills every tech lead hopeful is expected to bring to the table:

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Diagnosing and Dealing with Problems of Productivity

So your software development team has had a bit more than a hiccup. Productivity has stalled and frustration is increasing by the day.

You know it’s time to do something about it, but what exactly would that be? After all, up until this point, every single one of your attempts has fallen flatter than a pancake.

If any of these ring true, you could have a morale health problem on your hands.

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How to Get Agile Teams to Plan for Themselves

As many parents will undoubtedly know, one of the hardest things to achieve for our kids is that elusive balance between freedom and boundaries.

We do not tell our children that they mustn’t play at all, but while they’re out and about, swinging from trees and jumping off climbing frames, we certainly do our best to keep them safe.

Much in the same way, a potently effective Agile team will always hang in a delicate balance of autonomy and alignment.

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