Steve McConnell needs a weblog

Steve McConnell is one of my heroes. His book, Code Complete, is one of my favorite programming texts–definitely a classic. Guess what?

Steve has a . That’s pretty cool. Here’s . But Steve doesn’t have weblog

. Maybe he should start one at , his current company.

Maybe when you write like he does, you just wait a couple years, put out another classic book, and wait two more years. Blogging, daily or weekly, doesn’t fit into that model. Maybe that’s what he prefers.

But, as I have been on a binge of consuming the blogs of some great industry minds, I would almost expect to see a blog from the great Steve. So far, I’ve found blogs for the following:

  • I’m also hoping to find a blog from Larry Wall. He has a too, but not a weblog

    . Here’s . Based on his website, though, I guess he values time spent on things other than blogging.

    Microsoft: Where's the feed?

    Microsoft has certainly joined the blogosphere in a big way, whether it’s the or a host of developers (onsite and offsite). Much of the .

    Ironically, however, a visit to the , which lists the most recent blog posts from the MSDN Microsoft clan, fails to turn up the famous XML (

    ) or RSS ( ) images. In fact, I have yet to find a master list of RSS feeds on Microsoft’s website, although points to some helpful feeds and resources. A turns up a page of and a with .

    I did find a couple of RSS feeds on the and a link to a , but again without a group RSS feed for the list of blogs altogether. You have to visit each blog to find the RSS link. ‘s black-on-blue is hard to see, demonstrating the disadvantage of diversity in weblog layout. My best guess is that the URLs just map to the blog software of choice for each author (ain’t the web grand?).

    I did unearth a very cool gem while digging through the MSDN blogs, though. pointed to a ! Talk about cool! I’d only heard legends about the guy, you know, Booch Notation, the “Three Amigos,” UML, Rational, etc. He has a blog–how cool is that? And he also , which I think I will add to my .

    Then there’s also ‘s “”, or in his words:

    A cross between a blog and wiki of my partly-formed ideas on software development

    I need to come back to absorb the essence of his bliki approach to publishing. Fortunately, his hybrid approach still offers an . And, of course, .

    Bottom line: Microsoft should make it easy to , including a link on their .

    Update: I found (after much searching) a page which lets you . It serves up RSS feeds and OPML for categories of blogs.

    A Contact Us link on *Every Web Page*??

    Oh, the gall!

    The automated response to from TechRepublic’s contact page had this to say:

    If you need more immediate information or assistance, please review our
    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) section provided on our Contact Us page,
    [URL], found at the bottom of every TechRepublic
    Web page.

    Is it really? At the bottom of every web page? I couldn’t find it. I searched the text for the word “contact.” No such luck.

    Now, to be fair, there was a Help link. But is Help the same as Contact Us? Not in my mind.

    Maybe in the monster content management system they use, someone forgot to add that one. Small thing, right?


    TechRepublic fails to unsubscribe

    Here’s a quick excerpt of the feedback message that I posted to after their unsubscribe process failed about 10 times:

    I have tried about 8-10 times to unsubscribe from your mailings, but each time, I still receive mail. I even tried changing my email on my account to a special alias on my server so I could bounce the email. I am still receiving email at my old address from you after multiple attempts and techniques to *unsubscribe*. Your unsubscribe *does not work*.

    I am totally frustrated with all of the hassle from TechRepublic. I even tried to find your contact link, and all I found was FAQ after FAQ. Finally, I found a *tiny* contact link at the bottom of a FAQ. I know you want to cut down on personal contact overhead, but this is ridiculous. You should really make it easier to find a way to contact you. Don’t hide it!

    My goal was to switch all of my email newsletters to RSS feeds. But for some reason, I can’t unsubscribe from your email.

    Please remove me from your mailing list–all of them.

    And while you are at it, please deactivate/delete my account.

    We’ll see if I get any kind of personal response.

    Stephen, thanks for the mention, even under the circumstances

    It was interesting to hear my name called out on . I wasn’t trying to troll, that’s for sure. I also thought it was interesting to hear how the topic came up–almost accidentally, as a side reference related to .

    was mentioning Adam Curry’s podcast content where “every ten or so words, he says ‘F-you’ or something…and it’s like ‘aaannnhh.'” That last word was as close as I could get to the spelling of the sound you make when you are unsure of whether you like something–you know, the so-so sound. In other words, Radio Mike’s reaction seemed mixed as to the appropriateness of the language.

    Here’s my point: I’m not saying that people can’t say those words. All I’m saying is that some people don’t like to hear them, thus taking away from their enjoyment of the content. And, since podcasts are, in most ways, public content, we should keep in mind how we would speak if we were in front of our grandmothers.

    Maybe the grandmother example doesn’t totally fit, but I hope the picture is there.

    By the way, it sounded like you weren’t clear on the part of the podcast I was referencing. The bit that I was referring to was the “Connection is down” song with “Holy S*** Batman! [garbled–Connection is down?]” and, later, “F***ing 404!” I have to say, the song was clever, but…well, you already know how I felt about it.

    At least I am listening.

    I heard a quote that says:

    The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

    You could probably change that to say “The only thing worse than being listened to is not being listened to.” Well, it doesn’t have the same ring, does it?

    But, again, I am listening. And I’m also learning: about podcasting, music licensing, and bluegrass music. So, when I do my first podcast, I’ll have you to thank as an early example (not a negative one either).

    By the way, while I’m kissing up, I’ll use this opportunity to plug a product that Stephen first informed me about, FMRadioStation (a.k.a FMRadio) for . Check out the .

    FMRadio does a good job of putting a friendly face on Radio, an application that is powerful and feature-rich, but not always friendly to users that want just a little more than the basic experience. Digging around in the is not exactly the interactive experience I’m looking for.

    One of the features that I like about the product is that, similar to other news aggregators, it allows you to group news by source–something that Radio’s web version of the news aggregator does not do by default. With Radio’s news aggregator, you get exactly that: news. You know, like “Here’s the latest headlines from all your subscriptions.” But it’s all mixed up. FMRadio does better at this without replacing Radio Userland–it’s a good complement.

    Stephen was wondering how he made my “blogging short list.” I added his blog, , to my blogroll in June 2003 when he sent me an email message about FMRadio. I’ve been reading off and on since then. You can now find his podcasts (the ) with Radio Mike at the .

    What Happened?

    posts by :

    Some people make things happen, some people watch things happen, and some ask what happened.

    Ian’s site has a very cool graphical layout–something I miss when I convert to “all RSS, all-the-time” blog reading.

    My visual layout here is very basic. It’s one of the pre-packaged themes that comes with Radio Userland. One of the things I that fall very low on my priority list is a custom redesign of this blog. Oh, well, it is what it is.


    I was thinking–wouldn’t it be neat to display small pictures (when available) of the persons listed on your blogroll.

    We could call it a “mugroll”


    It would be a similar concept to the custom icon displayed for the website and/or bookmark for a website.

    Now, there’s always the question of how to standardize and automate such a project. Would you force a specific filename on a website like /robots.txt does for search engines and bots? Maybe a standard-sized (what dimensions?) PNG, GIF, or JPG file called /aboutme.png. I think requiring a specific path could help automate harvesting, but it might be too restrictive for more complex scenarios than a single-author website.

    Or maybe we could add an optional <authorpic> element to the various syndication feeds.

    And what about a multi-author blog? Could you have an OPML file with authorpic entries, one for each author? Just rambling here.

    Would it be OK to reference graphics on the author’s site? Or should we snarf it and host it ourselves to save the author’s bandwidth?

    Maybe we could add some kind of new HTML META or LINK tag that points to the picture.

    Oh, and by the way, to get the “mug” rolling, here’s my mug (in no standard dimensions):

    A gem

    This is a very simple post here, but I like ‘s bit of wisdom in response to ‘s , expressed in a :

    As near as I can tell, there is no right and wrong here. Everybody approaches the “blogosphere” differently.

    I have been part of the blogosphere in some form or another since late in 2002. I have tried many times to keep up with the “A-listers,” but time and life have beaten me many days, so my reading and writing frequency has been less than admirable.

    But, as Sam asserts above, that’s OK.

    . Unlike architects (who figure out what to build) and engineers (who figure out how), great hackers and painters do both. Who makes a good hacker and how can you identify a good hacker/programmer in a job interview? Why is empathy an important skill for programmers? As a hacker who also studied painting in Europe, Paul may be uniquely qualified to write a book entitled Hackers and Painters

    . If you leave your day programming job only to get home and write more code, this is a great book for you. []