Monday, October 29, 2012

Downloading large files on Windoze

Many websites that contain large files to download warn Windoze users that under Windoze the download may get silently truncated. I have seen these warnings often but paid no attention to them because I always assumed it was only users of Internet Exploiter that were vunerable. Well I was wrong. I got nobbled by this problem today using Firefox. I was trying to download a debian DVD image at 4.4GB. It downloaded 980MB and stopped. Grr!

I thought, oh well, I will just have to use wget. And then the trouble started. I was in a corporate environment so there was a proxy. It is possible to configure wget with a proxy but you do need to know the proxy details. They can be viewed from the control panel but then you can get a nasty problem. The information is shown in a non-resizeable window (duh!). So the proxy information I was after was clipped, due to the URL being quite long. I found that to get the value in a normal resizeable window you have to look it up in the registry. The key is Computer\KEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\AutoConfigURL. Armed with this information I set the environment variable http_proxy (lowercase) to the value and ran wget. It worked like a dream.

I think I must be the only person in the world who thinks that windows with variable content must always be resizeable. As far as I can see, all GUI environments seem to encourage people to create non-resizeable windows. I think MicrosoftWindows makes more use of them than any other GUI environment though. Other GUIs sometimes copy windows so these GUIs are also increasing the number of non-resizeable windows. Deep sigh.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

When is a scrum not a scrum?

As the craze to claim that a project is agile gathers pace, I see more cases where the daily meeting is referred to as a scrum. Gimme a break. See this article at the Agile Forest, for what is wrong with the trend in status meetings.
Quoting from the article:

The key purpose of a Stand-up is the opportunity to collaborate, share and support each other in the delivery of valuable outcomes.

I reckon that over time we will all see more and more examples of where the language of agile is adopted without the actual corresponding practice. There will be talk of sprints, iterations, retrospectives, scrums, kanbans, etc etc whilst the waterfall approach continues to be used on the project as the actual main method. Of course this means the project will not be able to embrace change since it will not be able to move quickly and easily in any direction. But then no-one will see anything wrong with that because waterfall is always the way it has been done. And a slow, plodding speed of delivery with document+design,code,test,signoff in strict order with no feedback will continue to be the way that software development is expected to be done.

At the next "scrum" I am tempted to ask who is the scrum master. But I have a feeling that the irony will be lost: I will just be told it is the person that asks each person in turn, "what did you do yesterday, what will you do today?" whilst the rest of team waits for the meeting to finish.