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Soundbyte 385: System Beeps

3 March 2019

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting an event with ‘Uncle Bob’ (Robert C. Martin) as ApeldoornJUG lead. Virtually every developer knows Robert Martin from his Clean Code book, so this was a great way to kick-off the ApeldoornJUG. It’s an initiative started by Luminis Apeldoorn together with Belastingdienst (Dutch Tax office), Kadaster and Profit4Cloud. It was amazing to see 300 Java developers come together, most of them from the Apeldoorn region. A filmcrew from Belastingdienst made a nice video impression:

During this evening, the focus wasn’t so much on technically deep topics, but on a historic perspective of our field. How did we get here? And what caused (and possibly still causes) the Software Crisis? In the end it all boils down to craftsmanship, and maintaining the right checks and balances.

In the past few weeks I’ve had a few interesting conversations around what I do at Luminis Apeldoorn, both with colleagues and at clients. So what does a Luminis fellow do? Some whisper it’s Luminis’ most closely guarded secret. Of course I could start talking in generalities like ‘knowledge-sharing’, ‘being a technical leader for people and projects’, or ‘ensuring Luminis kerns align technology-wise’. Instead, I thought it would be fun to just give a little insight into what kept me busy last week. So here goes, in no particular order:

  • Kick-starting an Azure migration proof-of-concept at one of our existing customers
  • Brainstorming with several other companies about creating a showcase for applying e-learning (Summario!) in the defense department, to be presented next month
  • Devising a plan of attack together with Luminis Amsterdam for introducing a cloud-based data pipeline at a SaaS company
  • Interviewing a potential new colleague
  • On-boarding a new colleague (hi Erwin!)
  • Planning a symposium on data science together with Luminis Arnhem and one of their partners, that will hopefully reach many interested companies who we’d love to help
  • Evaluating the first ApeldoornJUG event
  • Organising the next ApeldoornJUG meetup (still a few spots left: https://www.meetup.com/ApeldoornJUG/events/259158118/)
  • Helping our sales colleagues to assess new opportunities
  • Analyzing an Angular codebase to see whether we dare take into production for a new customer
  • Preparing material for a workshop I’m running at QCon London next week

And I’m sure I’ve missed some… One thing conspicuously absent from this week’s list is coding. Luckily there was some, since I had to update and prepare hands-on exercises for the ‘Keeping up With Java’ workshop at QCon. My plan is to market this workshop at several conferences this year (in The Netherlands it will be featured at GOTO Amsterdam in June). Doing a full day workshop offers much better opportunities to engage with people than just presenting a session at a conference. There’s also quite some interest from companies to run this full-day workshop in-company. So if you know a team or company where this would be a great fit, definitely let me know!

One thing I encountered recently that instantly brought back the joy of hacking and coding was a ‘musical piece’ called System Beeps. These guys took the venerable PC speaker of yesteryear and started composing original music for it. Even though it’s a monophonic device, with enough creativity you can create polyphonic tunes. Their post PC Speaker to Eleven is a fun Sunday afternoon read, containing all the nitty gritty details. Even though it’s no musical masterpiece, I hope it makes you feel nostalgic.

(Kudos if you make it to the end, spoiler alert: I didn’t make it 🙂

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