November 2008 Blog Posts

Silly Marketing Trick 1 –

December is a slow month for time tracking software sales, so this year I’ve turned off my advertizing and I’m going to dedicate this month to all sort of ways to increase awareness for yaTimer. My first project, a little early (since it’s not December yet) is – a list of free time tracking tools with ads for yaTimer, yes, I’m giving people a list of my free competitors and displaying ads for people looking for free stuff, two things that can be considered stupid – but I’ll try it anyway. The list is open for everyone, if you know of...

yaTimer help and development updates.

The second page of yaTimer’s documentation is now on-line, it’s a page about the details of resetting tasks in yaTimer (the image to the left is a very big reset icon). The rest of the on-line help is delayed until the next version of yaTimer will be released, I just don’t want to have to change the new help pages when I release the next version. yaTimer 2.3 itself is in final testing and will be released this month.

Productivity Tip: Set a deadline

A big part of improving your productivity is manipulating yourself into working when you rather not work, one of the more effective tricks is setting a deadline. For example, the weekly productivity tip blog post has to be published every Monday – no excuses. If we think about it for a moment we can see that nothing bad will happen if this post will be published later in the week, there is absolutely nothing time critical about this post. But, if I allow myself to post a little bit late then before I notice the week has passed and I haven’t written the...

Blurred Images in WPF

Bitmaps and icons displayed using WPF often have a very annoying blur effect caused by WPF trying to draw the image with sub pixel precision. Let’s take the following image: The image is diaplyed in the WPF window using this XAML: <Image Source="blurexample.png" Stretch="None" Margin="5.0" VerticalAlignment="Top" HorizontalAlignment="Left"/> But if we set it’s margin to 5.5 pixels (or place the image after something that can take non-integral number of pixels to draw, like text) we get this: That is obviously unacceptable, but how can we overcome this? The best solution I’ve found is the Bitmap class described in this post. But the bitmap class has one limitation making...

Excellent Resource for Freelancers

Just in case any freelancer or consultant that is reading this blog doesn’t know about Freelance Switch it’s a great blog with freelancing advice and resources. They even recommended yaTimer about a year ago.

Productivity Tips: Interruptions are evil

The most effective way to decrease your productivity is work in an interruption filled environment – and yet most of us work in just this environment. Writers, programmers, designers and most other creative jobs require concentration, you are most productive only when you are in a deep concentration mode (sometimes referred to as “the flow”), in this mode you can get huge amount of work done in a short time. Whenever you are interrupted, no matter how short the interruption is, you are kicked right out of this deep concentration mode and research has shown it usually takes between 15 and 30...

yaTimer 2.3 is now in testing

All the features, fixes and improvements that will make it into yaTimer 2.3 are finished, as always I had to delay a lot of features to the next version to keep something even remotely like a schedule. If there are no serious bugs yaTimer 2.3 will be released this month. yaTimer 2.3 will be a free upgrade to all yaTimer customers, you can download the current version on the download page.

Scott Adams on the upside of the recession

The Upside of the Recession on the Dilbert blog.

Productivity Tip: Don’t Panic

The world’s economy is in a crisis, things are bad and they are going to get worse, civilization is coming to an end and we are all doomed. Are you scared yet? Your shouldn’t be, the world is not ending, a small but very greedy group of people managed to collapse the world’s financial markets and make some real damage to the economy, the resulting wide spread panic caused even more damage and is continuing to ruin the economy even as you read this. The result is that lot of people lost an awful lot of money. That’s it, a lot of people lost...

yaTimer Development Update: Version 2.3 Almost Complete

The next version of yaTimer is almost done, I expect it will be finished in another week or so. When it’s finished there is still a lot of testing to do, but based on my experience and the fact that this version is about making the existing features better and not introducing new features I expect the testing phase to be relatively short. I estimate yaTimer 2.3 will be released sometime near the beginning of December, the actual release date will be when the version is ready. yaTimer 2.3 will be a free upgrade to all yaTimer customers.

Lambda in XAML

Here are links to a 3 part series with code that let you use C#-like lambda expressions in XAML instead of writing value converters. For example, instead of writing a value converter that takes a DateTime and calls ToShortTimeString you can write: <TextBlock Text='{Binding Source={x:Static s:DateTime.Now}, Converter={fix:Lambda "dt=>dt.ToShortTimeString()"}}'> WPFix Part 1 (Lambda Converter Extension) WPFix Part 2 (Binding Extension) WPFix Part 3 (Extension Methods)

You have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror

I read and sometimes (rarely) post in the business of software forum on the Joel on Software site – and every once in a while someone asks if something he is about to do is ethical (usually it involves taking business away from a previous employer), this is my answer to all those questions. Follow your conscience and do what you think is right, you will have to live with your actions and the consequences of those actions for a very long time (hopefully). If you are asking you probably think what you are about to do is iffy at best –...

Productivity Tips: Filling timesheets manually is a great way to under charge - and it’s also a waste of time

A long long time ago, when I was a young programmer, in a company I once worked for, the management decided they wanted to know how the employees spend their time. It was a product company so this information was not needed for billing, management just wanted to knows what’s going on and have better information when they plan for the future. The development team manager quickly built a small application that lets employees fill in what they worked on, this application was equivalent to filling a timesheet, you started the application, selected one of the company’s projects filled in how much...

Technical Debt

"Technical debt" is the mess you make when you take shortcuts while developing software. It's a very powerful concept and it's easy to explain it to anyone with the basic understanding in taking loans, even without any technical background (for example, management). When you do something the quick and dirty way, instead of the right way, you take on technical debt, every time you have to do something with that code it's now going to take longer because its badly designed (just like interest payments) and you should sometime re-write the offending code (pay off the debt) and that will take more...