Removing the “Macros” warning in PowerPoint

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When you open any PowerPoint presentation made by my company’s default presentation format, you get a warning that it contains macros and asking whether the macros should be disabled. The macros are useless, but removing this is somewhat awkward and difficult to remember so I’m writing down the instructions. Read more

Setting Low Prices

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I am in no way an expert on the tricky art of pricing, but I do have an interesting thought about the pricing of very cheap things. Read more

Set Default Address Book in Outlook 2010

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So, I got a new PC at work, and I moved to Outlook 2010. A great annoyance was that whenever I tried sending email, the entire global corporate address book popped up. After some time searching, I figured out how to change this setting, and thought I should record my steps. Read more

Viewing a dependency tree in Maven

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To find out what dependencies you are getting and from where, execute “mvn dependency:tree”. Send it to a file using “mvn dependency:tree -Doutput=file”.

Estimate Units

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When you estimate tasks, should the estimates be done in hours, or in days?

As I see it, the big advantage of estimating in hours is that if you THINK in hours, you tend to get a more accurate estimate. There are lots of development tasks which will seem like they should take “no more than 2 days”, but if you think about all the individual steps (I have write create the page and the new service. And the stored procedure. And I’ll have to get a security review and a code review. And I have to remember to do the unit tests. Oh yes, and save time for bug fixes), the total comes out a big bigger.

As I see it, the big advantage of estimating in days is that it’s quicker and simpler. If you team is sitting there arguing whether a task is 3 hours or 4 hours, then you’re wasting time — after all, development estimates are never THAT accurate anyway: we always need to allow for the unexpected.

Considering these, I could be persuaded to do it either way. What is NOT useful is to think how many days it will take, multiply by the number of hours per day, then spend time arguing about whether it is one more or one less than this number.

Separation of Concerns

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Once upon a time (in the dark ages of web application development) we built our applications as a single monolithic Perl CGI script, or perhaps a large JSP file containing the entire application. Read more

Many ways to attack websites

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Developers of web applications have quite a few different kinds of “attacks” to worry about. I will try to describe the major categories I know of, including one which is “new” as of the past month or so. Read more

How to email MY blog posts from Outlook

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This post is mostly for my own use; it updates a previous posting with the details of exactly how I am sending out the email version of these blog postings. Read more

The Wager

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You are really lazy. It’s nothing personal of course — everyone tends to procrastinate to some extent, but right now it’s YOUR turn. In just a moment, I am going to convince you that you want to do something. You’ll agree that it’s a good idea, you’ll tell yourself that you are going to do it, but I’m betting that you are so lazy that in the end you won’t do it. Read more

How to email blog posts from Outlook

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Suppose (just for the sake of discussion) you wanted to share some blog postings with a group of people at work – and the company email system uses Outlook 2003. Sending HTML email with the blog posting seems like it would be a nice way to do it. But getting Outlook to send properly-crafted HTML emails is surprisingly difficult Read more