On walkabout in life and technology

The 10 Commandments of Good Source Control Management

Troy Hunt lists the The 10 commandments of good source control management in his blog. I use git and github for eveything, including this web site and blog.

  1. Stop right now if you’re using VSS – just stop it!
  2. If it’s not in source control, it doesn’t exist
  3. Commit early, commit often and don’t spare the horses
  4. Always inspect your changes before committing
  5. Remember the axe-murderer when writing commit messages
  6. You must commit your own changes – you can’t delegate it
  7. Versioning your database isn’t optional
  8. Compilation output does not belong in source control
  9. Nobody else cares about your personal user settings
  10. Dependencies need a home too

None of these things are hard. Honestly, they’re really very basic: commit early and often, know what you’re committing and that it should actually be in VCS, explain your commits and make sure you do it yourself, don’t forget the databases and don’t forget the dependencies.

Is Antivirus Software a Waste of Money?

Not astonishing at all in Wired’s Is Antivirus Software a Waste of Money? by Robert McMillan:

He doesn’t use antivirus software. As it turns out, many of his security-minded peers don’t use it either. The reason: If someone is going to try and attack them, they’re likely to use a new technique, one that most antivirus products will miss. “If you asked the average security expert whether they use antivirus or not,” Grossman says “a significant proportion of them do not.”

AntiVirus software is like the TSA, an annoyance that chews up money and time and tells the bad guys what not to do, leaving an infinite number of possible things they can do which the AV/TSA will never notice.

Presenting a Professional Indie Image

In Presenting a Professional Indie Image on the Noverse Blog, I present a checklist of all the things you need as an indie to present yourself to strangers via email with some credibility:

You are what you do, not what you say. -- C.G. Jung

As my Hiltmon.com blog takes off, I am starting to get emails from indie developers promoting their wares. This is great, I love getting them, looking at new products and helping out where I can. But many of them fail on the basics of presenting themselves as the professionals they are.

Serious and Snark

One of the key reasons I separated hiltmon.com and noverse.com at the start of this year was to separate my serious business voice from my larrakin personal voice.

Last evening, on twitter, it seems some of the indie celebs are doing the same:

@marcoarment @gte @gruber My only handicap is I am afraid to tarnish red-sweater with too many crazy posts, so I'm building a new blog...

@danielpunkass Twitter

David Barnard points out that your business should have a voice:

@danielpunkass @marcoarment @gruber yeah. Voice of an entity is important. Separating private opinion from business position makes sense.

@drbarnard Twitter

Marco Arment, in a Yoda moment, gets poingnant:

@drbarnard @danielpunkass Our companies will come and go. Our names and personal reputations can be built up for life.

@marcoarment Twitter

Thank You for a Great February

It’s been two months since I consolidated all my sites into this blog and started writing more. This blog just has a great February and I thought I’d share some stats.

The End of Advertising

Daniel Jalkut, writing in his Red Sweater blog in The End Of Advertising:

If I want to know what a lawnmower is, Google. If I want to know which lawnmower to buy? Amazon, or another site that strives to empower customers, not advertisers.

I think we all do this without knowing it.


Steve Moore, an experienced ex-FBI Counterterrorist Agent writing in TSA: Fail:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was formed to ensure America’s freedom to travel.  Instead, they have made air travel the most difficult means of mass transit in the United States, at the same time failing to make air travel any more secure.

TSA has never, (and I invite them to prove me wrong), foiled a terrorist plot or stopped an attack on an airliner. Ever.

The truth, unfortunately, is not going to change things.

Quick and Dirty Rails Performance Profiling

When I find some Ruby on Rails or Rake tasks running slowly, I throw a quick and dirty profiler around the suspect code to find the bottlenecks with ease. Here’s how I do it, maybe this approach can help you too.

iPhone Data Plan Follies

This week, three stories came to my attention regarding iPhone data plans and usage: man wins $850 from AT&T for data throttling, Siri is ruining your cellphone service, and its all about the camera.

iPhone user wins $850 in throttling case

Source: Judge awards iPhone user $850 in throttling case

In short, so a guy who was sold the unlimited AT&T data plan gets throttled, sues AT&T in small claims court and wins some money. That’s the story presented.

But there are a few points missed:

  • He is still being throttled, he may have won the case, and a pittance, but the throttling continues, so its not really a win.
  • He had to go to small claims court because the one-sided contract between the consumer and AT&T forbids class-action lawsuits, and it turns out, it’s legal for them to do this. WTF! So if we all want to challenge AT&T’s throttling, we have to one-by-one go to small claims court.
  • AT&T is appealing the ruling, using its money and muscle to bury this poor guy.
  • If you don’t like it in the USA, you can switch to, um, no-one. Verizon, no, T-Mobile, no, Sprint, no. (I am aware Sprint offers unlimited plans, but it’s a bait-and-switch: It’s an on-again, off-again deal, with no commitment made to keep you on unlimited, or never to cap or throttle).

Siri is ruining your cellphone service

Utter codswallop from Paul Farhi of the once reputable Washington Post writes in How Siri is ruining your cellphone service:

Siri’s dirty little secret is that she’s a bandwidth guzzler, the digital equivalent of a 10-miles-per-gallon Hummer H1.

Fortunately, John Gruber of the very reputable Daring Fireball corrects this idiocy in How Bad Reporting Is Ruining The Washington Post:

It doesn’t take a genius to spot the logical error here. Assuming Arieso’s data is correct, that iPhone 4S users consume more data, they offer no proof that Siri has anything to do with it.

And Forbes writer Eric Savitz confirms that it is not Siri in Apple’s Siri: The Truth Is, She’s No Bandwidth Hog.

It’s about the camera stupid

Marco Arment figured out why iPhone 4S users use so much more bandwidth in his article also entitled How Bad Reporting Is Ruining The Washington Post :

The camera, of course. Every iPhone after the 3G has shipped with a higher-resolution camera than its predecessor. People capture and share a lot of photos on their iPhones, so a very likely culprit for higher data usage, controlling for OS version and tethering abilities, is that the photos are simply much larger with each new iPhone.

I can attest to that. I’m a hobby photographer, but the camera I use the most is the one on my phone. It’s there, it’s convenient, and it’s pretty good. So I am more likely to rip the iPhone out, take a shot, Instagram it and post it to Facebook and Twitter. In this case I use a lot more data - the 8 megapixel image goes over the data connection with Photo Stream, it goes again in the new larger format to Instagram, a third time to Facebook and again to TwitPic. Since the photo is a lot larger, I use more data that when I was on the iPhone 4 or the 3GS.

Maybe I was wrong in Bandwidth Caps Never Necessary, the caps and throttles are not an issue for the future, it’s a now issue that we all face.

Text Editing Fonts and Colors

In The Markdown Mindset I described how I use a variety of different editors to write Markdown in different contexts. I also use different fonts and color schemes to help me differentiate as I go along.

For the record, everything was done in Monaco a few years ago.


Blogging is done in Byword using Cousine 15pt and the light theme. It’s pretty close to Nitti Light as used in iAWriter, but has variable sizing and is free from Google. I really like it in Byword because they render the font a tad large and it matches their cool anti-aliasing scheme.


Programming is done in TextMate using Menlo 12 and the RailsCasts theme. I switched from Monaco to Menlo in Textmate 2 and I’m not going back. Monaco’s line spacing in TM2 was too tall, Menlo is just right.

Cocoa work is done in XCode using Menlo and the default theme. After seeing all the Apple demos, to me that’s what Objective-C needs to look like.

Long form writing in Scrivener is done in Menlo as well now. I really do not like the default Optima. I used Cousine for a while until one day I tried Menlo and it just looked smoother.

My terminals are also set up to use Menlo, and I use a custom theme that integrates cyan and yellow into the prompt and ls colors.


Note taking is done in BBEdit using their tweaked version of Consolas and the default theme (I have set up RailsCasts for code files as well). Something about working in BBEdit makes we want to use Consolas and get that old-mac editor look.

So bye bye Monaco, my old friend. You served us all so well for so long.