Ode to Tobias …

OK, OK … I admit I have been slack in writing in the blog. I actually have a pretty decent excuse though: I was busy sunbathing in Barcelona last week (what do you mean, that doesn’t cut it?)

So I promise to do better this week and find something interesting to say. Especially since it has emerged that spiking the poodle is not a concept unique to our scrum course … and if there are any new ScrumMasters from the Santa Barbara course actually reading this … hello

Weekend in Barcelona

I spent last weekend in Barcelona on holiday. I’m gutted we only had three days, it wasn’t long enough to really see as much of the city as I’d like, it’s a fantastic place (would definitely recommend to anybody who hasn’t been!).

I met my friend who had been attending a conference and we stayed in the Hotel Arts, which is a super-posh hotel so we were pretty spoilt I spent Friday morning lounging by the outdoor pool and clearly didn’t realise quite how hot the sun was, because I ended up a little sunburnt! Unfortunately this meant I was restricted to wearing the same t-shirt for the rest of the week … (joke … but I do have white lines!)

We walked along the beach in the afternoon and I went paddling – the water was COLD! We also went around La Catedral in the afternoon, which was nice except that it is currently covered in scaffolding. We visited the Aquarium – the shark tunnel is amazing, particularly the manta ray that smiled at us from above … very freaky.

Saturday the weather was once again glorious and we started off with Parc Guell … one of Gaudi’s amazing and slightly strange works of art in the city (I now have a model of the mosaic dragon on my desk …) It really is a beautiful place to go, especially recommend climbing to the top of the hill to get a view across Barcelona. We were really lucky that the visibility was so good, and have some great photos to show for it!

We visited Casa Batlla (another of Gaudi’s “hallucenogenic creations” – as described by the Lonely Planet guide!) – fascinating but very strange house. Well worth seeing and the audio tour was interesting if long winded. Worth mentioning Cervezeria Catalana where we had tapas for a rather late lunch, as well as Cacao Sampaka where we gorged on hot molton chocolate … mmm!!

The time seems to go so much quicker in Barcelona, I couldn’t believe it was nearly five by the time we finished … so we walked down La Rambla where there was an odd procession of very tall people We finished off the day with a nice meal, very late in true Spanish style … then following rather a large amount of wine and beer decided to spend an hour or so in the (outdoor) hotel jacuzzi! With more beer … finally made it to bed around 4am but well and truly missed breakfast the next day.

On the last day we went to see Sagrada Familia (Holy Family in English) – the church that has been being built since 1882 or thereabouts. It’s absolutely awesome for the sheer height as well as the fact that amid the amazing pillars and architecture it is a real building site. Yet again Gaudi got his hands on the architecture, and when he was asked why he put so much effort into the design of the tops of the pillars when nobody could see them, he replied that the angels would. After so much walking and sight seeing all I wanted to do was sit down and eat more tapas before leaving for the airport!

All in all it was an amazing weekend and definitely a city to be seen and experienced! Can’t wait for my next trip.

Waterfall 2006

For all software developers, if you haven’t already seen the Waterfall2006 site, it’s well worth a read. On first glance it almost seems like a credible site, until you start to read the detail … and having worked with a waterfall approach on many projects, it definitely made me groan with recognition! I’m hoping to see first hand in the near future the difference that agile techniques can make, but in the meantime some of the highlights of the Waterfall site that made me smile:

  • Pair programming – two managers per programmer
  • Registration – “Our software developers have a really wonderful design. They’re almost done entering it into it a UML tool. They’ve told us not to worry and that finishing it will be “trivial” because “all that’s left is the coding.”
  • A Document Testing Framework
  • Skills in Stale Specs

I could carry on, but I’ll spare you … it’s good to know that I wasn’t alone in thinking there must be a better way …

My first (personal) website

I’ve been working on website projects for the last five years, but until now I never felt the slightest desire to create my own website. Of course, I’d love to have one … but having a website means keeping it updated regularly and looking after it … it is a responsibility.

I attended a two day Scrum training course last week, and for the first time I really wanted a blog. I wanted to go home and record my experiences as I tried to implement all of the things we learned on the course. I wanted a place to share my thoughts, not just on Scrum, but on anything and everything. I wanted to hear back from other people who might have the time and inclination to read my ramblings and have an opinion. I’ve joined the discussion forum but I wanted more than that – I wanted a space that’s mine. So here it is: my first personal website. It’s a funny choice of domain name, so if you’re remotely curious you can read why I chose the domain name spikethepoodle.com. I have a few things to say, so I’ll try and organise my thoughts and write some blog entries. Since my personal preference is for short, snappy blog entries when I’m the reader, I’ll try not to subject others to my endless ramblings. If you do want to hear those, you just have have to feed me beer.

Race for Life

Running slow is great. I could never understand people that could run constantly for thirty minutes or longer, until a friend pointed out that I shouldn’t be so out of breath and if I slowed right down it would be much easier to keep going. Running slower also means that I’m burning fat rather than just doing cardio. I proved it today when I ran 7k at the gym, further than I’ve ever managed before, and still felt as though I could have kept going. What’s more, I think I even enjoyed it.

So I’m going to try the Race for Life this summer – it’s only a 5k run, and who knows, by then I might even be fit enough to run it a little faster.