Podcast #7

by Jeff Atwood

on May 28, 2008

This is the seventh episode of the StackOverflow podcast, wherein Joel and I discuss the following:

  • Many thanks to Stuart Cam for recording a stackoverflow theme song; a brief digression on the introductions to the Sopranos and Get Smart.

  • How programmers know it's a holiday: the door to the office is locked, or the Google logo changes.

  • Tuesday is also Rock Band new song download day. This week was pretty epic -- the complete album The Cars. Joel would like the 1975 song Convoy. Maybe he's a CB radio fan?

  • Working from home, I miss some of the camaraderie of my fellow programmers. What can I do about that? I've always admired Joel's commitment to creating a good working environment for programmers. Joel has a regular column in Inc. magazine, and the June issue happens to cover this topic.

  • Joel calls http://www.officesnapshots.com/ "office pornography", where "pornography" is described as "looking at pictures of things you can't have." It's also sort of like MTV Cribs for the IT set.

  • Joel points out that cool office common areas are great, but what really matters is the desk where you actually do your work.

  • I like to build my own PCs and use three monitors, so it's difficult for me to bring my work with me without it turning into a comedy routine. Another reason I enjoy having my own office: I'm into decorating -- see my old office at Vertigo.

  • Do private offices interfere with collaboration and pair programming?

  • Which configuration of monitors is ideal for programming?

  • I profess my love for WinSplit Revolution, which I consider essential on any monitor larger than 22". We also wonder why OS window managers aren't smarter about edge snapping and using available desktop space intelligently.

  • An extended discussion of OpenID. I encourage everyone reading this to sign up for an OpenID and try it yourself. I recommend myopenid. Joel signs up for an OpenID live on the podcast.

  • The importance of proper OpenID attribute exchange -- so you can store your avatar image, URL, birthday, address and so forth in one place and have it handed over automatically to websites from your OpenID provider. Without this, OpenID is much less attractive.

  • A discussion of Eric Sink's C and Morse Code -- isn't programmer time spent learning C better spent learning how to communicate and understand the business domain they're working in? There's a deeper topic of Systems Analyst vs. Programmer here that we'll have to dig into.

  • Reminder: Joel will be in Portland keynoting RailsConf later this week.

  • Joel wants people to write in about their preferred password management solutions.

  • As usual, thank you for all the questions and for the Wiki edits! We appreciate all the interest in the private beta signups, too.

We also answered the following listener question, with a lot of peripheral discussion on related topics:

  1. John Dyer: Isn't it better for programmers to program using standard programming frameworks and libraries rather than creating things from scratch?

If you'd like to submit a question to be answered in our next episode, record an audio file (90 seconds or less) and mail it to podcast@stackoverflow.com. You can record a question using nothing but a telephone and a web browser.

The transcript wiki for this episode is available for public editing.