Non Fiction 2014

Roy F. Baumeister · John Tierney Willpower

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I started to read in english but later I continued in hungarian. See later as Akaraterő.

Clear, easy to read but still sciantific book how willpower is working and how to improve it.

It is a must have book.

It goes hanad by hand with the book "Thinking, fast and slow" by Daniel Kahneman

Combining the best of modern social science with practical wisdom, Baumeister and Tierney here share the definitive compendium of modern lessons in willpower. As our society has moved away from the virtues of thrift and self-denial, it often feels helpless because we face more temptations than ever. But we also have more knowledge and better tools for taking control of our lives. However we define happiness-a close- knit family, a satisfying career, financial security-we won’t reach it without mastering self-control.

Roy F. Baumeister · John Tierney: Akaraterő

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Miért nem teljesülnek az újévi fogadalmak? Miért fulladnak rendre kudarcba a fogyókúrák? Miért bizonyulunk gyakran képtelennek arra, hogy azzal foglalkozzunk, amivel szándékunkban áll? Hogyan vált korunk emberének egyik legnagyobb problémájává az önkontroll, illetve annak hiánya? Mi voltaképpen az akaraterő? E kérdések megválaszolására nagyon sok, sokszor meglepő eredményeket hozó tudományos vizsgálatot végeztek az elmúlt évtizedekben. Kiderült például, hogy izmainkhoz hasonlóan az akaraterőnk is kimerül, ha túlerőltetjük, ezért ügyesen be kell osztanunk – viszont fejleszthető is. A „többet ésszel, mint erővel” és a „rend a lelke mindennek” népi bölcsességek szellemében számos tippet kapunk ehhez a könyv lapjain, többek között a határidők betartásával, a tennivalók listájának csökkentésével, a figyelemösszpontosítással és a káros szenvedélyektől való megszabadulással kapcsolatban. A szerzők a legfontosabb kutatások leírása és az eredmények elemzése mellett híres emberek élettörténetéből vett példákkal teszik olvasmányossá és közérthetővé mondanivalójukat.

Ha-Joon Chang: 23 dolog, amit nem mondtak el a kapitalizmusról / 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism

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Vevy populist and it is just a "review" (it is describing why thinks were happening and the reason why it is wrong after it happened). On the other hand it is highlighting the weakness of capitalism.

Did you know (for example) that all theory of smart guy getting Nobel prize failed after getting the prize? There were so many of us start using their theories and started to control economics that finally it turned out that it is not working and cause disaster. As I have mentioned this is just one single interesting fact as an example.

Kenneth H. Blanchard · William Oncken Jr · Hal Burrows: The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey

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Monkey management.

Exactly the same as described in Vezetői időgazdálkodás. If it would not cost 1 pound I did not buy it.

Tom DeMarco · Timothy Lister: Waltzing With Bears

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Risk management is project management for adults.

On the other hand I am not sure that I will use all the technique described here. But it helped me understanding why risk management is extremely important and have an other reason not to like Story Points.

Any software project that’s worth starting will be vulnerable to risk. Since greater risks bring greater rewards, a company that runs away from risk will soon find itself lagging behind its more adventurous competition.

By ignoring the threat of negative outcomes—in the name of positive thinking or a Can-Do attitude—software managers drive their organizations into the ground.

In Waltzing with Bears, Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister—the best-selling authors of Peopleware—show readers how to identify and embrace worthwhile risks. Developers are then set free to push the limits.

You’ll find that risk management

  • makes aggressive risk-taking possible

  • protects management from getting blindsided

  • provides minimum-cost downside protection

  • reveals invisible transfers of responsibility

  • isolates the failure of a subproject.

Readers are taught to identify the most common risks faced by software projects:

  • schedule flaws

  • requirements inflation

  • turnover

  • specification breakdown

  • and under-performance.

Packed with provocative insights, real-world examples, and project-saving tips, Waltzing with Bears is your guide to mitigating the risks—before they turn into problems.

Dean Leffingwell: Agile Software Requirements

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Objective: Good book about requirement. There not so many really practical hint how to collect and manage.

Subjective: Very little value to me. I had most of the knowledge already from other source and experience.

Gojko Adzic: Impact Mapping

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As short as valuable.

Must have for project managers.

Alan Shalloway · James R. Trott: Design Patterns Explained

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One of the best book in the subject. Nice and realistic examples are used to describe design patterns and basic software development principles.

And it is not only about design patterns. There many section about object oriented programming and design, best practices, development principles etc.

Michael Bevilacqua-Linn: Functional Programming Patterns in Scala and Clojure

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It is more like an introduction into Scala and Closure. Patterns are not so relevant in the book.

Csányi Vilmos: A kutyák szőrös gyerekek / "Dogs like hairy kids"

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Extended studies over If Dogs Could Talk and funny stories about the intelligent of dogs. I love it.

Robert L. Glass: Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering

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The first time I read (few years ago) I found not so valuable. After the second read I have recognized why it is describing the truth. After the third time (nowdays) I could appreciate that all facts and fallacies are supported by facts, studies and statistics.

Must have.

Edward Crookshanks: Practical Software Development Techniques

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For not professional developers only. It is just an introduction into many professional practices.

This book provides an overview of tools and techniques used in enterprise software development, many of which are not taught in academic programs or learned on the job. This is an ideal resource containing lots of practical information and code examples that you need to master as a member of an enterprise development team.

This book aggregates many of these „on the job” tools and techniques into a concise format and presents them as both discussion topics and with code examples. The reader will not only get an overview of these tools and techniques, but also several discussions concerning operational aspects of enterprise software development and how it differs from smaller development efforts.

For example, in the chapter on Design Patterns and Architecture, the author describes the basics of design patterns but only highlights those that are more important in enterprise applications due to separation of duties, enterprise security, etc.

The architecture discussion revolves has a similar emphasis – different teams may manage different aspects of the application’s components with little or no access to the developer.

This aspect of restricted access is also mentioned in the section on logging.

Theory of logging and discussions of what to log are briefly mentioned, the configuration of the logging tools is demonstrated along with a discussion of why it’s very important in an enterprise environment.

What you’ll learn

– Version control in a team environment – Debugging, logging, and refactoring – Unit testing, build tools, continuous integration – An overview of business and functional requirements – Enterprise design patterns and architecture

Who this book is for

Student and software developers who are new to enterprise environments and recent graduates who want to convert their academic experience into real-world skills. It is assumed that the reader is familiar with Java, .NET, C++ or another high-level programming language. The reader should also be familiar with the differences between console applications, GUI applications and service/daemon applications.

Charles Duhigg: A szokás hatalma / Power of Habit

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Very populist book.

Each of the section is composed as National Geographic movie. There is some interesting story which is artificially made "shocking" to the reader. Then it describes the "fact" and science behind.

The most valuable part of the book is the last section. The whole book is about describing why habits are ruling our life. The book is describing how they are working and why it is so difficult to change (you could not ignore habit but you could change the action to be taken).

And the very last section is giving some hint how to change habit (I am sure that most of us are buying this book for this section only). The real advice is that you should not change the trigger of the habit. You could change the action taken to something less frustrating. And how? Do some experiment until it is succeeded. So try until you become successful.

I had higher expectations.

Mar 01, 2015

Schedule Game #2: 90% Done

Újrapublikálva 2005-ból.

Szerencsés fiatal fejlesztő voltam. Az első három hónapban elértem a 90%-ot az ütemezés játékban. Magamért tettem.

Úgy becsültem, hogy az adott feladat 6 hétig fog tartani. Természetesen mivel arrogáns és naiv fejlesztő voltam soha nem történt meg velem, hogy a feladatot apróbb darabokra tördeltem volna. (Az megmondta volna nekem, hogy egyáltalán tudom-e hogy mit kell tenni a feladattal.)

Az első hét végén 20%-ban kész voltam. A második hét végére 40%. A harmadik hét végére 60%, a negyedik végén, pedig 80%. Az ötödik hét végére már 90%-ban kész voltam. A hatodiknak a végén 92%, a hetediknek, pedig 93%. Mind az idő, mind én haladtunk előre. A tizedik hét végére 97%-ban kész voltam. De ekkor azt hittem, hogy egy héten belül kész leszek — csak három darab egynapos feladatom volt hátra. Ez még további 2 hétig tartott. Összes 12 hét a 6 hetes feladathoz képest.

Miközben 92%, 93% és 94%-ban kész voltam státuszjelentéseket küldtem a menedzseremnek, amiben elmagyaráztam, hogy váratlan problémába botlottam és hogy nem tudom megbecsülni mind azt, amit tenni kellene. A menedzser jól ált hozzá és csak azt mondogatta "Ok, csak tudasd velem az aktualizált becslésedet!"

A feladat végén, mikor végre teljesen befejeztem készen állt, hogy továbbmenjen. Mondtam neki, hogy mostantól máshogy szeretnék becsléseket készíteni, sokkal részletesebben, és több leszállítandó dologgal minden héten. Ha nem tudok dátumot adni, az jó lesz neki. Beszéltünk és megegyeztünk, hogy minden becslési dátumokat kockázati faktorral látjuk el.

Szeretném azt mondani, hogy tökéletes becslő lettem, De nem. Még mindig csak tanulom a becslést. De azt tudom, hogy amikor azt gondolom, hogy 90%-ban kész vagyok, az lehet hogy csak 50%.

Nem én vagyok az egyetlen. A 90%-ban kész ütemezései játék bármilyen feltételek között bekövetkezhet: ésszerű vagy ésszerűtlen ütemezésnél, alacsony vagy magas kockázatú technológiáknál. 90%-ban kész arról szól, hogy megjósolom a jövőt, hogy helyes becslést tudjak adni, és hogy értesüljünk — előre — ha megtorpanunk. Nem egy triviális probléma.

A 90%-ban kész ütemezési játék az oka annak, amiért szeretek visszajelzéseket kapni a munka során. See, see, see, see

— jrothman
Jan 08, 2015

Always working estimation techniques - re-estimation

  • (Fact 8.) One of the two most common causes of runaway projects is poor estimation.

  • (Fact 9.) Software estimation usually occurs at the wrong time. - at the beginning of project.

  • (Fact 11.) Software estimates are rarely corrected as the project proceeds.

Consequence: Re-estimate your issues!

This an an extremely powerful technique to control estimation and schedule plan.

Take your time (at 1/3 of the estimates project schedule) and review all task/story remaining and adjust estimates based on experiences. At that time you have gained a solid experience in domain, technology so your estimate will be much more reliable.

What is more: it is absolutely independent from any other estimation technique. It can be applied on any kind of estimates: ideal man day, story points, confidential ranges etc.

You might be afraid of spending huge amount of time on estimating again. But it is wrong. The first estimation takes long but if you analyze how you are spending your time you must recognize a certain pattern: it takes more to understand the issue then doing the estimate.

But the second time you do not need to understand the domain. You can focus on estimation only.

Based on my experience it takes fraction of time comparing to the time spent on the first estimate.

Several months of work can be reviewed/re-estimated in 1 hour with team. It means it can be really frequent. My experience is that after the first or second re-estimation no more re-estimation is needed because the domain become clear the estimations are not reducing risk significantly.

Dec 15, 2014

Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering


I have ambivalent feeling related to this book.

First time I have read I thought that this book is obvious. (At that time I was reading many of the book it is referring to).

The second occasion I have realized that from an objective point of view it is a great book.

Reading the third time (after partially reading "How to measure anything") I had to admit how important the book is. It is full of evidences, statistical facts, studies to prove how valuable each of the statement it has.

Must read!


  1. The most important factor in software work is the quality of the programmers.

  2. The best programmers are up to 28 times better than the worst programmers.

  3. Adding people to a late project makes it later.

  4. The working environment has a profound impact on productivity and quality.

Tools and Techniques

  1. Hype (about tools and technology) is a plague on the house of software.

  2. New tools and techniques cause an initial loss of productivity / quality.

  3. Software developers talk a lot about tools, but seldom use them.


  1. One of the two most common causes of runaway projects is poor estimation.

  2. Software estimation usually occurs at the wrong time.

  3. Software estimation is usually done by the wrong people.

  4. Software estimates are rarely corrected as the project proceeds.

  5. It is not surprising that software estimates are bad. But we live and die by them anyway!

  6. There is a disconnect between software management and their programmers.

  7. The answer to a feasibility study is almost always “yes”.


  1. Reuse-in-the-small is a solved problem.

  2. Reuse-in-the-large remains a mostly unsolved problem.

  3. Reuse-in-the-large works best in families of related systems.

  4. Reusable components are three times as hard to build and should be tried out in three different settings.

  5. Modification of reused code is particularly error-prone.

  6. Design pattern reuse is one solution to the problems of code reuse.


  1. For every 25 percent increase in problem complexity, there is a 100 percent increase in solution complexity.

  2. Eighty percent of software work is intellectual. A fair amount of it is creative. Little of it is clerical.


  1. One of the two most common causes of runaway projects is unstable requirements.

  2. Requirements errors are the most expensive to fix during production.

  3. Missing requirements are the hardest requirements errors to correct.


  1. Explicit requirements ‘explode’ as implicit requirements for a solution evolve.

  2. There is seldom one best design solution to a software problem.

  3. Design is a complex, iterative process. Initial design solutions are usually wrong and certainly not optimal.


  1. Designer ‘primitives’ rarely match programmer ‘primitives’.

  2. COBOL is a very bad language, but all the others are so much worse.

Error removal

  1. Error removal is the most time-consuming phase of the lifecycle.


  1. Software is usually tested at best to the 55 to 60 percent coverage level.

  2. One hundred percent test coverage is still far from enough.

  3. Test tools are essential, but rarely used.

  4. Test automation rarely is. Most testing activities cannot be automated.

  5. Programmer-created, built-in debug code is an important supplement to testing tools.

Reviews and Inspections

  1. Rigorous inspections can remove up to 90 percent of errors before the first test case is run.

  2. Rigorous inspections should not replace testing.

  3. Post-delivery reviews, postmortems, and retrospectives are important and seldom performed.

  4. Reviews are both technical and sociological, and both factors must be accommodated.


  1. Maintenance typically consumes 40 to 80 percent of software costs. It is probably the most important software lifecycle phase.

  2. Enhancements represent roughly 60 percent of maintenance costs.

  3. Maintenance is a solution– not a problem.

  4. Understanding the existing product is the most difficult maintenance task.

  5. Better methods lead to more maintenance, not less.


  1. Quality is a collection of attributes.

  2. Quality is not user satisfaction, meeting requirements, achieving cost and schedule, or reliability.


  1. There are errors that most programmers tend to make.

  2. Errors tend to cluster.

  3. There is no single best approach to software error removal.

  4. Residual errors will always persist. The goal should be to minimize or eliminate severe errors.


  1. Efficiency stems more from good design than good coding.

  2. High-order language code can be about 90 percent as efficient as comparable assembler code.

  3. There are tradeoffs between optimizing for time and optimizing for space.


  1. Many researchers advocate rather than investigate.

And the list of fallacies:


  1. You can’t manage what you can’t measure.

  2. You can manage quality into a software product.


  1. Programming can and should be egoless.

Tools and Techniques

  1. Tools and techniques: one size fits all.

  2. Software needs more methodologies.


  1. To estimate cost and schedule, first estimate lines of code.


  1. Random test input is a good way to optimize testing.


  1. “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”.


  1. The way to predict future maintenance costs and to make product replacement decisions is to look at past cost data.


  1. You teach people how to program by showing them how to write programs.

Some reviews:

Dec 14, 2014

I give a shit on story points

You can see story point more and more famous as a kind of estimation (and scheduling technique). It intends to simplify estimation and scheduling but in practice it makes life more and more difficult.

What is the story point?

Let’s see some definitions:

“Story point is a arbitrary measure used by Scrum teams. This is used to measure the effort required to implement a story. In simple terms its a number that tells the team how hard the story is. Hard could be related to complexity, Unknowns and effort.” – agilefaq

“A story point is to program code what a kilogram is to sand or a kilometer is to distance: An arbitrary unit of measure which describes how heavy, far, big or complex something is.” – Explaining Story Points to Management (Otto: Soooo bad…., see later, mixing up SP and velocity and their relationship…)

” The number of use case points in a project is a function of the following:

  • the number and complexity of the use cases in the system
  • the number and complexity of the actors on the system
  • various non-functional requirements (such as portability, performance, maintainability) that are not written as use cases
  • the environment in which the project will be developed (such as the language, the team’s motivation, and so on) “ – Estimating With Use Case Points (Otto: Quite a lot of not so related aspect of development…)

And many many more….

It has a huge literature. One of the always quoted reference is Mike Cohn’s Agile estimating and planning. It is not only about story point but it is clear that Cohn preferes story point more. (On the other hand the book itself is great, a must read.) (De facto “main reference point” about story points.)

In out “everyday” it come up in the context of Scrum I have participated in several Scrum introduction and I have indirect (but close enough to be reliable) information from other. Without any exception it introduced the usage of story points.

BUT: Scrum is not about story points. Not at all. What is more! Not even talking about estimation. Nothing. When I am saying Scrum I am talking about the Scrum as it is. Of course when you are talking about Scrum it is always the original Scrum PLUS many-many additional tools and techniques (including story points).

Once I had a talk with some manager using Scrum in his organization. He told me that one of their current challenge (using Scrum for many years and still having this problem. hmmm…. - on the other hand they have introduced a very agile process which is great) is to make business people understanding the concept of story points. I think it is a mistake to explain it to a businessman who is interested in time and schedule…

In one of his presentation Dan North highlighted why story point is insane (around 24:40 - not exact transcript):

  • (businessman) How much will it cost and when can I have it?
  • (agile guy) We don’t know. We are agile.
  • What?… How much will it cost and when can I have it? These are not hard questions.
  • OK. We have done some work and we think that it gonna be 295 stories..
  • What?…
  • And about 1000 story points.
  • What is the story point?
  • We don’t know yet.
  • You are absolutely kidding me.
  • We gonna run for few weeks and we gonna burn up and burn down and the velocity and hablalal…
  • Stop! Stop right now and get out of my building.

(Humorous with lots of truth!)

As I see (and it cause me many problem when dealing with story points). It tries to mix up many unrelated estimation characteristics into one single number:

As these risks are so independent from each other you have to use different strategies and techniques to manage them. But if you are hiding these aspect behind a single figure you do not even have a chance.

Plus it has so many other weakness:

So if story points has so many issues why are we using it?

Instead of story points

Instead of story points you should use calendar based estimates with proper risk management and (semi-)automatic estimation adjustment.

But how? It is a subject of another article (later).

Nov 25, 2014

Mike Cohn: Agile Estimating and Planning

cover agile estimating and planning

Original: 2009 on

– en –

Must read book.

I had two sources which made me interested in the book. The first is a presentation in Youtube. The second is a book about Scrum. Both of sources was persuasive enough to read the book. So I did. An I was not disappointed.

Excellent book.

There are lots of subject and experience described which is good not to expereince yourself. You could nmake a much faster Scrum introduction if you know what is described in the book.


The book

– hu –


Két forrás keltette fel a kiváncsiságomat ez iránt a könyv iránt. Az egyik egy előadás, amit a Youtube-on láttam. És egy a Scrum-ról szóló könyvel kapcsolatban. Mind a két forrás meggyőző volt. Így hát neki estem. És nem csalódtam. Kiválló könyv. Sok olyan témával és tapasztalattal, amit jobb, ha az ember nem saját maga tapasztal ki, ha nem muszály. Sokkal hamarabb lehet bevezetni az agile fejlesztési módzsereket, ha tisztában vagyunk a könyvben leírtakkal.

Teljesen biztos vagyok abban, hogy még párszor el fogom olvasni az idén.


Maga a könyv

Nov 23, 2014

Thinking about week 44

Why I hate hibernate

It is series of articles highlighting difficult or even impossible to resolve issues with Hibernate (in Grails). And his is right.

I summarize my experience like this:

For simple things Hibernate is very good but all other mapping tools are good too. Bus as soon as you reach a certain level you have to lick Hibernate’s ass. It is not serving you anymore but you are serving it.

Oct 30, 2014

Super cool :) - Ship sizes across the univers

Oct 29, 2014

Thinking about - week 42

The Three Essential Keys to Work Motivation

there are three factors for work motivation:

  1. Autonomy: the control you have over your work. The more you can control what to do and when to do it, the more motivated you are.
  2. Mastery: the sense of progress you get. The more you think you are getting better at what you do, the more motivated you are.
  3. Purpose: the meaning you get from your work. The more what you do matters to you, the more motivated you are.

once you reach the middle class, you should focus on how you make money rather than how much. The way becomes more important than the amount.

Autonomy could be difficult to achieve if you work for someone else…. increase your bargaining power by being very good at what you do. Your company will be willing to give you more freedom if it really needs you. Another way is to build your own business.

GOML-1, Responsive Design

Do you remember when the word “responsive” meant fast?

But now, all of a sudden, the word means: compatible with mobile devices.

what the word “respond” means. You respond to a stimulus. A screen is not a stimulus. A screen is an IO device. You don’t respond to the format of an IO device. You respond to Users. Consarned kids.

Software Craftsmen Are Arrogant, Slow, and Dogmatic

Craftsmen are arrogant.

craftsman in practice—it needs to be done perfectly and proudly. Their focus is fully on minor details, because those create the base from which their skill level can grow.

Software skill exists on an asymptotic curve. When you first learn something, you make large strides immediately and feel like you’re making serious progress toward perfection. But as time goes on, and as you increase your familiarity with the subject, your progress becomes more incremental.

They challenge others to climb the walls and jump to try to close this gap too, and they employ hyperbole to justify the importance of seemingly mundane details and practices. “We need to test this remote edge case.” “Why haven’t you refactored this class?” Craftsmen are constantly working toward an ideal, and any ideal other than perfection is offensive. This hyperbole is not necessary, but it comes from a bias.

This bias creates a communication issue. Craftsmen are so narrowly focused on closing the gap between themselves and mastery that it becomes difficult to consider that others might not share this focus.

They sound arrogant because their language is drawn from a different set of assumptions.

Craftsmen are slow.

In a fast-paced, results-oriented team, a craftsman spends time refactoring working software. This can seem academic or self-indulgent in the face of a deadline. But the reason is both simple and practical.

As craftsmen, we’ve done enough practice to know that the cost of work has a non-linear relationship to its quality. If you don’t take advantage of an opportunity to refactor and increase the quality of your code early, it will take exponentially longer to refactor and add features later. Your code will have more bugs, and will be difficult to extend when your clients need added functionality the most.

Craftsmen are dogmatic.

The first time you neglect to write a test, you increase the likelihood that you’ll neglect to write a test in the future. You’ll develop poor habits, and your skills will slowly deteriorate.

Oct 13, 2014

Thinking about - week 40

Peter Smith - It doesn’t work like that in enterprise

Definition of Enterprise development


What is the solution?

Scott Allen - Building Directives for AngularJS

Meg kell tanulnom AngularJS-t Mese nincs.

Demonstrated how to create custom tags into HTML and have some behavior around it.

Oct 01, 2014