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Name: Martin Starch
Member since: 2000-10-05 17:39:26
Last Login: 2008-07-29 12:34:28

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Computer science student and ClanLib developer. Started development of ClanLib in 1996 in collaboration with Magnus Norddahl (advogato account Judas). Besides my studies, I work part time at the danish company Ankiro as a C++ programmer. I'm mostly interested in distributed systems, algorithms and performance engineering. I like to benchmark and optimize code, and I really love the STL, templates and C++ and it's obscurities in general.


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We software developers provide valuable contributions to society (or at least we have the potential to do so). I think most people will agree that information technology has been, and continues to be, an important engine for improving living standards and creating growth (growth, above all growth!).

Some people understand the nature of software development, but many people don't. Through experience, research and improved development tools and methodologies, we've become better at estimating software development tasks, and developer productivity has increased many times, almost keeping pace with productivity expectations.

Managing the expectations of what's realistic within a given time-frame or budget is perhaps the single most important aspect of perceived success for a software development project. This is an aspect of software development that's as important to master as any. What's your experiences with expectation management? How can we become better at it? Do we still lack the tools to properly estimate and control the progress of a development project? What's the best way to define and contain feature creep, while still minimizing "transaction costs" writing feature specifications?

People depending on software, and software development projects, need to get better at appreciating the difficulties of estimating before-hand what lies down the path of a development project. You can only know what the cake tastes like by eating it. And when you've had a bite, of course, it's too late to regret. Basically I think software development lacks more trust - I need to feel trusted, not mistrusted or exploited (aka minitious feature specifications and feature creep). But maybe that's just the way the World works...


Spent a week on Korfu with my mother and sister. Its a really beautiful island. We spent the days idling by the pool or on the beach, and took a few of the charter package tours. I rented a scooter the last few days, which was fun to try.


Spending all that time by the pool gave me plenty of time to read. I've read Tom Wolfe's 'Hooking up' and 'A man in full'. Both books were very good, but especially Hooking up was brilliant, and had some interesting angles on american society in the beginning of the new century.

I've just started reading a David Lodge trilogy, about two college professors, and I've also been reading Hemingways 'The old man and the sea'.


Finished reading Hemingways, 'True at first light'. He really is an amazing author. The story of the book is relatively uninteresting in itself, but he has a remarkable talent for writing, so that you can almost feel and smell the environment he's describing.

Now I'm reading a historical novel called 'Christine' about the life of the youngest daughter of the Danish king Christian II, who lived in the early 16th century.


Tuesday a couple of us from work went to see the band 'Wonderbrass' who played during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. The weather was perfect, the mood good, and in general it was a very nice experience. Live jazz music like the music Wonderbrass plays is perfect for a day like that.


Last week was a week with much golf. I played golf wednesday, thursday and friday, although wednesday and thursday was mostly practice on the driving range. I'm getting a hang of it, but theres still far too much looking for balls in the rough to the right of the fairway involved :)


I visited by dad in the weekend, which was very nice. He has a house by the beach, so we got to swim a lot, although the water is pretty cold (approx 17-19 deg. celsius). Also I walked in the forest and generally didn't think about much in general, which was very nice.


I'm thinking about starting writing a larger windows application using .NET and C# soon, I think it will be good for me to develop something visual I can tinker with. Also I actually have an idea for an application I need ;)


Returned from a week of vacationing, fitter, happier, more productive (or is that Radiohead?). The weather suck, but it was nice nonetheless. I had plenty of time to sleep and read, and it was nice to be able to think about mostly nothing (not quite true, but anyway). On the last day I was out playing golf in Gilleleje in the early morning, so I was very tired, but also in quite a good mood when I got back to Copenhagen. I went to bed at 9 pm and slept till 11 am.


I read David Lodge's book Therapy, which is a very warm and humouristic book about a script writer suffering from Angst. I read most of Hemingways 'True at first light', and most of Asimovs 'Foundation' trilogy. I think it must soon be time to read some more computer science related books :)


Just finished a depressing book, J.M. Coetzee's 'Youth' which I impulse-shopped saturday. It's about a south african young man who travels to London in order to live a life as a poet. He thinks London will transform him into an interesting person, he believes himself special because of an inner spark of poetry, but he soon discovers that life is finding him wanting in every way. He finally comes to the conclusion that he has to make a life of it for himself, that he has to take chances and be prepared for defeats along the way. The scary part is that I feel the book might as well have been written about me...

Vacation time

Wuhu, I'll be off for a week of (hopeful) relaxation in my mothers summer house next week. It's one of the few remaining traditions in my family. It's very nice to have a well-known place like that where you can really relax, and where you have fond memories.


Last week I played golf twice, both from very early morning. It's really really nice to walk on a golf course at dawn, listening to the birds, enjoying the quiet, drinking the brandy ;-). It's really kinda meditative and definitively very relaxing.


I really need something worthwhile to code. I feel like I haven't coded anything 'real' for months, and the worst part is that a part of me doesn't really miss it. I fear I might end up as a sufferer of the burnout-syndrome, or maybe I just need a holiday. I need some motivation, and I definitively need someone to cooperate with on a project. I have spent too much time writing stuff on my own, without supervision, without peer reviews, without constructive critisicm and debate, without the social aspects of programming. That has always been one of the cools aspects of open source development - you're not (always) on your own (not that that's the case for professional programming, but it seems to be in my case).

I still think about the 'is there more software that needs to be written?' problem that keeps plaguing me, but now I think that that is more of a symptom of my lacking motivation.

Music This week, I've been listening to; Tom Waits, Smashing Pumpkins, Kristin Hersh, Dead can Dance, MOS Clubbers Guide to Ibiza Summer, and ... stuff.

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