Bug Fixing – How important is it for a startup?

Quality Vs Quantiy

Quality Vs Quantity

Today I was part of a really long discussion within Mettl, where we discussed – How important is Bug Fixing. Basically the technical team was trying to convince the business to get some time allocated for bug fixing in a continuous manner.

The business team wanted to find out why should they invest time in Bug Fixing, instead of adding a new feature that a customer may be willing to pay for.

The engineers on the other hand had no doubt about the importance of Bug Fixing. For them it was obvious – If there are bugs; they need to be fixed. PERIOD. That is what they aspire to do – delivering bug free software.

To settle the debate; we got some sales guys in the conversation and asked them if they value new features more than Stability. Their choice was unanimous – “New Features” they said. On being further asked How many customer losses do they know of which happened due to bugs in the system; their response was “Not many”. Though still not convinced about preferring quantity over quality, I started to see the reason why this was debatable.

We then got some product guys into the debate and asked them to pick between New Features and Bug Fixing. Their response again was “New Features” of course they said. Their rational was they would like to experiment  with more features rather than fixing minor issues for features that did not fly previously. This also made sense.

While the discussion continued, the same question was asked in other ways. Questions like “How important is quality?”, “What happens when a customer finds a small problem?” caused the right effect and developers did manage to win themselves some time for bug fixing.

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Changing Default Termainl Size on Ubuntu

I really wanted to change the default terminal size on my Ubuntu machine and was really irritated by the fact that I couldn’t set the size I wanted even after customizing “Profiles”. A quick search on google helped me reach the link http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=15471 which provided a decent solution towards the end of the thread there.

Quick Summary: Edit the file /usr/share/vte/termcap/xterm to modify the number of columns & rows there & restart all terminals. The relevant line in the file would look something like that shown below. To change the number of columns, change the co# number, in this case 80. To change the number of rows, change the li# number, in this case 24.

:co#80:it#8:li#24:\

Sound Problems on Dell Vostro 1720 (64 bit) running Ubuntu 9.0.4

After joining Xebia, I had a new work machine at office. It was basically a 64 bit Dell Vostro 1720 and was initially running Windows Vista. Xebia allows its employees to choose the OS they want to run on their machines; so I quickly formatted my laptop to install Ubuntu 9.0.4.

Mostly everything was nice, but somehow the sound was not working at all. After a little bit of browsing, I discovered that installing ALSA drivers could solve my problem; which it did. I was pretty happy to get sound working on my machine again. BTW – did I mention installing them was pretty easy through the “Synaptic Package Manager”.

However after 2-3 weeks – I guess after installing some updates a new problem cropped up. On plugging in the head-phones; sound continued to come from PC speakers as well. This was pretty irritating as I could not listen to music now at office. On spending some time on google, I discovered this again was a pretty common problem and there were a number of solutions offered around editing the config file /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf. I tried making a few changes, but I guess this was beyond my level of skills and couldn’t get it to work.

However a few solutions also talked about upgrading the alsa drivers. I discovered that I was running version 1.0.18 rc3 of alsa drivers (which is what was available through synaptic) but the latest version available on alsa drivers home page was 1.0.21. I tried updgrading the version and my problem was solved. This link here was very helpful and I just followed the information there to the letter to upgrade the drivers & I was happy again.

http://monespaceperso.org/blog-en/2009/08/31/upgrade-alsa-1-0-21-on-ubuntu-jaunty-9-04/

/etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base

Must Have Thunderbird Add-ons for MS Outlook Users

I have been using Mozilla Thunderbird as my email client for quite some time now on my Ubuntu box & have been more than happy with it.  This post talks about a few add-ons that made my experience with Thunderbird all the more enjoyable. Read on……

Lightning

Lightning screenshot

Lightning screenshot

The first thing that you miss with a plain Thunderbird installation is when somebody sends you a meeting invite. With Outlook it was pretty straight forward – you hit the accept button & you get the entry in your calendar which shows up a pop up at the right time to remind you of the event. Lightning adds just that functionality to Thunderbird. Once installed you get a calender & tasks interface which are pretty easy to use.

To download Lightning or to know more, please visit https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/2313

Buttons!

I remember when I started using Thunderbird, one functionality that I used to hate was that it used to open a Response or Forward in a new window leaving the original email message still open. After sending a response I was required to close the original message window as well. Now this was pretty annoying to me. However a simple add-on called Buttons! came to my rescue. It allowed creating new set of buttons (Reply!   Reply All!    Forward!) to my email message windows and using these instead of the regular ones gave me the desired effect of automatically closing the email message on hitting the Reply/Forward button.

To download or learn more about this add-on, please visit – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/106

Screenshot-userAgent - ThunderbirdDisplay Mail User Agent

Besides the above two add-ons, I have also been using a simple add-on called “Display Mail User Agent” that I like. This one simply displays the user Agent (email client) used by the email sender. This neat add-on displays a nice logo in the header of the email message depicting the client used. To download or know more about this add-on, please visit https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/562.

What has your experience been with Thunderbird? Any interesting add-ons that you would want to share?

Joined Xebia

Beginning this month I joined a company called Xebia (http://www.xebia.com).

Xebia is an IT consultancy and project organization focusing on Enterprise Java technology, Agile development methods and outsourcing services. The India office is based out of Gurgaon on NH-8 (pretty close to where I live) & consists of a small team that is growing rapidly. Xebia also has presence in The Netherlands and France & I believe the biggest chunk in terms of work-force is in The Netherlands. So far I have  spent around two weeks in office and I think I made a good choice to join them. Some good points about Xebia that I could notice in this short duration are

  1. Everybody at Xebia (irrespective of the no of years of experience) writes code & people are pretty passionate about it.
  2. These guys practice Agile by the book which ensures daily progress & high productivity even with distributed teams (sometimes across 3 locations)
  3. A great work environment that is very developer focussed.
  4. There are a plenty of senior people around who have spent years in programming Enterprise Java. Working closely with them is definitely a good learning experience.
  5. My learning curve (Enterprise java) is already started to move North.

This also obviously means that I would no longer be working as a freelancer. I enjoyed my freelancing stint a lot (here’s why) , but it was a conscious decision to move away from it. Though Freelancing offers a lot of freedom in terms of work, but it also comes at a cost – There are times when you have more work than you can handle & similarly there are also times when you don’t have work & I’m not prepared enough to be sitting idle.

To summarize – Though I enjoyed freelancing but I’m equally happy & excited to move to Xebia & am really looking forward to have a good time at there.

Delhi Half Marathon 2009 – I will be there

Just heard that Delhi Half Marathon 2009 is scheduled for Nov 1st and the event would be launched day after tomorrow. Source – http://www.runinfinity.com/2009/07/airtel-delhi-half-marathon-2009-coming.html.

This year I’m again thinking of running the 1/2 marathon again. Had infact started training before I got hit by fever a couple of days ago. I have done half marathon in 2006 which was my first and had clocked 2:50 mins. This year I want to do this in less than 2:30.

echo “hello php”

Very recently I completed my first PHP assignment. While I was working with a client assisting them with a bunch of stuff like requirement gathering, hiring etc I was told about one of their existing project, which was written in PHP and was out-sourced to a vendor. The frequent changes in the requirement and loss of interest by the vendor made their life pretty difficult and wanted me to help out with new functionality that needed to be built. Of-course I readily agreed.

I quickly came up to speed with PHP – the best resource that worked for me was of-course http://www.php.net – I kept using it even when I was developing. Their function reference is pretty handy. I initially started coding with Zend Studio only to realize later that it would very soon expire. I switched to PHP IDE which is also an eclipse based IDE (like Zend) but was free. Being familiar with eclipse I was comfortable with both these IDEs.

The project was a web based application & I had to develop a few pages. I must admit problem looked simple initially but gradually as we spent more and more time with the client we realized that it is far more complex. At the end of it, I had ended up using a lot of java script, AJAX, JSON & JQuery all in 2-3 PHP pages.

Once I got comfortable with PHP, I tried my hand at other PHP based open source products like wordpress & joomla. Even tried installing something called sugar-crm. I have already built my blog over wordpress (currently hosted on wordpress.com) and am planning to build another website over joomla.