Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gear Project Fail

Inspired by these mechanical movements animations, I thought it would be fun to figure out how to make some gears out of one of my favorite building material, cardboard. Turns out making working gears is harder than I thought. I thought one gear 12" in diameter with 16 teeth and one 6" in diameter with 8 teeth would work well, and I guess they could if the teeth were designed correctly. My gears stick because the teeth catch on each other. Further research is needed, but I would like to find something easy enough to cut out of cardboard yet able to move easily. There is a lot of information on spur gears, which is what these turn out to be.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

How Do You Measure Programmers' Productivity

I love this quote from Len Shustek's article for The Computer Museum on MacPaint and QuickDraw:
How do you measure programmer productivity?
When the Lisa team was pushing to finalize their software in 1982, project managers started requiring programmers to submit weekly forms reporting on the number of lines of code they had written. Bill Atkinson thought that was silly. For the week in which he had rewritten QuickDraw’s region calculation routines to be six times faster and 2000 lines shorter, he put “-2000″ on the form. After a few more weeks the managers stopped asking him to fill out the form, and he gladly complied.
 I was going to say it reminded me of how Adobe had started charging developers per centimeter of  Actionscript code, but then remembered that was an April Fools. I guess one that made an impression.