Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

We recognize them. Managers often don’t.

If you’ve never had this experience you have my envy. You’re on a development team and one of the developers does sloppy work and there is nothing you can do about it.

Time was when everyone in software from the first-day QA trainee to the executives had some experience at coding. That is long gone and now we have layers of methodology “masters” and managers who have never written a line, and who regard any and all complaints about others’ work as insubordinate and as personal conflicts, never considering the criticisms on their technical merits.

If I say that one…

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Take control of the interview

Interviews are Bidirectional

When we go for a job interview we tend to be deferential and obsequious. We’re there to get a job, for money, for our careers. We try to come across as constructive and bring no negativity to the discussion.

We don’t talk about previous jobs, nor mention that we quit because our managers were jerks and liars. We obediently do whatever the interviewer says; balance a beach ball on our noses, write code on a whiteboard.

And almost nobody realizes that the interview goes both ways; yes they are going to pay you money if they hire you, but on…

Image for post
Image for post

Want music? Wear earbuds.

It’s Everywhere

I’m sitting in a coffee shop having my pre-workout espresso. There is a succession of vapid happy-sad songs playing from overhead, and I forgot my earbuds.

When I get to the gym they will be playing one song on rotation, a female vocalist singing up and down a minor scale, so gratingly simple that as music it barely makes the grade of baby talk. I will keep my workout brief and even so I will leave in a foul mood.

As in the USA, nearly everyone in the gym will be wearing earbuds, listening to whatever they choose to hear…

That last part is just plain wrong. Confrontational belligerence was 100% harmful. Telling the "str8s" how much you hated them didn't help.

But let's talk about the first part.

Yes I absolutely always wanted to assimilate into the whole society, and if you want to think of it as "straight" society then that's your problem. We are in the minority and always will be, as we have been throughout history at the same 3-5%.

Because while gay people have always made a disproportionate contribution to society, the gay culture was toxic and sick, riven with cruelty, celebrating immaturity and impulsivity…

I can't express how happy I am to read this.

I've been saying a lot of the same things for years. The Constitution, which I have come to call the Quaint Parchment, is nothing more than a piece of foolscap with no power of its own beyond the willingness of government to enforce it. It comes from a time so unlike the present in so many ways that it may as well be from some medieval dukedom.

At the time America had slaves, suffrage wasn't even an idea, a gun took thirty seconds to fire a second shot, there was…

Image for post
Image for post
Beaming at the air

Spoiler: most of it wasn’t good

How I Started

TopTal is an agency that matches freelancing IT workers with clients. Most of the work is remote, which gives them an advantage for those of us who either live abroad or have had our fill of open offices, cubicles, commutes, methodologies and interruptions. I signed up with TopTal because of this and had several good placements.

I had taught myself iOS and sold several of my applications on the Apple store. None sold very well; a few were picked up as recommendations in their categories and those made me coffee money but none of the ones I expected to sell…

If only most problems were as easy to solve

Image for post
Image for post
Image from Twitter, original source unknown

Why I am Writing This

I was on Twitter and someone had posted a picture of Trump showing how overweight he is. One of his supporters had triumphantly produced the original photo and shown that the other one was trivially photoshopped, about a centimeter added to Trump’s already ponderous bulk. It didn’t need to be; Trump is physically repellent; he is gravely overweight, disdains exercise, lives on a diet of junk food. The untouched photo was ugly enough.

Many of the responses called out the horribleness of “fat-shaming.” A few of them pointed out that there is plenty about Trump to criticize but that to…

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Motoki Tonn on Unsplash

It began with a most prosaic wish


For most people atheism comes after years of increasing doubt. The ugliness of fundamentalism is so much more visible than the charity and kindness that faith moves some to; the flourishing of cruelty while God remains silent; all the war and bigotry and torture committed in God’s name; a child struck down by disease, an infant’s coffin lowered into the ground … and “mysterious ways” doesn’t really cut it anymore. But if they react at all, most people take refuge in agnosticism, and most go no further.

My Epiphany

I was eleven years old. And I didn’t go through any philosophical ponderings…

Image for post
Image for post

It never crosses anyone’s mind to return to what worked before.


The last 20 years have seen a lot of disturbing trends in software development. Developers have to take instruction from people who know nothing about software; inane methodologies are regarded with reverence; shoddy work to meet unreasonable deadlines is the new normal. The concentration-enabling workplace has been replaced with high noise levels and constant interruptions.

But for every new problem there is a solution, and it makes things worse. Let me give a few examples.

Software Testing

In the past software development and testing were the work of separate groups. With good testers this worked well. In classical “blackbox” testing the QA…

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Thom Milkovic on Unsplash

Be prepared to walk away.


A technical writer is rarely hired into a new project; hire is usually into a project that has been in progress for some time. The hiring company needs to impart the information the writer needs to work and should have made preparations to do so. This information comes from people who are already busy in other capacities and who are probably not adept in organizing the information, since this is after all what you have been hired to do.

You will know within two days, perhaps within hours, whether or not your work is going to be successful or not…

Chris Fox

American Software Developer living in Vietnam. Classical musician (guitar, woodwinds), weightlifter, multilingual, misanthrope • XY

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store