In 2001, Mitch Kapor, the designer of the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet, and the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, started the Open Source Applications Foundation, or OSAF for short.
Kapor hired some of the most talented programmers and software designers around and went to work to create a new kind of personal information manager, code named Chandler.
In 2003, Scott Rosenberg, the cofounder of Salon, asked Kapor if he could embed himself in OSAF for the purposes of writing a book about the development of the application. For three years, Rosenberg sat in on company meetings, met with programmers and designers, and observed the progress, or more accurately, lack of progress, of Chandler. Rosenberg's book Dreaming in Code: Two dozen programmers, three years, 4,732 bugs, and one quest for transcendent software, examines why making good software is so hard.
Dreaming in Code is addictively good reading. Rosenberg tells the story of the smart people at OSAF and why they can't seem to gain traction with Chandler, even though they were veterans of other successful projects at places like Mozilla and Apple. Rosenberg also examines the larger picture of software development, recounting episodes in the history of computer science that add insight and context to the main story.
I interviewed Rosenberg about his book on February 13.
MP3 Link| Podcast feed | Subscribe via iTunes | Get Illuminated show archive
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
We just got the Sport model of the EPIKGO hoverboard at my office. Besides being terribly chic, it’s apparently bulletproof.
Ok, it’s not just solar powered. It’s also an anti-theft, waterproof marvel that keeps my phone’s power bar from ever getting into the red.Sure the idea seems obvious now – tuck a gigantic solar powered battery pack into an exposed slot and turn the wearer into a walking energy harvester. Simple maybe, but I didn’t […]
Even the most expensive pair of hi-fi headphones can’t match the feeling of bass rumbling through your body at a live show. That’s why music aficionados designed The Basslet, an accessory that reproduces that sensation from your wrist. Does it make your whole body shake with deep subs? Not really, because that would be terrifying, but […]
They probably just sleep a lot. But still, you can remotely keep an eye on them when you’re at work and missing them deeply with this HD monitor from Kodak.If you have a new puppy that destroys everything in sight, or you just want to be a little more security-conscious, this WiFi camera is a […]
Thinking of a business idea is the easy part. Doesn’t even have to be a “good” idea, you can still get people to throw money at a non-existent venture, but to do that you need to at least have something even resembling a viable business plan. Why doesn’t anyone do it then? Because building that semi-viable […]