Editor of PragPub, the magazine for Pragmatic Programmers. Comic strip author and character model: Max Netroom. Puzzle mystery author: Mr. Usasi. Co-author of seminal personal computer history: Fire in the Valley, the movie of which earned 5 Emmy nominations. Co-owner of Summer Jo’s organic farm, restaurant, and bakery. 25-year stint with Dr. Dobb’s Journal as editor-in-chief and other roles. Helped launch first personal computer newsweekly, InfoWorld, and first Web developer magazine, Web Techniques, plus other pubs.

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Posts by Michael Swaine

30 Jun 2009, 15:34
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > July 2009)

I second Dave’s invitation. We really do want your feedback. Any specific article ideas/requests? How’s the depth of the articles? The balance of coverage? What’s missing? What’s not working for you? What do you think of the design/layout, and what do you think we should change? Anybody reading the issue on a handheld device? How does it look there? Any glitches? The next issue will be out in 30 days; help us make it as good as possible.

01 Jul 2009, 14:33
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > Errata July 2009)

This topic is just for boring corrections of errors. The July 2009 topic is for the interesting stuff.

01 Jul 2009, 14:40
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > Errata July 2009)

In various places it is stated that I was editor-in-chief of Dr. Dobb’s Journal for 20-plus years. In fact I was editor-in-chief for a while and then editor-at-large, a title I created for myself, for a longer while. This may only matter to two people, but I wanted to set the record straight. Jon Erickson is the editor-in-chief of Dr. Dobb’s and the magazine’s longest-serving editor.

01 Jul 2009, 17:05
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > July 2009)

Regarding downloading to the iPhone: You need to have Stanza installed. If that’s not the problem, let us know.

10 Jul 2009, 00:35
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > Sharing the Calendar)

I’ve had a couple of requests from people who want to submit items for the calendar. Sounds good, as does setting up a feed. Dunno what the technical issues would be, but we’ll look into it.

07 Aug 2009, 14:13
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > August 2009)

Shane, you’re right, it’s a confusing transition, but I think there’s nothing missing. That first paragraph on page 6 really is about generating PDFs.

07 Aug 2009, 14:21
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > August 2009)

Ben, our experience with retreats has been that encouraging employees to bring partners and little people really enhances the experience. We all get to see each other as more rounded individuals. But it depends on what you want to get out of the retreat and to some extent on the makeup of your staff. If you hope to get any work done or talk a lot about work issues, families may feel left out unless you plan separate activities for them. With a small staff you might want to play out the dynamics in your head: will John’s kids be the only little ones there, or if two employees have little kids, would they enjoy playing together? And if you do include families, the venue has to have activities/attractions for everyone who’ll be there, enough to keep them occupied all the time.

25 Aug 2009, 13:58
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > August 2009)

Tony, thanks for the very helpful feedback. The Mac vs. PC thing is part of a bigger challenge we will always always face: striking the right balance between platforms, languages, etc. We’ll keep working on it. “Get a Life” is a little outside the frame, but that’s its mission. In upcoming issues it will focus on music and slacking off. Sometimes, I hope, it’ll be outside the frame in a way that works just right for you. I’ll pass your comments on to John Shade. -Mike

27 Aug 2009, 13:44
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > August 2009)

Thanks, Norman. As for keeping it up, we’re just finishing the third issue this weekend.

06 Sep 2009, 14:09
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > September 2009 )

Thanks to all for the kind words. But Johannes, you’re not quite done with the September issue yet. Later today I’ll post the errata. ;-)

07 Sep 2009, 15:48
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > September 2009 )

Daniel Weinreb points out that the url provided in the Calendar for The Strange Loop conference no longer works; use this one http://thestrangeloop.com/ instead.

Here’s the correct address http://www.log4Jfugue.org for downloading Log4JFugue.

John Fricker recommends a Dorfman Pacific Outback wool fedora for the draft I’ve been feeling on my scalp. I guess that’s sort of an erratum.

20 Sep 2009, 20:00
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > How to Print PragPub)

Here’s a dirt-simple way to turn your PragPub PDFs into printed magazines. If you follow these steps (and if I didn’t screw up), you should be able to print once, flip the pages over, print again, staple, fold, and in only a few minutes have a nice-looking copy of PragPub to read offline, without having to collate pages or waste time and paper experimenting with different printer and software settings. The instructions here reflect how I print issues from OS X on my particular HP laser printer, so I hope someone will flag in a reply any differences for other operating systems or printers.

  1. I use the free Adobe Reader, downloadable for most versions of Windows, OS X, Linux, HP-UX, AIX, and Solaris, at http://get.adobe.com/reader/.

  2. In the Print dialog, the relevant settings are:

    Page Scaling: Booklet Printing Booklet Subset: Back side only

I leave everything else set to default values.

  1. Print it. If you use US standard 8-1/2 x 11 letter paper, you’ll get a cute and barely readable magazine. If your printer accommodates 11 x 17 sheets, use that size for the real deal.

  2. Flip the stack of pages, taking care to keep the top edge (i.e., the long edge) in the same orientation.

  3. Print again with this change to the settings:

    Booklet Subset: Front side only

  4. Square up the stack of pages, turn cover-side-up, and put two or three precisely-aligned staples right down the middle of the bundle. For 8-1/2 x 11 sheets, that’s 5-1/2 inches from either end; for 11 x 17, make it 8-1/2 inches. I use a large-format Bostitch 12” Long Reach Stapler which retails for about $32, but with care you can get the same results with whatever stapler you have handy.

  5. Fold the magazine right along the staples, place it face-down on a clean surface, and run a book or other hard object along the fold to flatten it.

And there’s your printed magazine! It doesn’t have a slick cover or trimmed edges, but it does the job. Note that if you try this with a Pragmatic Bookshelf book, you will be very disappointed with the result. This booklet-making method does not scale to books.

05 Oct 2009, 13:38
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > September 2009 )

Denny, looking at Life issues from the perspective of different cultures, different countries, is intriguing. The internet, especially among software developers, is usually seen as masking cultural differences. I think of that famous Peter Steiner cartoon from the New Yorker, “On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Dog.” But that cartoon was sixteen years ago. Open source software projects give us a chance to work with people we’ve never seen in countries we’ve never visited. Maybe we should be celebrating our diversity as well as what we have in common. The October issue will be out this week. -Mike

08 Oct 2009, 13:25
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > October 2009)

As Fabrice and Truls noticed, the October issue of PragPub is now out. We’d love to hear what you think about it. In fact, this is an ideal time to weigh in on the magazine in general. We have a major editorial meeting coming up next week and PragPub will be on the agenda. We’ve put out four issues now. Are we on the right track? What are we doing right and wrong? -Mike

31 Oct 2009, 13:43
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > November 2009)

The November issue will be published on Wednesday, November 4. Agile Coaching, Pomodoro, iPhone, Stripes, and a quiz with a prize!

31 Oct 2009, 13:43
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > October 2009)

November is coming soon….

06 Nov 2009, 21:51
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > November 2009)

Camal, I hate to disappoint such a staunch supporter. If you have more detailed criticism, I’d welcome it. And I’ll take what you said here to heart. Mike

20 Nov 2009, 14:11
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > November 2009)

I don’t think that was what Povl was saying, Camal. It certainly isn’t what I think.

We do have our preferences and tendencies at Pragmatic Programmers. We lean to open source rather than proprietary, new rather than old, and agile rather than – non-agile. We are tracking smart phone software development because there is immense interest in that area. We have a strong line of Mac books and that naturally gets reflected in our articles. The company has a lot of experience with Ruby, and that is reflected, too. But we’re growing (a remarkable thing among publishers today) and we will naturally expand into new areas.

I might point out that there was not a single Mac-specific feature article in the latest issue, and hardly any in the magazine’s first five issues. And none are planned for the upcoming December issue. We are hardly Mac-only.

But the magazine is young, and still, I hope, open to fresh ideas. I want to expand our focus and I welcome everyone’s input about how to do that.

27 Nov 2009, 15:55
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > December 2009)

The December issue is scheduled to go out on Wednesday, December 2.

It includes feature articles on Naked Objects, debugging, screencasting, and breadmaking.

We’re also launching a new tech careers column by Andy Lester, and there will be new installments of other regular features: Dave’s How We Do the Things We Do, Daniel’s Get a Life, Swaine’s World, the Quiz, the Calendar, and John Shade’s Shady Illuminations.

07 Jan 2010, 20:44
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > January 2010)

According to Arthur C. Clarke and/or Peter Hyams, this is the year we make contact. If you’ve been reading PragPub and have some thoughts on how to improve it in 2010, this would be a good place to share them.

The January issue contains articles by James Duncan Davidson, Paolo Perrotta, Marcus Zarra, and Jorge Aranda, along with columns from Andy Lester, Daniel Steinberg, John Shade, and me.

17 Feb 2010, 15:35
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > October 2009)

Neville, Thanks for catching that. I can’t imagine why I put 1992 in as the date for HyperCard. I wrote a book on HyperTalk that was published in 1988, so I surely know better. Mike

05 Mar 2010, 14:15
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > March issue -- your feedback?)

The March issue of PragPub is out and we’re eager to know what you think. Not just about the content of this issue, but about our overall direction, coverage, design… whatever you think we should know.

22 Mar 2010, 13:55
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > Commentary on Much Ado About Nothing)

Edward, yes we can provide a means of responding to each author, even if indirectly, and I’ll implement it in the April issue. Meanwhile, I’ll ping Paolo about your post here. -Mike

08 Apr 2010, 20:56
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > April 2010)

Matt,

Right you are. Here’s one attempt:

The second time you glance at the clock, you know for sure that the time is somewhere between 5:45:15 and 5:46. You know that because (1) the clock read 5:45 exactly 15 seconds ago, so it’s at least 5:45:15 now, and (2) it still reads 5:45, so the present time may be as late as a nanosecond before 5:46.

And that’s all you know. So your best guess is the midpoint of the interval [5:45:15..5:46:00), which is 5:45:37.5.

At least that’s how I figure it. I’m happy to entertain arguments in support of other answers. Or even other arguments in support of this answer. I think a Bayesian statistical approach would yield the same result, but I confess I haven’t tested that.

Mike

03 Sep 2010, 19:07
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Michael Swaine (66 posts)

(from PragPub > September Quiz - Read for Corrections)

Aargh! So sorry. A quiz can’t have errors. If it does, it ceases to be a diversion and becomes torture. Thank you, Radisav and Bevan, for the corrections. Indeed, I seem to have garbled who claims victory, and it should be “two or more,” not “more than two.” And the discussion about the 8 of Spades is irrelevant to solving the quiz. I hope I discover the second solution before I publish the answer next month!

66 posts