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Windows 10 Driver Issue with Falcon / Z-77 Keyboard

Windows 10 has an issue with this mechanical keyboard (which works great, BTW).  It's a Chinese-made keyboard (aren't they all?), but it doesn't have much English-language support.

I captured a few screen shots of how to fix it in case someone else has the same problem.  (I got the instructions off of Tom's Hardware, but it doesn't have screen shots & isn't clear on some of the details.)

First, open up Device Manager and select the controller under USB controllers (not under keyboards).


Next, choose "update driver" from the Drivers tab.
Then choose the "browse" option (search doesn't find anything).
Then select "Let me pick from available drivers on my computer."
Finally, switch it from the ND device (which is the wrong one) to the generic USB compatible one (which works fine on my machine).








You might want to clip these instructions into your favorite notes software because:

You need to do this for each USB port you plug in…
Recent posts

Developer Skills: Listening

Most people have an agenda when they listen.  They aren't really listening, they're waiting for you to finish talking so they can tell you why you're wrong, or demonstrate their own brilliance.

It is hard to listen without an agenda.  Your mind jumps to how you will respond, or wanders off to what you're going to have for lunch.  Becoming good at this takes a lot of time and practice.

It's worth it because:
You learn more - a LOT more.You will often change your point of view for the better.People trust you more - and their trust is justified because you are open to changing your point of view.You will make more connections with other experiences. So how does one listen without an agenda?  The best advice I can give is to "Fake it until you make it."  Act like you don't have an agenda.  Your need to "own" the conversation will slowly fade away as you repeatedly experience the value of listening with an open mind.

If this doesn't work for…

Do. Not. Optimize.

You've probably heard this quote before:
Premature optimization is the root of all evil.
 - Tony Hoare
Speculative optimization is always wasted time.  In the absence of an actual performance problem, you're just burning time that could be better spent on refactoring your code to make it clearer.  This is exacerbated because performance-optimized code is usually harder to read than code which hasn't received such treatment.

Here is what you're doing when you optimize:
Adding code that now must be maintained.Obfuscating the existing code.Spending time writing code that doesn't add value. But what's that you say?  You have the experience and know-how to decide when optimization is needed?  Maybe, but probably not.   The people at Sun and Oracle may or may not be smarter than  you or me, but they certainly know more about optimizing Java bytecode than we do.

For example, some people think that having a large number of classes is slower than the alternative.  This …

Developer Skills: Drawing

You aren't a good developer if you can't draw. Fortunately, if you're a human, you can.  Drawing isn't an inborn talent, it's a technical skill that can be learned.  Write the previous sentence on a piece of paper to prove it to yourself.



There.  You just drew a whole bunch of letters quickly and (hopefully) legibly.  Words are a complex set of shapes that need to be drawn in a particular sequence to have meaning.  It's the same basic skill you use when drawing non-character shapes.

Drawing isn't a binary skill that you either have or do not have.  It's a continuum, and even at the shallow end (people with barely-legible handwriting), you have enough of it to communicate ideas visually.

So that changes the top line of this post to:
You aren't a good developer if you don't draw. Visual communication is much more powerful than text.  (This study found 65% retention over 3 days for images vs text.)  We also absorb visual information much faster th…

Showing Off: How to Do a User Demo

Rather than repeating what has been said elsewhere, here is a nice short post on agile-for-all that covers the basics.

Here are a few things for my own future reference and teams that I'm working with...

Try to keep each demo to 5 minutes or less.   If it's longer than that, it's possible that you should be demoing more than one story.  More likely, you're just being too wordy.

TALK LOUDLY.   No, louder than that.  Louder.  Do you feel like you're yelling?  OK, that's about right.  You need to put your voice in public-address mode for 5 minutes.

Focus on why your audience should care about the story  This is particularly important for back-end work.  For example: Your story generates a feed of XML that will be consumed by another application. Show the output, and point to a couple of salient features in it.  Then be done.

The important part of the above is "show the output."  Showing the end users how to interact with your service is a separate sit-d…

Steps of a Code Review

Pair programming is better than code reviews, but sometimes you don't have a lot of choice and a review is your best option.  In such a circumstance, how should you go about it?

In my current context, we only do code reviews if another team owns the development, and we can't (or aren't ready to) enforce our coding standards.  That means we can't insist it was TDD'd, or even that it has tests.


Does it work?Names & commit messageDoes it have a commit message that describes what was changed?Do the methods tell you what they do?Do the variable names tell you what they're used for.TestsAre there tests where appropriate?Are there enough tests.Is the test code clean with one assertion per test?Is use of mocking appropriate?StyleAre methods shorter than 10 (or so) lines?Are classes short? You'd want to reject code for 1 no matter what.  Initially we'll reject it if 2 doesn't work as well.
We probably want to slowly start enforcing 3 and 4.

Organizing teams for success: Horizontal or Vertical?

How do you organize teams for success?  Who do you put together with whom, and who will do their performance reviews?  I don't have answers, but I wanted to lay out the concepts more clearly as food for though...

A recent Java Posse podcast got me thinking about this.  Is it better to organize teams horizontally (backend, middle tier and front end) or vertically (one team creates a product or feature through all three tiers).

Horizontal A horizontal team is organized where the team is focused on a layer that cuts across more than one application, like this.

Vertical A vertical team is organized around getting their product or project done, and cuts across all layers of an application.
My experience in the past few years led me to believe that vertical is always better, but now I think it isn't quite that simple.  Consider this table:

Pro Con Vertical Products get done faster because teams don't wait on each otherUser experience is consistent through a productCore services cos…