Kristoffer Richardsson

I started out by building stuff with TTL circuits in the eighties and moved on to a ZX Spectrum and assembler. I have passed a bunch of languages and architectures since then and nowadays I usually use java. I'm very interested in agile development and lean thinking.

Apr 212013

As mentioned in “Broadcast on Bambuser from an IP-cam” I had a stability problem when streaming from a D-Link DCS-923L IP-cam to Bambuser. It turned out that the camera is doing something funny with the motion jpeg every 30 minutes that makes the mjpeg decoder in avconv crash.

I have no idea what is happening but since no obvious fix was available I decided to work around the problem using a simple python script that simply restarts avconv when it crashes.

Continue reading »

Apr 072013

I have mounted a D-Link DCS-923L IP-cam in a nesting box to watch birds nest and their home life. The IP-cam is a simple surveillance camera with night vision that allows it to capture video in complete darkness, and it is equipped with a built in web server that serves the live video feed. I set up the camera last spring and configured my firewall to allow friends and family to watch the birds. More and more people watched the feed and when the chicks were about to leave the nest (seems to be the most popular part of nesting) my connection to internet was completely choked. This year I figured I had to set up a mirror that could take the load off my network and I set out to find a solution. I found Bambuser (a free live video streaming service), why not use it?

So, how do you connect an IP-cam to Bambuser? It turned out that it can not be connected directly but with some some extra work it is possible, almost for free.

Continue reading »

Feb 172013

We have started a small project to build a web-ROTI, that is an app that can be used to measure how good your meetings are. After one day of hacking we have a MVP.

Web-ROTI (Return On Time Invested) is a tool to gauge the time spent on meetings and improve them.
ROTI can easily be measured on whiteboard or paper but you are running the risk of getting a biased result when the voters see other votes. In Web-ROTI the vote is given without bias, as a bonus it calculates the average as well.
A vote is a number between 1 and 5
  1. A complete waste of time
  2. Not so good
  3. Break even, my gain is equal to the time spent
  4. Positive
  5. Superb, I could not have used this time better Continue reading »
Sep 062012

In scrum we usually answer the three questions on the daily scrum meeting:
* What did I do yesterday?
* What will I do today?
* Are there any impediments in my way?

The way this goes is that the first person answers the questions, then the next one and so on.

Now what’s wrong with that? Well, when the first person is answering the three questions, he or she has no clear picture of the problems that the rest of the team is facing. So how is this person supposed to make a good decision of what to do today?

A better way of doing it is to first find out the current situation, that is that everyone answers the questions “What did I do yesterday?” and “Are there any impediments in my way?”. After that, when everyone has the full picture, we can decide what to do by answering the last question “What will I do today?”.

This method encourages teamwork and moves focus from the individuals to the team.

May 012012

One way to be creative and find solutions to a problem is to use provocation. A provocation is basically a some weird, probably unrealistic statement that is thrown out. The statement in it self is not useful but it helps us to come up with new ideas. It is important that we don’t start to analyse the provocation and block our selfs but instead accept any ideas that follow. Just go with the flow, and record all you come up with. Analyzing and jugement can be done later.

Three easy ways to create provocations are
1. Reverse something we take for granted. We expect cars to be mobile: “Lets build a car that is stationary”
2. Exaggerate. “Everyone is a millionaire”, “Each phone call can only last 10 seconds”
3. Distortion of a normal sequence of events. “You close the letter after you post it”

Edward de Bono has written lots of books on the subject.

Mar 222012

What we usually do when we have a problem is to scratch our head for a few seconds, some idea pops up and we’re happy that the problem is solved and that we now can move on to implement it. Since we are experienced programmers with a lot of experience, we are convinced that the solution is a good one.

It is possible that it is a brilliant solution, even the best possible one, but probably not. A far better way, if you are interested in finding a really good solution, is to come up with five different ways of solving the problem and then pick the best one. My experience is that it is not the first one that you end up using.

This is a very simple method to use with low cost that improves the quality of your ideas.

Mar 152012

A common problem I have seen when companies try to switch to scrum, is that there are no clear goals for the team. The team members are experts on converting a story to functionality but they need to know what the goal is, where they are going. It is hard (or impossible?) for a team to get anywhere if they don’t have a clear and common goal. The goal is set by the product owner and the tools are the stories and the backlog.

It is very important that the product owner makes good use of the sprint planing meeting by setting goals, motivating and engaging. Bad sprint planning ==> very likely that the sprint fails. A good team may help the situation, but the product owner is important. If You are a product owner and usually arrives at the sprint planning meeting with a bunch of poorly prepared stories from a chaotic backlog, You should probably sit down and reflect over what this behavior leads to in the team.