Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cost of 1 code change and myth of multi-tasking

At Sprintly, we have a lot of data on developer cycle time. We track how long it takes them to complete different types of tasks (Stories, Tests, Bugs), as well as different sizes of tasks (S, M, L, XL).

The sample size was 147,494 items that had been both accepted & scored. 

Patterns we seen at Sprintly

1.  Developers are remarkably average. Our ticket data shows that across all of our users, cycle times are very similar: 
75% of all tickets in our system are started and completed in about 
175 hours or 21 work days or 1 elapsed work month!
2. Most of the variability occurs before a ticket has been started (Someday to Backlog). This is the stage when stakeholders are figuring out specs and prioritizing work. In the Kanban world, this is typically called reaction time (the amount of time from when the ticket is created to when it is prioritized). There’s a lot of time wasted at this stage:
Developer cycle time variability by
3. it also appears that teams have a hard time transitioning from “done” to “tested and ready to be deployed” (look at Completed to Accepted above).
Context switching introduces huge costs
For example, we have a Lead Developer who does a lot of code reviews, pairing, going to meetings, and fighting fires.
Here’s a graph that shows cycle times for developers on our team:
Lead developer who switches contexts
In this case, it’s the nature of the Lead Developer’s role that affects the amount of time it takes him to complete tasks.
The problem arises when you, as a manager, switch your developers to new tasks mid-stream. If your priorities are always shifting, you’re introducing huge costs to your team.
Thanks for this article, we need more metrics like this...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

OneDrive Document Viewer and PDFs - preview entire documents in web page

A super feature of OneDrive is it has the ability to quickly view entire documents in your webpage without leaving your browser. That's right the you can embed entire Office documents including PDFs to be view in your webpage, without downloading the document. Office guys really nailed this functionality down!

Here's how:

1. Uploaded your desired document to Microsoft's  OneDrive

2. Click on interested document to open in detailed view. PDFs will open in the Word Online detail view.

3. Click on File

sample is a PDF file
4. This will bring you to a File Menu and click Share and then Embed

5. Choose embed size and click on chevron (down arrow) to reveal start on page and additional options.

6. Grab Embed Code and paste into your webpage.

7. Sample embedded code demo

However, I did notice that it's not obvious in the above control that you can scroll through pages of the embedded document. You can right-click the doc for zoom factors, but not ability to scroll to a specific page, a slight oversight.

8. Add the following caption

TIP! Scroll Pages by mouse wheel, page up/down or up/down arrow, remember to click on doc first.

Here's the code for the tip.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Gmail Sweepstakes Lottery Scam - Obvious, but here for the record

Another obvious Sweepstakes Lottery Scam, but I documented here for the record as I found only one other hit for this message.

Do not download and open this document nhfp.docx from your hard drive, because it contains malicious virus.  Again, best practice is upload  to  Microsoft OneDrive  or   Google Drive.  I would recommend doing that with any questionable document such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDFs etc.

This is the text for search engines:

Congratulations this is to certify that your Gmail address have won you $500.000.00
USD and an Apple laptop for this 2014 annual sweepstakes lottery, that were 
8.MICROSOFT WINDOWS collects all the Gmail addresses of people that are active 
online; among the people who subscribed to Gmail and Outlook. Gmail, we only 
select five people every year as our winners through an electronic balloting system 
without the winner applying. We congratulate you for being one of the people 


Contact Email:


4. SEX: 
5. AGE:
7. STATE:  

Thank you and accept my hearty congratulations once again!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Microsoft's URL Shortener (beta) service now at Bitly

I recently been using Bitly to shorten URLs from Microsoft Onedrive, and I noticed today that the shortened URL looked different.

Looks like the Microsoft URL Shortening is now active, in partnership with Bitly which has been rumored for awhile now.

For example, this OneDrive URL 

shortened  to a cute domain of

For those that don't know, the Bitly default domain name is

but this URL works as well. 

So its solutions seems to be an URL alias.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Phishing Email Apple ID reset for "Candy Crush Saga" download examined

Apple ID reset Phishing Email

If you receive this crafty email similar to below, then it beware it's probably a phishing email attempt that is recently going around.

Subject: Your Apple ID was just used to download Candy Crush Saga or Grudge Match (2014) 
 from the App Store on a computer or device that had not previously been associated with that Apple ID. Your receipt No.1145624532

Your Apple ID was just used to download Candy Crush Saga or Grudge Match (2014)
If you initiated this download, you can disregard this email. It was only sent to alert you in case you did not initiate the download yourself.

If you did not initiate this download, we recommend that you go to to change your password, then see Apple ID: Tips for protecting the security of your account for further assistance.


How to tell this is a Phishing email ?

  1. Is email is from you to you, then it's phishing.
  2. Hover over all links in email, if it's not from the source site then forget it.

    In above example, all the links and source images seem to be from Apple website. You can test this in the above example, since I crafted that from source HTML of the phishing email. Try it, hover over links to examine the source URL. Note: I have re-coded to report this as phishing site.

    It the original phishing email which points to spam site or

    Reading email in Outlook 2013 generated pop-up "Click to follow link"
  3. The best way is to look at message source

How to examine Email Message Source ?

Now lets look at message source
  1.>Actions->View Message Source. 
  2.>More (down arrow to top right)->Show original.

For this phony email, well look at the top 25 lines of the message, known formally as the "message header".

At line 23 you have Return-Path:
and is suspect because domain was registered in Italy (
.it) and nothing to do with Apple. is being investigate for a Paypal phishing and has reported links to Italian Mafia.

These are valid return-paths for Apple 

  • Return-Path: 
  • Return-Path: 

Why look at "Return-Path"? When the e-mail is put in the recipient's mailbox, a new mail header is created with the name "Return-Path:" containing the address on the MAIL FROM command. So it's a quick hit to determine authenticity.

Report Phishing Email (not as Spam)

  1.>Junk (at Top)->Phishing Scam
  2.>More (downarrow to top right)->Report Phishing 

Report Phishing URLs, etc at Google now 

If you have recievied this email take further action now by click these links


Report phishing at Microsoft and government agencies


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Setting Microsoft Lync Profile Picture with a custom picture on OneDrive

Need to set Microsoft Lync Profile Picture to a web address of your own custom picture easily? Here's how to use an image located in your   OneDrive and set to be your Lync account "My Picture".

Note: Lync profile pics should be 72 px (w)  by 108px (h) and < 30kb.
In OneDrive, right-click on the picture you are interested in adding to your Lync profile picture, and choose 
Embed. (I know example below is a file, same process)

This will bring up the Embed pop-up.
Highlight and copy the embed HTML code. Paste into text editor.

<iframe frameborder="0" height="120" scrolling="no" src="" width="98"></iframe>
Extract the link, and you will get link look like this:
Replace embed? to download? See link below after replace:
Now you can paste this link into the "Show a picture from a web address" in Lync 2010 or "Show a picture from a website" in Lync 2013 for Windows. Click "Connect to Picture" button will result in connected to picture successfully.

More information at : How to change your Lync profile picture from
Microsoft Support.

Lastly - I developed an app called ASCIIFY app to make ASCII Black and White images from a color photo, if you like the cat. Contact me for the software. This was an attempt to mimic NY Times profile pictures.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Microsoft WINDOWS API CODE PACK v1.1 Download

WINDOWS API CODE PACK v1.1 for download 
Surprisingly,  difficult to find, here's the full original Microsoft Windows API Code Pack v1.1  for download with source, binaries and full documentation. You can get the dlls in Nuget but not the doc.



The major changes v1.1 of the Windows API Code Pack includes:
·         Code clean-up
o    Addressed many FxCop violations and PREfast warnings
o    Various spot-fixes  for improved stability
o    Added String localization preparation
·         Bug Fixes within the Code Pack and Samples
·         New Features
o    PropVariant (Re-designed)
o    Thumbnail Handlers
o    Preview Handlers
o    ShellObjectWatcher
·         New Demos and Sample Applications
·         Visual Studio 2010 Compliance
·         xUnit test coverage
·         Signed assemblies