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Up Front

From Punch Cards to the iPad

by Michael Swaine

Generic image illustrating the article

It’s getting crowded in here! Considerably more people contributed to this issue than to any issue of PragPub to date, due to the roundtable discussion of Apple’s iPad, which involved over a dozen iPhone developers, Apple watchers, writers, and editors. I asked them to think hard about a few fundamental questions regarding the new device. We’ve got more coverage of the iPad, too, with thoughtful essays from Daniel Steinberg and Chris Adamson.

Apple’s device may or may not be a game-changer for software development, but it’s certainly provoked a lot of discussion. But we tackle plenty of other subjects in this issue.

Johanna Rothman shows how to select a proper pilot Agile project, how to select the team to work on that project, and how to help the team work together as a cohesive self-organizing team.

Andy Lester walks you through what you need to know to improve your public speaking before tech groups.

Brian Hogan introduces Sass, a DSL for generating stylesheets. CSS does not possess the most elegant syntax in software development, and Sass was created to solve that problem, allowing you to write much cleaner stylesheets without losing any of the benefits of CSS.

Dan Wohlbruck takes the occasion of Herman Hollerith’s 150th birthday to look back on over 100 years of technology for recording information. And yes, you can argue about whether Hollerith’s February 29 birthday should be celebrated on some incorrect date in February or on March 1 or only every four years. But we arbitrarily decree that since the man was born in February, February is the right month to celebrate his birthday.

John Shade takes on the Google in China story, envisioning it as a road picture starring James Dean and directed by David Lynch, David Cronenberg, or Neill Blomkamp, and ending in a car crash of internet metaphors.

And as usual we have a column by me, a quiz, the events calendar, and other goodies.