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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Iteration Length

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  • Joshua Kerievsky
    I went from doing 3 week iteraions to lots of 2 week iterations to lots of 1 week iterations. Now we routinely do either 1 or 2 week iterations. We prefer to
    Message 1 of 27 , Feb 8, 2004
      I went from doing 3 week iteraions to lots of 2 week iterations to lots
      of 1 week iterations. Now we routinely do either 1 or 2 week
      iterations. We prefer to do 1-week iterations. However, we find that 2
      week iterations work better for our C++ clients, since they tend to have
      a lot of legacy code, which slows everything down. --jk
    • Phlip
      ... Not sure how many plurals under we here. There are those who think that a young team should never vary iteration length from iteration to iteration, and
      Message 2 of 27 , Feb 8, 2004
        Joshua Kerievsky wrote:

        > I went from doing 3 week iteraions to lots of 2 week
        > iterations to lots
        > of 1 week iterations. Now we routinely do either 1
        > or 2 week
        > iterations. We prefer to do 1-week iterations.
        > However, we find that 2
        > week iterations work better for our C++ clients,
        > since they tend to have
        > a lot of legacy code, which slows everything down.
        > --jk

        Not sure how many plurals under "we" here. There are
        those who think that a young team should never vary
        iteration length from iteration to iteration, and that
        a mature team shouldn't have a reason to. Do you mean
        that one team looks at its stack of stories and sets
        iteration length accordingly?

        Call this the "rhythm method"...

        =====
        Phlip
        http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces

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      • acockburn@aol.com
        I read this as we Industrial Logic, with various clients .... some clients get 1-week iterations, some get 2-week iterations. The clients getting 2-week
        Message 3 of 27 , Feb 8, 2004
          I read this as "we" Industrial Logic, with various clients .... some clients get 1-week iterations, some get 2-week iterations. The clients getting 2-week iterations tend to be those using C++.  I don't see an indication in Joshua's note that iteration length varies within a project, although with a mature team, I don't see that they couldn't arbitrarily change the iteration length to suit the circumstances discovered on planning day.
           
          In a message dated 2/8/2004 9:40:10 PM Mountain Standard Time, phlipcpp@... writes:
          Joshua Kerievsky wrote:

          > I went from doing 3 week iteraions to lots of 2 week
          > iterations to lots
          > of 1 week iterations.  Now we routinely do either 1
          > or 2 week
          > iterations.  We prefer to do 1-week iterations.
          > However, we find that 2
          > week iterations work better for our C++ clients,
          > since they tend to have
          > a lot of legacy code, which slows everything down.
          > --jk

          Not sure how many plurals under "we" here. There are
          those who think that a young team should never vary
          iteration length from iteration to iteration, and that
          a mature team shouldn't have a reason to. Do you mean
          that one team looks at its stack of stories and sets
          iteration length accordingly?

          Call this the "rhythm method"...

          =====
          Phlip
          ==============================================
          Alistair Cockburn
          President, Humans and Technology

          http://alistair.cockburn.us alistair.cockburn@...
          1814 E. Fort Douglas Circle, Salt Lake City, UT 84103
          Phone: 801.582-3162            Fax: 775.416.6457

          Author of
          "Surviving Object-Oriented Projects" (1998)
          "Writing Effective Use Cases" (Jolt Productivity Award 2001)
          "Agile Software Development" (Jolt Productivity Award 2002)

          "La perfection est atteinte non quand il ne reste rien a ajouter,
          mais quand il ne reste rien a enlever." (Saint-Exupery)
          ==============================================

        • Phlip
          ... I wasn t accusing. I pointed out his exact text was ambiguous, by adding the rhythm method context to the thread. Among its quantifyable benefits are a
          Message 4 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
            acockburn@... wrote:

            > I read this as "we" Industrial Logic, with various
            > clients .... some clients
            > get 1-week iterations, some get 2-week iterations.
            > The clients getting 2-week
            > iterations tend to be those using C++. I don't see
            > an indication in Joshua's
            > note that iteration length varies within a project,
            > although with a mature
            > team, I don't see that they couldn't arbitrarily
            > change the iteration length to
            > suit the circumstances discovered on planning day.

            I wasn't accusing.

            I pointed out his exact text was ambiguous, by adding
            the "rhythm method" context to the thread. Among its
            quantifyable benefits are a stable Yesterday's Weather
            metric - or so I'm told. Accuse whoever told me that.

            > "La perfection est atteinte non quand il ne reste
            > rien a ajouter,
            > mais quand il ne reste rien a enlever."
            > (Saint-Exupery)

            "le meilleur est l'ennemi du bien" ([apocryphally] Voltaire)

            =====
            Phlip
            http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces

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          • Karl Scotland
            ... A great ScrumMaster once told me, It depends on common sense :) Personally, I m doing one week iterations wih my team at the moment. I wouldn t
            Message 5 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: Ken Schwaber [mailto:ken.schwaber@...]
              >
              > What is the optimal length of an iteation, and what are the factors
              > that are relevant to the various lengths of iterations that are
              > deemed most appropriate?

              A great ScrumMaster once told me, "It depends on common sense" :)

              Personally, I'm doing one week iterations wih my team at the moment. I
              wouldn't necessarily work the same way with every team though. Others
              seem to be saying the same thing.

              Factirs which would affect my decision would include...
              1) Business chaos - a business which is really ducking and diving would
              benefit from shorter iterations.
              2) Project length - the shorter the overall projects, the shorter the
              iterations.
              3) Technical ability - shorter iterations benefit less mature teams
              because they promote more focus.

              If I was working with a great team, on a longterm project, for a stable
              business, I'd probably consider monthly iterations.

              I've submitted a paper on doing weekly iterations with Scrum and XP for
              the gathering. Hope it gets accepted :)

              Karl

              BBCi at http://www.bbc.co.uk/

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            • Joshua Kerievsky
              ... We is Industrial Logic. We don t generally vary iteration length. However, we have changed iteration length mid-project, when we found that the length
              Message 6 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                Phlip wrote:

                >Not sure how many plurals under "we" here. There are
                >those who think that a young team should never vary
                >iteration length from iteration to iteration, and that
                >a mature team shouldn't have a reason to. Do you mean
                >that one team looks at its stack of stories and sets
                >iteration length accordingly?
                >
                >
                We is Industrial Logic. We don't generally vary iteration length.
                However, we have changed iteration length mid-project, when we found
                that the length wasn't working well. We also once extended an iteration
                by a week, as it was the last iteration before going into production and
                it just felt right to the whole team to take an extra week for our work.

                I once considered 1-week iterations to be a bad idea. "We'll spend too
                much time planning and not have enough time programming." When I got
                over my fear and actually tried it, I found that I loved 1-week
                iterations. Customers learn to plan more efficiently by doing
                continuous iteration planning preparation, customers gets to make
                finer-grained changes to the plan and programmers have less time to do
                wasteful work.

                In our workshops, we do 3-hour iterations. That's like working under a
                high-powered microscope -- every flaw gets revealed, which tends to
                leads folks to important insights.

                best regards,
                jk

                --
                I n d u s t r i a l L o g i c , I n c .
                Joshua Kerievsky
                Founder, Extreme Programmer & Coach
                http://industriallogic.com
                http://industrialxp.org
                866-540-8336 (toll free)
                510-540-8336 (phone)
                Berkeley, California
              • Patrick Parato
                We are currently using one week interations with success. We have a couple of reasons for doing just this. The development team and the business are both
                Message 7 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                  We are currently using one week interations with success. We have a couple of reasons for doing just this. The development team and the business are both relatively new to Agile and we are trying to expose everybody to different types of situations quickly. We hope people will learn about the whole life cycle of an Agile project faster. By making the iterations more frequent, we get more practice with the overall Agile experience. We may be trading off some efficiency for some beneift in education, but everybody understands that the iteration length can change when it is considered necessary to do so.
                   
                  The only drawback we have seen is that the development team fizzles out close to the end of the iteration. The tasks will be all complete but people don't want to admit it because the one week iterations make them feel constantly under pressure. The developers don't really like the feeling that they can't vary thier effort depending on mood, health, or other external stimuli. Some developers believe that one month long iteration allows them more freedom to vary thier pace, and that the one week iteration is too much pressure. Very similar to micro management.
                   
                  Regards,
                   
                  Patrick Parato
                  CertaPay
                  Toronto, Canada
                • Phlip
                  ... Weeks are biological, and part of our circadian rhythms. (Of course months are too, which we derive weeks from.) I suspect even rats kept in isolation from
                  Message 8 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                    Joshua Kerievsky wrote:

                    > I once considered 1-week iterations to be a bad
                    > idea.

                    Weeks are biological, and part of our circadian
                    rhythms. (Of course months are too, which we derive
                    weeks from.)

                    I suspect even rats kept in isolation from cues to the
                    date vary their activity patterns in synch with human
                    weekends.


                    =====
                    Phlip
                    http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces

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                  • Michael Campbell
                    ... Never knew that. Why is it then that only 1 month, and then only 75% of the time even HAS an integral # of them? __________________________________ Do you
                    Message 9 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                      Phlip wrote:

                      > Weeks are biological, and part of our circadian
                      > rhythms. (Of course months are too, which we derive
                      > weeks from.)

                      Never knew that. Why is it then that only 1 month, and then only
                      75% of the time even HAS an integral # of them?


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                    • Joshua Kerievsky
                      ... By planning according to a team s velocity (which is calculated at every iteration end), XPers ensure that programmers have enough time to implement
                      Message 10 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                        Patrick Parato wrote:

                        > We are currently using one week interations with success. We have a
                        > couple of reasons for doing just this. The development team and the
                        > business are both relatively new to Agile and we are trying to expose
                        > everybody to different types of situations quickly. We hope people
                        > will learn about the whole life cycle of an Agile project faster. By
                        > making the iterations more frequent, we get more practice with the
                        > overall Agile experience. We may be trading off some efficiency for
                        > some beneift in education, but everybody understands that the
                        > iteration length can change when it is considered necessary to do so.
                        >
                        > The only drawback we have seen is that the development team fizzles
                        > out close to the end of the iteration. The tasks will be all complete
                        > but people don't want to admit it because the one week iterations make
                        > them feel constantly under pressure. The developers don't really like
                        > the feeling that they can't vary thier effort depending on mood,
                        > health, or other external stimuli. Some developers believe that one
                        > month long iteration allows them more freedom to vary thier pace, and
                        > that the one week iteration is too much pressure. Very similar to
                        > micro management.

                        By planning according to a team's velocity (which is calculated at every
                        iteration end), XPers ensure that programmers have enough time to
                        implement iteration stories using good development practices without
                        feeling under pressure. Feeling under pressure results from committing
                        to doing too much during a given period of time. So 1-week iterations
                        don't cause pressure. Taking on more work than you can do causes
                        pressure. Yet many programmers haven't yet had that insight.

                        best regards
                        jk
                      • Phlip
                        ... Uh, because periods of the rotation of the Earth, its orbit, and the Moon s orbit all don t divide evenly? ===== Phlip
                        Message 11 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                          Michael Campbell wrote:

                          > Never knew that. Why is it then that only 1 month,
                          > and then only
                          > 75% of the time even HAS an integral # of them?

                          Uh, because periods of the rotation of the Earth, its
                          orbit, and the Moon's orbit all don't divide evenly?


                          =====
                          Phlip
                          http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces

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                        • Steven Gordon
                          That would argue that days and months (and years) are natural, but not weeks. ... From: Phlip [mailto:phlipcpp@yahoo.com] Sent: Monday, February 09, 2004 9:52
                          Message 12 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                            That would argue that days and months (and years) are natural, but not weeks.
                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: Phlip [mailto:phlipcpp@...]
                            Sent: Monday, February 09, 2004 9:52 AM
                            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Iteration Length

                            Michael Campbell wrote:

                            > Never knew that.  Why is it then that only 1 month,
                            > and then only
                            > 75% of the time even HAS an integral # of them?

                            Uh, because periods of the rotation of the Earth, its
                            orbit, and the Moon's orbit all don't divide evenly?


                            =====
                            Phlip
                                http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces

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                          • J. B. Rainsberger
                            ... I have enjoyed two-weeks iterations to start a project, then one-week iterations, as needed, towards the release date. The idea is that we need larger
                            Message 13 of 27 , Feb 9, 2004
                              Ken Schwaber wrote:

                              > What is the optimal length of an iteation, and what are the factors
                              > that are relevant to the various lengths of iterations that are
                              > deemed most appropriate?

                              I have enjoyed two-weeks iterations to start a project, then one-week
                              iterations, as needed, towards the release date.

                              The idea is that we need larger chunks of time to hit our stride and to
                              allow for some experimental error. Without that experimental time, we
                              tend not to learn as much, which inhibits our ability to prepare for the
                              next game.

                              I find that one-week iterations are best for focusing on doing what we
                              know how to do. At this granularity, we can steer very well. I find that
                              two-week iterations are best when we need to learn things, because then
                              we feel less pressure when we might accidentally burn a day or two going
                              down a rathole.
                              --
                              J. B. Rainsberger,
                              Diaspar Software Services
                              http://www.diasparsoftware.com :: +1 416 791-8603
                              Let's write software that people understand
                            • agiletoken
                              I totally agree. I have implemented an agile process with four (4) one (1) week iterations enveloped within a 30 day Scrum Sprint. The one week XP interations
                              Message 14 of 27 , Feb 11, 2004
                                I totally agree. I have implemented an agile process with four (4)
                                one (1) week iterations enveloped within a 30 day Scrum Sprint. The
                                one week XP interations enforce good engineering practices and the 30
                                day sprint ensures business to technical community alignment. The
                                team meets Monday morning and establishes goals for the week - taken
                                from sprint backlog.

                                The daily standup reflects on the progress for the. The team has an
                                option to change the goals for the week on Wednesday, as it is a mid-
                                point and the team generally has a very good idea on whether the
                                goals will be met on Friday. On Friday, the team confirms the
                                deliverables. From the engineering perspective, the once the team
                                commits to the Friday goals, no one leaves until the team has
                                delivered the goals and an integration build completed and all
                                testcases executed.

                                Tareq



                                --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Joshua Kerievsky <jlk@i...>
                                wrote:
                                > Patrick Parato wrote:
                                >
                                > > We are currently using one week interations with success. We have
                                a
                                > > couple of reasons for doing just this. The development team and
                                the
                                > > business are both relatively new to Agile and we are trying to
                                expose
                                > > everybody to different types of situations quickly. We hope
                                people
                                > > will learn about the whole life cycle of an Agile project faster.
                                By
                                > > making the iterations more frequent, we get more practice with
                                the
                                > > overall Agile experience. We may be trading off some efficiency
                                for
                                > > some beneift in education, but everybody understands that the
                                > > iteration length can change when it is considered necessary to do
                                so.
                                > >
                                > > The only drawback we have seen is that the development team
                                fizzles
                                > > out close to the end of the iteration. The tasks will be all
                                complete
                                > > but people don't want to admit it because the one week iterations
                                make
                                > > them feel constantly under pressure. The developers don't really
                                like
                                > > the feeling that they can't vary thier effort depending on mood,
                                > > health, or other external stimuli. Some developers believe that
                                one
                                > > month long iteration allows them more freedom to vary thier pace,
                                and
                                > > that the one week iteration is too much pressure. Very similar to
                                > > micro management.
                                >
                                > By planning according to a team's velocity (which is calculated at
                                every
                                > iteration end), XPers ensure that programmers have enough time to
                                > implement iteration stories using good development practices
                                without
                                > feeling under pressure. Feeling under pressure results from
                                committing
                                > to doing too much during a given period of time. So 1-week
                                iterations
                                > don't cause pressure. Taking on more work than you can do causes
                                > pressure. Yet many programmers haven't yet had that insight.
                                >
                                > best regards
                                > jk
                              • Ken Schwaber
                                Does the length of the iteration have any impact on the granularity of the input (Stories, Product Backlog). What is the type of demonstration that is desired
                                Message 15 of 27 , Feb 11, 2004
                                  Does the length of the iteration have any impact on the granularity of the
                                  input (Stories, Product Backlog). What is the type of demonstration that is
                                  desired at the end of the iteration?
                                  Ken

                                  -----Original Message-----
                                  From: Joshua Kerievsky [mailto:jlk@...]
                                  Sent: Sunday, February 08, 2004 9:02 PM
                                  To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                  Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Iteration Length


                                  I went from doing 3 week iteraions to lots of 2 week iterations to lots
                                  of 1 week iterations. Now we routinely do either 1 or 2 week
                                  iterations. We prefer to do 1-week iterations. However, we find that 2
                                  week iterations work better for our C++ clients, since they tend to have
                                  a lot of legacy code, which slows everything down. --jk






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                                • Joshua Kerievsky
                                  ... The sizing of iteration stories isn t impacted by iteration length, at least the way we do it. At the end of each iteration, a customer demonstrates the
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Feb 12, 2004
                                    Ken Schwaber wrote:

                                    >Does the length of the iteration have any impact on the granularity of the
                                    >input (Stories, Product Backlog). What is the type of demonstration that is
                                    >desired at the end of the iteration?
                                    >
                                    The sizing of iteration stories isn't impacted by iteration length, at least the way we do it. At the end of each iteration, a customer demonstrates the new features we've added to the system. Of late, the customer also demonstrates some of the FIT-based storytests we've produced. Upper management attends these iteration demonstrations. We find that they like to see both the system and a few of its new storytests.

                                    best regards,
                                    jk

                                    --
                                    I n d u s t r i a l L o g i c , I n c .
                                    Joshua Kerievsky
                                    Founder, Extreme Programmer & Coach
                                    http://industriallogic.com
                                    http://industrialxp.org
                                    866-540-8336 (toll free)
                                    510-540-8336 (phone)
                                    Berkeley, California
                                  • Devon Miller
                                    Actually, weeks are natural too. They correspond to the phases of the moon New moon, waxing quarter, full moon, waning quarter.
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Feb 14, 2004
                                      Actually, weeks are natural too. They correspond to the phases of the moon
                                      New moon, waxing quarter, full moon, waning quarter.

                                      Steven Gordon wrote:

                                      > That would argue that days and months (and years) are natural, but not
                                      > weeks.
                                      >
                                      > -----Original Message-----
                                      > *From:* Phlip [mailto:phlipcpp@...]
                                      > *Sent:* Monday, February 09, 2004 9:52 AM
                                      > *To:* scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                      > *Subject:* Re: [scrumdevelopment] Iteration Length
                                      >
                                      > Michael Campbell wrote:
                                      >
                                      > > Never knew that. Why is it then that only 1 month,
                                      > > and then only
                                      > > 75% of the time even HAS an integral # of them?
                                      >
                                      > Uh, because periods of the rotation of the Earth, its
                                      > orbit, and the Moon's orbit all don't divide evenly?
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > =====
                                      > Phlip
                                      > http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces
                                      >
                                    • Phlip
                                      ... Ken pointed out he forbade the Industrial Logic metaphor of nebulous units of time because nobody needed we got big NUTs getting back to any number of
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Feb 14, 2004
                                        Devon Miller wrote:

                                        > Actually, weeks are natural too. They correspond to
                                        > the phases of the moon
                                        > New moon, waxing quarter, full moon, waning quarter.

                                        Ken pointed out he forbade the Industrial Logic
                                        metaphor of "nebulous units of time" because nobody
                                        needed "we got big NUTs" getting back to any number of
                                        Human Resource Departments.

                                        (I wax nostalgic for Omnigon's way cool HR department.
                                        Whenever she wandered into the programming pit we'd
                                        drop what we were doing and indulge in the most
                                        advanced and witty HR harrassment. She know'd she'd
                                        had to start this with her standard lecture at hiring
                                        time; we all had a blast. But some HR is hired because
                                        they help the brass think they'l reduce their odds of
                                        getting sued.)

                                        Workplace diversity requires us to allow folks who
                                        don't "believe in" bicameralism, or this or that
                                        diety, or lunar phases, to opt-out without limiting
                                        their own career.

                                        A lunar week is a nebulous unit of time - 7 days ~11
                                        hours - and matching iterations to it would cause
                                        friction on two fronts - the business calendar and the
                                        diversity aspect.

                                        But evoking biological circadian rhythms as the
                                        natural basis for our calendar, and iteration lengths,
                                        might be pragmatic.


                                        =====
                                        Phlip
                                        http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces

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                                      • Doug Swartz
                                        ... Some of us in Nebraska, various Canadian provinces, and 50 some democratic nations around the world, take issue with your blatant anti-unicameral bias. Our
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Feb 14, 2004
                                          Saturday, February 14, 2004, 4:52:41 AM, Phlip wrote:

                                          > Workplace diversity requires us to allow folks who
                                          > don't "believe in" bicameralism, ....

                                          Some of us in Nebraska, various Canadian provinces, and 50
                                          some democratic nations around the world, take issue with your
                                          blatant anti-unicameral bias. Our "uni's" are just as capable
                                          of passing stupid legislation at the speed of a glacier, as
                                          your "bi's"! But, we only have to pay one legislator, instead
                                          of two.

                                          The moderators of this esteemed list should take note of your
                                          predilection to promote mono-culture and consider banning your
                                          deviant opinions from the list.




                                          --

                                          ;-)
                                          Doug Swartz
                                          daswartz@...
                                        • Phlip
                                          ... And that was how, in early 2004, the beginnings of a schism appeared in the previously solid mailing list, ScrumDevelopment...
                                          Message 20 of 27 , Feb 14, 2004
                                            Doug Swartz wrote:

                                            > Phlip wrote:
                                            >
                                            > > Workplace diversity requires us to allow folks who
                                            > > don't "believe in" bicameralism, ....
                                            >
                                            > Some of us in Nebraska, various Canadian provinces,
                                            > and 50
                                            > some democratic nations around the world, take issue
                                            > with your
                                            > blatant anti-unicameral bias. Our "uni's" are just
                                            > as capable
                                            > of passing stupid legislation at the speed of a
                                            > glacier, as
                                            > your "bi's"! But, we only have to pay one
                                            > legislator, instead
                                            > of two.

                                            <ponderously>
                                            And that was how, in early 2004, the
                                            beginnings of a schism appeared in the
                                            previously solid mailing list,
                                            ScrumDevelopment...
                                            </ponderously>

                                            > The moderators of this esteemed list should take
                                            > note of your
                                            > predilection to promote mono-culture and consider
                                            > banning your
                                            > deviant opinions from the list.

                                            Hey - my coffee is shade-grown, pal!

                                            > ;-)
                                            > Doug Swartz
                                            > daswartz@...

                                            ( http://eatthestate.org/05-22/FairTradeCoffee.htm for
                                            those who didn't catch that last one... )

                                            =====
                                            Phlip
                                            http://www.xpsd.org/cgi-bin/wiki?TestFirstUserInterfaces

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