April 2002 Newsletter

Quotable Quotes

Software Development Process

Software Testing & Quality


Career Development/Miscellaneous

Telecommunications Industry

Useful Utilities

Productivity Tips

Just For Fun


Quotable Quotes

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton

I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do. -Helen Keller

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something. -Plato

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Software Development Process

Article: Avoiding Death March Projects

This article discuss techniques for avoiding and resisting involvement in projects with impossible schedules and deadlines.


Article: Why Every Business Is a Software Business

Watts Humphrey, developer of the CMM, discusses why lack of solid methodology and process hurts not only application development projects, but the business as a whole.


Articles: Introduction to Web Services

So-called "web services" are taking the software development world by storm. But just what is a "web service" application and how is it different from typical client-server or n-tier applications? These articles give a nice introduction.




Article: Groundwork for Project Success

This article is an excellent recap of most of the common sense matters that should be taken care of when starting and planning a project.


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Software Testing & Quality

Article: Testing focus boosts XP

This article discusses the "test first" focus of Extreme Programming (XP) and how has been used effectively to refine and confirm requirements and develop systems successfully.


Article: How Should You Feel When You Find a Bug?

In this article, the author discusses some of the common reactions testers have when finding problems in an application and the positive and negative consequences of these various responses.


Article: Painless Bug Tracking

This article outlines the three key elements of a good problem report and includes ten tips for making bug tracking effective and efficient.


Article: Special Issue of IBM Systems Journal on Software Testing and Verification

The IBM Systems Journal is a highly-respected, peer-reviewed research journal published by IBM. This special issue is on software testing topics. Many of the articles are highly technical, but give a good perspective on focuses of research in this area.


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Reference/Tutorial: The Basic Guide To Frame Relay Networking

Although many consider frame relay (FR) to be an old technology, it's still widely used and is considered to be a revenue growth market for many years to come. This "article" gives an excellent overview of FR technology.


Article: How PERL Works

A very gentle introduction to the multi-purpose and very powerful PERL scripting language. Contains excellent links to other PERL resources.


Articles: Introductory Series on XML

XML (Extended Markup Language) is quickly becoming the vernacular for data exchange in many areas of business. This series of articles gives a nice overview of XML, it advantages, and potential uses.


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Career Development/Miscellaneous

Article: No More Meeting Mutinies

With so many meetings in IT organizations, many people find plenty of excuses to skip "staff meetings". This article discusses using the short one-on-one sessions to get and provide feedback and economize everyone's time for checking status.


Article: Listening may be the best skill you bring to your project

This article explores the relationship between good listening skills and project success and offers some practical tips on improving your listening skills.


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Telecommunications Industry

Article: Williams Expanding While Others Contract

Article covers how WCG continues to expand while other companies are cutting back. Part of the article focuses on use of Narus software for SLA tracking and management.


Article: After Global Crossing, Is There Any Hope for Broadband?

This article examines the future of the broadband telecommunications industry after the failure of Global Crossing.


Article: Content is Not King

This author argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the growth of the content industries is not the primary driver of Internet expansion. Lowly old e-mail is still the "killer app" of the Internet world.


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Useful Utilities

Hard Link Magic (Free -- Windows NT/2000 -- 1160kB)

Hard Link Magic (HLM) is a utility for systems using the NTFS file system that allows you to create hard links to files. Hard links are better than the typical shortcuts to a file, because if the target file is moved, the hard link will still point to it. (This program emulates the symbolic links used in Unix systems.)


SmartFTP (Free -- Windows 9x/NT/2000 -- 5.06MB)

Looking for an FTP client that is a little easier to use than the Windows command line FTP client? Look no further. In this world of "Web everything", an FTP client is still a very handy utility for bulk uploading and downloading of files, such as log files. SmartFTP is the most intuitive FTP client available. Its UI paradigm is based on Windows Explorer. Furthermore, it has threading and queuing to speed transfers of multiple files. (Downloading the CAB file version of application and extracting it directly, using WinZip, is recommended, as the Windows Installer tends to be finicky.)


Visio Viewer (Free -- Windows 9x/NT/2000 -- 3707kB)

Even though relatively few people actually create Visio diagrams, such as organizational charts, flow charts, etc., many users need to view such documents. This free viewer allows users to view Visio 5, Visio 2000, and Visio 2002 diagrams within Internet Explorer 5.x. (Note: If you have Windows 95 or NT 4.0, you may need to install the appropriate version of the Windows MSI installer before you can install the Visio viewer.)


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Productivity Tips

Use the Relationship Diagram view in MS Project to understand predecessors and successors

When reading the task list on an MS Project plan, many times it can be difficult to visualize or understand how all of the predecessor and successor tasks are related to a particular task. Project's Relationship Diagram view can rescue you from this confusion. Here's how: Open the desired project plan. Select Window | Split from the main menu to enable the dual pane view. Click on the lower pane to set focus to it. Select Views | More Views... from the main menu. In the More Views window, select Relationship Diagram from the Views list and press Apply. MS Project will show a graphical representation of the currently selected task and its predecessors on the left and successors on the right, including the type. Click on another task in the upper pane to see its relationships. Select Window | Remove Split to return to the single pane view.

Customize the Places Bar in Windows 2000

In Windows 2000, the standard file Open and Save/Save As dialog boxes (among others) includes a feature called the Places Bar on the left side of the window. By default, the Places Bar includes such destinations as My Documents, Desktop, and My Computer. You may have other locations, such as the L:\ drive, that you often use for opening and saving files. Windows does not provide a direct method of modifying the contents of the Places Bar, but a little registry work does the trick.

To get started, open the registry (Launch Regedit from the Run dialog.). Create the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WindowsCurrentVersion\Policies\ComDlg32\Placesbar key; you'll need to manually add the ComDlg32 and Placesbar sub-keys.

Under the Placesbar sub-key, add up to 5 strings (or DWORD values; see below) named Place0 - Place4 for each of the target folders. Edit each string value and enter a valid path in the Value data field. The path can be in standard format (e.g., L:\Software Test) or a UNC path (e.g., \\enttulf207\tul1wssinteg). Place0 will be the first directory displayed in the Places Bar with others displayed in numerical order.

To use some of the "standard" Windows folders, such as Favorites or My Documents, in the Places Bar, add a DWORD value named Placen, where n = 0 - 4. Use the appropriate ID from the list below to indicate which "standard" folder to use.









My Computer


My Documents


My Network Places


My Pictures


Network and Dial-Up Connections




Recycle Bin


Send To


System Root (WINNT)



To return to the default settings for the Places Bar, simply delete the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WindowsCurrentVersion\Policies\ComDlg32\Placesbar registry key.

Apply highlight to multiple text items in MS Word

In MS Word, you can apply highlighting to the current text selection by pressing the Highlight button on the Formatting toolbar. If you'd like to highlight multiple text items in a document (like when you highlight in a print book), just double-click on the Highlight button. Word will change text selection cursor to include a highlight pen. Now any text that you select will be highlighted with the selected color (the color indicated on the Highlight button). Click the Highlight button again to turn off the highlighting.

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Just For Fun


This page by one of the original Mosaic web browser authors displays a collage of random images from around the WWW. It refreshes automatically about once per minute. The images displayed are clickable, so you can see them in their original setting/context.



"Google-what?" you say? It's a new "fad" of searching the Google search engine using two seemingly unrelated terms to see what might turn up. Apparently, it's got quite a following.


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E-mail Tim Jones with feedback.

Last updated: 03/22/02 08:56 AM