Up to Newsletter Index

April 2005 Newsletter


Quotable Quotes


Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.  –Will Rogers


Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.  –John F. Kennedy


Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.  –Voltaire


No man ever listened himself out of a job.  –Calvin Coolidge


Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.  –Ralph Waldo Emerson


If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.  –Anne Bradstreet


An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't.  –Anatole France


Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.  –Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don't control what you think, you can't control what you do. Simply, self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward.  –Napolean Hill


Return to top


Software Development Process

Article:  Example Centric Programming

This article examines techniques to build an "enlightened" programmer's editor (IDE) by integrating the concept of examples which are paradigm frequently used by developers in their programming.  The article is based on the EG plug-in for Eclipse.  A Flash-based demo with audio is also available.



Article:  Seven strategies for highly effective buyers

Getting a good deal on IT products requires effort and preparation.  This article outlines seven ways to get the best deal.



Article:  Disconnect Between IT and Top Management Is Growing

A recent study by A.T. Kearney consulting firm shows that business executives are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the organizational value of IT and 30% of executives believe 20% or more of their companies' annual IT budget is wasted.  In particular, executives think IT spends too much time maintaining existing systems and not enough time working on longer-term, strategic needs.  One commentator thinks that IT needs to focus on speed and agility.



Article:  CEOs learn IT etiquette

Much is made about IT trying to align with business and cater to business needs.  This article looks at the other side of the coin in terms of what executives need to do to try to understand IT and make IT an effective resource.



Article:  BizSpeak for the geek

Here's a tongue-in-cheek guide for IT folks in how to understand the vernacular of the business customers.



Column:  Pleasing Users Isn't Easy

One of the important, but difficult, aspects of building applications that please the customer is how to continually make them aware of the value of the system and how well it works for them.



Return to top


Software Testing & Quality

Article:  Quality Assurance:  Much More than Testing

QA isn't just about testing an application after it has been architected, designed, and coded.  QA involves a mindset and "lifestyle" oriented to problem detection and avoidance throughout the development process.



Tool:  QAtraq

QAtraq is a test management tool released under GPL and, thus, available for free use.  It provides organization for test plan, test cases, test results and more.



Tutorial:  A Course in Black Box Testing

This site provides an online version of a college course in software testing presented by Cem Kaner and James Bach.  This site is a work in progress with 11 of an estimated 35 topics complete.



Article:  Ethernet Inventor And Software-Quality Visionary Earn Technology Medals

President Bush awarded the National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest honor for technology innovation, to Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, and Watts Humphrey, head of the Software Engineering Institute and a pioneer of and the leading voice for software quality.



Return to top



Tutorial:  Prompt magic

Some tips for customizing the Unix/Linux shell command prompt, including adding color to your prompts.



Reference:  V$ Views for Oracle Database 10g

This poster in PDF format provided by an independent Oracle training company provides a quick reference to all of the DBA views in Oracle 10.  (It is relevant to Oracle 8 and 9, as well, except some of the views are version 10-specific.)



Site:  SHELLdorado

Excellent site for information about Unix/Linux shell scripting and general command shell tips and tricks.



Tutorial:  An Introduction to Database Normalization

Normalization of database structures to remove redundant data is critical to database performance and efficiency.  This article gives a step-by-step process of normalization using an easy to understand example.



Article:  Working with Objects in Java Programming

Java is fundamentally an object-oriented programming language.  For those more familiar with traditional procedural languages, this article gives a good introduction to how to create objects in Java and how to create and call methods for those objects.



Tutorial:  vi for Programmers

This two-part series of articles helps you go beyond the basics of the Unix vi editor and harness some of the hidden power and flexibility of this oft maligned little gem.




Return to top


Career Development/Miscellaneous

Article:  Creating a Culture of Ideas

Sometimes innovation is overrated.  In order for organizations to succeed, they must foster a culture of ideas, where new concepts and approaches come from all directions and levels of the organization.



Article:  The inner meaning of contemporary life

This essay by Carl Honore, author of a book called In Praise of Slowness, gives a nice introduction to the topic of how busy lives and the emphasis on speed are destroying our culture.



Article:  Microsoft: Workers Waste 2 Days Out Of 5

A survey of over 40,000 workers done by Microsoft to promote a new product shows that while on average they spend 45 hours a week working, they say that 17 of those hours are wasted due to procrastination, poor communication and other reasons.



Article:  Management style: Accountability vs. blame

Holding people accountable without making them fearful of being blamed for problems is a much more effective motivator for productive organizations.



Interview:  How Management Destroys Employee Enthusiasm

Noted industrial psychologist David Sirota discusses how employees who start a job with passion come to be less than enthusiastic after a while.  He attempts to debunk 33 myths that management have about employee loyalty and commitment.



Return to top


Telecommunications/Networking Industry

Article:  Telecom Deals Create Buzz

The telecom merger mania has many business customers wondering what will happen to prices and service quality.



Article:  Seven Myths about Voice over IP

VOIP is the way of the future for telecommunications.  This article dispels some of the common misconceptions about the technology and the business aspects of it.



Return to top

Useful Utilities

DaFT  (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 1.50MB)

Database Fishing Tool (or DaFT) is a GUI front-end, written in Tcl/Tk, for any database which supports ODBC connections.  It provides a SQL editor and tabular view of data, and lists of tables and columns.  Likewise, results can be exported to a number of formats include CSV, HTML, and Excel.



RSSNewsTicker (Free – Windows 2000/XP – 283kB)

RSSNewsTicker is a RSS news reader (supports RSS versions 0.9, 0.91, 1.0, and 2.0) that displays feeds in a ticker that you can attach to the top or the bottom of your desktop.  It supports variable transparency to make it less intrusive.



ProcessTamer (Free – Windows 2000/XP -- )

ProcessTamer is a small (100kB) and efficient background utility which monitors CPU usage.  When it finds a process that is hogging CPU, it temporarily lowers the priority of that process until the CPU has more cycles available, which allows other applications to be more responsive.  Good for keeping voracious virus scanners and multimedia applications "in line".



OpTool (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 97kB)

OpTool is tray-based utility that allows you to open an HMTL link (from any link-enabled application) in the web browser of your choice.  OpTool has built-in configurations for Internet Explorer (multiple versions), Mozilla, Firefox, and Netscape 4.x/6.x.  In addition, via configuration files, it can be set up to work with any browser.



SendToAny (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 68kB)

SendToAny adds options to the Windows Explorer Send To menu for all of the items in the Start Menu and Quick Launch Menu and on the Desktop.  So you can open a file with any application that has a shortcut or copy/move file to any folder that has a shortcut.



KatMouse (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 220kB)

KatMouse makes the mouse scroll wheel more effective by not requiring you to click on the scroll bar of the desired window to scroll.  By moving the scroll wheel, KatMouse scrolls the window directly under the mouse cursor, even if it doesn't currently have input focus.



Return to top


Just For Fun

The Official Flat Stanley Project

This site is dedicated to children's literacy by using the Flat Stanley character from a children's book of the same name.  In the book, the character gets squashed flat by a falling bulletin board, which gives him the ability to travel anywhere in an envelope.  The premise of the story is that friends should keep in touch by letters and e-mails.  Flat Stanley projects are popular in schools and Flat Stanley's have been on the Space Shuttle, in photo-ops with President Bush, and to the Oscars with Clint Eastwood.



art.com artPad

artPad is an online freehand drawing site.  You can doodle just like you used to do as a kid on sheet of paper.  You can even save your masterpiece and e-mail it to your friends or print it.



Indian Ocean Tsunami Resources

Well, certainly, this doesn't fall into the classification of "fun", but here are some very interesting resources about the 12/26/2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean that devastated many areas.  Even though this matter is out of the headlines, please don't forget these people, as they still have a long recovery ahead of them.





A fully functional front end to Google search engine that "translates" results into text as if Snoop Dogg had prepared them.  Completely hilarious!



Institute for Backup Trauma

This hilarious short starring John Cleese of Monty Python fame and Michael Dorn (you know, Worf from ST:NG) is an ad LiveVault backup systems.  Very creative advertising technique.



HubbleSite Wallpaper

This site provides some of the most incredible photos of astronomical phenomenon from the Hubble Space Telescope, which are specifically designed to be used as desktop wallpaper.  Each image is available in a variety of common desktop sizes, so you don't have to do the cropping yourself!



Return to top