June 2004 Newsletter


Quotable Quotes


When you look at yourself from a universal standpoint, something inside always reminds or informs you that there are bigger and better things to worry about.  –Albert Einstein


If IT is regarded as order takers to fulfill your vision, you're not going to take full advantage of what technology has to offer.  –Safeco Insurance CEO Mike McGavick


The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said.  –Peter Drucker


If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.  –Maya Angelou


We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.  –John W. Gardner


You are not here merely to make a living.  You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.  You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.  –Woodrow Wilson


The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.  –Elbert Hubbard


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Software Development Process

Resource:  Software Development Templates

Pragmatic Software provides a set of very nice templates for processes and documents used in software development.  Templates include project management guidelines, functional spec, test design, risk assessment, and many more.



Article:  Managing IT Risk at Delta

Assessing and managing project risk is a key success factor for IT efforts.  This article provides a good example of a "risk scorecard" criteria to quickly and easily assess project risk.



Article:  Why I.T. Matters

Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, gives a rebuttal to Nicolas Carr's "IT Doesn't Matter" article from the Harvard Business Review.  Metcalfe makes solid arguments for the importance of IT as specialized discipline of a business operation.



Article:  How to turn around an unhappy IT team

Six top IT managers provide advice on regaining motivation in jaded and demoralized IT workers.  One offers some good specific items, while the others identify one area to focus on for improvement.



Article:  Extreme Requirements Engineering

This article examines the requirements-gathering process for the agile software development method known as extreme programming.  It includes a comparison of rigorous and agile methodologies with an eye toward applying some of these principles to the standard processes.



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Software Testing & Quality

Article:  Quality Model Mania

There are a number of models and methodologies for software quality.  This article provides a general overview of a number of the models and how they are different and complementary, including CMM, IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), ISO 9000 series, Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program, and more.



Article:  Introduction to Software Testing

Nice, brief introduction to motivation for software testing using examples of recent well-known software failures.  Includes list of testing types and comprehensive list of software testing texts.



Resource:  Software QA/Testing Glossary and Technical FAQs

This is a well-organized site in FAQ format that provides information about software testing and quality assurance.  It includes a number of "what to do if…" type questions.



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Reference:  Enhanced Glossary on Software Process Technologies

This glossary is part of the overall Graphical Development Process Assistant (GDPA) project.  It provides a very comprehensive list of definitions of the various elements of software development processes and techniques.



Site:  Word Answers

This site includes hundreds of tips on how to more effectively use Microsoft Word.  Tips are conveniently grouped by category and range in complexity from easy to "power user".  If you use Microsoft Words, you're sure to learn something on this site.



Reference:  Windows Process Library

When looking at the Processes list in Windows Task Manager, many of the items in the list are inscrutable.  This reference provides a list of the common processes that you will find and their purposes.  The list is frequently updated and also includes sections on security-risk processes and process names for common applications.



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Career Development/Miscellaneous

Article:  Speakers Clash in Spirited Debate Over IT Relevance

Overview of debate between Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, and Nicolas Carr, a Harvard Business School professor, about the relevance of IT as an independent business function.



Online Book:  The Cathedral and the Bazaar

Eric Raymond's seminal work on the differences between open source development and the traditional closed shop software development processes.  No matter what development model you follow, this text offers some great ideas on how to improve the development process and the quality of the outputs.



Article:  Monarch sacks PM by text message

In a bizarre new use for instant messaging, the king of Swaziland fired his prime minister via SMS text message.  Talk about conflict avoidance!



Editorial:  Innovate, or take a walk

Individual contributors in IT who cannot proffer genuinely original and creative ideas are those most at risk for losing their jobs.



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Useful Utilities

Ethersnoop Light (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 2.5MB)

Ethersnoop is a small, easy-to-use Windows network packet sniffer.  It includes the WinPcap free packet capture application.  Ethersnoop provides comprehensive filtering capability, so that only "interesting" packets are recorded.  It has a simple interface for browsing packet data/contents.



Lorenas Cookies (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 956kB)

This is a neat "fortune cookie" problem that displays the sayings as scrolling text in the system tray notification area.  It comes with a couple of example files and you can create your own files of quotations or text to be displayed.  Also, it allows multiple files to be specified for display.  A great and non-intrusive way to display Bible verses for memorization!



Virtual Magnifying Glass (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 349kB)

Virtual Magnifying Glass (VMG) is another of the many free screen magnifiers.  However, some of its nice features include small size (low memory footprint), minimizes to the tray when not being used, and allows you to resize and move the magnified viewport anywhere on the screen.



Dexpot (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 424kB)

Dexpot is a virtual desktop utility that allows you to have up 20 different desktops on your system.  Dexpot includes "Desktop Tools" feature that allows you to customize each desktop (or all), including hiding taskbar, Start button, desktop icons, system tray icons, etc.  It also allows for moving or copying windows from one desktop to another, have different wallpapers on each desktop, and special names for each desktop.



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Productivity Tips

Keyboard shortcuts for the Windows 2000/XP command prompt

Even though Windows is generally a GUI-based system, many users have some need to use the command prompt.  Here are some keyboard shortcuts to make your time at the command prompt more productive.




Displays previously executed command one character at a time.


Displays a prompt to enter a character and copies the characters from the previous command up to, but not including, the entered character.


Copies remaining characters from the previous command from the current cursor location forward.


Deletes all characters from the preceding command line up to, but not including, the entered character.  (It is the opposite of <F2>.)


Cycles through the previous commands, starting from the current location in the buffer (the currently displayed command).  It pastes them to the command prompt but doesn't execute them.


Displays a menu of the previous commands, allowing you to select and execute a command.


Cycles through the previous commands, starting with the last command in the buffer; it copies the commands to the command prompt but doesn't execute them.


Displays a dialog box that prompts you for a buffer number.  It copies the command in that line of the buffer to the command prompt but doesn't execute it.


Display additional attributes/columns in Windows Explorer

By default, Windows Explorer shows the Name, Size, Type, and Modified columns in the details pane.  You can click on any of these columns to sort the view by that particular attribute.  In addition, other attributes can be displayed, as well.  Just right click on any of the columns and select the desired attribute for display.  The new column will be displayed on the far right, but you can drag columns to change their order.  For example, the Attributes column will show the read-only, hidden, archive, and system file attributes, as appropriate, which makes it easy to sort on read-only files.  By choosing More… when right-clicking on a column heading, a plethora of options are listed, including many of the file version attributes and properties fields for MS Office documents.


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Just For Fun

Cool Science Images

Each day this site provides a new picture from some area of science with an explanation of its background and significance.  Topical areas include biology, earth and space science, the environment, health, physical science, and technology.



SpikyThing Cool Flash Games and Things

This site with a funny name features some incredible online Flash games.  These games really showcase some of the amazing things that can be done with Flash.  And the games are addictive too!



The Adventures of Seinfeld & Superman

What if Jerry Seinfeld's "sidekick" had been Superman instead of George Costanza?  Visit this amusing site to find out!  (Requires Flash.)



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