June 2007 Newsletter
You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you. –John Wooden
You will find yourself refreshed
by the presence of cheerful people. Why not make earnest effort to confer that
pleasure on others? Half the battle is gained if you never allow yourself to
say anything gloomy. –
Almost all our faults are more pardonable than the methods we resort to to hide them. –Francois de La Rochefoucauld
Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. –Napolean Hill
Of all the "attitudes" we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing. –Zig Ziglar
Laugh at yourself and at life. Not in the spirit of derision or whining self-pity, but as a remedy, a miracle drug, that will ease your pain, cure your depression, and help you to put in perspective that seemingly terrible defeat and worry with laughter at your predicaments, thus freeing your mind to think clearly toward the solution that is certain to come. Never take yourself too seriously. –Og Mandino
If you devote your life to seeking revenge, first dig two graves. –Confucius
Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings. –C.D. Jackson
The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. –Abraham Lincoln
Ivar Jacobson, one of the creators of RUP, suggests that development needs to move away from the concept of software development processes and use "best practices" instead. These insightful articles explore just what he means by this and how to apply the concepts in practice.
A new survey shows that business users will have a more proactive and direct role in introducing new technology in the future. IT will need adapt to the increasing influence of business in technology decisions.
Einstein has been quoted as saying that the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." This article reviews common principles of project management that seem to continue to be violated resulting in project failure.
This excellent conversational-style article discusses a variety of angles on software requirements: what is a requirement, how are requirements managed, etc.
Scott Ambler talks about the dangers of traditional development and the emphasis on getting all of the requirements at the beginning of the project. He suggests an agile evolutionary approach to development instead.
A project management expert provides 5 simple tips for restoring the direction and focus of project teams.
An IT project management expert says that many of Yogi Berra's malapropisms can offer insight into how to run projects.
This article describes five personality types that are often bad managers of their time and offers some tips for how to keep them on track.
IT needs to treat their business customers with more respect and the idea that the customer can go elsewhere to get their technology needs met, because more and more often they can.
Even though Napoleon was a brilliant military strategist, he made a number of tactical (and strategic) mistakes with his Russian campaign. Large projects are similar. This article gives some tips about how to organize and manage large development efforts.
This article (actually a series) presents some of the primary tenets of using agile development methodologies. It is nice because it is methodology independent and focuses on what things management needs to concentrate to make agile development successful.
Most of us know of or have even participated in a failed development project. But why don't we typically learn from our mistakes? This article explores how to break out of the cycle of failure, particularly by reducing complexity in projects.
Grady Booch interviews John Backus, the creator of FORTRAN, and ponders the question of whether or not an "ideal" software architecture is possible.
This article discusses some interesting and not so obvious factors in ensuring the success of IT projects, particularly around the non-technical aspects.
While processes are important for standardization in IT, they can be a two-edged sword. It is important to not rely solely on processes and to have good common sense applied to an effort.
Estimating effort and duration of tasks in software development is still mostly a "black art". However, many organizations are trying to improve their estimating processes. This article explores techniques that can be used to reduce uncertainty in estimating and how iterative development helps. And be sure to read the follow-up discussion.
This site offers a wide variety of articles and other resources on software testing. Most of the articles are introductory, but it has some excellent discussions on the various types of testing.
Software testing often does not get the prioritization that it needs, sometimes until it's too late. This article looks at how to improve testing from a senior IT management perspective.
If anyone ever tries to tell you that software testing and quality are not important, just refer them to this extensive list of over 100 failures caused by software problems that resulted in significant financial costs and, in some cases, loss of life.
Test Run is a hosted, online collaborative test planning and management tool. It allows you to use the spreadsheets and bug tracking systems that you already have, but streamlines the coordination process. It's free for a single user.
Test metrics can aid in the software development process by providing an objective view of the status and progress. This article looks at how to get started with a metrics program.
Poka-yoke means "foolproof" and it is principle adopted by Japanese manufacturers in their efforts to improve quality. This article explores how to apply this principle to software development and testing.
Peer code reviews have been substantially documented as a successful technique for eliminating errors. This article examines how to do code reviews with the least intrusion.
While this may look and seem more like a game, it is actually a good simulation of project management concepts. As the lead engineer for building the Death Star, you must properly organize and deploy personnel, manage resources and budgets, and deal with political minefields.
Touch typing can really improve your productivity and efficiency at working at the computer. If you still use the old hunt and peck method, Type Online is a free, five-lesson online touch typing course. It includes speed tests and lessons on using the numeric keypad, as well.
Excel Pivot Tables are one of the hidden and esoteric gems in Excel. But sometimes it seems like you need to use mystical incantations to get them to work. This step-by-step tutorial helps to learn and understand the details of Pivot Tables.
Learning C++ (or any other object-oriented language) requires you to grasp the three basic concepts of encapsulation (data-hiding), inheritance, and polymorphism. This article gives a detailed look at inheritance and polymorphism in C++ with some good examples.
Derby is an open-source embedded database built with Java that is included by default with Java 6 (J2SE 1.6) JDK. These introductory articles helps you get started with this tool, including startup, loading the Derby driver, database and connection creation, statement creation, table creation, table access and shutdown.
This site features some excellent, comprehensive tutorials for learning about how to use CSS for modern, flexible web design. Topics include lists, floats, selectors, and more.
This article covers the concepts and technologies that developers need to be successful J2EE developers. The article doesn't cover the topics deeply, but gives the basic concepts for further study and investigation.
The Information Week 2007 salary survey shows increases at the upper end of the scale, but also a dip in salaries for entry level workers. Hot jobs are in enterprise application integration and business intelligence.
Negative people can simply sap the energy out of other team members, as confirmed by research. After a while, people start avoiding the negative person. This article lists ten excellent suggestions for confronting the purveyors of negativism in a productive way.
Tom DeMarco considers why the workplace is becoming a place of less and less face-to-face, direct interaction with most communication done through "narrowband" channels.
This article contains some great tips for beating procrastination and energizing and motivating yourself to accomplish things.
Sometimes the most powerful
leaders are those who don't seek the limelight, but work in the background to
get things done and lead by example.
This interview with a
With all of the focus on automation and process improvement, one thing is still a fact in most organizations: lots of meetings. This article contains some great advice on how to make meeting more productive and effective.
What are the most important skills for sustaining a career in IT? This article identifies these: working outside your comfort zone and with different teams, passion for and ability to learn, thinking globally, strong business knowledge and skills, and adaptability.
One of the most important skills of a leader is delegation of tasks and responsibilities. This excellent article discusses the process of successful delegation using the "SMART" methodology and the various levels of delegation.
A survey of over 1400 CIOs shows that better technical and project management skills account for almost half of the CIOs top areas for improvement.
If you handle 100 e-mails a day, that means you probably spend almost 100 days a year on e-mail alone. If e-mail has you overwhelmed, this article has some good, practical tips for how to manage it.
IT workers who telecommute share their experiences about how to be successful when working from home, including the process, technologies, and attitudes. And make sure to check out the tips for telecommuters.
OSS Observer released their survey of
the top providers in the 16.5 billion
The rate of adoption of municipal wireless networks is much lower than expected. Likewise, technical problems are affecting many of the installations, which is probably contributing to low uptake.
With predictions that the pool of available IPv4 addresses will be depleted by 2010, ARIN, the organization responsible for IP address allocation and assignment, is urging Internet providers to hasten the introduction of IPv6.
New research into networking technology shows that rather than routing packets from point A to point B, a scheme called network coding that sends information about the packet instead of the packet itself can substantially reduce network congestion.
Younger and lower-income people are accelerating the abandonment of traditional landline telephone service in favor of cell phone only.
No matter which side of the "net neutrality" debate you are on, this author uses some relevant and salient analogies to frame his perspective.
Pitaschio is an interesting conglomeration of Windows utilities and tweaks. Some of the unique features are window snapping/docking, locking window within a certain region of the desktop, disabling the window control buttons (Close, Minimize, Maximize, and Restore), and many more. Some of the defaults are a little quirky, but this is a really a gem of a utility.
Graysky LogWatcher is an Eclipse plug-in that allows you to monitor any file, inside or outside of Eclipse, similar to the Unix tail utility. However, it improves on tail by allowing you to monitor multiple files, in a tabbed interface, and to set "watches" for certain strings in the files and even define filters that highlight certain lines or execute actions based on text patterns.
QT Tab Bar adds tabs to Windows Explorer, similar to tab browsing in Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox. It supports tab groups and has built-in search functionality that supports regular expressions.
CurrPorts displays a table view of all open TCP/IP and UDP ports along with the process/application that is using the port. It includes the local and remote IP addresses and port numbers. For well-known ports, it includes the service type.
TOPCASED (Toolkit in OPen source for Critical Applications and SystEm Development) is an Eclipse-based software development "workshop" that focuses on end-to-end development. It includes the base Eclipse environment plus plug-ins for modeling such as UML 2, ECORE, and AADL. Since it is based on Eclipse, it can be extended with other plug-ins, as well.
Data Browser is a desktop (client) database browsing and querying tool for various databases, via ODBC. You can run SQL queries from the tool and it even includes a graphic query builder tool with various SQL syntax types, including ANSI SQL 92, Oracle, MS SQL Server, and more. Results can be exported to CSV, Excel, and HTML formats. The tool supports an unlimited number of simultaneous connects with one-click switching between them.
KatMouse is a simple enhancement that allows you to use your mouse scroll wheel with any window on your desktop, even if the window does not have input focus. It can even be configured to set focus (bring to foreground) the window that you scroll in, if desired. This tool may not seem to be all that useful, but once you try it, you'll wonder how you did without.
Findview is a bash shell script for Unix/Linux or Cygwin under Windows that can save the results of running the find command as a directory for easily using the results. It uses symbolic links to minimize disk usage.
Think your vocabulary is pretty good? Then check out this list that book editors believe are important for everyone to know. I think that I did pretty good: I knew 77 of the 100 words.
This awesome 3D globe of the earth allows zooming in and out and rotation of the globe. It even features a full-screen mode. (Requires Flash 9 player.)
LoudLit.org brings you classic, public-domain literature in both text and audio formats. You can follow along as the text or read or simply just listen. The audio productions are first rate and include recent selections of classics like Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.
Here are some interesting tid-bits about Star Wars that you probably didn't know unless you are a true die-hard fan.
Read the headlines from this date 100 years ago. Some of the stories are amazing and inspiring. Regardless, they will certainly give you and appreciation for how much things have changed in just 100 years.