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March 2005 Newsletter


Quotable Quotes


Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.  –Isaac Newton


Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.  –Thomas H. Huxley


A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.  –Winston Churchill


To use power wisely is the final test of leadership.  Thus, the first rule in the game of power (or life) and, in fact, the only hard and fast rule in the entire game is:  POWER MUST BE THE SERVANT; IT MUST NOT BE THE MASTER!  –Thomas D. Willhite


The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.  –Mark Twain


What really counts in life is what you learn after you know it all.  –John Wooden


Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.  –Johann Von Goethe


A company's character is known by the people it keeps.  –John Ruskin


Those who speak most of progress measure it by quantity and not by quality.  –George Santayana


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Software Development Process

Article:  CMMI

The article provides an overview of the Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model Integration, which provides a framework for assessing an organization's development processes and methodologies against industry standards.



Article:  Test Driven Development: Programming by Intention

One of the basic tenets of extreme programming (XP) is paying close attention to the intent of the code being written and the module under development.  This book excerpt examines some of the principles on of intentional programming.



Article:  The Cranky User:  Performance Anxiety

Even though computing power still follows Moore's Law of speed doubling every 18 months, the end-user experience concerning system performance severely lags behind.  This article examines the reasons for this apparent paradox.



Article:  Project Management Screw-up #1: We Weren't Addressing the Right Problem

According to this author, the biggest reason for project failure is that the team was working on the wrong problem.  He offers some reasons for this problem and recommended remedies.



Article:  Computer scientists identify future IT challenges

The British Computer Society has published two reports on the top computer science research and academic challenges.  The cover such areas as using quantum physics in computing, nonclassical computing, ubiquitous computing, and more.  They want to harness the concepts used by the human genome mapping project in the 1990s and adapt it to computing research.



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Article:  Introduction to the UML

This sample book chapter gives an overview of UML, what it was created for, and the basic terminology used.



Article:  How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Command Line

First of a two-part series on getting started with the bash command-line environment and the power that it provides.



Article:  Introduction to Aspect-Oriented Software Development

This introductory chapter from a new book on aspect-oriented software development (AOSD) gives a nice initiation to the topic.  AOSD is a new development paradigm that encourages segmented development in which all of the pieces easily come together to make the whole.



Quiz:  What's your TCP/IP IQ?

The online interactive quiz tests your basic knowledge about TCP/IP and how it fits into the network structure.



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Career Development/Miscellaneous

Article:  Average IT Pay Drops 2.6% In 2004, Job Site Says

Online job-posting service Dice Inc. reports that pay in IT profession was down across the board in 2004.  Support and help-desk jobs saw the greatest decline.



Article:  HP Reports A Nanotech Breakthrough

HP researchers have demonstrated computational capabilities at near-quantum levels.  This technology may pave the way for non-silicon transistors.



Article:  Overcoming the "Fiefdom Syndrome": Conquering Office Politics

This excerpt from a book by Robert Herbold, who was formerly the COO of Microsoft, discusses how empire-building detracts from organizational effectiveness and how to dismantle them.



Survey:  Personal Productivity Challenge

This 30-question survey, which takes 5 – 7 minutes to complete, will help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses in the areas of organization, time management, and more.  While it's really a sales pitch for Microsoft Office, it is still a useful tool.



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Telecommunications/Networking Industry

Article:  Telecom consolidation raises concerns for IT

IT organizations are expecting less competition, higher prices, and poorer customer service as a result of the consolidation in the telecom industry, such as impending SBC buyout of AT&T.



Presentation:  SBC and AT&T Merger Joint Presentation

Presentation by CEOs of SBC and AT&T on their merger and the basic financials as well as the expected synergies and impacts.



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Useful Utilities

AllSnap (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 467kB)

AllSnap is a small, system tray-based utility that allows all top-level windows to automatically align like in applications such as WinAmp or Photoshop.



Excel Utilities (Free – Excel 2000/XP – 684kB)

Excel Utilities is a collection of utilities and add-ons to improve efficiency in working with Excel.  Features include simplifying actions involving defined names, worksheets, application settings, shortcuts and improved selection tools.  Includes a toolbar for each of the add-ons.



Network Notepad (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 1.76MB)

Network Notepad is a free diagramming tool similar to Visio, but it is specifically designed for preparing network diagrams.  It includes a large library of icons for common network elements and equipment.



DataFreeway (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 1.58MB)

DataFreeway is a free GUI for SSH (1 & 2), SFTP, WebDAV, and FTP that allows you to conveniently access data resources on Linux or Unix servers from your Windows desktop.  It allows you to drag-and-drop and cut-and-paste operations between the remote system and your local system.



Magpie (Free – Internet Explorer or Mozilla/Firefox – 3.6MB)

Magpie is a web browser extension which allows on-the-fly markup (highlighting) of pages with semantic ontological meanings.  Basically, what this means is that web page text related to particular topics will be highlighted for quick perusal.  The concept is rather difficult to explain, but it is very powerful.



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Productivity Tips

Sort Internet Explorer Favorites alphabetically

After adding a lot of items to your Internet Explorer Favorites, it can become difficult to find the particular shortcut that you are looking for.  A quick change to the registry will re-sort all of your Favorites alphabetically:  Open the Registry Editor (Start | Run… | regedit) and navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MenuOrder\Favorites key.  Then delete the Order value.  Close the Registry Editor and restart Internet Explorer and your Favorites are alphabetized now.


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Just For Fun

Do You Speak American?

Did you know that Americans speak over 1000 distinct "dialects"?  This companion site to a PBS series on language in America includes interactive quizzes, speech samples, and articles on topics such as linguistic prejudice and the media's impact on language.



Journey Through A Jet Engine

You may think of luxury cars when you hear "Rolls-Royce", but they are actually more famous for their jet engine design and manufacturing.  This Flash-based site gives you an insider's view (literally) of how a jet engine works.



Optical Illusions and Visual Phenomena

Nice collection of optical illusions and mind "tricks".  The site provides excellent explanations of the illusion and the sensory reason that it appears as it does.



Evolution of a Programmer

This humorous piece (done with some nice HTML) looks at the progression of a programmer in how he or she writes the classic "Hello, world!" program at various stages in his/her career.



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