Systems Integrity Bulletin
IT Enterprise Systems and Services
Systems Integrity Group
When you talk about your troubles, your ailments, your diseases, your hurts, you give longer life to what makes you unhappy. Talking about your grievances merely adds to those grievances. Give recognition only to what you desire. Think and talk only about the good things that add to your enjoyment of your work and life. If you don't talk about your grievances, you'll be delighted to find them disappearing quickly. –Thomas Dreier
You know when you've achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away. -- Antoine de St. Exupery
Computing is the only field in which we consider adding a wing to the building to be maintenance. --Unknown
Software Development Process
Article: But We Have a Software Spec!
What do you think of when you hear the term "specification" or "requirements"? These terms often mean different things to different people, particularly depending on the role that you play on a project. This very brief article provides an excellent overview of what requirements or specs should have.
Site: Risk Analysis and Management Resources
Site provided by Roger Pressman whose book is considered by many to be the basic reference on software engineering. This site provides links to many print and online resources on software development risk analysis and mitigation. Highly recommended resource.
Article: The art and science of "I don't know"
One of the hardest things for technical people to say is "I don't know." We are problem-solvers by nature and admitting that something is beyond your knowledge or experience is difficult. This article discusses why admitting your limitations is important and some techniques for communicating it without losing credibility.
Article: 5 Tips for Curing Feature Creep
Software Testing & Quality
Article: The Elusive Tester to Developer Ratio
This article discusses one of the most common questions for test management: What is the correct number and/or ratio of testers related to developers on a project? Of course, the simple answer is that there is not a "one-size-fits-all" ratio or method for determining the ratio. However, the author provides some insightful techniques at determining how to size test staff for a project.
Site: Thoughts on Software Testing
A 30-year veteran of software development and testing presents this site. The author is a developer by trade, but recognizes the importance and intricacies of testing. The site includes a number of relevant topics to testers and developers alike. In particular, see the Basic System Development Concepts page.
Article: The State Of Software
This site allows you to search the technical support sites of Microsoft, Intuit, and Adobe using natural-language queries, instead of the often-cryptic "knowledge base" keywords that these sites use. It's quite configurable and allows you to restrict your search to certain products. [The site is currently in a preview mode, so not all areas are supported.]
Article: How IP Telephony Works
Although this article is oriented toward end-user use of voice over IP (VoIP), it provides a nice introduction to the general principles of voice transmission using packet-switching instead of the traditional circuit-switching.
Tutorial: ATM Fundamentals
This tutorial, sponsored by Nortel, provides a good basic, non-technical overview of asynchronous transfer mode (ATM). A couple of the nice features are a very easy to use glossary and a self-test with answers.
Article: Confronting the geek within
This article discusses techniques that help IT people work more successfully with their business customers and counterparts. It concentrates on how to make the most of interactions with business people and the importance of communication/language and understanding the business.
Article: People Powered: The New Millennium IT Organization
This article discusses the IT skills necessary for success in the 21st century. It focuses on making the transition from technology savvy to emphasizing understanding of the business and communicating in ways that are understandable to customers. Likewise, it discusses the changing landscape of the IT work environment.
Site: Telecom Information Resources on the Internet
This site contains references to information sources relating to the technical, economic, public policy, and social aspects of telecommunications. All forms of telecommunication, including, voice, data, video, wired, wireless, cable TV, and satellite, are included. The intent is to provide "high-level" pointers to other WWW servers, with a brief description of the type of information.
Commentary: Glass fiber still beats lasers
Article: Carriers continue move to high speed
The stock market may be down and enterprise revenues may be running thin, but the network build-out for high-speed technologies is still a value proposition as evidenced by the initiatives put forth this week by top telecommunications carriers at the NetWorld+Interop 2001 conference in Las Vegas.
XMover (Free -- Windows 9x/NT/2000 -- 89kB)
XMover is a Windows port of the X Windows (Unix) utility that allows you to move a window, but pressing a control key (the <Alt> key, by default) and dragging anywhere within the window. This is often more convenient than having to move a window by dragging on its title bar.
Cache Sentry (Free -- Windows 9x/NT/2000 and Internet Explorer 3.0 or above -- 145kB)
Cache Sentry is an add-on for Internet Explorer that provides better management of the cache and even fixes (Well, works around, but who's counting!) some bugs in the way IE caches content. The application is small and doesn't add a lot of overhead to your system.
WinGrab (Free -- Windows 9x/NT/2000 -- 970kB)
WinGrab is an highly-recommended screen capture (either entire screen or active window) utility. Among it's strengths are that it's very non-intrusive, it can save images to JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and BMP format to save disk space, and it provides manual or timed "auto-save", which saves the screen capture without intervention by incrementing a number on the file name. Probably the handiest feature is built-in functionality to create image indexes (thumbnails).
Quick calculations in MS Excel
Sometimes in Excel, you'd like to be able to sum a few numbers or get their average, but don't necessarily want to create a formula or save the results. In this case, the status bar comes to the rescue! First, ensure that the status bar is displayed: Select the View menu and confirm that Status Bar has a check mark next to it. If not, simply select Status Bar. Now, select the range (or cells) that you want to make the calculation on. The status bar will show the calculation result. If the result is not displayed, right-click on the status bar and choose the desired calculation: Average, Count, Count Nums, Max, Min, or Sum. Likewise, right-click to perform one of the other calculations on the same selection, if desired.
Right-click without using the mouse
In most any Windows application, you can emulate a right-mouse click by pressing <Shift>+<F10>. This is a real timesaver because it allows you to access commonly used functions without taking your hands off of the keyboard.
Automatically adjusting column width in Windows Explorer
When you're using the Details view in either My Computer or Windows Explorer, some of the information in the columns can be partially obscured because the column width is too narrow to display all the information. To automatically change all columns to the optimum size, press <Ctrl> and the plus sign on the numeric keypad.
Just For Fun
Humor: 404 Error Message Haiku
Diversion: Virtual Etch-A-Sketch
Interesting/Humor: Call Of The Wild