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May 2005 Newsletter


Quotable Quotes


There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.  –Ralph Waldo Emerson


More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren't so busy denying them.  –Harold J. Smith


The glory of great men should always be measured by the means they have used to acquire it.  –Francois de La Rochefoucauld


The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions.  Our inner balance, and even our very existence depends on it.  Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to our lives.  –Albert Einstein


The tree which moves some to tears of joy is, in the eyes of others, only a green thing which stands in their way.  –William Blake


A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, [but] he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.  –Sidney J. Harris


Politeness and consideration for others is like investing pennies and getting dollars back.  –Thomas Sowell


The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.  –Bertrand Russell


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Software Development Process

Article:  A New Blueprint For The Enterprise

Enterprise architecture (EA) needs to focus less on standardization and more on services, event-driven technologies and fundamental ROI.



Article:  16 Critical Software Practices

This site provides an overview of software development methodology, which involves 16 practices that are deemed critical for success.  The site is oriented toward selling the methodology, but nevertheless it gives a good overview of some of the matters that must be attended to for project success.



Article:  IT alignment: How to finally achieve it

Of course there is no "silver bullet" or single method that will accomplish IT-business alignment.  However, this author provides an interesting structure involving six pillars (strategy, organization, applications, infrastructure, projects and governance) to do this, along with tips for improving effectiveness in each of these areas.



Article:  Ten Worst Engineering Pitfalls

This very brief article offers a list of some of the worst mistakes that developers make when implementing applications.  Very succinct, but very insightful, too.



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Software Testing & Quality

Interview:  AT&T's Eslambolchi on software code, SOAs, security

AT&T CIO/CTO sees software security problems of "biblical proportions" if some fundamental changes in how software is developed are not made.  He recommends pushing this matter back to the education of programmers.



Article:  XP Testing Without XP: Taking Advantage of Agile Testing Practices

This article provides some suggestions for using the XP (extreme programming) techniques for testing, even on projects that don't use the full complement of XP methodologies.  The approach is very practical and provides some good tips for any project or development methodology.



Article:  Say 'No' to Bad Code

Customers are responsible for forcing software providers to provide bug-free and secure applications.  And the best way to accomplish this is with the financial leverage.



Article:  Find the Bug: A Book of Incorrect Programs

While debugging is not necessarily the domain of software testing folks, a basic understanding of the logic of debugging can help testers isolate problems in particular area of an application.  Likewise, the debugging mindset can help to develop other relevant test cases.  This sample book chapter discusses a technique called "inspeculation", which is a hybrid of "inspection" (code inspection), "simulation" (hand-simulation), and "speculation".



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Tutorial:  Practical Guide to Managing E-mail Overload

A business consultant discusses how to use e-mail more effectively and thereby reduce your burden from it.  The article includes excellent "bad" and "good" examples for each topic.



Quiz:  OSI Networking Model Quiz

This brief, 22-question quiz about the OSI 7-layer networking model can help you gauge your understanding of the general principles of network architecture.



Tutorial:  Shell Scripting: Using FTP to Automatically Create a Mirror of a Specified Directory of Files on a Remote Server

This article uses a simple interactive command-line FTP session to derive an automated shell script for the same process.  While the example is for FTP, the process is generally extendable to any repetitive Unix/Linux command line activity.



Tutorial:  Essential Keyboard Shortcuts

While most of the tips in this article are quite basic, I think everyone will find something new in terms of keyboard shortcuts to make working at the computer more efficient.



Tutorial:  Bash by example

This three-part series gives an introduction to the bash shell and basic shell scripting techniques.



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Career Development/Miscellaneous

Article:  InformationWeek National IT Salary Study 2005

While IT remains a lucrative field and two-thirds of respondents indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs, the 2005 InformationWeek salary survey finds that many IT workers don't see it as a promising career. Stagnant pay, outsourcing fears, and the recent history of economic and employment gloom continue to overshadow IT attitudes.




Site:  Techtionary

This site provides over 2000 animated (Flash-based) tutorials on technology topics.  Topic areas include IT, telecom, networking, and more.



Report:  2005 Career Planning Guide

Work in the IT industry requires a calculated, intentional approach to career management.  This guide provides you with some tips from other IT professional and resources to help you advance in your career.



Site:  Gmail Invite Spooler

Currently, the only way to get a Gmail account is to be invited.  But what do you do if you don't know anyone who has any invitations to spare?  Well, then stop by the Gmail Invite Spooler, where folks with extra invitations share them.  Likewise, if you have invitations to spare, you can "donate" them here.



Site:  Google Labs Aptitude Test (GLAT)

Think that you've got what it takes to work at Google?  This site provides links to a 4-page aptitude test that must be submitted with all job applications.



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Useful Utilities

MyCon (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP -- )

MyCon (short for My Console) is a Windows-based MySQL GUI for DBAs, developers, and report writers that allows GUI-based interaction with MySQL database.  The free version has some limitations, but it is a capable tool for those who need to edit SQL and query the database.



Unlocker (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 297kB)

Unlocker will show you which applications currently have locks on your files or folders which are preventing deletion or modification.  Simply select the locking applications and press Unlock to remove the locks.



ContentSpring (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP and Microsoft Word – 6.11MB)

ContentSpring uses Microsoft Word as a web content management system (CMS).  Just like printing a document, ContentSpring takes the Word document contents and exports it to an HTML document using any number of HTML templates that you define.  Then it uploads the exported document to your web site in the directory specified.  It can even update a "contents" page on your web site.



Paperless Printer (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 9.2MB)

Paperless Printer is a Windows printer driver that allows you to send output from most any Windows application to a variety of formats, including PDF, Microsoft Word document, Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, JPEG, BMP, or HTML.  Very useful for creating output that any other person can use regardless of their platform.



HTML Quick Edit Bar (Free – Internet Explorer 5.5 or later – 483kB)

This toolbar/Internet Explorer add-on allows you to edit HTML files directly from within Internet Explorer.  It displays the loaded page in a hierarchical tree view for editing.  After making your changes, you can even upload the file to your web site via FTP.



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Just For Fun

Periodic Table of Rejected Elements

A tongue-in-cheek redux of the periodic table.  Too funny!



NASA World Wind

World Wind is a desktop application (for Windows) that allows you to zoom in to LandSat views of any location on the globe from satellite level to almost level of granularity.  With World Wind you can take a virtual tour of the Grand Canyon, the Great Pyramids, or most any place on earth.  (Note:  Download is over 180MB.)




NaDa is kind of hard to explain, but this site is an excellent spoof of all of the marketing hype that surrounds most computer applications.



Top 100 Gadgets of All Time

The editors of Mobile PC Magazine present their list of the top 100 gadgets.  The "winners" included things from the high-tech to the mundane, including such things as the Pez dispenser and the stapler.




10x10 is an interactive presentation of words and pictures that define a particular point in time.  Each hour, a collection of 100 pictures and words that most aptly describe the major events in the world at that moment are combined into a single image.  The concept is to develop a patchwork quilt over time of history.  You can click on a particular 10x10 image to see the details of each of the constituent images.  The site is fascinating and meaningful.  Truly a "must see".



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