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November 2004 Newsletter


Quotable Quotes


If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.  –Francis Bacon


Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.  –Aldous Huxley


Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.  –Warren G. Bennis


Good people are good because they've come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success.  –William Saroyan


A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relations.  People wish to be liked, not be endured with patient resignation.  –Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 10


I am only one.  But still I am one.  I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.  And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.   –Edward E. Hale


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Software Development Process

Article:  Managing Complexity in IT

Part 1 of a series on managing ever more complex and integrated IT systems.  This article looks at how to identify the problems and get the right perspective on them.



Article:  Vendors Are From Mars, Users Venus

Understanding the common psychologies of IT vendors and corporate IT departments (consumers) can help immensely in making the most of interactions between customers and vendors.



Article:  Try 'Let's Talk'

Working with users (consumers of IT resources) is often a difficult task.  This article looks at some of the soft-skill approaches to improve your user interactions.



Article:  Optimize Your View

This article notes that developers need to focus as much on other things in developing systems as they do on actually writing code.



Article:  The process is the problem for developers

Infoworld's annual survey of developers indicates that the inner workings of their development teams and processes are the major obstacles to success.



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Software Testing & Quality

Site:  Quality, Reliability, and Testing

This site has a large number of papers on various topics in software QA and testing and general software development methodology, as well.  In addition, it has links to other good QA/testing sites.



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Article:  UML Class Diagrams for Java Programmers

This sample book chapter would be classified as a beginner's guide UML class diagrams.  It's focus is on translating class diagrams to Java syntax.



Online Text:  How to Design Programs

This is the complete text of a textbook used in introductory programming class at MIT.  It is based on the Scheme programming language using the DrScheme toolkit, but is applicable to learning structured programming in general.



Article:  Jump start your vi editing

Many people only scratch the surface of the functionality of the ubiquitous vi editor.  This article provides a nice introduction to some of the more advanced and useful (but not so esoteric) features of vi.



Site:  Process Library

This site provides a wealth of information about the various background processes running on the different versions of Windows.  In addition, you can search by process name and it even has a search feature for finding DLLs.



Tutorial:  How to Write a Shell Script

This tutorial is a nice introduction to writing simple Unix/Linux Bourne shell (sh) scripts.  It covers all of the basic syntax and includes some salient examples of useful shell scripts.



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Career Development/Miscellaneous

Article:  When to Play Hardball

Interview with authors of a new book about business strategy discuss the re-emergence of competition as the main motivation in business.




Article:  Cold offices can decrease productivity, boost mistakes

A new study by a Cornell University researcher shows that lower office temperatures, among many factors, causes decreased productivity and increases in errors.



Site:  MindTools (recommended by Frank Elkins)

This site provides a large variety of tools for career and personal development.  Some of the items are fee services, but many are free.  In particular, check out Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential (MAPP), which will help you to identify "your natural motivations, interests and talents for work."



Site:  Design Time Line

This site examines the trends in web site design and development over the first 10 years of World Wide Web.  It offers an interesting perspective on how things have changed (and not changed) over this period and where the path is going.



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Telecommunications/Networking Industry

White Paper:  Understanding Virtual Private Networking

A good and thorough overview of VPN technology and how it is applied.



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Useful Utilities

WordToys (Free – MS Word 2000/XP/2003 – 1411kB)

Don't let the name fool you, these are some very handy add-on utilities for MS Word.  Some of the helpful features include the Navigation Bar for easy document management, copy file info to clipboard, "favorite" styles and fonts which create graphical maps of these, and format finetuner which helps you to fit content into a certain number of pages.



StartClock (Free – Windows XP – 87kB)

This utility changes the text on the Windows Start menu button to the current time.  This makes more efficient use of task bar space which is already taken up by the Start menu button.



Berkeley Utilities (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 1146kB)

Berkeley Utilities are native ports to DOS/Win32 of some of the more common Unix command line tools.  The set includes ls, grep, tail, du, touch, sed, awk, and many more.



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

Dowser is a web-based metasearch tool that runs on your machine.  It clusters results and keeps a local cache of search results which can be searched later.  One of the other nice features is that filters out all of the advertisements and "sponsored" search results from the search engines.



Run!  (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 177kB)

Run! is a Windows Run dialog replacement that adds some handy features.  It docks to the top of the desktop, so that it is always conveniently available.  Likewise, it includes built-in "! commands" which are shortcuts to such as !lock, !logoff, and !shutdown.  While it is relatively simple, Run! is also quite powerful and configurable.  (Run! is built on the great AutoIt free scripting tool.)



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Just For Fun

World’s Longest Single Word Internet Domain Name

Named after a village in Scotland, this is the longest Internet domain name made up of a single word.  Some people have too much time on their hands…  ;)



Obsolete Computer Museum

This site is a historical archive of many computers (of all varieties) from the past.  It has a very comprehensive list of machines from days gone by.  The site is interactive and you can leave your own comments about your favorites.



Alternative Authors' Versions of The Lord of the Rings

What if The Lord of the Rings had been written by Ian Fleming, Oscar Wilde, or George Lucas instead of J.R.R. Tolkien?  This site provides its interpretation.



Whatever Happened To…?

This site tries to answer those burning questions about whatever happened to so-and-so.  It's a regular treasure trove of has-beens and might-have-beens.



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