Networks & Computing Systems Integrity Group

Monthly Testing Newsletter -- September 2000


Software Development Process

Software Testing & Quality

Telecommunications Industry

Useful Utilities

Productivity Tips

Just For Fun

Software Development Process

Article: Does your project risk management system do the job?

This article presents a methodology for ensuring that proper risk management techniques are included in software development projects. It reviews the key benefits of risk management and focuses on common risk management mistakes.

Article: Test Infected: Programmers Love Writing Tests

Testing is not closely integrated with development. This prevents you from measuring the progress of development- you can't tell when something starts working or when something stops working. Using JUnit you can cheaply and incrementally build a test suite that will help you measure your progress, spot unintended side effects, and focus your development efforts.

Editorial: Conventional IT wisdom

A few things in IT remain true, despite the best efforts of vendor marketers, management gurus, industry analysts and Computerworld pundits to make everyone believe otherwise.,1199,NAV47-68-86-101_STO51168,00.html

Article: 'Extreme' Method Simplifies Development Puzzle

Found by Tim Myers

New lightweight XP methodology stresses teamwork, testing, planning and simplicity; uses real-world experience as design patterns for a new generation of software developers.

Software Testing & Quality

Article: The Gentle Art of Software Testing

This article discusses testing in light of the new "extreme programming" genre. The emphasis of the article is on improving code maturity by developer testing. (or

Article: Beat biz rivals by testing

Businesses spend huge amounts of time and money developing software. But one of the dirty little secrets of the software world is that many firms do not put nearly the same effort into testing their applications.

Article: Testing 1, 2, 17

Although objects make testing simpler, the distributed aspect makes it more difficult. The good news is that there is a new generation of tools that promises to make the process less burdensome. Still, there is no substitute for good design and modeling right off the bat.

Telecommunications Industry

Article: Start-up Tellium ships new optic technology

Optical networking start-up Tellium this week said it has shipped a second version of its network switch intended to compete with similar technology from the likes of Sycamore Networks, Ciena and Cisco Systems. The Oceanport, N.J.-based company is among numerous networking start-ups creating new technology to take advantage of pent-up demand from network operators such as WorldCom and Williams Communications for higher-capacity equipment for their fiber-optic networks.

Article: Firm Unveils Technology To Cut Optical-Fiber Costs

Sending data over optical fiber for long distances normally requires electrical amplification along the way. But that regeneration hurdle and the costly maintenance associated with it may finally have overcome. Last week, officials at Broadwing Communications Inc. in Austin, Texas, said they had successfully tested a 10G bit/sec. all-optical network that looped 4,000 kilometers, from Phoenix to Fort Worth, Texas, and back. The trial, according to Broadwing, proves the viability of an ultralong-haul fiber-optic transmission system from Corvis Corp. in Columbia, Md.,1199,NAV47_STO49024,00.html

Useful Utilities

Winkey (Free Windows 9x/NT 1228kB)

In the November 1999 issue of the newsletter, some of the shortcuts for the Windows logo key on the keyboard were presented. Winkey takes this functionality another step by allowing you to assign your own Windows logo key shortcuts. Shortcuts can be added to open particular folders, to launch applications, even minimize/maximum the active window. Also, in Windows 9x, it provides an enhanced Task Manager.

RAMIdle (Free Windows 9x/NT 591kB)

RAMIdle is a memory clean-up and defragmenting utility. Many times when an application closes it will leave modules in memory (the so-called dynamically linked libraries [DLLs]). RAMIdle waits for some spare CPU cycles and reclaims and defragments the physical memory so that your applications load faster and are more responsive.

Productivity Tips

Back up the registry in Windows 95

The registry is sort of the "heart and soul" of Windows. Without the registry (and a good one at that!), you couldn't do much in Windows. Therefore, it's important to make sure that the registry stays in good shape. Windows 95B includes the Registry Checker utility that will verify the contents of the registry and then create a backup of key registry files. This can be useful if an application install messes up the registry or if you just want to be able to restore the system to a known configuration. To use the utility, choose Start | Run and enter scanregw in the Run dialog. The Registry Checker will scan the registry and, if no errors are found, prompt you to create a backup. Backups of the registry are saved in the C:\windows\sysbckup directory with the name, where nnn = 001, 002, etc. If you are unable to boot the Windows 95 GUI, at the command prompt, you can use the extract utility to restore a previous version of the registry:

extract /y c:\windows\sysbckup\ *.* c:\windows

Quick access to the Windows NT Task Manager

In Windows NT, the Task Manager can be quickly accessed using the keyboard shortcut <Ctrl>+<Shift>+<Esc>. (This is much quicker than the alternative of pressing <Ctrl>+<Alt>+<Del> and choosing Task Manager from the Security window.)

Use Internet Explorer auto-complete for browsing local or network folders

You probably already use the Internet Explorer (IE) auto-complete feature when entering web page addresses. You can also use this feature to speed browsing of local or network folders. Simply enter the drive letter and the first few characters of the path (or file) name in the Address field in IE 4 or 5 and IE will display a list of directories or files matching your entry.

Add items to Start button context menu

Often it's convenient to have quick access to a utility that you use often. One of the quickest routes to something is by adding it to context (right-mouse click) menu of the Start button. This example is for Notepad, but can easily be adapted to most any application. Launch the Registry Editor (Start | Run | Regedit). Navigate to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell key in the registry. At the shell key, select Edit | New à Key and give the new key an appropriate name, such as "Npad". Optionally, change the (Default) value to the name that you would like to have displayed in the context menu (e.g., "Notepad"). In the new key, add another key named command. Set the value of (Default) in the command key to the command line to launch the application ("notepad.exe" in this case). Close the Registry Editor. Note that the new option will also be available for directories in Windows Explorer, as well as the Start button.

Just For Fun

Article: Work-style Quiz

Fun with a purpose! Remember that phrase from when you were young? (If not, check here.) Anyway, this little quiz will give you some insight into your own work-style preferences and may help you understand and better interact with others who have similar or different approaches.

Sites: Dennis Miller Deciphered

Listening to Dennis Miller's commentary on Monday Night Football is either enlightening or annoying. There's just no middle ground with this guy! If you need some help with some of the more esoteric references that he makes, check out these two sites. They are updated each week for the previous game. If you want the short version, check out the Shadowpack site. (It's even WAP-enabled in case you want the info on your cell phone!) For more detailed "analysis", see the site.,5744,12332,00.html