September 2004 Newsletter



Quotable Quotes

The key to success is to keep growing in all areas of life—mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical.  –Julius Erving


We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing.  Action always generates inspiration.  Inspiration seldom generates action.  –Frank Tibolt


Plan for what is difficult while it is easy; do what is great while it is small.  –Sun Tzu, The Art of War


A decision is the action an executive must take when he has information so incomplete that the answer does not suggest itself.  –Adm. Arthur W. Radford


There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little further than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good.  –Samuel Johnson


Integrity is keeping my commitment even if the circumstances when I made the commitment have changed.  –David Jeremiah


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Software Development Process

Article:  An Introduction to the Rational Unified Process

The Rational Unified Process (RUP) is a commercial software development process that is widely used.  This article gives an overview of the process and explains some of the benefits of the process.


Article:  What Are Web Services?

The book excerpt gives a good, non-technical overview of web services and some of the differences between web services and traditional applications.,4814,94720,00.html


Article:  Budgetary Black Holes

Recent studies indicate that 77% of IT projects run over budget by an average of 169% of the projected cost.  This article looks at 10 common causes and their solutions.,4814,95196,00.html


Article:  Maximizing business intelligence

This author argues that data without some internal context is not valuable for enterprise reporting such as business intelligence or analytics.


Article:  Assembly Line IT

Regardless of the side of the outsourcing debate that you are on, this author says that the fundamental issue to overcome is that lack of long-term commitment in the "assembly line" approach to software development is the main problem.  Very insightful article.


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Software Testing & Quality

Reference:  Software Testing Guidebook (STGB)

This is a volunteer, open-source effort to develop a three-volume guide on software testing.  The three areas are fundamentals; testing for various architectures, such as client/server, embedded, etc.; and platform-specific topics focusing on white-box testing.  The first part on software testing fundamentals is already available.


Article:  Skills of the Professional Tester

This article provides one-page examinations of a dozen important skills for software testers, ranging from the technical and analytical to the "soft" skills.


Tool:  Marathon

Marathon is a testing framework for GUI applications developed using Java/Swing.  It includes record-playback tool and an script editor.  Scripts are recorded in Python, which is a very intuitive, structured scripting language.


Interview:  Brian Marick

Very insightful interview with Brian Marick, one of the most well-known software testing practitioners and maintainer of Testing Foundations and a proponent of agile software development.


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Reference:  O'Reilly Open Books Project

This is a virtual library of some of the O'Reilly titles that are either out-of-date or simply published with an "open" copyright.  The texts cover a variety of topics, mostly in the open source arena.


Reference:  Eclipse Quick Start

The Eclipse IDE is now the de facto standard for Java IDEs.  This Quick Start guide helps you get up and running using Eclipse with the least amount of difficulty.


Tutorial:  PHP Tutorial for Complete Beginners

PHP is becoming one of the most popular programming languages for web applications.  One of the main reasons is PHP has simple syntax, but it is also very powerful.  This tutorial uses a console-based application approach to learning PHP syntax and constructs.


Reference:  Technology Terms Glossary

New terms and acronyms seemed to come into the technology industry vernacular daily.  This extensive glossary will help you sort out the alphabet soup.,294242,sid44,00.html


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Career Development/Miscellaneous

Article:  Minimizing interruptions to maximize productivity

This article provides some practical tips for maintaining continuity and focus on tasks at hand and avoiding loss of concentration due to interruptions.


Article:  Resume Tips Roundup

This blog article provides links to a number of tips on preparing a good technical resume.


Article:  Survey Shows Optimism Among IT Workers

A recent Hudson Index survey shows that IT worker optimism is at a high for 2004 and the highest level since December 2003.  Notably, the optimism index for IT was higher than average worker optimism across all industries.


Article:  Strategy doesn’t matter

Long-term IT strategy is no longer viable, according to this author, because of how executives make decisions.  IT must become flexible and able to adapt to quick decisions and business direction changes.


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Telecommunications Industry

Article:  Signaling System No. 7: The Role of SS7

SS7 is the basis of most all telecommunication technologies.  This general overview of what SS7 is and the role that it plays in telecom is a nice introduction to SS7.


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Useful Utilities

WinMover (Free – Windows 2000/XP – 512kB)

WinMover allows you to move or resize any window by clicking anywhere within the window along with a user-definable shortcut key.  Likewise, it provides support for snapping/docking windows to the edge of the screen.  The utility is lightweight and unobtrusive.


TinyResMeter (Free – Windows 9x/2000/XP – 92kB)

TinyResMeter is a very small (<100kB) resource meter on steroids.  It can display not only system resources, but used and free disk space, system uptime, the current time, number of processes and/or threads, cache values, and more.  You can also make the display transparent, force it to dock to the screen edges, make it always on top, and even "pin" it so that it won't move.


ADX Toys 2 (Free – Microsoft Word 2000, 2002, 2003, and later – 723kB)

This Microsoft Word add-in provides a toolbar with programming language syntax highlighting for a number of popular languages, including C, C++, Java, Perl, and more.  The text font and coloring, including for language keywords, is customizable.  Very handy for code documentation in Word.


X-Deep/32 X-Server (Free – Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP – 16MB)

X-Deep/32 is an excellent Windows X Window Server utility, which was previously available commercially and has been recently released as freeware.  Based on X11R6.5.1, it allows connectivity from your Windows system to any system running X Windows (Unix, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, etc.).


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Productivity Tips

Create shortcut to open most recently used document in MS Word

The command line parameters for MS Word can be used to create a shortcut that will launch Word and automatically open the most recently used document.  To do so, simply create a shortcut to the Word executable (e.g., C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\ WINWORD.EXE).  Right click on the new shortcut and choose Properties.  In the Properties window add /mFile1 to the end of the Target specification.  If you like, you can add a keyboard shortcut in the Shortcut key to quickly access the new shortcut.  Also, you can replace File1 with File2, File3, etc., to open the second, third, or other most recently used documents.


Capture MS Excel data in a screen shot

Sometimes you need to capture data from an Excel spreadsheet as a picture to put into another non-compatible application.  Excel makes this easy:  Simply hold down the <Shift> key and select Edit | Copy Picture… from the main menu.  (When <Shift> is pressed, Excel changes the Copy option in the Edit menu to Copy Picture… along with a few other subtle changes.)  In the Copy Picture dialog, choose whether to capture only the on screen data (As shown on screen) or all data (As shown when printed) and the format.  Then just paste the captured image into your graphics editor (e.g., MS Paint).


Display UNC path to server/volume at the Command Prompt

In Windows 2000/XP, you can display the UNC path of mapped drives at the Command Prompt by making a simple update to PROMPT environment variable.  To do so, open the System Properties window (<Windows>+<Break>) and select the Advanced tab.  Press Environment Variables…  In the Environment Variables window, add a new variable (User or System) named PROMPT and set its value to $m$p$g.  Press OK three times to close the windows and save the new setting.  Next time you open a Command Prompt and navigate to mapped drive, the prompt will include the UNC name along with the mapped drive letter.


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Just For Fun

Alice Law

This incredible site (and downloadable companion program) teaches special and general relativity in a gentle, easy to understand manner.  The site provides great Flash animations of the concepts along with simple explanations.


Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form (OEDILF)

This unique dictionary provides word definitions as limericks.  The definitions are quite unique and often humorous, too.



Billed as "the world's largest archive of classic print ads", this well-organized site has thousands of advertisements from magazines from the past 100 years.  Some of the nice features include a list of the top 25 and 100 ads, a search facility, organization by particular issue of a magazine, and even e-cards of your favorite ads.


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