Entries by Alan Zeichick

End of the line for Visual FoxPro

There will be no Visual FoxPro version 10, according to the VFP team at Microsoft. Visual FoxPro — which started out, of course, as plain old FoxPro— has been around for more than 20 years; it was created by Fox Technologies, which Microsoft acquired in 1992. FoxPro came from the era of dBase II and […]

Storyboarding, eh?

My Hawaii-based colleague Larry O’Brien is a believer in storyboarding. On his blog, Larry posted a short review of a Visio-based tool called stpBA Storyboarding, “… which every architect and team lead owes themselves to evaluate. I would say it’s revolutionary, but it’s better than that — it simply makes the way you probably already […]

Characterization Testing 101

Characterization testing is one of the most important — but insufficiently discussed — areas of software testing. It’s where you use unit testing to monitor existing code to capture the current functionality of pieces of the application. (The most common use of unit testing, by contrast, is to validate that new code works correctly.) So, […]

, ,

Should you talk to men and women differently?

I received this pitch today from Event Management Services, a self-described “publicity firm.” Frankly, it’s too amusing not to share with everyone. This is a verbatim cut-and-paste, with phone number and e-mail addresses removed. Note that the the e-mail pitch itself was a rich HTML file with lots of colors, bolding, italicizing, centered text, larger […]

Head-to-head review of Java IDEs

In this week’s InfoWorld, Andrew Binstock (a columnist for SD Times, as well as a technology analyst) wrote a powerful head-to-head review of Java integrated development environments. Andrew looked at Borland/CodeGear’s JBuilder 2007 Enterprise Edition, IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software 7.0 (what a terrible name) and Sun’s NetBeans 5.5. I heartily recommend this […]

InfoWorld is dead

Today, IDG’s newsweekly, InfoWorld, confirmed rumors that surfaced last week: It’s moving to an online-only format. As Steve Fox, its Editor-in-Chief, wrote today, “Yes, the rumors are true. As of today, March 26, 2007, InfoWorld is discontinuing its print component. No more printing on dead trees, no more glossy covers, no more supporting the US […]

Metcalfe’s Law, Moore’s Law and Google

My Take this week in SD Times News on Thursday discussed a fascinating presentation from Jonathan Rosenberg (pictured), senior VP for product management at Google. In the column, I made passing reference to Metcalfe’s Law and Moore’s Law. Since I didn’t describe these two laws, and referred to them in adjacent paragraphs, some readers thought […]

The Rockwell Retro Encabulator

A friend forwarded a link to this wonderful product demonstration video for the Rockwell Automation Retro Encabulator. The video’s been floating around the Internet for ages, and I’d forgotten how funny it is. Having just come back from watching several product demonstrations at SD Expo this week, this fictional product seems more realistic than some […]

The Top Ten Blunder’s List

Borland has come up with a thought-provoking list of “Top Ten Blunders” that can lead development teams to introduce unexpected defects into their applications. It’s a real-world list, albeit weighted a little too heavily to builds. While it’s obviously essential to build early and often, and to make sure that your builds are good, it’s […]

Two tributes to John Backus

I posted a brief notice of John Backus’ passing on Tuesday, but two technology journalists have written touching and moving obituaries. I urge you to read them both. The first is from O’Reilly Media’s Kevin Farnham, who writes on his blog about Backus’ background as an artist and as a creator, not just as a […]

John Backus passes away

Back when I was studying compiler design in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the name John Backus was often foremost in my mind. He was one-half of the team that developed the Backus-Naur Form, the notation that we used to define language syntax. Backus, who passed away last Saturday, was one of the designers […]

Saving power with dual-core

My friend Andrew Binstock has posted a brief, yet fascinating, discussion about the potential power savings by using dual-core processors. In “MIPS per Watt: The Progression,” he tests similar Dell workstations using a Kill-a-Watt electricity usage monitor, and shows that dual-core system using single AMD Opteron and Intel Pentium D processors draw less juice than […]

San Francisco’s open-source tree maps

Trees are important assets – not just for forests, but also for cities. In the small San Francisco suburb where I live, the city government is adamant that if you have to cut down a tree, you have to justify it with a good reason (like, the tree is sick and dying), and you have […]

I.B. Phoolen’s greatest hits

One of BZ Media’s more eccentric contributing writers is I.B. Phoolen, a retired software test/QA engineer with impeccable credentials and very strong opinions. Since 2000, he’s written a few pieces for SD Times and Software Test & Performance. Now, I.B. has just launched a blog, on which he’s posted some of those articles (and yes, […]

Who evaluates Windows Server 2003 SP2?

Earlier this week, I blogged about Microsoft’s big patch, the newly released Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 — which is not only for all versions of Windows Server 2003, but also for the 64-bit version of Windows XP Professional. In my column in this week’s SD Times News on Thursday, “Patching Isn’t Just for […]

IP over Carrier Pigeon

IP over Avian Carriers. The Y10K bug. Telnet’s RANDOMLY-LOSE Option. The Null Encryption Algorithm. The Etymology of “Foo.” SONET to Sonnet Translation. The Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol. The Infinite Monkey Protocol Suite. Network technology experts Peter Salus and Thomas Limoncelli have compiled the best of the Internet Engineering Task Force specs into one […]

Service packs from Microsoft, Apple

Microsoft and Apple both released service packs yesterday. The Microsoft one is more significant, and applies to nearly all data-center Windows Server users. Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 is for all editions of Windows Server 2003, including Storage Server. It also applies to Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. There’s a huge list of changes […]

Happy Pi Day

A colleague cheerfully pointed out that today, March 14, is Pi Day — that is, it’s 3.14. (This makes more sense in countries where you put the month first; 14.3 for 14 March isn’t very “pi like.”) Frankly, I hadn’t heard of Pi Day before. I’d heard of Pie Day, but this is obviously different. […]

SCO’s big campaign that wasn’t

I was chatting with a colleague here at BZ Media’s New York headquarters office (I’m based near San Francisco, but trek out to NY every few months) about how companies react to negative coverage… and remembered this gem from The SCO Group last summer. The June 12, 2006, edition of SD Times News on Monday, […]

Free books! Get your free books!

Want a free book? I’m giving away two different titles: The first is “Software Security: Building Security In,” by Gary McGraw. Gary covers just about every aspect of software security, from risk management to code reviews, from testing to case development. The other book is “The Software Vulnerability Guide,” by Herbert “Hugh” Thompson and Scott […]

Three Daylight Savings Time follies

As you know, Daylight Savings Time (DST) in the United States was changed by an act of Congress, so that it starts earlier this year. For me personally, it’s been a bigger nuisance than Y2K (which wasn’t a nuisance at all). Here are three personal anecdotes: 1. On Sunday morning, I used my Garmin StreetPilot […]

A Turing award for Grace Hopper?

In my blog comments about the 2006 ACM A.M. Turing Award, won by Frances E. Allen, I wrote, “It’s a shame that it’s taken 40 years to recognize the first woman for the most prestigious award in computing.” A reader responded sardonically: I guess the Lady Admiral who wrote Fortran wasn’t very important… So I […]

It’s the stupid hard drive, stupid

I love my new Apple MacBook Pro, but I’ve been frustrated at how slow it seems, compared to my first-generation Intel-based 20-inch iMac. On the face of it, the MacBook Pro should blow the iMac out of the water. However, when the machines are running with lots of applications, the 15-inch MacBook Pro is a […]

IDEs are, like, so yesterday

When was the last time you asked your general contractor if the company had a power-tool standard, and whether it was Makita or DeWalt? Does your auto mechanic use wrenches from Sears or Snap-On? When I talk to carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other professionals, I’m engaging them to perform a task. I assume that they […]

iLaunch! You’ve gotta get one

I’m not always a fan of The Onion, but they outdid themselves this week with “Apple Unveils New Product-Unveiling Product.” Even amid fevered speculation, Apple was typically mum before the launch product’s launch, and Mac rumor websites failed to predict any major details about the new offering, other than the fact that it was going […]

Please, no cell phones on airplanes

Please, please, please, please, please. Don’t allow the use of cell phones on airplanes. I can sympathize completely with the philosophy espoused by Fortune columnist Stanley Bing in a piece in the Mar. 5 issue called “Called to His Reward.” (Oddly, in their online version, it’s called “Great big cell phones in the sky,” and […]

Help for coping with bad bosses

A few weeks ago, my colleague Edward Correia struck a nerve with his Feb. 22 Test/QA Report essay about team leaders behaving badly. We got some great letters from readers, some of which I included in my blog entry on the subject. Now, in yesterday’s Test & QA Report, Eddie has gone a step beyond […]

Good crop of winners in Eclipse Community Awards

Yesterday was the first day of EclipseCon, and I spent the afternoon in the Annual General Meeting of Eclipse Membership. This is where you hear people like Mike Milinkovich discuss the plans for the Foundation moving forward. New members are also introduced around, there are discussions of marketing, and so-on. An important part of the […]