Entries by Alan Zeichick

Brian May, Astronomer

As someone who started his academic career intending to study astronomy, I can’t help but admire Brian May, former guitarist from Queen. I had no idea that he’d been a Ph.D student in physics/infrared astronomy at Imperial College, London. May’s new book, “Bang! The Complete History Of The Universe,” came out this month. Z Trek […]

Dell’s AMD servers: When WHAT freezes over?

At Oracle OpenWorld today (which I did not attend), Dell introduced its first AMD-based servers, the PowerEdge SC1435 and PowerEdge 6950. Both are rack-mounted systems. The SC1435 is an entry-level pizza box with two dual-core Opterons; the 4U-high 6950 uses four chips. When you couple that with Apple’s move to Intel processors, and Sun’s supporting […]

Microsoft’s Atlas: AJAX the Greater

Homer’s Iliad has two Greek heros named Ajax. One is the giant king of Salamis, known as Ajax the Greater. The other is the prince of Locris, and called Ajax the Lesser (though, presumably, not to his face). It looks like Microsoft’s Atlas project (named after another mythological figure) is more like AJAX the Greater. […]

Alan on blogs, circa 2003

I stumbled across this three-year-old article, “Blogs: The Latest Option In Raising Your Voice Online,” written by Reid Goldsborough for Information Today. Reid interviewed me about blogs in early 2003, and my fundamental misgivings about their role in journalism haven’t changed. Most blogs don’t have editorial oversight, or any sort of objective review, and as […]

Microsoft Office security updates fail installation

Microsoft has issued several security updates for Office 2003 since Oct. 6, but they won’t install on my 64-bit Windows system. (It’s clearly not my weekend for working with software.) My big HP workstation (two single-core 2.6GHz Opteron processors, Win XP Pro x64, SP1) just won’t accept the seven “high priority” updates issued for Office […]

Sun Grid: Not ready for SaaS

A four-day outage for “scheduled maintenance”? That’s pretty bad for Software as a Service, but that’s the score with the Sun Grid. The Sun Grid Compute Utility was announced at the 2006 JavaOne conference, as a high-performance cluster that ordinary developers and customers can “rent” for $1 per CPU/hour to work with Java on a […]

Saving a few $$$ at STPCon

Today (Friday, Oct. 20) is the last day for discounted registrations to the Software Test & Performance Conference — tomorrow, the full conference passport price increases by $200. We’ve got a great conference for development and test/QA professionals, Nov. 7-9 at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge. There are lots of timely classes, including new tracks on […]

Good luck, Lindsey!

We had a retirement party on Wed. night for Lindsey Vereen, now Editor Emeritas of Software Test & Performance. I’ve worked with Lindsey off-and-on since 1991, when we were both at Miller Freeman. Lindsey (pictured) edited publications like Design Automation and Embedded Systems Programming, and also chaired the Embedded Systems Conference. He came over to […]

Stack Wars: Red Hat vs. Novell/IBM vs. Sun

After Red Hat purchased JBoss and created an integrated offering with Linux and a commercial-grade open-source Java EE app server, it was only a matter of time before Novell did the same. The answer has a singularly uncatchy name of “Integrated Stack for SUSE Linux Enterprise,” and launched this week out of a Novell partnership […]

Walking through the RCP code

I’m very excited about a new Web seminar that SD Times is doing with the Eclipse Foundation. Called “Anatomy of an Eclipse RCP Application,” it’s a public walk-through of an Eclipse Rich Client Platform app. The best way that I learn a platform is to look at code, and Wayne Beaton, the Eclipse evangelist, has […]

OpenUP and EssUP: Subsets of the RUP

My column in today’s edition of SD Times News on Thursday discusses two new subsets of the Rational Unified Process — OpenUP, which is implemented in the Eclipse Process Framework, and EssUP, developed by Ivar Jacobson for use with Visual Studio Team System. I’m anticipating that some people will ask, “Why didn’t you mention the […]

Shaking up paradise

Sunday’s earthquake in Hawaii sounded horrific. Fortunately, Larry O’Brien, Kona resident, SD Times columnist and Ultimate Frisbee player extraordinare, was unharmed by the falling tchotchkes. Things can be replaced, but Larry, Tina and Cheyenne are priceless. Doesn’t “Falling Tchotchkes” sound like a great name for an alternative rock-jazz fusion-klezmer band? Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan […]

No Evans DPC this year

Evans Data, citing poor attendee registration numbers, has cancelled its first-ever Development Products Conference. The conference, scheduled to be held in San Jose this Thu. and Fri., was billed as “If your job involves planning new technology products for developers to use, or positioning and marketing those products, this is the ONE conference you can’t […]

Three hundred million strong

According to demographers, the population of the United States reached 300 million today. (That’s a fuzzy number, plus/minus a few weeks or even a month, but as William Frey, Brookings Institute analyst, said last night on NPR’s All Things Considered, you might as well pick a date, since we’ll never know for sure.) The U.S. […]

A terabyte hard drive by end of the year?

Last spring, my good friend Andrew Binstock and I agreed upon a simple wager: Would we be able to purchase a terabyte hard drive, in a 3.5-inch form factor, by the end of 2006? At that time, 500GB drives were readily available at places like Best Buy and CompUSA. I believe that the 750GB drives […]

iPod nano (PRODUCT)RED

Apple is normally very good at branding. But what’s with their new iPod, called the iPod nano (PRODUCT)RED? (Initially, I thought the name was an HTML coding error on the Apple Web site.) I can’t argue with the largesse behind the product. The 4GB unit costs the same US$199 as Apple’s other 4GB iPod nanos, […]

Portland: A common set of Linux UIs

The OSDL has released Portland 1.0, its set of common interface for GNOME and KDE. Because Portland will be found in many Linux distros, such as Debian, Fedora and SUSE, it could help solve some of the forking problems that we’re seeing on the desktop. Let’s hope that the Linux community embraced Portland, and that […]

Very pleased with 80GB iPod

It’s the trickle-down effect: In August, my wife overflowed her 20GB iPod with Click Wheel, and took my 60GB iPod (pre-video). Somehow, in that process, I ended up with a black 80GB iPod with Video. I’m not complaining! The new iPod holds a ton of music — most of my library. (I don’t bother exporting […]

United loves to e-mail, and it shows

I spend a lot of time on airplanes — not as much as many of my colleagues, but it’s plenty. My default carrier is United Airlines, which has a hub in San Francisco, and which also has an e-mail flight notification system, called EasyUpdate. (A digression: At SFO, United promotes the service by boasting, “Only […]

Ray Noorda: The man who lost the LAN

Ray Noorda, best known for founding Novell, inventing the local-area network industry and then losing the LAN industry to Microsoft, died today. I only met Noorda a few times, in the last years of his tenure with Novell, and never had much personal interaction with him (the meetings were all at industry-related events), so I […]

Powell on leadership

Colin L. Powell, Gen. (Ret.), U.S. Army, former Secretary of State of the United States, is a very funny man. Gen. Powell had the audience in stitches during his keynote address at Dreamforce 2006, the user conference held by software-as-a-service pioneer Salesforce.com today in S.F. The general riffed on a number of themes: he mocked […]

See SPOT Run

Gosh, it’s tempting. Sun Microsystems offered to send me a evaluation kit of its Sun SPOT hardware platform SDK. SPOT, in this case, stands for Small Programmable Object Technologies. It’s a set of small, battery-operated wireless devices with an embedded Java Virtual Machine. (Alex Handy wrote about the kit in the July 15, 2006, issue […]

Guess I’m not getting on the Mono mailing list

From: email hidden; JavaScript is requiredTo: email hidden; JavaScript is requiredSubj: Request to mailing list Ximian-mono-list rejected Your request to the Ximian-mono-list mailing list Subscription request has been rejected by the list moderator. The moderator gave the following reason for rejecting your request: “[No reason given]” Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick

Microsoft: Customers are presumed guilty

At any moment, Microsoft’s Windows could decide that your operating system isn’t “legitimate.” And then, unless you buy a new software license, some functionality will be curtailed. This is all part of Microsoft’s fight against software piracy. With Windows XP, the amount of discomfort that an illegal software user (or a legal software user who […]

A market assessment

On Tuesday, October 3, 2006, the Dow Jones Industrial Average set a new record high – the first since January 14, 2000, more than six and one-half years ago. In the United States, the Dow (as this 30-stock index is popularly known) is the arguably the most widely quoted stock-market index. However, many people, myself […]

Berners-Lee, Gödel and Turing

What do Tim Berners-Lee, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing having in common? I’m not entirely sure. But that’s the title of a newly arrived book, “Thinking on the Web: Berners-Lee, Gödel and Turing,” by Peter Alesso and Craig Smith. I’m intrigued. The back cover says: Tim Berners-Lee, Kurt Gödel, and Alan Turing are the pivotal […]

More on Borland

My colleague Larry O’Brien has weighed in regarding Borland’s moves to rename/reposition/rejigger its Core SDP products into a new set of application life cycle suites. One upon a time, Larry was one of the biggest and most loyal Borland supporters imaginable, but his faith has waned, and waned and waned, and now it has waned […]

Borland’s Core Dump

Borland has a new application life cycle management strategy. The company, which has been undergoing a radical shift since the departure of CEO Dale Fuller last November, is moving away from its role-based Core SDP ALM solution. Instead, the company is releasing a new line of tools which are more function-based, called LQM. This strategy […]

Hewlett and Packard

The ongoing drama at Hewlett-Packard has me rapt with attention. Beyond its involvement with Mercury (which HP is in the process of buying), the corporate-spying scandal doesn’t have much immediately relevance to my own world of software development. However, it is a fascinating tale, and it’s interesting to watch it unfold. Certainly friends who work […]

Feed me!

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and I’m at that stage of my nascent blogging career. Two friends, upon hearing about my blog, suggested that I add a link to its XML feed to the blog page. Sounds easy, I thought. The software supports syndication feeds, and there’s a convenient CSS stylesheet. How hard […]