Entries by Alan Zeichick

The Z Trek guide to perfect holiday gifts

1. My colleague Larry O’Brien blogged about a reproduction of the original Altair 8800. For under US$1,700 you can own a piece of history. 2. I just treated myself to the 87th edition of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. It’s just the thing if your reading tastes include the magnetic susceptibility of the […]

XQuery: An important specification

The XQuery 1.0 specification — in progress since the Mesolithic era — reached a new milestone last week: it’s now a Proposed Recommendation from the W3C. (Well, no, it’s not really dating back 8000 years, but XQuery has been in progress since early 2003.) XQuery is important because it’s essentially the XML-based analog to SQL. […]

You are a strange loop

Somebody must like me: I checked my P.O. Box today, and found an “advance uncorrected proof” of Douglas Hofstadter’s “I Am A Strange Loop,” due out in March 2007 from Perseus Books. Dr. Hofstadter is best known as the author of “Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid,” a philosophical tome which I’ve read several […]

Happy birthday, APL

A fond memory from my early IT career, in the late 1970s, was working with APL — A Programming Language — on the IBM mainframe. Our data center had one LA36 DECwriter II terminal that had the special APL character set, and a small number of enthusiasts used to fight over who got to use […]

It’s Vista day!

Under the slogan “Ready for a New Day,” Microsoft has released Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange Server 2007 to its business customers. Retail versions will be out next year. Windows Vista: It sure looks pretty, and some initial reports indicate that it fixes many of the appalling security flaws that plagued Windows XP. It […]

Microsoft shafts Novell, targets Linux

What the heck are Microsoft and Novell up to? At the beginning of this month, the companies announced a multi-part agreement, wherein they’d work together to improve interoperability between SUSE Linux and Windows. That’s all well and good. But there’s more to the agreement, much more, that is not well and good. * Microsoft agreed […]

27 must-have Eclipse plug-ins!

The latest edition of Eclipse Review is out: Subscribers should be receiving it in their physical or virtual mailbox this week. However, even if you’re not a subscriber, you can download the full issue as a PDF right now. There’s lots of goodness in this issue: 27 Must-Have Eclipse Plug-Ins. Rick Wayne takes you on […]

Joel on shutting down Windows…

Joel Spolsky wrote an excellent blog entry on the plethora of options for shutting down Windows Vista — and contrasting that to devices like the iPod, which don’t even have an on/off switch. Joel references Barry Schwartz’s well-written “The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less,” which explains why many people get frustrated when there […]

Thoughts on two Monday news stories

Because the American Thanksgiving holiday is happening on November 23, we’re not publishing our SD Times News on Thursday this week. So, no “Zeichick’s Take” column. In lieu of this, here are my thoughts on two stories in yesterday’s SD Times News on Monday: In “Salesforce Raking in the Revenue,” Jeff Feinman (the newest member […]

Hejlsberg on generics

I stumbled upon this interview with Microsoft’s Anders Hejlsberg on generics in modern languages. This is not new: Anders talked to Bruce Eckel for this seven-part interview back in 2003, and the generics conversation is at the end of that series. The full series is Part I: The C# Design Process Part II: The Trouble […]

Open Source Java: Not a community…

I’ve had a few more days to think about Sun’s decision to release Java SE and Java ME as open source software. You can read my thoughts in today’s Zeichick’s Take column for SD Times News on Thursday. Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick

Subscribe to the SD Times RSS Feed

Many people have asked for it, and now it’s ready: the SD Times RSS news feed. It’s the first of several planned feeds that our Web dev team, led by Craig Reino, is building. This inaugural feed contains timely news from SD Times, including the latest from our twice-weekly “News on Monday” newsletter. And there’s […]

Leads are not the final word in sales

“We get it, media buyers. You want leads. And who doesn’t? But have you forgotten the value of building a brand?” That’s the question that David Karp, advertising sales manager for BZ Media’s Software Test & Performance business unit, asks in his thoughtful guest column in the November, 2006, edition of Folio Magazine. Effective marketing […]

Borland to spin off CodeGear

Speaking of Borland: The company announced today that it’s spinning off its Developer Tools Group — you know, JBuilder, Delphi, C++Builder and the other integrated development environments — into a wholly owned subsidiary. CodeGear will be led by Ben Smith as CEO. He’s been with Borland for a year, and I never heard of him […]

Talking to Borland… soon, we hope

For the second time, Borland has postponed an “all editors” briefing with SD Times, geared at helping us understand their technology, product and business strategy. The two-hour call was initially set for Oct. 24, and was to have included Tod Neilsen (pictured), their new CEO; Rick Jackson, the SVP for strategy; and Marc Brown, the […]

Embedded development using Eclipse

Big milestones were announced today from the Eclipse Device Software Development Platform (DSDP, in Eclipse-speak), as two core projects hit their “1.0” releases and one came close: Target Management (TM), release version 1.0 Mission: The goal of Target Management is to create data models and frameworks to configure and manage embedded systems, their connections and […]

Open source breakthrough: Java to go GPL

As Alex Handy reported on sdtimes.com, Sun is releasing Java SE and Java ME under the GPL 2 license. Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz maintains that this move is not a reaction to all the moves in Linux-land, with Oracle hoovering Red Hat and Microsoft playing footsie with Novell. While it’s impossible to know exactly what Sun’s […]

Benjamin Netanyahu: Economics 101

My first impression of Benjamin Netanyahu, former prime minister of Israel, is “Wow, this guy’s really smart.” That impression stayed with me through his nearly two-hour presentation in Palo Alto yesterday (Nov. 12). His appearance was sponsored by Silicom Ventures, a venture capital investment group. Netanyahu spoke eloquently on a number of topics, focusing on […]

Jonathan Schwartz & the SEC

On Sept. 25, 2006, Jonathan Schwartz, the CEO of Sun, wrote to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Schwartz wants to be able to use the Internet — including his official blog, hosted on Sun’s servers — to disseminate company news, including financial data and product releases. Currently, publicly traded corporations must use traditional methods […]

STPCon: Bursting at the seams!

Reports from the Software Test & Performance Conference, going on right now in Cambridge, Mass., are that the three-day event is packed. Not just with technical classes, but also with attendees. STPCon sold out of its full event passes a couple of week ago and then all the remaining tutorials-only seats went too. (The exhibition […]

Passports in lead foil

On October 17, 2006, the U.S. Department of State announced a new Federal rule proposing the use of RFID chips in card-sized passports. There have been similar proposals for standard passports for a couple of years now. As a person who travels overseas occasionally (generally once or twice per year), this is worrisome. I don’t […]

Eudora goes open source… and won’t survive

Qualcomm announced that it’s discontinuing development of Eudora, and will release the code as open source software in the first half of 2007. While I like Eudora (it’s my favorite Windows e-mail client, and I’ve been a paid-up customer for many years), the synergies between Eudora and the rest of Qualcomm’s product line is zero. […]

Software Security Summit in Silicon Valley

I’m delighted to report that registration is now open for the 4th Software Security Summit. For the first time, we’re bringing the conference to the Bay Area: April 16-17, 2007, in San Mateo. That’s between San Francisco and San Jose, at the northern end of Silicon Valley. This year, we’ve shortened S-3 to two days: […]

Microsoft Doesn’t Like Linux

The strongest threat toward Microsoft’s revenue is Linux. Any consumer who is running Linux on a desktop isn’t going to use Microsoft Office, can’t leverage the features of Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player. Beyond an Xbox, it’s unlikely that a Linux desktop user will pay for any Microsoft products or services. Any IT department […]

Happy birthday, Eclipse

It’s been five years since IBM launched Eclipse as an open-source project. The technology had been incubating inside Big Blue since the late 1990s as a next-generation Java IDE, but IBM’s announcement that it was open-sourcing Eclipse, on Nov. 7, 2001, set the platform on the path to super-accelerated growth. Today, Eclipse is second only […]

Apple’s Universal Binary program

With the release of QuarkXPress 7 for the Mac OS X, the move toward Universal Binary — applications which contain bits for both Intel x86 and PowerPC processors — is progressing very well. In studying my own software usage with Apple Activity Monitor, the only business-critical non-x86 binaries on my iMac are Microsoft’s Office 2004 […]

Battlestar Galactica: The brave little toaster

It’s a terrible pun, but I have to make it: A group of us were discussing the new Battlestar Galactica series (we’re hooked), and the characters on it. Someone said that Sharon “Boomer” Valerii was a sympathetic, brave character. “Yes, she’s a brave little toaster,” I replied — and then ran to Google to see […]

Spot the SPOT?

Am still waiting for the Sun SPOT kit. The contact at Sun who offered to send me a kit doesn’t have an ETA. And from the comments on Sun’s mailing list, the company’s SPOT team doesn’t have an ETA either. Postings on that list indicate problems regarding the RoHS compliance of the hardware, which means […]

Oracle Linux vs. Microsoft and Sun

A couple of other points regarding Oracle Linux: What does this mean for Oracle’s non-Linux operating system partners, Microsoft and Sun? Microsoft, while competing against Oracle’s database with SQL Server, likes being a high-volume platform for running Oracle 10g, as well as Oracle’s many applications. Expect to see Microsoft to gently step up its assaults […]