Z Trek: The Alan Zeichick Weblog

A cheesy news story

I was surprised this morning to find a press release from the creators of I Love Nacho Cheese, the self-described "worldwide leader in nacho cheese related news and entertainment," announcing that their Web site was written up in the San Jose…

Those crazy spammers

It's amazing how clever those spammers are.On Oct. 30, 2006, I set up a new mailbox on one of the domains that I manage. It's a hosted domain held by a major ISP. I just set up the mailbox, but didn't do anything with it. It's never sent a message,…

Mac hard-disk defrag helped but not much

Last month, I posted that my new MacBook Pro laptop was running more slowly than my year-old iMac – despite the fact that the MacBook Pro had a 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo processor, and the iMac had a 2.0GHz Core Duo processor.To make a long story…

The FCC grounds cell phones

We should all celebrate: Today, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has terminated its proceedings regardng the use of cellular phones onboard aircraft during flight.That's not to say that they won't bring the issue up in the future,…

What will Google think of next?

The über-dotcom's philosphy states "fast is better than slow," but their newest beta product, GMail Paper, challenges that belief. Indeed, for some things, ink-on-dead-trees may be better than pixels-on-recycled-phosphor.The folks at Google…

The programmers' blood-doping scandal?

One of our industry's most laconic yet unpredictable writers, retired test engineer I.B. Phoolen, has written three new stories for BZ Media's SD Times and Software Test & Performance. He covers such diverse subjects as network firewalls, the…

Three art awards for Team ST&P

Team ST&P is celebrating that BZ Media's Software Test & Performance magazine won three 2007 American Inhouse Design Awards, from the editors of Graphic Design USA.The winners are:• The cover of the October 2006 issue — the floating “root…

Big kudos for Bertrand Meyer and Eiffel

Bertrand Meyer, the designer of the Eiffel programming language (and founder of Eiffel Software, which sells development tools) has just been recognized by the ACM with its 2006 Software System Award.The citation reads,"For designing and developing…

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…

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…

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.…
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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…

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…

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…

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…

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…
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Turing Award for Grace Hopper: The ACM responds

On March 1, a blog reader responded to the news about the 2006 ACM A.M. Turing Award — which recognized Fran Allen as the first female recipient of this honor — asking a pointed question: I guess the Lady Admiral who wrote Fortran wasn't…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…