Software development techniques behind the magic user interface

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I wonder how many people, as I did, found themselves thrown into confusion by the death last week of Jean Ichbiah (pictured), inventor of Ada.  Learning that the inventor of a computer programming language is already old enough to have lived 66 years (Ichbiah was 66 when he succumbed to brain cancer) is a little like learning that your 11-year-old daughter has grown up and left home or that the first car you ever bought no longer is legal because it runs on gasoline in an age where all automobiles must run on water. How can something as novel, as new, as a computing language possibly already be so old-fangled that an early practitioner like Ichbiah can already no longer be with us? The thought was so disquieting that it took me immediately back to the last time I wrote about Ichbiah, and indeed about Ada Lovelace for whom his language was named. It was in the context ... (more)

How to install Linux over a network

(LinuxWorld) -- Linux doesn't exist in a vacuum. The PC industry remains driven by Microsoft and the ever-upward hardware requirements of each successive transmogrification of Windows. Linux distribution developers recognize this and expend great effort attempting to ensure each new release of their product installs and configures more easily than previous versions -- on well-equipped, late-model PCs. That's a good thing, but as a result recent Linux converts have never installed Linux on the sort of minimal hardware that makes Linux server-centrism so cost effective: Aged 486s and first-generation Pentiums with little RAM and no CD-ROM drive. In Part 4, we ripped into the nuts and bolts of post-installation Linux PC X terminal configuration. For those whose powerful network still lies dormant for lack of an installed operating system on the desktop machines, we tu... (more)

Personal Branding Checklist

This is a checklist of items you need for an all-encompassing personal branding strategy. Personal branding is the process of marketing and selling yourself as a brand in order to gain success in business. Personal branding is a continual process just as knowing yourself is a continual process. As you grow, so does your brand. The need for personal branding arises from the fact that globalization has increased competition in the workplace. As the wheat is separated from the chaff, if you are left standing, you are left standing with others of good caliber. The playing field is now that much more challenging since your competition is as good as, or better, than you. To paraphrase David Samuel, the bloke who got me into personal branding after I saw him speak a few years ago; he spoke about of why you need personal branding. His audience was a group from a large teleco... (more)

What's Next After SOA?

This is the time of year when trend or predication articles start cropping up. Year after year I'm asked if I would be interested in writing about what's to come. You see I have an uncanny ability to pick lottery numbers. Unfortunately my lottery guesses, like most articles that look into the future, aren't right most of the time. So I usually say no, and leave my writing time to topics of here and now. I was approached about the forward-looking topic, "What's Next after SOA." That one I couldn't turn down. Oh, what an opportunity to write about SOA 2.0 or is it 3.0? Come on, I hear the Web is up to version 4.0. The title "What's Next after SOA" frustrated me. We seem to thrive on moving on before we finish our job. Maybe this is a high- tech/Silicon Valley thing. I think that in the heartland of technology use - like in government and most real companies like bank... (more)

Tackling Dependencies

You don't have to be around Linux for long before you hear about "the dependency problem," which is no problem at all for many users - until the day it bites them. In a nutshell, the problem is that most Linux applications depend on the operating system to provide various pieces of functionality that the applications need. These components most often take the form of shared libraries that are dynamically loaded and linked to the application at runtime. Problems occur when one or more of these libraries are replaced with a different (usually newer) version. Provided all the interfaces remain the same and the semantics of the functionality remain the same, there's no problem. However, due to security fixes, bug fixes, or new or improved functionality, the interfaces and semantics can and do change, and the changes can be enough to break the application. In general, i... (more)

A Real-Time Physical Inventory Solution Using PocketBuilder, ASA, and a Wi-Fi Connection

Why do a physical inventory? A physical inventory count is necessary to reconcile the quantity on hand stored in a database versus what is really on the shelf. In a retail environment, this process is typically done once a year. In a perfect world, these values would always be in sync. The value would be decremented when items are sold and incremented when items are received. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Consider shrinkage, shoplifting, and, my personal favorite, software bugs. Through a case study, this article will show how easy it is to architect a wireless real-time PocketBuilder application to replace a hardware-based data collection device used for physical inventory updates to an enterprise database. Specifically, a Symbol PPT8800 Pocket PC will be compared and contrasted to an American Micro M5000 Laser barcode scanner. We will show how the Po... (more)

An Exclusive Interview With Creator Of MyEclipse IDE

Recently I had a chance to chat with Maher Masri, the CEO of Genuitec, the company that offers the Eclipse-based Java IDE called MyEclipse.  While several  years ago people would not be surprised seeing a $3000 price tag on a Java IDE, today even $30 (the price of MyEclipse) makes some people frown. So I was eager to find out why should I even consider purchasing  this IDE  if Eclipse fits the bill for most of the Java developers. Q. Maher, what relative success have you had in converting downloads into paying customers? A. MyEclipse is currently used by more than 330,000 developers in 150 countries representing more than 9000 companies around the globe.  $30 is a phenomenal value for what our customers get from MyEclipse.  Many customers have to ask, more than once, if the price is real and if there are further or hidden costs.  They are even more surprised to find o... (more)

Multi-Core Debugging and Performance Enhancement

Computer systems have fully entered the age of multi-core processing. This trend was examined in a white paper entitled, "Preparing for the Revolution, Maximizing Dual-Core Technology." While much of the focus had been on dual-core processors, Intel has now delivered quad-core processors and AMD has announced quad-core availability in 2007. Software developers who are just taking advantage of multiple processors also need to be looking ahead since even larger multi-core platforms will reach the market soon. This new technology puts additional pressures on complex applications. In essence, the push beyond dual-cores has made the choice of development tools a key factor for successful projects. When writing multi-core software, there are two important issues facing software developers. The first and most familiar is correctness of the program, i.e., does the program ... (more)

Time to Build iPhone Applications Using Web 2.0 Technologies!

Kevin Hoffman's Blog I was sitting down the other night contemplating what I was going to do for a good sample iPhone application when I realized, I'm not just building an iPhone application anymore. That's right - I'm actually building applications that work on the iPod Touch as well. Seriously, let's run this down bullet-style: iPod touch comes with Wi-Fi access iPhone comes with Wi-Fi access and EDGEiPod touch comes with Safari iPhone comes with SafariiPod touch has multi-touch interface, which includes tapping, pinching and flicking iPhone has multi-touch interface So, for those of you who were on the fence about building iPhone applications using Web 2.0 technologies, think about this: Your potential list of application users is about to grow beyond users of the iPhone, and will include a crapload of people buying new iPods. If you think about the ubiquitous nat... (more)

TechWave 2007

This year TechWave 2007 took place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. For those of you who didn't make it, the following is a recap of the events, with a couple of thoughts and suggestions thrown in. Sunday Officially the only thing going on Sunday was conference registration. However, there is a private TeamSybase/Sybase reception on Sunday evening where, among other things, new TeamSybase members are inducted. This year we added one new member: Roland Smith. Photos of the reception - along with all the other photos I've taken at TechWave - are available at http://public.fotki.com/brucearmstrong/techwave/2007/. The quality is a little spotty. I just purchased a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 just for TechWave to get better shots (it's still a compact point and shoot, but it has 10x optical zoom), but it really chews up the battery and I didn't have a spare battery. So some of ... (more)

Dear Slashdot: You Get What You Pay For

Open Source SSL Accelerator solution not as cost effective or well-performing as you think o3 Magazine has a write up on building an SSL accelerator out of Open Source components. It's a compelling piece, to be sure, that was picked up by Slashdot and discussed extensively. If o3 had stuck to its original goal - building an SSL accelerator on the cheap - it might have had better luck making its arguments. But it wanted to compare an Open Source solution to a commercial solution. That makes sense, the author was trying to show value in Open Source and that you don't need to shell out big bucks to achieve similar functionality. The problem is that there are very few - if any - commercial SSL accelerators on the market today. SSL acceleration has long been subsumed by load balancers/application delivery controllers and therefore a direct comparison between o3's Open ... (more)