Sunday, April 13, 2003

MFA in Software Proposal
Richard Gabriel has developed a proposal for MFA in Software program. For me there is a lot we in the industry can learn from this. There are many problems in enterprise software specifically which require a mixture of ar and science to solve adequately. Hopefully, some industry momentum can be built up around this concept, since the discipline of software engineering as it is currently defined, clearly does not work well in practice.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Get Pattern Recognition at ThinkGeek
William Gibson's latest book is now available via ThinkGeek.
Russian mafia, computer hacking and people who have fits about bad design, what more could you want out of a novel?
Use Cases Suck...or Do They?
Ok, I cannot say that they were my favorite thing to write or read when I was coming up through the programming ranks, BUT I have come to appreciate the beasts more and more. There are so many reasons why enterprise development projects fail, but at the highest level it usually comes down to lack of talent/resources, complexity, and/or time/project management.

IME, companies will eventually get people with the right experience and talent involved in the project, however not always at the right time and in the right capacity. Complexity is just a relaity we all need to deal with. So the single biggest reason why projects failis poor management. The biggest culprit is due to unrelaistic timeframes based on a poor understanding of the problem domain.

So anything that can assist non-technical managers grok and manage the problem space, i.e. do their jobs, is useful. Therefore it is our responsibility as developers and architects to advocate for a clear definition of the business problems. Are Use Cases perfect? Not by a long shot, but can anyone think something better?

Alistair Cockburn's Usecases.org

Monday, April 07, 2003

How to Crash and Burn Your Java Project
In the spirit of "AnitPatterns," Pete McBreen offers up this wry bit of advice on where enterprise Java projects go off the rails. I particularly enjoyed the Use Case parts. Many are eager to slam Use Cases although you rarely hear good alternatives. I also wonder how much of the anti-Use Case propaganda coming out the programming camp is just next generation business vs. technology "disconnects."

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Computers, Freedom and Privacy 2003
Talks are available online now. Important to listen to and understand where security fits in the context of the computing industry, who is pushing for which security measures, and what are the impacts to us?
Revolution OS DVD Released CSS-free
Revolution OS which is a movie about GNU/Linx/Open Source has appropriately enough released its DVD w/o CSS "piracy protection. Read Wired's article here. The movie has interviews with the software luminaries you would expect like rms, Linus Torvalds, Bruce Perens, and Eric Raymond.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Hans Blix Speaks
The direct deal from the Swedish UN Inspector in this article in the Guardian. "The noble art of losing face will one day save the human race."
Flyfishing in Mexico
Maccabi (Spanish for bonefish) can grow 10 lbs or larger. The avg. first run is around 150 yds at 30 mph for a large one. They can be found in the Sian Kaan along with permit, tarpon, and, sometimes, los crocodillos.

The jungle road is tough, but the rewards are great. Bonefish Bum is a guide service who will help you track the elusive pesces...if you get that far ;-p
Required Reading: The Tao of the Software Architect
Philippe Kruchten revists Lao Tzu and applies the wisdom to today's software architectural challenges in: The Tao of the Software Architect. It is a very inspirational piece. Impossible to choose a favorite, but I love these:

"The great way is easy,
yet programmers prefer the side paths.
Be aware when things are out of balance.
Remain centered within the design. (53)

The architect's power is like this.
He let all things come and go
effortlessly, without desire.
He never expect results;
thus he is never disappointed.
He is never disappointed,
thus his spirit never grows old. (55)"

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Diligence, Patience, Humility by Larry Wall
Probably my all-time favorite article on software engineering written by the father of PERL. Larry Wall writes about the values of the programming community. The values he addresses are directly at odds with the classical programming values: laziness, impatience and hubris.

He also gives some background into the design of PERL by contrasting it to the English language.

"English is useful because it's a mess. Since English is a mess, it maps well onto the problem space, which is also a mess, which we call reality. Similarly, Perl was designed to be a mess (though in the nicest of possible ways)."

Tech Books
If you live in Colorado or Massachusetts, you are near SoftPro Books a book store that sells only tech books. Pretty much any technology book you can think of.
Wesley Clark in 2004?
AFAICT, the Democrats best hope, by far, for 2004 is General Wesley Clark. He is the rarest of combinations, socially liberal and politically savvy (he ws Supreme Commander of NATO). Plus, perhaps most important in this media-obsessed country he comes across well on TV.

Monday, March 24, 2003

CNN Has Warblog Paused
Kevin Sites announced on his Blog that CNN has asked him to pause for awhile.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Linux/Open Source Movie
After touring numerous film festivales, the movie Revolution OS is now available on DVD and VHS. Features interviews with Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman and a host of programming luminaries.
Practical Cryptography
Bruce Schneier and Niels Ferguson's new book Practical Cryptography is available. The premise is to take a more "in the trenches" rather than an academic view towards implementing cryptographic solutions. Schneier's track record as a writer and researcher bode well for this usefulness of this book.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Today I Weep For My Country
Check out Robert Byrd's speech to the US Senate. To the everlasting shame of our democracy his was one of the only voices to be heard in the "debate" on the war. How does a complete paradigm shift occur without any discussion or open debate?

I am not a government, global affairs, or military expert, but it is clear that the fundamental rules of engagement have now been altered, because of our pre-emptive strike. Yet this 180 degree policy U-turn warranted minimal deliberation at the highest levels meanwhile millions demonstrated in the streets. This is a democracy in action?

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Iraq: Roots of Hatred
This article in the Observer provides a detailed background of the current administrations policies, and attempts to describe the mentality behind the unilateral approach we see today.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Beastie Boys Weigh In On Iraq
The Beastie Boys have posted a song, In A World Gone Mad from their forthcoming CD. If you have a slow connection or just plain don't like hip hop, then you can read the lyrics which are both funny and heartbreaking at the same time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

J2EE and .Net Component Security Considerations
You can read online a three part series comparing component security models that I wrote for Information Security Bulletin in the UK.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Dear Mr. Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut weighs in on Iraq and Bush administration's conduct.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Cryptogram
Author of Applied Cryptography, Bruce Schneier's monthly newsletter Cryptogram is a useful overview of the articles, issues and politics in computer security, plus Bruce's analysis.
"The Strategies of Sun Tzu and Multiple Levels of Deception: How to Play Chess While the Board is Disappearing"
Complete speech by the always thought provoking Richard Thieme at BlackHat 2000 conference. You can download it here. Very relevant to the current chaotic world situation.
Patterns
Christopher Alexander's work in "real world" architecture on Pattern Languages directly influenced GOF's Design Patterns. Alexander's latest body of work, a 4 volume set titled Nature Of Order is garnering some very positive reviews.

" ... Book 2 alone is likely to change the whole field of Computer Science ..." Richard Gabriel