Friday, April 26, 2002

Universal Instant Messenger: Trillian

I rarely recommend software products but this one is really cool. I dumped my Yahoo messenger and can get instant messages from Yahoo, AOL, etc.

Communicate with Flexibility and Style. Trillian is everything you need for instant messaging. Connect to ICQ®, AOL Instant Messenger(SM), MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and IRC in a single, sleek and slim interface.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Project Management: Object Lessons from a Death March

Schuh, Peter. Recovery, Redemption, and Extreme Programming. IEEE Software 18:6:34-41, Nov/Dec 2001.

The Nov/Dec 2001 IEEE Software journal focuses on Agile Processes. Great articles! One of the best is by Peter Schuh which describes a death march where XP was a luxury that could not be afforded. We have all been on a death march once or twice and a few of us have survived. Peter gives us a really good discussion of what to do when it happens by really doing it!

XML: The XML Schema standard resolves many issues with DTDs

XML Schemas vs. DTDs: With the release of XML schemas, you have a more powerful mechanism for validating XML documents.
by Dan Wahlin Posted April 22, 2002

The XML Schema standard provides a more powerful capability for validating XML documents. It starts with being consistent with XML standard syntax which DTDs are not. It fully supports namespaces and data types. As data interchange becomes more widely used, typing is critical to ensure interoperability between systems.

XML: Java 1.3 Automates SOAP Calls

Automate SOAP Calls in Java with the Proxy Pattern: Learn how to leverage the power of SOAP and the proxy pattern to develop scalable applications by Henry Bequet. JavaPro Journal, Jan 2002.

SOAP is the standard for web services interfaces. Java 1.3 automates it. Need I say more?

Bequet summarizes:
"When you're programming an application in which remote computers need to exchange objects over the Web—for example, an n-tier application in which the client sends requests to the server over HTTP—you have a choice of approaches. A prime candidate for the content of the requests is XML. However, generating and parsing the XML, both on the client and on the server, can be tedious and error prone. An alternative is to use remote method invocation (RMI). But RMI has its own drawbacks—it forces all callers to be Java compliant, and it compromises scalability by requiring a "live" remote object. A better solution for this type of situation is the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). SOAP is a powerful tool that can solve communication problems between remote computers."

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Cool Book: Diffusion of Innovations

Rodgers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations, Fourth Edition. Free Press, 1995.

I own and have read and reread the first two editions of this book. The only other book that comes close in causing such a radical change in thinking about technology innovation is Christensen, Clayton M. The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Harvard Business School Press, 1997.

Amazon's comments: Since the first edition of this landmark book was published in 1962, Everett Rogers's name has become "virtually synonymous with the study of diffusion of innovations," according to Choice. The second and third editions of Diffusion of Innovations became the standard textbook and reference on diffusion studies. Now, in the fourth edition, Rogers presents the culmination of more than thirty years of research...

The fourth edition is (1) a revision of the theoretical framework and the research evidence supporting this model of diffusion, and (2) a new intellectual venture, in that new concepts and new theoretical viewpoints are introduced. This edition differs from its predecessors in that it takes a much more critical stance in its review and synthesis of 5,000 diffusion publications. During the past thirty years or so, diffusion research has grown to be widely recognized, applied and admired, but it has also been subjected to both constructive and destructive criticism. This criticism is due in large part to the stereotyped and limited ways in which many diffusion scholars have defined the scope and method of their field of study. Rogers analyzes the limitations of previous diffusion studies, showing, for example, that the convergence model, by which participants create and share information to reach a mutual understanding, more accurately describes diffusion in most cases than the linear model.

Rogers provides an entirely new set of case examples, from the Balinese Water Temple to Nintendo videogames, that beautifully illustrate his expansive research, as well as a completely revised bibliography covering all relevant diffusion scholarship in the past decade. Most important, he discusses recent research and current topics, including social marketing, forecasting the rate of adoption, technology transfer, and more. This all-inclusive work will be essential reading for scholars and students in the fields of communications, marketing, geography, economic development, political science, sociology, and other related fields for generations to come.

Strongly recommended. This is one of the few books that I reread periodically.

Barry Boehme's Agile Workshop Summary

Summary of the First eWorkshop on Agile Methods, April 8, 2002

Boehm, B. Get Ready for Agile Methods, with Care. IEEE Computer, Jan 2002, pp. 64-69.
A new generation of developers cites the crushing weight of corporate bureaucracy, the rapid pace of information technology change, and the dehumanizing effects of detailed plan-driven development as cause for revolution. In their rallying cry, the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, these developers call for a revitalized approach to development that dispenses with all but the essentials.

Friday, April 19, 2002

Languages: C# causing trouble for Java?

Williamson, Alan. There May be Trouble Ahead... Java Developers Journal 7:4.

C# is not a Windows only language, is not an inferior Java clone, and is not a web services language only. It's a subtle way for Microsoft to unofficially support the growing number of Linux seats without losing face.

Voluminous slashdot comments:
Posted by michael on Friday April 12, @04:51PM
from the spill-proof-container-needed dept.
Jeremy Geelan writes "The editor-in-chief of the world's largest journal devoted to Java wonders whether, with the arrival of Microsoft's C# programming language on the scene, Java perhaps has only 5 years or so left to live. Javaland has erupted! This is a little like Bill Gates wondering out loud whether to send Scott McNealy a Christmas card. But is Alan Williamson right? Read this short article and decide for yourself."

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Project Management: Can FAA Salvage Its IT Disaster?

The FAA's Course Correction
By David Carr and Edward Cone
Its tortuous route to modernizing air traffic control systems has cost the Federal Aviation Administration billions. Has the agency finally learned its lessons?

An interesting sidebar to this article is an analysis of costs of waterfall vs. spiral approach to development. The analysis indicates that the waterfall approach will always be overbudget and late when the user changes the requirements at the 11th hour. In the spiral approach with iterative deliveries, the user changes requirements earlier and the project comes in on time and on budget. Download the charts and graphs.

Technology Update: Supercomputer smashes world speed record

18:16 18 April 02 news service

A Japanese supercomputer has recorded the fastest "floating point" calculation speed of any computer on the planet. The feat is reported in the latest edition of the Linpack report, a ranking of supercomputer performance. The Earth Simulator at the Marine Science and Technology Center in Kanagawa, notched up 35.61 teraflops - that is over 35 trillion "floating point" calculations per second. The speed is five times faster than that recorded by the previous record holder, IBM's ASCI White at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. This computer achieved a benchmark of 7.23 teraflops.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Security: CSI Seventh Annual Computer Crime and Security Survey

Mark Joseph Edwards reports highlights from the results of the Computer Security Institute's (CSI's) recently released seventh annual Computer Crime and Security Survey. The Computer Security Institute (CSI) recently released the findings of its seventh annual Computer Crime and Security Survey, conducted in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) San Francisco-based Computer Intrusion Squad. According to the survey,
computer crimes and their related costs continue to increase.

Survey results are based on responses from 503 security practitioners who work in the business, government, finance, medical, and higher- education sectors. The survey reports that 90 percent of the respondents detected security breaches in the past 12 months and 80 percent suffered measurable financial losses. Of the organizations that
suffered losses, 223 respondents quantified their losses, which totaled $455,848,000. Respondents attributed most losses to theft of proprietary information and financial fraud. Three-quarters of respondents said that their Internet connections were the most frequent points of attack.

Fill out a form for a free copy of the report.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Security: CERT recommends removing or disabling SNMP

Jiang, Guofei. Multiple Vulnerabilities in SNMP. Security and Privacy-2002, Supplement to IEEE Computer 88:4, April 2002.
For more than a decade, many network administrators have relied on SNMP, the Simple Network Management Protocol, to monitor and manage network devices. Now in its third release, SNMP has become the de facto standard for network management since its development in 1987. However, a recent report from the computer security watchdog CERT Coordination Center1 indicates that vulnerabilities in many SNMP implementations have left the products of more 100 vendors vulnerable to attack. Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities could lead to unauthorized privileged access, denial of service attacks, or other undesirable behaviors.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Software Development: A unified theory of software evolution

by Sam Williams,, 8 April 2002
"Software evolution, i.e. the process by which programs change shape, adapt to the marketplace and inherit characteristics from preexisting programs, has become a subject of serious academic study in recent years. Partial thanks for this goes to Lehman and other pioneering researchers. Major thanks, however, goes to the increasing strategic value of software itself. As large-scale programs such as Windows and Solaris expand well into the range of 30 to 50 million lines of code, successful project managers have learned to devote as much time to combing the tangles out of legacy code as to adding new code. Simply put, in a decade that saw the average PC microchip performance increase a hundredfold, software's inability to scale at even linear rates has gone from dirty little secret to industry-wide embarrassment."

ACM tech news reports:
"Imperial College of Technology's Meir Lehman has seen his theory on software evolution move from relative obscurity to major academic focus, especially as software's scalability limitations become plain in the face of climbing microchip performance levels. His work sprang from his years as an IBM researcher, when he studied the development of the OS/360 mainframe and discovered that debugging activity was declining as lines of software code were increasing, and predicted that the product would be mired in over-complexity; his warning was largely ignored, and his prediction came to pass. Lehman has formulated eight software laws that often use a physical template: The Second Law of software evolution, for example, takes its cue from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. More recent laws include the Law of Continuing Growth, which states that "the functional capability of E-type [evolutionary] systems must be continually increased to maintain user satisfaction over the system lifetime." By expanding the graphs and data he compiled 30 years ago, Lehman demonstrates that the growth rate of large software programs follows an inverse square pattern before over-complexity cripples them. Getting a handle on the feedback loops that direct software development--such as internal debugging, desires of individual developers, and market demand--will rein in the software's complexity, he postulates. "I believe that a theory of software evolution could eventually translate into a theory of software engineering," Lehman says. Other researchers are applying and refining his theory to gain insight on the development of open-source software and invent new technologies, such as the Beagle tool created by Rick Holt of the University of Waterloo."

Security: Dangerous Hole in Windows 2000 and Windows NT Grants Users Full Control

Windows & .net Magazine, 10 April 2002.

"Three weeks after a user discovered and disclosed information about a dangerous security hole in Windows 2000 and Windows NT, Microsoft still hasn't uttered a peep to its customers about the problem. The exploit, known as DebPloit, lets an intruder gain system-level access—-even with the Guest account.

"On March 14, Radim Picha discovered the security flaw and reported it to Microsoft. He then posted a message to the NTBugTraq mailing list about his discovery. Picha's post includes a link to a .zip file that contains complete source code that demonstrates the problem, as well as text files that explain how the exploit works."

OMG Model Driven Architecture Drives F16 Development

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics at Fort Worth used the OMG's Model Driven Architecture to develop the F-16 Modular Mission Computer (MMC) Application Software. Their goal was to achieve cross-platform compatibility and increased productivity and quality. Cost reduction was estimated at 20%. The more interesting aspect of this project is that application models in UML are the primary source. Code is not maintained and is autogenerated for each specific piece of hardware/software implementation.

The OMG Model Driven Architecture is the next generation of the Business Object Architecture effort which I described in my ACM StandardsView paper, "Why I Love the OMG: Emergence of a Business Object Component Architecture."

Saturday, April 06, 2002

Technology Update: Oil Crisis Solution

The MEG (Motionless Electromagnetic Generator), with no moving parts, will give a steady flow of 2.5 Kilowatts forever without the input of any fuel whatsoever.

US Patent 6362718: Motionless Electromagnetic Generator


An electromagnetic generator without moving parts includes a permanent magnet and a magnetic core including first and second magnetic paths. A first input coil and a first output coil extend around portions of the first magnetic path, while a second input coil and a second output coil extend around portions of the second magnetic path. The input coils are alternatively pulsed to provide induced current pulses in the output coils. Driving electrical current through each of the input coils reduces a level of flux from the permanent magnet within the magnet path around which the input coil extends. In an alternative embodiment of an electromagnetic generator, the magnetic core includes annular spaced-apart plates, with posts and permanent magnets extending in an alternating fashion between the plates. An output coil extends around each of these posts. Input coils extending around portions of the plates are pulsed to cause the induction of current within the output coils.

Languages: Jason Jones' super Smalltalk site!

Hi Jeff,
I came across your site and really enjoyed it. My name is Jason Jones and I run the web site If you have anything you would like me to post to Why Smalltalk (articles, products, tutorials, develop comments, etc...) , just let me know. If you would like to pass this email on to your fellow Smalltalk developers, I will do the same for them. I love to promote Smalltalk. Finally, If you have any suggestions, comments or question please to email me. Also feel free to link to Why Smalltalk and/or pass the word to fellow Smalltalk developers.


Jason Jones
Supporting the Smalltalk Community

Friday, April 05, 2002

Call for Papers - 8th International Conference on Object-Oriented Information Systems

8th International Conference on Object-Oriented Information Systems
September 2-5, 2002
Montpellier, France

You are invited to submit short papers to OOIS'02. Short papers topics should be in-line with the conference topics and present late breaking results and ongoing work. Short papers are 3000 words, formatted according to Springer LNCS format and are published in the Conference Proceedings.
Submitted papers will be evaluated by three reviewers, based on relevance, technical soundness, originality, and clarity of presentation.

April 21, 2002 Intention of submission
April 28, 2002 Paper submission
May 28, 2002 Notification of acceptance
June 15, 2002 Final contributions

Best regards,

Zohra Bellahsène
LIRMM - Laboratoire d'Informatique, de Robotique et de Microélectronique
de Montpellier
UMR 5506 CNRS/Université Montpellier II
161 Rue Ada, 34392 Montpellier- France
Tel: +33 (04) 67 41 85 35
Fax: +33 (04) 67 41 85 00