11.21.2011

David Gerrold, Tribbles, cookbooks and more

You are undoubtedly wondering, “What’s going on with the SD Times team? What are those editors up to?” Let's find out:

• Do you like tribbles? Read our new online column by David Gerrold, a longtime programmer and writer of the landmark episode of Star Trek, “The Trouble with Tribbles.” See his introductory piece, “Looking Backwards,” here.

I had the pleasure to work with David in the early 1990s, when he was a contributor to Computer Language Magazine and its CLMFORUM on CompuServe. It’s a pleasure to welcome David to SD Times as a columnist and blogger. Hint: Keep off his lawn.

• You may have noticed that former SD Times columnist J.D. Hildebrand began blogging for us a few months ago. J.D., a long-time technology writer, is the former editor of Computer Language Magazine, Unix Review, Windows Tech Journal and Embedded Systems Programming. He was one of the debut columnists in the very first issue of SD Times, in February 2000, and we welcome J.D. back to the team. Read his blog posts here.

• Click here to see a new online section, Developer Cookbook. Assembled by Don Williamson, a marketing exec at GrapeCity – but, more importantly, a world-class barbecue chef – this fun new part of our website demonstrates that there’s a lot more to programmer cuisine than pizza.

What about events?

• We recently completed our fantastic Android developer conference, AnDevCon II. It was a huge success. I am delighted to announce that AnDevCon III will be June 25-28, 2012, back in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are building its website, and will share more details soon.

• If your organization uses SharePoint, please join us at the next SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference. David Rubinstein, editor-in-chief of SD Times and conference chair for SPTechCon, has created an incredible program of workshops, technical classes, keynotes and a lot more. It’s in San Francisco, Feb. 26-29, 2012.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our U.S. subscribers from everyone at SD Times. May your turkey be moist, and your yams be sweet.

11.13.2011

Mister Tweetman

Wait, oh yes, wait a minute Mister Tweetman
Wait Mister Tweetman.

Mister Tweetman refresh and see
If there's a Twitter in your queue for me
I been waiting such a long time
Since I was DM’d from that girl of mine.

There must be some tweets today
From my girlfriend so far away
Please Mister Tweetman refresh and see
If there's a tweet, a Twitter for me.

I been standing here waiting Mister Tweetman
So patiently
For just a tweet, a little Twitter,
Saying she's returning home to me.

Please Mister Tweetman, refresh and see
If there's a Twitter in your queue for me
I've been waiting, a long long time
Since I've heard from that girlfriend of mine.

So many days you passed me by
See the tear standing in my eye
You didn't stop to make me feel better
By leaving me a tweet or a Twitter.

Mister Tweetman refresh and see
If there's a Twitter in your queue for me
I been waiting such a long time
Since I was DM’d from that girl of mine.

You gotta wait a minute, wait a minute
You gotta wait a minute, wait a minute
You gotta wait a minute, wait a minute
Hit refresh and see, one more time for me.

Deliver the Twitter, the sooner the better…

Ahh……

11.12.2011

On slide rules and smartphones

What does mobility mean to you? To many of us, it means smartphones like Android devices, the iPhone, a Windows Phone, or even a BlackBerry. For others, particularly those who live in the past, it means a slide rule.

The notion of mobility came up at AnDevCon II – the Android Developer Conference put on by BZ Media, the company behind SD Times and News on Monday. Held in the Bay Area last week, we had more than 1200 registrants, nearly all of whom were interested in my historical slide rule collection.

The most popular model, according to an informal poll, was the Pickett N600-ES (pictured). It's a little aluminum slide rule carried on five Apollo space missions as a backup computer by astronauts like Buzz Aldrin. Folks were also fascinated by my Nestler 23, a German model favored by scientists and engineers like Albert Einstein and Werner von Braun.


Slide rules are a curiosity today. But the applications for a smartphone are boundless.

During his keynote talk, Bruce Jones, a developer evangelist at HTC, painted the picture of tablet apps that might let musicians draw and edit the notes of a score with their finger or pen on digital staff paper – and then hear the song.

During a Q&A session, while I was running around a room with a wireless microphone, I had the idea for an app that would let attendees enter a queue to ask questions by pressing a button. When it was their turn to talk, their phone display would show a green indicator – and then they could speak right into their phone, and their voice would be amplified by the room’s P.A. system. Who needs a microphone when you have a smartphone and WiFi?

Perhaps those apps already exist – if not, they will soon, I’m sure.

What ideas do you have for smartphone apps?

11.04.2011

Google searches and quantitative methods

Oh, the joy of random Google searches! Earlier today I was looking for something regarding software testing – the details don’t matter to this story. But one of the Google search results brought up a 2008 issue of an English-language Romanian publication called Journal of Applied Quantitative Methods – and the reference had my name in it.

Odd, that.

The article in the JAQM was entitled “Testing: First Step Towards Software Quality,” by two scholars, Ioan Minhea Iacob and Radu Consantinescu. It referenced a brief story that I wrote for SD Times back in 2005 called “Quality is Hot, H1-B Visas Are Not,” which presented survey results from a BZ Research study.

After getting over the all-too-human reaction of being flattered that my newspaper story was quoted in a scholarly journal, I read the Iacob/Constantinescu paper. Fascinating. The authors laid out a solid approach to software testing in an engineering organization, make the case for a formalized approach toward training both developers and testers. Not only that, but they present a potential curriculum that can be applied to either academic courses or professional development.

To quote the conclusion of the paper – which I urge you to read:

Efficiency and quality are best served by approaching testing activities in a structured and scientific way, instead of the, unfortunately, usual ‘monkey-testing’. The effectiveness of testing effort can be maximized by selection of appropriate testing strategy, good management of testing process, and appropriate use of tools to support the testing process. The net result would be an increase in the produced software quality and a decrease in costs, both of which can only be beneficial to a software development organization.

However, in order to be able to put quality processes into place, the appropriate knowledge is needed. The quality engineering should be recognized as a standalone area of study and treated as such in the computer science universities and faculties curricula in the emergent software development market that Romania is. Taking the right path can never be too early; it can only be too late.

It’s a good paper, and I’m glad to have stumbled across it.

Changing the subject entirely: AnDevCon II, our Android developer conference, is Nov. 6-9 in the San Francisco Bay Area. As the conference chairman of AnDevCon II, I’m excited about how fast this event has grown, and am looking forward to meeting our speakers, attendees and sponsors there. I hope you’re one of them – if so, please flag me down and say hello.

About Me

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Co-founder and editorial director of BZ Media, which publishes SD Times, the leading magazine for the software development industry. Founder of SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference, AnDevCon: The Android Developer Conference, and Big Data TechCon. Also president and principal analyst of Camden Associates, an IT consulting and analyst firm.