Sunday, April 22, 2007

Free eBooks on your cell

The jkOnTheRun blog points out a mobile e-book service, in Free eBooks on your cell:
Manybooks is mobile!, which points out that " (a public domain / free eBook site) provides a mobile version of their offerings for Java-based cellphones! Point your browser to and you can download an eBook in .jar format for reading on the go. If you use Mobipocket reader on a handheld, you can also use the mobile site for Mobipocket format books."
Though these are non-DRM titles, Manybooks states that there are over 16,000 titles available.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New Features in Java 5

Several useful features have been introduced in Java 5.
  • Generics: A way to make classes type-safe that can work on any type, such as narrowing an instance of a collection to hold a specific object type and eliminating the need to cast objects when taking an object out of the collection.
  • Enhanced for loop: A cleaner and less error-prone version of the for loop for use with iterators.
  • Variable arguments: Support for passing an arbitrary number of parameters to a method.
  • Boxing/unboxing: Direct language support for automatic conversion between primitive types and their reference types (such as int and Integer).
  • Type-safe enumerations: Clean syntax for defining and using enumerations, supported at the language level.
  • Static import: Ability to access static members from a class without need to qualify them with a class name.
  • Metadata: Coupled with new tools developed by third-party companies, saves developers the effort of writing boilerplate code by automatically generating the code.

Better GMail : Cool Firefox extension

Found Better GMail firefox extension (via delicious). Adds a menu of optional extra features to Gmail (Macros, Label Colors, Filter Assistant, Conversation Preview, Attachment Reminder, Attachment Icons, Saved Searches).

Better GMail Firefox extension

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Management Lessons for Developers

Others may say that developers can't be managers, but I fail to accept that; I just think developers need to get the basics about management in short, easy-to-remember doses. With that, I now offer the "Five-Minute Manager":

Lesson #1: Communication

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor.

Before she says a word, Bob says, "I'll give you $800 to drop that towel."

After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.

The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, "Who was that?"

"It was Bob the next door neighbor," she replies.

"Great," the husband says, "did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?"

Moral: If you share critical information with your coworkers and employees in a timely fashion, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Lesson #2: Knowledge

A priest offered a Nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg.

The nun said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?"

The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.

The nun once again said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?"

The priest apologized "Sorry, sister, but the flesh is weak."

Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way.

On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, "Go forth and seek, further up you will find glory."

Moral: If you are not well informed, you might miss a great opportunity.

Lesson #3: Politics

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out and says, "I'll give each of you just one wish."

"Me first! Me first!" says the admin clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world." Puff! She's gone.

"Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life." Puff! He's gone.

"OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager.

The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."

Moral: Always let your boss (or your customer) have the first say.

Lesson #4: Relativity

An eagle was sitting on a tree, resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing?"

The eagle answered: "Sure, why not."

So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested.

All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson #5: Sincerity

A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, "but I haven't got the energy."

"Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?", replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients."

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral: BS might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

Management Lessons for Developers

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Process Improvement – Is it a Lottery?

The Methods & Tools newsletter has just released in its html archive section the article "Process Improvement – Is it a Lottery?" by Paul Morgan। This article provides an overview of the approach utilized to implement process improvement across its global organization without losing focus of its business drivers। It provides a practical overview of how over a four year period an organization moved from CMM® Level 1 to Level 3 and is currently transitioning to CMMI® Level 4. It will provide a candid insight including lessons learned and approaches adopted to achieve success. It will also provide examples of significant and measurable business benefits that can be accrued from adopting a documented and repeatable process improvement framework.

A common mistake made by companies when implementing process improvement is to allow the chosen model to dictate the process design. The CMMI® is a model that needs to be interpreted based upon the business environment and technical needs of the project; it is not a standard that must be implemented exactly as documented. A failure to recognize this might still result in maturity levels being attained; however, the end product is unlikely to be a process suite which complements your operating needs.


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