October 26, 2003

Disappearing CodeVizor

I have been hunting for a coding tool that I have used a long time ago.  The tool allows you to construct a class hierarchy of large C++ frameworks and renders it visually in a chart.  If you have ever printed out the MFC class hierarchy chart, you would know how useful it is.  When I was working with MFC, pasting that chart on the wall was quite a typical thing to do.  After having dealt with many companies C++ code bases, I used to have to draw the charts by hand as I study the code.  Later on, I found a tool called CodeVizor which allowed me to print out their hierarchy chart. This chart was like a map when you deal with large code bases.

As it turned out, I needed CodeVizor again this weekend.  Unfortunately I no longer have the software since it has been almost half a decade since I bought it.  I went hunting for it on the internet.  Googling kept bringing me to dead-ends.  After some internet detective work, I think I may have found traces of what happened.  It used to be sold by a company named iftech (which was where I bought my original copy).  I think they sold the product to a company called MutekMutek took possesion and distributed for a while then changed its name to Identity SoftwareIdentity now don't sell such a product.  Somehow in the midst of all that change, CodeVizor ceased to exist.  What a shame because the product had a singular function which was sorely needed.

Dear reader... do you know of an alternative to such a tool?  I made a posting on Joel's discussion site but there wasn't much of a response.

October 22, 2003

High Tech Meltdown

I see a trend steam-rolling across the US in a big way.  Since high-tech jobs are overseas in tremendous amounts, work in this area is very commoditized.  Technology work is no longer cool-and-high-paying.  It is just cheap, difficult to find, and you can't earn a living with it.  College students realize this.  The Denver Post has just written about it this past weekend.  One of the primary reasons students go to college is so that they can find a living wage paying job once they graduate.  Majors in engineering and high-technology no longer hold this promise.  In fact, it may be the opposite: you might do worse than had you applied yourself to a fast food chain from the start.

The government stepped in to protect American farmers through import taxes and farming subsidies when its own workers jobs were at risk.  This protected American-made goods from the rock bottom prices of a world-wide economy.  For the past three years, what has the government done for the high-tech industry?  Not only did it not protect high-tech work, but every move it made actually commoditized high-tech work to the greatest extent.  When it raised the H1-B limit levels, hi-tech work became cheaper.  Now that off-shoring work is a natural thing that every company does, the government lowers the H1-B levels.  What will this achieve now that it is no longer profitable  for foreign workers to come to the US for work?  In the meanwhile, the sum of these actions have added to the sorry state of the US economy.  There is even more long-term harm to be done when the educational institutions no longer find reasons to promote studies in the engineering and computing arena.  I fear that it may be too little too late when the government finally recognizes this trend.

October 10, 2003

Bugs in the brain

The way human beings think is buggy. We have a tendency to associate unconnected and irrelevant things together. That is why everything that Microsoft and IBM makes is GOOD. That is why we voted The Terminator (a hum.... Arnold Schwartzeneger) to be the governor of California. Advertisers know this little tidbit about our brain and therefore always choose to use a clean image to advertise a questionable product. Did you catch the one with a race car driver pitching viagra? Our brain is just wired to fall for the bait-and-hook scheme every time. That is why Michael Jordan can never do any wrong and no amount of money is too much to get him to advertise Hanes underwear.

What's being an action movie star got to do with running a state? What's basketball got to do with men's undergarments? What's NASCAR racing got to do with performing in bed?

October 09, 2003

People vs.Tools

I am writing this down in order to share a good article on common-sense. Coding Smart: People vs.Tools. This is from a developer at WindRiver Systems, probably an old-school type of person. The article rings true because today we have a plethora of tools ranging from good, bad, and everything in between. What is lacking is experience, wisdom, and plain ole business common-sense. These aspects are unfortunately considered worthless compared to the cool, new-fangled, glitsy tools that arrive on the scene.


All of life is a choice.  While we still breathe and our hearts are still pumping, it means that we are still able to choose.  I must very often remind myself of that perception.  The same goes with each individual's view of life.  It can be half-empty or half-full, depending on how he/he want its to be.  This is a wonderful article which stresses that point:  Ned Batchelder's: A good thing about autism.  Ned's approach to his son's condition is quite heroic and admirable. It is impossible to determine what life will give you. It is how you react to that which determines your character. A topic in the 2002 movie Thirteen Conversations About One Thing also runs through the same point.
Keeping the view that the future is a gift is difficult when life is pressing down on you.  But sometimes you just have to remember that all things will end.  It means that your difficulties, although it may be the worst thing in the world right now, will also come to an end.

You can't always get what you want, no!
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need

The Rolling Stones

October 07, 2003

The Habit of F11

I must remember to use F11 often in Internet Explorer.  It expands IE and allows you to use your entire screen for that particular IE instance.  I find myself using the computer more and more for the purpose of reading.  Generally as a power user, I often run lots and lots of programs at once.  As such, it is more often than not that I find my computer screen cluttered.  When it is time to concentrate on reading a web page or some news, I end up relegating myself to whatever screen real-estate IE presents to me at the moment.  Often it is about 2/3rd or 3/4rd of the screen on some corner.  This might be a silly habit that many of us are trapped into.  If you don't fall into this category, then you are smart enough to have already broken out of that mode.  I commend you on the proper use of your brain.

For me though, remembering to press F11 is a habit I really need to train myself into using.  No need to buy a gigantic computer screen, just remember F11.

Posted by Hoang at 08:06 AM | Add the first comment | Technology