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August 19, 2005

June 16, 2005

April 25, 2005

Some Links on Software to share

  • The long tail of software
    This is actually an alternative way to mine a market for your software without going head-to-head with the big software houses. However, depending on your luck, the area of the market that you choose to target can either be big enough to support your development efforts or too small that it acts as a black hole such that the effort you put in is not worth the customer returns.
  • Monopolies and software reuse
    I enjoy open-source and dislike the Microsoft monopoly. However, I agree with the article in the sense that consumers benefit from the monopoly. Developers are considered consumers when they can readily call on an API available openly on every platform without having to reinvent-the-wheel. This is why writing software on top of Win32, .NET, or any of the SDK frameworks is of more value than reinventing something from scratch. As of now, Microsoft has the largest user base of software being distributed. That, in itself, has tremendous value despite how much we hate Microsoft. I am currently writing/modifying/fixing software that is run on Cisco routers. It really is not rocket science. But the fact that Cisco has so much hardware existing in the world, and I am the only one targetting a particular problem, makes my efforts worth-while.

February 10, 2005

Carly leaving HP

I once worked for HP in the NetServer division in Cupertino back in 1996. When Carly came in and made major changes, I was very opinionated about the changes she made to HP. As an employee, there was a lot of pride in the credo: "no employee layoffs, ever". This is a news link on her departure. Too many people are already talking, it is just better to remain quiet on this one.

November 03, 2004

Notoriety via the Web

Just for kicks, I decided to do some web searching on an artist friend of mine Kai Hoang. He has spent most of his life doing abstract art in various localities. Back in San Jose, we used to have coffee and talk of abstract matters. Although he considers himself obscure with an occasional gallery presentation here and there, I have been able to dig up (without too much effort) these tidbits about him:

Like it or not, the internet makes your life a little more transparent. I have been wanting to tell him to put more of his art on the internet for exposure but apparently it has already been done.

September 10, 2004

Links to share

Just some links to useful utilities and resources:

- Adam Nathan's PInvoke center (if you have to write PInvokes into existing Win32) . PInvokes are just very error prone so if someone else has got it working, why not just stand upon their shoulders?

- Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel for XP

- Outlook add-in for creating backups

- Outlook add-in for video email

January 28, 2004

Some interesting articles to read

April 17, 2003

Some business Sense

Here is some business sense from Eric Sink. The article is: Choose Your Competition. It is, in a sense, a stand on divorcing technology from business. Sometimes this is absolutely necessary in order to bring your product focus and business focus back on track.

Feb-7-2004 : Getting Started with your own Company

March 13, 2003

Software tools

These are some good tools I have recently come across:

I have been looking for a Python Class Browser for some time but have not come across a decent one.  Despite all the bashing of Microsoft technologies, it must be admitted that Visual Studio is the premier tool of choice for developers.  I find myself entirely dependent and hooked on its integration of a class browser when doing development with MFC.  Why is a class browser such a powerful tool?  Well, it allows the developer to abstract his thinking beyond the line-by-line code.  In an object oriented world, we will assume the lower dependencies work.  Just like we assume a nail and hammer works when we are trying to put together a cabinet or something even bigger (a house).

So once it is understood that our dependencies work, we just put it aside and concentrate on the problem we are concerned with.  The class browser allows us to collapse the class and work with those classes which we are concerned with.  Additionally, the class list display is not constrained by only displaying classes within one file.  It displays the entire class hierarchy of a particular project.  I know, some of you may say "what's the big deal about manually openning up a different file".  Not much, actually.  But it is an impediment in the thought process.  If you do it enough time, all those little impediments add up to be a big stumbling block of creating your solution.

If anyone has been using such a tool for Python, please drop me a tip.

March 07, 2003

Trends in Technology

It's March of 2003 so the flurry of predictions for the new year should be over.  However, there is a good write-up of some trends about the IT industry and observations about the directions of Microsoft.  For those who work in the Tech industry, it helps to be aware of some of the long term trends in the field which you have chosen for your career.  It does talk about the commoditization of hardware and software.  Additionally, with globalization, most of today's entry level work will be farmed to higher-educated, lower cost, third world countries. 

On the software side, things have even become more gray.  Linux and Open-Source can save you tons of money (if you know how to make it work).  The Internet and web-browsers have become like the electricity or water in your house.  It is increasingly becoming people's main link to information outside their homes.  HTML, HTTP, sockets, NNTP, FTP, as well as other common IP based protocols are very good and useful to know.  I have been on the sidelines about XML for 3 years and I think I will still stay there until something changes.

Now without further embellishments, here is the link to the article.

February 11, 2003

Python for Embedded Development

Continuing on my path down the Python language, I am continually plagued by the wondering question of whether Python would be useful in an embedded development environment. Having spent most of my programming life in the trenches with C, GNU cross-compilers, and device register sets, I am very aware of how manual and arcane the development toolset for working directly with devices. We're not even approaching talking about having GUIs. At best, the command-line is what you would get to invoke C routines from the vxWorks shell. The nice thing about the shell is that you can dynamically load your pre-linked object file into your running system. At worst, you have to write a dummy routine to call your test. You then re-link your entire system, download to the target and restart the target. Like I mentioned in a previous article, this entire process can be very time intensive.

In my travels in Python, I have come across many articles relating to task in working on Unix servers. Some of these occasionally appear in The Linux Magazine. Slowly there has been some interest from the desktop development side with Microsoft Windows. That is why I am pleasantly surprised to come across a paper published from the Python 10 proceedings dealing with embedded development. Grendel: A Python Interface to an 802.11a Wireless LAN Chipset

This is interesting reading if you've ever spent some time in the embedded software world. "bit-twiddling", as I affectionately call it, makes up the majority of the work. God forbid if the first prototype hardware doesn't work like it was designed. I remember working with the first article ASIC for the Com21 DOCSIS cable modem. My part was just supposed to be providing tests for the ethernet filtering engine of the ASIC. As it turns out, if you deal with a particular hardware device at all... you end up owning and being responsible for the entire software base that deals with it.

but that's history....

May 13, 2002

How Walmart works

Walmart is remaking our world, it's just a worst of all possible worlds. And as any good business man knows, the secret is to hide all the dirty laundry. If one person gets rich, it's usually on the backs of thousands of others.... in Walmart's case, it is literally on millions. So much for the small-town, we care about everyone and love everyone image....

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