Archive for the 'Software Engineering' Category

So, you want me to build a system that supports your business processes but your business processes have not been defined yet?

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

Reply: "Oh yes. As we move along with the system requirements, we will define the business processes. Why, isn’t that normal procedure?"

Alas. First nail in the coffin.

A fun and easy way to learn Java and Object-orientation for kids

Sunday, January 8th, 2006

Bluej main windowActually, I find teaching OO concepts (taking away all the big words) to kids is much simpler than teaching adults.

They have less to unlearn.

My proudest moment as a mentor was when the 2 kids I supervised wrote a working J2EE Web Application on TomCat, MS Access (sorry) using TextPad. And it included a domain model as documentation!

Anyway, if you are a programmer parent and want to start your kids early on the road to understanding Java, and more importantly OO, you might want to try BlueJ.

It’s free.

Last day

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

WootToday will be effectively my last day at my current workplace. I have been there for 4.5 years. I did not believe it until I was filling up the forms.

Time really flew for me during my stay at what is considered the premier science and technology company in Singapore. I still think it is.

Having spent 5 years in the private sector, I must say that my experience in both sectors is now complete and I must agree with my colleagues: the public sector is not for me.

Applefreak Being a technical architect, project troubleshooter and general troublemaker was a wild ride. I think the past 5 years have been very enriching experience-wise, having run the gamut of logistics, finance and HR areas.

The people that I work with are some of the brightest, the most brilliant and dedicated people around.

Which means as technical architects (is there such a thing as a non-technical architect?) we have to be faster, stronger and fiercer than the rest.

Showdown There are times when you really feel like you are taking on the entire world.

Most times it really is.

It is then fortunate that the team of architect/project consultants I worked with provided the encouragement, support and necessary humor to sustain the tremendous pressure.

Gonna miss going for lunches at fine resturants and debating the finer points of MMORPGs and other more mundane issues like software design and architecture.

Noooo It was a unique team assembled to tackle really unique issues. We weren’t really popular, I mean how can we be if our job is to review, critique and troubleshoot projects of other people?

BizarreOne of the more amusing things about being an architect is that it’s like a magician that reveals the secrets of his trick. Everyone will comment that it was an easy-to-do trick and there is nothing special about it when you think about it. I can do it too.

I tried this with a skeptic once. Present a problem and have them think up a "simple" solution. Managed to show the skeptic that "simplicity" is not simple.

Sigh. Complexity is easy to achieve. Separating Shit to get Shinola takes skill.

Besides, if it was so simple, why did everyone wait for us software architects to do it first?

But I digress. In any case, for my other fellow colleagues: hey guys, it was swell working for/with/against you, but the swell has gone down now and it’s time to move on.

HanginthereI’ll always be here if you need a teabreak or a great meal, just leave a comment. In the meantime, hang in there.

Google search corrupted by blogs and trackbacks in Singapore, Malaysia and other parts of the world

Thursday, September 8th, 2005

Quality of information is very dear to everyone’s hearts.

With the rise of blogs (described by some as a clique of people fuc having incestous relat writing about each other) and tagging, it is no wonder that the signal to noise ratio has degraded for search engines.

I mean people are writing entries with tags that have nothing to do with the content. Or worse, make a single mention of a term, say "Barbie Doll", with the trackbacks, comments and tags, it soon gets top spot in a search engine like Google.

This is because Google’s technology is based on linkbacks. It’s based on the assumption that, say engineering, if a lot of engineers would link back to a single article, that article would be deemed most relevant and hence occupy top spot.

As an example, here’s a chap who writes about IT trends in Indonesia but tags it otherwise. He first starts by copying an NYT article on how to be a popular blogger and then follows its advice later by peppering unrelated tags to almost all his articles.

(I am not sure how to interpret deleting blog comments as an IT Trend or that it needs to be kept paced with though.)

I guess the next thing for more nefarious people would be to manipulate porn rankings. But have no fear, this is here to protect you.


Finally, my contribution to Technorati Tag pollution: , , , , , , .

[Updated with more tags]

Blogging as a software development tool

Monday, August 29th, 2005

IBM just announced this.

I think it’s a great idea. There are many a times where I would just love to have a project blog. Like most engineers, no matter how we hate to admit it, we are trekkers at heart:

"Programmer’s Log, Earth Date 29.08.2005.1004: The user requirements were starting to come in slowly as if they were reluctant to have us leave their offices. And every time I step into their offices, I feel this uneasy feeling creeping over me like a hidden feature spec lurking behind the powerpoint."

With meta-tags, we can quickly sort and present risks, concerns and personal breakthroughs. What most programmers hate is to write a meaningless progress report, I think a blog would take away some of the perceived chore.

Of course, this means that the project manager has to work harder to sift through the blogs and transform shit to shinola.

"Programmer’s Log, Earth Date 29.08.2005.1015: As I sit thru this code review, I cant hlp but rmber teh Bob Dylan song that go like ‘…Fools to the left of me, jokers to the right…’"