Musings

How do they do this

Posted on December 18, 2006. Filed under: Musings |

The MOF

This image is from http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itsolutions/cits/mo/mof/mofeo.mspx

How do they do this?  Do they have some secret tool? Is it word? visio? what??

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The Quality in the Code

Posted on December 17, 2006. Filed under: Musings |

The bugs are always in the code.  The programmers till now have been creative types, but most of them did not have any grounding in mathematics or logic.  Some of the freshers I see today dont even know much about flowcharts, binary, hexadecimal, etc.

 Anyway, I am making a much more finer point.  The way we write a loop.

for(i=0;i<10;i++)

This manner of writing the loop is popular because this is the way it is taught.  I have always found it irritating because this is a half-open interval.  I would prefer to write it as a closed interval, like this:

for(i=0;i<=9;i++)

Big deal, you say?  What difference does it make, you ask?  They both work the same way, you exclaim!  That just goes to show how difficult it would be to reach quality in the code.  At the level of pseudocode, such things should be standardized ( or recommended)..

when writing a counting loop, always use closed intervals.

This should apply whether you are writing in java, c, python, ruby, whatever. 

Instead we have people talking endlessly about how to name variables and do indentation.  These things do not affect quality, and dont need to be done manually.

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What I need from a site

Posted on December 14, 2006. Filed under: Musings |

What are the reasons that someone visits a website?  Does anyone know?  Without getting too much into demographics, what is the number one reason someone visits a college/university website?  The number one reason someone visits a telco/isp site?

How many times do you find yourself frustrated at finding information you need… and wondering why these guys even bother to have a website?

How do you decide what to put up on your website?  You should decided that by looking at your phone history.  What kind of people call you and what do they call about?  This matrix of types of callers and types of questions should give the designer an idea on how to build your site.

So far, webdesign or any kind of interface design on the PC is a new thing and designers are more obsessed with menus, typography, colors and css2 then with anything to do with organising information.

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Open Source Essentials

Posted on December 14, 2006. Filed under: Musings |

I have chosen my way to venture out into the world of free and open source software.

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Open Helpdesk

Posted on December 11, 2006. Filed under: Musings |

The number of mailing lists, discussion groups on various sites, “experts” forums out there are huge. But ask the person trying to get an answer.

There are many problems associated with “forums” as a place to go for help. First off, if the forums are free, there is no SLA. The askers to answerers ratio is very important. The specialisation of the forum is very important. Almost everything has been tried.

We start with a pro-active approach. If you are starting something new, you would like to read up on it… about.com is doing this. It engages people from different specialisations and gets them to put up enough 101s on the topic, and pointers to good sites. Over here, about.com seems to pay the experts and gets its money from the ads.

If you want to definately get an answer, google.com provides an answers site. Google does not pay anyone. The person asking the question pays the person answering the question. A sort of experts-exchange thing, except that you get dollars instead of points.

There are the groups sites like google and yahoo that allow people to setup their discussion groups. The problem here is that everything becomes so fragmented across artificial lines, like geography. This is good for administration but not good for knowledge. A fragmentation of a java users group or a .net users group across languages like english, french, chinese is still fine.

There is one site, ittoolbox, they prevent fragmentation by not allowing users to create their groups. They instead have hundreds of groups categorised and neatly defined.

The other issue is that sometimes the question cuts boundaries and requires specialised experience. “The machine hangs when I play mp3 from java.” Where other people will start speaking about ettiquette and other things… I would say that this is a valid question. The person asking the question is stumped, and knows his limitations. What we need is something like an Open Helpdesk, where agents with relevant experience and access to masses of knowledge attend to calls and help users through their problems. Maybe over a number of days, but definately helps.

Oh yeah, it helps only with open source software.

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