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Sunday, April 1, 2012

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Agile tablets in the cloud

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

RAG unveils Mystic Sextant

Palo Alto, Calif., April 1 – The Reliable Analyst Group has unveiled a new system designed to model the software industry. Designed for use by software development managers and investors, the new system, dubbed the “Mystic Sextant,” is said to offer uniform standards for accurately assessing disparate technology vendors.

The heart of the Mystic Sextant is a six-dimensional hypersphere that graphs key performance indicators for technology companies using a variety of metrics, explained Buffy DeJour, principal analyst for RAG, who is also associate professor of n-space mathematics at CalTech and part-time Santa Monica lifeguard.

“The log-log axes on each of the six dimensions makes it super-duper-easy for buyers and investors to compare each of the technology offerings in a specific market segment,” she said. “Anyone can use the model, as long as you can visualize and mentally transform a Euclidean space in which 6-polytopes and 5-spheres are constructed. Like, who can’t do that? Totally!”

Long-range perspective, operational efficiency and commitment to purchasing RAG’s comprehensive consulting services are three of the Mystic Sextant axes, said DeJour. The others are the depth of the company’s net cash balance, percentage of budget devoted to research and development, and percentage of annual budget used to hire RAG analysts to author white papers and host Webcasts, she explained.

The Mystic Sextant system is both transparent and facilitates comparisons of competing technology and vendors, said J. Marcus Wellington-Smythe IV, senior design pattern expert at the Institute for Software Behavioral Studies, who helped formally prove the theoretical mathematical underpinnings of the model. “It’s foolproof!” he said.

When asked about the metrics based on a technology company’s commitment to buying RAG services, DeJour said, “The ‘RAG Spend’ axes are key to understanding the Mystic Sextant 5-sphere, which you might also know as a hypersphere in six dimensions. Quantifying how much a company is willing to spend with RAG demonstrates management’s long-range vision and their ability to execute on that vision. As if they could execute vision without our help. Like, seriously.”

DeJour is writing a book explaining the industry modeling system, “Mystic Sextants and Six-Dimensional Hyperspheres for Dummies.”

The biggest challenge facing RAG, said Wellington-Smythe, is finding the appropriate technology for disseminating the Mystic Sextant results to clients. “It’s not easy to accurately reproduce a 5-sphere in a PDF,” he sighed, “and current browser-based AJAX controls are sadly lacking.” The analyst firm hopes to have the problem solved shortly, said DeJour. “Totally!”

Mac developers embrace .NET with Visual Objective-C

Bellevue, Wash., April 1 – Declaring a “bright new day for our friends in Macintosh-Land,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today unveiled Visual Studio 2010 for Mac OS X, expected to be available this summer.

Speaking to a full crowd at the Meydenbauer Center, Ballmer reminded the audience that Microsoft is one of the oldest and most competitive ISVs for Apple’s Macintosh platform. The company’s Excel spreadsheet software first appeared for the Mac in 1985, he bellowed, two full years before Microsoft released a Windows version. “We never stopped loving the Mac,” he shouted, waving an iPhone. “Every day, our Windows 7 dev team is inspired by the great work being done by the visionaries in Cupertino.”

Standing in front of a giant poster of the new Visual Studio for Mac OS X, his voice hoarse with emotion, Ballmer screamed, “Now it’s time to give something back!”

The centerpiece of Visual Studio for Mac OS X is Visual Objective-C, a native implementation of Apple’s preferred object-oriented programming language, which is used on both Mac OS X and the iPhone SDK. According to Ballmer, Visual Objective-C will also appear in Visual Studio 2010 SP1 for Windows. Applications written in the Smalltalk-inspired language will require only a simple recompile to run on both Mac and Windows 7 systems, he said.

Playing to the cheering developers attending the software launch, Ballmer then showed Visual Basic for Mac OS X, another component of the Visual Studio for Mac OS X suite. “You asked for it, you got it!” he shrieked, before being buried by an avalanche of rose petals and hotel room keys tossed by ISVs and industry analysts.

Ballmer said that the Visual Studio for Mac OS X suite (expected to ship by Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, coming to San Francisco June 8–12) is designed to woo developers from Apple’s Xcode. “I know you love your Xcode,” he roared, “but I promise you’ll love your Visual Studio for Mac even more!”

On-stage demonstrations at the event included Macintosh integration with Visual Studio Team System; using Visual Studio with Apple’s iPhone SDK to build a voice-recognition spreadsheet application for iPhone and iPad; and porting BioShock 2 from Windows to Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard.” Ballmer sheepishly apologized for the tool chain’s lack of support for versions of Mac OS X prior to 10.5 “Leopard,” saying, “We’re only human, okay?”

As he was leaving the stage, Ballmer turned back. “Oh, just one more thing,” he cried—and then showed off the company’s full .NET Framework 4.0 for Mac OS X, available for free download from the Microsoft website. “We love you, Apple!” he whooped, bringing the event to a triumphant close.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Latest News Briefs...

Microsoft released Windows Azure Home Edition for the growing number of consumers with enough desktops, laptops, netbooks, set-top boxes, game consoles and smartphones to create their own teraflop computing cloud. The software will be a direct upgrade from Windows Vista Ultimate with Windows Media Center...

Technology analyst firm Gartner has been named to a Gartner Magic Quadrant for its leadership in technology analysis. “This validates that Gartner has both the ability to execute and also the completeness of vision to lead in the technology analysis market,” said a spokesperson...

To the owner of the blue Toyota Camry in the back parking lot: Your headlights are on...

Intel demonstrated a new massively parallel version of its 64-bit Itanium processor, the first using Intel’s new 8nm Nebuchadnezzar architecture, which succeeds the Montecito, Montvale, Tukwila, Poulson and Kittson architectures. With 512 cores, peak interprocessor bandwidth of 12 TB/sec and peak memory bandwidth of 640 TB/sec, it is the fastest chip ever designed, and is literally decades ahead of anything you can do with an x86-64 processor. Analysts agree, however, that Nebuchadnezzar is not expected to gain many new customers for the slow-selling Itanium platform; nobody even showed up for the demo...

Social network giants Facebook and LinkedIn announced a merger. The new company, FacedInLinkBook, helps professionals share their most embarrassing college party videos with customers and prospective employers. Terms of the merger were not disclosed, pending the new company’s appearance in a Gartner Magic Quadrant...

Congratulation, your EMAIL ID have won 1,820,000 GBP. winning No: 10 20 25 41 44 46 with a bonus 6 for LOTTO 6/49 in the just concluded draw held in United Kingdom. please contact your Agent...

Big-brained computer engineers and software scientists from 154 countries attended the Rebooting Rebooting Summit, held in San Francisco last month. The purpose of the summit was to put our planet’s most brilliant minds onto the biggest unanswered question of our age: Why does it take so long for your computer to turn itself off when you select Shut Down from the Start menu?

Passive-Aggressive Design Patterns

Software engineers work with dozens of design patterns, but research shows that the most commonly encountered is the Passive-Aggressive Design Pattern. Known for its frustratingly obstructionist behavior, this design pattern can appear anywhere, but is most often found in applications deployed into unpleasant application servers or hostile data centers.

“This is one instance where some software definitely doesn’t play well with others,” said J. Marcus Wellington-Smythe IV, senior design pattern expert at the Institute for Software Behavioral Studies, speaking at a conference on April 1. “You code the module to execute a certain task or to carry out an operation using a specific algorithm, but instead you find that the module quietly just refuses to do its job.”

According to Wellington-Smythe, applications created using the Passive-Aggressive Design Pattern can be recognized by their many excuses about why things didn’t work out, as well as sincere assurances that things will be better next time. “You’ll see in the log that a buffer was full, or that there was a single-bit parity error. Perhaps a checksum didn’t match or network packets didn’t arrive. It doesn’t matter. There’s always something. The reality is that the routine doesn’t want to do its function, but won’t admit it to the CPU.”

In parallel-computing systems, the design pattern has been used to build multithreaded applications, with predictable results, says Wellington-Smythe. “Too often, a supervisor dispatches a thread to a core…and the thread simply never comes back, or returns much later without a good explanation and without the expected return code,” he said. “The supervisor might not even realize that the thread was simply stalling, just running out the clock.”

Wellington-Smythe pointed to a recent instance, where the Passive-Aggressive Design Pattern was used to architect a garbage collector for a virtual machine monitor. “Do you think that the garbage ever got collected? Yeah, right,” he moaned. “We had deallocated memory blocks everywhere, sitting around waiting to be picked up. You might call it learned helplessness, but all we heard from the collector was to trust it, it would get around to the task ‘soon.’ What a mess.”

Unfortunately, says Wellington-Smythe, once the Passive-Aggressive Design Pattern is in an application framework, no amount of refactoring will improve the software’s erratic behavior. “You can debug and profile and root-cause analyze until you’re blue in the face, but there’s no long-term cure,” he said. “It’s enough to drive you to abstraction.”

Taking software development on faith

TOPEKA, KANSAS, APRIL 1 – Speakers here at the Faith-Based Development Conference have demonstrated a software development methodology based on the concept that if you believe the code will work properly, it will work properly.

“All you have to do is believe, and we do this all the time,” said Ebenezer Scroom, CEO of Faith-Based Software Development Inc. (FBSDI), which sponsored the conference. “We turn the car key and believe that our engine will start… and it does. We push bread down into the toaster and believe that toast will pop out… and it does. We write thousand of lines of C# or Java, click the ‘Build’ button and believe the application will execute correctly the first time. In his heart of hearts, every developer believes this! The good news is that if you follow the principles of Faith-Based Development, your app will work the first time.”

Scroom cited anecdotal studies that demonstrate the power of Faith-Based Development to cut costs, shorten development cycles, improve software quality, and so on. “These results have been validated by industry analysts,” he said, “who were duly impressed when we hired them to author white papers and conduct webinars for FBSDI.”

There are four pillars of Faith-Based Development, explained Scroom, all of which can be easily implemented by tools sold by FBSDI. A project begins with Faith-Based Modeling, where architects use UML to document what Scroom calls “Faith Cases.”

Next, Faith-Based Coding relies on plug-in modules for Visual Studio Team System and Eclipse. “If you have faith that your syntax is right, then it’s going to be right,” he said.

The third phase is Faith-Based Testing. “This is perhaps the easiest part to learn.” Scroom said. “Developers are used to firing up their automated test suites, closing their eyes and praying. What we now know is that it’s the quality of the prayer, not the comprehensiveness of the test harness, that really matters.”

Finally, he said, it’s time for FBSDI’s Faith-Based Build and Deployment Services to bring together the final assemblies and push them out to the data center in one irrevocable operation.

“If you believe the software will be perfect the first time, there’s no reason to implement a phased rollout,” Scroom said. “If you have faith, you will succeed. If not… have I mentioned our professional services division?”