The Polyester prince – Online edition

From the day, I added “The polyester prince” in my “Now reading” plugin, I have been getting a lot of hits for the same. I have also received couple of comments asking for the book. Honestly, I don’t have it right now. And the good news is, the book is available online at Amazon Online Reader. It is bit painful to read but still it is worth reading. So go ahead and enjoy folks.

Software Development Best Practices India – Chennai 2007

Had a chance to attend the Dr.Dobb’s Software Development Best Practices conference in chennai today. It is their debut in India, with conferences in Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. There were 2 tracks available namely Software Architecture & Design and Project Management. The holiday season had an impact on the audience count but the organisers ensured that the crowd was enough to have Chennai on the list, also for the next year.

Jonathan Erickson, the Editor-in-chief of DDJ started with the keynote where he touched upon globalisation and introduced the speakers.

The first session in PM track was Andrew Stellman’s “What Makes Open Source Projects Work”. He started with the standish group’s chaos report. He was explaining how contracting/outsourced work is akin to an OSS project. He underlined the importance of Documenting using Wiki, Test-driven development, Continuous Integration and host of other topics. Using of Screencast for explaining software features was new to me. He also took case studies of KDE and other OSS like Firefox to prove that rigorous process and QA activities are followed also in OSS.

There was a vendor session by Microsoft’s Abhishek Mathur, who is the program manager for Visual Studio Team System. It was a typical vendor presentation explaining how cool and magical is the new VSTS. I asked if Vista Development team is using VSTS to reduce their pain and the presenter wasn’t sure of the tool being used by the team. However, he said the tool is being used by a 600 people project team and ensured that it scales well.

Post lunch, there was a presentation from Jason Beres of Infragistics on “An Agile Approach to Building Great User Experiences” where he talked about Usability. Nice, indeed. He touched upon user models and persona for designing a usable UI.

For the final session, I moved to the Architecture & Design track since it was on my favourite subject – Security. Dr. Herbert Thompson, a leading authority on software security presented on “Securing Software Design and Architecture: Uncut and Uncensored”. It was an lively session and the examples like cheating the soda machine with bahamian cents, Tetris collapsing on a flight and backup disks ruined by the untrained secretary were marvellous. He spoke about the recent breach disclosure legislations in US/Europe which mandates the organisations to disclose that they have been violated. This is the reason, why we see an increase in the security incidents reported by the media. He mentioned the importance of Threat modelling and identifying abuse cases to secure an application. He introduced Fuzz testing which was new to me. He demonstrated a Buffer overflow technique on a flash file using this concept. Remarkable presentation but the security awareness level of the audience was very minimal and hence questions asked were very basic 🙁

Finally had some time to thank Stellman for his Applied Software Project Management book . I expressed how I could feel satisfied in knowing that am not alone in facing project management issues. Wished him good luck for his upcoming Head First PMP. We were chatting about the PMP book market specifically about Rita Mulcahy’s guide 😉 He also expressed about his plans for the next book on C# under Head First Series. I suggested to write a book on Project Management in outsourcing setup. Also thanked, Dr. Thompson for his presentation.

Due to the parallel sessions, felt that I missed Dr. Scott Meyers’ “Better Software-No Matter What” and Ken Pugh’s “Managing Global and Distributed Teams”.

Looked like there were lots of authors from O’Reilly or may be it was a sheer coincidence. Overall, it was a good show.

Creative ZEN PMC – Swollen Battery

For quite sometime, I didn’t bother to use my Creative ZEN pmc (Fondly called as vethalai petti by my friends). With all those scary deadlines, I didn’t bother to listen to music at work. One fine saturday, I took it to upload some latest film hits and the device wouldn’t turn on. To my shock, I found a dark spot on the screen and unit suddenly appeared a bit bulky. Yes, it was swollen. The back cover was jammed.

With a sinking feeling, after a couple of searches, landed in Corey Gouker’s Machine Inside The Mind blog. Felt relieved. After making few scratches on the back cover, I decided not to open the device by myself. Finding the Creative’s service center in Triplicane deserves a separate post. The service center guy felt that my LCD was broken. With enough Gyan from Corey Gouker’s blog, I argued with him saying it is the case of swollen battery. The guy gave me a stare and attempted to open. After some struggle, he popped the battery out and the black dot on the LCD disappeared. He said it is the first case he has encountered in Chennai. I felt so honoured. 🙂 I have ordered for the replacement battery which needs to arrive from their office in Mumbai.

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After a couple of days, the battery cracked open. Am not sure, if it would explode in the coming days. I will keep you posted 🙂

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So folks, if you own this device, please ensure you don’t keep it unused. Atleast remove the battery, if you are not going to use it for few weeks together.

Free SCBCD 5.0 Certification

Probably the news has become stale by now. Anyway, Sun is offering free vouchers for the Business Component Developer 5.0 beta exam. As usual, the prerequisite is to be a Sun Certified Programmer.

The important dates to keep in mind are

Exam Dates: December 8, 2006 – January 2, 2007
Registration Starts from November 24, 2006

This is a wonderful opportunity to grab the certification for free. I took my SCBCD,SCWCD,SCMAD certs in this manner. Hope to repeat the same with SCBCD 5.0. Apart from the early adopter advantage, you also get to see a wide variety of questions which definitely helps if you are planning to work on exam preparation books and exam simulators. Here is the Java certification manager’s post from Javaranch.

Team dinner @ Copperpoint

We had just sent a new application to production and to celebrate it, went for a dinner at Copper Point, GRT. The ambience was pleasant with a mild violin in the background. While we started with a mutton paya soup accompanied by tandoori lobster, the vegans chose a fancily named “rasam soup” along with an assorted vegetarian starter. The lobster was well prepared with just the right flavours.

For the main course, we ordered naans, pulao and lobster briyani.  The complimentary fryums were great and helped us until the main dishes arrived. Naan was great but the lobster meat was not tender and didn’t taste good. May be microwaved meat? Seeing our reaction, the chef came and explained the cooking process and assured that the meat was fine. However, he was ready to offer us a replacement. By then, we were already full and so moved on to deserts without making much fuss. Overall, the food was good except the briyani and the service was cordial.

The wonderful tandoori lobster

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Meena, Ananth, Karthik, Me, Abdus – L2R

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DISCLAIMER: The above photos were taken with Abdus’s mobile and hence may look horrible 😉