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Duffbert's Random Musings is a blog where I talk about whatever happens to be running through my head at any given moment... I'm Thomas Duff, and you can find out more about me here...

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08/27/2006

Book Review - Introduction to Java Programming (Sixth Edition) by Y. Daniel Liang

Category Book Reviews
If you prefer your computer technology learning in textbook style, then this is an excellent choice in books...  Introduction to Java Programming - Comprehensive Version (Sixth Edition) by Y. Daniel Liang.  It's an entire college-level course in Java in one very big (and well-written) volume...

Contents:
Part 1 - Fundamentals of Programming: Introduction to Computers, Programs, and Java; Primitive Data Types and Operations; Selection Statements; Loops; Methods; Arrays
Part 2 - Object-Oriented Programming: Objects and Classes; Strings and Text I/O; Inheritance and Polymorphism; Abstract Classes and Interfaces; Object-Oriented Design
Part 3 - GUI Programming: Getting Started with GUI Programming; Graphics; Event-Driven Programming; Creating User Interfaces; Applets and Multimedia
Part 4 - Exception Handling, I/O, and Recursion: Exceptions and Assertions; Binary I/O; Recursion
Part 5 - Data Structures: Lists, Stacks, Queues, Trees, and Heaps; Generics; Java Collections Framework, Algorithm Efficiency and Sorting
Part 6 - Concurrency, Networking, and Internationalization: Multithreading; Networking; Internationalization
Part 7 - Advanced GUI Programming: JavaBeans and Bean Events; Containers, Layout Managers, and Borders; Menus, Toolbars, Dialogs, and Internal Frames; MVC and Swing Models; JTable and JTree
Part 8 - Web Programming: Java Database Programming; Advanced Java Database Programming; Servlets; JavaServer Pages; Remote Method Invocation
Appendixes: Java Keywords; The ASCII Character Set; Operator Precedence Chart; Java Modifiers; Special Floating-Point Values; Bit Operations
Index

At over 1300 pages, you'd expect there to be quite a bit of material covering a wide range of topics.  And you'd be right...  Liang has written a textbook on Java, and it's one textbook that I'd probably buy even if I wasn't enrolled in a class.  As you can tell from the contents, everything from the very basics of the language (like primitives) to highly advanced topics (like RMI) are covered in at least some level of detail.  Once you get done working through the material (or the semester ends, whichever comes first), you should have a complete understanding of Java.  From that point, you'll simply need experience.  Each chapter is laid out with objectives, the material, quite often a case study that ties together everything in the chapter, a summary, review questions, and programming exercises.  There's even an entire website devoted to supporting instructors that are using this book as their course reference.

One thing I noticed about this book is that early on they start using Swing examples to show programming examples using a visual interface.  Most Java books have historically used command line programs to teach the language.  It's an acceptable method, but it tends to make the use of GUI features something to be learned separately.  Since there's a mixture of command line and graphical examples from the beginning, the mental divide between the two types of programs is greatly diminished.  It probably means that Java will be thought of as a Visual Basic language that can be used to mock up applications.  That's a good thing...

Excellent coverage of Java, clear layout of material, and aesthetically pleasing design...  a good choice...

08/27/2006

Book Review - The Copper Scroll by Joel C. Rosenberg

Category Book Reviews
Joel Rosenberg has gotten a lot of press lately with his end-time prophesy novels that seem to predate actual headlines.  His latest book, The Copper Scroll, takes off from where The Ezekiel Option left off.  It's not quite as good, but still it's an enjoyable read with a few things I need to research further...

Jon Bennett finally gets married to Erin McCoy (from the prior novel), and they are both ready to bid farewell to public government service.  But as soon as they are pronounced "man and wife", world affairs interfere with their "happily ever after".  A suicide bombing attempts to take out the President, and Jon & Erin are slowly dragged back into service to offer insights.  When Mordechai, the Jewish person who came up with the Ezekiel Option during the last attack on Israel, is gunned down, they are driven to help solve the murder.  This murder, and a number of others, are all related to the "copper scroll", one of the finds from the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The copper scroll reportedly tells where a vast fortune of treasure is stored, but they first need to find the "key scroll".  That will point the way towards solving the mystery, and it will also lead to the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.  Naturally, there are a number of Arab groups who will do anything to stop this, and these groups are the ones that are willing to kill to keep things as they are...

I didn't think this was quite as good as The Ezekiel Option, even though it's intriguing.  I didn't know there even was such a thing as the Copper Scroll, but Rosenberg has plenty of references and annotations so you can do your own investigation.  While this particular item might truly be a way that the Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem, I didn't get the same "this is happening now" feeling as I got from his prior work.  Still, it's not as if this couldn't happen or transpire in a similar fashion.  

Good as entertainment, with the added element of realism that has been under the radar of most stories about the Dead Sea Scrolls.  If you're a fan of Rosenberg's work, you'll enjoy this...

08/27/2006

Book Review - Stiff - The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Category Book Reviews
Based on a recommendation from my niece (I get recommendations from *everyone*!), I checked out the book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.  It's a morbid subject to many, but this book is wickedly funny...

Contents: A Head Is A Terrible Thing To Waste; Crimes Of Anatomy; Life After Death; Dead Man Driving; Beyond The Black Box; The Cadaver Who Joined The Army; Holy Cadaver; How To Know If You're Dead; Just A Head; Eat Me; Out Of The Fire, Into The Compost Bin; Remains Of The Author; Acknowledgements; Index

I really don't think much about dead bodies.  In most cases, they are buried or cremated.  But there's that small number that are donated for "research".  That's the basic playground that Roach explores, and I haven't seen a book in a very long time that has so many passages I wanted to quote...  nearly one per page.  I knew I was in for a great read when the introduction opens with "The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship.  Most of your time is spent lying on your back. The brain has shut down. The flesh begins to soften. Nothing much new happens, and nothing is expected of you."  All too true of my recent Alaskan cruise.  I was a definitely a cadaver!

Each chapter looks at cadaver use in various areas that aren't normally discussed or mulled over.  For instance, Dead Man Driving talks about the use of cadavers in automotive safety research.  Yes, there are test dummies that carry the major load, but how do you find out how a test dummy needs to be composed to simulate a real person?  That's where the cadavers and body parts come in.  She recounts her experience at a research lab setting up a cadaver for an impact test to a shoulder region.  Her description of the events and feelings that surround the testing had me smiling or laughing with every page, and that doesn't often happen when I read.  

Even as funny as the book is, there's a respect for the bodies that she brings to the table.  At times, the settings are morbid and macabre, but if you set aside your emotional predispositions, you'll see the dead human body in a new light.  And if you're a fan of good writing, this is a great read for style and composition.  She writes like I wish I could...

08/26/2006

Finally got the cruise photos cleaned up, renamed, sorted, and...

Category Everything Else
... uploaded to Flickr.

It's amazing what cropping and tossing out the *really* bad ones will do.  :)

08/25/2006

Book Review - Redefining Health Care by Michael E. Porter and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg

Category Book Reviews
I don't think it's news to anyone that health care in the United States is a broken process.  There are a multitude of players and entities, and each one doesn't necessarily have goals and motivations that serve the greater good.  Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results by Michael E. Porter and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg offer their take on how to overhaul the process and bring sanity back to healthcare.

Contents: Introduction; Scoping the Problem; Identifying the Root Causes; How Reform Went Wrong; Principles of Value-Based Competition; Strategic Implications for Health Care Providers; Strategic Implications for Health Plans; Implications for Suppliers, Consumers, and Employers; Health Care Policy and Value-Based Competition - Implications for Government; Conclusion; Appendix A - Making Results Public - The Cleveland Clinic; Appendix B - The Care Delivery Value Chain; Notes; Bibliography; Index; About the Authors

The basic premise here is that the health care delivery system needs to shift to a value-based competition model.  The effectiveness of providers over the entire cycle of care for an incident needs to be transparent, so that the best treatments and protocols can be determined.  This would also allow those who get the best results to get more business, and those who can't make the grade will eventually be weeded out.  The entire care cycle for an incident needs to be integrated, so that you're not getting treatment (and bills) from various providers over the life of your condition.  For instance, a knee replacement currently involves separate groups (and billings) from hospitals, doctors, auxillary care, and various other entities.  Since there's no real integration, it's far too easy to make mistakes or optimize a single process that suboptimizes the whole.  The lack of transparency also means there is little hope to know pricing and make decisions based on the value received for the dollars paid.  All the reforms over the years have led us to this point we're currently at, and the norm is making sure the care cycle is optimized for provider reimbursement, not for the best interests of the patient.

I really liked the fact that the authors didn't rush down the conventional paths to reform, like single-payer systems.  They make very good cases that, while solving a few problems, a single payor like the government would spawn a whole new set of complexities and inefficiencies.  The proposed solution to shift the focus to delivering value over the care cycle, making results information transparent and available, and setting "single cost" pricing for care makes sense, but I can see how many of the current players would object.  The mystique of the doctor knowing everything would be eliminated, and ineffectiveness could not be covered up.  Bits and pieces of their proposed plan are starting to emerge in the market (like publishing hospital results for a set of particular conditions), but it's still largely voluntary and not necessarily standard across the board.  To make this work well, you would need to plan on an implementation of a significant portion of the ideas at the same time, so that you don't end up spending time tweaking a partial implementation and straying from the overall destination.  

This book may not be the perfect answer to fixing the system, but it presents a compelling vision of how it could be changed to deliver on the demands made these days.  It's not exactly an easy read, as there is a lot of detail that becomes a bit numbing at times.  But if you're part of the overall health care system in America, you really do need to check out the ideas and determine if you can play a part in the solution.

08/24/2006

Book Review - The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

Category Book Reviews
This ranks as one of the best books I've ever read...  The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan.  It stunned me on a number of levels.

For those unfamiliar with the term "Dust Bowl" (and that's most Americans in reality), it refers to a period of history when the Great Plains area of the United States experienced a phenomenon known as dust storms.  The Great Plains is the central portion of the US, and includes parts of states like Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas.  I think the vast majority of Americans who don't come from that area think of the Dust Bowl as a couple of paragraphs in their history books, and something that happened during the Great Depression in 1929.  That's what I thought, but the truth is far more devastating.

Egan tells the story of the Dust Bowl through the lives of six different families who came to the area to settle down, create their homestead, and start farming.  The "Great American Desert" was touted as the next great opportunity to own land and earn a fortune, and hundreds of thousands did just that.  But to make this happen, our government had to clear out the Native Americans already there.  That meant exterminating the buffalo.  Once that was done, the Indians were forced to move because their way of life was destroyed.  The homesteaders came in, and started ripping up the field grass to plant crops.  However, the area was far too arid to support the new farming and overuse, and the winds started to carry off the top soil.  Coupled with a severe drought, the entire ecosystem was destroyed and that started a chain of events that really never gets told in this level of detail...

The settlers came in the 1920's and that's when the destruction of the plains occurred.  When the stock market crash of 1929 started the Great Depression, the prices for crops collapsed.  People planted more to earn less, and the vicious cycle continued to the point where the cost of the farming exceeded the price for the crops.  The drought that led to the dust storms lasted not just a season or two, but throughout the entire decade of the 1930's.  And the dusters...  We're talking storms that were miles long, that would last for days, and that completely blotted out the sun.  You had minutes to react, and if you were caught outside you would likely die of suffocation.  Children especially were susceptible to "dust pneumonia", and the death rate was staggering.  Families lost absolutely everything, but there was nowhere to go because the entire country was broke.  This environment is what greeted Franklin Roosevelt when he came into office, and knowing this makes the "New Deal" much more understandable.  For over 10 years, people couldn't grow crops, get relief from the dust, wind, and heat, and watched whole communities wither and die...  literally.  I really can't do justice to the stories and experiences that are told in this book.

There were so many things that hit me when reading this....  How could we be so ignorant of such a major event in our history?  It makes hurricane Katrina look like a minor incident.  Why do we think elected government officials have some magic knowledge or insight as to how things work?  They are as clueless as the electorate (doesn't matter which party, either).  How come we Americans have felt that we have a right to take everything we can from the environment with no thought as to whether it's sustainable?  And how many of our "informed decisions" based on our "advanced technology" will look just as stupid 50 years from now as the ones made back then?  We really don't learn from our mistakes, and we have no sense of history...  only "now".

To my liberal friends...  I'm not ready to sign up for the Green party and go hug a tree.  But I'm far more likely to give the time of day to an environmentalist now than I ever was before.  There is a line between preservation and conservation, but we're not even in that ballpark most of the time.  This is an incredible book, and one that I highly recommend...

08/24/2006

Oooohhh.. the reviewing gig is getting interesting now...

Category Everything Else
I was emailed by Amazon a couple of weeks back about participating in a "sneak preview" of some new Logitech item.  I'm sure it had something to do with my reviewer ranking as well as the type of reviews I do.  So, like a good geek I said "of course"...

The box came today, and this'll be fun!  It's their new Logitech MX Revolution "rechargeable cordless laser mouse".  

Now if I can keep it out of the hands of Cameron (my 18 year old "gadget geek"), I'll enjoy trying it out.

I'm now understanding the fun that Volker has...  :)

08/23/2006

Book Review - Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax - From Novice to Professional by Christian Heilmann

Category Book Reviews
This JavaScript tutorial is a bit different than most I've had the opportunity to review over the years...  Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional by Christian Heilmann.  It will probably play well to the serious developers who want to come at JavaScript from an object-oriented background...

Contents: Getting Started with JavaScript; Data and Decisions; From DHTML to DOM Scripting; HTML and JavaScript; Presentation and Behavior (CSS and Event Handling); Common Uses of JavaScript: Images and Windows; JavaScript and User Interaction: Navigation and Forms; Back-End Interaction with Ajax; Data Validation Techniques; Modern JavaScript Case Study: A Dynamic Gallery; Using Third-Party JavaScript; Debugging JavaScript; Index

Most JavaScript books that try and teach the language usually do the "Hello World" approach, have you put a date on the web page, etc.  All OK stuff, but pretty common fare.  Heilmann seems to treat JavaScript as a legitimate coding language, with plenty of power and features to allow you to code solutions based on current accepted techniques.  For instance, he dives into DOM manipulation pretty early, so you end up seeing quite a bit of material using document.getElementsBy statements.  In most JavaScript books, that's either relegated to the later chapters, or skipped altogether.  Breaking up the learning by presentation and behavior also helps those who are more in tune with MVC-style design.  JavaScript *can* be built in such a way that it's maintainable and segmented, and Heilmann does a very nice job in teaching that style.  I also really liked the chapter on debugging, as that's one of those things that I find extremely frustrating about JavaScript.  He presents some great options that top my normal "scan the code and see if anything looks wrong" method of finding JavaScript errors...

My only "quibble" with the book is that I don't think I'd recommend it for the pure novice.  Perhaps a novice JavaScript developer with solid development skills in other areas...  I think a pure novice to coding in general AND JavaScript in particular would quickly get lost here...

Definitely a good read if you have the basics down, and it will likely improve your JavaScript skills and coding techniques...

08/22/2006

Enron settlements... the gift that just keeps on giving...

Category Everything Else
I don't even try to keep up on the latest Enron settlements any more.  Once I got my severance settlement, I figured anything over and above that would be long in arriving and meager if it ever did.  About the only one I was even remotely aware of was the class action suits related to the savings and stock ownership plans of former employees.  I received the settlement notice in the mail yesterday, along with the calculated allocation totals.

Let's set the stage first...

At the height of the Enron stock run-up, I was holding options and restricted stock that, if fully vested, would have meant potential retirement at 42 and a substantial annual income on interest alone.  I *wasn't* fully vested, so it was a paper fantasy.  In addition, it was all based on awarded options and stock grants, so it's not like it was my hard-earned retirements dollars at play.  By the time the carnage was complete, it actually cost me more to sell the stock than the stock was worth.  And the value of the options were long since worthless...

So how do they determine if you're a "damaged party"?  Here's the first bullet point:

If you are a class action participant who lost value attributable to Enron stock in the Savings Plan

Sounds like I might be in play there...  I can hardly wait to continue reading to see how this sizable settlement will help correct the horrible wrongs that were inflicted upon me and my retirement (yes, that's *very* tongue-in-cheek)...  Next line is the payoff:

Your Savings Plan settlement allocation has been calculated at...

ready???

$166.04

That's before IRS withholding, and I have to roll the remainder over to an IRA to avoid the early withdrawl penalty and additional taxes.

sigh...

I'm sure glad I came to grips with the fact that I lost a fantasy and dream, and not 30 years of pension funds that was supposed to carry me through my golden years...

08/21/2006

Can someone explain how come it takes a week to ...

Category Everything Else
... get one's attitude reset and refreshed on a vacation, and less than one freaking workday to destroy the whole effect???

I know...  whine, whine, whine...  

08/20/2006

Book Review - Visual Modeling with IBM Rational Software Architect and UML

Category Book Reviews
We've adopted the RUP methodology at my place of employment, and I've been involved in a number of specification writing projects of late.  This book made me want to dig a little deeper into the IBM tool offerings to automate much of what I'm trying to do manually...  Visual Modeling with IBM Rational Software Architect and UML by Terry Quatrani and Jim Palistrant.

Contents: Introduction to Visual Modeling; Beginning a Project; The Use Case Model; The Analysis Model; The Design Model; Implementation Model; UML Model; Notation Summary; Index

Quatrani and Palistrant use the RSA tool to show how to develop RUP-style specifications in an automated, organized fashion.  If you already have the basics of UML down, then it's quite easy to understand where they are going and how RSA can generate things like use case and sequence diagrams in such a way that they can be maintained and reused.  For instance, I recently had to generate sequence diagrams for a particular technical specification assigned to me.  With some "just in time" information and some charting software, I was able to hack together a semblance of what was required.  But reading through this book, I realize that RSA could have guided me through the process, making sure the notation was accurate, that it conformed to UML standards, and that could be easily updated when the inevitable review required changes.  While not an exhaustive reference guide to RSA or UML, there's enough here to jumpstart your learning and generate useful output while doing so.  With the additional links back to the IBM developerWorks site, you should be set to start minimizing your pain when it comes to generating all those wonderful little diagrams that designers love (and coders detest)...  :)

I'm not ready to turn in my coder's badge for life as a UML diagrammer, but with RSA and this book I think I might be able to start to bridge the two worlds...

08/20/2006

Book Review - Dead Run by P. J. Tracy

Category Book Reviews
Gotta love when you rediscover an author you like, and you find out they have put out a few books in your absence.  In this case, it's Dead Run by the mother/daughter writing team of P. J. Tracy.  The Monkeewrench crew is back, and this time they're trying to save one of their own...

Grace MacBride and Annie Belinsky (along with one other female deputy) head off to Green Bay to lay the groundwork for their crime software to track down a potential killer.  But they never quite make it there when their SUV breaks down.  A relatively short walk takes them into a town in the middle of nowhere, called Four Corners.  The problem is that there's nobody there...  it's like everyone has up and vanished.  Except for the armed military guards on the perimeter of the town, killing anyone who happens to slip through the line.  Watching someone get gunned down convinces the women that they need to lay low, but their SUV was found and now they need to be eliminated.  All this is taking place in a cell phone "dead zone", so their failure to show up in Green Bay quickly gets the rest of the Monkeewrench crew (as well as Magozzi and Rolseth) into panic mode to track down their partners and solve the mystery of Four Corners.  And once the mystery of their disappearance is becoming more clear, everyone realizes the danger isn't over, and the stakes are even higher than they imagined...

This Monkeewrench novel concentrates more on the team than on the two detectives (Magozzi and Rolseth), and that's just fine.  There's a bit more technical wizardry in this installment, and the plotline had really good pacing.  The images of Belinsky (the queen-sized fashion queen) having to survive on the run (and in the dirt) were comical, and it was great fun to keep reading to see what would happen next...

I hated when this one ended, but it was tempered with the knowledge I'm now on the hold list for the newest novel by Tracy.  I hope it arrives pretty soon...

08/20/2006

Book Review - Live Bait by P. J. Tracy

Category Book Reviews
I sort of lost track of the mother-daughter writing team of P. J. Tracy after their debut novel Monkeewrench.  That was a great crime novel involving high-tech gaming and computer technology.  Something put them back on my radar, and I discovered they had two other novels that I had missed.  Making up for lost time, I immediately went out and got Live Bait.  Very much a fun read...

The Monkeewrench crew (Roadrunner, Harley, Grace, and Annie) is atoning for the "Monkeewrench murders" in Minneapolis by developing a software package that ties together unrelated leads in criminal investigations.  Outfitted in a luxurious motor coach, they are planning on traveling the country to try out the software gratis.  While they're heading off to Arizona to solve some cold cases, homicide detectives Magozzi and Rolseth are getting bored with the lack of murders in the city.  That dry streak comes to an end when a elderly nursery owner is found murdered in the middle of the night in front of one of his greenhouses.  His equally elderly wife destroys the crime scene by moving him inside and "making him presentable" before calling the police.  As the detectives conduct the investigation, they learn that everyone feels this guy was a near-saint, and nobody can imagine anyone wanting to murder him.  The first clue comes in when another elderly lady dies, and they learn that both were Jewish concentration camp survivors.  Another murder with the same framework happens shortly thereafter, and the media pressure starts to become intense.  What is it that ties together these murders with another seemingly unrelated killing during the same timeframe?  

I was a little disappointed that there wasn't as much techno-flash in this book as there was in the Monkeewrench novel.  Still, I loved it.  The interplay of dialogue between Magozzi and Rolseth is fresh and entertaining, and both characters have some depth to them.  The Monkeewrench crew doesn't figure in as much in this story, but they are there in terms of subplot and character growth.  And the thought of this particular band of eccentric computer geeks traveling around the country solving crimes opens a wealth of possibilities for additional installments.  Definitely an "author" to read if you haven't yet had the pleasure...

08/20/2006

Book Review - Dead Watch by John Sandford

Category Book Reviews
I'm a big fan of John Sandford's Lucas Davenport character, but I'm always a bit fearful when a big name author launches a new character.  It's hard not to compare it to the existing series, and as such it's difficult to give it a fair reading on its own merits.  Such is the case with Sandford's latest, Dead Watch.  

Jacob Winter works for the government practicing "forensic bureaucracy".  In other words, he tries to figure out what *really* happened when things screw up.  In this case, he's asked to check into the disappearance and murder of a former senator by the name of Bowe.  He lost his seat in a pretty dirty campaign, and in retaliation he was accusing the current administration of all sorts of misdeeds.  When Winter is asked to step in and figure out the real story, he finds that the actual story is much more complex than he originally thought, none of the answers will avoid major political ramifications to both sides, and his budding infatuation with the senator's widow is flavoring his actions towards his actual boss.  And the more he learns, the bigger liability he becomes to those who hope to profit from Bowe's death.  Shutting Winter up becomes pretty appealing to a number of people...

On its own, the Winter character does pretty well.  I can see over time that this could be an enjoyable series.  I struggled a bit with the political intrigue going on (not my preferred genre), as well as trying to keep the characters straight.  But as a first shot for a probable new character and series, it's not bad.  I'd definitely pick up the next Winter novel and give it room to grow...

08/19/2006

Book Review - In the Dark of the Night by John Saul

Category Book Reviews
It's been awhile since I got into a decent supernatural mystery/thriller, so I was looking forward to John Saul's In the Dark of the Night.  This one probably caused me to spend a bit more time ignoring the wife than was reasonable, but it grabbed on and didn't let go very easily...

It's summer, and Eric is looking forward to spending time at a lake rental with his long-time friends.  The house they are renting is called Pinecrest, and it's been empty for a number of years after the previous owner just vanished.  Rumors in the small town had him meeting with a violent demise, but nobody knows for sure.  Eric and his friends go exploring the grounds one day, and stumble upon the carriage house on the property.  In the building is a room that has a strange attraction and odd items...  a table with only three legs, a hacksaw without blades, surgical tools wrapped separately from the doctor's bag they belong in.  As the kids spend more and more time there, they are haunted by vivid dreams of graphical killings related to the items they recently uncovered.  They're not sure whether they are responsible for the real-life deaths that mirror the dreams, or if a town derelict might hold the key to the power that draws them continually to the room and the items it contains...  

This is one of those novels that kept me turning the pages, as well as looking for a few extra minutes to get back to the story.  Once it was revealed what the items had in common (and why the former resident had them), I felt like I had to keep reading to find out what the next item was going to point to.  It's definitely a graphic and morbid story, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed...

08/19/2006

Book Review - Dark Harbor by Stuart Woods

Category Book Reviews
I recently stocked up on summer vacation reading material for some relaxational time spent on a cruise.  One of the books was Stuart Wood's Dark Harbor.  This is his latest Stone Barrington novel, and it was an enjoyable read for "deck time"...

Barrington is called into a case where a distant cousin has apparently killed himself and his family in a murder/suicide.  The cousin worked for the CIA, and Lance Cabot isn't convinced the stated cause of death is accurate.  Neither are the former CIA agents who are living out their retirement in Dark Harbor, Maine, a normally quiet island retreat.  Things get a bit more confusing when Barrington receives a package making him the executor of the will, as well as the beneficiary of the island mansion with a clause to keep the cousin's brother completely out of the inheritance picture.  This doesn't sit well with the brother, and past bad blood between him and Barrington threatens to cause even more violence.  When additional staged murders start to occur, the trick is to see if Barrington will solve the crime before becoming the final casualty...

Nothing real deep and profound here.  Just a basic crime mystery with a little CIA espionage subplot thrown in.  If you're a Stone Barrington fan, you'll probably like the story and enjoy the ride...

08/19/2006

And a good time was had by all... I'm back from vacation #1...

Category Everything Else
Image:Duffbert's Random Musings - And a good time was had by all...  I'm back from vacation #1...

I think that's the least amount of time I have spent on a computer over a week in a *very* long time...

We're back from our Alaska cruise on the Norwegian Sun.  It was a wonderful time of rest, relaxation, and general slug-like behavior.  Go to bed early, take naps during the day, sit around, read a lot (7.5 books, if anyone's counting), and watch the water and world go by.  I went with no expectations except to recuperate from some heavy workload of late, and the cruise was perfect for that.  We stopped in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Prince Rupert (having left out of Seattle).  It was great just being able to throw the luggage in the car and drive home afterwards (no "liquid search" in the airports).  

I do have some pictures (none probably as excellent as Volker's stuff), and I'll get them posted up sometime soon.  Right now, I'm simply catching up on email, snail mail, blog feeds, and all the other stuff that accumulates over a week.

Ah, and why was I "absent without leave" on the 'net?  Well, we bought the internet connectivity package on-board so we could stay in touch with the kids if necessary.  I also took the laptop with intentions of reading blog feeds, posting book reviews, etc.  But my first foray into their wireless network was painfully slow and riddled with disconnects and stalled page loads.  I ended up just using their terminals to check my Yahoo/gmail accounts, and that was about it.  Strangely, I felt little compulsion to do anything more than that...

Perhaps there's hope for this geek yet...  

Now I'll pound out a couple weeks of work, and then head off to vacation #2...  DisneyWorld!  

08/12/2006

And I am now officially... "ON VACATION!"

Category Everything Else
Whoo-hoo!

140 hours of work the last two weeks, and there will be absolutely NONE for the next nine days.  I finished up the last three book reviews I had sitting on the corner of my desk (not work...  that's fun for me).  The suitcase is packed and ready to haul upstairs.  I just have to put the camera (and accessories), the phone (and accessories), and the laptop (and accessories) in my computer bag, and I'll be ready to rock.

Nice to know we just have to drive to the port rather than fly in today's crazy restriction-happy environment.  But I'll get my share of that when we head off to DisneyWorld the first week of September...

For those I've ignored over the last couple of months...  sorry about that.  For those I'm going to ignore over the next nine days...  sorry about that.  :)

I'm looking forward to rest, relaxation, reading, 'riting, and all those things that I enjoy doing but that have put on hold since I got back from Ireland.

My laptop is sync'd up in Notes for the blog, and in SharpReader for the feeds...  Yes, I'm a geek and proud of it, thank you.

Anyway, enough babbling and rambling...  The road is calling...

08/12/2006

Book Review - Lost Light by Michael Connelly

Category Book Reviews
This was the last of a trio of paperbacks I've had bouncing around the house for awhile...  Lost Light by Michael Connelly.  Not too bad of a detective novel...

Harry Bosch is an ex-cop who can't quite leave the lifestyle.  He decides to start looking into a murder case that he was pulled off of a number of years ago, and that still remains unsolved.  It appears that the girl was murdered as part of a sex crime, but Bosch thinks it might be a diversion for the theft of $2 million from a movie set that happened in close proximity to the murder date.  But for reasons that Bosch can't quite figure out, some high-powered individuals in the FBI really don't want him looking into *anything* related to the case.  But of course, this just drives Bosch even deeper into the mystery, and he becomes obsessed in finding out who killed the girl and who stole the money...

As I said, this was a pretty good read.  It wasn't spectacular, but it served as good bedtime reading for a few nights.  The mystery as to why the case was never solved seemed to drag on a bit, but not so much that I was starting to skim.  To me, this was one of those books you'd take along on a vacation to read and unwind, knowing that you could put it down without too much problem and go do something else for awhile.  It'd still be there when you got back...

08/12/2006

Book Review - Computer Security Basics (2nd Edition)

Category Book Reviews
It still surprises me how many of my information technology colleagues still have no clue when it comes to computer security.  This particular book is one I'd feel really good about when it comes to a recommendation to get them up to speed on the subject...  Computer Security Basics (2nd Edition) by Rick Lehtinen, Deborah Russell, and G. T. Gangemi Sr.

Contents:
Part 1 - Security for Today: Introduction; Some Security History
Part 2 - Computer Security: Computer System Security and Access Controls; Viruses and Other Wildlife; Establishing and Maintaining a Security Policy; Web Attacks and Internet Vulnerabilities
Part 3 - Communications Security: Encryption; Communications and Network Security
Part 4 - Other Types of Security: Physical Security and Biometrics; Wireless Network Security
Part 5 - Appendixes: OSI Model; TEMPEST; The Orange Book, FIPS PUBS, and the Common Criteria
Index

While not a technical "how to" manual, this book does a great job in dealing with technical issues and concepts.  Pretty much all the significant issues surrounding computer and technology security these days is covered in sufficient detail to allow for a functional understanding of the topics. For instance, the chapter on viruses would allow even the most clueless techie to grasp the problems.  The authors distinguish between viruses, worms, trojan horses, bombs, and other various nasty surprises.  The history is valuable to understand how we got into this condition, and by the end of the chapter you'll know what you need to do to start to combat the problem.  From there, you can dive into the more technical details of any one of the areas that pertain to your particular situation.

For a subject that could be painfully dry without much effort, Lehtinen et al. do an admirable job in keeping the reader engaged and involved.  If you're trying to educate someone who hasn't kept up with the topic of computer security, this would be a very good starting point...

Computer Training
Learn the latest computer techniques with online computer training. Get a job in the computers field by completing your IT training. Check out this educational site on A+  courses to get an idea of what the classes entail. One class that is important to take is A+ training certification because it is a qualifying factor at most companies. Read the results of a computer training study that emphasizes its importance.

08/12/2006

Book Review - Shaping The Game by Michael Watkins

Category Book Reviews
Negotiating is a critical skill in just about all areas of life, but especially when you're supposed to be a leader at work.  Michael Watkins' book Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating does a very nice job in laying out the necessary skills, as well as giving you the strategic tools you need to be successful at it.

Contents: Introduction; Understand Terms and Conditions; Negotiate Strategically; Match Situation to Strategy; Plan to Learn and Influence; Shape the Game; Organize to Improve; Conclusion; Notes; Recommended Reading; Index; About the Author

Watkins takes you through the life of a soon-to-be new employee of a fictional company.  The employee is trying for a sales management job, and he has to negotiate his way through three potential job situations with three potential employers.  His skill in carrying on these simultaneous discussions is only the beginning of his deal-making.  When he finally accepts one and gets on-board, he realizes that there are some make-or-break issues that, if not successfully navigated, will sink both him *and* the company.  It's a classic turn-around situation, and the stakes are the survival of the company.  Using this storyline, the author presents the necessary skills needed to get all the parties to the table, to get everyone communicating openly (or as open as is possible), and to learn how to adapt your style of negotiating to fit the particular scenario.  I think for me, the most valuable aspect of the book was learning that a "one size fits all" approach to deal-making doesn't work.  Working out a one-time deal (such as the sale of your used car to a stranger) is far different than working out an on-going partnership (such as between your company and a strategic buyer or supplier).  Going for a "win at all costs" approach in the second situation pretty much guarantees a battle victory at the expense of the overall war...

Because the storyline is used to support the material about negotiating, the outcomes always seem to work out correctly.  In real-life, that's not always the case.  But regardless of that minor nit, this is a valuable book that can have a long-term beneficial effect on your career...

08/10/2006

Book Review - Code Reading by Diomidis Spinellis

Category Book Reviews
If you're a programmer, you are going to be reading the code that others write.  It's as simple as that.  But reading code is not like reading someone's novel or article.  You have to figure out what the code is doing, what was the intent of the writer, how does the code fit with all the other pieces, etc.  Often, all that needs to be done without a single comment, either.  With that in mind, Diomidis Spinellis wrote the book Code Reading - The Open Source Perspective.  There are some pretty good perspectives and techniques here that probably work best if you're familiar with C and Unix...

Contents: Introduction; Basic Programming Elements; Advanced C Data Types; C Data Types; Advanced Control Flow; Tackling Large Projects; Coding Standards and Conventions; Documentation; Architecture; Code-Reading Tools; A Complete Example; Outline Of The Code Provided; Source Code Credits; Referenced Source Files; Source Code Licences; Maxims for Reading Code; Bibliography; Index; Author Index

Some of the material is universal regardless of your platform of choice...  why it's important to be able to read code, how basic program flow determines the "narrative" of the program, etc.  He uses little icons in the side bar (an "i" and an exclamation point) to point out common programming idioms as well as dangerous techniques that might not work as first expected.  On the flip side, a lot of the examples use C or C++ code to demonstrate some example that may only be of interest to you if you use those languages.  Diving into malloc and the intricacies thereof might allow you to understand some concepts, but it might be a bit difficult to extract out the applicable material if you're not using the C family of languages.  Likewise, using Perl or grep to examine source code is great if you know Perl or grep, but you may be tempted to skim large portions of those chapters if those are not your skill sets...

So would I recommend the book?  Probably...  but your impression of the book will likely depend on how close you match the skill sets talked about and used in the book.  Even if you don't qualify as a Unix geek, you can still get value here...  you'll just have to work a bit harder...

08/10/2006

An American "thank you" to the British authorities...

Category Everything Else
... for breaking the latest plan to use planes as terror weapons.

While my cynical nature wonders about the public story vs. what really was happening, I think it's safe to say that a 9/11-scale attack was in the works and excellent work by the British authorities prevented a tragic event and worldwide disruption.

And for that I say...  thank you.

08/09/2006

Book Review - Beginning GIMP - From Novice to Professional by Akkana Peck

Category Book Reviews
I'm the first to admit that my graphical skills are limited.  I have a version of PaintShop Pro that's a few revs out of date, and it does just what I need it to do...  crop images, circle items of note, and erase the stray word or two.  I've downloaded GIMP before, but I just don't have the time or motivation to explore all the options it appears to have.  But after reading Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional by Akkana Peck, I think I'm about to make the switch to GIMP, and to make it permanently.  This is a really well-done book...

Contents: Get to Know the GIMP; Improving Digital Photos; Introduction to Layers; Drawing; Selection; Erasing and Touching Up; Filters and Effects; Color Manipulation, Channels, and Layer Modes; Advanced Drawing; Advanced Compositing; Plug-Ins and Scripting; Additional Topics; Getting and Installing the GIMP; Installing the GIMP on Windows; Installing the GIMP on Mac; Installing the GIMP on Linux or Unix; Building From Source; First Startup; Index

Peck has tried to create a book that allows graphical neophytes like me to figure out what's going on, while also including material for those who have been doing this awhile.  She definitely hits the first mark, and I think she nails the second one, also.  The book starts with the basic of the GIMP interface, with an abundance of screen shots and images to illustrate the points.  Even someone like me can easily see what's possible with the software, and I was able to quickly find and focus on the few tasks I do often with my existing software.  I normally start to zone out when books start to head into the layers and color manipulation area, because I've never had much luck when it comes to that.  But the author actually had me fishing out a few digital photos to try some things.  I can even start to fix some of my good photos that were a victim of the demon red-eye effects...  :)

Bottom line...  My old PaintShop Pro is now on the way out, as well as my out-of-date book on it.  GIMP's getting loaded on all the PCs, and with the help of this book, I might even become...  <gasp!> GRAPHICALLY CREATIVE!

08/08/2006

I finally broke the Amazon Reviewer top 100 list!!!!

Category Book Reviews
Image:Duffbert's Random Musings - I finally broke the Amazon Reviewer top 100 list!!!!

Yeah, it may not mean much to you, but it's been a basic target for me during my last couple years of reviewing.  I always do better if I have something to strive towards, and for book reviewing, this was it.

So what's the next goal?  I don't think there is one, to be truthful...  The top 10 is populated with people who review multiple items per day, including books, products, music, etc.  It's not *that* important to me...  Top 50 would be nice, but again, it's not something that gets me all excited right now.  Maybe in a couple of years I'll eventually get there as a byproduct of active reviewing.  I personally think that I'll level out somewhere around 75 or so...

Anyway... thanks to everyone who has voted on my reviews at Amazon over the years.  It's appreciated, and that's how I move up the ranks...

08/07/2006

Book Review - Inside / Outside: From the Basics to the Practice of Design (2nd Edition) by Malcolm Grear

Category Book Reviews
So I'm probably not the intended audience for this book, as it's not quite what I thought it would be.  But still, I can appreciate what Malcolm Grear is setting out to do in the book Inside / Outside: From the Basics to the Practice of Design (2nd Edition).

Contents: Introduction; Acknowledgements; Graphic Design; My Training; Student Assignments; Letterform Studies; Ten Steps; Letterforms and Typography; Professional Practice; From School to Studio; From Student to Professional; Design as a Business; Design Commissions; Doing This Book; A Way of Working; Learning to Listen; Other Lessons Learned; Joy; Coda; Index

Grear is (apparently) a well-known graphic designer who is also a teacher of the art.  In this book, he starts out with a number of lessons and "student assignments" that mirror what he does with his pupils.  These assignments are designed (no pun intended) to allow the student to break out of their normal mindsets and to look at ordinary things in different ways.  Interesting concepts, to be sure, but far beyond my level of skill or interest.  He then transitions to how these concepts play out in his business, and how he applies the skills of design to jobs he and his firm have been asked to do.  These include the logo for the Presbyterian Church along with work for the Atlanta Olympics.  It's very interesting to see how concepts play into images and form, and then are carried through an entire span of products to create a cohesive branding.

When I said I wasn't the intended audience, it's because I thought it would be more practical towards web site design.  That'll teach me to read the description more carefully!  There's actually very little (if any) web stuff here, and I'm not interested in drawing and sculptures.  Plus, there's a lot of subjectivity as to what is good and what isn't, which I have come to expect in the world of graphic design.  There seem to be some fundamental concepts and guidelines, but at times it seems to be a "I like, she likes" debate.  Grear has the credentials to back up his views, but it's all a bit too "touchy-feely" for this techie...

If you're into graphic design and exploring the power of images, then you'll probably really like this book.  Definitely a good purchase for you.  But if you're like me and looking to improve your woeful graphical skills, this may be more than you're ready to handle...

08/07/2006

Anyone looking for a Notes development job in the Seattle Washington area?

Category IBM/Lotus
Here you go...

Seattle Job

http://justnotesjobs.com/Job.asp?ID%3DBE0CA6BB-7464-4939-B083-062A997F31A0

You'll have to manage the URL cut and paste on your own...  Where you see the %3D, put in an equals ("=") sign.  It is converting over strangely here, and I don't feel like messing with it any longer...

Right in Bill's back yard...  :)

08/06/2006

Book Review - Beginning DotNetNuke 4.0 Website Creation in C# 2005

Category Book Reviews
Not being terribly familiar with the Microsoft family of development technologies, I was completely unaware of what DotNetNuke was.  My first guess would have been the latest virus du jour to hit Microsoft.  But the book Beginning DotNetNuke 4.0 Website Creation in C# 2005 with Visual Web Developer 2005 Express: From Novice to Professional by Nick Symmonds does an OK job of introducing the reader to the basics of what you're dealing with...  an open-source portal framework for .Net development...

Contents: The Basics; The Express and DotNetNuke Combination; Installation; Basic C#; Visual Web Developer; DotNetNuke Basics; Creating a DNN Module; Finishing the DotNetNuke Module; DNN Permissions and Portals; DNN Hosting; Creating a DNN Skin; JavaScript and Ajax; Next Steps and Suggestions; Index

Symmonds tries to cover quite a bit of material in this book, any one of which could take an entire book on its own.  You would best be served to have an understanding of C# before you begin, as this is really not a C# tutorial.  He does create a "time card" application in C#, which then becomes the basis for a DNN module in the later chapters.  There's material on how to install the express versions of the Microsoft development environments for web and C# coding, but again it's not a definitive reference.  It's enough to get you up and running, and then you can launch off from there once you follow the directions for this particular exercise.  The main thrust of the book is to show how DNN can help you development portal-like web sites using the open-source framework, and how a program written in a language such as C# can easily be ported over to run as a web-enabled module.  I don't think I'd want this to be my first exposure to web development, nor is it a book that an expert would use on a daily basis.  But for someone like me who had no previous reference to DNN, it served a purpose...  good introduction to understand the capabilities, and enough material to take me through the basics.  If I were to decide that this was an option I wanted to pursue, I'd "know what I don't know" and could find additional material that would take me deeper into the subject...

Given the right mindset, the book is good for what it sets out to do.  But if you've already done things with DNN, you might find it a bit too basic for your tastes...  I personally liked it because I came away with knowledge I didn't know existed prior to this...

08/06/2006

Google directions via SMS... pretty cool!

Category Everything Else
One of the Google tech books I recently reviewed had a clip about how you can use Google Maps over text messaging to get directions.  I tried it at the time, and it seemed to work OK.  I tucked it away for future reference, and got the chance to use it today...

I was having sushi with my dad and sister, and he is getting ready to drive back to his home in Arizona.  He asked me if I could do a "mapquest" to find out how far it is from Bend Oregon to Twin Falls Idaho, Twin Falls Idaho to St. George Utah, and St. George Utah to Phoenix Arizona.  Rather than try and remember all that on the way home, I decided to try out the Google SMS option...  perfect results!

I typed in "bend oregon to twin falls idaho" and sent the message to 46645.  In less than 15 seconds, I got a response back telling me the distance and time it would take.  No directions were given because it said the route was too long.  I then typed in "twin falls idaho to st george utah" and sent that one.  Again, 10 seconds later I had a four part message returned with driving directions, distance, and time.  Same thing with the last route, and five messages later I had directions from "st george utah to phoenix arizona".  Sweet!

Now I could do the same thing with specific locations, but it'd be a bit of a pain as I'm not terribly adept at phone text messaging.  Still, it's a great option when you're somewhere unfamiliar and you need a way home...

08/05/2006

Book Review - Building Scalable Web Sites by Cal Henderson

Category Book Reviews
This is a book that grew on me the longer I read it (and no, that's not supposed to be a pun)...  Building Scalable Web Sites by Cal Henderson.  Let me explain...

Contents: Introduction; Web Application Architecture; Development Environments; i18n, L10n, and Unicode; Data Integrity and Security; Email; Remote Services; Bottlenecks; Scaling Web Applications; Statistics, Monitoring, and Alerting; APIs; Index

Henderson is the engineering manager at Yahoo in charge of Flickr, so right off you can figure he knows a bit about what it takes to scale a web site.  From that perspective, what he says is worth paying attention to.  The book (for me) started out a little slow, with information on development environments and architecture, stuff that I've seen covered in other books in far more detail.  I was a little fearful that I was going to get high level "best practices" information with nothing much more.  But things started to pick up after that...  It felt to me that all the information from that point on really focused on how that concept or practice can make or break a site that is pulling down hundreds of thousands (or millions) of hits a day.  Things that work great for 1000 hits can be completely broken at 100000.  The chapters on bottlenecks and scaling web applications are excellent discussions of how best to *intelligently* handle performance and growth without just throwing money and hardware at the problem.  Well worth reading regardless of how big your site is right now.

He tends to assume/target sites that are built using common open-source technologies, like PHP and MySQL.  As such, you'll probably get much more out of the details if you are already conversant with those.  But still, the general concepts apply across the board, and it's all worth covering.  And it's really best to make some of these design decisions up front, rather than down the road once you're playing catch-up with your traffic...

08/05/2006

Book Review - Xbox 360 for Dummies by Brian Johnson and Duncan Mackenzie

Category Book Reviews
Hi...  I'm not a gamer, but I have one in my household.  I can't tell you how many game consoles we've purchased over the last 20 years, but I don't think we've missed very many.  I'm a bit surprised I haven't gotten the hard-sell from "da kid" on getting an Xbox 360 yet.  But after reading Xbox 360 for Dummies by Brian Johnson and Duncan Mackenzie, I'm somewhat tempted to get one anyway for myself...  :)

Contents:
Part 1 - Xbox 360 Out of the Box: Meet the Xbox 360; Setting Up Your Xbox 360
Part 2 - The Xbox 360 Blades: Dealing with the Dashboard; The Live Blade; The Media Blade; The System Blade; The Games Blade
Part 3 - Xbox 360 in Your Entertainment System: HDTV, EDTV, Plain Old TV; Getting the Best Audio Experience; Customizing Your Console
Part 4 - Pushing the Outer Limits: Parental Control; LAN Parties; Windows Media Center Extender
Part 5 - The Part of Tens: Ten Great Web Sites; More Than Ten Great Games; Ten Tips for Parents; Ten Ways to Make Friends; Ten Great Accessories; Original Xbox Games; Index

Xbox has definitely crossed the line from being a gaming console with extra features to being a multimedia computer that happens to play games really well.  Johnson and Mackenzie do a very good job of covering and demonstrating all the features of the Xbox 360, how it all meshes together, and how to get the most out of the platform.  This includes everything from, of course, playing games, to making the device the central point of a multimedia setup for your home.  The Xbox 360 integrates with Windows Media Center, so you can use it to watch TV, record shows, play music, etc.  In fact, it's very possible to buy an Xbox 360 and never even play a game on it.  :)  Add in network connectivity, and now you can reach out to others as part of Xbox Live.  The capabilities are truly impressive, and this book is an excellent way to delve into those areas that you may not have yet uncovered.

Granted, most 12 year olds will probably have most of this figured out an hour after opening the box, all without reading the directions.  Yes, and my DVD player still flashes 12:00.  At least it's not a VCR any more.  But a book like this will appeal to those of us who are interested in the latest and greatest, but want a little structure and guidance added to our exploration.

Now to keep this book out of my kid's hands...

08/04/2006

Book Review - Statistics Hacks by Bruce Frey

Category Book Reviews
Math is one of those subjects that I *really* had to work at in school.  Didn't come intuitively, and I "endured" more than "enjoyed".  Statistics Hacks - Tips & Tools for Measuring the World and Beating the Odds by Bruce Frey is probably as close as I'm going to come to reading a "math"-related book these days, but I actually enjoyed this one...

Contents: The Basics; Discovering Relationships; Measuring the World; Beating the Odds; Playing Games; Thinking Smart; Index

The book contains 75 statistical "hacks" that take you from the fundamental concepts to real-life applications.  Even better, Frey and his contributors have a great sense of humor in their writing, and this may be the only statistics book that you'll chuckle at during your reading.  The first two sections, Basics and Relationships, are a bit more intense than the later portions, as they get into the mathematics behind the core elements of statistics. Many of the basic theorems are covered here, along with the normal vocabulary like mean, media, mode, standard deviation, etc.  While you may not grasp all the math behind it, you'll get an idea as to what's going on.  For me, the book got very interesting once the Odds and Games chapters arrived.  His application of statistics to Texas Hold'em opened my eyes to a few strategies I hadn't understood before.  Roulette and blackjack also make an appearance here, as they should in all practical statistical books.  I *really* enjoyed the Thinking Smart section, especially the hack about how to analyze writing styles to tell whether a paper was written or plagiarized.

While probably not everyone's forte, Statistics Hacks is an enjoyable read with practical applications.  It may take a bit of time to grow on you, but it may also help you decide whether that "all in" call is a good idea or not...

08/03/2006

10 IT brand names that just won't die

Category IBM/Lotus
From NetworkWorld:  10 IT brand names that just won't die

For those too busy to head over there, Lotus Notes comes in at #8, among Prodigy, WordPerfect, ThinkPad, Compaq, Clariion, Netscape, Linksys, Norton, and AT&T...

While part of me rejoices with the "Notes is not dead" validation, I hate seeing "Notes" and "die" anywhere in the same article...  Although they *are* more focused on the "Lotus" part of Lotus Notes...

08/03/2006

9 more days, 9 more days, 9 more days...

Category Everything Else
Image:Duffbert's Random Musings - 9 more days, 9 more days, 9 more days...

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Thanks!

Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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