Mike Swanson

August, 2004

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Applications Affected by Windows XP Service Pack 2

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    We’ve published a Knowledge Base article about known applications that are affected by the recently released Windows XP Service Pack 2. KB article 842242 contains all of the details. Most of the applications and games on the list need to have some ports manually opened on the new Windows Firewall. Although this may seem like a bad thing, this is actually a good thing, since the firewall is successfully blocking unknown incoming connections…the desired behavior for a secure system.

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    21 Rules of Thumb for Delivering Great Products on Time

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    The August 15, 2004 issue of Software Development Times arrived today, and I wanted to highlight the first article in a series by Jim McCarthy (author of Dynamics of Software Development and co-founder of McCarthy Technologies) where he enumerates his 21 Rules of Thumb for Delivering Great Products on Time. Here are the first five points that he covers:

    1.      Don’t know what you don’t know.

    2.      Get to a known state and stay there.

    3.      Remember the triangle.

    4.      Don’t go dark.

    5.      Use zero defect milestones

    I really like his discussion of point #1. I’ve seen various shades of the behavior he describes in every single project I’ve ever been involved with, and I agree with him that it’s a real problem. I wonder if this particular behavior is so engrained in the “engineering mindset” of architects and software developers that simply identifying it won’t do much help. Let’s hope my speculation is wrong.

    Item #3 is obvious to most of us, but it amazes me how quickly project teams forget about it. How many of us have heard that it’s “just a little feature” that won’t really add any time or cost to the project? Surely something that we can “sneak in” to the plan. It’s tempting to forget about the triangle, but to do so precipitates a perilous path (how’s that for accidental alliteration?).

    What do you think?

    Update: Richard Norman points out that Dave Gristwood has previously posted the full article.

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    WeBlowItUp.com

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    My wife used to have an inkjet printer that refused to pick up paper. I'd clean the print path, and it would behave okay for a couple of weeks before it needed another cleaning. Each time, I tried to figure out how I could fix it permanently. And each time, I ended up more and more frustrated. It finally occurred to me that it would be so much easier if the printer simply failed, because then, I would be forced to buy a new one, and I wouldn't have to continue fiddling with it. Solution? An old golf club. I dragged the printer out to the sidewalk and introduced it to one of my drivers. Needless to say, the printer didn't survive, but man, did I feel good!

    It seems that my solution was low-tech. For a small fee, WeBlowItUp.com will now obliterate your hardware using their Concussive Computer Catastrophe Technology (gotta like the sound of that) and send you a video of the results. Take a look:

    Is that cool or what!? Please excuse me...I have to round up some old hardware...

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    NUnit 2.2 Released

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    The final version of NUnit 2.2 has been released. It isn’t on the NUnit.org site yet, but you can download it from SourceForge. I haven’t played with it, but the release notes mention a few handy features that I’m curious about. Specifically, I think I’m going to like the ability to categorize my tests. And although I don’t know how often I’ll use it, the ability to execute multiple disjoint tests is appealing. There’s a light mock object implementation that was primarily introduced for NUnit’s own suite of tests, but it sounds like an implementation that might come in handy when a more full-featured framework like NMock isn’t necessary. Last, it sounds like it’ll work with Visual Studio 2005, which I’m enjoying greatly.

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    More Windows XP Service Pack 2 Information

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    From another helpful e-mail that we're sending to our customers:

    Microsoft has made several Windows XP Service Pack 2 resources available to help customers evaluate and deploy Windows XP Service Pack 2.
    Customers are encouraged to review these resources and deploy Windows XP SP2 as soon as possible.

    Note that Windows Update Service Pack 2 will be released to Automatic Updates for systems running pre-release versions of Windows XP Service Pack 2 only on 10 August 2004. It will be released to Automatic Updates for systems NOT running pre-release versions of Windows XP Service Pack 2 only on 16 August 2004.

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