Steve Rowe's Blog

Ruminations on Computing - Programming, Test Development, Management and More

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  • Steve Rowe's Blog

    GVim As Notepad

    • 5 Comments
    When I first encountered Unix in the early 1990s, I needed a text editor. I tried Emacs but the meta key and double control keys struck me as wrong. I tried Vi but couldn't figure out how to type anything. I came across Pico and for years used that as...
  • Steve Rowe's Blog

    Are Audiophiles Going Extinct?

    • 6 Comments
    This article says that they are. More importantly, it says that people do not care as much about their music or the quality of their music-listening experience as much as they once did. That's very interesting if true. I wonder if this is a permanent...
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    Get Rid Of Your Security Blankets

    • 2 Comments
    A while ago I took a class on Scrum and Agile Project Management. During the discussion on Scrum, it became apparent to me that there are several unchallenged assumptions in many peoples' minds that make accepting Scrum difficult. People assume that Scrum...
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    Intel Atom's CISC Legacy

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    Interesting article over at Ars Technica discussing the CISC nature of the Atom processor and how that affects its performance compared to other embedded processors. Does CISC have more liabilities in the mobile space than it did in the desktop space...
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    Vim Tip: Finding a Variable Declaration

    • 2 Comments
    For most programming, I use Vim as my text editor of choice. It has a steep learning curve, but is very efficient once you get accustomed to it. I'm far from an expert on Vim and I'm always learning new things. From time to time I will endeavor to post...
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    Design Principle: Don't Repeat Yourself

    • 5 Comments
    There's a design principle I neglected to mention in my initial list but which certainly merits attention. That principle is this: whenever possible, don't repeat yourself (DRY). Put another way, do things one time, in one place rather than having the...
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    Keep Your Eyes on the True Goal

    • 1 Comments
    We recently went through mid-year reviews and I found myself repeating similar advice several times. Here it is: Be very clear about what your goal is and continuously reassess whether you are on track to get there. To make this more concrete, consider...
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    A Microsoft-Yahoo Takeover Primer

    • 0 Comments
    Marc Andreessen has a great blog post today laying out the possibilities in the Microsoft-Yahoo talks. Unlike most posts on the subject, this one isn't trying to guess what might happen. Instead, it lays out the options and the forces affecting those...
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    Prefer Composition Over Inheritance

    • 2 Comments
    It's probably about time to bring my "Design Principles To Live By" series to a close. This is the last scheduled topic although I have one or two more I may post. Let's begin with some definitions: Composition - Functionality of an object is made up...
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    A History of Filesystems

    • 1 Comments
    Ars Technica has a very interesting article about the history of filesystems . They cover all the major systems including FAT (MS-DOS), HFS (Mac), NTFS (NT), Ext2/3 (Linux), and many others like the Amiga. They also cover upcoming systems like ZFS. If...
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    Know That Which You Test

    • 3 Comments
    Someone recently related to me his experience using the new Microsoft Robotics Studio . He loaded it up and proceeded through one of the tutorials. To make sure he understood, he typed everything in instead of cutting and pasting the sample code. After...
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    Slow blogging season

    • 1 Comments
    I apologize for the very light blogging of late. I've been busy working on the project for my latest class at the University of Illinois. CS classes really take a lot of time at the end of the semester. At the beginning you just have reading, homework...
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    Don't Blame the Compiler

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    It's been a busy week without much time to blog. In the mean time, here's a good reminder. It's Always Your Fault . Jeff Atwood explains why it's always the wrong idea to blame your tools. New programmers especially see something they don't understand...
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    Which Language To Learn Next?

    • 1 Comments
    Once you have mastered one programming language, it is a good idea to branch out and learn some others. Each language is optimized for different things. Knowing multiple will give you a larger set of tools one of which which may solve the problem at hand...
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    Your Hard Drive Probably Isn't Running At Full Speed

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    Here's a little known fact that could speed up your life. Most SATA hard drives in the market today ship in 1.5 Gb/s mode instead of the 3.0 Gb/s mode they are capable of. I know for sure that Seagate and Maxtor both ship retail drives with jumpers set...
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    Ten Years Later...

    • 7 Comments
    It was ten years ago today that I joined Microsoft as a full time employee. When I started we were just finishing Windows 98. Microsoft was around 25,000 employees. My first job was testing DVD playback in the operating system. Since then I've reported...
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    Audio Not Keeping Up With HD Video?

    • 1 Comments
    Here is an interesting read about how the audio in HD TV is not keeping up with the video. People are buying 1080p TV sets. The networks are paying more attention to the quality of their video, but they are not yet doing much with the audio. Many movies...
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    Update on Windows Home Server Corruption Issue

    • 0 Comments
    The WHS team has an update on their blog regarding the corruption issue. In short, they fully understand the issue and are working on a fix. The issue is at a low level of the operating system and so requires a lot of testing to be sure that the fix works...
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    Four Years and 300 Posts Later

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    It was four years and approximately 300 posts ago that I began this blog with a simple hello world . Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to followed me during that time. It has been an honor to write for you and to receive feedback on my ideas....
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    Suggestions for Smoother Meetings

    • 1 Comments
    A few weeks ago I attended a training and had an opportunity to try out the ideas generated from my earlier training. As part of this most recent training we had an exercise where we were divided into two groups. One group represented the technical team...
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    Hello World Podcast

    • 1 Comments
    MacBreak Tech has a recent podcast talking about learning to program. They begin with the question "how do I start programming games" and break it down. Pick a project. Don't learn for learning's sake. Learn to accomplish something. It will give...
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    What Tests Belong in the BVTs?

    • 1 Comments
    BVTs or Build Verification Tests are standard Microsoft parlance for the tests we run every day to ensure that we didn't break anything important with our checkins the day before. I've previously written about the importance of keeping them clean . Within...
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    Drobo + Windows Home Server = Goodness

    • 7 Comments
    I've been using Windows Home Server (WHS) for a little over a month now. While there is still an issue with data corruption if you work on files directly on the server, as a backup tool, it is great. The system is practically foolproof. Install the server...
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    Is That A Wiki In Your Pocket?

    • 2 Comments
    Here's a cool little tool I discovered recently. It's called DokuWiki on a Stick . DokuWiki is a PHP-based wiki that stores its data in text files instead of a database. This makes configuration and backup a little simpler. DokuWiki on a Stick takes MicroApache...
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    When to Test Manually and When to Automate

    • 11 Comments
    There's a balancing act in testing between automation and manual testing. Over my time at Microsoft I've seen the pendulum swing back and forth between extensive manual testing and almost complete automation. As I've written before, the best answer lies...
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