Steve Rowe's Blog

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

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  • Steve Rowe's Blog

    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?

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    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...

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    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?

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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?

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    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

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    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?

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    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

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    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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    Classes Should Exhibit High Cohesion

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    This is part 4 of my ongoing Design Principles series. When designing the classes in your model, it is important that they each have a specific role to play. Cohesion means joining together to form a united whole. Classes and methods should be highly...
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    Podcasts I Listen To Regularly

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    It's been a while since I posted my list of podcasts and my tastes have changed since then. Here's what I'm listening to on a regular basis right now: Audio: This Week In Tech - Tech news round table This Week in Media - Mac news round table The Dave...
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    Is There Value In Code Uniformity?

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    There seem to be two opposing views of coding standards. Some think that they should enforce uniformity in code. Everyone should use K&R braces, leave two lines between functions, and have a space after the if and before the opening parenthesis. Others...
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    HD-DVD: 2006 - 2008, R.I.P.

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    According to reports , Toshiba will soon stop manufacturing HD-DVD equipment. The writing has been on the wall since Time-Warner's January announcement that it would go exclusively to the BluRay format. More recently Netflix and WalMart have announced...
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    Evaluating Your Skill As A Leader

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    Someone recently characterized for me one way leaders are evaluated. This certainly isn't the only way and it doesn't catch everything, but it is a good place to start. The list is succinct and the questions thought-provoking. Here is the list: Results...
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    Arc Is Out

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    Over 6 years ago Paul Graham told the world that he was working on a new programming language called Arc. It would be some derivative of Lisp, but otherwise not much was known about it. Graham is the author of 2 books on Lisp and a popular series of essays...
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    Modularization vs. Integration - Which Is Best?

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    Clayton Christensen's second book, The Innovator's Solution, produces several important theories in the realm of innovation. Like his first book, The Innovator's Dilemma, the second book should be required reading for anyone in technology and especially...
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    Vista Audio 1 Year Later - Interview with Cakewalk

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    One of my readers tipped me off to an interesting interview with Noel Borthwick, CTO of Cakewalk. He talks about the improvements made in Vista for lower-latency audio via the WaveRT driver model it introduced. To date, support for this mode among non...
  • Steve Rowe's Blog

    Project BBQ Reports Are Released

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    Project BBQ is the premier interactive music industry think tank. Everything from PC-audio to game audio to audio creation is covered. I attended this past October and the final reports are finally released. This year's subjects included suggestions for...
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    The Tipping Point: Not True?

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    There's a popular business book out right now called the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. In it he explains how big trends are started by a few people. He calls them connectors and mavens. These are the people who know everyone. I read the book about...
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    Unboxing Drobo

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    My Drobo arrived today.  It is a slick device.  As one accustomed to the PC world, even the unboxing was a treat.  The typical piece of PC hardware comes in utilitarian packaging.  You're just going to throw it away anyway, so why...
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    Trying Windows Home Server

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    Over the weekend I installed Windows Home Server on a spare box that I had. So far, I'm impressed. The interface is very slick. Installation of the client software called the "Connector" is easy. Go to a share on the server and install. All connections...
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