Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Value of Design

"The Value of Design Factfinder report"is a research report done by the UK company Design Council, proving the importance of design to businesses. The research was carried out among 1,500 businesses with more than ten employees across the UK. Below are some key findings taken from the report:

"Every £100 a design alert business spends on design increases turnover by £225."

"In businesses where design is integral to operations, over three quarters say they’ve increased their competitiveness and turnover through design."

"Shares in design-led businesses outperform key stock market indices by 200%."

"On average, design alert businesses increase their market share by 6.3% through using design."

"Two thirds of UK businesses believe that design is integral to future economic performance."

"Over two thirds of manufacturers believe it’s worth investing in design in their sector."

More findings can be read directly form the article.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wrapper Objects, Autoboxing, ==

Let us look at the following Java code:

Integer lInt1 = 5000;
Integer lInt2 = 5000;
if (lInt1 != lInt2) {
System.out.println("Different Objects");

Integer lInt3 = 100;
Integer lInt4 = 100;
if (lInt3 == lInt4) {
System.out.println("Same Object");

When compiled and run, the output will be:

Different Objects
Same Object

Apparently, in order to save memory, when using autoboxing to create two instances of the Integer (and Short) wrapper objects, they will be always == if the primitive values that they hold are from -128 to 127. Why on earth would the Java gods only allow this to happen for values from that interval, and not make it for any (legal) value possible?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A List of RIA Platforms & Web Development Frameworks

In the Wireless Developer's Journal, Jeremy Geelan wrote an article that lists an A-Z of application development tools and frameworks available, including names such as Adobe AIR, Appcelerator, Flex, GWT, JavaFX, Silverlight, and many other. He provides a short description of each of them, together with a link to their main websites.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

International Internet Security Report

A report entitled Malicious Software (Malware): A Security Threat to the Internet Economy was released by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).

"After hearing descriptions of "spyware" and "adware", 43% of internet users, or about 59 million American adults, say they have had one of these programs on their home computer."

"A recent study by Google that examined several billion URLs and included an in-depth analysis of 4.5 million found that, of that sample, 700 000 seemed malicious and that 450 000 were capable of launching malicious downloads."

"in 2006, the Chinese National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team Coordination Center (CNCERT/CC) reported that 12 million IP addresses in China were controlled by botnets" where a "botnet is a group of malware infected computers also called “zombies” or bots that can be used remotely to carry out attacks against other computer systems."

"Microsoft reported an increase in the number of machines disinfected by its Malicious Software Removal Tool from less than 4 million at the beginning of 2005 to more than 10 million at the end of 2006".

"One association of banks in the United Kingdom estimated the direct losses caused by malware to its member organizations at GBP 12.2 M in 2004, GBP 23.2 M in 2005, and GBP 33.5 M in 2006, an increase of 90% from 2004 and 44% from 2005".

Because of malware, a survey estimated that "the annual loss to United States businesses at USD 67.2 billion".

Many other interesting and useful findings are presented in the report. This is a must read report for anybody concerned with internet security.

Friday, June 6, 2008

IEEE Spectrum June 2008 Issue

Some interesting articles in the June edition of IEEE Spectrum. One mentions transistors that could be built of graphene instead of silicon (or more recently carbon nanotubes). Some gains mentioned there are faster operation (100 times faster than the silicon-based one) and smaller in size (one atom thick by 10 to 50 atom wide).

Another article talks about Radiation Sensors that can monitor a tumor from within to detect for example how much radiation that tumor is getting. The challenging part in making the sensor was not the detector itself, which consist of a modified capacitor attached to an inductor, but making it small enough to fit inside a hypodermic needle (2 centimeters long).

Furthermore, you can learn new means of securing your laptop, using Yoggie Gatekeeper Pico, a USB stick to be used as a replacement for all the security software we have on our computer and which run under Windows. The Pico device runs Linux on an Intel processor, and all wired or wireless network traffic will first go through Pico. The author went one step further than me and actually tested the small device.

The central theme for this issue (encompassing several articles), and what I found to be truly interesting, is the human brain, how it creates the mind, about the singularity, a term I have heard of for the first time, about consciousness, the future of machine intelligence, efforts in mapping the human brain so that in the end we could re-create it. Remarkable information in each of these articles.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Reports of "UML's descent into darkness"

In an article entitled "13 reasons for UML's descent into darkness", Daniel Pietraru states that "UML lost the programmers". He gives 13 reasons why this is the case, Oh my! Below is my response to the article:

"I regard UML as an important part of the whole software/system development process. It was not (initially) created to replace or to generate code, but rather to work at a higher abstraction level. When you are part of the programming team at work, seeing the benefits of UML is hard. Capturing and analyzing requirements, building the architecture of the system, showing how components/objects interact, executing the model to verify its correctness (see Executable UML), these are some of the utilities of UML. It improves the software/system development process. And for projects that contain more than just software components, like hardware, electrical, mechanical elements, you have SysML."