Three Reasons To Consider Being a Test Developer

            When it comes to careers in the world of software most people think of programmers or what are more formally known as developers.  Developers are the people who write the software which is consequently sold or utilized by the organization.  I’ll call them dev-developers to distinguish them from test developers.  Sometimes people will also…

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How Much Memory Does Vista Need?

With Windows Vista coming soon to a retail channel near you, one of the important questions to ask is, “How much memory does it really need?”  There are the official minimum requirements of 512 MB, but we all know that minimum requirements don’t translate to a great experience.  What are the real memory levels that get…

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Why building software isn’t like building bridges

I was having a conversation with a friend the other night and we came across the age-old “software should be like building buildings” argument.  It goes something like this:  Software should be more like other forms of engineering like bridges or buildings.  Those, it is argued, are more mature engineering practices.  If software engineering were…

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Printer Problems on Vista x64

I’ve decided to take the plunge and I’m running Vista x64 on my primary home system.  So far things are going well.  I haven’t found any x86 programs that don’t run yet.  I’m sure they are out there but I haven’t run across them yet.  The driver signing thing has bitten me a few times…

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HD-DVD Looks Better Than BluRay

I was in Circuit City the other day and they had a beautiful Sony SXRD television set up playing some BluRay content.  I thought I was going to be blown away.  I wasn’t.  The disc playing was a demo disc featuring snippets of lots of movies.  Each one was somewhat washed out.  The edges weren’t…

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Hiring Great Testers – Tester Roles

In my mind, there are basically three roles on a test team.  These three roles are: developers, scripters, and those who execute the test cases (runtime testers).  In reality there is a spectrum of capabilities on any team but I think most roles will be closely related to one of these three roles. Test Developers…

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What does "RC1" really mean?

With the recent release of Windows Vista RC1, I have seen many comments on places like Slashdot and various blogs which demonstrate there is a lack of understanding of what we mean when we say we have “Release Candidate 1”.  I will attempt to explain what we mean when we say RC1.  This is not…

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You Can’t Learn To Program In A Hurry

A friend turned me on to this essay from Peter Norvig entitled Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years.  In it the author attacks the idea of the “Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days” kind of books.  They make it look easy to learn to program.  Unfortunately, it isn’t.  You can’t become a good programmer in…

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Secret Santa is NP-Complete

Every year my group of friends undertakes a Secret Santa gift exchange.  When we started we each drew names from a hat and bought a gift for the names we drew.  Being budding programmers, we soon dispensed with the hat and wrote a program to do the work for us.  In 1999 a friend and…

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The Complexity Hammer

I’ve been doing a lot of interviewing lately, especially of college students.  There is one tendency I see a that really separates those that are good from those who still have more learning to do.  This is the tendency of the good programmers to see elegant solutions to problems and the corollary that less skilled…

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