Archive for June, 2006

Points of interest: ACM CareerNews: Tuesday, June 20, 2006

June 29th, 2006

“Enterprises Focus on Retaining Tech Talent” Datamation, June 8

anecdotal evidence suggests that work-life balance issues now run neck-and-neck with salary issues, meaning that companies can no longer focus solely on compensation. 

“Rethinking the Value of Talent” Strategy + Business magazine (via Business Innovation Insider), June 2006

Two senior executives from recruiting firm Manpower share their thoughts on how to measure and manage employee contributions to corporate value. … The four categories of employees include: Creators, Ambassadors, Craft Masters and Drivers. 

“High Schools Fail To Meet Needs of Tech-Driven World” Information Week, June 12

According to a new report from the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), U.S. high schools are doing a poor job of preparing America’s youth for careers within the technology sector. 

MBA Worth the Effort, but Doesn’t Guarantee IT Stardom”, June 14

IT experts debated the pros and cons of getting an MBA for mid-career IT professionals. … proponents of the MBA acknowledge that the degree is not critical for day-to-day operations and is “no substitute for job performance.” … The bottom line: the MBA can’t hurt, and usually helps.,289142,sid19_gci1193584,00.html 

Original source:

Author: Adam Kahtava Categories: Career News Tags:

Isn’t Microsoft’s C# just a copy of Sun’s Java? (C# vs. Java)

June 27th, 2006

The comparison between Microsoft’s C# (programming language) and Sun’s Java (programming language) is a common water cooler debate. Here’s my general approach / thinking:

C# and Java are both descendents of ‘C’, are based on the object-oriented paradigm and were based on the best programming principals / innovations of their time.
Time in the computer industry moves at a rapid pace, new ideas, changes, innovations can seemingly happen over night.
When Java was released (in the 90s) it was one of the better languages, now 16 years later C# is one of the better languages (C#’s original release date was in 2001 a minor revised version was released in 2005).

Microsoft’s C# is NOT a copy of Java, but it does bear resemblances to most object-oriented programming languages (including Java). Programmers at some point recognize that programming principals (and in this case the object-oriented paradigm) transcend specific languages.

Once a programmer realizes that programming principles transcend the syntax of any specific language, the doors swing open to knowledge that truly makes a difference in quality and productivity. - (Steve McConnell, Code Complete 2nd Edition)

Read more on Wikipedia : the Comparison of C Sharp and Java

Author: Adam Kahtava Categories: CSharp, Musings Tags:

An XML based resume, curriculum vitae, or CV

June 21st, 2006

In my search for a resume DTD (I’ve been working on a personal portfolio site) I came across The XML Resume Library.

Initially the idea of an XML based resume seemed really neat (geeky neat) – with an XML resume you have a single master copy that easily transforms into: HTML, PDF, RTF, or plain text. However, after closer inspection I decided an XML based resume was impractical for my needs.

My reasoning:
I don’t have a single resume but a number of different resumes (a generic, a specific, a master etc…).
A word processor is easier to use, has spell check, and is better suited for a resume than an XML editor.
If I ever want to edit or append to my resume in a hurry (in a coffee shop or an internet cafe) I am more likely to find a word processing application than an XML editor.
Very few jobs are secured solely through the internet, the time spent maintaining my XML resume could be better spent meeting, greeting and networking – due to the passive nature of the internet, something like 3% of people actually find work online.
An XML based resume would be more of a novelty than an integral part of my portfolio site.

An XML based resume could prove useful for a HR department, employment agency, or community / social software, but for my personal resume it would be an impracticle novelty.

View my resume here.

Author: Adam Kahtava Categories: Musings, XML Tags:

Distilled: Fixing the Global.asax in ASP.NET 2.0

June 20th, 2006

Visual Studio 2005 no longer adds a code behind file to the Global.asax file.

To add a code behind file for the Global.asax file (in C#) follow these steps:

  1. Open your project in Visual Studio 2005
  2. Add New Item from the context menu (right clicking on your project)
  3. Select the Global Application Class
  4. Make sure your Global Application Class file (the .asax file) is opened
  5. Delete all the contents of this .asax file
  6. Add the following to this .asax file:  <%@ Application Language=”C#” Inherits=”Global” %>
  7. Create a new class named Global in the App_Code directory
  8. Copy the following source into your new Global class:
    /// Summary description for Global 
    public class Global : System.Web.HttpApplication {
     Global() { }
     void Application_Start(object sender, EventArgs e) {
      // Code that runs on application startup
     void Application_End(object sender, EventArgs e) {
      // Code that runs on application shutdown
     void Application_Error(object sender, EventArgs e) {
      // Code that runs when an unhandled error occurs
     void Session_Start(object sender, EventArgs e) {
      // Code that runs when a new session is started
     void Session_End(object sender, EventArgs e) { }
  9. Save, you are done

The preceding has been distilled from Ross Nelson’s article: Fixing the Global.asax in ASP.NET 2.0.

On a related thread: Consider using HttpModules instead of the Global.asax file, Learn more in Karl Seguin’s article titled: Global.asax? Use HttpModules Instead!

Author: Adam Kahtava Categories: .NET, ASP.NET, CSharp Tags:

“The only thing consistent about the software industry is inconsistency”

June 19th, 2006

“The only thing consistent about the software industry is inconsistency”; I believe this is a derivation of Horace Smith's original quote: “Inconsistency is the only thing in which men are consistent”.

The inconsistent nature of the software industry becomes so repetitious that it eventually becomes consistent. Popular languages, databases, technologies, methodologies, paradigms, and hyped products are always shifting – it's been called innovation, evolution, and many other things.

This statement can be applied to any subject and I recall first hearing it while employed as a private contractor the phrase was something like: “The only thing consistent about the contracting industry is inconsistency”.

Author: Adam Kahtava Categories: Musings, Software Tags:

The Sapir_Whorf hypothesis: Code Complete / Wikipedia

June 7th, 2006

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis says that your ability to think a thought depends on knowing words capable of expressing the thought. If you don’t know the words, you can’t express the thought, and you might not even be able to formulate it (Whorf 1956). - (Steve McConnell, Code Complete 2nd Edition)

As McConnell pointed out, this hypothesis applies nicely to the Software Engineering realm. Your ability to be a successful Software Engineer depends on your Software Engineering vocabulary (Metaphors, Abstractions, Design Patterns, Programming Languages, and so on). “If you don’t know the” concepts you certainly won’t be able to express a coherent / feasible solution, “and you might not even be able to formulate” any solution at all.

The original Sapir_Whorf hypothesis:

We dissect nature along lines laid down by our native languages. The categories and types that we isolate from the world of phenomena we do not find there because they stare every observer in the face; on the contrary, the world is presented in a kaleidoscopic flux of impressions which has to be organized by our minds-and this means largely by the linguistic systems in our minds. We cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way – an agreement that holds throughout our speech community and is codified in the patterns of our language… all observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar, or can in some way be calibrated.   – (Sapir_Whorf. Language, Thought and Reality pp. 212_214).

Read more here (Wikipedia).

Author: Adam Kahtava Categories: Musings, Software Tags:

“Creativity can’t be taught”: Natural Talent, and Skills.

June 6th, 2006

Creativity cannot be taught, only encouraged through inspiration

I came across that quote while working with a client. This general train of thought is common and has various forms; “Creativity” is often interchanged with “Entrepreneurism”, “Innovation”, or a similar noun – “Creativity” can be loosely swapped through the proceeding text.

I recognize that some individuals have more Natural Talent in areas (music, art, computers, programming, etc…), but disagree with the first part of the statement (“Creativity cannot be taught”). I feel that given the right environment, the right opportunity, and a willingness to learn anyone can develop or improve their skills (be taught).

I partially agree with the second part of the statement – my agreeable derivation: “[Creativity is] encouraged through inspiration”. Inspiration can be stimulated in many ways: reading, discussion, a dedication to lifelong learning, personal development, professional memberships, participating in related groups and the community, etc… Inspiration is directly related to experience and exposure _ the greater your exposure (to your field, external resources, and the world around you) the more inspired you become. This reveals another relation, inspiration and creativity are closely related to the ability to be taught.

Anyhow; what started as a morning muse has become overly complex, I’ll paraphrase the original quote to my liking:

Creativity can be taught, but the really creative people are inspired, and constantly seeking new information.

It has been said:

China, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan — have started reforms aimed at fostering creativity and innovative thinking in their schools. …. In this “flat” world, the premium is on individuals who can market the innovations to other countries without being perceived as arrogant and imperialistic. - Read more: Creativity can’t be taught, but it can be killed

Author: Adam Kahtava Categories: Creativity, Musings Tags: