Monday, March 21, 2005
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Basically, the story is that Michael Zalewski started feeding randomly malformed HTML into Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Opera, Lynx, and Links and watching what happened. Bottom line:All browsers but Microsoft Internet Explorer kept crashing on a regular basis due to NULL pointer references, memory corruption, buffer overflows, sometimes memory exhaustion; taking several minutes on average to encounter a tag they couldn't parse.
Friday, March 18, 2005
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
- India has 8th most number of billionaires in the world - 12 in all
- The average Indian billionaire's wealth is equivalent to almost 9 million times the country's per capita GDP. That is an astounding number and highlights the disparity of income in our country.
An excellent article on a related topic is this post by Dilip D'Souza. He says,
Nobody need grudge the Mittals and Premjis their riches. But while we applaud them, while we luxuriate in knowing that there may finally be a climate in India where acumen and entrepreneurship get their due, we might spare a thought for the running men around us, for the poverty that is still so evident in this country.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
March 14, written 3/14 in the USA date format, is the official day for Pi Day derived from the common three-digit approximation for the number π: 3.14. It is usually celebrated at 1:59 PM (in recognition of the six-digit approximation: 3.14159). Some, using a twenty-four-hour clock rather than a twelve hour clock, say that 1:59 PM is actually 13:59 and celebrate it at 1:59 AM instead. Parties have been held by mathematics departments of various schools around the world.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
To start with, the project is not your typical everyday project. The project is in the AI domain, and is implemented in a combination of Lisp, Erlang and C, with Ruby as the glue between the three. The whole thing runs on a cluster of around 200 unix boxes with a parallel virtual machine layer above it. The entire project had a team size of one (Ravi himself).
Given a project like this, is it possible to apply agile methodologies to it?
The conclusion was that it is possible to apply some of the practices, but some of them crashed and burned. For instance, XP says that the customer should always be available to give feedback. That was impossible here. Another problem was getting unit testing tools for code in Lisp and Erlang. Yet another problem was that some functions were probabilistic in nature (for eg. return true 90% of the time), so if it gave the wrong output, it was often unclear whether it was because of a bug or because it was in the 10% when it was supposed to give another output.
Other practices like breaking up the requirements into stories worked very well. Continuous integration was another big success.
Overall, XP kindof worked, but not without heavy modification of the process (is it still XP then?).
Friday, March 11, 2005
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Traditional QA has mostly been about testing (finding bugs) and, in some companies, enforcing processes and methodologies. Agile methodologies however, view the role of QA as one of customer satisfaction. In order to fulfil this goal, the software is constantly exposed to a number of "reality checks". These checks are writing unit tests before coding, continuous integration, short release cycles to get customer feedback and continuous acceptance testing. These checks happen often during the course of the project.
The difference between agile QA is that in agile QA is a continuous process from start to end, whereas in traditional models QA is often seen as a phase at the end of the project (because of the framing of QA as testing/ process enforcing). Agile methods also say that everyone is involved in QA from developer to project manager to testing teams, while traditional models have a seperate QA team responsible for ensuring quality (does this mean that developers or managers are not responsible for ensuring quality? Is it okay if developers write sloppy code or managers rush through a project?).
To summarize, in agile teams, QA is everyones responsibility and continuous reality checks are done throughout the lifecycle to ensure that the customers are getting what they actually want.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Monday, March 07, 2005
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects."
- Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love, 1973
By the way, Henry was one of the speakers at Agile India 2005 and works as an interaction designer.
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I need a few days to collect and summarise my notes and then I'll post a more detailed account of the conference.