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Joe Winchester

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Top Stories by Joe Winchester

Imagine you are a contestant on a TV game show and your grinning quiz master pops the question: "Name the one thing you most associate with Google?" Think about your answer - write it on a card (don't show me yet). Turning your card over, it's likely to be one of the following: Great Internet search engine on google.com Wicked share price, wish I'd bought some a few years ago Powerhouse of innovation for Java The first two are fairly obvious. The last one might not have been your first choice, but looking more closely it possibly should be. Things probably started when some of Java's engineering team moved from Sun to work for Google. I remember the highlight of JavaOne 2003 for me was being lucky enough to hear Josh Bloch and Neal Gafter deliver a fabulous joint presentation on Java 5's new features. I left not only thinking that the language was having a long overd... (more)

Software Engineers Aren't Doing Enough To Really Create Error-Free Software

London, the capital of my home country England, has a beautiful gothic style lifting bridge built by the Victorians in 1894 that magnificently spans the river Thames. It allows tall ships to access the river upstream by lifting its center sections, which for the first 82 years of its life was powered by huge steam engines. Steam has since given way to electricity and in 1998 a $3M overhaul was done to upgrade the kit and make it ready for the 21st century. On June 3, 2005, however, everything did not go according to plan and the bridge was stuck open. For 10 hours it remained ja... (more)

Go Fast It Runs Too Slow

Go fast, it runs too slow, you've got to make the number show. Diddle de bop, da la de doop, sitting around and feeling groovy. Speed Is as Speed Does Many moons ago I was working on a project that had to be sped up and we had the benefit of a very experienced consultant to help us out. Fresh from his business-class flight and clutching his pay-as-you-go expense account lunch, our management team eagerly led him over to where our assembled developers waited in awe (and with a certain amount of natural coder-sapiens resistance to the hired gun who'd come to town to sheriff us). Li... (more)

Java Developer's Journal: 'To Dwell in the Future and Forget About Today'

Some of the words I dread most in a meeting are: "What if ?" They're fine in the present tense of "What if a user tries this option?" or "What if the database read fails mid flight?", but as soon as the future tense is introduced I begin to worry. "What if the database and middleware changes?" or "What if sometime soon we don't just have to run on PCs but need to work on mobile phones?" There is also the future future tense such as "What happens to the UI if the operating system is ported to run on a wrist watch?" or "What if one day the company merges with another whose corporat... (more)

The Two-Dimensional Legacy of GUIs

Ted Nelson, inventor of, among other things, hypertext, once lamented that software development today is at the same evolutionary stage film making was at 100 years ago. Back in the 1900s, when the technology of film production was in its earliest stages, the cameraman was the person in charge because he was the one who understood the technology and could make it function correctly. The audience's sheer fascination with the magic of films was enough to captivate and hold their attention while the silent and blurred subjects grinned and gawked directly into the lens. Much has chan... (more)