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Business: Quid pro quo

9 November 2010

Does anyone remember the days of the Integrated Software packages? In the beginning, we used separate word processors, spreadsheets and databases on our IBM PCs. And they all came with their own user interfaces, keyboard combinations and other peculiarities. Then someone had the idea to combine these three functions (and sometimes a few additional ones) into a single application - an integrated package. They haven't completely disappeared, but they clearly occupy but a niche in the market. Which begs the question: why?

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Technology: How Delphi lost its way

23 August 2010

Let me first disclose an interest: I have been a Delphi developer since 1996. I've introduced Delphi as a tool to all the companies I worked for since that time. During a decade as a Director of a large R&D team, Delphi formed a key part of the toolbox in my department. Yet, the recent launch of the latest version of Delphi does not give me much joy. Instead, I feel sad and disappointed at what has happened with this great IDE. Numerous new versions and long lists of “improved” and new features cannot hide that Delphi has fallen well behind.

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Technology: How to solve a problem like text telephony

28 July 2010

When I was first asked to look at it, text telephony was very much a niche technology. It was also "non-native", i.e. it was using networks (in this case the analogue telephone network) to transport information (text) for which it was not at all designed (it's a voice network). This creates huge problems, because not only is the equipment not designed for text (textphones end up masquerading text as voice in the form of audio tones), the network itself is also unable to properly support it.

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Technology: The curious case of case sensitive identifiers

11 July 2010

Frustrated person in front of computer screen

Endless religious debates have been had about case sensitivity in programming languages. As with all such debates, fundamentalism and stubbornness quickly take over from common sense and rationality, with incessant flame wars as the result. But the basic fact is very simple: for humans, case sensitivity in identifiers (I'm deliberately limiting scope of this article to identifiers, ignoring for now strings and other code or data) impacts negatively on readability of code, on productivity of writing and debugging and, therefore, on maintainability, stability and reliability of applications.

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