Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday - September 30, 2006

This has been a good month - and a good week.

In the last few weeks, I've taught two workshops for a client:

Introduction to Use Case Diagrams (2.5 hours, ~90 slides)

and,

Requirements Analysis with Use Cases (3 hours, ~90 slides)

I first taught Use Case techniques in 1996-1997 while a management consultant with the Systems Integration Practice of AT&T Solutions. These recent training classes offered a good opportunity to update my approach to the material and integrate some of the practical experience I've gained over the last 10 years.

Lots of good feedback from the students.

These were very short, intense, and practical hands-on workshops with several exercises for the paricipants to work through. However, these two classes could easily be combined and expanded into a full week class - which would provide participants with a much better opportunity to absorb the material.

I really enjoy opportunities to teach.

As I worked to prepare some of the sample solutions for the workshops - I was a bit constrained by the client's desire (and budget limitations) - to adopt Visio as the organization's UML modeling tool.

Eventually (after quite a bit of pain working within the limitations of Visio), I came to the conclusion that the organization really needs to consider a tool truly designed and suited to the task of creating UML design artifacts.

My recommendation: Enterprise Architect - which offers very resonable pricing for single user licenses (~199.00 USD) - and even better volume discounts. I'm using the latest release (6.5) - and have been very pleased with the value it offers.

Tonight I worked on preparing an old HP Pavilion N5450 laptop (850mhz Pentium III cpu, 20GB hard-drive) - and installed Redhat's Fedora Core 5 on it. I stopped by CompUSA and picked-up a pack of DVD-R - and burned an ISO image - and used the Fedora Core Rescue CD ISO image to boot the laptop. The next step was to swap out the CD with the DVD containing the full Fedora Core 5 ISO image. The installation was painless and quite simple.

On my next trip to CompUSA I need to purchase a secondary simple network hub to take with me on the road, so I can network the Linux laptop with my primary development laptop (HP Pavilion zv6000, running XP). This will allow me to test some Enterprise Architecture technologies in a true heterogenous environment.

I've made some very good progress working late nights this week continuing the design of the ITV CORE framework, and the ITV CODE GENERATOR and ITV UTILS products. But those three projects are still in stealth mode - so that's all I'll say for now.

I also created a simple backup script to simplify the weekly backup of my laptop to my AcomData 120GB external hard-drive. You can now buy a 320GB version:



Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday - July 8, 2006

I have worked with integrating e-commerce web sites with several credit card payment processing services over the years (CyberCash was one of the earliest back in 1998-1999, and later CyberSource in 1999-2001), as well as Verisign's PayFlow Pro (2001).

More recently (2005), I integrated Paypal's payment processing service into a digital e-commerce web store application.

My earliest professional programming work involved developing a gateway processing service to interface regional bank ATM networks with national ATM networks and Visa's credit card processing servers.

Today I came across a useful article that summarizes some of the current options to consider for web site credit processing integration:

Solve the Payment Processing Problem

Side-by-side Comparison


There are numerous challenges and risks associated with processing credit card transactions - and the level of attention-to-detail needed regarding security is not trivial.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Wednesday - July 5, 2006

The presentations from the 2006 Java One conference are now available online.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tuesday - June 27, 2006

In peparing to attempt to install Fedora Core (Release 5) on a spare laptop - today I first wanted to create a CD from an ISO image of the Fedora Core 5 Rescue CD.

My primary development platform is an HP Pavilion zv6000 running Windows XP (SP2) - with an AMD64 Athlon CPU. As such - I needed a utility that will allow me to burn a CD with an ISO image - since Widows XP doesn't provide any means for doing so.

I found a free utility (ISO Recorder 2) that I decided to try out.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Saturday - June 3, 2006

I came across an interesting site today that has a collection of potentially useful JavaScript snippets: dynamicdrive.com

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wednesday - May 31, 2006

In 1999, I moved to Seattle Washington from Washington D.C. to work for one of Paul Allen's "Wired World" ventures (Mercata, Inc.) - which intended to provide a service that would allow aggregated groups of customers (shopping online via the mercata.com store) - to collectively work together to drive the price of an item down - via a reverse-auction type process.

As I read this story tonight - about shoppers in China effectively doing the same thing - albeit without the benefit of an automated agent like Mercata's online store - I smiled at the similiar reaction the merchant in the story seemed to have...which was probably the same less-than-thrilling reaction Mercata's suppliers/distributors probably had as well about such approaches to new ways of increasing sales.

Mercata was quite an adventure - the thrill of the dot.com pace of change - and the tremendous talent of the assembled team.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Monday - May 29, 2006

I've been updating my development environment today...preparing to dive into some new releases of Open Source code:

  • The Apache Tomcat 5.5 Servlet/JSP Container


  • Eclipse 3.1.2


  • Java Web Services Developer Pack 2.0


  • PostgreSQL 8.1 (contains more than 120 new features)


  • I downloaded the latest version of EMS Database Management Solutions, Inc. SQL Manager 2005 for PostgreSQL Lite (3.2.0.4) - which supports PostgreSQL 8.1


  • I'm using Sun's Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_05-b05) - but may look at updating to the latest release later this week.


    Issues Discovered

    1) Apparently, the /bin/javaw.exe reserved port 8005 - which the default installation of Tomcat 5.5 wants to use. I changed Tomcat's port to use 8010.

    2) The latest distribution of Tomcat 5.5 doesn't include the Admin interface - you have to download and install it separately.