Software Engineer’s Blog

Software Engineering weblog

Google Wave: A new paradigm in collaboration

An interesting observation on Google Wave adoption Google Wave Invites, the new zucchini . I too share author’s view that Google Wave is all about communication. I look forward to see that it catches on, and I hope that communication and collaboration tools of our times evolve in similar lines

Let me share an experience from the past.

I grew up in a remote town in a developing country (that is, India). Our life there was a lot different from the world we live in.

Fuel used at home during my early childhood days was wood and kerosene. I remember that Liquid Petroleum Gas was getting to be in popular use, during my school days. One of my cousins happened to be one of the early users to get the gas connection (gas connection being issued by a Government agency).
Interesting twist to the story is that they surrendered the connection back finding it to be more of nuisance.

More than tool, its application is important. A tool helps when we understand its strength and apply the tool for a purpose leveraging its strength. What I find interesting about Google Wave is that it renders itself to human thought process and dynamics of group discussion, both of which are typically non-linear. It should help when used in group processes; not necessarily a replacement of email and IM

Success depends on adoption and large scale application, ensuring critical mass. Has it come ahead of time? Not necessarily. I hope people appreciate the strength of Google Wave, in its own right, beyond the hype. It is a new kind of communication/collaboration tool that we have seen so far

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Collaboration, Google Wave, Uncategorized, User Experience, UX | Leave a comment

Software Architecture Guide

Are you looking for a good book on Architecture? Then, Microsoft Application Architecture Guide, 2nd Edition is a ‘must-read’. Though it is tuned to working with Microsoft technologies, much of topics covered have larger relevance. What I like about this book, compared to other books on software architecture, is practical relevance and ease of application

Hats off to Microsoft for bringing architecture from the elite glass house to developers’ workspace!

November 22, 2009 Posted by | Product Engineering, Software architecture, software engineering | Leave a comment

Be the change!

This blog post is inspired a blog from my friend ‘Are we losing a long term Vision

I do not think this is a recent happening. This tendency used to there and will continue to be.

It takes conviction in oneself to be different; determination will follow. Conviction, determination, observation, and perseverance are critical to success.

I agree that there is visible mediocrity and lethargy even highest echelons in corporate hierarchy, just as with any other social segment. In my observation, it is intentional rather than accidental. It is a lack of application rather than a lack of skills. It is a matter of convenience, riding the wave created by some other leader in the past.

Well, it happens at the cost of the company. Is any one bothered? Patient is under close medical supervision while admitted into hospital, and under very close monitoring in the ICU. Routine sets in, after being discharged from the hospital. Do we take care even after that? How many of us do strictly follow medical instructions for healthy living? Personal health is one’s own priority and responsibility. If that is compromised, there is surprise that organization health is compromised

As many times in the past, this brings me back to Mahatma Gandhi to say ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’

November 18, 2009 Posted by | Business, Management | Leave a comment

Google Wave

Is Google Wave a flop? I do not think so!

I have received an invite for Google Wave. Just started playing around with it. I am very much impressed with Google Wave.

What interests me is that the paradigm shift in communication; pretty much close to typical discussion. Discussions, in general, are not linear. It aligns very closely with human thought process and group activities like discussion. A good discussion, though would be centered on a topic, would also cover variety of related topics as well

Will it replace current forms like emails and IMs? It may not. Just as emails have not removed regular mail service.

Applications? Plenty. I would use it to record my own thought process and learning. I would also use it in any group activity, including software development.

Will it be a success? Well, there is more to success in the market than just realization of need and a good product. Critical mass, financial muscle, marketing push, competition and many other factors too play a major role

I am waiting for getting all my contacts into Google Wave. At this point, I am constrained by the number of invites that I can send

November 17, 2009 Posted by | Google Wave, Natural User Interface, Software architecture, software engineering, User Experience | Leave a comment

IT reaching out to common man of India

Great to see IT breaking out of glass houses and reaching out to common man of India

November 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On your mark, Get set, GO

Here comes a new programming language GO, just in case you thought you have seen it all. It is from Google this time, taking the best out of C++ and Python

Let us get goin’

November 11, 2009 Posted by | software engineering | Leave a comment

What it takes to be a leader?

What it takes to be a leader? Is leadership a natural skill or an acquired one?

My take is: In Indian philosophy, we say ‘Tat Tvam Asi’. It translates to ‘that art thou’. God is in you; You are God. Difference between the leader and the rest is that leader is able to see the God in the self and the other is lost in the illusion. Once you start seeing the God in you, you start seeing God in others and everything else. You start seeing the potential for synergy and potential for making things happen rather than letting things happen. You move on, and take the team with you, come rain or sunshine

Therefore, I think it is natural that ‘A leader is neither born nor made but identified himself / herself’. It is a case of self realization and self actualization, or an approach towards it.

Who can be a better person than the one who rose from humble beginnings in one of the remote places in India to become the President of India. In a world that is desperately searching for success, there is a lot to learn from his experience and wisdom

November 11, 2009 Posted by | Business, Management, software engineering, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Project success rate still alarming slow!

2009 Chaos Report from Standish Group indicates that project success rate are still alarming slow! Seeing what happens around, I am not surprised at this rate!!

But I am not surprised at the expert reasoning either. I tend to concur with these views. Despite all engineering, process and quality initiatives in software development, success is still elusive. Not surprisingly, all reasoning points to people factor.

After all, software development is team work. Fundamental to team work is honest and clear communication. That is what fails. Without honest and clear communication what remains is process for the sake of process and automation for the sake of automation

November 10, 2009 Posted by | Business, software engineering, Software Quality, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Defining Quality in eLearning world

This is inspired by blog Defining Quality in Learning for Virtual Worlds, Mobile Devices and Online Modules. I believe it is high time we get on with a working definition of quality from e-Learning systems.

When we talk about quality, definition that is closest to my heart is ‘value to someone’ from Dr. Gerald M. Weinberg. It is closest to my heart because I find it easy to apply into a business context. Well, that some one is the customer who invests in the product on behalf of the user (if customer and user are different). That is also the user who actually uses the product. That also includes balancing interests of many other stakeholders. Does that sound confusing? Not necessarily. Art of management is about balancing various forces. It is not one at the cost of others

That brings to FURPS+, traditional classification of quality we use in software engineering. I believe all dimensions require attention. Reliability, Performance and Supportability of the solution is as important as Functionality and Usability.

Well, that sounds too generic? What is “good enough” quality for a specific project/product must be assessed with respect to stakeholders of that project/product. I believe, assessing them on all dimensions are important though one could define degree of acceptable tolerance/compromise taking respective stakeholders into confidence

Now getting specific to the eLearning, two key elements that make a successful eLearning system are i) technology and ii) content. From technology perspective, I would consider adaptability, scalability and maintainablity apart from FURPS+. Well, I am aware these are already addressed by FURPS+ but I think these require special attention as the eLearning technology space is still evolving. From content perspective, I would classify it further into quality of content, quality of content presentation, and quality of content delivery. In the latter two (that is, quality of content presentation and quality of content delivery) role of technology is significant but what I would like to assess is what does it mean for the user, and other stakeholders

November 10, 2009 Posted by | e-Learning, eLearning, Software Quality | Leave a comment

Sixth Sense


Had it not been for my friend Dilip pointing out to me in a casual telephone call yesterday, I would have missed this Sixth Sense, a great innovation from MIT

Every device getting to be a computer in itself, devices are getting miniaturized, user interface to devices are simplified (should we still use the word user interface? interface represents a means of interacting with the disconnected), web getting to be the essential computing platform seamlessly connecting everything around… Change is in the air in the computing world…..

Hat’s off to Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry!

November 9, 2009 Posted by | Natural User Interface, NUI, Surface, User Experience, UX | Leave a comment