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2007.03.25

One Traffic Light Per Child

The XO machine of the One Laptop Per Child initiative has a display with two remarkable properties: in reflective mode it can be read under sunlight, and it can also work in both laptop and tablet mode. Add a dozen-line EToys program and you have a real traffic light.

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2007.03.23

Software Development Productivity Award

Yesterday, at the 17th annual Jolt Product Excellence and Productivity Awards my book Code Quality: The Open Source Perspective won a Software Development Productivity Award in the Technical Books category.

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2007.03.15

Make vs Ant: Observability

I've long felt uncomfortable with ant as a build management tool. I thought that my uneasiness stemmed from the verbose XML used for describing tasks, and the lack of default dependency resolution. Today, email from a UMLGraph user struggling with a complex ant task made me realize another problem: lack of observability.

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2007.03.09

Software Rejuvenation is Counterproductive

In the February issue of the Computer magazine Grottke and Trivedi propose four strategies for fighting bugs that are difficult to detect and reproduce. Retrying an operation and replicating software are indeed time-honored and practical solutions. When coupled with appropriate logging, they may allow an application to continue functioning, while also alerting its maintainers that something is amiss. On the other hand, the proposal to restart applications at regular intervals (rejuvenation as the authors call it), doesn't allow us to find latent bugs, sweeping them instead under the carpet. This lowers the bar on the quality we expect from software, and will doubtless result in a higher density of bugs and increasingly complicated failure modes.

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2007.03.06

The Power of Reusable GUI Elements

One can manipulate any graphical element of the Squeak environment by bringing up its halo: a rectangular set of icons representing actions that one can perform on any object. At first I found it cumbersome to have to go through the halo in order to perform any action, like recoloring an object or changing its name. Later I saw that this method is incredibly powerful.

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Unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material on this page created by Diomidis Spinellis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Greece License.