short notes is a journal on software, systems, engineering practices among other things.
Copyright © 2002-2006 short notes. All rights reserved.    contact address: email to the editor   ISSN 1543-6489

short notes
Monday, 18. October 2004

Historical social software

Like most Internet phenomena, the latest fad "social software" has been around for a while -- Christopher Allen presents a detailed timeline of social software.


Wednesday, 9. June 2004

Not Witty

There was nothing to laugh about Witty worm:

Witty represents a new generation of malcode: written by a motivated, skilled, and malicious individual. Witty's author is the first to combine both skill and substantial malice. The author had some motive which lead, for him, to desire a destructive effect. Witty was written by an expert and, unless caught, he could do it again.
Ironically, Witty was made possible due to a buffer overflow in a security product. Another step down the path of losing the Internet? [via Bruce Schneier and boingboing]


Wednesday, 26. May 2004

For your eyes only

A few months ago Islamic fanatics bombed Madrid commuter trains and murdered two hundred people. Soon an American lawyer (a convert to Muslim) was arrested because his fingerprint appeared on a piece of evidence of the bombing. Alas he was not the right man, New York Times reports:

The Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation ought to hang their heads in shame over the mistaken arrest and jailing of a Muslim lawyer in Oregon who was supposed to be a material witness in the Madrid train bombing case. The arrest turned out to be based on a faulty fingerprint identification by F.B.I. "experts." That finding was ultimately retracted when more careful Spanish investigators concluded that the fingerprint had actually been left by a different man. Federal authorities apologized for the error and the unjustified jail time, but they still have a lot of explaining to do. The case smacks of a rush to judgment based on flimsy evidence. Clearly fingerprint analysis is not the gold standard it is cracked up to be. The method itself is not foolproof, and the analysts who provide the final judgment sometimes make the wrong call. [...]
This story and the oft-sited story about an amateur fooling fingerprint readers with fake fingers made of gelatin should serve as a warning against "the Lures of Biometrics" -- "However much fervent proponents and keen vendors of biometric solutions market their wares, the guiding factor should be proven reliability and appropriateness of these solutions to specific uses, not marketing hype, which seems at times to dominate this arena." Indeed.


Friday, 30. April 2004

Performance anxiety

Worried about performance? What is the fastest way to increment an integer in Java? What is the fastest way to iterate over an array in .Net? Why do we even bother with managed code? [via Patrick Logan]


Wednesday, 31. March 2004


MMORPG or massively multiplayer online role playing games have been a craze over the last several years. Technologically the keyword in MMORPG is 'massive' -- many games support hundreds of thousands or millions of users simultaneously. At the heart of these games is message oriented middleware or MOM. Here are two examples:

used by different companies for making MMORPG game frameworks.


Tuesday, 30. March 2004

Death marches to the waterfall

Lately the waterfall methodology has been roundly criticized for being too heavy-handed and expensive. Developing in the Internet time meant waterfall was past sell-by-date by many a lifecycle. Needless to say for certain kinds of software waterfall methodology may be useful: for example desiging and implementing languages and their backwards compatible successors. However for the most commercial software development waterfall has been an embarrassing failure. The rise of agile methodologies (the most famous among them XP) seems to confirm the waterfall's disfavor among the technorati at last.

Or does it? Despite lip services paid to faster, nimbler software engineering practices, the industry hasn't changed its habit. Anecdotal evidences still depict wide spread analysis paralysis, slipping deadlines, worsening regressions, uncontrollable mutations, sinking morales and "death marches."


Tuesday, 17. February 2004

Polyglot programming

Interested in multi-language development? Study Poplog, "a free, open source, multi-language software development environment providing incremental compilers for a number of interactive programming languages". Poplog comes with four languages: Common Lisp, ML, Pop-11 and Prolog. These languages can use libraries written in other languages and the users can freely switch between them in the middle of a Poplog interactive session. Even better, users can embed languages! Here is documentation on Prolog and Pop-11; ML and Pop-11; Lisp and Pop-11; Proplog and Lisp.


Published since 2002-04-23
Updated: 2010-10-16
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