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Jonathan Erickson

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

It's Catch Up Time Again

February 04, 2010

From time-to-time, its time to catch up, which means I have to go into the office, re-introduce myself to the staff, and wander through the various departments to find out what I've missed. Here's what my most recent sojourn turned up.

From the "so that's what the iPad is all about" department...

I've been reading overtime in trying to figure out what's the point of the iPad, Apple's recently announced Tablet Personal Computer. Oops, there's the first mistake -- calling it a "Personal Computer". I hate to admit it but Michael Swaine actually made sense in the current "Swaine's Flames" installment entitled What the iPad Really Is. I think I get it, but would like to hear your take on it. Drop me a note at [email protected].

From the "read my lips, it's a global economy" department...

Congratulations are in order I guess to the four student programmer teams from China and five from Russia who dominated the top ten rankings of the 2010 ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM ICPC). Shanghai Jiaotong University took first place followed by Moscow State University. Third place went to National Taiwan University, and Taras Shevchenko Kiev National University finished fourth. The only non-Chinese or non-Russian team in the top ten was the University of Warsaw in eighth place. According to ACM President Professor Dame Wendy Hall "this competition helps to illuminate the role of computing in driving innovation in a global environment, and to recognize achievements in these regions" -- not to mention that it illuminates what happens when you have a strong educational system that values science, math, and technology.

From the "my how time flies" department...

There's no guesswork involved in congratulations to the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) for its 25th anniversary . The SEI was launched in 1985 with a charter to improve the practice of software engineering as a discipline. The organization has moved from its flagship methodology -- the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) -- to research advances in software product lines, software architecture, and the establishment of the CERT network and computer security program. In addition to its ongoing focus on security, SEI is taking the lead in researching the role of economic theory and game theory in the development of software systems, as well as computer forensics. Way to go guys!

From the "going back to the well again" department...

If you haven't had the opportunity to participate in the January 2010 edition of Dr. Dobb's State of the IT Union survey, there's still time. While several hundred of you have participated, you can never have enough data points when it comes to surveys such as this. The goal of this survey is to find out what IT professionals are actually doing in practice. The survey should take you about 5-7 minutes to complete. Thanks in advance for your last minute participation.

From the "articles don't just fall out of trees" department...

Dr. Dobb's is always looking for good -- make that "great" -- articles on any topic that is relevant and important to software developers. Anything come to mind? If so, drop me a note. I'd like to get you started. Topics include Java, Mobility, Open Source, Embedded Systems, C++, Agile, Databases, Windows, and Parallel Programming, among others. The list goes on and on. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

From the "that rascal Al Williams is up to it again" department...

On the heels of his One-Instruction CPU and Commando FORTH compiler, Dr. Dobb's resident tinkerer Al Williams has rolled out a roll-your-ownUniversal Cross Assembler. Who said assmbler can't be fun?

From the "speaking of articles" department...

Speaking of articles, here are a couple I urge you not to miss: MonoTouch and the iPhone: The GPS and Compass Functions by Bryan Costanich. Mono is so cool and every time I talk to Mono guru Miguel de Icaza, he promises to write an article for Dr. Dobb's. MonoTouch is a Mono-based framework that lets you build iPhone and iPad apps using C#. Then there's Proving Correctness of an OS Kernel by Gernot Heiser. Is it safe and secure software you want? This is a fascinating article on that subject.

From the "maybe Facebook isn't so dumb after all" department...

Facebook released HipHop for PHP, an open-source project that turns PHP source code into highly optimized C++, then compiles it with g++ to build binary files. Very cool. According to Facebook senior engineer Haiping Zhao,  HipHop lets Facebook keep the best aspects of PHP while taking advantage of the performance benefits of C++. Nice job folks. 

-- Jonathan Erickson
[email protected]

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