anonymous tech woman

Yet another woman in technology blog. I'm actually a developer who uses a variety of Java and database technologies on a variety of platforms.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


I currently work in a place that uses phpWiki for the developers to write the first draft of their documentation before copying it to a word processed document. This has the advantages that you just write a simple note to yourself so it is easy to work out later what you did and where a specific link is.

This is a half way house between places where I've worked before where they either follow the waterfall process or do no documentation at all.

Following a process such as the waterfall process leads to documentation being written before the project is coded or tested meaning that the documentation doesn't reflect the actual software product produced. This means that the documentation which is usually nicely written up has to be rewritten at the end of the project. This is rarely done.

Not writing any documentation at all leads to problems if a developer leaves for any reason. This means that someone who reads the code will not have an overview of what the code does and will spend a long time working out what it does before being able to alter it or give up and write it.

Technorati Tags: Documentation, PHPWiki, Waterfall Process

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Books I Wish People Will Read

While reading Creating Passionate Users I came across a list of books that people recommend others should read.

My books are:
Fiction- 1984 by George Orwell.
Why- I read this book first when I was about 16. I then re-read it when I was about 20 and then about 26. When I first read the book it made me think of states such as North Korea and history i.e. Nazi Germany, when I re-read the book it made me think more and more of modern Western Countries. Where there is a proliferation of CCTv cameras and people are demonised if they don't follow the government line.

Non-Fiction- Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela
This is the autobiography of a man who didn't lay down and follow the government line. He also suffered to achieve his goals and found that not everything is what it seems.

Technorati Tags: Books, Reading, Creating Passionate Users

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Internet Use Policies and Firefox 2 out

Every place I've worked has had a different policy. Some let developers download anything because they know that if you download something dodgy then you better clean it up or get sacked for destroying data. Others only let you download approved stuff while others let you download stuff only after approval from someone else.

The worst places I've worked locked my PC so I couldn't download anything until I had to point out that I couldn't actually do any work. I've also been told to remove a Java compiler because it was not recognised. I had to send a polite email twice pointing out I couldn't do any work if I did this.

I've just got a three mobile phone contract. Apparently they are alright if you don't break your phone. Unfortunately I didn't buy any accessories. So I'm going to have to go into a shop and get a cover for it.

By the way firefox 2 comes out today. Straight after the release of IE7.

Technorati Tags: Internet Use Policies, Browsers

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Writing Bad Java Code

Apparently it's possible to write bad Java code which amazes me. Have a look at obfusated Java

Technorati Tags: Java, programming languages

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Monday, October 16, 2006

OpenOffice and Charts

Open Office Calc allows you to generate charts just like in Microsoft Excel. The charts are a bit basic IMHO in comparison but you can generate simple bar charts, scatter graphs and pie charts. Unfortunately if you then try and alter the chart using the OOo API you will discover that even though you have given your chart a name you cannot access it by this name easily. Why? It is because:
  1. The chart is an embedded object
  2. The embedded object is given a unique name in the calc workbook such as Object 1
  3. Your name is given to the object using the XShape interface.

Another problem is if you want to find the exact cells your chart covers in a particular worksheet you cannot.

These are annoying limitations of the current API but luckily the Chart2 project is being done.

Technorati Tags: Openoffice, Java,charts, programming languages

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Age Discrimination

1st October 2006 marked the introduction of the Age Discrimination Laws in the UK. This means that employers can no longer discriminate against people because of their age as long as they are under the retirement age stated in the contract of employment.

In theory this is a good law, however in practise like sex, race and disability discrimination laws employers will find ways around it by simply looking at the dates of education of the person then once the potential employee comes in, they will give the excuse that their were more suitable candidates. For example I've been asked in the past "How do I feel working in a male envirnoment?" or "Do you have any dependents?" which due to the way it has been asked is an euphemism for we don't employ women here because they don't fit in with our culture or will get pregnant and demand maternity leave/flexible working. Before you think this is my misinterpretation any business that has ever employed me, here or abroad, has never asked those sorts of questions.

This law should affect the IT industry greatly but all that will happen is:
1. Employers will continue to set their rates of pay too low for the experience required to do the job thus claiming there is a skills shortage to allow a foriegn (cheaper and potentially easier to exploit) worker to do the job.
2. There will be more short term contracts. The fact is most IT employees move on within a 1-2 years of being on the job so giving someone a short term contract with no benefits such as pension will save the employer money.

Technorati Tags: Java,UK, Age Discrimination, law

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Monday, October 02, 2006

J2EE Design Pattern: Java Value Types

For some reason at the moment always seem to be using Design Patterns without knowing I'm doing so. I'm currently writing an app that gets data out of an XML document and uses the information obtained to build another document using Java. As the XML document is complicated I thought I would create some classes that hold simple information about the parts of the XML document in the form of a Java Bean or POJO (Plain Old Java Object). Anyway after I done this I was researching something else using a search engine, and came across this information on Java Value Types. It seems what I thought was a POJO or a Java Bean actually is a recognised Design Pattern and one of the uses of this Design Pattern is to marshall data to and from XML documents.

Technorati Tags: Java,J2EE, Design Patterns, Java Value Types

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Why Linux Is Better and stating the obvious

This site link, whylinuxisbetter, made me laugh a lot. The site was created by Manu Cornet,

This paper states the obvious i.e .that users of a site are most likely to click on the parts of the site they visited before.

Technorati Tags: linux, users, web