Archive for December, 2007

tech: base64 encoding tools

In my current project, I’ve had need to encode data in Base64 format for network transmission. Since I don’t want to reimplement things that are already available, I’ve seen libraries like Apache Commons Codec for Java. But I recently stumbled across a neat idea, especially when using shell scripts: OpenSSL can do Base64 encoding. It can do just that by using base64 as a cipher name, or it can use a real encryption cipher and then Base64-encode the encrypted content. Thanks to Van Emery for pointing that out. OpenSSL should be available in almost all Linux/Unix distributions, and can even go on Windows natively or via cygwin.

tech tips marcelk 20 Dec 2007 1 Comment

tech: issues in software engineering

This cartoon is a great example of the non-technical issues in software engineering. Notice that every situation is wrong, even what the customer asked for. These issues are caused by poor communication, incorrect assumptions, cut corners, optimism, bad habits, etc. The good news is that it is possible to overcome each of these causes, but it isn’t easy and certainly doesn’t happen without a lot of effort. It takes balance, iteration, communication, insight, and good judgment. These are things that can’t be enforced.

things i wish i knew before working marcelk 12 Dec 2007 No Comments

tech: the holiday present that gives back

Looking for that perfect present for the holidays? Here is one to consider: it’s for someone you don’t know. Give a laptop to a child in a developing country. The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project is up and running. As an individual, you can make a contribution to this non-profit organization that will touch someone directly. The laptop, the XO, is designed specifically for use in developing areas. Don’t compare it to a standard laptop, because it is not one. It does look like a perfect fit for the intended audience. Everything I’ve heard about it says it is well designed and built to last. The children for whom these are intended have talent, but they may not have opportunities. Education is key to improving life, and this laptop is an education opportunity.

Instead of being a consumer during the holidays, be a provider.

life tips &tech tips marcelk 12 Dec 2007 No Comments