Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Time Management

As of September I have been working as a software engineer for a company that builds screen printing equipment. The company is a leader in its field and supplies circuit board printers to most of the major technology companies in the world. The job has been fantastic in giving me an insight of what the software engineer profession is all about. Being paid to do something you are good at and you enjoy is a great feeling and something you only dream about while you are struggling through tedious exams at school. However one unexpected problem has resulted from the nine to five working hours. Simply I have suddenly realised how many things I use to do in my spare time, and how much little spare time I now have. I feel my hobby time has rapidly been eroded and in the last 3 months I have done little towards my final year university project that by now I wanted the requirements to be completed. It has become apparent that better time management is in order if I wish to continue building the BridTEC brand, something that in the new year I hope to achieve.

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Is the web killing software engineering?

I so love desktop applications, so rock solid and they do exactly what you want them to do. I have the totally opposite opinion of the web interface, having to click submit before a refresh of the page can occur seems so clunky me. Lucky so-called web 2.0 may fix my dislike towards the web, as it should offer real time updates using technologies such as Ajax. But I have deeper concerns of what developing for the web is doing to the definition of software engineering. As in any engineering there is a life cycle of the processes you have to do to go from start to end, or in most cases start to recurring support. When you build a house you have an architect who in software are the people who prepare the requirements, analysis and design documents. You also have the builders who in software are the programmers. If you build a shed without an architect you maybe able to just use the builders to construct a simple design and go onto build the shed. In majority of cases this happens in web development that on the whole works fine. My issue with this isn't what you would initially think, with the builder doing the work of many people and the possibility for that shed will fall down. No, my issue is that the team who are building sheds for the living get out of the development routine that would be required to build a grand hotel.
There is no doubt in my eyes that web development can become enormous but being realistic not every web developer is working on big projects and the majority are working on relevantly small ones. Now the trouble with techies, including myself is that we like to investigate and learn other technologies. This is meaning that true desktop application developers are cross-pollinating with web developers resulting in mixed disciplines of software development. This doesn't cause too many problems on the web side, the only issue maybe the projects are over engineered and run behind schedule. On the desktop application side is another story. Few applications I used on a day-to-day base aren't from one of the major software houses. Applications that I use that aren't from one of the big boys I would have a major issue with somewhere. The big software houses such as Microsoft enforce industry standard software techniques, which I believe is why I have no big issue with their applications. Where smaller developers applications' I believe, which I cannot directly prove, that the reason I have issues with their applications is because these developers come from the age where the ease of creation and deployment of web sites is predominate and this has eroded away the true software engineering discipline. This discipline is a main ingredient to good software and without it we see a future of inadequate software.

Saturday, 18 November 2006

Is 3G finally taking off?

With the announcement this week that mobile phone operator 'Three' will be offering a flat rate fee for it 3rd generation mobile phone service, I can finally start considering upgrading my mobile phone. Two years ago I pledged to myself that I wouldn't upgrade my phone until 3G services, then very expensive, became the norm. In my opinion the operators have cut their own throats as they made the services an exclusive product and didn't create reasonable pricing plans. Pricing plans where created around the pay-for-what-you-use model, the model that most operators used for text messaging. So fixed prices were created for each megabyte a user used for the use of any 3G services. In the age where you pay a fixed fee for your home broadband service, this pricing plan wasn't going to work and it has resulted in very slow take up for 3G services. Now 'Three' has announced their new flat rate fee pricing plan, we can only wait before the other operators will follow suit and maybe 3G will finally take off.