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Showing posts from September, 2014

Sequence Diagramming Tool Thingumy-bob

I've used a variety of tools to produce sequence diagrams over the years, many of them very poor, some of them satisfactory, none of them what you'd call "good". Usually because they force you to do battle with a plastic mouse for several hours to make anything other than the simplest of interactions come to life. However, forced to ditch my old favourites (Rational Rose and Rational Software Architect) in favour of open-source alternatives ( Papyrus ), has not been as fruitful as I'd have liked. Papyrus does a good job but is just as bad as all the commercial variants at drawing sequence diagrams - resulting in micro mouse movements to get just the right connection in just the right position. I don't get it, sequence diagrams are more like code than any other diagram and it's easier to write them than it is to draw them... so with this in mind; and having tried websequencediagrams which is cool but doesn't seem to handle life-lines properly (and I

Shellshock

I'm sure this is going down well across the globe right now... Details over at NIST . As I understand it, it allows env variables to be propagated to child processes and where they start with a particular string "() {" for this to enable execution of any commands beyond the function definition. Nice. Will affect mainly CGI based servers which are many though typically older websites these days... I suspect 500 million sites affected is overdoing it a little but it doesn't overplay the seriousness of this bug. ... off to find whatever servers I have vulnerable to this little bugger... Update: This guy is scanning the net for the vulnerability... http://blog.erratasec.com/2014/09/bash-shellshock-scan-of-internet.html#.VCQSaC5dVnI Update: And Redhat have a very good article on this one including a nice command to test your installation to see if you're affected  on their security blog.

Longevity

Longevity - An availability requirement I rarely see... i.e. how long will the system need to run for before you expect it to be replaced or retired. For short term projects it's an obvious one, but for stuff we expect to last it seems we often default to forever... Eternity is a very long time...

Documents v Wikis

I used to spend a significant proportion of my time working with documents. Nasty 100 page beasties where 80% of them felt like generic copy text designed principally with the goal of obscuring the 20% of new content you were really interested in. Consequently I developed a severe dislike of any document more than a few pages long. The agile manifesto came along and suggested we focus on “working software over comprehensive documentation” which by some has unfortunately been taken to mean “no documentation”. Let’s just say there’s a significant grey area between the extremes of “comprehensive” and “none-at-all”. Personally I’m aware that I fall more into the “comprehensive” camp than the other though I put this down to the fact that; for me, putting things down on paper is a great way of helping me think things through. For me, documentation is a design tool. On the other hand, wikis…! I used to see wikis as a saviour from the hours/days/weeks spent reviewing documents and trying to k

Heavy Handed?

Is it really heavy-handed to give users a slightly second rate experience because they use an out of date browser ? Me thinks not really... effort spent should be proportional to the size of the user base. Just a pity they didn't go further and send any user of IE off to the 1999 edition and throttle their download to the 28kbps they deserve... 80% of the effort for 20% of the users.