TechnicalArchitectureWorx

The (Unofficial) ITWorx Technical Architecture Blog

Archive for the ‘mkaram’ Category

Blackberry blood on the Tarmac

Posted by archworx on September 22, 2008

Last week I was taking my son to the doctor, and as I was lifting his car seat in place, I rested my phone in the crevice between the hood and the windshield. We then got in the car and the started driving away.

I completely forgot about the blackberry.

A few minutes later I notice the phone in its holster was slowly edging up the windshield – in what seemed like an eternity – and within a couple of seconds the berry had flown off the car. The trouble is I was on the ring road!

I parked my car and I spent the next TEN minutes pacing back and forth the highway’s four different lanes trying to find parts of it. I knew it would certainly not work, but I just wanted to see if I could recover the data card with some baby pictures of my son and my sim card.

I found the phone itself, then the holster, then I spotted the back cover doing umpteen somersaults in lane 3, its black cover faintly visible in the night, its reflections caught my attention as it was flying in mid air.

Try as I might, I couldn’t find the battery. My wife spotted it near where we were parked and then we re-assembled it.

Ten minutes later (it takes ages to boot) – we were thoroughly shocked when the thing actually worked! Parts of the phone had been hit by cars, trampled on, and blown away by the speed of the cars passing by.

It had a few scratches here and there, the back cover wouldn’t fit snugly any more and the holster’s magnet broke, so now it speed dials a random number sometimes as I place the phone inside it.

Now that’s resilient engineering.

Well done RIM.

Advertisements

Posted in mkaram, Rant | 5 Comments »

Interview Completeness

Posted by archworx on August 18, 2008

I often find myself in a situation where I am interviewing someone, and I am starting to be impressed, when all of a sudden, I decide to ask one more question, jut for the heck of it – and suddenly I realize that I have uncovered a major gap in this person’s profile. Which brings me to the question – what do you think makes the complete interview? Both in terms of categories and what those categories may include in terms of questions. Off the top of my head I can think of the following main categories:

* Technical Competence

* Depth of Experience

* Gauging Passion

* Compatibility Company Values

Let us know your thoughts, too.

Posted in Interview Question, mkaram, Rant | 4 Comments »

First Cutting Edge Club Public Seminar

Posted by archworx on November 28, 2007

Last Saturday saw the Cutting Edge Club’s Technical Seminars go Public for the first time. This is interesting as it is contributing to a critical mass which I believe will herald a watershed period in the Egyptian IT industry. It is also relevant to this blog because in essence the club was the brain child of the Architecture Group. It is still headed by our very own Nader Ziada.

BTW – the event was extremely encouraging, and people’s reception was quite good. The speakers themselves were quite articulate and people seemed quite happy with the whole thing.

We’ll give you more details in due time, but this is just a quick announcement until then.

Posted in CuttingEdge, mkaram, Nader | 2 Comments »

2007 – Year in Review

Posted by archworx on November 26, 2007

Year In Review – & Plans for Future 

Hello again everyone. It’s been a long time since we published our last communiqué – and it is high time the Architecture Group (AG) touches base with insite readers.

Summary of Events

This year has witnessed a great deal of news and many events. Let me highlight the following for you very quickly:

  • We’ve started publishing a monthly newsletter that includes the most relevant announcements we believe are good to know for people in the company. We’ve published two so far, and hopefully will continue at a regular rhythm. We encourage you to check it out every month and see if it includes anything useful for you.

  • The AG has recently expanded to host members in an exciting new Service Offering that ITWorx has started working on this year – Business Intelligence! Our consultants were busy at the start of the year trying to get a business pipeline – and their efforts were luckily met with so much success that they are so swamped now they can hardly handle all the flooding through the gates!

  • The Configuration & Release Management Team have been experimenting with penetrating other accounts to expand beyond their stalwart account, UTC. On the other hand, growth in UTC projects working on vignette has meant that a lot work is still not getting the full treatment.

  • The TA Team has spawned off an enormous number of initiatives that are so numerous I am not even going to try to enumerate them. I’ll just highlight for example the IdeaQueue, which is an idea incubator for good ideas that we launched in our October Newsletter. “Totem”, one of the first Ideas executed in the IdeaQueue is an exciting Enterprise Service Bus implemented natively for ITWorx, keep your eyes open for this in the future as it is bound to spawn further exciting ideas (which we’re keeping under wraps for now). The CodeGen team has finally published “Koala”, which was their code name for The ITWorx Code Generator version 2.0; now it supports extensible classes and a new UI component on steroids. No Java support yet, and still much more exciting stuff we’re trying to include in 2008, which we’re re-factoring the code now in order to get ready for.

  • The CuttingEdge Club has now grown beyond the TA team and become a company-wide group. As of November, we’re also experimenting with growing beyond ITWorx and including members of our community at large. Thanks to your continuous support – just by attending the seminars and arriving on time, you encourage us to keep arranging more and more seminars!

  • AcademiaBridge is also growing up to become an organization wide initiative which includes more effort from more and more people, and is promising to conquer new ground in new universities with more students as it does so.

Listening to You: Surveying your opinions for the year ahead

After having done all that we wanted to touch base with the rest of the company to find out if what we were doing added any value to your work. So we conducted our feedback survey a couple of months ago. We never expected the amount of feedback we got, and in fact it was quite an honour to feel that so many people wanted to share their thoughts with us. Thank you so much for having taken the time, we feel very privileged for all the feedback you gave us.

The results are still published online for all to see, but a few themes prevailed that are going to define the way we plan our work for 2008. The main words we heard you say were along the lines of “Focus”, “Reuse”, and “Reach Out”. Many people thought we were doing so much stuff that it was spreading us too thin. Others thought they knew very little about us and wanted us to become more visible in the way we impact their day-to-day work. Many people stressed that while we finally have a growing reuse library in ITWorx, they want to see much more reuse happening in more places.

Focus on 2008

We want to take your advice and consequently will focus a great deal next year on our “Productivity & Efficiency” program, which includes, Code Generation and Service Engineering. Most people don’t know what Service Engineering is yet – it is basically the mother of all reuse possible. This is the umbrella project that includes Code Reuse, The Software License Tool Box (How many licenses of TOAD or Ants Profiler do we have?), Stencils Development (Such as the SharePoint-specific design and requirements stencils in use by eGov & Education), Custom-Tool Development (for example, the IMT and PortalInfoCenter in UTC), and Training Capabilities (CBT Summaries or Nuggets about market verticals, client information, platform & process specifics and so on).

One of our Targets is to encourage and catalyze reusable asset development by simply jumping on the bandwagon and helping teams to deliver such capabilities until they do so themselves. The problem is, reuse is something that should inherently come from the authors themselves, instead of someone who sweeps behind them every so often. But it’s a chicken and egg situation when authors are not encouraged to deliver assets when they have not yet seen the value of the library to which they are expected to contribute. So we want to jump-start this process by doing things like salvaging potential assets developed by other teams, until the library reaches a critical mass, then encouraging people to continue the momentum by showing them statistics that prove how great an impact their assets are making on the organization (these stats exist today already and prove that the library is expanding in a slow but positive direction, ask us about “Initiative Tracking” on architecture-panel@itworx.com for more info).

As for being more popular and “famous” around the company, we admit we have been keeping a low profile most of this last year, but that is because we had to build a lot of our internal team structure first before being able to make a loud noise. We are in a position now that will allow us to leverage some of our assets developed throughout this time to serve you in a better and more efficient manner. So we are going to do a great deal of work on our “Outreach” program, which includes this communiqué, our blog, our newsletter, illumination sparks, and two exciting new projects coming out next year!

From a BSC perspective, we are working to define “penetration targets” on all other fronts. These targets stipulate that we should cover new territory in ITWorx accounts with a certain quality of service throughout the year. This is in addition to continuously refining our tools and processes in order to make sure we can reach our goal… 

We Need You!

Our goal is to enhance the quality of our company’s deliverables in every way technically possible. We can’t do this without you. We’ll need your help, on more than one front – here are some ideas:

1.       Join in the fun with us! Stay tuned to our news and announcements – please read our blog, read our company wide newsletter or please, please join our illuminate mailing list, which we promise to reveal interesting details on every now and then.

2.       Commit to Excellence. Foster a passion for pragmatism with perfection. Encourage your team and your architects to come up with great solutions which deliver efficiently. Trust industry best-practices to lead you to results. If in doubt, have the courage to try once in a while. For example, don’t be afraid to normalize your database and see if impacts your overall project positively or negatively. Build better from the inside, even if no one is looking! J

3.       Obviously we’re still a relatively new team, and we’re bound to experience growing pains, so please bear with us. Don’t lose hope if we skip a beat once, and do come back again. But by all means give us your feedback so we know what to improve the next time around.

-mmk, ag.

Posted in Communiqué, mkaram | Leave a Comment »

ITWorx releases MS Office 2007 Prayer Times plugin

Posted by archworx on October 23, 2007

For all those who have been asking for the download for the Office 2007 add-in, good news, you can finally download it here:

http://www.itworx.com/downloads/PrayerTimes/PrayerTimes_2007.msi

Posted in mkaram, PrayerTimes, Vista | 27 Comments »

Sharepoint String Limitations

Posted by archworx on May 24, 2007

Recently we have been conducting some investigations on constructing high powered dynamic applications in MOSS 2007, which connect a wide mesh of subsystems from a single entry point. During the analysis we found out that a lot of the data we needed to manipulate is rather large, so I asked some friends and was very pleased to find a very comprehensive list of size limitations on Sharepoint Strings summarized here:

http://www.sharepointblogs.com/marwantarek/archive/2007/03/25/sharepoint-2007-strings-maximum-limitations.aspx

Posted in mkaram, Sharepoint | Leave a Comment »

Considerations for Securing Log-in?

Posted by archworx on April 18, 2007

Someone was asking us about what factors to consider in order to develop a “secure” log-in component. Off the top of my head, I could think of the following rules of thumb that you should honour, assuming 1-factor security:

1. You really should communicate over SSL

2. You should also never transfer any credentials in the query string (neither username, nor password, nor any token of any sort)

3. Also, make sure that the password is never stored in plain text in your data repositories – you must always store its hash generated using a one-way hashing function. Being one way means that you can never go back the other way and retrieve the plain text password from the hash.

This means that you can never retrieve the password from the hash, so in order to verify it, you must take the newly provided password and hash that too, then compare both hashes to verify if they are identical. You can never do the comparison based on the plain-text of the password itself.

This is important because it illimates the risk that the admin will be able to find out what the plain-text password is by reversing the encryption function. From an algorithmic perspective, it is not acceptable to just “rely on the trustworthiness of the administrator” 🙂

4. At the same time, it is recommended that you use a “salt” to encrypt the password, or some other strong form of encryption.

I’m sure there may be others, but I can’t think of any more now – What else should we look for? 

Posted in Interview Question, mkaram, Programming, Security | 3 Comments »

Pandora’s Box: The Egyptian Software Outsourcing Industry Today – Risks & Trends

Posted by archworx on April 8, 2007

The Egyptian Software Outsourcing Industry is a relatively young industry. It is a very dynamic, growing, and changing industry. I believe that this year is going to mark a watershed period in the outsourcing industry across the world, and especially in Egypt. There are many tidal waves that are coming our way, and we’d better be prepared for them, otherwise brace yourself and take a deep breath, we may be about to sink.

The purpose behind these series of articles is to expose some of these upcoming risks and then open up the discussion for proposed mitigations or solutions.

 Some of these risks are very critical and we can’t afford to stand back and observe – we must be actively leading the market, on the forefront, trying out new innovative ways of survival.

Let’s start by looking at some of the changes in the world market one by one. This post will focus on local talent.

Competition: Attract and Retain me or die.

The wonderful thing about software is that you don’t need to be very resource-rich in order to participate in the revolution. All you need is some ingenuity and you can get very promising results. There are several garage-based developers who have toppled many industry giants in the world of software.

 This is the same reason why you get a lot of noise being made in places like Egypt, India and the Ukraine in the software field, where other industries cannot pick up momentum.

 This is an advantageous situation for many; in these countries Software Enterprises get a chance to thrive and compete on a global scale delivering surprisingly high quality software with minimal cost. Export your services, and you get international clients who are happy with your quality and thrilled at your cost model.

 This has created a multi-billion dollar software industry which has accelerated rapidly in many parts of the world; both in terms of adoption of the outsourcing model as well as establishing new outsourcing workshops.

Recently the competition around the world has become enormous, and it is now more and more a question of how you differentiate yourself.

With that introduction out of the way, it is time to recognize the real champion behing this multi-billion dollar revolution. The Software Developer. The Human Capital, Your core talent. Regardless of what they do exactly, if they write the code, test it, deploy it, support it, “infrastructure-it”, architect it, etc. This is the most important asset of any of these competing  companies.

Your building facilities are next to worthless, your computing hardware loses value faster than you can spell “depreciate”. The one most important factor is us. You are the driver of this revolution.

 Employers know this, and that is why there is always a tugging exercise happening behind the scenes to compete for resources – to compete for us. Employers are always battling to attract more resources, and to keep them by offering the highest possible package they can afford without compromising their cost model.

Competing for the Bottom Line

It is elementary that the reason why we may or may not be competitive is a factor of the quality of the software we deliver, and its price. This year in Egypt, our biggest threats are coming in the area of elevated packages that are being raised so high that they are going to blow the ceiling and threaten our cost model.

 Don’t get me wrong; I’m not advocating that we get under paid by any stretch – I am just voicing a loud concern about our long term sustainability.

 It has always been the case that IT services offered in a non-IT firm can sometimes get better compensated as distinguished and valuable inputs to the machinery required to operate in their specific market vertical. For example the telco market is sometimes able to better compensate IT individuals than a software firm because of many reasons – including the fact that they have much larger margins, and the fact that the bulk of their cost is not derived from these IT people – i.e. they can afford  to better compensate them without damaging their bottom line; their business model.

Say Hello

At the end of this first post, I will just conclude by asking people to welcome the new risks we are facing – the first step we need to do is to get acquainted with them, say hi, and then go back home and think about our next move.

This year we are welcoming a cash-rich telco operator in the market that is causing noticable waves in salary structures across the country.

As if that was not enough, there are strong rumours of two gigantic Indian Software companies that are setting up shop in Egypt with promised contract valued at several million dollars. The Huge Indian companies bring processes and operating models that are proven to work and will give them a significant advantage relative to local companies who don’t have similar experience.

This means more demand for your software person, with pretty much the same supply!

 So is that our risk I hear you ask?

No.

Our risk is not merely that the salary structures are rising, and our hourly rates will follow them. Our risk is that this is going to happen so quickly that our deliverable quality will never be able to rise high enough to catch up with it. This is what is going to threaten your long term sustainability, and your pay check next year.

 Unless, we are aware of these risks and act accordingly…

See you next post.

Posted in mkaram, Pandora, Rant | 2 Comments »

Catastrophic Development: Reflections on the Union Carbide Industrial Disaster in Bhopal

Posted by archworx on April 2, 2007

6

Background

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the world’s most catastrophic industrial disaster at the Union Carbide plant in the Indian city of Bhopal. On the morning of December the 3rd, 1984, 40 tonnes of Toxic heavier-than-air Methyl-Isocyanate (MIC) gas were accidentally released to spread across the surrounding roads and streets in Bhopal in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Thousands of people’s lives were abruptly terminated. The entire city’s transportation system was brought to a standstill, worsening the situation further, as many people were trampled while trying to flee.

People woke up to find their bodies burning, their family suffocating, and ran out to the streets to escape, only to find that those before them who had been blinded by the gasses and were aimlessly rushing in unknown directions eventually collapsed to the asphyxiation of the mortifying gasses and died, lining the streets in piles.

The effect of the gasses rolling out of the holding tank eventually injured from 150,000 to more than half a million people, and the death toll reached 15,000 people. Many sources confirm that contamination is still present in the region.

The damage from the gasses ranged from respiratory diseases, blindness and skin diseases, to reproductive problems.

QuoteOut:

  • “There were thousands of bodies. There were bodies everywhere. And people were dying all round.”
    • Mohammad Owais, a volunteer at Hamidia Hospital, Bhopal, India

BoxOut:

3

The Causes of the World’s Greatest Industrial Disaster

In the investigations that followed this disaster, the catastrophe was attributed to many factors, tragically, all of which did not have to happen, and were completely preventable. These included:

  • Lack of preparation for this sort of problem. No action plans were available for emergencies, and no contingency plans available to mitigate risks.
  • Reports issued months before the disaster predicting something of this magnitude would happen, and they were summarily ignored and never presented to senior management.
  • An Audible External alarm that was sounded to warn residents in the early morning hours, was quickly silenced – to avoid causing panic to residents.
  • The gas burning exhaust tower that allows gases to burn off before escaping into the air was inoperational, waiting to be serviced.
  • Doctors and Hospitals were not informed of the risks of MIC inhalation, and of its treatment methods – so they simply administered cough medicine and eyedrops to their patients.

QuoteOut:

  • “We have to travel at least two kilometres to get clean water… My health is so bad that it prevents me from carrying the water I need from there.”
    • Hasina Bi of Atal Ayub Nagar, a neighbourhood in Bhopal near the plant

How is this related to what I do?

You might think that this is very remote from your daily line of work. This is a problem in a different industry, a chemical plant, so far away from me, in an Indian city whose name I can’t pronounce, by a company I’ve never heard of before.

That’s the problem. The entire statement above is false. The difference in industry is immaterial, Union Carbide’s now infamous name has become immortalized down the industrial hall of shame. There are people who rally against Union Carbide, and its new owner Dow Chemical every year on this anniversary, all over the world. India in this case represents exactly what Egypt does in terms of attractive labour-cost and more fundamentally, lack of attention to audits, risk awareness, reviews and safety measures.

QuoteOut:

  • One reason, according to the Canadian Law Professor Jamie Cassels, who has written a book on Bhopal, is “the unwillingness of the industrialised countries to forego the competitive advantages offered by the less developed world.”

Unlike a Natural Disaster (like an earthquake, volcano, tsunami or the like), Industrial Disasters are caused by mankind. The fateful truth is that more often than not, they are caused by varying degrees of negligence and ignorance.

Let’s look at some of the root causes of this calamity listed above, and examine them with an eye critical of behavioural traits in our human culture. In our society there is a tendency to ignore “safety nets”, measures taken to ensure completely smooth delivery are often thought of as being a luxury – if you can just barely get it through the deadline, then you’re a genius. Remember what happened a few weeks ago when the fire alarm sounded 10 times in the company? How did we react? Do we know why it did that?

There is an obvious trade-off between risks-assumed versus quality-expected in every human endeavour. If you are driving a donkey-cart on a side road, some may say its okay not to have to tightly pack your payload on to the donkey cart. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you drop something? You go back and get it!

If you are on the ring road, and the car in front of you all of a sudden drops a traveling suit case in the middle of your lane, you probably won’t live long enough to explain to the other car’s driver how dangerous it is to travel without securing your payload first.

The reality is, if the project fails, the client will never appreciate the shortcuts you took to save them the extra mile at their expense when in reality the client’s safety is being jeopardized. Sometimes people think that developing software in a Professional Services firm such as ITWorx is a relatively safe enterprise – and that no bug (or fault) can hurt anyone. On the contrary, we are conditioned to think that avoiding “extra” safety procedures pays off.

Here’s what you could typically hear the root causes to the disaster being dismissed:

  • Lack of preparation for this sort of problem: “Yaa Raagel, this thing happened only once in India, Kabar Dimaghak!”
  • Reports issued months before the disaster predicting something of this magnitude would happen: “Maho this is the way we’ve always done business, would you just shut up and go on with your work?”
  • An Audible External alarm that was sounded to warn residents in the early morning hours, was quickly silenced – to avoid causing panic to residents: “Why make such a big fuss about something? How bad could it be anyway? What does an early warning mean by the way?”
  • The gas burning exhaust tower that allows gases to burn off before escaping into the air was inoperational, waiting to be serviced: “It’s okay, maho nothing usually happens anyway – we rarely use it!”
  • Doctors and Hospitals were not informed of the risks of MIC inhalation: “Da Kalam? You want me to go around scaring the Doctors about something they don’t need to know about? Even if I tell them, they won’t understand. Just shut up.”

Software faults can actually be fatal. Software Bugs can kill you, they can squander all your money – wasting millions and millions of it – they can put you at great disadvantages in the institutions that rely on systems full of them, they can waster your time, or merely inconvenience you.

The point is, the larger the project you are undertaking, the higher the risks. Sometimes taking shortcuts is not an option.

Big Boxout: Am I a Catastrophic Developer?

  • This section asks several thought provoking questions about the way we conduct business in the computer science arena and how that will influence our delivery standards. Take a moment to think of each of these questions carefully.
    • Do you manage transparently?
      • Do you keep “sensitive”, “important”, “privileged” or “interesting” information to yourself first before sharing it? Do you often conceal this information unwillingly due to time constraints? Do you make an active effort to pro-actively share such important information periodically with your team? Do you hold yourself accountable on how transparent you are? Do you teach your team what you know, or do you just do the important parts yourself, because it takes less time?

        Do you manage from an ivory tower not really knowing what your team is doing because you’re too senior?

      Do you Version your deliverables?

      • If I asked you which version of your software was installed at the client’s location, would you be able to give me an exact number? Would you be able to reproduce that numbered version from your source repository to match the version at the client’s byte for byte? Would you be able to guarantee that for every version “number” there would be one and only one actual version associated with it? Can you tell the difference between each minor feature adjustment or bug-fix? Are your release documents updated to reflect changes?

      Do you conduct full traceability on all dimensions of your project?

      • Do you think they are a waste of time? Do you know that they are the only way to scientifically prove the completeness of your deliverable? Do you know that without traceability you have no way to securely guarantee scope completion?

      Do you Unit Test your work?

      • Do you use a good unit-testing check-list? Do you know that ITWorx has a recommended unit-testing check-list? Do you know that the developer is the one who is supposed to run these tests before submitting their work for testing? Do you just deploy your code to the testing server the minute you think its finished and leave it those testers to find out if it works or not – because that’s what they’re job is anyway?

      Do you conduct proper, full audits?

      • Do you intentionally mislead auditors or give them half-truths? Do you conduct Mechanical-Audits? Just asking questions without searching for hidden truths? Do you understand why the auditor visits you? Or do you hate their guts? If the auditor asks you a seemingly useless question do you pray that they disappear or do you raise your concern with them?

      Do you communicate properly within your team?

      • Do you pause after you make changes and ask yourself “which stakeholders does this change impact?” and then notify them? Or do you often wait until one day a group of team mates starts screaming and yelling about fundamental changes that have been done behind their back?

      Do you give your Risk Management plan due dilligence? Do you keep it updated?

      • Is your risk management plan just composed of “Volcanos cannot be mitigated”? Do you periodically re-visit your Risk Management Plan to make sure that nothing new has surfaced? To make sure that you are increasingly ready for risks coming up on your radar?

      Do you re-invent or re-use the wheel?

      • Do you jump into developing first without looking to see if what you need has already been done? Do you seek to learn from the experiences of your pre-decessors? Do you ask yourself what others have done before you? Or do you prefer implementing from scratch? Every single time? Do you broadcast good ideas that you discover? Do you institutionalize reform and change? Do you contribute to re-use repositories?

        Do you keep the improvements to yourself, and end up being the only one to benefit from your lessons-learned?

      Do you review your work?

      • Do you peer-review your designs? Do you check that your packages actually install? Are spelling mistakes important to you?

      Have you considered emergency procedures?

      • Do you have plans to support your clients with high severity issues? Do you not think about this because it is not mandated explicitly by anyone?

Boxout: We’re Doomed – I can’t do anything about these problems!

  • If you’ve read some of the questions in the “Am I a Catastrophic Developer” panel, you probably guessed what the right answer we are hinting at was. How can I avoid disastrous development given cost-constraints?
    • Here is a simple recipe to managing risks in a way that safe-guards you against catastrophic development:
    1. Take a minute to think of this – and make your own decision. Ask yourself: “Do I want to be part of a project that will produce a potentially catastrophic development?”. Set your own standards.
    2. When you make your decision – make a point of taking time out every day – give yourself a minute to think of any major risks you may have glossed over today. Is there any one that your work today may impact negatively, either today or in the future?
    3. Make sure you are always current – new risks and new solutions are identified every day in our dynamic industry. It is your prerogative to make sure you are always current with technology.
    4. Learn how to make balanced decisions to deliver efficient risk management, and if you don’t know how to handle a specific situation, don’t just leave it – share the risk transparently with those responsible in your team and take educated decisions, even if you need to consult the client. Your experience will only grow by observing and asking mentors to give you their experience too.
    5. Finally if you are asked to blindly work on Impossible Situations where catastrophes are imminent without transparently communicating links to all stakeholders (including the end client), then make your own judgment call – are you going to be a part of the catastrophe, or the mitigation?

Epilogue

The Obligation to Fight Catastrophic Development is everyone’s responsibility. If you don’t, you bear on your shoulders the responsibility of potentially bringing harm on to others, perhaps very grave harm. The irony is that you can be a very hard worker, and yet by ignoring certain precautions, you can still be a catastrophic developer. One can only hope that we are always alert and aware of this fact. Our only defense against this is to continue to seek to be armed with knowledge, alertness and integrity.

Boxout: References

For further information, please browse these links out. Please note that the content in these pages can be deeply disturbing.

Bhopal Disaster:

Software Related Disasters:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4381840.stm

This post was originally published in ITWorx Insite (April 2007).

Posted in mkaram, Rant | 28 Comments »

ITWorx Prayer Times Gadget wins first place in the Microsoft MDC 2007 Gadget Cup!

Posted by archworx on February 11, 2007

Wednesday 7th February 2007, Cairo. The ITWorx Prayer Times Gadget which took part in the Windows Vista Gadget Cup organized as part of the proceedings of the Microsoft Middle East Developers Conference 2007 won first place amongst all participating gadgets.

The Gadget was competing alongside several industry heavyweights. ITWorx won first place with resounding cheers from the crowd!

The Gadget was built upon years of effort and dedication that several individuals in ITWorx had contributed to in order to build the original Prayer Times calculation engine and Outlook plug-in. The Vista Gadget itself was developed by the Technical Architecture Team.

The Gadget’s compelling elegance was due to its modern design devised by Karim Saady & the ingeniously clever features crammed into very compact screen real-estate by Ahmed Fathalla & Youssef Shahin. It featured a second-by-second count down timer to the next prayer; constantly keeping the user alert in an incredibly exciting, visually stunning and time conscious way.

Mahmoud El-Zayet speaking on behalf of Youssef Shahin and other members of the TA Team, addressed the crowd, amidst raucous cheering, saying that ITWorx chose this gadget idea to help Vista users be mindful of prayer times in an increasingly busy schedule and lifestyle that is getting more relentlessly demanding every day. As soon as he finished, the audience went wild with emphatic applause!

The Gadget itself will be made available for public download right here on this blog very soon – so please stay tuned!

Update: If you missed the URL in the comment below – here it is again: http://gallery.live.com/liveItemDetail.aspx?li=83712aef-5008-4bfc-b6f7-aa495828bb44&l=1

Posted in General, mkaram, News | 10 Comments »