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John Olson

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Top Stories by John Olson

As a consultant, I'm keenly aware of the bitterness some people have toward us. On many occasions I've felt the ire of managers who, in the past, have had bad experiences. The causes vary, but the blame can usually be spread evenly between management and the consultants. Unfortunately, this results in a negative view toward consultants and the valuable services they provide. At the risk of stating the obvious, let me describe some important details about the business of consulting: 1. Consultants provide valuable services. When you decide to build a home do you build it yourself or hire a building contractor? If your car breaks down do you hire a mechanic? Why don't you take care of these tasks yourself? The answer is that you probably don't have the skills or the time. You could take the time to learn, but usually it's better to hire someone else. The same goes for c... (more)

Presidential Aides

In the spirit of the current times, I'll use the U.S. presidency as a metaphor for my point today. Software development managers are like presidents and developers are like presidential aides. The job of the president is a difficult one. He's supposed to know everything about everything and be able to make life-and-death decisions based on all facts, with full confidence, and without blinking. Sounds just like your software development manager, doesn't it? It's not possible for the president to really know everything or do his own research, so he surrounds himself with trusted a... (more)

Advanced WebDW HTML Generation

Okay, so I've been promoting the inclusion of PB client/server articles, yet here I am writing about the Web DataWindow. Don't stop reading! This article applies to all PB developers, whether n-tier or client/server. That said, I now have to prove that this article is important to client/server developers.... Here's my angle: HTML has become a standard beyond Web development. People doing work unrelated to the Web, even nonprogrammers, need to learn the basics of HTML. Here's an example: I'm a consultant and I invoice my customers using QuickBooks. When I generate my invoices I ... (more)

If You Don't Speak Up You Won't Be Heard

Many terms are born out of reality, based on observable evidence. When I hear the term silent majority I think of a large crowd of people, sharing some commonality, moving along peacefully without fanfare or press coverage. Maybe the commonality is a belief, like a religious or moral conviction, or maybe it's immutable, like race or gender. Occasionally, one in the group will speak out, saying something that resonates with the crowd. They nod in agreement, yet remain quiet, silent in support. That one becomes an involuntary spokesperson for thousands just because he or she had th... (more)

Fat Pipes Boost Java Flow

At work, Lisa takes advantage of her employer's dedicated T-3 to quickly access live NASDAQ quotes via a Java applet stock ticker. She spends each day alternating between development work and day trading. Soon to be rich, she dreams of early retirement and a life filled with leisure activities and day trading at home. Back at home her lack of patience and 56K connection make day trading a painfully slow torture. Java and 56K aren't meant to be together. Unfortunately, most of the 50 million regular Internet users worldwide are ecstatic if they can even achieve 56K. High-speed co... (more)