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John Olson

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Top Stories by John Olson

After careful consideration I've come to the conclusion that having two heads is better than having just one. While it may sound like I'm simply stating the obvious, in fact, most people have only one head.1 However, those who are blessed with two heads enjoy a measurable advantage over their single-headed rivals. This conclusion was affirmed in a headline-grabbing paper by two Princeton economists for the National Bureau of Economic Research entitled "Are Two Heads Better Than One?"2 Having multiple heads is most beneficial when performing work that requires multitasking, such as speaking on two phones at the same time. Though that may seem like an inconsequential skill, how would your life change if you never had to put anyone on hold? Or you could speak to both your children at the same time? Or you could see behind you? Or never lose at a game of Trivial Pursui... (more)

When the Planets Align?

Another year, another conference. The Sybase conference is like clockwork. You can set your calendar by it. Sure, it moves around some, but it's always there. A guaranteed week of "vacation" away from my clients. Hard-core development replaced by sun, fun, and lots of elbow rubbing. It's always enjoyable, even though my levels of excitement and interest in the conferences may vary. Some are great, some are hot. And some are not. Last year was okay, but there wasn't a whole lot to be excited about. Being a Sybase tools aficionado, I get excited by new releases, new features, new ... (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)