Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009



"The MySQL® database has become the world's most popular open source database because of its consistent fast performance, high reliability and ease of use. It's used on every continent -- Yes, even Antarctica! -- by individual Web developers as well as many of the world's largest and fastest-growing organizations to save time and money powering their high-volume Web sites, business-critical systems and packaged software -- including industry leaders such as Yahoo!, Alcatel-Lucent, Google, Nokia, YouTube, and"

MySQL is flexible enough to be able to run on about 20 different platforms, from Windows to Mac to Linux. Leaving the ability to have different types of applications running in balance with MySQL one of these programs is XAMPP. XAMPP is an open source project that bundles MySQL with Apache Server, PHP, and Pearl making it a dynamic bundle being able to create and run websites. One other feature that XAMPP has is that it provides support for creating and manipulating databases in MySQL allowing developers to have greater flexibility while writing their applications.

"XAMPP's designers intended it for use only as a development tool, to allow website designers and programmers to test their work on their own computers without any access to the Internet. To make this as easy as possible, many important security features are disabled by default. In practice, however, XAMPP is sometimes used to actually serve web pages on the World Wide Web." When XAMMP's security features are enabled it makes it a secure web service, and makes secure calls to the MySQL database.

XAMPP is just one example of a development tool that can be used with MySQL to create dynamic web pages. MySQL is often the choice of developers because it can be tied in closely with PHP creating a rich user environment. The reliability of MySQL being able to be bundled with other programs makes it indispensible when trying to search for databases that are compatible with other software packages.



Sun Microsystems, Inc., (n.d.). Retrieved Oct. 30, 2009, from

Apache Friends, (2009, Oct. 07). Retrieved Oct. 30, 2009, from

Friday, October 16, 2009

Why SDK Development?

I worked for a company that provided virtual tours for real estate agents for the homes that they listed to sell. Near the end of 2007 the company wanted to set itself apart from other companies that were providing virtual tours. The company wanted to provide a tool for real estate agents that would help their prospective buyers take more psychological ownership of the home. This tool later became a product call StyleDesigner, which allowed perspective buyers to customize pictures of the home by changing the colors of the walls, change carpet to hardwood floors, color of trim, and the colors of the cabinets. The company knew they could cut costs and development time if they could purchase software that already provided the masking utilities they needed and then add some custom features to give them the extra edge. They were able to find a company that provided an SDK for them to work with so that they could build their custom product.

There are many other companies like Microsoft, Apple, Bytes Software, and Quick Books that provide SDK's for developers so that they can customize their products and make them flexible so they can communicate with other systems. "Many of our clients have proprietary systems that have been developed over time," explained Joe Herb, general manager of Byte Software. "The SDK will allow those clients to radically streamline their processes by automating tasks that were previously done manually. That, combined with the ability of third-party vendors to integrate their systems directly into BytePro, makes the SDK a key addition to our product line." Byte Software was able to make themselves more marketable because they were able to provide a way for their existing customers and potential customers systems to integrate with other financial institution's systems to provide service to their customers.

Apple's iPhone SDK is one of the most popular SDK's for programmers to become familiar with. It has opened up a new door for companies to reach users in a mobile environment. Apple also provided the SDK on a platform that made it easy for developers to work with to help them build rich programs. Brian Doig, a software developer with Walt Disney said the SDK is "A bag full of awesome . . . you can reach in and find everything you need." Other mobile devices have similar programs, he said, but nothing as easy to use as this. The trick, according to Mike Myer, another Walt Disney developer, is that Apple lets developers debug their apps right on the phone.

SDK's are providing a platform to help take a company's products into ventures that the companies could possibly only dream of, because it helps tie in the customer directly with their products. It is also helping developers work on an existing platforms that they are familiar with so they can provide programs for companies they work for at lower costs, than if they had to build whole custom program themselves instead of just adding on extension to programs that already exist.


Byte's SDK to Ease Integrations [SEATTLE, WA] 16 July 2007, Technology sec.: 14. Print.

"Developers: iPhone Software-Writing Tool is Awesome." Developers: iPhone Software-Writing Tool is Awesome. Popular Science, 9 June 2008. Web. 16 Oct. 2009. .

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What’s wrong with this spreadsheet?

Working with the Suspicious Subtotal worksheet in Chapter 8 on page 257 our group noticed the following:

  1. When the person originally was sorting the spreadsheet they had sorted the totals by each specific item, then by category, then by month. This added about 1900 rows to the spread sheet that weren't needed because the information wasn't sorted correctly. What we did was just the opposite sorting by month, category and then item.
  2. When working with the Subtotal function we just wanted to see the main subtotals for the months, then break down into category, and then by item. When doing subtotals you need to not replace subtotals when you are doing a break down, meaning you just want the main subtotal to be for the Month, and then you want your own subtotal for category, and item. If you select replace subtotal in the design box in excel it will change your information so that it will be incorrect.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Data Flow Diagrams to understand life.

Data Flow Diagrams are mostly used for developers to get a physical representation of the system of they are using, or designing. You can use them to represent how a customer is going to interact with an ordering system, to how you are going to have your system provide a data export to a third party vendor.

However I realized today that I learned about data flow diagrams as early as eight years old, and in a place that would seem very unusual for a data flow diagram to be found. I learned it while attending a Primary class from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint on a lesson about the Plan of Salvation. The lesson was about how we lived before we came to this earth and where we will go after we leave our mortal life.

If we look at the diagram below and understands ourselves as an actor in the data flow diagram it is easy to see that there is more for us then us just being here in mortality. To better understand the really the purpose and concept of the diagram of the Plan of Salvation The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states:

In the premortal existence, Heavenly Father prepared a plan to enable us to become like Him and receive a fullness of joy. The scriptures refer to this plan as "the plan of salvation" (Alma 24:14; Moses 6:62), "the great plan of happiness" (Alma 42:8), "the plan of redemption" (Jacob 6:8; Alma 12:30), and "the plan of mercy" (Alma 42:15). The plan of salvation is the fullness of the gospel. It includes the Creation, the Fall, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and all the laws, ordinances, and doctrines of the gospel. Moral agency, the ability to choose and act for ourselves, is also essential in Heavenly Father's plan. Because of this plan, we can be perfected through the Atonement, receive a fullness of joy, and live forever in the presence of God. Our family relationships can last throughout the eternities.



We can take this diagram and then we can break it down even more in to lower level diagrams so that we can better understand what it is that we need to do in this life to receive all that our Father in Heaven wants from us. We build a data flow diagram to show all the things that we need to do here on earth such has how we need to search for truth, be able to grow in faith to, accept the atonement of Jesus Christ so we can have faith in him, and how can provide service for others. From an article given by Elder Duane Gerrard of the Quorum of the Seventy of the LDS Church we read:

The Lord has carefully provided a plan of life called the plan of salvation. It comprises all of the laws, ordinances, principles, and doctrines required to complete our mortal journey and progress to a state of exaltation enjoyed by our Father in Heaven.

I know that if someone had try to explain the plan of salvation to me as a young boy without the aid of a diagram that I would have been severely lost and would not have understood what it was the teacher was trying to get across to me. Data Flow Diagrams help us to physically represent information if we were to just to try to explain to someone would be hard from them to grasp concepts that are unfamiliar with.



The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.The Plan of Salvation, Retrieved October 3, 2009 Website:

Gerrard, D.(1997).The Plan of Salvation: A Flight Plan for Life. Ensign


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Importance of Asking Questions

I have worked in support and help desk positions for the past three years and have learned that asking questions is crucial to getting anything done. Before the company I worked for had invested in any type of remote support software like GoToAssist, or LogMeIn123 I had to try my best to describe to our clients how to maneuver through the management end of their websites so they could edit information on their personal website.

I took a call one day from an older lady, who wasn't to tech savvy, wanting to know how she would edit the information on her personal website. I began my regular routine of asking her to open a web browser, and then enter in her username and password into the website. Then once logged into the management area of the site to select the particular area of the website that she wanted to edit, and after she has edited her changes to click the saved button. She then said to me, "I don't see the save button" I then said, "It's off to the bottom right corner of the site" she then replied, "I am not on your website." I was confused because I thought that she had been following along with my instructions on how to maneuver through the website. What was my mistake throughout all this phone call? I was giving her instructions and not asking questions.

When working in a technical support role you are going to be finding yourself asking a lot of Close Ended type of questions. Closed Questions are those for which there are a limited number of acceptable responses or "right answers."(1) For example asking something like, Have you opened up a web browser?, and Were you able to successfully log into the website? If asking those questions I will know exactly whether or not the person has completed the instructions that I just gave them.

There also comes an important need to listen to your clients and especially listen to the questions they ask you. "Try to give more than a one word answer. No matter which questioning technique customers use, try to answer as though the question is open ended."(2) You now have a great opportunity to share more with your clients about your system so that they will be able to know how to get the most out of using your products and services. This will also lead to building a relationship of trust with the customer because they see that you are willing to listen to them, and are able to answer their questions.

The art of asking questions is something that you will continue to learn over time, and you will need to be able to detail your questions to the specific clients you deal with in different situations. People in technical support positions are often described as very non-commutative, and not very customer oriented. You will be able to get an edge over others in a technical field if you learn to communicate effectively and be able to ask questions to further your fact finding to help someone.

I have noticed with the people that I work with now that they are very appreciative of the service that I provide to them. They comment on how I am able to ask those questions that guide them through the steps on how to get their work done on websites more easily and efficiently. I have come a long way since I very first started in providing technical support, and I know that I will continue to grow as I learn how to communicate with people, and to ask questions so I know what level of service and guidance that I need to provide to them.



(1) Blosser, Patricia. "How to Ask the Right Questions." National Science Teachers Association. Web. 26 Sept. 2009. <>.

(2) Renee, Evenson. "Customer Service Training 101 : Quick and Easy Techniques That Get Great Results." AMACOM. Web. 25 Sept. 2009. <>.