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JDJ Editorial Board member Yakov Fain writes: One of my resolutions this year is to start teaching part-time Java-related classes in some college. That's why I started browsing the computer science course lists that are being offered this year. While graduate-level programs offer many interesting courses, the situation is different in the undergrad world. Some schools keep teaching how to multiply matrices in Ada or work with algebraic expressions in Prolog. Half of the courses are preparing professionals who will be operating on another planet. Information systems programs look a little more down to earth. Meanwhile, many college graduates are having a hard time finding their first jobs because many entry-level programmers jobs are being outsourced overseas, and it'll stay this way as long as it makes financial sense for businesses. Unfortunately, student loans ha... (more)

Hangover Thoughts About the Web and AJAX

Yesterday, we celebrated the birthday of my employee Alex in a fancy Russian restaurant. If you haven't tried it, go there - once. The party started late, and I've never seen such a variety of food on the table at the same time (they call this setup "bratskaya mogila," which means "mass grave"). After five shots of straight vodka, we enjoyed a Broadway-type show, and then more drinks and food. Anyway, this morning the last thing I wanted to do was drive to my gas station. Last time I selected a Java Web application framework ( and for a second, I regretted that I hadn't implement a Web application. If I had, I could have opened a Web browser and checked on the business without leaving home. At the moment, I was pretty sure there were only two types of users that could appreciate Web applications: Sober people who want to buy... (more)

Answering Questions of Ukrainian Programmers

Last week, I’ve returned from my private visit to Kiev, Ukraine. During this visit I made a presentation in the local offices of Microsoft on various RIA technologies. My kudos to Oleksandr Oriekhov from Microsoft for making this happened. The presentation was well taken, and I also gave a couple of interviews afterward. One of them has been published at the major Ukrainian portal for software developers. Most of the questions were revolving around differences in work environments and the lifestyles of software developers in Ukraine and the USA. The original interview in Russian language has been published over here . This text may be an interesting read for the English-speaking audience (the questions may be more interested than the answers). So I decided to translate it. Here’s an English version of this interview taken by Max Ishchenko in Kiev. Yakov Fain left Ki... (more)

Google OS - A Cynical View

If you didn’t hear that Google has announced that in 2010 consumers will have a chance to enjoy new Chrome-based OS, stop reading and do you homework first. Done? Now we can move on, and let’s do it by the rules – positive things first, then some bile followed by a happy end. I really like Google. They produce easy to use applications that work great. I use their search engine about a hundred times a day. Their applications make sense. Nine months ago they released a Web browser called Chrome, and I liked it. Back than I suggested that in a year Chrome will bite off a decent chunk of the Web browser's market. (see I was wrong. They’ve bitten a really small piece of the browser’s pie. For lots of companies 3% of any market would be like money from home, but for Google it’s a failure. Now they sa... (more)

Web 2.0 Is Not About AJAX, Gradients, or Gloss

Too often I hear people talk about adding AJAX-enabled fancy UI elements to their website or web application to make it more “Web 2.0″ style. While many Web 2.0 applications do include these elements of AJAX,  gradients,  and glossy style, those features are not what characterizes them as Web 2.0 applications.   Web 2.0 is about the culture of participation.  Web 2.0 is about the Internet as a platform.   A typical Web 2.0 site becomes more interesting and valuable as it’s community of users grow.  Web 2.0 puts the user and the content they contribute as the primary actors in most of it’s use cases.  A Web 2.0 site makes it’s data available to be mashed into new applications. Let’s consider an example.  Imagine that you own a website that presents information about baseball to users. You may hear advice that you should make your site more Web 2.0. That person migh... (more)

How to attend Adobe MAX conference for cheap

Three years ago, I was calculating the cost of attending JavaOne conference: Thanks to crisis had, the conferences got cheaper, but still are not affordable for many software developers. I’d like to offer you a legal way to get more than 80% off the registration price at Adobe MAX that will take place next week in Los Angeles. But you have to move fast! It’s easy: 1. Today: enroll into a cheapest class in your local community college to get a student ID. 2. Tomorrow: register for Adobe Max for $199 at the following Web page: 3. Sunday: arrive to LA. 4. Find me at the conference (I’m nice looking and friendly guy wearing black T-Shirt with white letters FARATA) and say, “Thank you, Yakov for saving me about $1200!” You can easily find me at 12:30PM on Monday at the Community Pavilion where I... (more)

What CIOs Should Know About Outsourcing Enterprise Java

Your manager Frank started the meeting by saying that the budget for the new project had been approved, but half of the project will be outsourced to a great team from overseas. Can you imagine, their rates for Java programmers can go as low as $15 an hour! No, we're not losing anyone from our team, and you should take it as an opportunity to work as team leaders, helping our new partners to hit the ground running. No, this wasn't my decision; it came from above. Three Months Later Mary. I've asked them to add two fields to a JTable on the Invoice screen. The data are being retrieved from our database so they'd need to modify an SQL query as well. I've sent them this e-mail yesterday, but it was night time over there, so they've responded today asking me to send them the modified SQL and write the name of the Java class and method where this new code should reside. ... (more)

PowerBuilder, Java, Flex, Agile Programming

From Farata Systems blog Ten years ago I've been doing PowerBuilder and my mentality was different: first, I was the best friend of business users, and second I did not really worry about what's under the hood. I could do stuff quickly, or using the modern jargon, I was an agile programmer without even knowing this (on the same note, lots of people were creating Ajax applications five years ago without knowing this, but it's off topic). I'd ask the business user Joe, "How do you usually do your business, what would you like to have on this screen, what step do you do after this step?" Most likely Joe did not really know, but I'd still give him a wide American smile: "No problem, I'll come back tomorrow and will show you something". Mary, yes you, "What's the most important word in my last sentence?" No, Mary, not "I'll come back", but TOMORROW. Not next week, not ... (more)

What Questions Should You Ask During Java Job Interview?

Yakov Fain's Java Blog (SYS-CON Media) - Typically, at the end of job interview the interviewer asks you, "Do you have any questions for me?".  This is a very tricky situation - you may kill the deal by asking the wrong questions. I prefer asking something very neutral, like "How many people work on the project", or "What would be my role if you'd hire me". The job interview is not the right place for showing your attitude. Bruce Eckel has published a blog where he lists a number of questions you may ask your perspective employer during a job interview. Even though Bruce tries to be careful in asking questions, you can still feel that he's  a senior guy who will eventually ask for some special arrangements like working from home or having flexible hours. My only advice to you is this - be careful during the interview.  Get the offer first, and only after that ask yo... (more)

My Friend Is a 72-Year Old Programmer

Yakov Fain's Blog This is a short story about my friend (let’s call him Joe). The last 15 years prior to his retirement Joe spent working as a mainframe programmer for a large financial firm in New York City.  He stopped working at 67, collected well deserved retirement package and was looking  forward to a new life going places around the world and meeting new people.  His lovely wife Mary is a food critic and is also into travel.  We often travel with Joe and Mary, and like these trips a lot.  We never feel any age difference because Joe and Mary are a lot more energetic and interesting people than many 40 years old that I know. To make a long story short, after a year of enjoying his retirement, Joe got a call from a former boss asking for help. Outsourcing of their system to young people did not work out, because the system was rather complex, and knowing ... (more)

How Long is Your Job Post?

Fifteen years ago, when a New York company needed a programmer, it would publish an ad in the classified section of Sunday edition of New York Times. The paper would charge by column/inch. The ads were short and up to the point. Only big guys like IBM, Microsoft or Oracle could afford to purchase an eights or a quarter of a page. The smaller placement agencies were placing heavily abbreviated ads to squeeze in 15 words position description and the contact info. These days, the life is different - we live in the paperless Internet world, and job boards place ads that are hundreds words. Below you'll see an ad placed by one IT agency - they are looking for a mid-level Java developer that I picked from Dice search board. It's more that 550 words. Who needs to read all this bullshit? Doesn't "Mid-level Java developer" says it all? OK, you need to be more specific, add an... (more)