Posted: Industry Vertical Episode 001

I am proud to present the first episode of Industry Vertical the twice monthly net cast about industrializing software development with Software Factories, Guidance Automation and Domain Specific Languages at This episode starts out with the basics of Software Factories and trys to answer the question “What is a Software Factory”.

Industry Vertical Pre-Production Begins

I’ve decided to try my hand at webcasting. I’m in the stages of preparing a webcast series around using software factories, guidance automation and domain-specific languages called Industry Vertical. I’m planning on taking it slow starting out by providing some introductory material around what software factories are, their benefits and their life-cycle. Then I’ll take everyone step by step building out a software factory from the ground up. I’m hoping this will help everyone out there get started in industrializing software development.


So far, I’ve spent the last month getting my scripts together, creating graphics, setting up a new web site, purchasing audio equipment and I just found a great deal on a Sony HVR-A1 High Definition Camcorder, so once it arrives I’ll be ready to get down to business and start recording the first episode.


Hopefully, my busy work schedule will stay out of the way long enough to keep releases to a regular interval, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.


Streaming Video Test Day 1

So I’ve just finished 800 miles from Vancouver, WA to Salt Lake City, UT and have tried my best to get decent live broadcasts from my Samsung BlackJack II via QIK and LIveCast. I wasn’t really happy with what I saw in the results.


First, Many of the videos we cut off well before my stopping them. When I finished my videos they were at least 30 seconds in length, but what was uploaded was about half that. I have to blame this mainly on the lack of a strong signal as I was broadcasting. So, I guess when it comes to data more bars in all places doesn’t necessarily mean the same for data. Many times I had an E indicator which meant I had at least EVDO bandwidth and many times I had a G indicating I had 3G capabilities. So, the fact that both programs have the capability to store the video stream if a delay in transmission occurs, but it looks as if both fail to stream all of the data to the server. The LiveCast client also has the ability to record to local memory and then stream the video, but it is not very intuitive to work, so I’ll need to read up on it to see how it works and let you know if that works any better. The fact that the BlackJack II has the capability to record video to local storage, should allow both companies to take advantage of the existing capability and then try to stream the video from local storage to get the whole stream.


Second, Both clients are too hard to operate for point and shoot usability. Many times I had to wait for the clients to connect to the remote server before I was able to start shooting which means that it can be hard to catch the ultimate shot, because by the time the client comes up the moment may be over with. The only advice I can give hear is learn to use the thread pool or multi-threading if you are not using .Net. Having to wait for connectivity to shoot video should never really happen, I should be able to load the client and start shooting and the program should start streaming video in the background once a connection has been made.


Third, Video quality seems to vary between the two clients. QIK provides the best picture at 320 x 240, with LiveCast only providing a 160 x 120 picture. I can understand why this is happening and it mainly has to do with how much video one can shove down a small pipe, but if both companies spend some time to look at streaming from local storage it would never matter unless the true goal is to always broadcast without a delay. And if that is so, then I only have to say is then both clients are going to have to wait a couple of years before the infrastructure will be built out enough to support that capability.


Forth, Is a basic usability suggestion around trying to use phones with cameras on the back of the phone. Why not play a beep or some audible sound when you start to record so I know recording has started so I don’t have to watch the screen to indicate it is recording and then quickly turn the phone around to record. Its a simple little thing to do and you could provide an option to turn it off or on.


Anyway, that’s my input from day 1. Hopefully tomorrow will provide a little better streaming for the viewers. Check-in with you when I reach New Mexico.


People on the Max – The Young Punkster

The Max is a lite rail public transportation system in Portland, OR. and like any type of mass transportation a very interesting cross section of people ride it for various reasons. Some are commuters going to and from work, others are visiting the downtown area to see a show or go to dinner, others use it to meet up with their buds and run around, while others use it as a way to get out of the cold of night or heat of day.


I however, am a tourist using it to visit my daughter who attends college in downtown Portland. And as I do whenever I go anywhere, I observe the people around me and wonder what they are thinking, wonder what makes them do what they do. This post is one of those observations I made during a trip back from downtown Portland to my hotel.


After the little four year old boy fell to sleep we stopped in Old China Town and a young 20 something man with a Mohawk haircut wearing a tie died shirt boarded the Yellow Line and stood near the door with a look of disgust on his face. His black jeans were tight against his legs and came to a compressed pile at the top of his combat boots.


“I can’t believe I didn’t get that job!”


“I was the strongest one there! No one could’ve taken me!”


“All because of my piercings and haircut!”


“Where does he get off telling me that I wouldn’t fit in!”


“Especially in a place like that! A strip joint no less!”


“I would think you’d want someone who looked scary for a bouncer.”


“And how does he think my piercings pose a potential health risk? Does he think someone is gonna rip them off me?”


“What am I gonna do now? I need to get a job so I can pay rent and continue with college.”


“No one is hiring, at least not hiring me anyway.”


“I guess I’ll have to try over at McDonalds or Wendy’s again.”


“No, wait, They told me last time I couldn’t wear my piercings and I’d have to wear a hat.”


“Man, that cramps my style! It hides the real me! I can’t do that!”


“All the really cool places won’t be hiring for another couple of weeks until after school starts back up. But, then it’ll be too late! I won’t make rent!”


“Maybe I could join that group of panhandlers, I hear they make good money. Everyone’s a sucker for some dirty, poor, kid, on the street with no place to live.”


“No, that won’t work either. Once they see my piercings and hair, all they’re gonna think is I’ll spend what they give me on another piercing or tat. I’ll never make any money panhandling.”


“I guess I could call up the parents and ask for a loan until the clubs start back up.”


“No, that won’t work either, Dad said he would never loan me another cent until I came to my senses and proved to him I was truly committed to going to college. He wanted to see at least two semesters of B’s or higher before he’d give me another cent.”


“Man, I’m screwed! I never should have goofed off so much last year. I knew better and the classes weren’t that hard anyway. If I had just applied myself a little, I could have gotten straight A’s, no sweat at all.”


“The money from the strip joint was fine! After a couple of weeks, I’d have a full month’s rent and everything I need for this semester’s tuition.”


“Hell, if I put in a little overtime, I could make enough for my books and a few supplies.”


“I guess I’ll have to do it! I’m going to tone down my image so I can get the job and back into school. Then, next year, Dad will see I’ve changed my ways and pay to send me to college and everything will be alright.”


“Hell, I could even pick up a part time gig over at Wendy’s, so I have some extra cash for the weekends.”


“And if any of the guys give me shit, I’ll pound the shit out of them!”


“They don’t rule me and they can’t tell me what to do or how to look!”


“I’m gonna do what I have to do to make it through this. And if that means I have to change the way I look to get a job, well, Hell! I’m gonna do it.”


“I think I’ll head back over to Old China Town and talk to the owner of that club again. Hopefully he hasn’t given the job to anyone else.”


And, then out of the corner of my eye, I saw the young man start to comb down his Mohawk until it was flat and then he started to unscrew the end off the stud which ran through his nose and pull it out with a little wince. The train came to a stop and the man got off the train and turned looking for the next one heading back south.


As we drove off, I saw him put the stud in his pocket and start to attack the bar going through his eyebrow.


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People on the Max – The Young Boy

The Max is a lite rail public transportation system in Portland, OR. and like any type of mass transportation a very interesting cross section of people ride it for various reasons. Some are commuters going to and from work, others are visiting the downtown area to see a show or go to dinner, others use it to meet up with their buds and run around, while others use it as a way to get out of the cold of night or heat of day.


I however, am a tourist using it to visit my daughter who attends college in downtown Portland. And as I do whenever I go anywhere, I observe the people around me and wonder what they are thinking, wonder what makes them do what they do. This post is one of those observations I made during a trip back from downtown Portland to my hotel.


After the incident with the older gentleman, I waited at Pioneer Square for the Yellow Line to arrive. A couple with a four year old and a newborn in a stroller were waiting a little ways down from me. The four year old boy had excitement written across his face, his eyes were so widely opened they must have been two sizes bigger than normal.


“What an adventure!”


“First, Daddy and Mommy took me on the train to go shopping! We got to see all of the big, big buildings and then we had ice cream, my favorite flavor too, chocolate!”


“And I got to eat a cheeseburger! With fries and everything!”


“Even got to have a coke in a glass with a straw! Mommy never lets me drink from a glass, but this time she did!”


“I must be getting big, now that I got to drink from a glass all by myself.”


“Hey what’s this big silver box?”


The boy ran away from his parents to the Ticket dispenser trying to get a better look at the curious silver box with Blue, Yellow and Red letters on it.


“What’s this? Could it be some sort of game?”


“It has buttons on it! Maybe I can reach them and push em! Maybe it will give me something!”


The boy reached up as high as he could and tried to reach the buttons on the front of the ticket dispenser, but couldn’t quite reach them.


“Hmph! I guess I need to get daddy to help me.”


“Daddy!”, the boy screamed as he ran over to his parents grabbing his father’s hand and tugging him towards the the ticket dispenser.


“What’s This Daddy?”, the boy said loudly with excitement in his voice.


“Help me make it work, Daddy!”


The father rolled his eyes, tired from expending way too much energy, but the father patiently reached down and lifted the boy up an explained the ticket dispenser to his son.


“Daddy! Can I buy a ticket!”, the boy exclaimed.


“No son, we already have ours, we got them earlier before we came. Don’t you remember? You helped me buy them, You put the dollars in the machine up at Echo Park.”


“But, Daddy, I want to buy another ticket!”


“No son, the train is coming we need to get ready to get on it so we can go home.”


“But, Daddy, I want to buy another ticket!”


The boy started to cry, trying to embarrass his father into letting him buy another ticket. But, it didn’t work, the father walked back over to his wife and the newborn and didn’t even blink an eye.


Just then the Yellow Line pulled up and the doors opened, I climbed on the train and found a seat in the middle of the car. The family boarded the train as well.


“Daddy, let’s set up there!”, the boy was pointing at some seats that were elevated over the wheels of the train.


The father pushed the stroller to the steps and then lifted it up the single step and sat it down next to the fours chairs. The little four year old boy climbed up in the seat next to the window, standing, he held his hands up to cup his eyes so he could see out as the train pulled away.


“What an adventure!”


“I get to ride the train again!”


“Wow! look at all the big buildings!”


The boy dropped to his knees after awhile, still looking out the window at the buildings.


Soon, he went from kneeling to sitting, too tired to look anymore.


Then he was fast asleep, worn out by a day of adventure and exciting new discoveries.


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People on the Max – The Older Gentleman

The Max is a lite rail public transportation system in Portland, OR. and like any type of mass transportation a very interesting cross section of people ride it for various reasons. Some are commuters going to and from work, others are visiting the downtown area to see a show or go to dinner, others use it to meet up with their buds and run around, while others use it as a way to get out of the cold of night or heat of day.


I however, am a tourist using it to visit my daughter who attends college in downtown Portland. And as I do whenever I go anywhere, I observe the people around me and wonder what they are thinking, wonder what makes them do what they do. This post is one of those observations I made during a trip back from downtown Portland to my hotel.


Soon after I boarded the Max I encountered a 60 something older gentleman sitting across from me, who looked like he had seen better days, those he had seen lately must have been through the bottom of a bottle. He was drunk, unshaven, his clothes dirty and worn and around him at his feet were several bags filled with what looked to be his only belongings.


At first I thought he might have been blind because he stared out through the window across from him without blinking or moving. His eyes seemed unresponsive and kind of hazy and he was mumbling some type of gibberish softly under his breath. I looked away hoping not to upset him. I’ve had bad encounters with drunks on public transit before and its makes me more embarrassed for them than it embarrasses me when they get upset and make a scene.


After a couple of stops a family returning from a ball game boarded the Max and sat down around him.


“These people are gonna want to take my stuff!”


“I’ll have to scare them off, make them want to get up and move. Can’t have anyone take my stuff! Its All I got.”


Just then the little girl setting in her daddy’s lap next to the old man innocently kicked one of his bags and the bottles inside rustled making a jingling sound.


“I knew they wanted my stuff!”


“See, she’s trying to get at my bottles.”


“She wants them for the nickels.”


“I knew it, she wants to use them nickels to buy her some candy.”


“Well she can’t have them, they’re mine!”


“I spent all day going through the dumpsters finding them, they’re mine!”


Just then the older gentlemen grabbed the bag and with the rustle of paper and jingle of bottles, picked it up and sat it down away from the girl.


“I need them to leave! I need them to go away! Why’d they have to set next to me anyways!”


Just then the old man’s mumbling started to grow louder.


“You don’t see me going around kicking people’s stuff or trying to take it!”


“They need to leave, Now!”


“I’ve got to make them leave so my stuff will be safe!”


The old man’s mumbling grew louder and irate.


“Its not working! They ain’t moving! What am I going to do now!”


Just then the older gentleman bent over and drug a dirty cloth tote bag close to him. He unzipped the pocket on the side and reached in and started to pull out a pink ladies razor and shake it at the family with rage.


“You try to take my stuff again and I’ll cut you! Yes, I’ll cut you!”


“I don’t care how young you are, you try to steal my stuff and I’ll cut you!”


With that the family got up and moved down to the the far end of the car and sat down.  All the time wondering why the older gentleman was so upset.


The older gentleman smiled with content as the family moved away and then he bent over and stuffed the razor back into the side pocket and zipped it back close.


“I knew it. I just had to show them that I wasn’t going to let them take my stuff and they’d leave.”


“Nothing to worry about now, I’m all by myself, nobody is going to take my stuff, nobody.”


Meanwhile, the father of the young girl was on his cell phone frantically speaking to someone about the old man. He was gesturing with one hand as he talked. After awhile he closed the phone and spoke to his wife, trying to calm her down.


The next stop came nothing happened. The family got up and left the car and waited for it to leave. As we pulled away a policeman walked up to the family and I could see the father waving his hands as he explained to the officer and pointing at the older gentleman as we moved away.


The next stop came, it was my place to change trains and catch the Yellow Line out to Expo Park, I got up and left the car and waited for this train to leave.


But this time the doors didn’t close as quickly as they did before. Two policemen arrived and boarded the car, they quickly located the older gentleman and started to question him about the incident. The doors closed and the train began to pull away. I could see the old man shaking his head and clutching his cloth tote as the police demanded he show them the contents. A look of panic was on his face, his eyes were clear as could be and all he could think of was, “They’ve come back for my stuff! Those mean people! They’re going to take it away from me after all! Those mean people!”


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A Test of Mobile Streaming Video Phone Applications

I just spent the last three days driving to Portland, OR from Dallas, TX and I tried to use QIK.COM’s streaming video client for my Samsung Blackjack II Windows Mobile 6 SmartPhone to record the trip and share with my friends and family. It turned out miserably! Most of the time when I thought I was sending video, I’d end up with a single second or two and nothing more, even though it showed I was recording the entire time. I don’t know if it was lack of signal, Internet congestion or just a bad configuration. While looking for tuning advice on the web I came across, who also has a similar application, but includes GPS integration with Google maps.


So, I have 2000 miles to drive over the next week to get back to Dallas, TX and nothing much more to do but play around and I thought it would be a great test of the two applications to see how each one fares in the wide open spaces of the great American west. As I drive back I’ll be logging my trip using both applications and posting the results for everyone to see via my twitter account at


Now I don’t plan to pit the two applications head to head, but provide a fair and balanced perspective of how each works in several different environments. Since I’ll be traveling back via interstate, the bandwidth should be great and I hope to have 3G capabilities during most of the trip. Each night I’ll post an update of how the day went, hopefully you’ll know better than me, since you’ll be able to see it live at the following locations:


Until, then see you on the Bleeding Edge


Sending My Daughter to College

Little did I know that this summer would see me driving across the continental U.S. twice. First, was the family get together in Kitty Hawk, NC in early June and now the trip to drop my daughter off at college in Portland, OR. All together I will have driven across the continental U.S. twice with a little to spare since I left from Dallas, TX each time.


This all started when my daughter was awarded the Presidential Scholarship to the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR which covers half of her tuition for the entire four years she attends. This was a great help since it seems that the cost of college has doubled since I started saving for hers years ago. And the fact that my daughter applied and got the scholarship all on her own merit, told me that if she didn’t go to school at PNCA, she’d never make it through college. Trust me, she is so much like me in this department that if I had said no, she would have dropped out just like I did 24 years ago after I agreed to go to a local community college instead of the university like I really wanted to.


We spent the last week going through her stuff and packing what she needed and loaded the Cadillac and headed out at 6 AM Friday morning the 22nd of August. We arrived in Denver, CO at 7 PM after spending 14 hours on the road and driving 800 miles via Oklahoma and Kansas. Luckily my daughter’s old English teacher and her husband were kind enough to let us stay with them for the evening. It was great talking with them and really was nice to relax after all of that driving.


Saturday morning we left Denver at 9 AM and spent another 14 hours and 800 miles driving to Caldwell, ID to end our second day of the trip. Needless to say I was so tired I crashed as soon as we got to the room and was not looking forward to the last leg of the trip into Portland the following day.


Sunday morning we got up early and was back on the road at 8:30 AM. This last 7 hours of the trip had to be the most scenic of the entire 2000 miles. I don’t know why, but as soon as we got north of Oklahoma city it became desolate and pretty much all you could see was rolling prairies in all directions. Even as we got into Colorado and Wyoming, I was expecting to see a lot of mountains but no, just more grasslands. I at least know where all of the urban sprawl can migrate to when Texas over runs with people, all we need to do is sprawl west, sprawl west. There is plenty of room for everyone.


We finally arrived at my daughter’s apartment complex in downtown Portland at 2 PM and spent the next hour and a half lugging her worldly possessions to the 4th floor and down a long corridor to her apartment that she is sharing with three other students. I was so happy she had coordinated the essentials with her roommates keeping her load down to just a few boxes and a few things that everyone would share. I saw fathers and mothers backing up U-Hauls and Pickup trucks loaded with so much stuff you’d thought they were furnishing a real apartment and not a college dorm room. I wondered how good their health plans were, because a couple of the parents looked so out of breath and red in the face that I thought we’d have to call an ambulance or two to tend to them.


With that done, I gave her a big hug and left to crash at the hotel for the night. On the way there I finally knew how the couple from the movie Born Free felt when they released their little cub back into the wilds of Africa, except a few minutes later I realized in shock I had just released my daughter into the wilds of college life in the downtown area of a city half a continent away!


Now everyone that knows my daughter also knows that she is a responsible, intelligent person and should be just fine at college. But, I’ll always be looking to the west hoping she’s doing okay and enjoying one of the greatest adventures she’ll have in her life.


Good Luck Bubba, Don’t forget to call once in a while so I can tease you.

So Why Doesn't Anyone Provide HTTP Proxy Support?

So, I want to follow Twitter at work on my desktop, however there is a proxy between me and the Twitter servers and all of the Twitter clients I find blow chunks when I try to connect. Am I one of the few users in the world behind a proxy? This can’t be! I know there have to be a lot of people in the same situation.


Its not only Twitter clients that I run into that do not support proxies, I’m finding it to be the norm not the exception. We’re not talking about anything big, all a developer needs to do is provide the option and provide the proxy credentials prior to making the call.

Don't call store.Dispose() if you didn't create it!

So, I’m happily plugging along, adding the ability to import a WSDL file into one of the DSLs for a new Software Factory we’re building at work. And after reading and re-reading the documentation and the DSL Book, I decide I need to call store.Dispose() in my code because I’m finished adding ModelElements to the model and I am leaving the command handler. You know, be neat and tidy when you exit a function dispose of any COM+ interfaces you’ve might have AddRef’d, etc.


So now I’m running the DSL and everything is working like it did before my single line of code, but now after adding the ModelElements to the model POOF! my model explodes! and I’ve lost everything in the model. I try it again a couple more times, kinda like pushing the car back up the hills to see if the brakes will fail for a second time after they did the first, you know typical programmer mentality and sure enough POOF! POOF! POOF! it keeps doing the same thing over and over.


So I trace through the code and notice that after I execute the store.Dispose() and exit the function, I get rerouted to the DocData class and it is trying to save the file and throws an Exception because the diagrams no longer exist.


So I go back and review my code and notice that I am not creating a new store and loading in the model, but I’m using the existing store that is opened by the DSL Editor and when I call store.Dispose(), I’m pulling the rug out from underneath me, the editor and Visual Studio as well.


So, I removed the single line of code that caused me an hour’s worth of grief and everything is working just hunky dory.


I guess it will always be engrained in my head, that unless I’m actually creating the store, I shouldn’t be disposing of it ,otherwise I’ll cause terrible things to happen.


Hopefully this will keep the rest of you from making the same mistake I did.