Originally published in the April 1995 issue of Advanced Systems.


Best of breed

Our columnists emphasize the practical and the pragmatic.

By Michael E. McCarthy

This month I want to draw your attention to an underappreciated major resource: our seven monthly columnists. Our emphasis, as in the rest of the magazine, is on pragmatism and usefulness.

For opinion columnists, we have only me, and I am on a strict one-page diet. The rest of our columnists skip the hands-on code-fragment tutorial esoterica in favor of finding tools, principles, and concepts you can apply today to make your job easier tomorrow. These profiles will tell you why:

SysAdmin, Hal Stern. What other system administration columnist gives you advice on managing your manager, handling your sysadmin budget, concepts for improving performance -- not just code fragments? Hal's experience as a field engineer puts him in the unique position to see the successes and failures of real people in real life (he was just promoted to Distinguished Systems Engineer at Sun). Hal knows more about the practical issues behind computing than anyone I've met.

Client/Server, Bill Rosenblatt. Except maybe for Bill Rosenblatt, another guy with an endless supply of fresh insights. As director of publishing systems for Times Mirror, Bill knows how to talk about useful new client/server programming tools in terms that make sense. We got lots of compliments on his essay about why Lotus Notes is sweeping corporate America. He also provides us with the best writing anywhere on OO programming.

Software Tools, Chuck Musciano and Brian Fromme. But how can I shortchange Chuck and Brian, two guys who walk the talk every day: Brian as a consultant and Chuck as a software engineer. It shows in their developer tools column, from Chuck's critique of NextStep/OpenStep and debugger evaluation to Brian's look at code testing tools and configuration management programs. Chuck is a bona fide technical wizard and Internet pioneer, author of many popular freeware tools, and Webmaster of Melmac, a popular source for Web site creators. And Brian holds a patent on key technology he invented for HP SoftBench.

Unix Enterprise, Harris Kern and Randy Johnson. We coined the term The New Unix Enterprise for these two characters. In person, their tag-team enthusiasm for the distributed enterprise virtues of Unix is contagious, and we've tried to reflect that in their column. These dedicated contrarians provide important lessons in how to deploy and manage distributed, client/server computing.

Career Advisor, Ed Saadi. His is the first monthly career column in any national computer magazine. And does it hit a nerve -- Ed gets a steady stream of e-mail from concerned Unix professionals. As a principal of a national technical employment agency, Ed and his team really have their fingers on the pulse of the industry's job market.

Connectivity, Rawn Shah. Rawn is our newest columnist. We've been pushing to become the expert source for PC-to-Unix connectivity as that topic grows dramatically in importance, and Rawn is our lucky catch. As consultant and host of an Internet site on connectivity, Rawn can explain PCs to Unix people and vice versa -- no mean trick, and extremely valuable as Unix becomes recognized as the best glue for connecting the enterprise.

Our end-page Commentary is our one concession to industry trend analysis in an otherwise relentlessly product-oriented magazine (product news, product reviews, product technology). Here industry pundits (often from our sister research firm, IDC) predict the near future or explain an industry lurch. In recent columns they have considered how well Unix did in 1994, defined Unix itself as an API, and explained how everybody can be number one in the Unix market at the same time, and other analyst mysteries.

We strongly emphasize the practical and the pragmatic. I urge you to check out our columnists, and let me know if I'm right.

About the author
Michael McCarthy (michael.mccarthy@advanced.com) is editor in chief of Advanced Systems.

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Last updated: 1 May 1995