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What’s on Your Hard Drive?

Every month we invite you to visit the Queue Web site and tell us: What’s on your hard drive? We want to hear it all—the tools you love, the tools you hate, and of course, the tools you love to hate. Our editors carefully select four submissions and reward the chosen few with a piece of Queue memorabilia. Our latest item: a stylish yet highly functional Queue coffee mug. It’s sure to make you the envy of your office, so keep those submissions coming. To find out more, visit our Web site:

Who: Mark Richards

What industry: Software development

Where: Traverse City, Michigan

Flavor: Develops on Windows for Windows

Tool I love! Microsoft Visual Studio. If you couple Visual Studio with Visual Assist from Whole Tomato, you have something truly astonishing: an IDE that helps you be productive. Visual Assist is IntelliSense on steroids, and once you start using it, it’s really hard to stop—I call it IntelliCrack (you will get hooked fast).

Tool I hate! Microsoft Visual Studio. Yes, I love it and hate it. Visual Studio is filled with annoying little bugs, prompts, and options that make little sense. It’s also overgrown, consuming more than 100 MB of main memory when debugging midsize projects.


Who: Marco Ganz

What industry: Financial

Where: Rome, Italy

Flavor: Develops on Windows and Mac OS X for Windows

Tool I love! Intel dev tools. We develop proprietary number-crunching libraries on Intel CPUs. Our environment is well suited for Intel’s terrific combination of tools, which lets us speed up our apps at a reasonable price. The C++ compiler achieves the highest level of optimization in the market, and VTune is great at profiling execution. MKL supports most useful math functions.

Tool I hate! Excel auto-recorded macros. They produce unmanageable, dirty code that will cease to work as soon as you need it. And you have no way to prevent your unskilled users from abusing this feature.


Who: Benjamin Meyer

What industry: Financial

Where: Bayport, New York

Flavor: Develops on Linux for Linux

Tool I love! distcc. Beyond giving me a reason to hoard as many computers as I can, it provides me with a way to upgrade my compile times without spending all the money in one place (my box’s CPU). Not only do I benefit, but so does everyone I work with.

Tool I hate! ClearCase. It is inferior to CVS (concurrent versions system) and has a kernel module that forces me to use the one kernel that works with it. This tool ties me down and costs me time—better tools are available.


Who: Anand Rangarajan

What industry: Software and networking

Where: Sunnyvale, California

Flavor: Develops on Windows and Linux for Windows

Tool I love! Ethereal. I have learned more about computer networking, protocols, and performance using Ethereal than from several years of courses at Stanford! Ethereal tells me exactly what goes on the wire, and when, and what type of response it gets, etc.

Tool I hate! Microsoft Visual C++ Profiler. This is really not even a full-fledged development tool because the data it provides has hardly been useful to me. It has a limited scope and I have not been able to find the granularity to make good use of it. The commercial substitutes such as Rational Quantify do a much better job.


Originally published in Queue vol. 3, no. 1
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