November 2007 Reader Challenge and October Reader Challenge Winners

October 2007 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our September 2007 Reader Challenge. First prize, a copy of "Windows Vista in a Nutshell," goes to Jeroen Jordens, in New Zealand. Second prize, a copy of "Windows Vista: The Definitive Guide," goes to Torrey Slawnyk in Michigan. Both books are from O'Reilly Media (

November 2007 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Vista Update challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by Nov. 12, 2007. You MUST include your full name, street mailing address (no P.O. Boxes), and a telephone number. Without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct. I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for an email receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at 97477 on Nov. 13, 2007.

The Challenge

Every type of business has its own jargon, and when "insiders" are having conversations, "outsiders" often have a problem making sense of the dialogue. I was reminded of this recently when I was doing some consulting in a telephone conference call with a software company. Participants included programmers and marketing folks, and whenever I heard, "Huh?" I knew it was someone from the marketing department responding to a comment from a programmer. This month's challenge provides a way for you to see whether you'd be considered an insider or an outsider in the software coding biz. During our conversation, someone said, "We tested for crud and everything's fine." What is crud?

The Answer

CRUD stands for Create, Retrieve, Update, and Delete, which are the functions required for maintaining "persistent storage." Persistent storage is the ability to maintain data as users perform tasks, and to accomplish this the program writes to the data structure instead of saving data in volatile memory. This paradigm is responsible for saving user changes (e.g. to provide an Undo list or a "restore to previous" function), and also makes it possible to save the integrity of the data structure in the event of a crash

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