Client Success Stories
We are involved in a fairly wide range of client projects year after year. Quite often the larger projects generate interesting little tangents that grow into their own projects requiring creative solutions too.
Here is a small but typical cross-section of our accomplishments:
Embedded Systems, Software, Databases
- Played multiple key roles in designing, developing, and supporting our client's software-driven electro-mechanical pharmacy automation systems costing $100,000 – $1,500,000. These systems were deployed at 65 customer sites in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. We provided our client with requirements documents, system architecture design, technical design (hardware-software), software development in multiple programming languages for multiple operating systems, software testing, database design and programming, local area networking, server virtualization, information security (including military DIACAP requirements), customization for specific customers, and third-tier technical support.
- Developed a virtual machine-based, automated software regression testing system for a client-server suite of 18 related Visual Basic and C++ software applications. Human GUI interaction was simulated at high speed. Our automated testing solution reduced the develop-test cycle time of our client's development team by 12%.
- Resolved a group of critical "software bugs" that had been escalated to the executive management level of our client, by identifying that these problems were actually caused by poor electrical power quality at their customer's site. This finding prevented an eventual breach of contract lawsuit and allowed our client's software development team to refocus their time on real software bugs.
- Identified SQL Server database performance issues and SQL query errors in our client's software product, which had escaped their development team's notice. We accomplished this by monitoring network traffic between their database server and desktop clients. This brought to light some accidental coding inefficiences and exposed some "hidden" errors reported by SQL Server that were not visible in their application software log files.
Information Security, Networking, Protocols
- Designed and documented a method to install and run our client's custom software products in a limited-privilege Windows account. Previously our client had informed customers that its software could only run in a Windows administrator account, which was unacceptable to some large security-conscious customers. By resolving this "show-stopper" our client was able to continue to sell its $100,000 products to those large customers.
- Performed a network bandwidth assessment on a client's software system. One of their large customers had said they would only allow 10 Mb/s bandwidth, but our client's specification stated that a 1000 Mb/s network was required. Our measurement proved that only 8 Mb/s was actually required. This finding eventually allowed $500,000 in sales to commence.
- Wrote functional and non-functional requirements documents that enabled a client's product development team to meet military information security (DIACAP) requirements. This allowed the client company to compete in military markets.
- Created a custom anti-virus scanning tool and wrote corresponding procedures to let a client's production staff to find and mitigate malware ("virus") infections on newly-built computers before these were shipped to customers. We developed this tool after one of our client's customers had found a malware infection on a replacement server shipped to them by our client's service and support staff.
- Wrote custom software tools to analyze and diagnose a severe intermittent network "slowdown" problem at our client's customer site. Our tool worked at the low-level network packet level, not at the normal "application" level. We found that the customer's server would occasionally delay sending a network acknowledgement packet by up to 30 seconds when the problem occurred. The problem had originally been incorrectly blamed on "software bugs" in our client's system and were costing the customer $3,500 per day in downtime and lost productivity.
- Diagnosed and solved a massive LAN network communications problem affecting our client's entire facility (including all of their VOIP desk phones, e-mail, Internet access, etc.). We found the problem to be an incorrectly connected network switch that had been installed by one of the client's departments. This had caused the switch to repeat the same packet tens of thousands of times per second, effectively causing an accidental "denial of service" attack on the entire network. After fixing this problem we were able to return to our normal software development work for the client.
- Discovered and mitigated a facility-wide Conficker (a.k.a. Downadup) malware infection. To do so we used an Nmap script to scan our client's entire network on a daily basis and locate which Windows computers were infected. A second script indicated which computers had still not been patched with a specific Windows security update, which placed them at risk of infection in the future. We also provided written procedures and tactical support to the client's IT staff to clean up the infection.
Training, Mentoring, and Technical Writing
- Developed a two-tier information security training program for a client's employees. We wrote all required training materials and presented on-site training classes. These training programs were later adopted by another division too.
- Developed beginning-level and intermediate-level SQL database training classes for a client's technical staff. We wrote three textbooks and created two "hands-on" software CDROMs. The client then asked us to teach on-site training classes through their corporate training center.
- Wrote customized procedures to be used by a client's technical staff to set up and configure the wireless mobile device networks used in one of their system products.
Web Site Design and Development