Unfortunately, I don't get to program much anymore, but I find that when you're managing a bunch of programmers, its frequently nice to be able to call their bluff. Consequently, I try to read magazines like the Java Developer's Journal to keep up with things and it usually pays off. I find something almost every issue that I'm glad to know about. In the December 2002 issue, for example, I found out about Lucene.
Lucene is an open source, text indexing and search tool written in Java. Its not unusual anymore to want search capabilities in an application and Lucene provides one way to do that. The web site claims that is "high-performance" and offers a a page for users to submit benchmarking results for review. No idea, of course, how these compare to other search products from Verity, for example. If you've used Lucene in a project and would like to comment on either its reliability, ease of use, or performance, please feel free to drop me a note.