ODU IT: Education or Industry Marketing?

by fwhagen Tue, 20 March 2007

I know I am whining here, but I am spending some good money to get a degree in order to get a good paying job in the IT industry.  Oh, wait, I already have one!  Anyway, with 17 years in IT, I think I might one or two things, and have gained some predilections of technology, to be sure.

I don't appreciate the constant Microsoft bashing.  I don't care!  Yes, I like Vista.  Yes, I've gotten paid a crap-load of cash over the years supporting Microsoft products.  But guess what, I have other technologies too!  But to waste almost my entire evening evaluating reasons "Why We Hate It", Vista that is, I am annoyed, to say the least.  Evidently, the instructor downloaded the presentation from Apple.  At first I had fun disputing the stupid crap:  I had to spend tons of money to upgrade my system (uh... I spent $20 on a new USB Flash Drive to be able to use ReadyBoost, but didn't have to.), backup sucks (I love the improvements and especially the automatic versioning), harder to use (WHAT!?!), blah, blah, blah.

Glad my $800 is going to good use this semester...

Ok, I wasn't going to comment on the Apple ads.  They're pretty childish and outright lies.  But I will send money to the first person I see do a good parody of the Vista surgery ad.  PC's response should be, "I didn't have to upgrade, but why not?  How about you?"  Mac then gets ready for his upgrade by shooting himself in the head and is dragged off screen.  A new, bigger Mac shows up.  "Who are you?", PC asked shocked.  "Hi, I'm a Mac.  Sorry about the other guy, I needed an 'upgrade'."

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Filed Under: Rant

Obligatory Semi-Annual DST Bash

by fwhagen Fri, 09 March 2007

Once again it is time for me to rail against the ignorance that is Daylight Saving Time.  But I will spare the vehement accusations of stupidity of the whole system and concentrate on our state of resolution.

I have always advocated removing DST entirely and possible all American timezones as well.  Why not simply use GMT?  It's all just arbitrary numbering anyway; after all, I use 24-hour time myself.  Anyway, the U.S. Congress, whose record of learning valuable lessons from the past include issuing yet another dollar coin the size of a quarter after the last two incarnations failed, decided to change DST this year.  But instead of a move toward elimination, they decided that it should come 3 weeks earlier and last longer.  I think it is now the norm, not the exception!

"Who cares?", you say?  How about every IT shop that does any business on this continent!  I will be working on Sunday to ensure all of my systems don't mysterious choke because of syncing issues, as will every other responsible admin and/or developer that has servers in this country.  Hopefully, it will only be the 30 minutes it takes to validate functionality, but who knows.

Sometimes I am SO proud to be American.  Yeah, whatever...

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Filed Under: Politics | Rant

Al Gore - Shocking Hypocrite?

by fwhagen Wed, 07 March 2007

Or just (Democrat) politics, as usual.  Only days after Gore conspicuously accepted the Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth, a propaganda piece on energy depletion, ABC News exposes Gore as a incredible hypocrite.  It seems that Mr Environment uses 20 times the amount of energy as the national average.  While I don't condemn him for that practice, despite a personal feeling that it is a ridiculous inefficiency, I do find him in contempt of humanity and desire his public exposure as a fraud.  This is the politico that is constantly harping that I, and you, are destroying the planet through frivolous activities as driving to work and heating our homes.

Shenanigans!!  I am calling Shenanigans on Al Gore.

The man is a dratkcuf.  If I find out that he was behind the DST embarrasment, I just may have to start a crusade against the corrupt bastard.

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Filed Under: Politics | Rant

American Beliefs

by fwhagen Fri, 02 March 2007

I heard from a reputable program this morning that up to 83% of Americans believe that Christianity, including Creationism and the Resurrection, is true.

Yet, strangely, as many as 40% believe that astrology is also true, despite the fact that it is entirely contrary to Christianity.

I know what I believe:  Sometimes it is embarrassing to be an American.

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Filed Under: Life | Rant

I Believe - ADO.NET Edition

by fwhagen Fri, 02 March 2007
I Believe...  that all database connections should be opened immediately before using them and closed immediately afterwards.
 
I Believe...  that if you are going to create a data layer, and you should, and you also create a data access layer, and you should, that the connection.open method be put in the lowest level and handled as abstractly as possible.  Yes the connection.close should be called before returning results.
 
I Believe...  that if you open the connection to the database in a method and pass that connection as a variable to another object, you should be shot.
 
I Believe...  that if you open the connection to the database in a method and pass it as a variable to another object, and forget to close said connection, you should be stabbed.
 
I Believe...  that if you open the connection to the database in a method and pass it as a variable to another object, and store the open connection in an ASP.NET session variable, you should be stabbed in the eye.  Twice.  With a spoon.
 
I Believe...  that if you store the results of a large query in ASP.NET session so you can page it back to the user, they haven't devised a painful enough punishment for you yet.
 
 
With special thanks to Blue Collar TV for the "I Believe..." concept.

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Filed Under: .NET | Programming | Rant

University IT Instructors

by fwhagen Mon, 12 February 2007

Where do they find the instructors for IT?  I am attending a respected local university in their IT program currently.  The reasons why range from my wife is a teacher, to I never finished my degree 15 years ago.  IT is an easy course load for me since I have been doing it for nearly 18 years now.

However, the instructors I have experienced are wildly variable.  My personal advisor doesn't like to have a computer, or even a phone, on his desk.  It messes with his Phung Shui.  And his information filing system consists of a desk drawer filled with scraps of paper.  My general IT class instructor may have been current once, but never within my career span.  Not to mention the vast hero worship issues she has with women and fringe industry individuals.  Wow, I can't imagine life without Grace Hopper, who is single-handedly responsible for computer usage!  Forget Thomas Edison, "he had a lab full of assistants", so his contributions are negligable to modern technology.

I wouldn't care, but the other students drink it up like gospel.  AND she keeps giving advice about IT jobs and the industry in general that is just wrong.  Ah well, my future competition will be light...

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Filed Under: Life | Rant

Here's Your Sign

by fwhagen Wed, 22 November 2006

When you are looking at someone else's code, at what point can you definitively know it is bad code?  I'm sure everyone has their metrics.  Here's mine and so simple too:

Server Timeouts

Yep, real simple.  Here's the thing:  Nothing else, in my mind, shows a greater lack of understanding of the basic architecture of a system than poorly set timeouts.  For instance.  while not a bad idea to adjust the timeout of the SQL connection to fit what you are doing, setting it to 1200 means you don't realize that it means seconds and you just told your application to wait 20 minutes before doing any damage control.  I don't know about you, but ANY application that makes me wait 20 minutes for anything (without showing me real progress) is broken; I am impatient after 20 seconds!  Another example:  setting an ASP.NET app to use a session timeout of 300 minutes means you don't care about your server at all.  Why not store user specific information (full DATASETS!) in memory for 5 hours after the user has left the page.  5 hours!

These are real examples of code I am working on today.  I don't care how elegant your architecture is, Server Timeout abuse has always been a very simple indicator of developer incompetance.  Oh, and it seems to be in direct proportion of scale too.  I have actually seen an ASP session set to 3000000.  Yes 3 MILLION minutes.  That is 50,000 hours.  5 years, 8 months, 14 days, 13+ hours.  Yeah, that'll work.  I was not well loved because I wouldn't allow crap like that to run on my servers.

BTW, 3M minutes was by the same coder who thought LastName is a good primary key on a DB.  And when that didn't work, how about a composite key on LastName, FirstName.  Yep, World Class programmer.

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Filed Under: Programming | Rant

And So Ends Another Season of DST

by fwhagen Mon, 30 October 2006

You might think that I dislike Daylight Saving Time.  You would be mistaken.

You might think that I liked Daylight Saving Time.  You would be wrong.

You might think that I hated Daylight Saving Time like a plague on society.  Now we're getting somewhere. 

The truth is, I find DST to be a blight on the intellectual accomplishments of modern man. 

To plan and execute something so incredibly ignorant and disruptive and then blame it on an innocent profession that probably couldn't care less about it, is an embarrassment to my intelligence.  It is right up there with prohibition. 

Time is probably the fundamental abstract measure of the universe.  Only size may be argued to be more so.  But even distance is a measure of "how long does it take...".  And as an abstract, does it matter if its 12:00, 3:00, 27:00 when the sun does something irrelavant?  Of course not.  So we take our fundamental unit of time and screw with it twice a year because why?  Maybe the American public is too damn ignorant to make their own decisions!  Maybe we can force the sun to stay out longer!  Maybe the day will be longer by an hour!  Ha!  Take that nature!

It's so depressing....

http://www.standardtime.com/

Go.  Now!

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Filed Under: Life | Rant

The Lottery Tax

by fwhagen Wed, 04 October 2006

I love the lottery!  Most people think I don't, but I really do.  Good Lord, I would never actually play the lottery of course.  No, the lottery is simply my favorite tax.

What so many people don't seem to realize is that the lottery is a voluntary usage tax on ignorance.  If you understand number theory and basic statistics at all, you must necessary eschew the lottery as a complete waste of time and money.  Therefore, you are exempt from the tax and need not participate.  If you feel that $1 is a small price to pay in order to fantasize about how you would spend 50 bajillion dollars, then you have a small tax burden indeed.  If fear rules your life, and you feel compelled to participate in the office pool, because wouldn't it be horrible to be the only one not to win, then your tax bill might become a bit weighty.  But if you play religiously every week knowing that your time must come up eventually, then you get to pay the bulk of the ignorance tax, and rightly so. 

Now if only there were a way of advertising your participation in the lottery.  Then I would know which people I needed to avoid and to what magnitude.  And those who win, don't count, they already advertise well enough, and I will avoid them like the plague.

And by the way, if the office pool were to win and everybody took off, thank god that the group was culled so efficiently; I bet you can get a lot more work done now.  You won after all!

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Filed Under: Rant

Natural Selection Gone Wrong

by fwhagen Wed, 27 September 2006

Over the last several million years, nature has raised man to a frightening level of ability.  We have conquered our environment, bested every predator, harnessed a few of the energies of the universe to do our bidding, and given back to nature true beauty in music and art.  But things have gone wrong.  The most dangerous accomplishment that man has created is himself.

Std Disclaimer:  I am not an environmentalist, nor do I play one on TV.  In fact, I am not taking the track of the tree-hugging, berry-gathering, short-sighted, inexperienced children of Greenpeace and PETA.  They're a bunch of twits. 

I am referring to a far more catastrophic disaster than the death of a few pitiful species.  I am talking about the reversal of evolution itself.  The death of our own species.

If man were the least bit intelligent, we would be taking great advantage of evolution and speed it up, much like we have done with our foodstocks and canine companions.  Before you get offended, realize I refer to the collective idiocy, not those few of us that can still bang the rocks together.  But no, we have decided to honor the stupid among us and so lower the quality of the gene pool ever further.  Think about it:  What incentive do we give Americans to be productive?  Or rather, what disincentive do we meet out to those who are not and drag down our economy?  Hint:  think welfare, Medicaid, unemployment, lottery, frivolous lawsuits.  Seems to me that it is becoming easier to not be productive and live off the middle class. 

Another thing, census data has shown that the higher levels of society produce fewer children than the lower classes.  I'm not going to drag the math out, you can do it.

So here's my solution:  testing and enormous tax deductions.  Testing is simple enough, if you can't spell your kids name, you shouldn't have any.  Also basic math, science and statistics.  Yep, statistics.  That will eliminate anyone who plays the lottery!  And notice I said tax deduction, not credit.  Yep, make the tax burden smaller for people who make money, not make money for people to breed children.  And people who adopt should get bigger ones, until there are no more to adopt because the idiots will not be allowed to breed.

Evolution weeded the weak and incompetent out for a very long time.  Now we protect them, encourage them, give them tax credits to breed.  Meanwhile, the top percentile is not doing their part to strengthen the gene pool by producing superior intellects.  We are in a downward spiral.  Fortunately, nature is smarter than us and will wipe out all but a few and set evolutionary process back on track.

Oh, don't even get me started on athletes and celebrities.

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Filed Under: Rant

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