Monday, December 08, 2008

Update, Geek-Style

So it's been a while since my last update. Okay, okay, it's been a while since I've posted regularly at all. Yep, rasserfrasser employers with their insane ideas about steady work to go with that steady paycheck.

Anyway, just to give you an update since the office move. Not only did I get blistered thumbs from checking every data port over that weekend, but when I came into the office that Monday, the 2 veeps spear-heading the move showed up in my cube all ashen-faced. Geh, what now?! One of the servers that host our website decided that this was the perfect time to have its hard drive go belly up. Backups? Nah, of course not. Image the server that survived? Nup, not an option, either, since it would take a week to get a replacement HDD delivered that matched the specs. Cheh. Guess who has to rebuild a whole new server from scratch...in one day...while also continuing to do all the work currently scheduled for our customers' projects? I've been playing catchup ever since.

After that, I also had an internal project to maintain our partnership status with Microsoft as an Independent Software Vendor, ISV for short. Every two years my company has to go through this process to get our software tested, and it's been my burden to package up our software and provide instructions so that a third party tester can validate that our bits meet the requirements. If we pass, we get all these goodies from Microsoft to play with, like their latest versions of, well, everything. Literally tens of thousands of dollars worth of software. Free. All so that we, as an ISV, can develop our own code to work with it. It's quite the chore. But this year was the fastest our code ever got tested. And passed. For me, though, it was just another task to check off as completed, so stop bugging me about it, Mr Veep in charge of whatever you're in charge of!

Well, this is my last week before I go on a two-week vacation, spent in much warmer climes than frosty Chicago. The year-end rush to chase every bit of revenue down is in full swing. I'm cross-training, like 4 people, just so that the company can squeeze out just that little bit while I'm gone. Who know if any of these projects will actually happen while I'm gone? Meh, I guess I'll find out when I get back because I don't intend to check any email or answer any phone calls from the office while I'm out exposing my skin to light that isn't generated by heating up exotic chemical gases in glass tubes. You know, the sun!? Four days till I'm on a plan out west. I hope I can survive!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Michael Crichton Dead at 66

Of cancer. A sad day for science fiction aficionados. I will especially miss the passion and wit he brought in recent years to skepticism of the theory of Anthropogenic CO2-based Global Warming.

Windows 3.11 Finally Dead

Apparently, there was some sort of brouhaha going on in Chicago yesterday...related to hope, or change. Or something. But that's not what this post is about.

No, this post is about death and finality. The finality of no more embedded licenses. Of a 15 year-old OS. Ah, Windows 3.11 for Workgroups, how nostalgic. Finally, we won't have to see that antiquated Windows™ logo as a screen saver on a beat-up cash register at some really, really, really run-down gas station.

That's hope and change I can live with.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Geek Trenches #25: The Office Move

Say you've established geek cred in your company, even in a company run by geeks (yeah, believe me, all the jokes about software programmers not really being geeks are true). What happens when you're office location goes through a move? Panic sets in, just how are they going to abuse me?! Never mind that for months you've been told from the CEO all the way down to your immediate supervisor that you're "just another employee", "we've got it covered", "just expect to do what everybody else is supposed to, pack up your cube, etc."


Moving day comes...


Training room PCs have been moved the night before, how do we check that they all work (boot up, network connectivity, etc)? Er...um...My boss and the Crystal Enterprise admin are slated to go over and check that today...and I get "volunteered" to go to the new office with them (never mind that, as I pointed out, I'm just supposed to pack my cube today)...The Crystal Enterprise admin never had admin rights to the training room server to begin with. My boss doesn't have domain admin rights, either. Good thing I "was there" to grant those rights, because the Crystal Enterprise service was down, and someone needed to restart the service. And what else do we discover? Bad data ports...on half the jacks in the training room. I gave up my lunch to do "help out". So, we go back to the old office and my boss reports to the veeps "in charge" of the move about the bad ports.


Yep, I have just enough time to wolf down a Clif bar, and actually pack up my PC and peripherals before I get "volunteered" again to go back to the new office for the second time today. This time? Check every data port in the office.


Blaaarrgh


Now I have a blister on my thumbs from jacking in and out a cat5 plug into over 150 data ports. I was supposed to be having a beer with my peers at 3pm, but nooooo....


And tomorrow, I get to go back to the office again, along with all the other staff, to set up all my stuff in my cube...I wonder what new and lovely surprises will be in store for me?


Cursed by competence...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Coding through the motions

I know just how he feels...


© Scott Adams


It's going to be another long day. One database platform down, two to go...


On another note, I finally picked up a coffee grinder. Had to buy it at the Schmucks™ just down the block because, a) I need coffee and had just whole bean left in the kitchen, and b) I need coffee now! Totally lowtech affair where you decide how fine the ground by ticking off the seconds. Probably a good thing with my current state of mind right now.


Mmmm....coffee.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Working over the weekend...

Yes, it's been quite a long time since I've posted anything. Work has been sapping so much of my time that I'm barely keeping on top of the news, let alone forming an interesting enough opinion to post on a topic.


So what am I doing now? Right now, on a Saturday at 4:30pm local time? Working. Well, right right now, I'm waiting for a developer to call me back so that I can figure out a discrepancy in table schema between the oracle, ms sql, and ms access platforms. So, here's a pic of my home work environment:


Nice Home Theater, eh?

Not the sexiest use of a badass 50" HD plasma, but I do get to brag about it being part of my dual-monitor configuration. That's an RDP session to my work PC on the big screen, and you can kinda make out the VB code window on it. My laptop, acting as the primary monitor, is in the foreground, right.

Yep. Geek.

C'mon, developer, gimme a callback! I want to finish this up and get this software release out the door!


Update (8:30pm local time): You know, debugging my own code...fine, I get that. I wrote it, I should at least make sure it works.


Debugging somebody else's code? Especially when it looks like pure, chunky effluvia that obviously was never even tested? Yeah, that's not so much fun. I'm checking in this drek and calling it a night.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day 2008

Around this time of year you always see stories in the news about the build up to Valentine's Day, the perfect gift, etc. Gag.

Anyway, in among these articles, you also see some "News of the Odd" type reports about how some other countries have their own take on St. Valentine's Feast Day. Like in some east Asian countries.

Or how some strict, mostly anti-western elements in other countries don't really handle it well, at all.


This year's poem, set to ballad verse, touches upon that, and how maybe we here in the West might want to rethink the whole multi-culti thing on our own soil (Archbishop of Canterbury, I'm looking in your direction).

Enjoy!


Valentine’s Day 2008: Love Under Siege

Mercantilism run amok,
At least so in the West,
Describes this day so few can duck
Whose Saint runs second best.

And while we suffer in the thrall
Of Hallmark, F.T.D.,
A world away, there is a brawl
Where romance is the key.

The Saudis banned the ruddy rose
To dampen passion’s flame,
For fear that when such ardor flows,
Romance they cannot tame.

Ironic, thus, that in the land
Where Islam’s honor bound,
St. Valentine, as contraband,
Has martyrs underground.

The Hindus, too, wage war upon
The Western god Amor.
Their nativists denounce the Son
Of Venus, to restore

Tradition, as a counter to
Romantic Love’s appeal.
That nation sure does seem to rue
That Kamasutra deal.

So maybe we should reassess
The dues that we must pay.
Our Western Culture won’t regress
On St. Valentine’s Day.

-James Morris, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Scansion, Shmansion, a Recap of 2007

I guess I owe my readers, all 5 of you, a li'l su'n su'n before the day of horrors, I mean Valentine's Day, commences.

Last year's effort was, shall we say, ghoulish. Not much to it besides it being "real horrorshow, droogs". If Michael Jackson wrote his stuff in iambic pentameter couplets, "Thriller" might have sounded a little like this. He probably wouldn't have sold 104 million copies, but hey, my rhymes are better.

Oh well. This year's effort is written and ready to post. Meh, it's cute and worth a chuckle.


Don't forget to click on the poetry label to read my poems from years' past.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Fred for McCain

If Fred says so...



I will say this...I voted for Romney in my Chicago primary expecting him to lose to McCain, which is what happened.

I will sooooo definitely vote for McCain over zeenuu, I mean, Huckabee in a real primary, as if the Huck had a chance in this state, anyway.

McCain over Obamessiah or Hill/Bill? Yeah...if Perot could get 19% for no reason other than a viable choice, then McCain picks up 60% in the general. Damn. I never thought I wanted a viable geezer for president until Reagan died and left me no alternative. A president over 72 y/o? We live in interesting times, I dare say.