Archive for category Work

Going to work is a distraction

Kevin Purdy sums up why going to work is basically a distraction. Watch the video here

In the first 30 seconds he essentially summed up my day. Come to work…ramp up..meeting…ramp back up…conference call…lunch…ramp back up…phone call….ramp back up…someone stops by my cube…ramp back up…?…actually do some work for the last hour of the day.

I remember the days when I would get into the zone and work for hours..during the day of all times..and the meetings were like once a week at the beginning. Good ole’ i(dont)Care days..right Rich? Well..some of us rightfully stayed in development, others just wish we had. 🙂

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Common meeting where I work

I promise I won’t post too many Dilbert comics on the site, but this one was entirely too true…

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Tech support

I have come to the conclusion that we, as IT persons, are perceived as pricks to the general population. I think that this is a rightly applied label too. I was on the phone today with a vendor and a tech support individual to ‘help’ me decide what product would best suit my needs. This individual was quite used to stringing together sentences of technical jargon only loosely related in that it was technical jargon. The conversation began politely enough but after about 30 seconds I could tell that we were going nowhere very quickly. After a few more minute of endless circling about technologies I am positive are not found on the planet Earth, I ended the conversation by hanging up on the conference call. I emailed the vendor to tell them I could not continue due to a stroke I suffered during the phone conversation. He understood and wished me a speedy recovery.

…and I never did figure out what I needed

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I have been busy

So yeah, if you haven’t been able to tell I have been fairly busy. Actually I went through a fairly large change in my career. I moved from development to IT Support. I still do a little bit of coding on the job and at home but my main focus is keeping the servers and network running.

It has been an on-the-job learning experience. I have to say that while I enjoy the simplicity of administering Microsoft servers their lack of flexibility and in consistency makes me batty.

I ran in a hill race about three weeks ago. I didn’t feel I was fully prepared for it but as it turned out I did a whole lot better than I was anticipating. I averaged a 9:11/mile pace, not terribly fast but I have been steadily getting better. I am registered to run in a 5-miler tomorrow but I am going to skip it since we finally have plumbing in our bathroom and putting floor down supersedes my hobby. 🙁

After the new year it will be time to start to get back into fighting condition to run in the half-marathon again. I ran a 2:08:00 last year, this year I will be shooting for a 1:55:00. I figure that shaving a minute off every mile for a pace of an 8:46 mile. Woohoo!

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Programmers and messy code

Alright, I usually don’t rant but I have to get this one off my chest. I have been rewriting a fair amount of a coworkers code this past week because it sloppy, inefficient and unfortunately works well enough to pass off as acceptable. The problem is that I can’t accept it. For starters I will most likely have to maintain it. Second, since I am the only interface programmer if something goes wrong and an error is thrown I am the first one they look at. So in turn I get to rummage through his code, clean it up, make it actually work the way it is supposed to the n put it back out there.

This whole process can take a couple of days and during that time there are usually updates to the files I am attempting to update. Then I get to try and merge the changes from the old code to the new code. I am making progress but its slow going.

If you haven’t read the Mythical Man Month, do it right now. No programming problem was ever solved by throwing more programmers at it. The same goes for small portions of a larger program, let one person do it so they can be the central repository for how something is going to work. If you put more than one and they don’t see eye to eye, there is going to be problems.

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Hmm, to upgrade or not

I have been reading over the the new features in WordPress 2.0.x. and I am liking what I see. The problem is that there really isn’t anything wrong with my current release. I haven’t had any spam in quite a white and the current system does everything (and more) I need. So I guess it will depend on how much free time I find in the future.

I have been evaluating differnt CMS/Frameworks for building a community site for our church youth group. Right now I am weighing the differences between Joomla and Drupal. Xoops was in the running but its architecture and forums aren’t where I would like them to be. I will update more as I do more testing. opensourcecms.com/ is a great resource if you are evaluating the different options for prebuilt content management systems.

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Dojo and Javascript

I have been neck deep in the often misunderstood world of Javascript. We decided to use the Dojo framework to add some ‘bling’ to our new web app currently in production. I made some killer site designs and really wowed the management with everything I purported Dojo could do. Everything was approved and I was off to production to begin creating the templates that would become the oh-so familiar interface of our new customer service application.

I sensed something was wrong the first day I started full scale production. I was getting some really weird errors and I could never seem to ‘find’ my functions or variables. I thought it was probably just because I was a bit rusty at the ole’ Javascript, so I brushed it off and pushed forward. After a week of production and only one form done, it became screamingly apparent that there were major dificiencies in Dojo. Like the inability to reference namespaces in widgets, so I would have to cram everything into the global scope so the function calls could be found. The sheer amount of js code that is downloaded on every request. Sure, some of it is cached, but I never count on it. Other oddities began to creep up and I finally ended up scrapping alot of my stuff and doing it the old fashioned way. Pop open a window with a form and submit it normally. Finally I am making progress again. I will revisit Dojo in the future, right now I have to get the beta version of this software out the door. 😉

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Alright, seriously

In the wonderful world of web development, I want to know who on the Internet Explorer team decided it would be better to NOT include support for CSS2 selectors in version 6 of their oh-so-prevalent browser. It was never really a problem until, well, it became a problem. And now its really a problem.

The new job has had me neck deep in XHTML since I started, which is cool considering I had no idea how sloppy I had become. I was always proficient but never really good, but I think I am starting to creast that peak. I understand more now about Javascript and CSS than I ever did. I am actually reading the CSS3 RFC with a bit of anticipation. Its just too bad that IE7 won’t support it.

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Javascript is not Java!

The title on this one is a little misleading. Its pretty obvious that this is true if you do any programming. But what I am talking about is the issue of object inheritace in Javascript as opposed to Java. I think Javascript is a bit TOO flexible when it comes to this as I have been reading all morning on different implimentations on how OOJS “should” be done, none of which are making alot of sense and non of which really appeal to me. I suppose this could be a direct offshoot of hacking at Java too long, but JS object notation is just weird.

On to the world of CSS now. I have decided that the rest of my web work will be in XHTML 1.1. I have been creating some pages in it for the last couple of weeks and I have decided that I really like it. I leaned when HTML was at version 2.0, so it has been difficult moving away from the table mindset. I remember learning CSS in 99 and it just seemed like a totally foriegn concept. For the longest time it kept feeling like a foreign concept, but it is getting better. People like Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman have gone a long way to getting me to where I need to be so I can develop better with pure CSS.

This is quite a departure from my previous post, but I had an amazing feeling today as I started to lay down some code and realized that I wasn’t using any tables and my HTML was actually validating with the XML parser. There was my child-like freedom moment for the year, now back to the grind..

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The July 4th weekend

Back from my four day weekend and on station with my new job. First days are always rough as you are quickly inundated with information, and you spend most of the day just sorting through everything that is thrown your way during the day. It hasn’t been so bad really, there has been alot to read up on and some new technologies that I am excited to get my feet wet with. But I am sleepy today because we stayed up too late yesterday at the fireworks. I knew it was going to be rought today.

We went out looking for some caches this weekend and came home completely empty-handed! I was so disappointed! I had three picked out and not a one of them could be found. Those little microcaches can be difficult to spot, but I am new to it so I am still getting the hang of how everything works. There are lots of caches in the area so I should have pleanty more to practice on.

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