Older blog entries for Johnath (starting at number 2)

I feel so strange admitting this - but I've never read Lord of the Rings - in fact, until last weekend, I'd never read any Tolkein. Never.

So I'm fixing that now - I read The Hobbit last weekend, and I'm most of the way through book 2 of the Lord of the Rings. While I was reading chapter 3 of book 2 ('The Council of Elrond') I came across a really good line - good enough that I grabbed a pencil and defaced my book for the first time by underlining it. Tell me this doesn't sum up the free software community:

Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.
Okay, maybe it's not quite accurate to apply that to the FS community, since we'd like to think we have some of the Great Minds hanging around too - but I mean, the coolest thing about the Net is the empowerment - the idea that little people can do big things with global impact.

I still prefer other genres to fantasy - never have been a big fan, and would generally take a Neal Stephenson book over even a Tolkein, but I appreciate the incredible development that's gone into the world he creates, and that's enough to keep me enjoying it.

On a seperate note, what does a guy have to do around here to get certified? :) I mean, I know, I've read the docs on certification, I understand the process, but eesh - all I want is the ability to post guys - how many apprentice certs does it take? Makes me wanna go up to those 'New Members' who are instant Masters and beat them with a manure caked stick. I probably won't though. That's not very friendly.

This has been IBM week. Got email from them Monday night saying they wanted to interview me 9am wednesday morning. I said it then, and I say it now - what kind of company wakes its geeks at 9am? Or really, at 7am, to make 9am meetings?

The interview was fine and Jimmy Lo, my interviewer, seems like a cool guy. Here's something interesting though, something I didn't really expect - in an 80 minute interview, easily 50% of the time was spent covering my Java knowledge. Java. I mean, don't get me wrong, I really like Java, it was actually my first language, and I still TA courses in it - but I'm interviewing for the IBM Toronto Lab - the people that make DB2. Of course, I found out that the DB2 people, as expected, use C -- it's the websphere people that use Java, and it does make some sense there, especially given java's native crypto, network, and security support. Still surprised me, but made for an excellent story to tell my Intro to Programming students. :)

Then they told me that they wanted me to come in, at 9 again, on friday, to write an aptitude test. It was like I was enlisting or something - do all big companies put you through 70 minute IQ tests? And what kind of aptitude am I supposed to have at 9am on a friday?

Okay, so I just watched as 5 people grabbed beep in like, 2 minutes. This happens every couple weeks for no reason I can discern, I guess someone is just pasting the url into an IRC chat, and then it spreads around.

What I still can't get over though, is the response to this little program. All it does it beep, but I've gotten email from everywhere, thanking me for it, and firing off patches to do everything from tune guitars to play morse code. It's corny, I know, but it gives me a real sense of how well this community works together. What did surprise me was that I haven't gotten a single flame, and that some people have taken an inordinate amount of time just to make it a little better. Golly gee whiz, guys, I'm impressed.

Seriously though, there's a certain trend especially over at /. to bitch and moan about the destruction of The Community. I used to wonder about that, and about what I missed by being born 5 years too late. But response to this little 4k app has turned that around for me totally.

Okay, that concludes my over-optimistic and patently over-innocent rant for the day. But hey, grab it if you think it might be useful - whenever someone mails me about it, I try to end with "and by all means, spread it around, I'd like nothing more than to someday be working on a computer and find it already installed."

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