Older blog entries for technik (starting at number 22)

Work: Meetings and project plans. According to my VP, I'm de facto leading the charge for Java2 and WebLogic. Using Enhydra Enterprise wasn't even in the discussion, the decision was made already and licenses and training dollars spent. Its architecture seems to be at least as compelling as Bea's. Whatever. Had to extricate myself from cross-departmental squabbles as everyone and their dog laid claim to some part of this. Figured I would keep the scope limited, do the project plan, compose the Gantt chart and send it out and see who screams.

Play: Guerrilla.net, Seattle Wireless and the local effort caught my attention. Particularly interesting are the home-brew antenna documents like this yagi which describe the potential to extend the range of 802.11 networks. Apparently, it has caught the attention of some of the people at O'Reilly too
Play: Yes! Only two and a half hours of tinkering last night and I have my Linksys wireless access point/router configured with a couple of Orinoco Silver pccards. Slightly complicated, mostly because I took an hour to realize that I needed to upgrade the ROM and some of the terminology of their web-based user-friendly configurator isn't clear. I'm using its WAN port as an uplink to my existing network and keeping my OpenBSD box managing the dial-up (one day, I hope soon, I'll get broadband but the OBSD box stays). Demonstrated to Maria that we can access the internet from the living room couch. Much joy. I was surprised that two plaster interior walls (there is duct work and pipes and maybe some metal lathe from repairs in there) heavily degrades the signal creating little radio shadows in the apartment despite distances of 20-30 feet. I'll probably relocate the unit or maybe try a better pair of antennas (antennae? is it still Latin?) ... if I can find someplace that sells RP adapters to the public or a cheap deal on the antennas.
lkcl I've just got to wonder... people who bought your book at BN.com also bought The Old Farmer's Almanac 2001 and the U.S. Army Survival Manual. Hmmmm.

jschauma The numbers make sense if you consider the list of names rolling in the credits of a typical feature film. Hundreds of people. So each of them only wasted a few months of their lives.

Work: until I collect my thoughts I'll rant- I really want to know why programmers ranging from our summer intern to consultants don't grok regular expressions? Isn't it easier to describe text as a ordered collection of patterns than as line numbers and columns? Aren't we supposed to think about the data? *sigh*

Play: Las Vegas for a friend's bachelor party. Weird experience walking through these enormous theme parks for adults when I expected a more carnival of vice atmosphere. Pretty tame time and chipped in to buy him an afternoon of Formula-1 race school.
Linksys wireless base/router/switch while I was out of town- very cool. Wireless cards did not- cancelled them and ordered others from another vendor. Hopefully, this order will arrive soon. I'm looking forward to working from the couch.
29 Jun 2001 (updated 1 Jul 2001 at 16:28 UTC) »
Meta: Logged in today to find Green. I'm an apprentice now, thanks to hacker.


Play: On the advice of a fellow Perl Monger I ordered copies of Parkinson's Law and The Mythical Man Month. Turns out I am familiar with Parkinson's observation that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion" (and how), now I'll read the book. I'll also finally read Brooks' work in its entirety. And someone in the office was throwing out McConnell's Rapid Development so I snagged that, too. I have at least a good month of reading aside from the 17 or so- yes, I've lost count and yes, a dozen are computer-related- periodicals I already receive.

Work: Almost got to work on a cool code project- a full text search engine for arbitrary files in a Unix directory tree- but idea was shot down during the biweekly meeting. We can buy it if and only if the people clamoring for it can establish a need. Still working with that big certificate authority, nice to see that they don't have their house in order. Feeling kind of numb with this post-merger organization and at loose ends with managing others.

Play: My motorcycle is repaired, registered, insured and ready for the road. I should pick it up this weekend. Back on the road for the first time in six years, so I'm looking into a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course to refresh my skills.

Returned Sunday from YAPC in Montreal. Driving takes ~7.5 hours including stops and thirty minutes of traffic at the GWB. Heard great presentations and put faces to names and names to nicks. Revitalized my desire to hack code in Perl and thinking about how I can sneak a little more of it into work... I wonder on the status of perljvm. Finally caught up with my email, nearly caught up with the missed work week, not anywhere near caught up on sleep. Surprised to find we have two consultants from a well-known certificate authority on-site to assist in integrating their product. Unsurprised that not much was done in preparation for their arrival.

Whoo! An article I wrote while working as an SA was published on freshmeat as an editorial. Fame (or infamy). Now I need to work on the fortune part.

Play: Going to YAPC in Montreal next week.

Work:
If you are part of the solution... You must be given management responsibilities? Team reorganized and I'm now in charge of platform and software infrastructure for our products. I'm also accountable for three junior team members. This should be interesting as we have all been a group of peers and they are experienced programmers and I know very little- yet- about the products on which they are working.
The decision by our V.P. had almost a perfect distribution of reactions among the senior analysts: one happy (he has no supervisory responsibilities and will shift focus as needed), two indifferent, one angry (no new responsibilities). I'm disappointed that the last guy didn't get something out of this and annoyed that he resents that I did. I didn't curry favor or push for it. In any event, I now have more tasks than I know what to do with. I'm not bored.

Advocacy:
Composing part of a curriculum and syllabi for a Unix Certificate for use at the public college where I'm an adjunct. It's clear that my intention in working on this- to provide a solid, vendor-neutral basis centered on the more easily taught areas of use and administration- is not the focus of the director of the institution who wants it to lump everything Unix-related together and also to parallel every piece of existing coursework including the RHCE courses, Sun training, and various bootcamps. At least he's dropped the "instant expert" schemes but keeps conflating programming under Unix with system administration and topics such as Apache and Java Servlets.

I do not have Apprentice status, so I'll post this here...

Reaction to Organizational Announcements on CMM and Six Sigma
After the initial from handwaving and the brandishing of buzzwords, I see the following:

  • Software is not Hardware.
  • What are your inputs?
  • What are your outputs?
  • Is there a linear correspondence between input and output?
  • How do you define a quality baseline?
  • What measurements are used to define Software quality?
  • Is there a range of tolerances?
  • Are there upper or lower limits?
  • How do you define defect?
  • Are all anomalies defects?
  • How do you map defects to process?
  • How do you count defects in Software?
  • Is the Software process truly repeatable?

There seems to be an unhealthy lack of skepticism around these things.

Friends visited. Decided to occupy our friend's husband with a trip to to the Trenton Computer Festival. Really, it was a wholly self-less act. I had no interest. Uh. Yeah. Ran into a co-worker assisting at a vendor booth and another buying some equipment. It was nice to see I'm not the only one.

Picked up a new, in-box, buckling spring keyboard for $20. A genuine, new, IBM buckling-spring type M keyboard with the nice solid *clickety-click* feedback like the ones they used to make for the PS/2. This IBM model has an integrated trackpoint similar to those found on the Thinkpad but I'm not sure I like using it instead of a mouse. For what it's worth, PCKeyboard (formerly Unicomp?) still makes, sells, and repairs those great keyboards. They sell a similar full-size mechanical keyboard with the stick for $99 so I count myself lucky.

Our friend picked up an armload of untested, used equipment: a case with power supply, P2-333, and a BX motherboard for $45 total. He figures he'll install RedHat if the parts are okay.

Nearly bought a pile of six clapped out and stripped Sun IPC's at the flea market for $50 when the rain started. I'd have to sort through to make what would probably be two working units. And what would I do with them? Buy AUI-10BT converters and scavenge extra 30-pin SIMMS so I could run... NetBSD... slowly. Pass.

I also have to wonder what some of the flea market guys were smoking. One guy wanted $55 for a SS10, 40MHz, no ram, 1GB HD, and GX framebuffer. Another wanted $75 for SS20, 50MHz, no ram, no HD. I read on a list this evening that one bright light was hawking a SS/20 with 96MB, 9GB HD, and TGX for $575. Hello? Haven't these guys checked their prices against Ebay?

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