Tales of an IT Nobody

devbox:~$ iptables -A OUTPUT -j DROP

If we programmed/designed like the movies… June 23, 2010

We’ve -ALL- rolled our eyes at the hilarious Hollywood computer programs.

Here’s my thoughts if these things really existed, or worked like they propose on the big screen…

The ‘fingerprint/face scanner’ program:

DBA’s would kill us for progressively scanning through the entire person database row by row without any type of rhyme or reason.

Server admins/network admins would be equally as mad for requesting each image of every person scanned, just to display for a few milliseconds on screen…

The designer assumes the FBI/Police person intends on sitting there staring at a screen flickering images faster than the rickety old computer could handle.

The ‘traffic/subway/train hacked system’:

No wonder these are so easy to hack – they’re clearly based off of Adobe Flash because they’re so slick and animated. Enough said.

The ‘contract killer/intelligence system’:

This simple (seemingly) operating system consists of only one thing: receive. ‘beep beep’ means open it up and look at your shiny new task. Thankfully only a picture, name and maybe origin is enough for these awesome movie spies to hunt them down.

I’d have to wager eventually spies would chase the system designers down for making such a lousy one-way system that gives such minimal information.

The ‘tracking system’:

Most of these silly things consist of a crosshair – possibly pulsating; and a few other lines to represent streets. There’s never a compass (North, South, East West) – Something tells me that these devices aren’t exactly jacked into the latest copy of the map… (Road construction anyone?)

and finally ….
The ‘self-aware, philosophical, emotional computer that decides to kill people’

In the end; these computers always end up killing themselves – I find it funny how they mock mankind for our tendency to destroy ourselves when the track record of these super-controller-computers isn’t so hot either. I’d make a 5-minute version as a homage to all movies based on this – it’d be quite simple:
“Computer entertains the thought to control the world for the goodness of mankind (but knows from watching other lousy computer-control-the-world movies that it can’t win and will eventually kill itself) and politely dismisses the plan as ‘illogical’.”

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Categories: rant

On coining terms, AKA: OCT March 12, 2010

Am I the only one who near refuses to accept the buzzphrases thrown around by marketers; I just found a new one today mentioned in a ZDNet article, called ‘APT‘ – ‘hip’ marketers drop these phrases to make it seem like they have some sort of new invention. Pisses me off.

Maybe it’s the fact, being in the industry, I feel compelled to know what all these damn acronyms mean. Granted, there are some that one should know; but is keeping on top of the non-ending twists of acronyms important to maintain stature in our industry. It is dizzying. You’d think the fact that engineers are sick of it all – they’d stop cropping up.

‘Spear phishing’, a mere form of phishing, really deserves a distinct title? Blegh.

I’m sick of feeling frustrated at myself for not knowing what these new terms are when they appear in articles.
Luckily it takes a mere second to remind myself that it’s the nature of the beast, but that little fire inside me never goes away.

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Categories: marketing rant

Cloud Computing and the 3rd Reich March 2, 2010

Co-worker suggested this would be a good one to put up, I agree; and this clip never gets old!

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Categories: rant security servers

OOP August 20, 2009

Since I can remember, I always thought there was an irrational gravitation towards OOP from people. “If you don’t do OO, you’re not a programmer” is an underlying sentiment in all circles of programmers.

Now, I firmly believe that OO design is definitely a great way to organize, process and a conceptualization tool for programmers to use for managing their code.

However, I’ll add that too many people jump into OOP because they want admission into an ‘elitist’ realm. (Admittedly, programmers like to covet their engineering)

Here’s an interesting sentiment from the almighty MIT that you might find interesting:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object-oriented_programming#Criticism

Especially a quotation from Paul Graham:

  • Paul Graham, a successful web entrepreneur and programming author, has suggested that the purpose of OOP is to act as a herding mechanism which keeps mediocre programmers in mediocre organizations from “doing too much damage”. This is at the expense of slowing down productive programmers who know how to use more powerful and more compact techniques. [1]

I think all to often the confines of an OO design slow down programmers attempting to encapsulate everything around an abundantly engineered solution for simple processes.

But the biggest issue with OO, is how easy it is to paint yourself into a corner and slow everything down.

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Categories: programming rant

Overengineeringalisminity August 5, 2009

More often than not, developers thrive for the opportunity for self-developmental moments by designing something super abstract – and in the end become disappointed and unhappy with it because designing things that are too abstract can be just as limiting, if not more limiting and difficult to work with than something simple.

“KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid.” ~ Micheal Scott

Simplicity can be as profound as complicated abstract programming. Not everything has to have a special class or super abstract format – get over it cause it’s moreso an elitist coffee club for programmers to try and put a notch between them and others.

Do you want to be a real uber programmer, a savant, a pro, the ‘go-to’ guy that everyone trusts?

KNOW THE BALANCE
.

Don’t put everything on a high horse, know the balance between what should be a quick development and what should be programmed at a framework/abstract level.

Your superiors will love you because they can trust your judgement – it’s a true level of experience and knowledge, NOT your uber xyz class you wrote. Anyone can spend a year writing a ClassOfAwesome, but not everyone knows and understands the balance involved with being a truly productive programmer with a reputation and understanding of what can and should be done right.

It’s the name of the game – you don’t have all the time in the universe, PR/Marketing wants the goods delivered by xyz, every programmer is grumpy and unhappy because they can’t write ‘the perfect code’ – GET OVER IT and start understanding, this is the way it’s been, and will be FOREVER.

If the consumers/PR/Marketing/”The bosses” had their way, you’d have the best, most perfect product done yesterday, right? So, either you’ve already failed, or there’s an unachievable construct of constraints keeping you from doing what DOES need to be done in time.

What you need to do, is get as close as possible to your goals by making a trade off of “perfect” for “got it done”.

Do you -honestly- think the folks at Microsoft are too dumb to write perfect software?
It’s a game of balance – deliver xyz featrues if possible – keep it as secure as possible, your deadline is xyz – Corners have to be cut and it’s up to -you-, the programmer to pick the right ones that don’t end in catastrophe.

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Categories: programming rant

Good programmers

Truths about good programmers:

0. They know the difference between writing it ‘quickly’ and writing it ‘right’
1. They know that the ability to do both is necessary.
2. They know that when writing it quickly, if you have to stop and think about something, think about the data storage schema, not the code.
3. They know that other programmers go through the same stuff, so stop complaining.
4. “Proof of concept” code tends to turn into production code, so don’t show it to marketing unless you’re ready.

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Categories: programming rant