Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

22Oct/09Off

Because Midlevel Administration Is Serious Business

Had a particularly poignant moment of realization this afternoon about the real reasons that I loathe searching for a job when I saw one re-listed. I interviewed (well I thought) for the position and was operating under the assumption that I was at least in the top three. Today the exact same position was re-listed on the major job site site with $10,000 knocked off the bottom level salary they'd posted a month or so before. I imagine that I will see it again in the weeks to follow listed as a paid internship or something. I'm glad that this search is out of wanting something better and not necessity or desperation. If I were in the market due to hand to mouth issues I would be in some shitty bar drinking myself stupid.

12Oct/09Off

Spork Shanking Narrowly Prevented

I don't keep very close tabs on the state of culture in other countries but it seems like the U.S is creeping slowly towards a sort of fundamentalist culture where pure dogma (the rules, man, the rules) is steamrollering interpretation. I think of interpretation as a matter of being engaged in something, a sniff test for making sure that you're actually awake when you're outside of your home and acknowledging that there are other people walking the surface of the Earth that are not you.

I think that inane tendency to simply look out for your own interests by a very narrow (or non) interpretation of rules put in place mainly for good reasons is what makes situations like the one this six year old has to deal with so infuriating. If the contents of the article are reasonably accurate then the faculty of this kid's school ignored all of the things they knew about him and instead sketched in the potential for a statistical anomaly. As a student, what do you take away from this? That you're actually a prisoner? That is simply embarrassing.

10Oct/09Off

Trying To Look Smart Often Makes You Look Stupid

It's a snowy day so I'm doing snowy day things like playing with Oscar and reading twice my RDA of stupid crap on the web. One of the things that I've truly enjoyed (other than chasing the little monkey around) is a post by Ted Dziuba entitled "I don't code in my free time" which is a spectacular summary of all the reasons that even the whippersnappers ought to think of languages as tools instead of canned solutions to a given problem. I also agree that solving actual problems (and getting past that particular problem) is much more rewarding than trying to rush ahead to learn every flavor of the month that might be really, really useful in a hypothetical situation in an imagined future.

That said, if I were charged with hiring programmers I don't think I'd really bother with folks who did obsessively learn new languages. That seems to me more the earmark of an intern who is viciously underpaid because they need to get the 'this new widget will cure cancer if only I can get through a few more rote exercises using it' syndrome worked through their systems. Despite the fact that the old guys might not follow each and every twist and turn on dev mailing lists, the old guys have an alternative approach to throwing everything at a problem to see what sticks: they actually know a bit about how to solve problems with tools they're actually skilled at using. I don't hate questions but I hate people that answer any given question/problem by posing a hundred other problems. Sometimes trying to look smart makes you look really fucking stupid.

To Ted, good work and thanks for being cranky. That's something the world could use a lot more of. Dealing with cranky fuckers who know what they're doing adds some pressure to the showboaters to actually get things done. God forbid.

4Oct/09Off

Google Wave Invite?

If anyone has an extra, I would love to play around with it. The recent videos captivated the thirteen year old that secretly lives inside me. I expect at this point that I am mainly talking to myself but just in case...

Filed under: General 2 Comments
4Oct/09Off

Might As Well Just Make A List

I've lagged again for a freakishly long time and there are several reasons for this. I was thinking about the millionth hibernation of Team Murder this afternoon and decided (while fixing a bunch of fucked up permissions on a huge number of files shares on a Windows 2003 box because what the fuck else are you going to do while the progress bar creeps along glacially in its march of the damned?) that the reasons I haven't had the necessary concentration or interest to do much writing here are more worthy of extrapolation than whatever cool crap I gazed idly at on the web.

  • Brain Injury One:
    I'm looking for another job pretty seriously. So seriously in fact that I'm returning phone calls from recruiters. It bears mentioning that right now is probably the worst time in the history of IT to be seriously nosing around for a better place that offers more money but I've grown pretty attached to the idea of leaving my current place of work. It isn't the soul crushing call center of misery that I mined salt in before but I'm pretty unhappy for a number of different reasons. The most prominent contributor to the ick is that I'm the only member of my three person department that has any background or present interest in computing outside making quick Google searches in the same way that a twelve year old might employ a magic eight ball to determine the outcome of one horrible decision after another. All of this IT related thinking is an intolerable interruption to reading a ton of fascinating material on nutritional supplements and the latest health scare about oxygen or whatever. I'm sure that everyone else who administers a network used mainly by clicktards suffers similar frustration at the state of things but, in this case, the really thick decisions that impact me directly are made by someone who allegedly labors under the same labor genre that I do but is influenced by trade magazines and an artificially inflated job title than common sense or decency. Okay, the 'decency' part is hyperbole but little else really is.

    So I'm doing some interviews at the moment. One today, one tomorrow, and so on until I eventually move up a couple of notches on the income totem pole and hopefully avoid defaulting on student loans. I had a particularly hilarious interview today for a company that handles routing software for taxis. The gist of the position was that I was going to be an installer and nothing else. Affix mounting clips to the inside of a car, adapt down power supplies, and on and on. It didn't sound interesting in the slightest but the dollar amount did catch my ear and kept me from fleeing the scene immediately. See, the office I was being interviewed in was a large empty room on the top floor of a taxi building with a card table set up in the center bearing a lone laptop and a battered phone that was likely fished out of a box of surplus office supplies found in the basement. The guy who I actually spoke with was, to his credit, very straightforward and told me that the job would likely expand to include a hellacious amount of travel and that I would be the only person employed by the company in the United States. I narrowly avoided bursting into a fit of giggles about just how awful it sounded until it was time to meet the 'engineers.' They were both from the UK and here a day's notice to scrape together parts for a Vegas trade show. They were both very sleep deprived and unwilling to spend more than a few minutes talking to me about how the actual software/hardware worked (just looking for fail over here, folks) before trading places and rifling through the contents of another cardboard box filled with taxi meters in various stages of dissembly. To add to the hilarity the fellow 'interviewing' me repeatedly asked me if I had any additional questions before letting me know that the opening was due to one of the engineers having his visa declined while trying to come into the US. It was a geyser of awesome. I'm supposed to get a call back from them within the next couple of days but I'll probably let that one go to voicemail.

    I had another interview shortly after the one I mentioned above that was equally terrible for entirely different reasons. I guess the methodology has changed for attempting to load up Tier 1 support positions with overqualified people who will grow bored and hit the ejection seat trigger within a year. The new strategy involves calling the position 'System Administrator' when posting it and only revealing the grunt level expectations after the interview (the first of four, of course) has started. Riiiight.

  • Brain Injury Two: World of Warcraft
    I had a pretty abysmal WoW habit while Oscar was still tummy bound. Besides being a plentiful source of disdain for pre-teens who apparently type with their elbows it was an all consuming distraction from all of the scary things that I ought to have thought about. Now Oscar is walking around, starting to say recognizable words, and sleeping through the night so I have a bit more time to play with. I recently rolled a death knight and a hunter to level up because I am a masochist.

    All of the above said, if you happen to favor my particular flavor of crack give me a holler via comment or my user name at this domain. I'd love to level with other folks who can complete a sentence and not ninja all of the good loot. I'm predominately on the Shandris realm but I could roll on another as long as it's not PVP. If I have to heal for one more PVP geared, holy spec'd paladin I may retire.

  • Brain Injury Three: Reading stuff I'm supposed to

    Since I dropped out of college I've gotten progressively more lazy about reading. I tend to fallback on books that I've read a couple dozen times in the past. This isn't a complete waste of time as re-reading works for me as a sharpening of my meandering attention and allows me to digest and comprehend parts of books that aren't part of the plot push or tangential. I'm trying to avoid this pattern by actively seeking out books that I should have read but have dodged for whatever reason. The first on the list Atlas Shrugged is more a matter of knowing my enemy. Libertarians tend to be trust fund babies that were incredibly traumatized by the need to earn money, the hierarchical nature of the working world, and other startling obvious economic matters. So, I'm struggling with this 500 page plus turd and not gaining enthusiasm as I turn the pages. Ayn Rand was a terrible writer and developed characters with all the subtlety and understanding of a four year old wielding a sock puppet. I feel obscurely embarrassed for both her and all of her fans when reading this stuff. It's difficult to feel much of anything for people who can wear t-shirts that say things like "Taxation is Slavery" without a glimmer of understanding of why that sort of historically uncomfortable bobbing for oppression might make people around them who have been adversely affected by things like, you know, literal chattel slavery and hand to mouth economic adversity instead of the hallucinatory, dorm room sort of adversity feel a bit hostile towards them

    That brings me back to my current quandary (which I will not try to equate with slavery, starvation, the Holocaust, or any other hyperbole at the expense of others) which is not treating me well. Given that each page of this execrable novel is making my toes curl I tend to avoid reading entirely. This is bad and I may need to scrap this idea entirely before I lapse into illiteracy or Objectivism or something even worse.

  • Brain Injury Four: Learning some languages I've previously ignored.

    I'll readily admit that one of the prime motivators for me even investigating Mono was all the controversy about its inclusion in some distribution's packaging of Gnome. I have this habit of assuming that people generally have a good reason for bothering to respond to the foaming at the mouth variety of criticism and in this case I think the response has been reasoned and generally out to correct misconception rather than get in a my god is bigger than your god war with ideologues. Given the handling of this by folks on the free as in freedom is all there is to think about in the world crowd and RMS being on full time moron duty lately, I'm thinking about revoking my FSF membership. I support much of the work they do but have a really hard time justifying contributing any of my piddly income to funding flights around the globe so their mascot can insult women and generally act like a teenager. Sorry but there are a lot more important things that can be accomplished within free software and nearly none of them have anything to do with RMS babbling about Emacs virgins.

    Anyway, I started looking a bit at the spec for Mono and realized that it could actually be pretty useful to me. The downside is that I've really disliked the books published on the topic and the online documentation stops at the 'is your Mono install functional' level so I've been working with C# books and trying to adapt their contents to my purposes which mainly means Gtk Sharp projects. I like C# for the most part because it includes what I thought was handy about Java (I'll pause here to note that my Java use has been pretty minimal as the overhead is just too large for most of what I do) without all of baggage that made me hate it worse than the plague. So, I've been hacking away on that stuff for learning purposes and for the sake of knowing a bit about .NET and ASP crap. See the above crap about job hunting for all the rationale you would ever need. I'm having fun which is much more than I can say for my journeys into most programming languages.

That's what I've been up to instead of bothering to post here. I'm pretty bored with the state of tech news. I'm not very interested in Windows 7 so tech news has been a continually busy signal for me for the last couple of months. More here when I make some more poor choices.