Archive for September, 2005

Review of “My Name is Earl”

So I caught an episode of “My Name is Earl” the other day, starring Jason Lee, of Mallrats and Dogma fame.
He plays a grungy scum of the earth type that has an epiphany that every time he does something bad to someone, something bad happens to him. He decides to make a list of the things he’s done bad, and right the wrongs.

I saw the second episode of the series, where his friends convinced him to apologize to a friend of his who went to prison for a crime earl comitted. The problem? The friend is a psychotic. The show had it’s plot twists and was scattered here and there a bit, but was overall very enjoyable.

I’m not much for sit-coms, but I honestly liked this one. Jason Lee was a believable loser, and I’ve known people like the guy he was playing. He’ll carry the show, and was perfectly cast. I’d give it an 8/10.

Training, Day 2

So, Today we did the the rest of the training, which was just a big Q&A.
Whether or not this is the right choice of software, I’ve given up caring- I’m not in a position to make the decision, and the decision will be made for political, not technical reasons which I will have no effect on. So I’ve quit agonizing about it. You could say, I suppose, [meme] I don’t care.[/meme]

Anyways, what did I learn today?

  • Will *probably* run on debian. they’re gonna do some testing to make sure, which made me happy.
  • Has both a database we can query as well as web services we can pull data from.
  • The company making the software groks opensource
  • Their technical guy was able to answer all of my questions, and was able to think on his feet. their sales guy knew what atomic meant in the context of a database
  • They refer to a collection of data as a document. Whenever they’re babbling about document transfers, once I realize mentally regex “data” in there it all makes sense. I think “document” is just marketspeek

I guess only the future will tell if this will be good software to use or not.

Training, Day 1

Alright, yesterday was a long day. training started at 8:30am, went till 5:30pm. What did I learn?

That’s a damn good question.

I learned how to use a web interface for extremely complicated tracking program . My biggest complaint is this training cannot be abstracted to be useful on other projects; it’s basically a 2 day training course on an obscure application.

What I liked:

  • clean interface, worked in both Firefox and IE.
  • Uses XML for data storage; no messy binary data
  • extensible
  • runs on suse, RH, solaris, aix, etc. will probably run on debian, which I’d prefer.

What I didn’t like:

  • JSP. This shouldn’t matter normally, but if you hit the back button in some areas you got a JSP error. It felt incredibly limited, on par with my other experiences with JSP sites (our internal resume system that’s JSP, michwork’s job search). You can’t bookmark pages, either (that I saw).
  • incredibly complicated. While the interface was clean, the process was not. there was a lot of jumping around and some of the *cough* older members of the training group were lost easily. The other young guy, (name removed by request) I think, and I were both able to keep up for 95% of the session. The only mistakes I made were from glazing over a section, not from losing the entire process. This will be too complicated for most of SPX’s employees.

I gave their tech one implementation suggestion. The system sends out emails to “clients” saying if you have any questions, “respond to blah@blahblah”. However, it sends this email from a bunk email address at it’s server. If you hit reply, it replies to the bunk server email address, which bounces and freaks you out. It should put blah@blahblah in the reply-to field “just in case” someone doesn’t follow the directions and hits reply. It’s a small thing, and seems unimportant, but one of the less technically saavy users did exactly that and became really confused when he thought he was following directions and his email bounced back as undeliverable.

But anyways, seconds day starts today- this is only supposed to go till noon, and mostly be a Q&A session. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Oh, one more thing- I get to go through special training since I’ll be the sys admin. That’s why this is in the Linux category as well.



So I’m being “sent” to training today and tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes. The training is for some business modelling software, or something. I’m still not sure what it does or how we’re going to use it.

Meh, I’ll find out sometime today.

Open Source Preference

I saw yet again another article about open source in other countries.

Why do I care? because China, Japan and Korea (IIRC) are developing their own official distribution of linux. Germany is implementing a linux conversion of a whole bunch of machines. I see one of these every few months for another country. Even the state of Mass has recently passed legislation stating that all future documents need to be done in the Open Document format (a format MS refuses to support, despite the fact that they helped design the format).

Open source is growing. Let’s do a little mental excercise. suppose that the top 10 richest countries continued to use MS, and the rest moved on to Open source for financial reasons. What would happen?

Well, the OSS countries would be able to work together to increase the value of their software. As more countries used it, more bug reports would be filed, and the general quality of the software would improve. those countries who could barely afford MS products would have cash freed up to hire their own people to make changes to the software. They will become more independent. Their own people are suddenly more valuable, and can take work from over seas. It’s not like software development requires you to sit in a small room with a boss looking over your shoulder every 10 minutes. This could make outsourcing a viable option for every business, large or small. The system will continue to feed itself, gaining better developers, and providing better software. Where will it stop? Who knows, but I get the feeling we’re going to get a chance to watch.

And for those who are worried about my outsourcing comments and are convinced OSS is bad because of it, think of this: MS are the same people that brought you Frontpage, Access and Visual Basic. They made programming and web development “simple for the masses” meaning every drooling middle management goon can now design a database, create a program and make a webpage about it. Where do you fit in? oh, you get to fix their frontpage code 2 years down the line when it “loads too slow” because it’s 2 Megs in size.


Alright, so it’s been a month and a half since Pete left SPX. What have I been up to? GLAD YOU ASKED.

Update- upon some sage advice from the boat guy and a phool, I’d like to express how cool all the stuff I’m doing is.


I saw a Goat today. His name was Charlie. Charlie was a nice goat. He wore pants. He said to say hi.


New Blog

Have I really gotten this busy? I have been neglecting for years now, and is falling to the same fate. I picked up to complete the set, and figured, “hell, I might as well set up a wordpress.”

Let me know what you think, Hopefully this will keep #asp off my ass about implementing RSS. Now I just gotta customize it.


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