Gin and tonic

I have not posted in some time. I haven't called in awhile. I haven't sent that random text in many weeks. I haven't opened the 6 books that I'm dying to read. And no, the pile of papers on the counter that need to be filed away, yeah, the stack keeps growing. I'm not one for excuses. So what have I been doing lately? Chasing rainbows. I miss just10things. This was my relax. This was my break. Therefore, tonight, old school.
  1. "And pennies make dimes and dimes make dollars, Dollars buy gas and longneck bottles, Beer gets a barefoot country girl swayin, To a song that's playin on the radio station. Bad times make the good times better, Look in her eyes and you're gone forever, Aw its a helluva ride... Yeah, It's a helluva life." ~ Helluva Life, Frankie Ballard
  2. "Baby you're a song You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise Down a back road blowin’ stop signs through the middle Every little farm town with you In this brand new Chevy with a lift kit Would look a hell of a lot better with you up in it So baby you're a song You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise" ~ Cruise, Florida Georgia Line
  3. "Heard about the old time sailor men, They eat the same thing again and again; Warm beer and bread they say could raise the dead. Well, it reminds me of the menu at a Holiday Inn." ~ Cheeseburger In Paradise, Jimmy Buffet
  4. "Well I see the souls of so many friends, And I see us all back here again. With sandy floors and ceiling fans, A Rastafarian one-man band with songs That fill my memories like a tip jar. Yeah, that's what I see When I see this bar." ~ When I see This Bar, Kenny Chesney
  5. "A lifetime for a day Would be an even trade No price I wouldn't pay For your heart love I know how it feels to breath With you beside me I think about it always" ~ Tonight, Sugarland
  6. What I started, I will finish
  7. I will not go down without a fight
  8. There will be many tough decisions along the way
  9. I will not lose touch with work/life balance
  10. IT WILL BE AN EPIC STORY

The consulting series – New Moon

Consulting is always full of drama. While you were celebrating the release of the first sprint, you realized you made a small mistake which set Jasper off. His temper got the best of him and lunged at you. It's never good when a team member that is so close comes for your blood. The majority of the team decides to work remote for awhile, for your safety and theirs. Let the tempers settle. You aren't sure how you feel about all of this. Almost betrayed, but you must go on, broken heart or not. Meanwhile, round two with the marketing firm, this time it's Victoria. She's bitter about James' ideas getting squashed. Since most of the team may as well me MIA, you are only left with Jacob to protect you from the wrath of Victoria. Lucky for you, Jacob brings his whole team in where they unleash their wolf like fury. You never knew that they could change so fast and be so aggressive. All to defend you. Somehow in all of this ugly mess with marketing firms and business requirements, you are drawn closer to Jacob. You begin to understand the depth and complexity of the business of Forks. But there is a much larger problem surfacing. You took off an extra day one week and this seemed to make Edward think that you had quit. He over reacts and starts intentionally making mistakes, begging for the CTO to fire him. You and Alice realize what he is doing and jump in just in time to stop the deadly battle. Edward apologizes and everyone returns to working on site. The team has a huge meeting and everyone thinks you should be hired directly, although Edward disagrees. You have come to know too much about the inner workings of the business and team. If you don't become one of them, there could be some huge firm out there ready to hunt you down where you would be stuck forever, or dead. The only catch, though, it the agreement made between the business and IT. The business would stop playing nice if IT had an outsider join their ranks. Coming to a blog near you... Spring 2013 - The consulting series - Eclipse

The consulting series – Twilight

I admit, I've seen them all, but only one in the theater and no, it was not at the midnight release party. Blame it on Kristen Stewart's eyes. They make me melt. And since I'm coming clean, yes, I've also read all four books. But that's not why I'm here today. For the next four posts, we get to talk about consulting and vampires. Sink your teeth into that! It all starts on a Friday, usually, at 4:45 PM. Right before you are getting ready to pop the top on that ice cold one that's been staring at you in the fridge each time you open it. The phone rings. Monday you are on a project with a new client. Just like Bella, the decision wasn't entirely yours, although I doubt your boss kicked you out so she could travel with a baseball player. So you start to pack your things in preparation for Forks. It's a sleepy little company stuck in the past on archaic technology. You have no idea what to expect, except rain. Once you are on the ground, you meet your project manager Carlisle Cullen, your visionary solution architect, Alice Cullen, your IT sponsor, Edward Cullen and the business sponsor, Jacob Black. As for the whole falling in love thing, well, that part doesn't exactly fall in line, unless you count the fatal attraction to the bartender at a bar you frequent a couple of blocks from the office after a hard days work. Jacob likes you immediately and tells you about the business requirements. Some of them seem a little strange, some hint towards the impossible, but at the end, you start to draw your own conclusions and unearth the truth. Unfortunately, for Jacob, you are more attracted to the IT requirements as specified by Edward. There's an internal battle starting to brew. You almost get hit by the proverbial van when you were presenting solutions to the CTO, but Edward was right there to save you. You start to wonder how he is so good which makes your commitment to him much stronger. And helps to solidify your conclusions. After some time on the ground and learning the ropes, you meet up with James. He is the lead at a 3rd party marketing firm that Forks has partnered with and is out to get you. Your Cullen project team tries to protect you, ultimately, you have to escape back to Phoenix for the weekend. As soon as you land, your phone lights up. Thirteen emails, seven texts and just 10 voice mails from James. He's trying to trick you. Alice knew this would happen and asked Carlisle to set up a conference call where the team successfully squashed James' absurd suggestions for the project. Edward saved you again, he sucked the ugly thoughts right out of your head. When you return to Forks, Edward takes you out for dinner and you try to convince him that he should hire you direct. You want to be one of them. He politely refuses even though you continue to pressure him. Coming to a blog near you... Spring 2013 - The consulting series - New Moon

Deliverables

I did not procrastinate this time, this has been hanging over my head all week and giving me pains in places I forgot I have. So here I sit, alone in my kitchen, struggling to complete a web site migration design document that in all honesty, was due yesterday. I suppose my trouble is trying to find patterns and organization in a site that has well surpassed the 2000 mark in content and grown organically (unorganized) over the last 10 years. And to top that, it's currently on 10 year old technology. So, you ask, what am I doing writing a blog entry? Well, I thought I would share what is getting me through this painful task... Music is cranked-my speakers needed exercise, and I needed a distraction in order to concentrate. Here is my playlist for when you have a daunting task at hand: 1. I Don't Love You by My Chemical Romance 2. Kooler Than Jesus by My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult 3. Where the Wild Roses Grow by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds 4. Unapologize by Carrie Underwood 5. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana 6. Can You Forgive Her by Pet Shop Boys 7. Lovegod by The Soup Dragons 8. Just a Dream by Nelly 9. Mother by Pink Floyd 10. The entire Talking Heads album Sand in the Vaseline Good luck young Jedi

Debugging old relationships, well, and babies

No, not between two people as I'm fairly certain that could not be done in a short blog entry, but between software interfaces. More specifically, the middleware, the business intelligence/logic layer, the service layer-really, anywhere but the front end. Most companies have that legacy app sitting around, written in the stone ages by a developer that invented fire. Most likely, it is poorly documented. Often it is "childish" code. Most likely it sits somewhere in the back end and chugs along nicely, maybe every once in awhile spinning a thread out of control or having an accident and leaks memory, but you simply put on a new Pamper and recycle the app server. Then there's the day it throws a fit-a full blown tantrum! As the baby sitter, you have no choice but to intervene. 1. The first thing to do is to understand the business process. Actually, in hindsight, this can taint the process of fixing it. Why, you ask? Well, because when you ask for the business process, you are asking from the perception of someone who most likely did not do the initial describing of the business process to which the code was written. You have a gap of ,let's just say five years, where no one thought about this functionality, it just worked. The baby was ignored and turned out to be a trouble maker. You you now have this current understanding of a business process and code written to the previous understanding of the business process. 2. Lots and lots of moving parts! Arms flinging, legs flailing, head thrown back screaming. The front end invokes on application which calls another application through APIs which makes a web service request to a vendor which makes another call to another application which... you get the point. You need to understand the steps. More importantly, you need to determine where these applications reside. That seems like it would be an easy thing to do, except that some applications were deployed to app servers, but don't actually run on said app servers, ever confusing the analysis. 3. I despise improper use of variables, methods, etc, etc! There, I said it. I don't really hate them, but I do disagree with using improperly named components for something completely different. Suppose you have a variable named Milk_Bottle on the front end that has a value of '8' that gets passed into a feedBabyMilk(Ounces ounces) method. Then you realize that as your baby gets older, you need to switch to juice. Juice bottles come in milliliters so you create feedBabyJuice(MilliLiters milliliters) but call feedBabyJuice(Milk_Bottle) and convert oz to ml in the feeBabyJuice() method. Maybe this is OK, except that you are describing what is in the bottle, not the measurement of the bottle. Next, you realize that you will never feed the baby milk, so in the front end you change Milk_Bottle to convert to milliliters when it is inputted by a user and deprecate the feedBabyMilk() method, however what you don't realize is that there's another family (application) that has a newborn and still uses feedBabyMilk() thus breaking the method since you are now sending milliliters instead of ounces. I like feedBaby(Bottle bottle). 4. Duct tape vs. refactoring vs extending vs warm blanket and a soothing lullaby. When time is of the essence, what do you choose? Most of this depends on how long you end up spending researching what is happening. Mission critical says if you are crippled for 2 hours, then do what ever it takes to come back online. This means coming online could potentially involve a "fix" that might be unethical. 5. When do you give up? Thing is, you can't, you're the baby sitter. It is your responsibility to see this tantrum through. This means burning the midnight oil. Seeing the sunrise without sleep. Submitting eighty hour time sheets. 6. You eventually get argumentative. Why? Because the code appears to do one thing while the business process says it should do something else. Or, there is confusion in explaining what the code is doing and a misunderstanding of the intended functionality. But you are not arguing for arguments sake, you are still just trying to understand what is not happening that should be happening and why it decided to stop working (and wondering what else will break as you fix this). The baby should be sleeping soundly, but she's crying. He should be eating but he's burping. 7. You stop at 3 AM and think about the progress you should have made this week on new functionality, streamlining business processes, more efficient workflows, and you sink into a deep dark state, like some 1970's programmer sitting in a dark closet, closed to society while opening up the world. Where do you go from here? What is the next stage (if we ever get through this one)? 8. There's a light at the end of the tunnel. 9. Eventually you calm the beast. Slithering down into the couch and cranking up the jazz. The rhythms ease your mind-the scotch helps, too. You are the baby sitter, and the lion sleeps tonight. 10. In the end, we will always need to support the code, and if it was written last week, it just might be legacy by today. You never now how long your code will last. You never know who will need to debug it. You never know who's code you will need to debug. You never know what you will have to support. You never know when the interface will throw a tantrum.

Privately pooping

I have a strange opinion on Internet privacy concerns that are plaguing Facebook and other social networks these days. Maybe I’m missing something? 1. If I do NOT want online entities to capture data about what I do while on their site, well, maybe I shouldn’t be on their site.  Example (fictional, explicit for good reason): I go to sextoys.com and I search for lubricant. The site sextoys.com should NOT record the fact that I’m baking an apple pie at the same time, and once the pie is done, I probably will not need their products!  (If you’ve never seen American Pie, shame on you)  Trust me, they will NOT be able to figure out that you are baking a pie (unless you tell them).  They will, however, record the fact that you searched for lubricant and those other unmentionables, but hey, that’s called knowing your customer. 2. If I do NOT want my historical information archived even though I thought I deleted it then maybe, just MAYBE, I should not have posted the information in the first place. Face the facts people…forensics is real, it’s 1s and 0s and short of degaussing a lot of drives, it will probably be found!
3. If I do NOT want my lover (I'm still single ladies, see last most common password of 2011) to hack into my Facebook or email, remember the top 25 used passwords of 2011 (oddly enough 'god' and 'sex' have finally fallen off the list, guess it’s safe to use them now):
  • password
  • 123456
  • 12345678
  • qwerty
  • abc123
  • monkey
  • 1234567
  • letmein
  • trustno1
  • dragon
  • baseball
  • 111111
  • iloveyou
  • master
  • sunshine
  • ashley
  • bailey
  • passw0rd
  • shadow
  • 123123
  • 654321
  • superman
  • qazwsx
  • michael
  • mowracerissupersexyandiwanttotakehimouttodinner (actually, #25 was football)
4. If you want to hack my shit, my password to everything is ytrewq, just please don’t overdraft my checking account!
5. Do your research. You found the perfect widget you’ve always wanted on amazonian.com, you always order from amazon.com, so it should be OK, right? Pay attention. What appears to be the same is not always the same which leads to... 6. Would you walk into a dark alley in a bad part of town alone? I didn’t think so. 7. That email you just received that says your bank has made an error, please log in to correct the mistake and get a credit to your account for $3,000, yeah, it’s not real. DONT freaking click the link.
8. Viral Facebook video posts of some teenage daughter exposed or something similar. Again, why did you click the link? 9. Stay away from RedTube, really, S_T_A_Y    A_W_A_Y!
10.  It probably took one person with a strong voice to say “Hey, it’s Facebook that violated my privacy” even though they were the one that spread themselves wide open all over the internet and were acting, well, I’ll be nice, generally stupid! And now, since the FTC cannot solve global warming or the financial meltdown, they have shifted focus to blaming the ones that have opened up the social networking floodgates and given us the ability to connect to people in far away magical mysterious worlds that would otherwise be inaccessible. It’s what you expose that violates privacy, not the social networks!

Like butter, that’s how I roll

Just a random thoughtless Friday morning blogging at a bar in the airport chatting with the patrons about them pee cramps you get when taxiing because you had one too many brews in the terminal before you boarded the plane.  Well, now I know I'm not the only one. 1. I'm trying to come up with the most remote location on our lovely planet.  Wherever this may be, I'm booking a week there so I can disconnect 2. And she was 3. Which reminds me, it is time to start planning the island adventures for next year, I can't wait for the tasty tales that will surface 4. The world was moving 5. This week has been full of information, knowledge transfer, discovery, immersion tactics, etc resulting in sponge like brain exercises.  The weekend will be full of background processing of all this stuff so that Monday I can start requirements and design 6. Take a minute to concentrate 7. I'm totally digging the beautiful Carolina sunshine and crisp cool air this time of year.  It's refreshing, it clears your head, and for some reason, put's an extra skip in your step 8. Not touching the ground at all 9. Dynamically loading a JavaScript file based on a users selection, hmmm, this might be an efficient way to break out the complexity of variable data and ease the maintenance aspects of thousands of lines of code 10. She has a pleasant elevation Thanks to Talking Heads for filling the void, I had what some call writers block  

Searching portal and wcm and maybe more with google search appliance

Wow, what a ride this has been.  Mission: expose IBM Web Content Management and WebSphere Portal to Google Search Appliance.  Should you choose to accept this mission, beware that you will go from zero to 500 mph in 2 seconds flat, and then slam on the brakes and beg for forgiveness (or puke out the window).  From a nuts and bolts perspective, and at a 30k foot level, this mission is possible.  Add in all of the constraints and oddities and the dancing kangaroo, and it becomes a train wreck (with some inkling of survival).  Here are my rules for pulling this stunt off for all future endeavors 1. A link is a link  is a link, and Google will follow.  Text is text is text, and Google will read it.  If you have things you do not want indexed, be prepared when I sit you down and tell you that your theme/skin/portlets/content is getting ready to be peppered with GoogleOn and GoogleOff.  I'll show you how, but I'm not creating the business rules 2. Google must index your content with an account that has access to the content, I cannot change this (see getting into a car without a key or breaking windows) 3. If you desire Google to only return results a user has access to, be prepared to sit down again when I explain the potential infrastructure changes you are going to need to make.   They aren't too bad, but you need to have a ray of hope as I explain it, and re-explain it, and probably 15 more times explain it.  No matter how you slice it, your content will take a hit at some point in every search request.  It's small, the world will not come crashing down.  Be open to new ideas here and we can get through it 4. Since I'm making the rules (at least right now) if you use a File Resource component in your WCM content, I will be a happier camper if you can use same authoring template for all of this content type 5. See #4 about the rules, but if you have fields i  your authoring template that you want indexed as content meta data, please use the text component, not option select, etc (at least until I complete code extension #2 to address this) 6. Be prepared to have someone that can administer your Google appliance at my disposal, and at the drop of a hat (except when I make a coffee run) 7. I'm not very fond of exclusions of content being searchable as a requirement.  You get nothing or you get everything.  If, and only if, you execute IA correctly, I can pick where to start indexing as long as all children will be included 8. Friendly URLs make this much easier, but I no longer consider this a total dependancy 9. Just a little teaser, I expect to have IBM Connections and Lotus Quickr-J completed shortly, thus expanding the options 10. Happy enterprise searching

Social commerce junkie

I'm beginning to feel that I am OCD educated about things I purchase.  Mostly major purchases, but some, not so much.  I spend countless hours researching.  I find myself upset when my eventual choice ends in some crazy mishap such as inflated shipping costs or out of stock. 1. Remodel bathroom, need a new toilet:  Can you believe that I spent 4 months researching toilets online?  I read reviews, I compared features - I wanted to know how exactly the shit went down!  And I wanted to be environmentally conscious.  All these factors weighed in as I found, and unfound, the perfect crapper. 2. Books:  I find 50% of my new reads from friends, 25% from Amazon's "Recommended for You" and 25% from "that's an odd title, I'll give it a try" 3. Clothing: Just feels comfortable in an honest to goodness brick and mortar store when you try it on, with the exception of task specific items such as rain jackets and shoes.  Between the two, time spent researching is probably close to 15 hours 4. Beach paraphernalia: Good gracious, I love the beach, and between beach chairs, beach bags, beach blankets, suntan lotion, and first aid kits, I'd bet I logged 50 hours in research 5. Electronics -> Televisions: I spent 8 months reading reviews a few times a week before finally diving into the flat panel realm, and that was some years ago.  I've been at an upgrade purchase for 2 months now and still no definitive answer 6. Smelly good stuff:  Yeah, so I'm a dude, but I still like my house to smell nice.  Unfortunately, smell is a personal experience and cannot really be portrayed in online reviews and comments.  Even when it's "smells like crap," it is in the nose of the beholder 7. Cleaning things: Those crystal fabric softener things you put in the washer - success!  The gel toilet bowl cleaner thingy - failure!  The dish washer cleaner - failure! 8. Electronics -> Laptops: Hmmm, this is hard.  I do spend time reading reviews, but ultimately, it's about the components that make the deal - and sometimes, it's just the WOW factor 9. Food establishments: Best recommended by friends! 10. Wine: It's a matter of taste So in summary, the social aspects of commerce are sometime beneficial, but sometimes, it just doesn't work.  Overall, though, for things that need thoughts before purchasing, social attached it awesome, and I'm glad we are there in technology.  I can look to many e-commerce websites and drown myself in reviews, I can post potential purchases to social networks and usually get responses.  I love the digital age, I'm thrilled I don't have to make all the choices blindly and can rely on others experience to make my ultimate OCD decision.  

Wild at heart

Tonight introduces the speedy category, not just10things, but just1thing.  As with life, things grow and mature, and while just10things will remain, there is a need to slightly expand on the genre. I presume, sometime in the next year, that I will repeat this post with a need for just100things, or just25things.  I'm starting to wonder if the original quantity was just a quasi-achievable number at a point in life.  Can the momentum continue without adhering to said number?

"Yeah, we owned the night"

I had a win today, something I've been working on for, well, since June.  Something I'm ecstatically petrified of.  My `Golden Egg` my fluglebinder.  And my just1thing will change those involved, bringing a smarter workforce, a more efficient daily task, and a more normalized structure to a growing business.  But, there's always just10things.  I remain true. 1. "I finally asked you to dance on that last slow song" 2. boolean isAchievable = true; 3. if (!isAchievable) tryHarder();

"This world keeps spinning faster Into a new disaster so I run to you I run to you baby And when it all starts coming undone Baby you're the only one I run to I run to you"

4. "You've got to know when to hold 'em"

"Anything else is always something better."

5. New York is beautiful 6. Chicago is beautiful 7. Balance balance balance 8. I `sawr` a shark in the `requarium` this weekend 9. Life, what you make of it 10. Life... is more than just1thing