Play

"What did you do today?" "I played." "What did you play?" "Oh. Barbies, Legos, outside, that stuff." Am I getting too old? Do I forget what it means to play? Everything is so serious. My list of 10 things times 3 that I need to get done? They get crossed off very slowly as the kids are out playing. I want to go play. To not have a care in the world other than to just have fun. Maybe in a few years. That is all for now.  

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

Magical mystical mysterious fantastical – fail

There are times in life, there are times in love, there are times in work. And in all these times, there are decisions you make. And there are times when these decisions are not necessarily the right thing to do. And there are times when you make these decisions for the benefit of someone else. And there are times when you make these decisions for the future and for the better of all. And in these decisions, sometimes you take a blow to the head, sometimes you take a shot below the gut, and sometimes you take one for the team in the most uncomfortable of places. And when this happens, sometimes it will backfire, and sometimes it will hurt. And when it does hurt, sometimes it will hurt bad and you wonder why the hell you did what you did. You wonder if the pieces will be able to be picked up and if glue will really be able to fix the mess you have thrown yourself into. And you analyze the events that have transpired and try to make sense of them. You will say "what if [I had done something]" a million times, you will say "if I only [had done something]" and "should I have [done something]." I lost my positivity today... finding my way in song 1. "It's a cold, and it's a very lonely Hallelujah" as I wander through 2. "These little earthquakes, [it] doesn't take much to rip us into pieces" yet you can 3. "Give me life..." and 4. "Show me show me show me how you do that trick" and I'll be 5. "Spinning on that dizzy edge" I recall a day circa 1996 (ish), I was in Virginia traveling for work. We had a big crew on location remodeling a store. I was up there for a week, but I had to come back home on Thursday morning and return on Friday evening (for reasons since forgotten). The first half of the week, I started to have conversations with a woman on the team, well, at that time in life, she was still a girl to me, and I, a boy. We got along well, we stayed up late after work talking about silly senseless things. We drank wine (underage) by the pool, we went swimming in the pool. On Thursday before I left, she told me that I needed to listen to Fly By Night on the drive. I was a Rush fan at the time (and still am), however, I had not heard that particular album and certainly didn't own it. I think I called my sister on my Motorola Startac phone and asked her to pick up a copy for me and I'd meet up with her, or maybe I stopped at multiple record stores on the way home. Either way, I was heading back to Virginia blasting Rush on the stereo. I was advised to specifically listen to In the End. And I did. I returned to Virginia that Friday night. We smuggled a bottle of wine out of the hotel, destination nowhere. And we found that magical mysterious mystical fantastical place on a dock at the edge of some lake. And we sat there. And we talked until dawn. And we drank the wine. And that's all that happened. I soaked in the warmth of a friendship. And we had moments of silence. We used the silent times to connect the dots and draw pictures in the sky. I do not recall her name, nor where she was from. I do not remember the color of her eyes or the tint of her hair. The only fading memory is from a song - "You can take me, you can make me smile in the end" - and we did smile, I remember that. And when the sun made it's way above the horizon, we stood, in that awkward pre-kiss stance that never came to fruition. And we talked about it. And I hesitated again in the awkward pre-hug stance. And she said "in the end" and vanished. "And I can feel what you feel, It just makes me stronger" Dial back to today... I was lucky enough to enjoy last night with a wonderful friend. I laughed so hard that I had a laugh hangover this morning. I smiled so big that I had a smile headache. And we talked. And we laughed some more. I'm all over the place tonight, and not sure I can tie it all back up and successfully deliver a single message. Nope, probably will not happen! I suppose the message of the crazy week I've had is that there are things that happen in life, and people that float through your life. And they mean something. And you may not see it when it's on the table, you may not see it umpteen years from the event. But in the end, it all comes together. 6. "Itsy bitsy yellow polka dot bikini" and I scream 7. "Ooooh, fire" floating on a 8. "Wave of mutilation," you should join me to 9. "Roll up, roll up, for the mystery tour" where we can 10. Brush off all of life's issues, present and future And in the end...

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!

0111001001100101011100000110110001111001

The answer, complicated, the reply, complex.  For anyone upset that the answers were not present in the stories, I apologize, but that was partially my point.  This story began with a conversation between two dear friends and myself over a morning cup of coffee, or was it a midday ice tea, or an evening night cap?  Either way, we were surrounded by what seemed to be a million kids.  It was probably closer to seven kids, but the noise told otherwise, and my head went spinning.  I'll try to stay fluid and on subject, no promises. Death, Birth, Dream and now, Reply. 1. It really started with a book report that was due which hadn't been started, in fact, there was questions about if the book had even been completely read.  Regardless, the detailed instructions on how the report was to be written, black ink on every other line or typed double space or something with a summary about X and Y about that at least some odd pages long, to me seemed wrong.  The instructions covered an entire 8x10 page, single spaced.  I was curious why the book report had to be so rigid.  Maybe this would ensure that all of the students papers were going to be easy to grade since they would essentially be the same. 2. My recent obsession with Gatsby (Dear red head...) took me back to high school.  I'm sure I wrote a paper on Gatsby, who didn't, right?  That paper is no longer in my microscopic collection of memorabilia, so I can only imagine how completely insane it may have been.  Full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, I'm sure, but none the less, I wondered what I wrote.  I do recall taking a few artistic licenses to the bank when turning in papers in high school, especially during the last two years, but I could probably today summarize the book in a few sentences, at least enough to get the point across, most likely not an A, though.  I will not embarrass myself (any more than I already do) by trying.  Yes, I read Gatsby last week (it was pretty dang good). 3. Enter a short (really short) story, a whole series of short stories (if you count 3 a series).  What else would accompany a few short stories than just10things, so I asked just10things, none of which had answers that were revealed in the text.  I really hope no one was banging their head on the wall and rereading a hundred times looking for some secret message, although the titles did require decoding from binary to ascii to stir the "hey-there-might-be-some-secret-message-in-here" part of your brain, there was no secret message there. 4.  What I did expect, though, is that there was a realization of how many details were not there.  Was this distracting as you were reading the story, or after, when you were searching for the answers?  Were the questions asked relevant to the story, or could the story stand without them had they been there?  Yes, this is a scaled back example, I certainly was not going to dive into writing a whole book, however if you put the exponents on, does this not apply to larger works as well?  When do the details matter and when do you as the reader either fill them in, or toss them out as not important? 5. As we consume literature, that back corner of the brain goes to work painting the picture for us, which is lucky for the authors else they would be writing million page books to tell a story.  Can you imagine: "Parallel with the right edge of the desk, one inch from the right edge and 2 inches from the back edge, of which the back edge was also in parallel with the desk was a telephone that was 6 inches by 12 inches and was beige in color.  The telephone was 2 inches tall in the back and 1 inch tall in the front and the top sloped 13 degrees from front to back.  There was a receiver and under the receiver were 12 buttons numbered 0-9 plus the # and * digits.  There was a red light on the phone to indicate there was a message waiting.  The button had the words "MESSAGE WAITING" under it in Helvetica 12 point font.  The telephone started to emit a noise out of the speaker that was 4.5 inches in diameter and made of..." vs. "She answered the phone."  Had I truly given you every detail about the phone (I would have also needed to fill you in on the desk it was sitting on, the room the desk was in, what else was in the room, etc. ), this would have taken until next year, but I think you get my point. 6. When we experience life, when do the details matter?  Someone I know is a date and detail fanatic.  She could recall what was for dinner weeks ago, remember dates years in the past, it is rather annoying.  Then there's the opposite.  I moved into my house 5 or 6 years ago, it was in the spring.  I ate dinner last night, I think.  I know you weren't around to witness, but just a few minutes ago, I failed to pay attention to what floor the elevator had stopped at and rode right back down to the lobby from the 5th floor.  It was a great laugh for the gentleman that got in the car and asked if there was nothing better to do in this town that ride the elevator all night.  Secretly, I was still working on the cricket decibel formula (only FB friends will get that one), that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. 7. A frequent phrase in software development (especially from the project manager) is "the devil is in the details."  The business tells a story and the designer/architect writes it down.  Soon, the developers start churning out brilliant code, only to find that the details of the specification were not told and you end up with a million line application that's 12 months behind.  We all need to become better story tellers.  We need to know and understand and respect where details matter and when they are unimportant.  There have been  just10things posts describing 30 seconds in time in 1000 words and 7 days described in 200 words, so span of time is not the answer.  How do we decide when to convey the right amount of detail and what that amount of detail is? 8. Comprehension.  Are there enough details for you to formulate what is happening?  Or are there so many that you can't keep track of what is going on? 9. Context.  It does wonders for influencing the painting of the details.  Without it, words can be misinterpreted, scenarios misread, situations gone out the window. 10. Book reports,  I still don't get it.  I am in favor of another style paper this same child had not too long ago.  I have not had the chance to read it yet, but the idea was to pick two books or movies and combine them (something like that) to tell a story.  So the subject became Sesame Street meets Godfather.  Way to be creative!  This shows comprehension much better than some slap in the face institutionalized manual for writing a paper to show you [may] have read a book.  It also allows those not included details to surface as catalyst to foster imagination, breeding a whole new story that hinges on the fact that you understood the books you've read (or movies you've watched) and weaves context in a creative manner. "Sometimes he's on for five minutes, sometimes he's on for five hours" - Pump Up the Volume Hope you've enjoyed the adventure.

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  

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