The boring rants of a lazy nerd

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Current Events - Elections

I've voted, but I don't really feel like it makes a difference. It feels as if politics is a sham to placate the media/public and evidencing is effectively decided behind the scenes. I really think that.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Coding - Geek

I figure what prevented me from building the ffdb was the need to get the data to play with, so I've decided to crawl archives to get the raw data so I'll have something to show real people I approach in soliciting help. Sounds like a job for Perl and regular expressions, right? I've read my jwz, so I know better. Also, perl is ugly. Python and BeautifulSoup, on the other hand, is… amazing is the only word that seems fitting. I've crawled FFA, and have done great progress in processing and normalizing the data. Of course, my data is the metadata, thus my metadata is the mata-meta-data? Harry Potter is character #1, anyway. LOL.
The interpreter-driven edit-compile-test loop doesn't scale to multi-class modules, and decent ORM is still hard. I have not even begun to contemplate user interface implementation (typical me).

A coworker asked me today how does a jpeg gets sent in an email, since SMTP is a text based protocol. I said: "enlarged by 33.3% via base64 and with the correct mime type, as specified somewhere under rfc822", and he thought I was totally geeking out. I've only remembered the number because I've (re-)read about it recently (in relation to parsing dates), but simply knowing about mime and that there's an rfc is like… in the job description, for a web apps team. I mean, the world doesn't start and end in the JVM, for crying out loud!
I'm way too judgmental of people.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Geek/Work - Women in Industry

I just wanted to say that unlike poor Alice here(alt), my boss has never asked my help with his pr0n, but then I thought about the broader problem of women in programming (or the IT industry, or science & technology in general).

For one thing, over launch a few weeks back, I have tried and failed to explain to a novice (a very wet behind the ears, non-geek, Comp.Sci. grad) what is meant by:

The saddest example of the overly homogeneous work group is the all-male team. Women are obvious victims of the sports analogy: The same male establishment that excluded them systematically from team sports for so long now compounds the felony by insinuating that they're probably bad team players. Of course women function as well on teams as men. Any man who has worked on mixed teams would find it hard to imagine ever again working in the all-male environment. That was our fathers' sad lot.

Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister, Peopleware 2nd ed, p. 156

For another, today, one of our big design whiteboards showed evidence of immature and inexperienced adolescent males who lack artistic talent discussing breast size preferences. In the room sits a female developer. A very good looking one (shush mom, she's taken). This is not an uncommon occurrence. Oftentimes, the office sounds like a thread on Slashdot, just not as sophisticated (due to the participants' smaller total erudition).

And then we ask why so few females major in computer science.

And the ones who do, turn out to be like Scott Adams' Alice. The joke goes like this: female programmers are like guinea pigs. Why? Well, guinea pigs are neither from Guinea, nor are they pigs.

It's very sad, and I see no way to end this. I'm not alone.

Edit: If anyone cries "sexual harassment", I'd like to say this: Yes, and no. The situation is suboptimal, but we're in the army. It's a thinly veiled patriarchal system populated by teens who are led by people in their early to mid twenties. If the letter of the law was strictly enforced, we'd probably all be in jail. So we don't point fingers, we try not to stare, and mostly the situation does not get out of hand. Did I ever feel uncomfortable for the females present, because of something that was said? Many, many times.
To the Neanderthals who would call me "gay" for thinking like this: date rapists get caught.

EDIT: Added Google Images alternate link to Dilbert comic.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Tech - Be gentle with your laptop

Righteous techie anger is amusing when the spit is not in your face.

Before my project was moved to the IT division, it existed in the main (or rather, first) client's IT department. When main development goals were reached and we have entered the maintenance stage, the client decided our premium treatment was unwarranted and cut our budget, our ability to filter personnel and finally our offices (That's how I found myself in our barrack).
The IT department still uses our cool brand, but since the advent of centralized IT they have no directory, mail, file or database servers of their own — they just manage their own users. Anyway, since we were buddies we've heard their war stories, and I can tell you non-combat officers and company executives are the same, and they ruin laptops just as frequently, just their replacements don't lower their shares' value, they cost the taxpayer money.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Geek - Linux administration for sexual favors

Apparently the software giant recommends this way of hiring sysadmins / getting laid if you're a *NIX nerd.
For the record, I've never been paid in any commercial goods for working on a Linux system. While in highschool, I did take cash for installing and maintaining operating systems from Redmond. I do not wish to do that again.
Also, as a guy completely ruined by feminine fiction, it's a complete turn off for me to think she'll have that expression on her face after the fact.

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