Older blog entries for cwinters (starting at number 50)

pjones: Glad you're not generalizing or anything.... Try coming up to yapc in a couple months and see what the community is really like.

Work stuff is muddled -- a magic 8-ball would say: "Uncertain, come back later." Continued fallout from last week's doings -- everyone is working shorter days and sitting around talking about things like "Who's the most successful person who was once in a successful band?"

Went to the first night game (and Pirates win!) at the brand new PNC Park. Nice! Watching baseball in Three Rivers was painful but this was quite intimate. Even better, this was my first anniversary present and my wife managed to somehow score some excellent seats. I haven't been paying much attention to baseball (or sports in general) the last couple of years (too many other things to concentrate on, and it's like cheering for laundry) but we had lots of fun.

OI/SPOPS development hasn't done much in the last week or so. Postgres support will be in 0.40, which hopefully I'll be able to get out next week.

Ouch ouch ouch. Company turbulence resulted in 40% of the folks being laid off yesterday. Brutal way to do it too. Watching people pack up their stuff is painfully sad.

Company turbulence, not fun. Will find out tomorrow (hopefully) what's what. Not that it's hard to find another job, but stability has its advantages.

While DBI may be faster than JDBC for real-world work, at least JDBC has some kick-ass metadata capabilities.

Finally motivated enough to use JDE for Java development, kicking JBuilder to the curb. Little learning curve since IDEs tend to take care of project management things for you, but it's all settled and quite cool now. XEmacs, why did I ever leave thee?

Building EJBs in Perl is quite robust now, having moved to the Template Toolkit for much of the work. (When will I learn?) Added 'default' capabilities to model existing data (since JDBC gives us that metadata), among other things.

Joined a gym last weekend and have actually gone quite a few times. It's pretty decent -- not loaded with crazybuff muscleheads or people looking to score. I'm hoping to get back into running again -- I know it's not good for your joints (etc.), but it really fits my personality. Bicycling does too, but running is about as low-overhead (and low-maintenance) as you can get.

Yay, it's allergy season! (blech) Why is it I can remember a line from a Simpsons episode I last saw three years ago but I can't remember when my allergies get all riled up every year. Says something about priorities....

Investigating Postgres more. Got SPOPS to pass the limited tests and OpenInteract to install on it. Sweet. I think with some more work I'll make this the database I use on free/fun projects. The only (small) bone I have to pick is with the command-line utilities. Personally, I like the mysql approach for administration of one binary and many options (e.g., mysqladmin create mydb) versus the handful of binaries used by Postgres (initdb, createuser, createdb, vacuum, ...). But that's quite minor.

Also played some with POE -- neat-o!

I am so looking forward to spring, even with the sneezing (etc.).

Barb and I are looking to join a gym/club/whatnot. It will be good for us both, but it's going to take some effort to stick with it.

Got a "new" laptop -- basically, a stripped down older one which had the parts my current one needs. So I took the extra memory, hard drive and CD ROM out of my old one and put it in the new one. Result: rock and roll at a blazing 166 MMX megahertz. Still, the price was decent (ebay purchase) and my laptop was just gathering dust since the LCD was incredibly spotty and the pc card slots were super flaky.

I hope to be able to use it at a presentation for yapc -- maybe more than one if I can get the tuits to do both OpenInteract and SPOPS.

Coincidentally, there was some discussion of a message queue system on the mod_perl mailing list over the weekend. Serendipity favors the bold: POE experimentation awaits.

Someone pointed out that 'oid' was a reserved keyword in Postgres (doh!), so I made another fix for SPOPS to make that work and will hopefully finish testing it later on tonight. I've been reading up on Postgres and am thinking that everything I currently do in mysql I should do in Postgres. There was a brutal email regarding MySQL on the DBI list today. It wasn't anything I hadn't heard before, but it just got me thinking that there isn't much of an excuse to use it anymore. (OTOH the email author seems to be of the "if it's not Oracle it's not much" mindset, which ticks me off. For most applications, Oracle is vast overkill (IMO). Yes, there are plenty of apps where only Oracle will do, but most companies don't run those apps.)

OpenInteract on Sybase ASE/ASA seems to work fine now. Once we get PostgreSQL onboard I can chill out on that front until someone backs a dump truck of money to my house to make everything work with Oracle.

Very productive this weekend -- SPOPS now works with MS SQL Server and (most likely) with Sybase ASE/ASA. In addition, OpenInteract works with Win32 + ActivePerl + mod_perl, although Win32/mod_perl isn't as boss as the Unix mod_perl. Next: testing testing testing.

Also, very annoying, CPAN + me has been fudging up the version numbers on things so that people requesting SPOPS get the (somewhat ancient) version 0.33. (Note to module authors: if you want a variable to track CVS revisions, be sure to use something not titled 'VERSION'.) This will require a quick release, I think, as soon as I test the new security stuff and the Sybase workings.

It was two years ago yesterday that my mom passed away. I miss her.

Put out new versions of OpenInteract and SPOPS this weekend. GDBM is no longer required for OpenInteract and as a result of that we moved to a package repository (contains) packages scheme. Much friendlier, and all the package stuff isn't in one module.

Also attended a meeting of the Pittsburgh Perl Mongers on Sunday. We hadn't met in a while so many people were new (including me). It was nice to be able to talk about a computer language other than Java with people :-). Some seriously smart people were there, but everyone was very nice and not the bullying sort of geek you sometimes run into.

Deadlines at work this week. Fun.

Not to be preachy-pete, but I noticed a few people here talking about wrist pain. I know it's not universally applicable to every problem, but I'll put my two cents in for the Kinesis Ergo contoured keyboard. (That link goes directly to a frame -- lop off the page name for more info.)

I got this thing about nine months ago and have had little to no wrist pain since. It took about a week to get used to it, and I think it would be much more difficult (maybe impossible) if you're not a touch-typist. (But then you could argue that a coder not being a touch typist is like a carpenter not being good with a hammer.) Typing is one of the few things I learned in high school that I use every single day.

The keyboard is pricey compared to normal ones (around $250 for the Classic version), but considering the alternative it's worth every penny. It's also well-built -- my friend Christian has been using his for 4+ years and it still works great. He takes advantage of the macro and keymapping stuff of the keyboard as well.

One of the only difficult things is that once you get used to it going back to a normal keyboard is a bit of a chore -- takes about a half-hour for me, although I try to minimize it as much as possible. After I got a new job I took my keyboard to work with me every day to work on Java and brought it home to work on Perl. But I don't have to do this anymore since work just bought me one.

Wow, a decent article on Slashdot regarding the company/employee code ownership swamp. (It's decent reading at +2, anyway.) Joel Spolsky also has a good article on the related issue of NDAs and the like.

This sort of thing is quite scary. I've had two experiences with this, neither of them terrible but both with potential. Going into detail would probably be a bad thing, but let's just say the terms of the agreement were quite broad in saying who I could not work for after leaving the company.

The scary thing to me is that *people* actually write up these documents without thinking about how it might apply to them. One of the /. posters made the excellent point that lawyers would never sign an agreement which made their experience in a particular type of case law property of the firm under which they gained the experience. But these same lawyers seem to have no problem drawing up agreements for software developers which say, for instance, that all experience and knowledge learned regarding customer relation management or other broad topic is property of the company and the signee is strictly forbidden from working at a company which might employ that experience.

The thing they have on their side is that nobody wants to get involved with a lawsuit -- it's expensive and brands you forever as some sort of rabble-rouser. Quite the chilling effect....

In (mostly) fun news: rewriting the packaging system for OpenInteract to dump the GDBM stuff. Should have done this quite some time ago, but it's quite a bit of work. (So much that I should really be doing other things right now...)

Finally saw "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" this weekend. Some amazing scenes and scenery. Well worth it, altho it would have been nice at a better theater.

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