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Posts Tagged ‘General Rants’

ALA said WHAT?!?!

January 22, 2008 Leave a comment

I am nearly rendered speechless by what I have just read in the latest A List Apart (Issue 251). Where did all of our common sense go? Moreover, who is paying these people anyway?

I used to view ALA as the place to go for the latest in Web culture and philosophy, and was honored when they accepted my proposal for an article, which was subsequently published in Issue 234. ALA has always had the forward thinking developers, designers, experts, etc. writing for them, and this has (I believe) given them great clout in the community. Then I read this issue…

I am struck with the sudden horror that ALA may actually be in bed with the Web-destroying behemoth itself. How is this possible? Instead of pushing developers to begin writing standards-compliant code (something I, and many other developers and writers are strong advocates for), we are instead supposed to bow to whatever fetid fancies the great and mighty Microsoft comes up with? Are they serious?

What happened to getting the browser-companies to comply with standards? Why should we, the developers, be the ones who must bend over backwards in order for our code to work — especially when our code is compliant code?

The Web is shaping up to be a Web I do not want to be a part of. The Web was innovation and art, a place where we could all come together and make a better world through technology — away from the monolithic companies that have tried to control every aspect of technology for far too many years. Now, these companies have apparently taken control of groups (or maybe just individuals — time will tell here), and with them the direction for the future of the Web.

I have always had great admiration for Eric Meyer, and I cannot believe what I have read in his article.

Let me just end by saying: STANDARDS, STANDARDS, STANDARDS!

Categories: General Rants, Internet Tags: ,

Cow Manure

September 13, 2007 Leave a comment

Cow manure — that is the best way to describe the education system in this country. A big steaming pile of cow manure. I got into an argument today with my project manager and and her boss, the supervisor of quality assurance. What was the argument about, you may ask? I had built a control that was a drop-down list of the USPS state codes that was to go onto the client site where I work. It had been approved by the business unit for my project, but somehow a discussion started on whether it was a good idea to only have a two-character code as the drop-down values.

Granted, some of the territories and islands we (the United States) hold are a bit obscure, and it was probably a bit too much for me to assume that anyone would know what FM or MP stood for. (FM = Federated States of Micronesia and MP = Northern Mariana Islands for those of you playing at home.) But the argument I got into boiled down to this: They (everyone but me) thought that our clients would not know what the abbreviation for states like Missouri is, and that the only reason that all of us knew what it was (MO) was because we live in the state.

SIDEBAR: This is one hell of a bad argument for them to give me in the first place considering there are a lot of people who live in the state of Missouri who do not know how to pronounce Missouri correctly. Everyone, may I have your attention please? There is no “A” in MISSOURI. Now back to the regularly scheduled rant.

OK, here is reality check time. When do we learn the states that make up these United States of America we live in? Anyone? Anyone? By the time we are in 6th grade (I looked it up.) That’s right, by the time we are 12 years old, we are expected to know the geography of the United States, including abbreviations and capital cities.

I was basically arguing why we would expect 12 year olds to know this stuff, and yet adults (I’m assuming here) are not thought capable of such a thing. This isn’t even high school stuff, so the argument that not everyone has graduated from high school is out the door from the get go. I was told we could not assume that our clients would know this stuff. That’s fine, I thought, but why are we allowing our clients to remain “in the dark” and stupid? Why not help them by actually forcing them to learn something?

I know it is probably a pretty foreign concept and all — learning, that is. After all, if this country can allow kids to go through school without learning, why make adults learn. I’m not quite being facetious here. We try to have a “no child left behind” type of environment in our schools, and yet this type of environment is forcibly leaving children behind. I was one of those children.

We have to make sure that every kid can get an education, so we must dumb down what we learn so that even the most stupid person can still learn. What about people like me? Does the system have any idea how bored I was in grade school and high school? Does the system have any idea what I missed out on (learning-wise) because the schools were not equipped with the knowledge to teach kids like me? I took QuickBASIC in high school because that was the only course offered to me, and it was offered by a 50-something year old women who did not have a clue what it was she was teaching. Never mind that I taught myself BASIC at age 8 or 9, it did not take long before I was teaching her what to teach the class. What did I get out of that? Nothing.

Left behind.

I took physics in high school from a woman who did not really know the equations, had to look everything up, and “get back to us tomorrow” whenever we had a question. We taught ourselves, and tried every day to make her look the fool by asking her questions we knew she did not know. I was so frustrated, I told her where she could put her chalk (so to speak). Needless to say, I was suspended. What did I get out of that? Nothing.

Left behind.

Are there differences between public and private schools? I don’t think so. If nothing else, public schools are even worse. Before you argue: the public high schools where I grew up required that students take 5 courses a semester for a grand total of 40 courses — and some of these courses were shop, home economics, wood-working, underwater basket weaving, etc. I took 7 courses a semester for a grand total of 56 courses — and I never even took PE (though I was involved in sports.) I was left behind, and I took 16 more semester courses than anyone in the public school system. How many of those kids do you think were left behind?

I worry for my kids. I worry about the education they are going to receive. They are already, at three, exhibiting smarts far greater than their age, and my wife and I know they will be as smart as, but more likely smarter than us (and that is saying something — I’m not bragging here, just telling it like it is.) What are they going to do? Who is going to teach them what they need to learn when they need to learn it? Who is going to keep them from getting bored, which could lead to getting into trouble, being disruptive, etc.?

I worry for my kids, because I am about to send them through the fields filled with big piles of steaming, smelly, fly-infested manure — er, I mean school. It’s time to recycle the manure and create some energy, or at the very least, fertilizer. Smart kids will benefit from the accelerated courses and not be left behind, and dumb kids will be forced to get smarter and not be left behind, or we will be forced to sterilize them so they cannot produce more dumb kids. It’s a win-win either way. But this is my opinion, and what do I really know anyway?

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F.A.Q.s

August 16, 2007 Leave a comment

For the first time since I have been working on the Web, I have heard the acronym F.A.Q. pronounced differently than I had ever heard it before. For as long as I can remember when talking to anyone about the Internet, and F.A.Q.s in particular, they have always been pronounced one way — and it is the way I think they should be pronounced.

Now, while in a job that does, I must admit, contain both technical and non-technical people in it, there is a discrepancy. At first I just ignored it, but the more I heard it pronounced in a way that I feel is wrong it began to bother me. Once I began a spirited conversation with a coworker over the pronunciation, and it ended in a no-decision. So I decided to look it up.

This is the entry for F.A.Q. in The New Hacker’s Dictionary, Third Edition by Eric S. Raymond (MIT Press, 1996) :

FAQ /F-A-Q/ or /fak/ /n./

[Usenet] 1. A Frequently Asked Question. 2. A compendium of accumulated lore, posted periodically to high-volume newsgroups in an attempt to forestall such questions. Some people prefer the term `FAQ list’ or `FAQL’ /fa’kl/, reserving `FAQ’ for sense 1.

Not a very definitive answer, as it gives two pronunciations for the acronym. Of course, this was last edited in 1996, so culture may have changed this choice by now. I continued to search and came upon this post by Eric Raymond from a USENET thread entitled Pronunciation of “FAQ”, where he wrote:

Both pronunciations are common. I believe the /F-A-Q/ pronunciation used
to predominate, and is still more common outside Internet, but has been
gradually losing ground to /fak/, which is now slightly more common on
Internet itself.

I personally feel that the trend continued as he stated here, and that a F.A.Q. should be pronounced /fak/. But this is my opinion, and what do I really know anyway?

Categories: General Rants, Internet Tags:

On Getting a New Job…

September 26, 2006 Leave a comment

Oh, have I mentioned that I got a new job? Must have slipped my mind like so many other things in the past few months. So anyway.

I have a new job. Back to the world of the consultant for me, this time with SyllogisTeks. They found me a one year contract at Gateway EDI, right downtown. I get to ride the MetroLink to work again! That is an incredible load off of my mind.

Ever since the stress of my health got to me so much that I could not manage the cacophony of thoughts bursting out of my mind every second and my temper started flaring up worse than I think it ever has that driving in to work became a really Bad Thing TM. Saying that I get road rage would be a bit of an understatement. I honestly thing about running cars off of the road. That is never good.

So not having that stress on top of the rest is such a relief. Plus, I no longer have to work on His code. Let’s party over that. Also, by the end of this week, I will no longer have to refer to my company as TechPhob — though they always will be.

So there it is. I’ll be downtown at Broadway and Washington now; and what is truly hard to believe is that it will be two years (almost to the day) since I last worked downtown. Referring to my last post, where does the time go?

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Stay of Execution

August 7, 2006 Leave a comment

Well the wheels grind on at TechPhob, and everybody runs around like a dog chasing his tail. The IT department has received a stay of execution for now. That will change once the powers that be get their heads out of each other’s asses and try to come up with a decision.

Div man: I’m in charge, but instead of giving direction for this problem, as it is a Division problem, I’m going to defer until that certain project manager returns to the office.

IT group: Huh?

I guess the one good thing about your boss’s bosses being inept is that it really makes big decisions which affect you that much harder to make. They will put off a decision until at least the end of the week. They don’t know what to do with my boss. They have no cause to fire him, so I think they will try to make his life miserable so he will quit and save them the trouble.

They are just – well, stupid, really. It is amazing at how smart people can be so dumb. I can’t say it any plainer. All of these guys have Masters and Doctorates in some environmental science discipline. Yet they can’t see through the bars of their historical methods. They cannot see that just on the other side of their cages lays an easier way – a faster way.

But my boss hit the nail on the head while I was talking to him today. He said they don’t want to have it easier or faster. They bill by the hour, and if they go faster, they get less money.

Stupid TechPhob – and stupid government entities for not knowing any better!

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