Friday, January 26, 2007 New York?!?!?!?!?

The other night The Wife and I were watching some Tele (if we were Ausies or English. Fucking Brits. ;o) ), or for the literate among us, watching some television, viewing our nightly programs, or gluing ourselves too the boob-tube. Anyway, the show we were watching this particular evening was "I love New York", and for those lucky enough to not know what I"m talking about, I'll expound.

"I Love New York" is a show building upon the popularity of "The Flavor of Love", a "Reality Dating" show in which the has-been rapper Flavor Flav (correct me if I misspelled the misspelled name of such an influential rapper please.....don't actually.) searched for love from the hoards of females who still remembered who he was. The entire show followed the format of The Bachelor (and related shows), minus proper english, and plus crack whores......loud obnoxious crack whores. In fact, referring to some of the women on that show as "Crack Whores" is an insult to hard working crack whores the nation over.

So, New York was the title given to one of the contestants of the original series, who turned out to be no only the loudest of the "ladies", but the most shit insane. Yes, bat shit insane would definitely be a very applicable description, as would "Bitch", "Fucking Nut Job", and "WTF is WRONG with her??". Those are official diagnosi (the plural of diagnosis, as defined by me) by the way.

Now "I Love New York" is an exact ripoff, stealing the exact format of the Flavor of Love, but without the mental stability. And intellectual ability. If you were looking for proof of the de-evolution of the human race, this show and it's contestants would be brilliant proof. VH1 has actually managed to create a show that reaches through your television, into your brain, finds the portion of your brain that controls happy, and kills it. It doesn't just kill it, it shoots it, stabs it with a brick, runs over it with a truck, tracks down it's family, kills them, abducts their cat, and gives it's sister melanoma.

On the brighter side of things, we do have the Ultimate Showdown for your viewing pleasure....

Peace and stuff,

Monday, January 15, 2007

This was so NOT in my job description.

It came to my attention today that I have not posted in an entire week. WTF? I mean, I can see missing a day or two, but an entire week? In my defense, I did have to run to the Main Office, which not only adds an hour to my commute, but they tend to be a little more strict on work web access there than in my remote office here. Meh, what do you do?

To the best of my experience, with any given job, there is a certain level of "bend over and take it"-ness, and that it really is impractical and unwarranted for me to complain at all about what I am going to be forced to label as one of the better jobs that I have ever had. And I suppose that people are continuing to use VB6 much for the same reason that there are companies out there that are continuing to manage COBOL systems. They're in place, and they work. Kind of.

So the other day I was voicing an opinion of VB6, when a co-worker of mine, Speed Racer, gave me one of those quizzical looks that imply "what're you talking about man? You on drugs again?" "VB's not so bad" he says, "It's only a marginal pain in the butt, I was a Java developer before I came here, and sure there's some differences, but it's not that bad!" To which I replay "As a Java programmer, you don't have a soul to crush, so it doesn't surprise me VB doesn't hurt you."

I bet you can now guess what my next project is in. Damn.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Adventure Time - It's like Crack Cocain for your eyes!!

Adventure Time
Created by Pendleton Ward
A Random! Cartoons short for Nickelodeon

A Frederator Studios Original Cartoon Production
Executive Producers: Larry Huber & Fred Seibert

©2007, Viacom Intl. All rights reserved.

Ok, so I found this linked off of another site, but I found it just absolutely inspiring. Enjoy!

Your brain has been transported back in time!!! AND to Mars!

Corporate Bean Counters and the Bottom Line *GASP*

I guess I'm still adjusting to working for a "Real Company", as there are some aspects that completely baffle me yet. And by "some", I mean "the absolute vast majority". I don't think a day goes by that I'm not floored, or at the very least, mildly caught off guard by some new concept of the work environment. And yesterday I came face to face the most intriguing of individuals in the Company Melting Pot, the Lead Project Manager.

As far as I can tell, the Lead Project Manager's duty is to manage the Project Managers, and keep tabs on the ongoing projects, to ensure that they're at least pretending to stay on budget. Now I understand the need for checks and balances, and that it is defiantly in the best of interest of the company to make sure that, from a financial standpoint, the projects themselves stay within scope, but doesn't this strike anyone as unneeded overhead? I'll quote one of my heroes, John Carmack, in this article (and paraphrased a bit) where he refers to this type of thing as "......the parasitic management overhead on top of all of it."

What kind of person makes the best Manager of Managers? What are the qualities such a person possesses that instills value to an organization by organizing the various facets of modern business execution? In my opinion, this kind of person can have only one thing in mind. The Bottom Line, the "In order to make money on X, Y must be pushed to the limits and then beyond. Kill as many of the grunts as needed, there's plenty where they came from. I swear they breed like rabbits!". In fact I'm not quite sure that they are actually human, as my current theory is that they're some sort of denizen of the lower levels of hell, whom take great pleasure in proverbially flailing the flesh from the backs of employees and crushing their souls, just to mix in with his / her morning coffee.

And how about their bottom line? How much are these people getting paid to inspire the lower untrustables (us not-management-type employees) to greatness? If I understand the pay-scale at all, on the bottom you have the people that actually are doing the work, then the managers, and after that, I'm going to be forced to assume are the Manager Managers. But what do I know, I'm just a Code Monkey.

Watch out for that tree!

Just found this comic from Penny Arcade hilarious for some odd reason. Because you know, I'm always up for some good old Canada Bashing!

Monday, January 8, 2007

Nerdcore Rising....of the Nerds.

Nerdcore Hip Hop. A seeming paradox, but to some of us, it's the flavor of choice for listening enjoyment. Yes, I myself have fallen (or have been raised ever you choose to look at it) from the masses of popular music, and succumbed to the temptations of Nerdcore. And I must say, it's quite the fit.

I have a full hour commute, one way, every day for work. This isn't really that big of a deal, as I'm sure many many people in the world have AT LEAST a hour commute from their home, to their no-fun home (work). I'm not complaining mind you, having an hour before and after a grueling day of code-churning is kind of nice, gives me a chance to get fired up (thank you Red Bull) and then unwind for the evening.

The contemplation of the week, why for I have no clue, has been the Geek sub-culture and wither or not we deserve the stereotypes applied to us. One of the initial topics I thought about was exactly how big of a geek I am personally. I hardly consider myself a "geek" in the traditional sense of the word. I feel as though I'm fairly socially adjusted, and my personal hygiene is probably as good as the next. Beings I'm musically inclined, I've performed many times (in front of real people), and did my fair share of sowing of the "wild oats".

But there is a dark side I've discovered. For one, my music tastes. There's something awesome about hearing mention of topics close to my hearts in songs that gives me the tingles. All you have to do is mention code, frags, fps, etc and I'm hooked. One of my favorite songs now (which incidentally is not Nerdcore) is Code Monkey by Jonathan Coulton, because......well I guess because I am a code monkey.

Then there's my computers. I love computers and gadgets more than probably anything. I love playing with them tweeking them, breaking them. In fact if The Wife made an ultimatum, either her or the computers, I don't know which one I'd choose. A friend of mine actually commented once "I don't know anyone who has more computer problems than you. Are you sure you're a geek?" The answer, Yes I am. I just can't leave well enough alone. I always have to play, try new things / software. I have to see what happens if I tweek that multiplier just a little more to maybe pull a little more performance.

And then, in an incident that I probably will never live down (in fact I'm sure The Wife will lord it over my head for years....), I even turned down sex to "play with my computer". Apparently one night Princess Leah (once again, not her real protect the innocent) made a promiscuous offer which I failed to close on. I don't even remember the incident, I was too busy configuring my dual monitors on my Linux box.

On an unrelated note Leah Culver did some laser etching on her MacBook. Hit up YouTube, I'm sure you can find it. I don't actually know who she is, but she's a geek. AND pleasing to the eyes? Unheard of.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ly yours

Friday, January 5, 2007

Where has my job market gone?

When I went to college, Computer Science was toted as THE major, with graduates able to command $80K salaries for working 35 hours a week. And the Universities and Tech schools began churning out programmers by the hundreds. Fast forward about 5 years or so. I have been out of college for 4.5 years now, and we have 3 Universities / Tech Schools offering computer programming degrees of some sorts, and we have a market absolutely saturated with average to less than average programmers.

Approximately 4 months ago I began the search for, as my father puts it, a "Real Job", implying one that was continuous, had an actual office, and provided Health Insurance. I'm sure there's other criteria for a job to be classified as "Real", including but not limited to: Dress Codes, Regular Working Hours, and Having A Real Phone System, but we'll leave those details to speculation.

The very first thing that became apparent was that the job market, at least in the technology sector, has become absolutely SATURATED with programmers. What once was a rare and valuable resource had become as common as quartz! No longer was I a part of an elite society of techno-addicts, but rather my colleagues became any person with the cash and urge to take a few night classes, and recent college grads who wouldn't know a pointer from a div.

It's almost gotten to the point that programmers are as numerous as Mexican workers in Austin or Dallas. Anymore, all the corporations / companies have to do is drive up to the corner and say "I need 2 dotNet programmers to do XYZ for $.50 an hour." and it's a bloody fight as programmers scramble to be the first on the back of the pickup truck.

Now that being said, there is also another trend that is becoming apparent. As the quantity of programmers rises, the quality falls. One of the biggest complaints I heard as I was going through the interviews was that there were absolutely no good programmers out there anymore.

Never before has there been a truer statement. And this is because Microsoft and Google have already snatched up all the good programmers! Well that's only partially true, all the good programmers already have jobs, and are getting paid on a level coordinating with their abilities.

But this is not the only reason there are no good programmers around, the root of the problem lies within the hiring companies themselves. Just because there's a desperately high level of programmers in the "programmer pool", the only ones that you are going to get to bite a 20K-30K level jobs are 20K-30K and lower level programmers. As with any desired skill, you get what you pay for. That's just the long and short of it!

Jesus loves....well me at least....