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A question on slashdot that looks very familiar for some reason... ;-P
I think that some places are trying to focus on contractors for technical work because of the ease of being able to "release" them from work. Does that mean people should get upset because people could drop you? I think that it shifts the onus on the tech worker to make sure that they have relevant skills. You can't wait for your boss to send you on training if you only know HTML and now they want a J2EE app built. You have to keep your ears to the ground and make sure you diversify your skill set somewhat. When you stop learning expect to find yourself locked into one type of job with perhaps a shrinking market.
One of the things that I have been doing now that I have not done before is using a logging utility to keep track of what is happening. We've been using Jakarta Commons Logging which is just a thin wrapper that doesn't bind you to any logging impl (like log4j).
From the examples that I had seen, I liked how it looked when you were logging exceptions, in that you could pass a message and the exception (javadoc). It would look like this: log.error(e.getMessage(), e);
The weird thing is that the error message takes "Object" for a message, and not String. Okay, I guess that's more flexible, but that's not the point. The problem with this is that getMessage can return null and the logging impl was not checking if the objects that I was passing in were null. So, I had code somewhere that I wrote that created a NullPointerException. I passed this in with the message as the first pram, and then the logging itself was generating another NullPointerException! Now, I would would have thought that it's one of those places (in logging) were you would want to protect the app as much as possible. I guess that it's always a call, do you want to "fail silently" or "fail fast, fail hard". I just wish someone had chosen the former.
I was going to rant tonight about code coverage. It's a good thing in that it helps you strengthen your test suite and points out places where you have missed. Now the focus of my rant was going to be that it sucks to have to do all this in an Ant file instead of your IDE like Eclipse. You can run tests, sync with your repository, just about anything in Eclipse, but you can't run a coverage report. Now, this really pisses me off. I don't want to find out how good my coverage is tomorrow after the nightly build. I want it now. I want to be able to see in my java editor what lines of code have not been hit while I am developing the code and making tests.
I thought that this was a big break through because I have not seen this anywhere else. I was looking at EMMA today, and I had not seen it at all. Now, I have looked at other "free" coverage tools before, but I have not seen anything that would do what I wanted. This is a big itch to scratch, so I knew that I was not the only one who wished for something like this. So I looked and I found that jcoverage has a eclipse plugin that seems to do everything that I want. But there's a catch (as always): it's not free. Well, it's free for 30 days...
The other problem is that it's for Eclipse 3, and I am using WSAD 5.1 at work which is based on Eclipse 2.1. If I remember correctly, the plugin arch. has changed from 2.1 to 3 the plugins are not compatible. *sigh*
It'll be good when this sort of thing is more common. Does anyone else have any suggestions for something like this?
A story on slashdot linked to a very interesting read on how good a community based encyclopedia is when everyone can edit it. Now, granted the author is biased, he still has some really interesting points. I really liked 4th last paragraph where he talks about no matter how good an article is, since it's edited by the public, it can always be "edited into mediocrity".
I guess that it shows that edits are only truly improvements when the person doing the editing has at least the same level of knowledge of what they are editing for (correct facts, spelling, ...) as the author. I guess it's like taking a really good piece of sw and having it maintained by co-ops who do not understand why it was built a certain way and actually make something worse the more they work on it. Good read...
Kibbee isn't the only one getting ready for Christmas. Yesterday Laura and I went out and got a tree, ornaments, and some LED tree lights. LED lights are more expensive, but they last longer and they take way less power. But I mostly got them because I thought that it would be cool. ;-P
So now we've just to figure out where to put the tree and start putting things up. I've got to get all my Christmas stuff from my folks place. We have a tradition where my parents (and grandparents on my mom's side) gave each one of use a new ornament every year, so that when we do move out, we've got lots of things to go on the tree.
My next thing to get now is a camera so I can take pictures of everything... I've been talking about it before, but now is probably the time to actually do something about it. That and I found a Best Buy and Crappy Tire really close to our place, so now I'll be going there instead of the "long" trek to South Keys.
Yay! Christmas is coming!!! :-D
One thing that I don't get about the poppies that they have for remembrance day is how they are attached with straight pins. Why straight pins??? Most people usually end up loosing them, scratching / pricking themself, being fearful of the poppy. Is this to remind us that we are wearing a poppy and what it stood for? Is it just a really crappy design that no one has changed for 80+ years because it's cheaper to use the old design?
Why not use some kind of safety pin? Something where it would not fall out; something that people would not be bleeding all over our clothes?
Now, I am probably coming off as an ungrateful jerk for not just shutting up and thinking about the great sacrifice the poppy represents. It's just that I took off my poppy the other day because I kept on stabbing / scratching myself. I'd much rather be able to wear it to show that I remember. :-(
So, the questions are: why is the design the way it is; what would be a better design for the poppy to be able to make them cheaply while still being able to attach to all kinds of clothes (thick, thin, ...); how are we going to get this changed; and who should we contact to to get this changed? Anyone know?
For all those conspiracy buffs out there, I am sure that they have already seen the presentation about the 9/11 pentagon strike. If not, there it is. Time to put on your tinfoil hats. ;-P
I'm going to buy a new tech book soon, and I wanted to know if anyone has any recommendations at all. Actually, for any type of book... I love to read a good book. ;-)
I was thinking about reading Code Complete by Steve Mcconnell. It's supposed to be one of those "timeless" books, but I'm not sure that I want to spend 50+$ on a book that may be out of date wrt a more agile dev env. I don't really want to read anything specific for any language if I can help it.
Anyone have any suggestions?
My computer at work was always running slower than my co-workers, but we couldn't believe that the difference was due to his CPU being just 200 MHz faster than mine. And during the last week or so it was getting much, much worse. I kept on blaming it on WSAD and it having a memory leak.
The other day I threw up my arms and decided to do something about it. I did a couple of things, the first being a defrag of my drive. I had no idea how bad it was. People kept on telling me that you don't have to defrag a NTFS drive, but I have a feeling that that there were wrong or I misunderstood. The second thing that I did was run some anti spyware programs on my box. They found things and I cleared those off.
So, now my computer seems to take less memory, and my test suite runs much faster. I guess that the spyware was tracking all the http requests to my own box and trying to log them... Both those solutions helped my box run faster which means a happier Jim and that's all that matters. ;-)
Even though I have never seen the show, I can't get the theme song from Peep and The Big Wide World out of my head after listening to it a couple of times... Laura's seen it a couple of times and really liked it. Oh, before you get your hopes up too much, it's a show for pre-schoolers.
And for some reason, you can't find the any episodes on the net... who knew that pre-schoolers were not illegally sharing shows. Ah well. ;-P
One thing that has been hit over my head the last couple of weeks is that people never seem to be truly happy with what they have now. People seem to have a tendency to want what they do not have and be envious of others that do have it.
People with straight hair want curly hair, people with curly hair want to have straight hair; people who settled down and have kids wished they had travelled around, people that travelled wish they had settled down and have kids; Person A wants to be more like Person B, Person B wants to be more like Person A... the list goes on and on.
This reminds me of my discussions of Buddhism with Karen when she was taking a religion course. Now it wouldn't be a good thing for people not to have desire or want because there would not be any motivation, but it always gets me just how unhappy people can be with the situation that they are in. It's hard to look at yourself sometimes and just think "wow, I'm damn lucky and life is great".
Ah, I think that's enough random thoughts of now... time for some pumpkin pie... Mmmmm....
Even though it looked like it was going to happen, I still can't believe it. I just hope that things go well and he doesn't declare war on us. *sigh*
Just a note, when I read this at first it was after an hour on /. and there was about 1200 comments... check out what the number is now. At the time of this post there is 1752... more than I have ever seen before.