May 01

Look!

Look at what my friend did – she’s awesome!

I may not feel like celebrating, but it took me 2.5 years and a lot of migraines to get to this point. My project asks a question no one has ever asked before and uses some darn clever strategies to get around some cold, hard facts of hard-to-measure ecology.

That’s the sort of thing I could not have done in a million years, and she did it while sick (and surrounded by Canadians! ;- ) ).

May 01

Works

I personally do not really care how horrible (or great) of a person an artist is outside of his or her works.

My favorite novel will still be Among Others even if I find out Jo Walton executes kittens with lawn mowers in the afternoon, and then skeet-machetes babies in the evening.

At the same time, I can understand why some people might care as it relates to works produced.

I think art of any type supersedes any one person – even the person who produces it — and when we start examining personal lives, everyone comes up short.

That’s why it’s dangerous to blacklist art for personal reasons in my view, though I can understand different ways of looking at it.

May 01

Veterans

This is not surprising to me.

75% of veterans confident about skills they bring to civilian workforce whereas only 39% of employers believe vets are appropriately prepared to compete for civilian jobs out of the military.

When I got out of the army, more than one person during interviews told me that I had “no experience” despite my laboring in a high-stakes, high-pressure office environment for five years, AND working out 1-4 hours every weekday, AND doing things like regular parachute jumps, AND qualifying on various weapons, AND completing courses to become a combat lifesaver, AND writing for national publications.

But, no experience.

Despite the fact that, as the old cliché goes, I did more before 9AM than most civilians did all day.

Naively, I thought being a veteran would help me get a job. Actually it hurt me, as many employers are highly discriminatory against veterans. If I’d listed nothing on my resume my prospects would’ve been better, but I left my military experience on there as I worked hard for that.

Later on after I ascended the corporate hierarchy myself, I started hiring veterans when I could (and they were qualified), and here’s what I found:

  • Veterans are more reliable.
  • Veterans react better to stress, as 99.999% of corporate jobs are way, way less stressful than what you experience in the armed services every day.
  • Veterans are better at finding unusual and innovative solutions. I suspect this is because in the armed services there are often many institutional roadblocks in your way, yet the mission has to be completed, so you get really good at finding a way to get things done no matter what.
  • Veterans complain less overall, but don’t yield when something is really important.
  • Veterans will keep going after other people give up. (That’s just something you get used to in the military.)

Obviously this is not true of all former servicemembers. These are just tendencies. However, I’ve never regretted hiring a veteran, but have regretted hiring many non-vets over the years.

Take from that what you wish.

But now when someone says after they find out I’d been in the military, “I didn’t know you were in the Army! You’re actually smart!” it’s everything I can do to not use some of those other military skills I gained on their craniums.

Fortunately I’ve experienced a state of ataraxy as I’ve gotten older, so their craniums remain unblemished.

May 01

Soft problem

I hate that I’ve been put in a position where I can’t upgrade any software anymore really because the new versions are less powerful, less useful and designed for complete idiots to use.

Not the world I first envisioned when I first got into computers in the early 80s.

May 01

The URL thing

Getting rid of URLs is a terrible, terrible idea.

I don’t care that regular users never understood them. If you haven’t noticed, I have very little sympathy for regular users.

Anyway, why do we have to design everything for the dumbest members of society, and the least capable of learning?

Here, I am referring to computer users who have used their machines for 10+ years who still cannot find their start menu, etc.

This commenter said pretty well why it is happening (and it ain’t really about helping users), though, so I’ll just link to that.

We are  going to get the web we deserve, and it is going to be a pile of shit.

Apr 30

Egypt

How the pedestrians cross the road here is how you also have to cross in Egypt.

Took me a long time to get used to that, but when I got back to the States I almost killed myself by doing something similar in a large road.

In the US, they just run you over if you attempt that.

Oops.

Apr 29

Generalism

People have always told me it’s a mistake to be a generalist.

People are always wrong.

Especially in IT, it’s a mistake not being a generalist, as technologies and even basic applications change so fast.

Being a generalist means I have a basic understanding of just about everything important, so when the virtualization du jour technology changes from VMWare to HyperV, I already know how virtualization works at a fundamental level, so it’s just a matter of figuring out which buttons to click or which command line switches to choose to get things going.

I don’t have to go back to the drawing board pretty much ever. Instead of spending a year learning something as those who don’t understand the basics have to do, I can be up and running in days or sometimes in as little as minutes.

I realize this won’t work in every field, but in most fields I believe people hobble themselves by not working enough on basic understanding and too much on specialization.

Anything I can look up on the internet quickly, or in a book, does not need to be in my head. It’s a waste of space.

Apr 29

Sexism

I don’t want to put my story on this site, as I think that is a space better used for women’s stories as they receive the principal harm from sexism, but it reminded me of a potluck dinner I attended at a job a few years ago.

I’d made lasagna, and the lasagna I make is damn good.

I brought it in and more than one person (and one of whom was a woman, too) said, “This is really good. Did your girlfriend make this? Who made this for you?”

This is after I’d already told everyone that I made the lasagna. Because of course it’s impossible for a man to cook something tasty with no female assistance….

Apr 29

Australass

Instead of bothering to write a completely new and atrocious UI and UX, Mozilla should’ve just gotten rid of most of their developers, used the open source portions of Chrome, and called it good.

Apr 29

FF 29

If you use Firefox, Firefox 29 is out today.

This is the one with the appallingly bad Australis redesign.

It, like the Windows 8 “Metro” design, is tailored to three-year-olds and those who don’t need to get any work done. It is aimed at consumption, not power. It is shockingly bad and poorly-designed.

This commenter said it best about how terrible it is.